Floods In Kerala

Days of incessant rain have led to raging floods across Kerala. Buildings and infrastructure have collapsed, leaving over 54,000 people homeless. Dams, reservoirs and rivers have overflowed, roads have caved in, sections of highways collapsed, and homes swept away in ferocious floods. People are homeless, tourists are stranded, and wildlife is in danger as more than half of Kerala is dealing with severe flooding due to the unforgiving rain. Opening of all five gates of one of the dams of the Idukki water reservoir have only added misery to the already-dire situation.

29 people have died and tens-of-thousands have been evacuated from affected areas. Rescue operations are being carried out round-the-clock, and around 500 relief camps have been set up so far. Over 50 tourists stranded at a resort in the popular hill station of Munnar in Idukki, have been rescued by the army. The army, navy, air force, coast guard, and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have joined hands, by coordinating on a massive scale to carry out evacuations and relief operations. A fourth red alert has been issued for the Idukki reservoir, the gates of which were opened yesterday after 26 years.

The water level at the Idukki reservoir went down from 2,401.60 feet yesterday to 2,400.72 feet today. The maximum capacity of the reservoir is 2,403 feet. Northern and central Kerala have been battered by heavy rains resulting from the southwest monsoon since August 8. Of the 29 people who died, 25 were killed in landslides, while four people drowned. Officials said that over 54,000 people are now housed in around 500 relief camps across the state. The situation however, eased somewhat on Saturday afternoon, with the intensity of rain reducing considerably.

The Crucifixion

The Crucifixion is a 2017 American horror film directed by Xavier Gens, written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes and starring Sophie Cookson, Brittany Ashworth and Corneliu Ulici. It is based on the Tanacu exorcism that took place in Vaslui County, Romania, in 2005.

It’s another skeptic turned believer in Christian mumbo jumbo in the end kinda horror movie. In Bucharest, 2004 Father Dumitru and several nuns perform a violent exorcism on Sister Adelina Marinescu, who is believed to be possessed by the demon Agares. Dumitru and four nuns are arrested for murder when the three-day ordeal culminates in the death of Adelina. New York journalist Nicole Rawlins convinces her editor to let her investigate the case. He cautions Nicole to not allow her personal views on faith or the death of her mother to affect her objectivity.

She meets the priest and interviews him as well as one of the nuns, Vaduva who was best friends with Adelina and  local priest Father Anton who helps her with her investigations. Anton directs Nicole to speak directly to Bishop Gornick at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Bishop Gornick tells Nicole that Adelina was mentally ill, not possessed, then goes on to infer that Father Dumitru was a rogue priest who overzealously performed an inordinate amount of exorcisms. She then has a strange encounter with mute gypsy boy Tavian Amanar outside. Anton theorizes that the demon allowed Adelina to die because it no longer needed her and could transfer its evil into someone else for another possession.

Nicole starts getting spooky visions of beings and gets scared when she finds dead insects from nowhere in her wine. Anton theorizes that the demon allowed Adelina to die because it no longer needed her and could transfer its evil into someone else for another possession. She even gets dreams of having sex with Anton. Another visit with Vaduva reveals that Adelina fell in love with a man who led her away from the church, but the relationship ended unexpectedly. Adelina’s plea for God’s forgiveness seemingly invited The Devil instead. Vaduva describes what Adelina’s exorcism was like. Nicole interviews Dr. Funar, who diagnosed Adelina as a schizophrenic. Dr. Funar recalls a demonic vision Adelina had during her diagnosis.

Nicole ends up getting possessed by the demon Angares and starts violently levitating. Anton performs an exorcism, pleading for Nicole to renew her faith. Nicole has a vision of her mother as the demon is ultimately expelled from her body. Nicole returns to New York. Father Dumitru and the nuns serve seven years in prison for Sister Adelina’s murder.

Hardly effective or compelling, despite a few scares but the movie failed to entertain me or scare me. I might still be compelled to watch horror movies with demon possessions but fewer and fewer are actually good. 6 outta 10!

Lucas Perez Joins West Ham

West Ham have signed forward Lucas Perez from Arsenal on a three-year contract. It has been a really busy summer in east London and the 29-year-old Perez becomes West Ham’s eighth new signing, as manager Manuel Pellegrini overhauls his squad. Perez said: “I’m very happy to be here at such an historic club. “I’m very excited, as West Ham are giving me the chance to stay in the Premier League and I’m very happy to be part of this new project.

