Staring & Swiping Do Not Mix

Well I’m back to 7:30 pm to 4:30 am shifts again. This seems to be something more of the norm for my department now. And I think I prefer that because of the fact that I seem to get some free time at home and I don’t have to stretch too much at work either.

I made a mistake a lunch a few days ago which I forgot to mention. I had lunch at the office cafeteria and my meal came to Rs.75. When I swiped my card, the guy at the counter had pressed Rs.75 but I tried entering my pincode a little too soon and either I or the guy at the counter must have accidentally entered a 0 at the end so it actually swiped for Rs.750! Gasp! Egads!

I realized the error as I was eating lunch so I went back to the counter and showed it to the guy in charge. He checked my order and the amount and gave me back the change. Ofcourse my friends at work who I were having lunch with said that I made the error because I was ogling some chick at another table! I swear I only stared for like most of the time!

Wannabe Wanderer

Tell us about the top five places you’ve always wanted to visit.

  1. Canada – always Canada. Well ever since 1998 or so, I have wanted to move to Canada and explore her cities, towns and countryside. No other place I’d rather visit and possibly even live in.
  2. The UK – England first, Scotland, Wales & N.Ireland too. The sights, the towns, the pubs, the people, the FOOTBALL!
  3. Parts of the US – I guess it’s safe to say that for someone like me there are some areas of the US that are scary right now. There always seems to be crazy things happening. But the USA has many areas I would love to see and enjoy.
  4. The Netherlands & Belgium – Holland is one of my favourite places to see sights off and I put Belgium along with them as they are similar in some cases. Beautiful cities and towns and football, beer and food!
  5. Scandinavian countries – I have had a life long love affair with Sweden (or atleast since 1987) and I want to see her. Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland too. Some of the cities in these countries look downright amazing.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Power Rangers (2017)

Power Rangers is a 2017 American superhero film based on the franchise of the same name, directed by Dean Israelite and written by John Gatins. It is the third Power Rangers film, and is a reboot. The film features the main characters of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series with a new cast, starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks.

I remember watching some of the tv shows as a kid and late into my teens and I remember watching the first movie once or twice. It was never one of my favourites as the franchise has always been aimed at kids and teens and never appealed to me much once I hit 20. This obsession with teens as superheros must have some qualities that certain people like but it never worked well for me. Over the years I had forgotten about this franchise and only remember it in 2011 when I started binge watching the show Flashpoint and saw that Amy Jo Johnson was also in Power Rangers.

This reboot has 5 young adults acting as teens who acquire the Power Coins in some rock formation. The Coins were brought to earth by the six interplanetary warriors, the Power Rangers, who arrived 66 million years ago, tasked with protective life on earth. They were betrayed and destroyed by a former Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa, but the leader Zordon is able to get their robot Alpha 5 to cause a meter shower that wipes out the dinosaurs and kills him while knocking off Rita into the bottom of the ocean where she supposedly dies and decays. Jason, Billy, Kimberly, Zack & Trini are forged into a team and practice their newly acquired super strength and powers.

A fishing boat pulls up Rita’s corpse and once out of the freezing cold, she thaws and attacks humans to gain her powers and former self back. Zordon’s consciousness is still in an ancient ship buried in an underground cavern beneath the sea. They have 11 days before Rita reaches full power and summons her minion Goldar (a creature made out of gold that she acquires from stores and very originally named) and destroys all life on earth. After training for 11 days the team finally bonds and discovers that they can morph and they have one major battle, in which much destruction is caused to buildings, landscape and vehicles (but I doubt if any human was killed) and Rita is slapped into space.

The kids return to their former lives and things are normal though they retain their powers. It’s a bit too cliched, formulaic and rushed and it’s not very entertaining either. I was happy to see Naomi Scott (who I last saw in the short lived Terra Nova) but the rest of the main cast of Rangers are new to me. Choosing Elizabeth Banks to be the villain was a bad idea. Bryan Cranston as Zordor? It’s more comical than anything and perhaps they should have done an animated version. The movie flopped at the box office and I am not surprised. 6 outta 10!

