Midfielder Deal Done?

Here is another deal that seems to be almost all wrapped up. Arsenal have been looking out for a defensive minded midfielder and we may have that player within our graps, if news reports are accurate – this one quotes the president of Sampdoria, where the player in question is currently signed onto, hence it is mostly legitamate.

Arsenal are seemingly on the verge of signing midfielder Lucas Torreira after Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero confirmed the player had “left” the Seria A side. Torreira, 22, is seen as one of Serie A’s most talented young midfielders, a modern playmaker who can win the ball back as well as distribute it, something missing from Arsenal’s play in recent seasons as Granit Xhaka continues to flatter to deceive. He will be the latest signing that recruitment czar Sven Mislintat has been charged with revamping Unai Emery’s first Arsenal squad ready for the new season, with goalkeeper Bernd Leno joining on Tuesday from Bayer Leverkusen.

Now a Uruguayan international, Torreira is part of an exciting midfield revolution under Oscar Washington Tabarez as the World Cup dark horses look to squeeze the last out of their prolific generation of strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Speaking on Italian television, Ferrero said: “Torreira left for 30m euro. I bought him from Pescara when no one believed in him. We placed a bet and we won, paying just 3m euro. Torreira, originally a striker before moving backwards into midfield, is did not start Uruguay’s opener against Egypt on Friday but made a second-half appearance from the bench.

Arsenal Sign Goalie Bernd Leno

The highly-rated 26-year-old made more than 230 appearances for Leverkusen in more than seven seasons with the Bundesliga side.

Spending most of his youth career at Stuttgart, Leno signed for Leverkusen in 2011 and that September became the youngest goalkeeper to feature in a Champions League match at the age of just 19 years and 193 days, during Leverkusen’s group-stage game against Chelsea.

A Germany international, Bernd received his first senior international call-up in 2015 and has since won six caps for his country. Last year he was part of the Germany squad that won the 2017 Confederations Cup. Leno, 26, moves to the Emirates Stadium as the club continue to reshape both the squad and off-field structure following the arrival of Emery in May as new head coach to succeed Arsene Wenger.

“For me it’s a dream to play for Arsenal,” Leno said on the Premier League club’s official website. In Germany, Arsenal are so famous and when I heard it (transfer), I was a little bit nervous, but at that moment it was clear for me: I wanted to sign for Arsenal.” Emery described the German as “a goalkeeper of high quality and experience”, but it remains to be seen whether he will directly compete with both veteran Petr Cech and David Ospina, who is away at the World Cup with Colombia. Arsenal added that the German’s shirt number “will be announced in due course”.

Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner has arrived on a free from Juventus, while midfielder Granit Xhaka has signed a new, long-term contract along with 20-year-old winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. A potential £27million deal for Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira, who is with Uruguay at the World Cup, is understood to be in the pipeline along with a transfer for Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Jack Wilshere Is Leaving Arsenal

Jack Wilshere has confirmed he will leave Arsenal when his contract expires on July 1 after new boss Unai Emery failed to give him assurances of regular playing time. After an extensive meeting with the Spaniard, Wilshere says he was informed his game time would be “significantly reduced” and he insists he needs to be playing regularly at this point in his career. The 26-year-old revealed he even agreed to sign a financially reduced contract after several months of negotiations in order to commit his future to the club at which he has spent the past 17 years. On Instagram, Wilshere said: “Following a number of extensive conversations with those at the club, and in particular a recent meeting with the new manager Unai Emery, I felt that I was ultimately left with little choice but to make the decision that I have due to purely footballing reasons.

“As has widely been reported I, along with my representative, have been in talks with the club for a number of months with the view to signing a new contract to extend my stay at the Emirates. “My intention throughout these discussions has always been to remain an Arsenal player. I have been on the books at Arsenal for 17 years and have always felt part of the fabric of the club. Such was my desire to stay that I had in fact recently agreed to sign a financially reduced contract in order to commit my future to the club. “However, following my meeting with the new manager, I was made aware that although the reduced contract offer remained, it was made clear to me that my playing time would be significantly reduced should I decide to stay. I am sure everyone can understand that, at this point in my life and career, I need to be playing regular first-team football and following my meeting with Mr Emery I came away with the feeling that it would be very difficult for me to do so at Arsenal. “Given this, I feel I have no option but to pursue other opportunities in order to progress my career on the pitch.”

