Smokey And The Bandit

Smokey and the Bandit¬†is a 1977 American¬†road¬†action comedy film¬†starring¬†Burt Reynolds,¬†Sally Field,¬†Jackie Gleason,¬†Jerry Reed,¬†Pat McCormick,¬†Paul Williams¬†and¬†Mike Henry. The directorial debut of¬†stuntman¬†Hal Needham, the film follows Bo “Bandit” Darville (Reynolds) and Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Reed), two¬†bootleggers¬†attempting to illegally transport 400 cases of¬†Coors beer¬†from¬†Texarkana¬†to¬†Atlanta. While the Snowman drives the truck carrying the beer, the Bandit drives a¬†Pontiac Trans Am¬†to distract law enforcement (called blocking) and keep the attention off the Snowman. During their run, they are pursued by Texas county sheriff¬†Buford T. Justice¬†(Gleason).¬†Smokey and the Bandit¬†was the¬†second highest-grossing domestic film of 1977, with $300 million against a budget of $4.3 million (only¬†Star Wars¬†made a higher gross that year, earning $775.5 million). Sally Field and Burt Reynolds began a relationship after meeting on set.

The Artist In Me

When I was a kid I used to draw quite a lot. Now, I am not saying that I was very good at it but good enough that several people in my family wanted me to pursue it by enrolling in art classes and see if I could find a career in it. I remember drawing most figures like super hero comic characters and even a few deities from what I saw in Amar Chitra Katha. Good times!

As I turned 10-11 years old I kinda stopped drawing as I just read a lot instead. Also music became a big part of my life and I devoted a lot of my time listening to rock bands. However from time to time I would doodle a bit or try and draw a person’s pose from a photo or another drawing. One of my favourite drawings which I did safe for a few years was when I was about 15 years old. That would be 1991 and I had my first relationship with a girl. Her name was Michelle and I drew her portrait….with one single tear falling down her cheek.

Why, because I was influenced by a talk we had on the phone and I put on some music and just drew. I tore the paper outta the large book I had and put the drawing in a photo frame and it sat on my desk at home for a few years. The relationship only lasted a little while but I still have fond memories of that time and the drawing. I can’t find it and think I tossed it back in 2006 when we moved homes.

That First Crush

The first person you ever crushed on‚ÄĒand what were you thinking?!

I think it is safe to say that I was 13 and the first real crush I had was on this girl who was a class above me and 2years older.¬†I mean I’ve had my celebrity crushes and all that (some of them still to this day) but the first time I had a real crush was in 1989 for this girl called Sophia. Or did she spell it as Sofia. I am not sure. What I am sure of is that I had it bad for her.

She was tall and fair and had thick curly hair which I loved. She was hot too! She was a bit of the silent type so I had difficulty in getting to know her. And ofcourse I was kinda shy and not really confident in my ability or lack thereof to win the heart of a girl like her. I think at one point of time I did tell her how I felt but she didn’t feel the same way. But that didn’t stop me from being friends with her. Eventually in a year or so I got over my little crush on her.

If I met her now I would say hi and catch up and then move on. She‚Äôs just another memory in a long line of memories. I am curious though to see how she is but it wouldn’t go beyond a casual curiosity.

Prompt from 56 blogging prompts that will help you start telling stories

Did You Eat Cafeteria Food?

Not in school. When I was a kid in school until the age of 11 I lived in Kuwait and we had an early start to the school day. My sister and I came home and ate lunch by 1pm-1:30 pm with mum, who would usually have the food ready for us or would be deep into cooking it when we came home. At times dad too would have lunch with us, since he could walk to the bank he worked at.

We did have a snack which is usually a packed food that our mum made and sent us to the school with. When my family moved back to India, the times changed to a more regular time and half way though the school day we had a 45 minute lunch break. However my school was in the process of still building part of the school and there was no cafeteria at all. Hence each and every student brought their lunch packed from home.

I took would bring a packed lunch and that’s how it was until I went to a college. There I used their cafeteria for lunch purposes and ate whatever they had on the menu. It was usually good as they had a really good cook and manager who ran the place.