RIP Bruce Gray

I just got to know about it this morning. Veteran Canadian actor Bruce Gray passed away on the 13th of December due to cancer. He was 81 years old.

He was probably best known to Canadian audiences for his portrayal of investment banker Adam Cunningham on the Global series Traders, the father of the groom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the recurring role of Judge J.E. Reilly on the soap opera Passions and the ghost of Joe’s father on the hit television show Medium.

However, he made appearances in American media; particularly in science fiction. He portrayed Sky Marshall Dienes in the movie version of Starship Troopers, an interrogator of Captain John Sheridan on Babylon 5, legendary Vulcan philosopher Surak on Star Trek: Enterprise and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2008 film Recount. He appeared several times on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Admiral Chekote.

He also had a guest-starring role on the popular cable television series Queer as Folk, playing gay millionaire George Schickel. Gray was the face of the leader of a fictitious anti-Amsterdam organization in a print and internet advertising campaign for Amstel beer. Gray had brain cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. He was in hospice care for about two weeks before his death.

Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez said his side “need something in January” after they dropped into the relegation zone with a fourth straight defeat at Arsenal. The Magpies have lost eight of their last nine Premier League games, gaining just one point from a 2-2 draw at West Brom. They rose to as high as fourth earlier in the season, and were in sixth place after beating Crystal Palace on 21 October, their last win to date. “We’ll try to bring in some additions that will bring a lift to the team,” said Benitez. Mesut Ozil’s brilliant volleyed goal in the first half was enough for Arsene Wenger’s side, who dominated until Newcastle rallied late in the game.

Newcastle are reported to be the subject of a £300m takeover bid by PCP Partners, with club owner Mike Ashley said to have recently met with PCP’s owner Amanda Staveley. Ainsley Maitland-Niles hit the side-netting for Arsenal before the break, but Newcastle only came to life in the latter stages, with Ayoze Perez failing to take advantage of two rare chances when he put a shot and then a header over the bar. The result puts Arsenal into fourth place while Newcastle have now claimed just one point from the last 27. Jack Wilshere came closest to giving Arsenal breathing space late on when he saw his side-footed shot saved by the recalled Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.

It was Newcastle’s 10th straight Premier League defeat to Arsenal and they are now without a league win since 21 October when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0. Seventh in the table at kick-off and without a win in three matches is not the sort of run-in to the busy festive schedule that Arsenal are accustomed to. And hamstring and groin injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott respectively also gave Wenger much to ponder in the lead-up to the meeting with Newcastle. They looked slick for much of the afternoon and threatened around the edge of Newcastle’s area on a regular basis, but the lack of the killer instinct in front of goal led to some edginess as the match wore on.

Ozil’s moment of magic was the one real ray of light on a grey afternoon, the Germany international showing impeccable technique and balance to strike the ball beyond a helpless Elliot after Newcastle failed to clear. With Liverpool the next league visitors to the Emirates, Arsenal will be thankful for the split second of brilliance that helped to end a worrying dip in results.

Year End Traditions

What are your holiday traditions? (Amending that to year end holiday)

Not being Christian or Jewish and not even from a Jewish or Christian family (like a non-religious person) I don’t really have much to do during these days. The end of December is the holiday season as it is know all over – well most of the world. But I usually can expect a few things to happen.

So not really a tradition but I guess I will buy some cake. Usually fruit cake with a bit of icing on it. We end up with 2-3 during the last week of the month or so because dad will get one, I will get one and someone or the other ends up gifting us some. It is shared and eaten during the days from December 23rd till New Year’s Dad. There inevitably will be some win, home made pungent wine, that a Christian family or neighbour will give us. Some of them are terrible but once in a while you get a really good one.