“West Ham have great fans and play in an amazing stadium, so to sign here brings me great joy. I’m very motivated.” Perez joined Arsenal from Deportivo La Coruna in August 2016 and spent last season on loan back at the Spanish club, having struggled to make an impact at the Emirates. West Ham director of football Mario Husillos said: “We welcome Lucas to West Ham United. “He is a very experienced player that Manuel and I both know well from Spain. “He has great technical quality, and can play as both the main striker or the second striker in a deeper role. He scores goals, but can also create them and link well with the midfielders.

Lucas makes the move across London and signs a three-year contract with the Irons, having played in the Premier League and La Liga over the past two seasons with the Gunners and on loan for Deportivo de La Coruna. The 29-year-old joins Ryan Fredericks, Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop, Jack Wilshere, Aindriy Yarmolenko, Fabian Balbuena and Felipe Anderson in moving to London Stadium this summer.

A Nice Cuppa

When watching an English show or movie and British & Irish folk on Youtube (strange but that is the combination of my watching them) I am always drawn towards the differences between them and the usual American shows, movies and Youtube channels, especially since the latter is way more.

One of the differences is how many times you hear a character (or on Youtube, a person to another) say to another one “How about a nice cuppa tea?” Not cup of, but cuppa – the proper British way to say it. Anytime it’s cold or raining or someone is ill or upset or tired or just plain British (LOL, I love that last one even if I just came up with it myself) then there is someone or the other offering to make “you a nice cuppa”. I find that so calming and comforting.

I don’t drink much tea myself. I love ice tea and on a hot day I might prefer a cranberry or lemon ice tea. I don’t really like much hot tea with milk but will drink hot black tea with a squeeze of lemon in it if I have an upset tummy. Maybe I should start drinking more tea.

Transfer Window Almost Closed

According to The Sun, new coach Unai Emery fears Shkodran Mustafi is not up to the job, while he is also said to fear the likes of Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos are not yet ready for regular first team football. Chambers, who recently signed a new long-term deal, is reportedly on the verge of joining newly promoted Fulham on a season-long loan with Croatia World Cup star Domagoj Vida having been identified as a potential replacement.

The physically imposing Vida joined Besiktas from Dynamo Kiev for £8m January and the Turkish club have rejected a £13.5m bid from Liverpool already this summer. Having invested heavily this summer and last January, when Mesut Ozil signed a new deal following the arrivals of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsenal must sell before they can submit a tempting offer for Vida. Danny Welbeck is expected to leave before the deadline, while Aaron Ramsey could yet raise up to £30m if he fails to agree an extension to his contract which is due to expire next summer.

Bournemouth and Southampton want Danny Welbeck, Everton move off the England international. January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is their No.1 frontman with Alexandre Lacazette also an option leaving Welbeck as 3rd choice. That leaves Welbeck out in the cold and he could be off before Thursday’s 5pm transfer deadline. Everton like the ex-Manchester United man but with Brazilian ace Bernard set to sign on a free transfer they could end their interest. That would leave Southampton and Bournemouth in the clear to battle over Welbeck who has just a year left on his contract at Arsenal.

The Cured

The Cured is a 2017 horror drama film written and directed by David Freyne. It stars Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Paula Malcomson and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Set in Ireland it shows the aftermath of a plague caused by a virus that leaves the infected in a zombie like stage, making them aggressive and cannibalistic.  The Maze Virus, had swept through Europe until a cure was found and 75% of the infected were able to be treated and they can become normal humans again. However, they remember what they did during their time as a zombie and it affects them even after they are cured. The remaining 25% of the infected stay in the same stage and are resistant to the cure.

5 years after the outbreak Senan, who is cured is sent out into the regular world and his widowed sister-in-law Abbie agrees to take him. She also has her young son Cillian who though initially does not take to Senan, later bonds with him while playing games. Senan doesn’t tell Abbie that her husband, his brother, was killed by him just after he got infected. Also released the same day as Senan is Connor, who was a promising politician, a friend of Senan who was the one who infected him. Connor is rejected by his father as he had killed his own mother while in the zombie stage.