Newspaper reports have linked Wilshere with moves to Premier League sides Fulham, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Everton and Wolves, as well as Serie A clubs Juventus, Sampdoria and AC Milan – and the player says he is “fit, sharp and strong” but will take time to consider his next move. Arsenal, who included Wilshere in their initial promotional material for their new home kit, responded to Wilshere’s announcement by placing their thanks for his contributions, especially towards two FA Cup titles in recent seasons. Wilshere calls time at the Emirates after 197 appearances and 14 goals in all competitions, having become one of previous boss Arsene Wenger’s most promising academy graduates. Wilshere said: “I have experienced some incredible times at Arsenal and have met friends that will last a lifetime. I leave memories that will stay with me forever from my time at the club.

“From making my debut at such a young age, to playing in the Champions League and of course winning two FA Cups in consecutive seasons, there are just too many highlights to mention. “There will be the opportunity to talk properly when the time is right but for now I would just like to thank everyone at the club for everything over the past 17 years, in particular Arsene Wenger and his staff, all of my team-mates over the years, everyone at the club academy for helping me to fulfill my dream and of course the fans, who I have always shared such a special relationship with. I will never be able to truly repay the love, faith and belief that the fans have always shown in me. It’s meant so much to me and my family over the years and I hope you are able to celebrate the success you deserve in the coming years. Thank you.”

“I would like to place on record my respect for Mr Emery and my appreciation for his honesty and candour, and I wish him, the team and the club all the very best for the future.”

Fiction : Dark Wind

Inspired by a very vivid dream that I had two nights ago, I am trying to write down whatever I remember plus a few added things:

It was a dark night. I was on my way home at this late hour just after midnight and the streets were almost devoid of any other vehicles. It was another tough day at my new work, my very first job. As I was the only “rookie” the pressure was double that of any other new employee and I often worked late. Tonight was the night at the end of the work week, just like every other Friday after I worked late, that I would go to my spot.

My spot was a secluded area just outside the city, a little away from my home in the suburbs but it was an area that I liked. There is this long stretch of road near the beach area with a few trees and hardly any buildings in sight for a while. So once a week, I took a detour from my usual route home and took the extra 3 kilometers just sit in peace and quite in my car for about 30-60 minutes and reflect in quite solitude. This area, near the beach was quite windy and even chilly on nights like this after a heavy rainfall, and the chilling breeze was quite welcome. I had a soft drink with me and I just parked my car near a tree and sat with the break lights on and drank my soft drink and played a little music at a very low volume.

The power went out a little before I had arrived so on this road it was totally dark with only a little light from a mostly hidden moon shining down on us. I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet in front of my car if I had the headlights off, which I did at that time. But I was off the side of the road, on sand and stone and next to a tree. I was sitting there in the quiet darkness, contemplating how I was going to relax and unwind during the next next two days, when from behind me I heard a car coming closer and it’s dim lights broke the darkness. Another car, a more expensive one, went past me and stopped a few hundred yards away.

This car was speeding by and must not have seen me parked on the side until it just passed me as I only had my break lights on, but it didn’t slow down until it was at it’s current spot. From where I was I could barely make out the tail lights but I knew it was there. Probably someone who, like me, likes this area or was stopping for a quick smoke. I was minding my own business sitting there in my car and then I opened my car door to stretch my legs a bit. I yawned and stretched my legs, walking in small circles next to my car when a woman’s shawl blew in the wind from the car in front and flew straight towards me. I grabbed onto it tightly, thinking that the occupant or one of the occupants in the car must have opened a window or a door and decided to walk forward and give the shawl back.

As I took some steps forward and was nearer I called out saying “Hey, I was able to grab the shawl” when the door opened. I couldn’t see the person, if it was a man or a woman, who stepped out as it was quite dark and as I strained my eyes, all I could see were dim red lights from the rear of the car. All of a sudden, I hear a loud gun shot and something hit me on the head and I blacked out!

Pseudo-Fan Comments

It’s been a somewhat good World Cup so far, 4 days in and the upsets and surprises are already in. I’ve been watching a few games, averaging 2 per day from Friday to Sunday and now that the work week is back on, I won’t be able to catch any of the games as I will be working when all the games are played during the weekdays. Come the weekend I will be back again.

It’s kinda fun to follow the reactions and comments on social media lately. Especially from those pseudo-fans who only seem to watch or pretend to watch when the World Cup is on. Suddenly they are “life-long experts and fans” of Brazil, Portugal, Germany or Argentina and so on and so forth. The Vamos and Allez and Ole’s all start ringing around. I can make out who are the real fans and who are the bandwagon jumpers.