I will only get the 25th and the 1st off from work. We end up eating fried chicken. During this time, we get some chicken legs or something and pan fry them and have them for dinner. I buy some beers and ofcourse there will be vodka. I watch movies a lot. Will usually try to watch a “Christmas movie” – like Gremlins or Home Alone and enjoy some of that cake while I watch it.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR DECEMBER

Loudspeakers : Braying Like A Donkey

What Sounds Annoy You?

I guess a bunch of noises annoy me and other people. We all have the ones that really gets on our nerves and make our teeth grind and fists clench and wants to temporarily go deaf. Loud horns, rap & hip-hop music, most Indian classical music, Tamil rap and film music and a lot of other stuff. But nothing annoys me more than the religious prayers on loudspeakers!

In this regard all religious are to blame. Loud speakers are a bane of humanity’s existence and everyone hates being disturbed. It is beyond annoying to be roused out of your nap, movie watching or music listening or reading time or heck just sitting down for some coffee or a meal by the loud sounds of an asshole bellowing into a loud speaker selling stuff, announcing as an advertisement, selling lotteries or making the case as to why you should vote for this or that political party.

But nothing and I mean nothing annoys me more than the bellowing of a call to prayer. Whether it is Hindism or Christianity or Buddhism (come to think of it, Buddhists don’t bother you, so it’s ok) or Sikhs or anything it is fucking annoying. But the worst is the Islamic call to prayer, especially when some of those voices sound like loud donkeys braying. Fucking annoying! They are the worst and disturb you 5 times a day.

I wish one of the religious commandments for each of them was “thou shall not bray into a loudspeaker”!

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

The Room

The Room is a 2003 American independent drama film written, directed, produced by, and starring Tommy Wiseau. The film centers on a melodramatic love triangle between amiable banker Johnny (Wiseau), his deceptive future wife Lisa (Juliette Danielle), and his conflicted best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). A significant portion of the film is dedicated to a series of unrelated subplots, most of which involve at least one supporting character, and are unresolved due to the film’s inconsistent narrative structure. The Room has been dubbed as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies”.

Surely it can’t be that bad? – I innocently thought! How little did I know! Over the last few years I have seen clips and reviews and parodies of this movie and recently got to know that James Franco is making a biographical comedy-drama movie about on the creation of The Room, named The Disaster Artist (based from the book by Sestero of the same name) and that coupled with several funny reviews of the movie made me want to watch it. So I watched it last night.

And I laughed, and laughed and laughed. Tommy is terrible, he delivers his lines like an actor who just decided to become an actor and his accent is weird when it turns from American to whatever he actually is (Polish as it could be claimed). He has barely any acting chops and he overacts and over dramatizes things. His direction, story and production is crap. None of the others are any good either. The actress who plays Lisa, Juliette, is terrible and she is given so many repetitive lines to say. “Don’t worry about it” & “I don’t want to talk about it” – the latter after she brings it up! Denny is a creep and Mark is the worst friend ever!

Best acting job is the lady who plays Lisa’s mom – from the most casual way to drop a cancer confirmation to her overacting about Denny’s drug thing. She doesn’t know much about Denny or even like him much but she berates him as if they were mother and son! It’s terrible and it’s funny because it’s terribly done. Lisa is evil, a really bad woman and Mark is a bad friend but no one can feel sympathy for Tommy. It’s so bad it’s good kinda thing here. I will go out on a limb and say this confidently – I can make a way better movie than this but it won’t become a cult classic like this movie has become.

One for the ages. I give this movie 2 outta 10 but 10/10 for being the best worst movie ever. Oh The Room, you are TEARING ME APART!

A Dream Existence For Me & You

Close your eyes and imagine the kind of world you would like to see.  What is it like?

The Earth was completely abandoned for dead, it’s atmosphere unable to sustain life at all and after the discovery of 3 extremely suitable planets in another star system in 2490, it was decided that all humans, along with the animals & birds, would relocate to these 3 planets in the Vetra system as we came to call it. The evacuation of earth & the colonization of the 3 Vetra planets took over 10 years but finally, with the exception of some insects, all life on earth was either in transit in huge bioships, residential & military spaceships or already on their new home on one of the 3 planets. 10 years and 5 months after the first ships left for Vetra, the last ships reached the orbits of the 3 planets that we call our new home and humans and animals were led to their locations.