Prompt from The Learning Network At The New York Times

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.

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

Knight Nostalgic

Knight Rider is an American entertainment franchise created by Glen A. Larson. The core of Knight Rider is its four television series: Knight Rider (1982‚Äď1986), stars¬†David Hasselhoff¬†as¬†Michael Knight, a high-tech, modern crime fighter assisted by¬†KITT, an advanced,¬†artificially intelligent,¬†self-aware, and nearly indestructible car voice by William Daniels.¬†Edward Mulhare¬†as Devon Miles, the leader of FLAG, Patricia McPherson¬†as Dr. Bonnie Barstow (Seasons 1, 3-4), KITT’s chief technician, Rebecca Holden¬†as April Curtis (Season 2), chief technician for KITT & Peter Parros¬†as Reginald Cornelius III aka RC3 (Season 4), driver of the FLAG mobile unit and occasional sideman were the other main cast members.

Now I know that they have had revival of the show in various formats but the main one is ofcourse the original and it is way more popular and part of pop culture as an icon of the 80s. It is well know and I know that it has it’s really cheesy moments, as was par for the course, for 80s tv shows that served as more or less a family entertainer. It was hugely popular and I enjoyed watching the four seasons when I was a kid. My dad & sis watched it with me and mom whenever she felt like it as well. Growing up in Kuwait, it was more or less one of the top 3 shows of the time and all my friends loved the car and the adventures of Michael Knight. I also remember that at one time, maybe at the age of 8 or 9, I asked my parents to change my name to Michael mainly because of the character.

I haven’t watched any of Knight Rider since 1987 when I left Kuwait along with my family and moved back to India. At many times I have been made aware of the show’s reruns happening on some cable tv channel or the other but I just never had the urge to sit and watch some. The 2008 show pilot also did not interest me much and I stopped watching it after a few minutes. But the original still has it’s charms. And finally, maybe for nostalgic reasons, I think I have generated enough interest in me to watch the show again. Mind you I have watched some episodes multiple times but I haven’t since I turned 13 so that is a long, long time ago.

Hopefully I will watch it soon.

Kimba The White Lion

Kimba the White Lion : is a Japanese shonen manga series created by Osamu Tezuka which was serialized in the Manga Shonen magazine from November 1950 to April 1954. An anime based on the manga was created by Mushi Production and was broadcast on Fuji Television from 1965 to 1966. It was the first color animated television series created in Japan. Kimba is the son of the king of the jungle Panja who was trapped by hunters & killed for his hide, and the pregnant Eliza is put on a ship, destined for a zoo. Kimba is born on the boat.

Eliza teaches him his father’s ideals. As a huge tropical storm nears, she urges her cub out through the bars of her cage and he is urged to swim back to Africa. There he is found by people in a village who take care of him and decides that when he returns to his wild home he will bring culture to the jungle and stand for peace like his father. The show follows Leo’s life after he returns to the wild, still a young cub, and how he learns and grows in the next year. Leo soon learns that only communication and mutual understanding between animals and humans will bring true peace.

I watched this as a kid and it was one of my favourite cartoons for the year or so that they showed it on Kuwaiti television. As a number of journalists and fans watched¬†Disney’s animated feature film¬†The Lion King¬†they noticed characters and events in the¬†story¬†resembling those of¬†Kimba. Although the two works follow different screenplays, there are strong artistic similarities, and¬†The Lion King¬†contains numerous sequences that closely match¬†Kimbas. I wonder if they will ever revive Kimba again.

My 3rd Mobile Phone

So I made a mistake but since over 14 years have passed since then, I think you can forgive me. So, in between my Samsung R220 and the Sony Ericsson W800i purchase, I actually had Nokia 1100. But here’s the problem – I remember having used that phone but I don’t remember when I got it.

I went through the old blog that I had but I can only find one entry about the Nokia 1100. Which is odd! But yeah, it’s was in the beginning of I think when people at the office, my friends and colleagues, convinced me to dump my Samsung R220 and get the 1100. Over 250 million 1100s have been sold since its launch in late 2003, making it the¬†world’s best selling phone¬†handset and the best selling consumer electronics device in the world at the time.

