Lunch & Golden Dragon With Anil

After a long time I was meeting up with Anil for lunch this afternoon. He came up from Thrissur and we settled down in Golden Dragon for some beers and food.

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We had the honey glazed sesame pork and Dragon chicken among many others. Food was delicious as usual.

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We finished our meal by sharing soup and then went to get some gelato at Milanos.

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It’s been way too long since we last met and hopefully the gap will not be this long next time.

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Two old geezers taking a selfie outside the restaurant building.

My Second Favourite Trip

When I was 15 years old I had to beg my parents to let me go on the class X two day trip. The reason they didn’t want me to go was that the trip was to Kodaikannal and it being a cold hill station and during the peak season when it was the coldest in that area, they were afraid that I would have an asthma problem. I was able to convince them that it would be alright and as that was my last year in the school, I really wanted to have these memories with my school buddies and my teachers.

So I finally was given the go ahead and the next day I went and registered for the trip and paid my charges for the trip. The best thing was that all my classmates were going on the trip and we had two of our favourite teachers with us. We left on a Friday evening and reached Kodaikannal by the next day morning. We had a blast taking in the scenery, buying the small knick-knacks and knock off cheap touristy souvenirs and stuff. We had some fun riding boats and riding horses and I took a lot of photos.

The evening before we were to leave we had a bunch of singing and mimicry and all fun stuff and though I did have a bit of an asthma problem, it went by quickly and didn’t cause me much comfort. It was one of the best weekends I can ever remember having.The down side – we came back on Sunday night, the next day was a holiday for us kids from our school to give us time to rest. My family was waiting for me and we went out for dinner with a few of my relatives. I ate some good Chinese food but the trip took it’s toll on me and late at night I woke up and puked my guts out. Whew! I remember being so tired after that.

Messy Bed

Do you make your bed when you get up in the morning or leave it since you will just mess it up again that night?

Make my bed? Moi? Perish the thought!

No, I never make my bed. I usually just leave the sheet I use to cover me in a crumpled mess from when I move it off my body as I wake up and get outta bed. We don’t use blankets over here so it usually just single layer sheets. At times, only when it’s been raining throughout the day and perhaps late in the night and it’s really cold, have I ever wished that I had a thick blanket like the ones we used when we were in Kuwait (and which we brought back with us to India but are no longer used).

I also tend to have a few books (thin magazines and a novel or two), my small tripod for the phone, a diary (work related), my phone’s earphones and perhaps the charger pushed towards one end of the bed. Yeah – that messy! And I keep two pillows. When I watch movies, which I always do on my laptop, I have my usb wireless mouse on my bed as well but I always remember to keep it back next to my laptop which sits on a small table next to the foot of my bed.

I never fold my sheet and put it neatly when I am at home but when I am at someone else’s house, I tend to do so and keep the bed a little bit neater.

Prompt from 30 DAYS OF SEPTEMBER WRITING PROMPTS at The Sits Girls

How I Watch Movies

Where, and How, Do You Watch Movies?

Well for the longest time I usually only watched movies at home. So as a kid and until the age of 15-16, I and my family usually rented movies from a Video Lending Library. VHS tapes of movies and you signed up for a membership, give them your name and number and address and you paid a certain amount for each movie for a week or 2 weeks at a time. I usually would rent 2-4 movies at a time.

That’s what we did until cable came around to my part of the district anyway. At first we got one channel that had movies all day long and then we had a whole blast of channels which played movies and specials on movies, interviews and behind the scenes stuff in between showing of movies. So every weekend I had a choice of what movie or movies I wanted to watch from a handful of channels.

Since 2007 I have mostly been watching movies off dvds. They started selling dvds at a much cheaper rate – might not be original but it was good enough – and I could buy a few movies at a time and watch them over the next few days or so. I usually watch them in my bedroom on my laptop. I currently also have streaming options as I am a subscriber of Amazon Prime (the Indian one and options will be limited) and I am even thinking of signing up for Netflix.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?

What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?

When I was in high school (back then in India for most schools, high school started ended at the 10th standard or grade and you did your 11th & 12th in a different institute, usually a college), they took us for a couple of school trips. I remember going to the Kerala History Museum and also to the Modern Bread factory.

We were to both trips during the 8th grade and I remember them kinda vividly. Despite all these years that have passed since then. I remember learning a lot of things at the museum and seeing the statues and art work about our state. At the end of the tour we were given an orange drink and biscuits – which we 13 years old kids were only to eager to devour as we were quite tired and famished by that time.

