Nottingham Forest 4 Arsenal 2

Arsene Wenger was condemned to his first FA Cup third-round exit as managerless Championship side Nottingham Forest stunned holders Arsenal at the City Ground. The hosts took the lead when Eric Lichaj headed in from close range, although the advantage lasted just three minutes as Per Mertesacker followed up after Rob Holding’s header had struck the post. Lichaj reclaimed the lead for a Forest side led by caretaker boss Gary Brazil, the American defender scoring a spectacular dipping volley from the edge of the area a minute before half-time.

Forest pulled further clear in the second half when Ben Brereton sent David Ospina the wrong way from the penalty spot after Holding upended Matty Cash. Danny Welbeck reduced the deficit for Wenger’s much-changed side after Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith failed to hold a through-ball. But Arsenal’s first FA Cup third-round defeat since January 1996 – in a replay against Sheffield United – was confirmed courtesy of Kieran Dowell’s 85th-minute penalty, before Forest’s Joe Worrall was shown a straight red card in the closing stages for a late tackle. Wenger sent out a side showing nine changes from Wednesday’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Chelsea, the manager clearly with one eye on next week’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against the Blues.

The 68-year-old has fielded weakened sides in cup competitions countless times down the years, but on this occasion he appeared to underestimate his mid-table Championship opponents, who showed great desire en route to a famous upset. For their part, Arsenal’s youthful side produced a disjointed display, with the experience provided by Mertesacker and Welbeck not enough as the visitors saw their hopes of winning this trophy for the fourth time in five years comprehensively ended at the first hurdle.

VHS & VCR

Once upon a time, not so long ago we used to watch movies on VHS tapes that you insert into a VCR. Ooooh, aaah! Nostalgia unbound. I used to go to a couple in particular for many years and two other for a couple of years in between. All have closed many years ago. The two older ones I or my family had membership in was one at Abad Plaza and another at Palarivattom but I think I only went there a few times.

The other two were Boston Video Library, which had two outlets – one in Mattancherry near my grandmother’s house and where we cousins spent a lot of our summer and other holidays in and another one in Convent Junction, which is closer to my current residence and the one I used to go to more regularly as it was also closer to my old house. The second video library, which for the life of me I cannot remember the name of, was was also in Mattancherry and again within walking distance from my grandma’s house. So we would choose between these two libraries when we stayed in Mattancherry and selected a few movies every couple of days to watch as a group of cousins.

VHS has long lost it’s appeal to me. I had several movies and some tv shows on VHS which we bought as blank tapes and then recorded from Kuwaiti tv and, once we moved to India, on Indian television. Movies, tv show episodes, music videos, football matches and tennis matches as well. The odd special event like an Olympic games opening ceremony or two. I’m glad we have moved onto dvd & blu-rays as the VHS tapes seem ancient by now, bulky and bad in comparison but when it was the only option back then, it was fun.

And the dreaded VCR – oh how many VHS tapes did my old VCR eat! I had two that I remember and both were hungry at times.

Food Review #207

French Toast With Mushroom Gravy & Chicken Sausages at French Toast Cafe & Bakery – I would have thought that the mushroom gravy on the French toast would have been too much but it was pretty delicious. Their coffees though are pretty weak; the Iced Americano was blah!

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower is a 2017 American science fantasy western film directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel. A continuation of Stephen King’s novel series of the same name, the film stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger on a quest to protect the Dark Tower—a mythical structure which supports all realities—while Matthew McConaughey plays his nemesis, Walter Padick, the Man in Black, and Tom Taylor stars as Jake Chambers, a New York boy who becomes Roland’s apprentice. Claudia Kim, Katheryn Winnick & Dennis Haysbert also star in the film.

I rarely find a Stephen King adaptation that I found boring but this one was for a long time. Jake Chambers has visions of a Dark Tower and a man in black who seeks to destroy it and bring ruin to the Universe. In alternate universe over the decades, has been abducting psychic children, and is attempting to use their “shine” to bring down the Dark Tower, a fabled structure located at the center of the Universe; this will allow beings from the darkness outside to invade and destroy reality. At his apartment home in New York City, a group of workers from an alleged psychiatric facility offer to rehabilitate Jake; recognizing them from his visions as monsters wearing human skin, he flees. Jake tracks down an abandoned house from one of his visions, discovers a high-tech portal, and travels to a post-apocalyptic world called Mid-World.

In Mid-World, Jake encounters the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain who emerged in his visions. Roland is pursuing Walter Padick, the Man in Black who had also appeared in Jake’s dreams, across a desert, seeking to kill him in revenge for the murder of his father, Steven, and all remaining gunslingers. Roland takes Jake to a village to have his visions interpreted by a seer. Learning of Jake’s escape and journey to Mid-World, Walter investigates and discovers from his minion Sayre that Jake has “pure Shine”, i.e. enough psychic potential to destroy the Tower single-handedly. He kills Jake’s stepfather, then interrogates his mother about his visions and kills her too. In Mid-World, the seer explains that Roland can find Walter’s base of operations in New York. Walter’s minions, the Taheen, attack the village, but Roland individually kills each of them.