And they act surprised when so and so does not score or has a bad game and comment that they are finished and all that shit. Really? After one game? No matter that the past 10+ years of them achieving success and who knows that the success may still come past this one game that you saw! Sheesh! Go and watch cricket!

The Cloverfield Paradox

The Cloverfield Paradox is a 2018 American science fiction horror film directed by Julius Onah, written by Oren Uziel and Doug Jung, and produced by J. J. Abrams’s Bad Robot Productions. It is the third installment in the Cloverfield anthological film series, following Cloverfield (2008 ) and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). The film stars Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo and Zhang Ziyi, and follows an international group of astronauts aboard a space station who, after using a particle accelerator to try to solve Earth’s energy crisis, must find a way home after accidentally traveling to an alternate dimension.

With the earth facing an energy crisis, the space agencies of the world prepare to test the Shepard particle accelerator aboard the orbiting Cloverfield Station, which would provide Earth with infinite energy, while conspiracy theorists fear it will create the “Cloverfield Paradox”, opening portals to allow horrors from parallel universes to threaten Earth. The crew consists of  Ava Hamilton, a British engineer who frets about leaving her husband Michael potentially for years, as their relationship struggles since the loss of their children to a house fire, American commander Kiel, German physicist Ernst Schmidt, Brazilian medical doctor Monk Acosta, Irish engineer Mundy, Russian engineer Volkov, and Chinese engineer Tam.

Two years of unsuccessful testing they finally achieve a seemingly stable beam, but it then overloads and creates a power surge on the station. The earth vanishes from view and the find the gyroscope missing. The crew start repairs but they hear screaming from inside the walls and find a woman named Mina Jensen fused with wires. They treat her wounds but Volkov fears something crawling beneath his skin and is compelled to craft a gun using an on-board 3D printer. He uses the gun to threaten the crew, but as he does so he convulses and dies, and the station’s colony of worms bursts out of him.  Jensen tells Ava not to trust Schmidt, who is soon discovered to be a spy sent by the German government to keep the Shepard shut down.

Mundy’s arm gets pulled into a solid wall and is severed clean off, without bleeding or pain. They find the arm roaming of its own volition. When they recognize that it is trying to write something, it instructs them to “cut Volkov open”. Once they do, they find the missing gyroscope. They quickly locate Earth and restore their communications, but transmissions state that Cloverfield Station was destroyed and fell to Earth two days prior. The crew understand from readings that they must have moved to an alternate universe Jensen is found to be a crew member of the space station from this universe. She shows Hamilton that here, her kids haven’t died and she stayed on Earth as a civilian engineer, and Jensen replaced Tam as the station’s engineer. As they begin to work on repairs, Tam is killed in a freak accident.

Hamilton decides to return with Jensen to Earth to be with her children. As they prepare, Mundy is killed in an explosion caused by a strange magnetic field. After the explosion, Kiel sacrifices himself to disengage a wildly-spinning accelerator ring that was jeopardizing the station, leaving Hamilton in charge. On earth, Michael finds a wave of destruction on earth and heads to the hospital, finding a young girl named Molly on the way. He sees a giant monster out in the distance and after learning that the hospital has been destroyed, he takes her to an underground shelter belonging to a friend and tends to her wounds. On the station, Jenson knocks out Hamilton and kills Monk, wounds Schmidt, and insists that the station must stay in her universe to keep the Shepard device there. Once she wakes up, Hamilton shoots a hole in a window, ejecting Jenson out into space.

Hamilton decides to return to their universe with Schmidt and makes a recording for her alternate universe self, giving her the plans for the Shepard device and stressing the importance of her family. Hamilton and Schmidt reverse the universe shift and use Tam’s modifications to finally make Shepard work. After reporting in, the two eject themselves in an evacuation capsule towards Earth. Michael rushes to see his wife but as the capsule re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, a giant monster comes up, roaring through the mist of a mountain.

The narration is odd and I tried to be excited for this film but is a bit of a trainwreck. The best moments are from Irish actor Chris O’Dowd as Mundy who despite losing his arm does some fine comedic lines. I’ll give it a reluctant 7 outta 10!