In the universe I have created, things are great with no poverty, no hunger, no killing, no animosity between humans, no diseases and life is relaxed. Although still not written down, an event will take place many many years later after conflicts with an enemy alien race, one of many but the most dangerous of the lot. Humans have stopped aging, except for babies & very young children who still have some slow growth for a while until it stops. This is because of a revolutionary, flexible forcefield or shield, that virtually makes us immortal and impervious to outside forces (natural or non-natural) that could otherwise harm us. But this forcefield also happens to reactivate a virus, a biological weapon that was sent upon us by this alien enemy race. When activated & reacting with the shield it stunted growth in all humans and earth’s animals. So now aging, no new births and no one dies as well unless they went and harmed themselves or someone else harmed them.

Prompt from 119 Journal Prompts for Your Journal Jar

6 Drinks / Beverages & More

6 Drinks/Beverages

  • Sprite
  • Coke/Pepsi
  • 7Up
  • Mountain Due
  • Appy Fizz
  • Lipton Ice Tea

I ofcourse love the various frappes I can get from Cafe Coffee Day, Kawaha, Cocoa Tree and the like. I love the Peace Ice Tea from Galitos (always get them when I go there) and the recent one was the Peach & Passion Fruit Ice Tea from Double Roti. Too many shakes to mention here.

Prompt from 119 Journal Prompts for Your Journal Jar

mother!

mother! is a 2017 American psychological horror film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Aronofsky’s films are not for everyone. Well, atleast some of them aren’t. His themes and film making style are off the beaten path. I have enjoyed some of his films but this one – I am still not sure after one viewing.

The story follows a couple, Him and mother who have moved into a house in the country. We first see Him an acclaimed poet struggling with severe writer’s block, places a crystal object on a pedestal, and the burnt out house changes into a renovated look. Mother sees visions in the house, including a beating heart in the walls. Man (Ed Harris) comes to their house one day, mistaking the house for a B&B but Him insists that he stay the night, despite Mother having reservations. In the night Man experiences prolonged coughing fits and Mother catches a glimpse of a fresh wound near his rib area before her husband covers it with his hand.

The next day he is better but his wife, Woman, comes in and she too is staying in the house though Mother makes it clear to Him that he should discuss with her before making these decisions. We learn that both the guests are fans of Him’s work and Man is dying. However, when Man and Woman accidentally break and shatter the crystallized object, Mother decides to kick them out. But the two sons of Man & Woman come in and start arguing about the will and one thing leads to another when The Oldest Son, who is left with nothing, mortally injures his Younger Brother and apparently flees, while Him, Man, and Woman take the injured son to get help. Upon returning, Him informs Mother that the son has died.

Dozens of people begin arriving at the house in the wake of the dead son. More people arrive, and behave in a way that bothers Mother; she becomes angrier and eventually snaps when they flood the house. She kicks everyone out. Angry with Him for allowing so many people into the house for his pleasure and ignoring her, she berates him before the two engage in sex. Mother becomes pregnant and Him is inspired to write again and his work is well received. Months later as his work is published, Mother sets a nice dinner to celebrate but a cult of people who are fans of Him come to the house and come in. Their behavior devolves into stealing their belongings as keepsakes and disrupting the environment.

An increasingly disoriented Mother makes her way around the house as each room devolves into chaos. Him’s publisher, the Herald, takes part in the madness. Military men with guns arrive to help Mother, but a cult of devoted fans forms around Him; they start to engage in rituals. Mother goes into labour and gives birth to a baby boy and Him wants to show the baby to the mob outside the room they are in but she refuses. When she falls asleep, however, he takes the baby outside to the crowd, who grab him and break his neck. Devastated, Mother makes her way to the front of the crowd where she sees the hacked corpse of her baby and witnesses the crowd eating his flesh. Furious at them, she calls them murderers and begins stabbing them with a shard of broken glass.

