Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American cyberpunk-action film based on Japanese manga artist Yukito Kishiro’s 1990s series Gunnm and its 1993 original video animation adaptation, Battle Angel. It was directed by Robert Rodriguez, produced by James Cameron and written by Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis. Rosa Salazar stars through performance-capture animation as Alita, a female cyborg who awakens in a new body with no memory of her past and sets out to uncover her destiny. Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson star in supporting roles.

Alita: Battle Angel takes place in a world described as post-apocalyptic. In 2563, 300 years after Earth was devastated by a catastrophic war known as “The Fall”, scientist Dr. Dyson Ido discovers a disembodied female cyborg with an intact human brain while scavenging for parts in the massive scrapyard of Iron City. Ido attaches a new cyborg body to the brain and names her “Alita” after his deceased daughter. Alita awakens with no memory of her past and quickly befriends Hugo, a young man who dreams of moving to the wealthy sky city of Zalem. She also meets Dr. Chiren, Ido’s estranged ex-wife. Hugo later introduces Alita to Motorball, a racing sport played by cyborg gladiators. Secretly, Hugo robs cyborgs of their parts for Vector, owner of the Motorball tournament and the ‘de facto’ ruler of the Factory, Iron City’s governing authority.

One night, Alita follows Ido; they are ambushed by a gang of cyborg serial killers led by Grewishka. Ido is injured, and Alita instinctively fights using “Panzer-Kunst”, a lost combat art for machine bodies. She kills two of the cyborgs and damages Grewishka, who retreats. Ido reveals that he is a Hunter-Warrior, a bounty-hunter hired by the Factory. Grewishka goes to Dr. Chiren, who is working for Vector, for help. Despite Alita believing that fighting will help her rediscover her past, Ido discourages her from becoming a Hunter-Warrior. Alita finds a highly advanced cyborg body in a crashed spaceship outside the city. Recognizing that the body belonged to a Berserker —deadly shock troops of the enemy nation United Republics of Mars (URM) from the Fall, of which Alita was a member— Ido refuses to install Alita in it.

Frustrated, Alita registers herself as a Hunter-Warrior. At the Kansas Bar, she and Hugo are unable to recruit other Hunter-Warriors to help her take down Grewishka. Zapan, a cyborg Hunter-Warrior bully, provokes Alita, and she severely beats him in a fight, triggering a chaotic bar brawl until Ido arrives to intervene. Suddenly, an upgraded Grewishka appears and challenges Alita to a duel, revealing that he has been sent by Zalem’s technocrat overlord, Nova, to destroy her. Despite her combat skills, Alita’s body is damaged by Grewishka, before Ido, Hugo and Hunter-Warrior dogmaster McTeague arrive and force Grewishka to retreat. Ido apologizes and transplants Alita into the Berserker body.

Having fallen in love with Hugo, Alita enters a Motorball tryout race for the prize money to send Hugo to Zalem. Hugo’s relationship with Alita leads him to decide to quit his criminal job. He confronts his partner Tanji, but Zapan appears, kills Tanji and frames Hugo for the murder of another cyborg. Hugo narrowly escapes and calls Alita for help; she abandons the race and finds him just as Zapan does. Zapan mortally wounds Hugo. Dr. Chiren, having changed her mind about working for Vector, offers to help save Hugo by attaching his severed head to Alita’s life support system. When Zapan sees through the trick and attempts to stop Alita, she seizes his prized Damascus blade and injures him.

Ido transplants Hugo’s head onto a cyborg body and tells Alita that Vector’s offer to help Hugo reach Zalem was a lie; as an exiled citizen of Zalem, Ido is certain that citizens of Iron City cannot enter Zalem without becoming a motorball champion. Alita storms the Factory and confronts Vector, who reveals that Chiren has been harvested for her organs. Vector summons Grewishka, but Alita’s new nanotech body allows her to easily destroy him. She forces Nova to speak to her through Vector. When Nova threatens to harm her friends, Alita fatally stabs Vector.

Ido tells Alita that Hugo has fled to climb a cargo tube towards Zalem. Alita catches up to him and pleads with him to return with her. He eventually agrees, but a serrated defense ring dropped by Nova shreds his body and throws him off the tube. Alita catches him but cannot pull him up. Hugo thanks Alita for saving him before falling to his death. Months later, Alita is a rising superstar in the Motorball tournament. Cheered on by the crowd, she pledges vengeance by pointing her plasma-charged sword toward Zalem, where Nova watches from above, smirking.

Loved the sets and the special effects, cgi and the setting. Nothing really stands out in terms of acting but it was highly entertaining. 8 outta 10 and I would like to see more.