The Modern Bread factory is where the majority of bread and buns for the state is made. It was quite near the school and the museum too. We went there in the same year and it was fun to wear a hair net for the first time and see how they make bread on a massive scale. And ofcourse at the end of the tour, we were given plenty of samples to take home.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

RIP Christy Mathew Phillip

This afternoon while at lunch, I was browsing through Facebook while eating my sandwich and came across a post from a priest who had posted on the profile page of a guy named Christy. From the way he posted it, in that weird Christian priesthood manner, even though he never said the words “passed away” or “died” you know what was up. I had no clue as to what had happened and this guy is only 23-24 years old. I tried finding out from the comments but couldn’t make out for a long time. I texted a few people who were close to him in order to find out what had happened.

I came to know that Christy passed away in a car accident in the early hours when he and a friend crashed with a truck. From what I hear, he died on the spot. Christy was a trainee of mine in my current office, though he left for higher studies last year. Everyone remembers him as always smiling and always jovial and cordial towards others. I remember a few of his jokes and funny impersonations of actors that he did during breaks in work.

I think he was studying for his MBA. He was around 23-24 years old, way too young for me to be reading his obituary. Young guys of his age should be looking forward to a new job, a career and enjoying life. I wish that could be what was in store for you. I can’t believe he is gone. But his memory will live on in the hearts and minds of his friends and colleagues. I hope his family can find some peace in this trying time.

Goodbye, Christy! We will all hold you dear in our memories.

Arsenal 1 Doncaster Rovers 0

Arsenal moved into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup as Theo Walcott’s first-half goal saw off League One Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners, who made 11 changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, hit the crossbar early on through Olivier Giroud’s overhead kick. But Walcott put the hosts ahead when he collected Alexis Sanchez’s cross-field pass and dinked a shot over Ian Lawlor. Doncaster’s Matty Blair headed against the bar late on, but Arsenal advanced.

Arsene Wenger’s side dominated throughout with 27 attempts, with Giroud heading over from Mohamed Elneny’s cross and Walcott having a shot pushed over by Lawlor. Doncaster, who are 19th in League One, came close to forcing extra time but Blair’s header from Liam Mandeville’s right-wing corner bounced off the bar. Although they made 11 changes, the Arsenal starting XI was still strong with Per Mertesacker, Jack Wilshere, Giroud, Sanchez and Walcott all beginning the match. Seventeen-year-old Reiss Nelson made his first start for the Gunners, before 18-year-olds Josh da Silva and Joe Willock made their first Arsenal appearances in the second half. Doncaster were the lowest ranked team left in the competition and manager Darren Ferguson, son of former Manchester United boss Alex, can be proud of his side’s dogged performance.

Arsenal have never won the League Cup during Arsene Wenger’s 21 years at the club, but have lost in the final on two occasions – in 2007 and 2011.

Sep 20th : On This Day…..

On this day, September 20th :

The Orville : The First 2 Episodes

Ok, so as a lot of you fellow scifi nerds may know, the Orville  is an American science fiction drama created by and starring Seth MacFarlane that premiered on September 10, 2017. The show is reminiscent of and is both an homage and a light-hearted parody of Star Trek, and as Seth has mentioned in an interview, also inspired by The Twilight Zone. Along with MacFarlane as captain Ed Mercer, we have Adrienne Palicki who plays his his ex-wife  Commander Kelly Grayson and the first officer assigned to The Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, that operates for The Union, an inter-planetary group. The show is set 400 years in the future.

We also have Penny Johnson Gerald (who had a recurring role in Star Trek Deep Space Nine) as the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn, Scott Grimes as Lt. Gordon Malloy the helmsman and best friend to Mercer, Peter Macon as Lt. Commander Bortus, the second officer and an androgynous alien, Halston Sage as Lt. Alara Kitan, 23-year-old Chief of Security, J. Lee as Lt. John LaMarr, the navigator & Mark Jackson as the voice of Isaac, the Science and Engineering Officer who is a member of the artificial, non-biological race from Kaylon-1 that views biological lifeforms, including humans are inferior.

So far we have had two episodes aired and I like it a lot. The second episode had a lot more depth to it than the first which was a bit of a let down.

In the pilot, 25th-century space pilot Ed Mercer, who has a promising career, divorces his wife Kelly Grayson after he catches her cheating on him. He starts drinking too much and turns up for work hungover. A year later, he accepts a position as Captain of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, which came as a surprise even to him. But he is informed that due to the size of the fleet and the retirement of the former captain, the Orville, was in need of a new commanding officer. He also finds to his dismay that his ex-wife Kelly will serve as his First Officer. During the Orville’s first mission, the hostile alien Krill Captain attempt to steal a device that can accelerate time, which has both beneficial and dangerous applications. Mercer and Grayson rig the device to destroy itself and the Krill vessel.