It was targeted towards¬†developing countries¬†and users who do not require advanced features beyond making calls and¬†SMS¬†text messages, alarm clock, reminders, etc. The Nokia 1100 was the company’s cheapest mobile phone when it was released to the market, making it ideal for the developing world yet had some of the best features. The 1100 features a built-in flashlight, activated by pressing and holding the¬†C¬†key once, or by pressing it twice to lock it on when the keypad is unlocked. It can also be accessed via a menu item. The 1100 and 1101 are only able to play¬†monophonic¬†ringtones, which can be selected from a list of 36 pre-installed tones or from 7 self-composed ones.

In addition to the default light blue, orange or black, there are also dark blue, yellow, red, green and pink versions offered by Nokia, as well as many 3rd-party covers. Other features include a 50-message capacity (inbox and drafts, with 25 messages in the sent items folder), alarm, stopwatch, calculator, 6 profiles, contacts storage (capacity 50, with the ability to assign different tones and icons to different contacts), games (Snake II and¬†Space Impact+) and the ability to compose your own ringtones. The Nokia BL-5C battery has a long standby and talk time ‚Äď this battery is used in more advanced models that have increased power needs for their features, but in the basic 1100 it consumes a fraction of the power and therefore lasts for up to 400 hours between charges.

My 5th Mobile Phone – RAZR

So by the time mid 2006 rolled over I had been feeling enamoured with stories of the flip phone that Motorola had. Someone from work, in another office, had one and I tested it out. The Motorola RAZR or V3i was an amazing phone. And I wanted one!

In the second week of June of 2006 I received an arrears payout from the parent company of the outsourced call center that I was working at. From Jan 2004 to Jan of 2007 I had worked for Idea as a contract staff and then joined Prudent Technologies continuing the same work for Idea. They paid me a nice sum of Rs.7500 as arrears due. I decided to use that and buy me a RAZR on June 11, 2006.

At the time I thought that it has the best design & shape of any cell phone that I had ever seen. However – it felt a bit of a strech to hold it in your hands. If you were used to smaller phones all you cellphone using life, then you’d need a little bit of getting used to the width of this phone. Having used to very palm-friendly handsets until now (the Motorola T190, Samsung R220, Nokia 1100 & Sony Ericsson K500i), the RAZR felt a little too elongated in my hands. Not that I am complainning that much, it goes along with the territory of having a clamshell phone. Although the Motorola V600 or V620 may be a little less lengthier.

The colour of this particular model also irked me a bit – they did not have any other colour available with them. It was kinda purplely but dark and therefore quite dull. Black would have been sleek, sexy and suited the handset a lot more. Silver also would have been very cool. There is a pink one, but I’m not a girl or gay! The width of the phone prevented me from being really comfortable in browsing WAP sites while lying down. It became really tiring and your hand and fingers get tired after a few minutes. No doubt, at that time, one of the most popular models of handsets in the world, can tire out your fingers if you are a person who tries to do that for a long duration. And opening the phone with only one hand took some doing and getting used to; closing the phone was much easier though.

The keypad with it’s glowing keys is very StarTrekey. However the style of the keypad makes it less likely to get damaged or faded. Mp3s play on the RAZR very well and the included earphones are great. The 246 MB Memory card (can be updated to 512 MB) is spacious enough for about 40-50 songs depending on the size of the files. I loved that phone!

My 4th Mobile Phone

My first phone on which I could get data. Recommended by some guys who worked with me at Idea. Everyone seemed to be getting colour screens and the ability to connect to data by their mobile provider, except me. Well a couple of us.

So I traded in my Samsung R220 and got a small discount on this phone – the Sony Ericsson W800i. Announced in Q2 of 2005, I got this phone towards October of the same year. With a toggle button and scroller in the middle and a small screen, it was though awesome musically. Ofcourse it didn’t even have much space for mp3s but what few songs I had on it played loudly and clearly. 512 MB I guess is what it had with a 2GB external memory card slot for extension possible.