Write About A Memory Of A Physical Injury

This prompt was easy as I had written about this on my old blog back in 2004!

This is from 2004. I took a leave of absence for one week, as I was at home resting after fracturing my big toe on my left leg! On a Tuesday night, half asleep I had walked into the sofa in the living room, thereby fracturing my toe. All I can remember was the pain at night, since I was officially wiped out and exhausted I just went back to sleep thinking that it wasn’t anything serious. The next morning (or more correctly noon) I woke up with just a little pain in my toe area and I passed it off as a sprain occurred during the night’s adventure.

So I went out that afternoon and it was only while walking back home that evening that I felt that the injury could be a bit more serious, as I was limping while walking back home. I just put it off again as a sprain and applied some herbal ointment on my left foot. However the next morning, instead of getting better, it was actually more painful and my dad suggested to go and show it to a doctor. So off I went to MAJ Hospital in Edapally and an x-ray later, found out that I had a hairline fracture in my big toe. So I was advised to take it easy for about a week to 10 days and they gave me some painkillers & tie my big toe to the one next to it with some sticking plaster. I took leave from the office and subjected myself to a boring 7 days at home.

On top of that, my cousin was getting married on the 25th, yesterday, so My mom & dad went to Trivandrum, leaving me alone with just Shawny junior for company. I was wondering how I would cope, since the pup was very active & playful and needed attention all the time. Feeding the dog would prove to be very tricky as she tends to jump up and down and I had to be very careful that she didn’t land on my toe. While out of commission, I slept most afternoons and watched a whole lot of tv, some good stuff and some bad stuff. After 8 days I went back to the hospital and was told I could return to work.

Should Columbus Day Be Replaced With Indigenous Peoples Day?

Speaking as an outsider, but as a human, ofcourse it should be. Why would the nation of the USA celebrate Columbus Day which is symbolic of the massacre of a people. The opposition to the celebration of Columbus Day, decrying both Columbus’ and other Europeans’ actions against the indigenous populations of the Americas, did not gain much traction until the latter half of the 20th century. This opposition was initially led by Native Americans and was expanded upon by left-wing political parties.

Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. However, the celebration of Columbus Day in the United States began to decline at the end of the 20th century, although many Italian-Americans and others continue to champion it. The states of Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota, New Mexico, Maine, Wisconsin and parts of California including, for example, Los Angeles County do not recognize it and have each replaced it with celebrations of Indigenous People’s Day (in Hawaii, “Discoverers’ Day”, in South Dakota, “Native American Day” ).

I find that the Native Americans should be getting the due that they rightfully deserve. Even now, there are cases of some white people still racially discriminating them and even ignorant idiots telling them to “go back to where they are from” – blissfully unaware that they are talking to a Native and they themselves are descendants of immigrants. The irony is appalling!

Prompt From 130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing at The New York Times

Listening VS Reading A Book

How many of you have signed up with Audible? I don’t know of other apps that gets you recorded versions of novels but I am sure there is atleast 1 or 2 out there. A lot of people I know like to read a lot here in India but I only know of a handful of people who have signed up for Audible.

Audible and other recorded versions are really good for people who don’t like to sit and read. Some people even say that sitting back and reading makes them fall asleep after a few pages, especially in the afternoons and nights, so listening to a book being read out to you is a better option. They can also listen to the book while doing other things like driving a car, at the gym, going on a run, cycling etc. Which is not possible when you are reading from a book the traditional way.

However I feel that there is something missing when you are letting someone else read it for you. Unless you a small child who wants a parent or an older sibling read a story for you. I would prefer to read the book myself because that is the way I have spent several weeks each year growing up and enjoying immersing myself in it. However I will give audio books another try.

Prompt From 130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing at The New York Times

Caramely Nougat Bar

Much like Snickers, the Mars bar was one of my go to chocolate of choice as a kid. Now that I am older I have rarely ever had these. When we moved back to India in 1987, I couldn’t find Mars anywhere. Once in a while a relative would come from abroad and gift us some assorted chocolates and inevitably, Mars would be among them.

I like the original version, which I understand is the British version which consists of caramel and nougat coated with milk chocolate. Now, Mars has been around here in India for a long time but for some reason I have bought a Mars bars very, very few times. Compared to my usual go to, which is Snickers, this is equally good in taste. I love them but I just haven’t bought them more than a handful of times since they have been available to buy locally. My go to is Snickers, my fav movie (theatre or at home) snack is M&M peanuts and a reward once in a while is Toblerone.

