Sunday Letdown

When it doesn’t rain it actually gets back to be hot and sweaty again. Yesterday, as it was the second of two days without rain, it was hot and muggy in the evenings and ofcourse with the mosquitoes out in force, it was not how I wanted it to be! Atleast there aren’t as many mosquitoes as there usually is. There are smaller and fewer and for some reason they are only biting me below the ankle.

Yesterday I went out for a while and I had a few things on my agenda – cut my hair, buy some cloth and maybe a couple of shirts, burgers at Burger Junction and buy groceries at Big Bazaar. Well, it didn’t work out. My usual barber shop was closed – they only close on Tuesdays but why on a Sunday? – and it was hot. So I went to TBJ for a burger, a shake and some wings and then I went to get groceries. I was feeling a bit drained and tired that I came home immediately after that.

No cloth shopping or buying shirts, which will have to wait till next week. Oh yeah, back to work after three days off.

2018 Russia World Cup Update – 3

Japan profited from Colombia’s nightmare start to the World Cup as they secured a victory against 10 men in their Group H opener in Saransk, despite James Rodriguez’s late introduction. Colombia conceded a penalty and had a man sent off inside three minutes, with Carlos Sanchez dismissed for handling Shinji Kagawa’s shot at a goal left exposed by terrible defending. After the first red card shown at this World Cup – and the second fastest in history at two minutes 56 seconds – Kagawa scored the spot-kick.

Senegal deservedly defeated Poland in a game of few chances to claim the first win by an African team at the World Cup – although there was a hint of controversy about their second goal. M’Baye Niang sprinted back on to the field of play after injury and immediately intercepted a backpass from midfield, beating former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Southampton defender Jan Bednarek to the ball. He then slotted into an empty net – to the confusion and disgust of several Poland players, who protested in vain to referee Nawaf Shukralla. The Lions of Teranga had taken the lead shortly before the break when a shot from Everton’s Idrissa Gueye took a huge deflection off the unfortunate Thiago Cionek.

Russia moved to the brink of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup after the host nation beat Mohamed Salah’s Egypt in St Petersburg. Russia, who beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in their opening game, took the lead thanks to a bizarre 47th-minute own goal from Ahmed Fathi, who diverted Roman Zobnin’s shot into his own net. Denis Cheryshev doubled Russia’s advantage after he finished from Mario Fernandes’ pull-back, before Artem Dzyuba sealed the victory with a fine individual goal. Liverpool forward Salah, playing for the first time since sustaining a shoulder injury in the Champions League final, converted a penalty after he had been fouled – but it was not enough to mount an Egypt fightback.

Uruguay’s slender victory over Saudi Arabia ensured that they and host nation Russia reached the last 16 of the World Cup. Luis Suarez scored the only goal at the Rostov Arena, sweeping in from close range on his 100th international appearance. It was hard on the Green Falcons, who were knocked out despite a vast improvement from their 5-0 defeat by Russia in the tournament’s opening game. Cristiano Ronaldo continued his sensational start to the World Cup with the winner as Portugal knocked Morocco out of the tournament. All eyes at the Luzhniki Stadium were on the Real Madrid star after his hat-trick in Portugal’s opening game with Spain and, typically, he did not disappoint. It took the captain only four minutes to make his mark in the way Morocco had feared, diving to get on the end of a Joao Moutinho cross and planting an unstoppable header into the net.

Spain edged out a gallant Iran in an absorbing contest to ensure they will reach the World Cup knockout stage with a draw in their final group game. The 2010 champions needed a fortuitous Diego Costa goal after half-time, having been frustrated in an opening period in which they had 81% of possession. Iran, who defended admirably until the ball ricocheted in off Costa, instantly showed more intent and thought they had levelled, only for Saeid Ezatolahi’s strike to be ruled out for offside. Denmark manager Age Hareide said video assistant referees are taking the “charm” out of the World Cup after Australia scored a debatable penalty to keep their last-16 hopes alive. Australia cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s fine opener when Mile Jedinak converted from the spot after Yussuf Poulsen’s handball in the area was penalised by VAR. The ball struck Poulsen on his trailing arm as he contested a header with Mathew Leckie.

Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike helped France overcome – and eliminate – a resilient Peru to earn a spot in the knockout round of the World Cup. Ricardo Gareca’s side, buoyed on by their passionate support inside the Ekaterinburg Arena, came alive in the second half after falling behind in the 34th minute but ultimately could not find the equaliser that would have prevented their exit. Monaco’s Mbappe was the player to punish the Peruvians when he tapped in Olivier Giroud’s deflected shot, coming after a period of France dominance. Argentina are facing the prospect of an early World Cup exit after a dreadful error from goalkeeper Willy Caballero set Croatia on their way to victory and a place in the last 16. It was a dogged defensive second-half display from Croatia, illuminated by a moment of magic from their own masterful number 10, Luka Modric. His curled shot from range drifted beautifully beyond Caballero’s dive to put his side two ahead, before Rakitic’s injury-time tap-in sealed a victory that moves the Europeans through to the knockout stage and also leaves them in a strong position to win the group.

Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow is a 2018 American spy thriller film directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Justin Haythe, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeremy Irons. It tells the story of a Russian intelligence officer who is sent to make contact with a CIA agent in the hope of discovering the identity of a mole.

Set in modern times, Dominika Egorova is a famed Russian ballerina who supports her ill mother. Following a career-ending injury, she finds out that the injury was perhaps forced by her male partner, who is sleeping with her understudy and in a fit of rage she beats them both badly. Faced with the possibility of losing their apartment, Dominika is approached by her uncle, Ivan, who works in Russian intelligence. She is tasked with seducing Dimitry Ustinov, a Russian gangster, in exchange for her mother’s continued medical care. As Ustinov rapes her, he is killed by Matorin, a Russian operative authorized by Ivan. Ivan offers Dominika a choice to begin working for Russian intelligence, or be executed so there are no witnesses. She is instead sent to train to become a Russian operative, known as a ‘Sparrow’, capable of seducing her targets.

Dominika excels in her training, despite some friction with her trainers, and an attempted rape by a male operative in training who she beats up, she is assigned to Budapest. Meanwhile Nate Nash, a CIA operative working in Moscow. While meeting with an asset in Gorky Park, they are confronted by the police. Nash creates a diversion to ensure his asset, a mole in Russian ranks code-named Marble, escapes detection. Nash is reassigned back to the U.S. but insists that he is the only individual whom Marble will work with. Since he cannot return to Russia, he is assigned to Budapest, where he will regain contact with Marble. Russian SVR has been tracking Nash, and hopes to find out the identity of Marble. Dominika’s assignment is to gain the trust of Nash, and reveal his contact.

Dominika stays with another operative named Marta in Budapest and reports to her lecherous boss Maxim Volontov. Dominika makes contact with Nash and he realizes that she is a Russian spy to which she readily admits and says that her intention is to find out Marble’s identity. However they hit it off. Marta’s was working with Stephanie Boucher, chief of staff for a U.S. Senator to gather information but that goes wrong and Stephanie is killed in an accident when she panics upon seeing US agents. Matorin kills Marta as a warning. Russian agents observing Boucher realize that the mission had been compromised. Dominika and Volontov are required to immediately return to Moscow. She is tortured and interrogated for days but does not break even as her boss Volontov was apparently executed. She convinces Ivan that she is now credible to the Americans, as she has been tortured by her own people and did not reveal information. Dominika returns to Budapest, and informs Nash that she wishes to defect with her mother to America.

She and Nash spend the night in bed but when she wakes up she finds him being tortured by Matorin. She pretends to join the torture (including a scene in which Nash’s skin is being peeled) but then turns on the Russian assassin and is able to kill him with Nash’s help. She wakes up in a hospital where she is met by

General Vladimir Korchnoi reveals that he is Marble. He explains that he was initially patriotic, but grew to feel that Russia was corrupt. He fears he will be caught soon, and instead of dying in vain, instructs Dominika to reveal his identity to Ivan. She could then replace him as a mole and further their work by passing information to the CIA. But when Dominika contacts her superiors to reveal the identity of the mole, she frames her uncle Ivan rather than betray Korchnoi. Ivan is killed by the Russian side during a spy swap, and Dominika is congratulated for her work by her Russian superiors. Back home in Russia, Dominika lives with her mother, and receives a phone call from an unknown person who plays Grieg’s piano concerto that she had listened to during her affair with Nash.

I usually love spy films but the pace of this film kinda lets it down. It feels kinda drab in places and not at all like the exciting and entertaining spy films I have seen in the past. Laurence seems forced at times and I wasn’t buying her half-baked attempt at a Russian accent. The cliche of having the main female character being ogled, desired, sexualized and pawned at by the majority of the men in the main cast. I give it a 7 outta 10!

RIP Vinnie Paul

Drummer Vinnie Paul, co-founder of metal band Pantera, has died. Currently a member of Hellyeah, Paul was 54. His representative confirmed the legendary drummer’s death to Billboard, but added that no further details are available at this time. “Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away,” reads a statement on the Pantera Facebook page. “Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah. No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time.”

Along with his brother, Dimebag Darrell, Paul (born Vincent Paul Abbott) formed Pantera in 1981. The group found mainstream success with second lead singer Phil Anselmo. Throughout its career, Pantera earned four Grammy nominations and charted nine albums on the Billboard 200, including its 1994 album Far Beyond Driven, which debuted at No. 1 on the chart. Following Pantera’s demise, the Abbott brothers formed Damageplan in 2003. The band was performing on Dec. 8, 2004, when Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed onstage during a concert in Columbus, Ohio.