Senan takes a job at the hospital where the Resistant are housed, and observes that the Resistant show no interest in attacking the Cured. This is a source of political tension in the community, as the never-infected suspect aloud that the Cured would love to see another outbreak of the Maze Virus, as they would be largely immune to its effects. Senan reluctantly joins Conor’s group of Cured people as they are shunned by society and are subjected to hatred. When a mission goes wrong and a military man is killed Sergeant Cantor, who is their rehabilitation officer, suspects Conor and Senan and he informs Abbie about them. Conor tells Abbie that he infected Senan and the later killed his brother,

Confronting Senan who admits this, Abbie throws him out.  It is announced in various news broadcasts that the government is planning to euthanize the 25% (5000 patients) who are Resistant, despite the assertions of a prominent virologist that a better vaccine for the Resistant is nearly developed. Senan assists Cantor in a sting operation to arrest Conor after he confesses aloud to the arson; however, Conor violently murders Cantor and flees after showing a rare emotional outburst, blaming Senan for betraying him. Conor and the Cured Alliance set in motion a drastic plan to free the Resistant from their cellblock and the infected start attacking the people in the streets and their homes.

Senan finds Abbie, who is frantically trying to retrieve Cillian from his school. Senan rescues Cillian but is confronted by Conor, who beats him savagely. A soldier shoots Conor but he escapes and his fate is unknown. Senan, Abbie and Cillian return to their apartment, but Cillian is bit by an infected and begins showing immediate signs of infection. Senan, knowing he is immune, takes Cillian, and tells Abbie he will keep him safe until another vaccine is available. Some semblance of order returns an unspecified time later as Abbie watches the news waiting for some news of her son.

Dull, boring and leaves you not rooting for anything or anyone in particular. I wanted to watch the movie for seeing Ellen Page. It’s an unmemorable film in a field of zombie flicks, numerous of which are vastly superior. 6 outta 10!

Monday Arsenal Transfer News

Arsenal have problems at left-back with Sead Kolasinac set for two months on the sidelines having picked up a knee injury in the recent friendly against Chelsea. Nacho Monreal hasn’t featured in Arsenal’s preparations for the new season having returned from the World Cup with a knee injury. The Spaniard is expected to return to Emery’s squad this week but is a major doubt for Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Manchester City on Sunday (4pm). And with youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles set to fill the role against the champions, Emery has decided he needs fresh cover.

And the Daily Mail report the new boss will target AC Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez before the transfer window closes on Thursday (5pm). Rodgriguez moved to Milan last summer after spending five seasons in Germany with Wolfsburg. It’s claimed that Milan are keen to keep hold of the 25-year-old and it may cost Emery £30million to get his man. This is a player I wanted Arsenal  to sign a year or so ago.

Lucas Pérez wants to remain at Arsenal beyond next week’s transfer window, sources close to the player have said, with the striker hopeful of fighting his way into Unai Emery’s plans for the coming season despite interest in his services from Sporting Lisbon. Pérez was signed by Arsene Wenger almost two years ago, arriving from Deportivo de La Coruña in Spain for £17.1m. However he failed to make much of an impression in north London, scoring just one Premier League goal in his debut campaign, before spending last season out on loan at his former club. The 29-year-old returned to Arsenal this summer to link up with fellow Spaniard Emery and featured in the club’s first two pre-season friendlies against Boreham Wood, Atlético Madrid, although he was left out of their recent squads for wins over Chelsea and Lazio.

3 Holiday August

So this month, already special because of my birthday falling on the second, is awesome because we loans no credit check direct lenders get three extra days off due to public holidays falling on weekdays. August 15th is Independence Day! No not that one with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum fighting off bad aliens using a computer virus. But the Indian Independence Day – when we got our freedom from the British imperialists.

That falls in the middle of next week, a Wednesday. I wish it were on a Monday or Friday which will mean 3 day weekend. But then…the next week we have two days off! Bakrid is on Wednesday, 22nd Aug and Onam is on 24th which is a Friday. So I will get a long weekend but if only I could get Thursday off or a leave as well.

Damn nys deferred compensation loans it! I am greedy but I don’t care.