Roland and Jake return to Earth. When Jake returns home to check in on his mother, he finds her charred remains and breaks down. Roland vows to kill Walter “for both of us” and comforts Jake by teaching him the Gunslinger’s Creed, which he hasn’t uttered since his own father’s death, as well as the basics of gun fighting. Roland is attacked by Walter, who captures Jake. At his base, he straps Jake to a machine that will use him to destroy the Tower. Jake uses his psychic powers to alert Roland to his location, and Roland battles his way through Walter’s henchmen. Walter confronts Roland, wounding him. After Jake reminds him of the Gunslinger’s Creed, Roland recovers and kills Walter with a trick shot after a brief fight. Roland destroys the machine, saving the Tower, Jake, and the other children.

Afterwards, Roland says that he must return to his own world and offers Jake a place by his side as his companion. Jake accepts the offer as he has nowhere else to go, and the two depart for Mid-World. It is a mess to be frank; a rushed movie that doesn’t really tell a story and should have taken it’s own time to build the universes and the characters. The actors are hindered by the shorter running time and the fact that Stephen King’s book series is pretty lengthy and elaborate; it just doesn’t work. 6 outta 10!

What’s In Your Bag?

What’s in your bag?

I carry a bag – a laptop back that is – for work. I don’t have a laptop in it as I am not allowed to carry a personal laptop to work and they don’t give you a laptop at work anyways. Well not for me. But yeah it’s a laptop bag that I sling over my shoulder and take it with me to work and back home.

I have an umbrella in it, cause I live in a tropical climate and we have heavy monsoons and sometimes it rains even in November and early December. A foldable one. I also have a 750ml bottle for water and I keep it next to my work computer at work. I have a couple of notepads and a diary and some pens and markers.

Sometimes I have biscuits or a sandwich or a candy bar or some snack as well. Working odd hours and sometimes stretching for 10-13 hours a day you get hungry. My bag is a little bit dirty and ripped in a couple of places and I will have to replace it someday soon.

Prompt from 365 Blog Post Ideas and Writing Prompts

Public Acts Of Annoyance

What Public Behavior Annoys You Most?

PDA! In case that doesn’t ring a bell, it stands for public displays of affection. And I’m not talking about a hug or a little kiss as a greeting but stuff that makes anyone else around them uncomfortable.

Spitting! Chewing pan and spitting out into the streets or pavement. Get a metal bucket, attach it to your face and go at it. Don’t dirty our streets and city you filthy piece of shit!

Large groups of people, usually men, who talk too loudly and laugh stupidly and irritate the rest of us who are around you. Women and families in malls who block the entire path and walk very slowly because they are too stupid to navigate without their combined brains working in unison.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Arsenal Sign Greek Defender

Arsenal announce first signing of January transfer window as they have announced the signing of Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos from PAS Giannina. Mavropanos, who broke into the PAS Giannina side last season, arrives at Arsenal as the club’s first signing of the January transfer window. The 20-year-old is said to have cost the Gunners £2.2m and is expected to leave on loan for the rest of the season. Bundesliga side Werder Bremen are reportedly ready to take the youngster on a six-month loan deal. An Arsenal statement read: “Young Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos has signed for us.

The 20 year-old centre-back arrives from PAS Giannina, where he has made 16 Greek Super League appearances since breaking into the first team last season. “We’d like to welcome Konstantinos to the club and wish him well for the future.” The club are yet to disclose where Mavropanos will spend the rest of the campaign, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed he will be loaned out. Following last night’s 2-2 draw at the Emirates, Wenger revealed: “He’s not ready to play for us. We’ll give him out on loan.”

Trust that moron Wenger to sign a total unknown defender who is not ready for the top flight football of the EPL and loan him out – WHEN THE SQUAD IS DESPERATELY IN NEED OF SHORING UP IN DEFENSE! This fucking idiot is clueless!

Eagles With Deacon & Vince Gill

After the death of Glenn Frey, Eagle are performing with Vince Gill & Frey’s son Deacon. I think that is cool but two things – 1. he’s been with the band playing lead guitar since 2001 and Steuart Smith is still not an official member yet? 2. They should really patch things up with Don Felder.

 

Talk Show Host

If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Whom Would You Want to Interview?

Lots of people. Some may not be the very famous people who you see all the time on the talk show circuits around the world. Well some would and a lot of them might not but they sure would be interesting. Actors, musicians, singers, directors, producers, writers and authors. Sportsmen and women (but mainly from football and NHL and a few others).

I would like to have a nice looking set with expensive leather chairs, even recliners or sofas. I would want it to be a very casual setting and make sure that my guests are very comfortable. And we’d talk about personal stuff, interesting anecdotes and events and secrets and special things.

All good stuff.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Amazon Purchase : New Wallet

I usually keep my wallets for a long time but these days,  I dunno, it’s like they don’t make wallets built to last anymore. I had a really nice one back in 2010, which was one of the birthday gifts I got for my 34th birthday but which I only used in 2011 as my then wallet was still very good. And that lasted for 2 years.