Some features. ¬†Bluetooth, MP3/AAC player, up to 30h playback if the phone is switched off, Video player, WAP 2.0, FM radio with RDS, Image viewer, Picture editor, Organiser, Voice memo, USB port, SyncML & Built-in handsfree. I don’t remember how much it cost but I payed in installments and I loved this phone until mid 2006 when I got another phone.

Yes I have changed phones quite often!

My Second Mobile Phone

Yesterday I did a nostalgic look back at the very first mobile phone that I bought which was the Motorola T190. Having bought that on 6th of August 2003, and although I loved it, I would soon part with it. It was sturdy little bugger, even fell down a huge step of stairs in my home without even a tiny scratch on it. But it was very cumbersome to type on, especially if you had nails that were even slightly long. Also you couldn’t download ringtones on it.

I had seen a couple of people at the Escotel (which would later be bought out by Idea) office with the Samsung R220 phone so I decided to buy that. So in early March of 2004, I sold off my Motorola T190 cellphone and got a new Samsung R220 that finally has me using a more user friendly phone. Using the R220 is a breeze, but I will miss the Motorola always. The R220 has these comfortable flat buttons that you could type on easily and it was a nice phone.

From what I read, it was launched in 2001 and came with blue back-lighting, which distinguished itself from the other monochrome graphic phones. Also, I could now download ringtones of songs (at that time it was the midi version of songs) and what we called picture SMS. It even had 3 games inbuilt into it which I liked and played a lot. I remember getting the Sweet Child O’ Mine tone as my ringtone as well later that year.

My First Mobile Phone

Do you guys remember the very first cell phone/mobile phone that you ever owned? Especially if like me you have 4 decades or so on your life. I know the exact date that I bought it too. I bought my phone on a Wednesday, 6th of August 2003. It helps if you have been blogging regularly since 2002!

I was working for a company called Aspinwall at the time and I waited for 4 months of getting paid (my first proper full salary as previously I had only had smaller salaries + incentives and then the previous place had issues with their salary) and having waited eagerly for so long to get one, I bought this one. I waited for my shift to get over at 6 am and then got the bus from Fort Kochi to Penta Menaka. Then I drank coffee and had breakfast to keep me awake until 10 am and the stores to open.

Once they opened, I went in to the biggest store and asked for phones in my budget. The Motorola (and they were a huge and safe option at the time) was exactly Rs.3000 which was my budget and I said “sold”. I also bought a new prepaid SIM from Escotel (which later was bought out by Idea and which would much later be merged with Vodafone) and went home. During the bus ride home I just kept staring at the box, excited but tired since I was feeling sleepy. Once I reached home I activated my sim in the new phone and shared my number with my cousins and friends.

The Beginnings Of A Blog

The day you started blogging. What were you thinking?

Back in 2002 I moved to Calicut (temporarily) as I was under training and then planning to work for a BPO that was just starting up in that city. I had taken up a room in a lodge and later would move to another lodge which was closer to the office premises. Since I was starting work there in a new place, I thought a blog was a good way to keep track of my new life in Calicut.

The blog that I created was on Blogspot.com and I just checked and it was in October of that year (I moved towards the end of July of that year) that I created the blog after renting a computer in an internet cafe for an hour or so. My entries in that blog were usually here and there – I usually did an entry once a week and if I was lucky twice a week. I wrote about what I did, what movies I watched on cable, what cds I bought and/or listened to that week and about my life with little tidbits here and there.

I mostly thought that it would be a good way for my family, friends and relatives to keep in touch with me and find out what I have been upto in Calicut and they could read all about it. I ended up only staying in Calicut for a few months, less than a year as we had to come back home in between for 2 months while the company had construction going on (and we were told we would be payed for those 2 months but we never did) and I moved back to Cochin. Which was a good thing. I should never have gone but I did make a few good friends there.