Uber Eats Fiasco

Uber Eats is an app and service that I have been using quite a bit off since they started in Kochi a couple of months ago. It is really an awesome app along with Zomato and Swiggy. I haven’t used Zomatao yet but the other two I have used it quite a bit. I’ve been able to get lunch and dinners served to me from several places I love to eat from and several I hadn’t yet been to and liked. It also helps me to give good dinners for dad & mom and also since it’s been raining quite a lot this monsoon season, it’s an excuse not to go out and yet enjoy good food from the comfort of my own home and watch a movie while doing so.

Yesterday Uber Eats ruined my birthday dinner. I ordered food from Aangan restaurant via the app for 5 people for my birthday dinner. I was in the washroom when the delivery guy came to my place and mom took the packets from him. The guy gave us the wrong order but you can’t contact him over the phone since once the order is closed on the app, you don’t get the rider’s contact number. I tried the app and submitted a help option which said “You’re issue will be resolved in 24 hours!” Fuck that, we are having a dinner.

I contacted UberEats and one guy told me wait for 30 minutes he is placing a new order for me. One hour later, no food and another agent told me technical issues and he will refund my money and that they cannot reorder the service. Over 90 minutes now and my order is still pending. I asked for a supervisor. He basically told me that the first agent lied; they can only contact the driver to come and collect the wrong food but since he was then in another part of the city, he couldn’t come that night. So the other people got my order and enjoyed the food. I had to reorder and wait, a total of 2 hrs and 15 minutes for my 30 minute delivery.

Then I had to hassle them quite a bit for my refund and initially they gave a part refund and then today after two more enquiries, I got the full amount. I told them that they could collect the wrong food the gave me but they can’t do that. The supervisor promised me a Rs.100 credit and that was not done too! I am gonna think twice before reordering again.

Postponed Birthday Dinner

My birthday is on the 2nd of August but this year since it was on a Thursday and since I was working an evening shift of 5:30 pm to 2:30 am and since I was conducting a 5 day training all last week, I couldn’t take the day off from work. I wish I could have and celebrated it at home or atleast worked a day shift so I could have had my evening free.

So while I did buy a quick fried chicken lunch for my parents and I on Thursday I left it for Saturday to invite my sister and niece to have a nice dinner with us. Saturday morning I woke up late so I just lazed around, watched a movie and relaxed. In the evening post a quick shower I went to BevCo and bought me a few beers so I can drink them in my new mugs.

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At 7 pm my sister and niece came over and they bought these rose petal chocolate & gold gooey icing cup cakes. They look pretty but under the chocolate it’s nasty. I popped open a can of Heineken and started drinking. I ordered some tandoori chicken, butter chicken masala, naan, mushroom manjurian for my sis and egg fried rice via Uber Eats.

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What would happen is a whole another post, so I will leave that for later. I managed to salvage a dinner with the family and enjoyed me a couple of 500 ml beer cans poured in my awesome new skull head mug.

The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 American supernatural horror film directed by Iain Softley, written by Ehren Kruger and starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard and Joy Bryant. The film centers on a young hospice nurse who acquires a job at a Terrebonne Parish plantation home, and becomes entangled in a supernatural mystery involving the house, its former inhabitants and the hoodoo rituals and spells that took place there. It was released in the United States on August 12, 2005. This movie was a recommendation from a website that highlighted underrated horror flicks throughout the ages.

Caroline, a hospice worker, takes a job as the caretaker of an isolated plantation house in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The elderly lady of the house, Violet Devereaux, needs help looking after her husband Benjamin, who was mostly paralyzed by an apparent stroke. At the insistence of the family’s estate lawyer, Luke Marshall, Caroline accepts the position. Things are not as it seems, though. She learns that the original owners lynched their hoodoo practising servants, Papa Justify & Mam Celine, when they were found in the attic including the owners kids in a ritual. The kids who lived there till they were old supposedly sold the house to Ben & Violent in 1962.

Using a skeleton key that Violet gave her, Caroline explorers the attic in between taking care of Ben, who even crawls out of the window and falls onto the ground. Caroline finds help me scrawled onto his sheet which then goes missing. Caroline borrows a phonograph record called the “Conjure of Sacrifice” from the attic, which is a recording of Papa Justify reciting a Hoodoo ritual. Caroline surmises that Ben’s stroke was induced by Hoodoo, but believes that his paralytic state is a nocebo effect induced by his own belief, rather than something supernatural. Taking advice from her friend Jill, Caroline accesses a hidden Hoodoo shop in a nearby laundromat, where a Hoodoo woman gives her tools and instructions to cure Ben. After conducting the ritual, Ben regains some ability to speak and move, and he begs Caroline to get him away from Violet.