I recently bought two of them and was pleasantly surprised as how much I like them as a desert. However there is this monstrosity known as a deep-fried Mars bar. A deep-fried Mars bar is an ordinary Mars bar normally fried in a type of batter commonly used for deep-frying fish, sausages, and other battered products. The chocolate bar is typically chilled before battering to prevent it from melting into the frying fat, despite a cold Mars bar being able to fracture when heated. Somehow it sounds gross but I also want to try it.

Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful To Be Meaningful?

No. Absolutely not. When I was younger, maybe till the age of 17 or so (1993-94) I took a few photos on a camera during events. Family getogethers, holidays, birthdays or the odd occasional travel trip. From then on till 2012 I didn’t take that may pics. And I regret it.

Taking pics or home videos are capturing a moment in your life. Some are random moments while others are special moments and it feels good to look back on those days. I found a pic of my cousin and I from 1992. I have only met her 3 times since 1995 and we were so close until then. But she and her family moved back to the UK that year and then she moved to the US for a few years when she got married to an American. I’ve only seen her 3 times since then but when I saw that pic, it reminded me of how close we used to be.

Several people I’ve been friends with and worked with, I just have one or two photos with them. A couple of my really close friends who were colleagues and friends for a few years and I have just 1 or 2 pics with them. My beloved dog Shawny – I only have one pic of hers and another one which you can barely see her. As well as my cats and Junior who was a dog I took care of for a year – just 2 pics each. I wish I had a camera phone back then so I could take a lot more pics to look at as time goes by.

Prompt from 401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing at The New York Times

Black & White & Delicious

I am not the biggest cake fan in the world. I rarely have a craving for a slice or two but at times they taste so good. Birthdays are one thing but I can’t remember me going to a cafe or restaurant and choosing a nice slice as my desert as my first choice.

However I do have a sweet tooth and I love chocolate in all forms including in cakes. So even if cake is not high up on my list, I do enjoy the occasional indulgence. I remember last year while out on a date at an hotel’s plush lounge bar, I asked my date if she wanted ice cream and she did. The hotel didn’t have any for some reason but they recommended their cake slices. And what we had were vancho cake slices, which were really good.

Vancho is basically a cake which has mix of vanilla, white & black chocolate according this recipe I just read online. And this makes for a favourite desert for most people. Today was my mom’s birthday and along with a light dinner, I ordered 3 slices of vancho cake for her, my dad and me. And they were really good. Vancho, you are now one of my favourite things to eat.

A Change In Shift

Well it’s the start of another work week. Not a good start though since I woke up with a bad headache. I think it’s mostly sinusitis related since I have battled a stuffy nose for the past couple of days before the weekend. I have had a beer on Saturday and Sunday night but not enough to get me having a hangover and stuff.

This week though I am doing an earlier shift than usual, 12:30 pm to 9:30 pm which means I can sleep when it’s still dark and still night! That is good for me and hopefully I can get this shift for the next 2 weeks. I will start to feel more human again.

I was keeping myself alive with coffee and more coffee. But this week it will be a lot better. Now if only this blasted headache could just go away!

The Lodge

The Lodge is a 2019 psychological horror film directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, written by Franz, Fiala, and Sergio Casci, and starring Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone, and Richard Armitage. Its plot follows a soon-to-be stepmother who, alone with her fiancĂ©’s two children, becomes stranded at their rural lodge during Christmas. There, she and the children experience a number of unexplained events that seem to be connected to her past in a suicide cult.

Laura Hall, separated from her husband, Richard, dies by suicide after he informs her he plans to marry Grace Marshall, a woman he met while researching a book about an extremist Christian cult. Raised in the cult, Grace was the sole survivor of their mass suicide, led by her father. Laura’s death devastates her and Richard’s children, teenage Aidan and young Mia. Six months later, Richard announces that they will spend Christmas with Grace at the family’s remote Massachusetts lodge to get to know each other. Aidan and Mia uncover Grace’s past, including video footage of the cult, showing the deceased followers draped in purple silk with duct tape across their mouths reading “sin.” At the lodge, the children act hostile toward Grace and refuse efforts to bond with her, even after Richard departs back to the city for a work obligation. Grace’s unease is compounded by the abundance of Catholic iconography in the cabin, which causes her to have nightmares about her father. After being rebuked for watching her shower, Aidan prepares Grace a cup of cocoa.