Cocoon

Cocoon¬†is a 1985 American¬†science-fiction¬†comedy-drama film¬†directed by¬†Ron Howard¬†about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens. The film stars¬†Don Ameche,¬†Wilford Brimley,¬†Hume Cronyn,¬†Brian Dennehy,¬†Jack Gilford,¬†Steve Guttenberg,¬†Maureen Stapleton,¬†Jessica Tandy,¬†Gwen Verdon,¬†Herta Ware,¬†Tahnee Welch, and¬†Linda Harrison. The screenplay was written by Tom Benedek, from David Saperstein’s story. The film was shot in and around¬†St. Petersburg, Florida: locations included the St. Petersburg¬†Shuffleboard¬†Club, Suncoast Manor Retirement Community, The Coliseum, and¬†Snell Arcade¬†buildings. The film earned two¬†Academy Awards¬†for¬†Best Supporting Actor¬†(Don Ameche) and for¬†Best Visual Effects. A sequel,¬†Cocoon: The Return, was released in 1988, in which almost all of the original cast reprised their roles.

About 10,000 years ago, peaceful aliens from the planet Antarea set up an outpost on Earth on¬†Atlantis. When Atlantis sank, twenty aliens were left behind, kept alive in large rock-like cocoons at the bottom of the ocean. Now, a group of Antareans have returned to collect them. Disguising themselves as humans, they rent a house with a swimming pool and charge the water with “life force” to give the cocooned Antareans energy to survive the trip home. They charter a boat from a local captain named Jack, who helps them retrieve the cocoons. Jack spies on Kitty, a beautiful woman from the team who chartered his boat, while she undresses in her cabin, and discovers that she is an alien. After the aliens reveal themselves to him and explain what’s going on, he decides to help them.

Next door to the house the Antareans are renting is a retirement home. Three of its residents, Ben, Arthur, and Joe, often trespass to swim in the pool next door. They absorb some of the life force, making them feel younger and stronger. Eventually caught in the act, they are given permission to use the pool by the Antarean leader, Walter, on the condition that they do not touch the cocoons or tell anybody else about it. Rejuvenated with youthful energy, the three men begin to let the advantages of the pool take hold as they are relieved of their ailments. Meanwhile, Kitty and Jack grow closer and decide to make love in the pool. Since she cannot do so in the human manner, she introduces him to the Antarean equivalent, in which she shares her lifeforce energy with him.

The other retirement home residents become suspicious after witnessing Ben’s wife Mary climb a tree. Their friend Bernie reveals the secret of the pool to the other residents, who rush to the pool to swim in its waters. When Walter finds them damaging one of the cocoons he ejects them from the property. Later that evening, Bernie finds his wife Rose has stopped breathing and carries her body to the pool in an attempt to heal her, only to be informed by Walter that the pool no longer works due to the other residents draining the force in the rush to make themselves young.

Walter explains that the cocoons cannot now survive the trip back to Antarea, but will be able to survive on Earth. With the help of Jack, Ben, Arthur and Joe, the Antareans return the cocoons to the sea. The Antareans offer to take residents of the retirement home with them to Antarea, where they will never grow older and never die. Most of them accept the offer, but Bernie chooses to remain on Earth. Upon leaving, Ben tells his grandson, David, that he and Mary are leaving for good. As the residents are leaving, David’s mother Susan finds out about their destination and quickly drives to the retirement home, where they find the majority of the rooms vacant and contact local authorities.

While the police are searching for the residents, David notices the boat starting and jumps onto the side as it pulls away. The boat is being chased by the Coast Guard, so with little time left, David says a tearful goodbye to Ben and Mary before jumping off into the water. The Coast Guard boats stop to pick him up, giving the others a chance to get away. Out of nowhere, a thick fog appears and strands the remaining Coast Guard boats and they call off the chase. As the Antarean ship appears, Walter pays Jack for his services and the boat. Jack embraces Kitty for the last time and they share a kiss. He then says farewell to everyone before jumping into an inflatable raft as the boat starts rising up into the Antarean vessel. Jack watches as the boat disappears inside the ship and departs.

Back on earth, a funeral is held for the missing residents. During the sermon, David looks toward the sky and smiles. The film ends with the Antarean vessel going towards a bright-looking object, assumed to be a hyperspace entrance or portal, leading to Antarea.

A fun and touching movie starring some of some fine actors of a previous generation most of who have passed away. I loved watching this film again and reliving the fun. 8 outta 10!