In the second episode the technologically advanced Calivon imprison Ed and Kelly in a replica of their former home as a zoo exhibit. Alara is left in command of the Orville as Bortus has laid an egg and must incubate it. Alara is unsure of herself, but gains confidence with the help of Dr. Finn’s mentorship. Ed and Kelly wonder if they could have made their relationship work, but finally conclude that they were never compatible for a long-term romantic relationship, despite their strong camaraderie. Admiral Tucker orders Alara to return to Earth instead of approaching the powerful Calivon; Alara violates these orders and rescues Ed, Kelly, and an alien child by trading an archive of Earth’s reality television for them. Ed presents Alara with a medal of honor and believe he and Kelly can prevent her from being punished for insubordination. A female offspring hatches from Bortus’s egg, stunning him and Klyden as this is thought to be biologically impossible for the single-sex Moclans.

The show is scheduled for a 13 episode run during the first season and I hope we get a lot more. We could use some light-hearted comedic scifi and this Star Trek like show is the humurous offspring of the comedy classic Galaxy Quest.

How Has Travel Affected You?

How Has Travel Affected You?

I don’t like to travel mostly because I hate packing and I hate having to travel in a bus or a train. I would prefer the bus instead of the train but if it is a long distance travel then I would rather not go at all. But the last couple of office trips I took were very nice. I had gone to Chennai for a week in 2015 and to Gurgaon in 2016 for 2 weeks.

Firstly, I took airplane flights for my departure and arrival, courtesy the company who booked and paid for my tickets. Secondly I had never been to either city and rather enjoyed my stay there. My stay in Chennai was not a great place but it was alright – I got a room for myself in an apartment, with a tv (very old one) and cable and free wifi. In Gurgaon it was a mini-hotel so I got a big room with free wifi and a nice flat screen tv.

I went to see some bars and a few malls and had a nice time. I also realized that I could actually live in these cities if I wanted to and I got a job there. Ofcourse they are a lot more expensive than my hometown but I could live in either place. Especially in Gurgaon as it is the hub of Indian microbreweries and there are tons of pretty women all around.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

The Final Girls

The Final Girls is a 2015 American slasher comedy film, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and written by M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller. The film stars Taissa Farmiga and Malin Åkerman, with supporting performances from Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev, Chloe Bridges, and Angela Trimbur. It an homage to 80s style slasher flicks and camp horror but especially Friday the 13th and Jason Vorheese.

Amanda Cartright is a struggling actress who got typecast because of her role in an 80s slasher flick called Camp Bloodbath. As it is cult classic, even several years later she is unable to get better roles and after yet another audition where the producers know her from the horror flick, she complains about her career to her teenage daughter Max. As the two sing in the car, Max accidentally drops her drink onto Amanda’s portfolio and headshots and this distracts her and they have an accident. Amanda dies but Max survives. Three years later, her best friend Gertie’s step-brother Duncan, who is a horror film fan asks Max to show up at a double bill showing of Camp Bloodbath and its sequel, Camp Bloodbath 2: Cruel Summer.

Despite it being Amanda’s death anniversary Max reluctantly agrees and goes to the theatre with her Chris, who she is interested in and Gertie. Chris’s ex-girlfriend Vickie is also there as is Duncan. During the movie there is an accidental fire which causes panic. Using a machete that was there as a prop, Max cuts through the screen and her group all step through. They find themselves waking up in broad daylight and in the woods. A van pulls over and they realize that the Every 92 minutes, they encounter a van with two characters from Camp Bloodbath, and realize they have somehow been transported inside the movie. The group awkwardly pass themselves off as new camp counselors, and hitch a ride to camp and Amanda’s character Nancy wakes up from sleep in the back of the van which shocks Max.

Realizing that they must let the film run it’s course, they let the first couple of murders happen without interference, but when Duncan is killed by the film’s machete-wielding villain Billy Murphy, they realize that they too run the risk of becoming victims. The group decides to stop the cast from having sex, as whenever someone does so in Camp Bloodbath, they fall prey to Billy’s machete. Chris distracts Kurt, while Max persuades Nancy to stay a virgin. Vicki sticks with Paula, the movie’s final girl and Gertie bonds with Blake, a counselor. When Gertie brings up the topic of Billy Murphy, the counselors are alerted to the fact that the “urban legend” of Billy is “real” and will come to kill them. In a panic, the counselors try to flee the camp. Kurt and Paula drive off, but when Duncan emerges still alive, the car hits him then crashes into a totem pole, resulting in their deaths.