In the morning, Grace awakens to discover that her belongings – including her clothing, psychiatric medication, and pet dog – are missing, as well as all the food and Christmas decorations. The generator has gone out, leaving all of their cell phones dead. Grace suspects the children have pranked her but finds their belongings missing as well. She notices the clocks have advanced to January 9. Aidan tells Grace he dreamed the gas heater malfunctioned and they all suffocated, and expresses fear that they may be in the afterlife. Over the next several days, Grace – succumbing to anxiety, medication withdrawal, hunger, and cold – begins sleepwalking, and is tormented by disturbing visions and dreams, including the recurrent voice of her father sermonizing. She attempts to walk to the nearest town, discovering a cross-shaped cabin where she sees her father beckoning to her. She eventually travels in a circle, taking her back to the lodge.

Buried in the snow, she discovers a photo of Aidan and Mia in a memorial frame, and inside, finds the children praying over a newspaper article detailing the deaths of all three from carbon monoxide poisoning on December 22. Aidan insists they are in purgatory, and hangs himself in the attic as proof that they are dead, only to inexplicably survive. Grace suffers a nervous breakdown, which intensifies when she finds her dog frozen to death outside. She enters a catatonic state on the porch. Worried she might die of exposure, the children finally admit that they have been gaslighting her the entire time, having drugged her, hidden their possessions in a crawlspace, faked the hanging, and played recordings of her father’s sermons via a wireless speaker. With their own phones dead at last, the children unsuccessfully attempt to start the generator and bring Grace her medication, but find her convinced that they are in purgatory and must do penance to ascend to heaven.

That night, the children witness Grace self-flagellating by burning herself on the hearth. They hide in the attic but Grace confronts them in the morning, insisting they must “sacrifice something for the Lord.” Richard returns to discover an inconsolable Grace brandishing his pistol. In an attempt to prove her belief that they are in purgatory, she fires the gun at him, killing him. Aidan and Mia attempt to flee in the car, but get stuck in the snow. Grace forces the children back into the lodge, where she seats them at the dinner table with their father’s corpse and sings “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” She affixes duct tape reading “sin” to each of their mouths before contemplating the gun.

It is a very slow burner and there are hardly any scares. The final scenes really intensifies the movie and I was surprised by the ending. Despite that I think I will probably never watch this film again. I will give it a 6.5 outta 10!

Dirty Jokes, Done Dirt Cheap

My German girlfriend likes to rate our sex between 1-10.

Last night we tried anal, she kept shouting 9!

That’s the best I’ve done so far.

Why is sex like math? You add a bed, subtract the clothes, divide the legs, and pray there’s no multiplying.

If I was addicted to masturbation, and then became addicted to sex, would it be safe to say that my addiction got out of hand?

A man walks into a library and says to the librarian, “Do you have that book for men with small penises?”

The librarian looks on her computer and says, “I don’t know if it’s in yet.”

“Yeah, that’s the one!”

I was sitting next to this really hot Thai girl on the bus and all I could think to myself was, “Don’t get an erection, don’t get an erection”… But she did.

Feeling Tired & Sluggish

This graveyard shift timings is really murder on the body. Today is Friday and my shift starts in about 90 minutes but I feel like crap. Cafine is struggling to do it’s work this evening and my brain & body needs to take a break. Things will change in week or so but still it has been terrible to work in this shift.

Although I am glad that it is Friday evening, meaning once I conclude the training for today and it is 6:30 am and I go get breakfast, I can relax for the next two days. I can lie in bed and sleep a little extra if needed, which I have been doing during the weekends. Ofcourse then the evening I will want to have some beer and some good food but the high of enjoying that will soon die down.

But yeah next week too will be the same 9:30 pm to 6:30 am shift. This will probably be till the 20th of October and then I will change my shift to an earlier one. Here’s to that!

Do We Crank Up The A.C. Too High?

I don’t think so. And it depends on where in the world you actually live. Over here, if anything it has actually become hotter and more humid each year. While the monsoon season has been very pleasant, with hardly any thunder and lightning this year but we have needed the ac cranked up during the end of February, March & April!

Boy was it hot. It was the most & humid than the past few years. I feel that it is getting worse each year. Each year passes and the weather here gets more hot and more humid. How the heck do people have sex in this weather without an AC? I mean they will slip and slide off each other with all that sweat and effort they have to do to have sex? I bet accidents would happen a lot during the March & April months. Hospital staff attending to broken bones and sprains asking how it happened? “We were having sex!” Staff “In the middle of April? Are you too fucking stupid?”

So I think we will be depending more and more on air-conditioners as the years go on and summers get worse and worse. Eventually we might need a suit with a built in ac just to get out of the home!

Prompt from 401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing at The New York Times