Blue Rock Resto Bar

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to a bar. Last year in July infact. Why? The reason is money. After the two year alcohol ban in bars and hotels in the state that are not 5 star (a fucking stupid decision by the stupid old corrupt asshole who formed the government in Kerala bowing down to pressure from equally corrupt and hypocritical asshole organizations) the hotels and bars have jacked up the prices of alcohol and beer once the current government allowed the ban to be curbed.

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As the tax is now higher the bars and hotels have (or rather not have to, they can reduce it quite a bit) chosen to charge you premium money for drinking in their establishments. So why go to bars and pay Rs.200 to Rs.300 for a can or a 650 bottle of Heineken, Carslberg, Touborg or Budweiser when you can go to the Bevco and buy them for Rs.90 to Rs.100 or Rs.130 (for Heineken) and drink it at home in the comfort of wearing you lungi or shorts? That’s what I have been doing for a while.

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I go once every two months with my cousin to a Chinese restaurant called Golden Dragon for beers and good food. But yesterday was the first time I have been to a bar in a while. The Blue Rock Resto Bar inside the Olive Downtown hotel is an awesome place that started in December of last year. This is an awesome bar where you can watch some football on their tvs and enjoy a few. But things are expensive.

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We had 4 Heinekens which were expensive at Rs.380 but we got one of them free as it was Happy Hours at the time. I am disgusted at the prices but it was the stupid old men in power who made this happen. They steal from the people and can afford to go to expensive bars and enjoy while we want to save money. Anyways, the bar gives you free potato sticks in a bowl that they filled after we finished the first one. We ordered a grilled chicken and veggie platter as the appetizer. It was good but I must admit that I enjoyed the grilled veggies and potato wedges more than the chicken. It came with a small bowl of their bbq sauce or gravy which was awesome.

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Later we ordered a fried pizza, which is more like a calzone and though it was not what we were expecting, it was tasty. We were there for almost 3.5 hours after which we were both sleepy and hence left. We also stopped for some donuts at the cafe beneath the bar and then went to our respective homes.

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2018 Russia World Cup Update – 1

On Thursday the World Cup started with the hosts Russia taking on Saudi Arabia.  I managed to get 20 minutes of the game live ona projector screen at the office while I was eating my dinner. Russia thumped the Saudis 5-0 in front of a largely partisan crowd of 78,011 at the Luzhniki Stadium. A completely unmarked Yuri Gazinsky headed his first goal for Russia before substitute Denis Cheryshev evaded several weak challenges and smashed home at the near post close to half-time.

The tempo slowed and the atmosphere flattened after the restart, giving the whole thing the feel of a friendly match. But substitute Artem Dzyuba illuminated a match of often dubious quality with a precise header to extend his team’s lead just minutes after replacing Fedor Smolov. And as the match moved into injury time the impressive Cheryshev smashed home with a crisp strike into the top corner before the superb Aleksandr Golovin curled a free-kick around the wall.

Yesterday I watched two games live – Uruguay struggled to an unimpressive 1-0 win over Egypt and later on at 11:30 pm Cristiano Ronaldo produced one of the great World Cup performances as his dramatic late free-kick earned Portugal a draw with Spain in a classic encounter in Sochi. The Real Madrid forward’s 88th-minute swerving set-piece soared into the top corner to deny the Spanish a much-needed victory at the end of what has been a painful week for them in the south of Russia. Their build-up had been dominated by the shock departure of Julen Lopetegui as boss two days before the tournament started but by the final whistle at the Fisht Olympic Stadium there was only one name on everyone’s lips.

I would go so far as to label this as the match of the tournament (yes even this early on). He had got the opener, too, a penalty in the fourth minute after Nacho felled him in the box, before Diego Costa’s bullying low finish dragged Spain back into the match when they were at their most vulnerable. But just before the break David de Gea made a terrible and uncharacteristic error, fumbling a zipping Ronaldo shot through his gloves and over the line. Another dose of adversity for Spain to deal with.

In between, Morocco lost 0-1 to Iran in a match I chose to skip.

Goodbye Baby Pigeon

Well, I hadn’t posted about this for a day or two because I was a bit heartbroken and sad about the news. Two mornings ago, just after I woke up I went to check on the mamma pigeon and the baby pigeon that were nesting on a plant pot on my balcony. Just as I picked up my coffee, mom & dad informed me that the baby pigeon had died.

That was so sad. I guess it was too cold in the night especially, since it had been raining way too much and it was very windy. The mamma pigeon’s body warmth must not enough to keep the baby alive. It look so depressing to see him/her like that.