Now aware that the characters who originally survived the movie can die, Max and the others decide to save anyone they can. They dress Tina in a life jacket and mittens, to prevent her from undressing. They also decide that Max, the only remaining virgin, is the new final girl, and plot to get Billy’s machete into her hands so she can kill him and end the film. Meanwhile, Max and Nancy bond, and theorize that, if Nancy survives the movie, she can go back home with Max and be whomever she wants. The group booby trap the cabin, then Tina lures Billy to them by performing a striptease. Tina panics and is killed when a trip wire sends her headfirst into a bear trap. Blake, Vicki and Gertie are killed fighting Billy. Chris, Nancy, and Max flee the cabin, and Billy chases after them. Chris is stabbed, and Billy kidnaps Nancy. Max finds her at Billy’s barn hideout, and the two women fight him, which results in Max getting stabbed, before they both escape.

After the two retreat to the chapel, Max tells Nancy that her real life counterpart is Max’s mother. They bid each other a tearful farewell before Nancy sacrifices herself by luring Billy with a striptease. Max collapses, but, now the final girl, she awakens with the power to kill Billy. They fight and she eventually decapitates him with his own machete. A wounded Chris arrives and the two kiss, while Camp Bloodbath‘s closing credits play in the sky. Later, Max wakes to find herself in the hospital, where she is reunited with her friends. The group hears Billy Murphy’s approach tune, and realize free casino cash no deposit they are in the sequel, Camp Bloodbath 2: Cruel Summer. Billy crashes through the glass doors of the hospital as the title appears. Using a drip stand as a weapon, Max lunges at Billy, before the film abruptly ends.

Funny, campy and as well as heart-felt homage to slasher films of the 80s, the film resonated with horror enthusiasts as well as comedy fans. I give this a 7.5 outta 10!

Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his side produced a “great response” to their thrashing at Liverpool as they earned a first point at Chelsea in six years. The Gunners had previously kept only one clean sheet in their past 18 league games at Stamford Bridge and, following the 4-0 loss at Anfield in their previous Premier League away game, this was a display which left Wenger satisfied. “It was a solid performance with team discipline,” Wenger told Match of the Day 2. “Everyone wanted to see how we responded to our last away league game and we did that in a positive way. We could have won but overall it was an intense, disciplined and battling game.

The draw was a fully deserved reward for an excellent display that could even have brought victory against the Premier League champions, who finished with 10 men following the late dismissal of David Luiz for a high tackle on Sead Kolasinac. I don’t like to comment about the referee,” said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. “We have great respect for officials, but it is strange to finish a third game in a row against Arsenal with 10 men.” The point leaves Chelsea third in the table, three points behind Manchester City and Manchester United. “It was a good, open game with both teams trying to win,” added Conte. “Every game against Arsenal is always very tough. We knew very well what type of game we would face. Both teams are great teams – it’s a good draw.”

Pedro missed Chelsea’s best chance in the first half when he raced clear but was blocked by Arsenal keeper Petr Cech. Arsenal, however, had arguably the better opportunities as Danny Welbeck headed wide from in front of goal and Aaron Ramsey struck a post, Alexandre Lacazette firing the rebound over an open goal. The second period was a tighter affair, the Blues’ frustrations boiling over in the closing minutes when Luiz was shown red for his reckless challenge on Kolasinac.

Wenger insisted the debacle of the loss at Liverpool in August – a performance that provoked fierce criticism of both manager and players – was an “accident”. The words were greeted with cynicism by those who had been at the scene of identical Arsenal ‘accidents’ at Anfield three times in the past four years and wondered whether Wenger was again at odds with the reality of the Gunners’ plight. Arsenal’s display on Sunday, full of steel and discipline as well as attacking intent, gave the Frenchman’s theory plenty of weight as they stood toe-to-toe with the champions and were the better side for spells. The trick now is for Arsenal to provide further evidence that this excellent performance – at a ground which has been a stage of unrelenting misery is recent years – is the rule and the display at Anfield is the exception.