Since then I have had wallets that lasted about a year or less each time I buy it. The worst was this last one – beautiful brown leather but the thing got ripped on the edges in just a few months. I think it lasted about 6 months or maybe 7! That is ridiculous.

So I have been looking online on Amazon.in for a new wallet and found way too many that I like. I eventually went with an almost plain black one with that wavy white stitch line in the middle and that clasp on the end. I think I like this one. Let’s see how long this one lasts. It should be here in 2 more days.

Ringing In The New Year

Well it’s back to work we go…….high ho, high ho! It’s the 2nd of January and after two and a half days of relaxing at home doing nothing much I have to get back to work. I will be having more of these type of weekends, relaxing at home and watching movies or tv shows rather than going out. Except for next weekend as I need to go shopping for some shirts.

How did I spend the weekend? After working 10:30 am to 4pm on Saturday, I left to get a late lunch – a McSpicy chicken wrap with fries and a coke at McDonald’s. That done I left for home and decided that I would stay in for the rest of the time off. I drank a beer and enjoyed some chicken wings & garlic bread from Pizza Hut that my folks brought home after their shopping at Center Mall. Oh their wings were succulent and juicy! I also watched The Rock.

Dec 31st was watching a couple of movies – Alien 3 & Alien Resurrection and a bunch of Seinfeld episode after midnight. I ordered fried rice, naan, chappathy, chili chicken & tandoori chicken for my mom, sister and niece and I also had two Carlsberg beers. Dad went to the club for New Year’s eve dinner and drinks. New Year’s Day I have a no drink policy. I just watched a lot of Youtube videos, had home made chicken curry for lunch with rice and with chappathy for dinner and watched Spider-man : Homecoming and Alien vs Predator : Requiem. Totally relaxing and no stress whatsoever!

Happy 11th Blogaversary

Happy 11th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 11th Blogaversary to me! I can’t believe that it’s been 11 years already.

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging. I then spent many days trying out various themes; I think this one here is the 30th or so theme that I have tried out. But yeah, 30 themes in 11  years ain’t so bad!

This isn’t my first blog; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com, when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install WordPress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

Unlike a lot of people who used to blog regularly, I have continued. 90% of bloggers I used to follow have moved onto Facebook but I persist. I don’t read much blog posts anymore as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook having taken up much of my time on the internet but I have kept my blog up. And I will continue to do so for as long as I can. I find this quite therapeutic and enjoy blogging. Here’s to another year!

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN: First 11 Songs Listened To In 2018

Every year on January 1st, I post about the first 11 songs that I listen to on my Mp3 player on my system. I pick them at random or like today when I specifically selected a couple of songs because I was thinking about them.

  • Baby, When You’re Gone – Bryan Adams & Mel C
  • Skinned – Blind Melon
  • In This Life – Chantal Kreviazuk
  • Sleeping With You – Firehouse
  • Hands Clean – Alanis Morissette
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon
  • I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory – Kathleen Edwards
  • Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIssac
  • Be Yourself – Audioslave
  • My World – Avril Lavigne
  • Straw Hat And Old Dirty Hank – Barenaked Ladies

A Look Back At 2017

So, 2017 is almost history. We are going to start a new year, a whole new 365 days to do stuff and try and find happiness, success and love. A new year to revolve around our sun, the star that is essential to all life on our planet. A new year to get things done.

Or will it be a bad year? 2016 was a crappy year for some and 2017 was also crappy for some. For me it’s been a so-so year. I applied for a promotion and change in process at my place of work and went through the interview process and presentation round and I got it. I was informed that I was selected by the end of February and that I would stay in my current process till the end of March. So April 1st I start in a new post with a slightly better pay package and a small promotion.

Work has been fun at times though we have had some really long hours at work and fluctuating work shifts. I turned 41 in the middle of it and I really have started to feel the effects of late work hours on my body. I need more time to get ready and more time to relax as the late hours are beginning to take a toll on me.

I can’t think of personal things to talk about. I don’t think I have much of a personal life, other than going out, either alone or with a cousin, getting some good food and watching a few movies. I now prefer to spend my weekends at home and go out less. I hope I have some excitement coming my way soon. I could use some. Have a great 2018!

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Top Films Of 2017 That I Watched

This here little list is my personal list of my top 11 films released 2017 that I have watched. So you might see a couple of noticeable exclusions – that’s because I haven’t seen them yet. I will eventually get to them at some time in the near future. So here is my list:

  • Justice League
  • Logan
  • Wonder Woman
  • Spider-Man : Homecoming
  • Despicable Me 3
  • Thor : Ragnarok
  • War For The Planet Of The Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Alien : Covenant
  • IT
  • Blade Runner 2049

There are a few that I think would make it to this list if I had been able to see it like The Shape Of Water, Star Wars : The Last Jedi & maybe Dunkirk – I really doubt the last one as I am not usually a fan of war movies and I don’t get the James Nolan hype.