Here is a pic of the little guy or girl taken just a couple of days before that. Damn, I know it’s silly to fret so much about a little baby pigeon but I am sad.

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Previous World Cups Revisited – Part 2

I remember quite a few things about the 2002 World Cup, the first to be held on Asian soil. And fittingly Japan was one of the nations that co-hosted the tournament along with South Korea. Shock of the tournament was defending champions France losing in the opening match to Senegal. Yes….to Senegal! Even more shocking they were eliminated at the group stage itself as they drew their next game against Uruguay and then lost to Denmark with the dubious dishonour of being chucked out of the world cup without even scoring a single goal!

The final saw Brazil win 2-0 over Germany – a match I watched in Trivandrum with a cousin who had traveled with me while we were staying at another cousin’s house along with some of the latter’s friends. We had whiskey, porottas and lamb curry with goat brains and fried eggs! But what I most remember of this particular World cup was the going to Calicut early in the morning with another cousin and our uncle to attend yet another uncle’s housewarming. On the way we pass through Malappuram as well and the entire district had football & world cup decorations, hoardings & posters all over the streets as well as effigies of famous players! Flags of Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Spain were all over the place as well. The same thing could be seen in the city of Calicut as well. After lunch at my uncle’s house a huge gathering of older folks – men & women in their 60s & 70s watched the Brazil vs England quarterfinal match and they were very knowledgeable about the game & players as well. That was a huge & pleasant surprise for me and my cousin as we don’t get to see that in the rest of the state.

Also that same world cup, I was watching a lot of games at my uncle’s house – just 2 houses next to where I lived back then – and my grandmother would join us in the afternoon and evenings to sit with us as we watched some of the matches. She was on medication (as well as being unwell she had also just lost a son less than a year ago) and liked sitting with us. It was fun and we would joke with her just to keep  her in high spirits. That is a cherished memory that I am unlikely to ever forget.

2006 World cup held in Germany. The 18th World Cup was the least I had seen of a World Cup tournament since I was old enough to star watching the matches live. The reason is simple enough, work stood in the way and especially when I had a mix of day and night shifts. Still I did manage to watch quite a  few games.

2010 was also a blur, mainly because I would be working most of the time that the games were on tv. I caught a few moments of the games at the office and some matches I would watch at home. I mostly remember not enjoying them too much as there was pressure at the office and I was concentrating mostly on that. I remember feeling mostly bored at some of the games and I cannot remember wanting a final to just end. It was terrible, the worst I can remember.

2014 – I was out of work for most of the year and hence I got to watch most of the games that I wanted to watch. Favourite moment of the tournament – and favourite of all time – is Germany thrashing Brazil (those eternal crybabies) 7-1. I so enjoyed that. In the final I didn’t mind who won for the first time ever. But – although the channel showing us the games did a great job in creating a long and entertaining tournament filled with experts of the games giving us their opinions and analysis, they did goof up by using typical Bollywood celebs and hosts.

Arsenal Transfer Rumours : Is This Happening?

The Gunners are closing in on three deals as Unai Emery’s squad begins to take shape. Arsenal have already signed Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus on a free transfer. And now they are set to close out deals for Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, according to the Evening Standard. Torreira will cost £26m from Sampdoria, Leno £20m from Bayer Leverkusen and Sokratis will be £16m from Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal set their transfer budget at around £50m for the summer after appointing Emery to replace Arsene Wenger.

But that figure will be added to when taking in player sales with Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez likely to leave. There is also expected to be interest in Hector Bellerin, although nothing concrete yet. Emery is meeting Jack Wilshere this week to discuss his future with his contract up later this month. Aaron Ramsey is also set for talks over a new deal with just 12 months left on his. Emery would like another central defender to go with Sokratis as Laurent Koscileny will miss the start of the season and Calum Chambers could leave.

New Arsenal boss Emery wants to give Petr Cech competition with Leno highly-rated by bigwigs at the Emirates. The former Chelsea goalkeeper has just one year left on his current contract. German outlet SportBild say Arsenal have moved quickly for Leno with the signing likely to happen imminently. The Leverkusen shot-stopper narrowly missed out on a World Cup place with Germany meaning a transfer will be easier to complete. Leno kept 12 clean sheets in all competitions for the Bundesliga side last season. Leverkusen are said to want a minimum of £17.5m for the goalkeeper, according to the reports.