Wenger’s team selection was an improvement on the fiasco of Anfield, where Lacazette and Kolasinac were inexplicably left out when threat and physical presence were essential. Arsenal’s manager cut an agitated figure in his technical area for much of the game, spending time in dialogue with the officials nearby, but there was much for Wenger to be satisfied with as they more than matched Chelsea. Luiz was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Kolasinac near the touchline with only three minutes left. And yet the Brazil international may have feared dismissal earlier in the half when his flying overhead kick caught Laurent Koscielny near the face in the penalty area – before referee Michael Oliver issued a yellow card. The incident revived the debate sparked by Sadio Mane’s dismissal for Liverpool at Manchester City last Saturday, when his high boot injured keeper Ederson.

RIP Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Raymond Louis Heenan, better known as Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, was an American professional wrestling manager, wrestler and color commentator, best known for his time with the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was known for his skill in drawing heel heat for himself and his wrestlers, and for his on-screen repartee with Gorilla Monsoon as a color commentator. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, by Blackjack Lanza. Heenan, 73, who worked as a wrestler, professional wrestling manager and commentator for more than 40 years, was “regarded by many as the greatest manager in sports-entertainment history,” the WWE said in a statement. It was reported in May 2016 that Heenan was hospitalized following a fall. After early success in the World Wrestling Association (WWA) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Heenan was signed by the WWE in 1984. His first managerial client as part of the promotion was WWE Hall of Famer Big John Studd.

Throughout his years as a manager, Heenan formed what would come to be known as the Heenan Family, a group of superstars whom he managed. Among them were Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Paul Orndorff, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect and Harley Race. All of those names also hold their rightful places in the WWE Hall of Fame. Heenan himself was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. The undeniable charisma and wit displayed by Heenan as a manager soon transitioned to the commentary table, where he formed an acclaimed pairing with Gorilla Monsoon. Their verbal exchanges, which included Heenan’s one-liners with Monsoon’s flabbergasted responses, set the standard for professional wrestling commentary.

Heenan left the WWE and joined WCW in 1994 but returned to the WWE when Vince McMahon bought out WCW in 2001 at WrestleMania 17 alongside Mean Gene Okerlund. They served as guest commentators for the Gimmick Battle Royal, a match featuring 19 WWE alumni. He has written two career memoirs, 2002’s Bobby The Brain: Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All, and 2004’s Chair Shots and Other Obstacles: Winning Life’s Wrestling Matches which has an introduction by Ric Flair. Both books were co-written by Steve Anderson. In 2004, he joined former WCW commentators Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko in providing commentary for the video game Showdown: Legends of Wrestling. He also appeared in interviews for The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD in 2005. WWE released a retrospective two-disc DVD set of his career on December 28, 2010.

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Reincarnation: do you believe in it?

No. Totally do not. I think it’s a bunch of crap though two major religions, including my family’s own believe in it. I do not. Though it would be cool though. Kinda like the Cylon skinjobs in the reboot Battlestar Galactica. Without the evangelistic moronic religion involved, I might add.

But I don’t believe in it. It’s a stupid and illogical thought that we have this thing called a soul and once we die, it looks for a new host and gets reborn again. I have heard and read stories about people – why is it always usually in the USA? – about young girls or boys talking about a past life, them remembering their spouse from an earlier life and knowing the way to their old house and all such nonsense that looks good on a tv series or a movie but in real life none of the stories have been authenticated.

People will want to believe what they want to believe. You can’t change that and only they themselves can better their ways of thinking and educate themselves and stop choosing to spout rubbish ideas passed down from the ancient world and convince themselves of this drivel.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

But It’s Still A Mystery

Street of Dreams is the first single from the band Rainbow’s Bent Out of Shape album released in 1983 and was a big hit and a long time favourite for fans. I was about 12 in 1988 when a friend of my sister from her college gave me a compilation/biggest hits of Rainbow songs. I don’t remember if this was an official release or one of those tapes we used to get from Hong Kong or Japan.

Anyways, this song was a big favourite of mine from the time I heard it. My sister’s friend was a rocker chick who had a ton of great albums from really cool 70s & 80s bands and even had some VHS tapes filled with rock band music videos. I can’t remember her name though. But I remember I got introduced to bands like Rainbow, Deep Purple and a few others through her collection.

Back to the song, in 1988 I met this girl named Sofia who had just moved to my school. She was a class ahead of me but about 2 years older. She had fair skin, curly brown hair and she was tall. Taller than me too! But I had this magnificent crush on her. Probably my first real crush. I remember all those feelings I had for this girl. And I would play this song and imagine it was me singing to her, while she danced around me in a white sweater and a grey skirt! I remember it so well even it was almost 30 years ago!!!