Since 2006, Paul was the drummer for Hellyeah, a heavy metal supergroup that also includes Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray and  Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell. Born in Texas, Paul credited his Lone Star roots for his powerful groove. “The Texas thing is part of it, growing up on a healthy dose of ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but I also was a metal-head from day one. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Van Halen, all my favorite bands had really great grooves to their music,” he told OnlineDrummer.com a few years ago. His parents are Jerry, a country music songwriter and producer, and Carolyn Abbott.

2018 Russia World Cup Update – 2

Aziz Behich’s late own goal broke Australian resistance as France started with a win in Group C and history was made with the World Cup’s first VAR goal. The video assistant referee penalised Australia’s Josh Risdon for a sliding challenge on Antoine Griezmann, allowing the Atletico Madrid forward to dispatch a penalty, the first World Cup goal influenced by VAR. However, after French defender Samuel Umtiti handled Aaron Mooy’s free-kick, Australia equalised through Mile Jedinak’s penalty in Kazan. Kylian Mbappe sparkled early on, racing beyond the Australia backline to test goalkeeper Mat Ryan after 93 seconds.

Lionel Messi’s bid to win the World Cup got off to a nightmare start as he missed a penalty and his Argentina side were surprisingly held by debutants Iceland. Messi was looking to match the impact his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo has made on the tournament – a sensational hat-trick against Spain on Friday night. But instead of being the hero, Messi was the villain as his second-half spot-kick was easily saved by Hannes Halldorsson with the score at 1-1. Denmark began their World Cup campaign with a hard-fought victory against a Peru side that had earlier missed a penalty. The Danes hit Peru on the counter-attack in the second half with Christian Eriksen releasing Yussuf Poulsen, who had conceded the penalty, and he fired past Pedro Gallese.

Croatia made a winning World Cup start against Nigeria, as Oghenekaro Etebo’s own goal and a Luka Modric penalty decided a poor Group D match in Kaliningrad. Etebo, who joined free casino cash no deposit Stoke City from Portuguese club Feirense for £6.35m on Monday, turned Modric’s first-half corner into his own net after Ante Rebic and Mario Mandzukic had both got touches. Modric then converted a 71st-minute penalty – Croatia’s first shot on target – after William Troost-Ekong had manhandled Mandzukic at a corner. Aleksandar Kolarov scored a spectacular free-kick to give Serbia a deserved victory in their opening World Cup Group E match against Costa Rica. Serbia captain Kolarov – the former Manchester City defender – scored from 25 yards when he curled the ball over the Costa Rica wall.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil failed to win their opening game of a World Cup for the first time since 1978 as Switzerland earned a valuable draw in Rostov-on-Don. The five-time champions, so often lauded for their flair, failed to sparkle after Philippe Coutinho’s superbly curled opener on 20 minutes. Tite’s side – with Gabriel Jesus and Willian alongside Neymar in a front three – could offer only fleeting moments of fluid play and Steven Zuber’s header from a corner earned the Swiss a deserved point. Defending champions Germany made a disastrous start to their bid to win back-to-back World Cups with a shock defeat by Mexico.

Hirving Lozano’s first-half goal was the difference between the two sides in an enthralling encounter in Moscow, but the surprising result was not the only concern for Germany coach Joachim Low. His disjointed side looked extraordinarily vulnerable on the break even before Javier Hernandez punished them with the pass that set up Lozano to cut inside and fire home. Sweden marked their first appearance in the World Cup for 12 years by beating South Korea thanks to a penalty from captain Andreas Granqvist that was awarded after a video assistant referee (VAR) review. There was a short delay for Kim Min-woo’s foul on Viktor Claesson to be analysed on video and for the referee to point to the spot but it did not affect Granqvist, who sent goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo the wrong way.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium proved too good for World Cup debutants Panama in the opening match in England’s Group G. After a goalless first half, Belgium, ranked third in the world, finally broke Panama’s resistance when Dries Mertens steered in a spectacular volley. Panama, 55th in the rankings, had a chance to snatch an equaliser but Thibaut Courtois was quick off his line to save Michael Murillo’s shot with his legs. Manchester United striker Lukaku made certain of the victory as he scored with a diving header after an exquisite pass from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne with the outside of his boot. Lukaku then added a third with a chipped finish after a fine through ball from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

Harry Kane’s stoppage-time winner ensured England started their World Cup campaign with victory after Tunisia threatened to snatch a point in Volgograd. Kane scored his second goal of the game with a clever header as Gareth Southgate’s side recorded England’s first win in the opening game of a major tournament since they beat Paraguay in the 2006 World Cup. England’s captain gave them the reward they deserved for a brilliant start by turning in the opener in the 11th minute after Tunisia keeper Mouez Hassen, who went off injured in the first half, clawed out John Stones’ header.

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 loans quick cash 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 colonial loans 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.

IMG_20180616_123220

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.

IMG_20180616_123215

I go once every two months with my cousin to borrow money 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.

IMG_20180616_125626

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.

IMG_20180616_143317

Later we ordered a fried pizza, which is more like a calzone cialis 5 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.

IMG_20180616_133539

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.

IMG_20180531_120641