They turn on her, beginning to strip and beat her until Him intervenes and stops it. Mother escapes the grasp of the crowd and makes her way to the cellar and the oil tank for the furnace. Despite her husband’s pleas, Mother sets the oil on fire, destroying the crowd, the house, and the surrounding garden and trees. Mother survives but is horribly burned while Him remains unaffected. He asks her for her love and she agrees; he  tears open her chest, removing her heart in the process. As he opens up the heart with his hands, a new crystal object is revealed. He places the object in its pedestal. Once again, the house changes from a burnt-out husk to a newly renovated house. A new Mother forms in a bed and wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is.

Got all that? It’s basically a retelling of Christianity in a different perspective. You have god in Him, the earth perhaps in mother, Adam, Eve, Cain & Abel and humanity and I suppose the baby is Jesus. The crowd is humanity blah blah blah. I found the movie a bit tedious to watch and a bit preachy if you can call it that. It was also a bit boring to watch. I give it a …..hmmm….7 outta 10! I like the concept but not the end product.

Under What Conditions Do You Do Your Best Work?

Under What Conditions Do You Do Your Best Work?

I think I like some peace and quiet and not too many distractions when I am working. I do not like working next to too many people, though I have worked as a call center agent for a long time. I am still in the industry but in a different role so it’s one that I need a bit more space than an agent can get.

I also do not like being rushed or asked to do things at the last moment. I also do not like too much multi-tasking, it’s not good for productivity or efficiency. Let me finish one thing and in between I can do a couple of smaller things as well but it’s better that you do not bother me with too much stuff that takes away from my concentration. And also less nonsensical banter the better.

I do not like too many people dropping by and saying stuff. I do not like to have too much food in between, just coffee and a snack. But I do work best if I can have some candy near me, like hard candy a la Kopiko. That speeds up my work and also keeps me from getting a dry mouth. And ofcourse plenty of water.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his side’s slow start in games is becoming a problem, after they scraped a draw against Southampton. Substitute Olivier Giroud glanced in a superb late header to salvage a point after the Gunners had trailed since the third minute. Charlie Austin clipped home an early opener for the home side with the away defence mere onlookers. The Southampton striker drilled a stinging shot into Petr Cech’s gloves shortly after, then hit the post from an offside position. A sharp save from Aaron Ramsey apart, Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster had little to do as the visitors struggled to carve out clear-cut chances before Giroud climbed above Virgil van Dijk to steer home Alexis Sanchez’s cross and make Arsenal’s possession finally pay.

Southampton were left to rue several wasted chances on the counter attack, with Ryan Bertrand missing a fine opportunity and Oriol Romeu’s long-range effort glancing off the bar in the second half. A draw briefly moved Arsenal level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool, but the Reds edged back a point clear with a 1-1 draw against Everton. Southampton broke into the top half of the table, until Everton’s point meant the Saints slipped back to 11th. Wenger made one change from the line-up that started with so many errors against Manchester United, but Per Mertesacker’s inclusion did not remove that flaw at St Mary’s. The German centre-back gave possession away cheaply and was made to pay as Dusan Tadic’s cute reverse ball picked out Austin, who clinically found the net. It could easily have been worse for the Gunners in the opening 10 minutes too, as the visiting defence lacked any cohesion or organisation collectively.

Individually, Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal failed to track runners or show the commitment of the Saints attackers. Just as against United, Arsenal spent plenty of time on the ball in the second half, with 70% possession after the break – but moments of real concern for the Southampton defence were rare before Giroud’s equaliser. The Frenchman’s celebration, pointing to the name on the back of his shirt, might have been a reminder to his manager that he is available from the start. He has scored four league goals in 13 substitute appearances during this campaign yet is still to make his first start.