Will these signings happen? Time will tell.

Previous World Cups Revisited – Part 1

1982 – there’s not much that I remember about those years because I was a very young lad of not yet 6 when that world cup was played. I don’t think I watched more than the final between Italy & West Germany and do not remember anything of it. I do remember my sister saying that after Kuwait’s (which is where I was born and where my family & I were living at the time) national side qualified for the World Cup in Spain (their first and only appearance in a wold cup tournament) there was a huge celebration all over the streets of the tiny nation.

I remember her telling me that there were people all over the streets throwing confetti and shouting happy slogans and that the cars found it hard to get through traffic because of the crowds. Image if they have won! for me, the big thing about the 1982 Espana World Cup is the fact that the nation where I was born & lived in for 11 years qualified, played 3 games (lost 2 and drew 1) and also had a controversial moment!

Mexico 1986. For many football fans this was the most memorable World Cup ever, even for me. I was about to turn 10 when the tournament started and didn’t watch many live games. However us kids would watch some highlights and results every evening and discuss games and goals in school and later in the day with friends as we gathered in our building. The world went crazy for Argentina and a midfield maestro named Diego Armando Maradona, who was all over the news, newspapers and tv – I remember that Toyota in particular had ads with him as a brand ambassador that was shown so often on Kuwaiti tv.

Documented in a popular film, I and my cousins relived Mexico 86 for a couple of summers afterwards. One last thing, back in Kuwait in 1986 a chewing gum company (can’t remember which one) had a project for football fans. You could buy a book from them in which all the competing nations were entered and empty slots kept for each squad member. For each pack of the chewing gum you bought, you would get a small pack of 5 stickers on which you’d have the profile photo of a player in the Wold Cup. So one pack of gum gave you 5 player stickers and you had to fill the entire book with all the players – for which the company would give you a large prize. I managed to finish a little over half by the end of the tournament but still have the book for a long time.

My first World Cup once back home in India was Italia 1990. I had just started my 9th standard (grade) in school and 2 weeks in the World Cup started. We even had to write an essay about the World Cup in English class! At age 14 I was able to get permission from my parents to stay up late and watch the late night matches even on school nights. And yes this was the first world cup that I watched most of till then. My favourites were ofcourse Argentina and I was supporting and cheering for them until the very end. I remember watching the final with a cousin of mine, just a little while after the 1990 Wimbledon men’s final.

1994 was a bad year for me personally and I was literally in tears lying on a bed in the bedroom downstairs at my old home while watching the games every day during the USA World Cup. Held in 9 cities over the country, the World Cup was a huge blur for me, even though I watch almost all the matches, uptill the semifinals when I finally cheered up. But the biggest & saddest shock of this world cup – and I think it is the saddest ever – was the death of Columbian defender Andres Escobar. In the group stage match against the United States, he scored an own goal that eliminated his team. Escobar was shot to death outside a bar in a Medellín suburb only ten days later, apparently in retaliation for the own goal. As the insane idiot shot at him, he yelled “goal”,”goal” with every bullet shot! Such a tragic story.

The 1998 world cup was another really memorable and enjoyable one for me. Perhaps no other world cup was an enjoyable and as exciting for me personally. I was 21, not yet 22, studying at NIIT and despite most of the matches ending late at night, like 1am-2am, I would watch all of them and get up at 5 am 4 days in a week to get to the 7 am class at NIIT. Me and the other guys would be in class, eyes red as hell and guzzling down loads of hot black coffee to stay awake while the ladies looked at us as if we were insane. Once the classroom and lab sessions were over (usually at around 11 am) we would spend the next 2 & a 1/2 hours discussing the matches that we had seen the previous night. At 1:30 pm we would leave for lunch and head back home.

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Jack Black Movies

Jack Black is an actor who’s work I enjoy time and time again. He’s funny and has some hilarious jokes in his films. I haven’t included any movies in which he has a small role like The Jackal or I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

Here is my top 11, in no particular order (but School Of Rock is definitely the best)

  • School Of Rock
  • Gulliver’s Travels
  • Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny
  • Jumanji : Welcome To The Jungle
  • Shallow Hal
  • King Kong
  • Nacho Libre
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • High Fidelity
  • Orange County
  • Year One

2018 World Cup Is Almost Here

Are you, like me, excited for the World Cup? Good. Notice I did not use the words “The Football” World Cup? That’s because there is really only one truly world cup and that is the one that FIFA runs. It has more countries involved in it than even the United Nations. Let that settled down in your brains for a minute. Everything else is just a bunch of countries.

And I refuse to call it soccer – fuck that shit! The USA and Canada – I love you, especially Canada and some parts of the US. But you can call that shitty sport with helmets, shoulder protection pads and a stupid egg shaped shitty thing (it’s not a fucking ball and you don’t kick it around with your feet) “football” all you want – it’s not football! Call it American and Canadian rules football. We won’t call your stupid sport football – why don’t you call it soccer??!

Luckily for me some of the games are in the afternoon so I think I can catch a few games during the week as well as the weekend. I will miss the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday but I have the next three days off so I can watch a few games then.

The Babadook

The Babadook is a 2014 Australian supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by Jennifer Kent in her directorial debut,and produced by Kristina Ceyton and Kristian Molière. The film stars Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, and Ben Winspear. It is based on the 2005 short film Monster, also written and directed by Kent.

Amelia is a still grieving widow with a 6 year old son named Samuel, who is slightly troubled.  Her late husband, Oskar, was killed in a car accident that occurred as he drove Amelia to the hospital during her labour. Samuel starts to begin to show erractic behaviour like insomnia and claiming to see a monster against which he builds inventive weapons. An exhaused Amelia, who works in an institute that takes care of elderly people, gets upset when the school confiscates one of Sam’s weapons, a crossbow type thing. One night, Sam asks his mother to read a pop-up storybook called Mister Babadook. It describes the titular monster, the Babadook, a tall pale-faced humanoid in a top hat with taloned fingers who torments its victims after they become aware of its existence. Amelia is disturbed by the book and its mysterious appearance, while Sam becomes convinced that the Babadook is real. Sam’s persistence about the Babadook leads Amelia to often have sleepless nights as she tries to comfort him.

Soon after, strange events occur: doors open and close mysteriously by themselves, strange sounds are heard and Amelia finds glass shards in her food. She attributes the events to Sam’s behaviour, but he blames the Babadook. Amelia rips up the book and disposes of it. At her birthday party, Sam’s cousin Ruby bullies Sam for not having a father, in response to which he pushes her out of her tree house and breaks her nose in two places. Amelia’s sister Claire admits she cannot bear Sam to which Amelia takes great offence. On the drive home, Sam has another vision of the Babadook and suffers a febrile seizure, after which Amelia makes a successful plea for sedatives to a pediatrician. The next morning the Babadook book appears at her door reassembled and new words taunt her.

The words and images imply that she will kill their dog and Sam by breaking their necks before killing herself. Terrified, Amelia burns the book and runs to the police after a disturbing phone call. However, Amelia has no proof of the stalking, and when she then sees the Babadook’s suit hung up behind the front desk, she leaves. Amelia starts to become more isolated and shut-in, being more impatient, shouting at Samuel for ‘disobeying’ her constantly, and having frequent visions of the Babadook once again. Her mental state slowly decays further and she exhibits erratic and violent behaviour, including severing the phone line with a knife and brandishing it aggressively at Sam seemingly without realising. This mental decline culminates in several disturbing hallucinations, most of which involve the violent murder of Sam with herself as the willing perpetrator.

She then sees a vision of her dead husband and is happy initially until it asks her to bring the boy to him. Babadook then chases her and finally possess her and Amelia goes to get Sam but he evades her and uses his weapons against her, knocking her out and then tying her. hen she tries to strangle him, he lovingly caresses her face, causing her to throw up an inky black substance, an action which seemingly expels the Babadook. Amelia saves Sam and after another vision of her husband’s death, she furiously confronts the entity which is forced to retreat to the basement. She locks it in there and soon she and Sam recovers and begins life again. Amelia is attentive and caring toward him, encouraging him with the weapons he makes and being impressed at Sam’s magic tricks.

As they movie ends they gather earthworms in a bowl and Amelia takes them to the basement, where the Babadook resides. She places the bowl on the floor for the Babadook to eat. However, as the beast tries to attack her, Amelia calms it down, and it retreats to the corner taking the earthworms along with it. Amelia returns to the yard to celebrate Sam’s birthday.

The film’s theme is basically grief, not grieving and mourning fully and repressing it so much that it takes a dark form inside of you. The film is slow to build and I even found it a bit boring for about 30 minutes, plus the kid really is annoying for most of the duration but the last 30 minutes or so is quite intense. 7 outta 10!