Caroline tells Luke about her suspicions towards Violet, but he remains skeptical. A blind proprietor at a gas station tells them about the Conjure of Sacrifice, which she learns is a Hoodoo spell wherein the caster steals the remaining years of life from the victim. Increasingly convinced of Hoodoo’s authenticity, Caroline fears that Violet will soon cast the spell on Ben. Caroline discovers that Violet is unable to pass a line of brick dust laid across one of the house’s doorways, confirming her suspicions. She drugs Violet and tries to drive off with Ben but the gates are chained and locked. Hiding Ben, Caroline goes to meet Luke but finds out too late that he is Violet’s accomplice and he brings her to the house.

Caroline flees to the attic (pushing Violet down the stairs and breaking her legs in the process), calls 9-1-1 and Jill for help, and casts what she believes is a protective spell. Violet, having caught up with her, reveals she actually trapped herself inside a protective circle. Violet pushes a full-length mirror at Caroline, which reflects one of the original owner’s children, then Violet, and lastly Cecile. A recording of the Conjure of Sacrifice plays, and the two switch bodies. Violet (revealed to be Mama Cecile, who had been occupying Violet’s body through the Conjure) wakes up in Caroline’s body, and force-feeds Caroline (now in Violet’s body) a potion that induces a stroke-like paralytic state.

Luke (revealed to be Papa Justify) arrives upstairs, and it is revealed that Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have been conducting the Conjure of Sacrifice on new people since their supposed lynching. At the end of the movie Papa Justify and Mama Cecile in Luke’s & Caroline’s body remain in the house as an ambulance takes away the paralyzed dying bodies of Violet and Ben.

Good film, though it drags a bit and I am fascinated by the plot and the hoodoo practice. A bit more excitement would have made the film better. 7.5 outta 10!

Perez To Lazio, Arsenal In For Vida

Arsenal have decided to accept a bid from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon for striker Lucas Perez after he failed to win over Unai Emery, according to reports. The 29-year-old joined the Gunners two years ago in a £17m deal, but spent last season on loan at Deportivo after being deemed surplus to requirements by former manager Arsene Wenger. Emery’s arrival appeared to offer Perez a second chance at the Emirates, with the Spanish boss even having tried to sign his compatriot while in charge of PSG.

Perez reported to training early in an attempt to impress the new manager and was part of the squad that travelled to Singapore for their pre-season tour. However, Portuguese newspaper A Bola report that Sporting have agreed a fee of just £4.4million with Arsenal for Perez – a significant loss on the figure they paid just two summers ago.

The Arsenal board are happy to sanction a £25m deal for Besiktas star Domagoj Vida provided the Gunners can shift Shkodran Mustafi or Danny Welbeck in the coming days. The defender was impressive as Croatia reached the final of the World Cup in Russia and his performances have not gone unnoticed by Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. Arsenal already have a wealth of options at centre-back but Emery wants a long-term partner for Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny is currently sidelined with an achilles injury.

Mustafi has failed to borrow money to convince Emery in pre-season and the Gunners are open to offers for the German before the transfer window closes. Danny Welbeck has less than a year left on his deal and has been told he can leave, with Everton interested. One or both of their departures would free up funds for Emery to make moves in the transfer market and the Sun say he will use the money to go for Vida. The 29-year-old only joined Besiktas last January for £8m but the Turkish giants would not stand in his way for the right fee.

Kane Elected Mayor

Former WWE Champion whose character is a masked fire-summoning monster — won his election for mayor of Knox County Tennessee. The pro wrestler-turned-republican-candidate took a 2-1 lead early in the polls against Linda Haney. Kane, whose real name is Glen Jacobs, had not shied away from his association with wrestling. In fact, his campaign shirts were directly influenced by popular wrestling shirts throughout the years. He even had help from various wrestlers making appearances, most notably by his WWE legend and ‘brother’ The Undertaker.

Kane has appeared sparingly on WWE shows like Raw and Smackdown over the last few months. Just recently, Kane briefly teamed up Daniel Bryan, a former WWE Champion who once formed the tag team named Team Hell No. They took on Smackdown tag team champions The Bludgeon Brothers and lost. Now that Jacobs is mayor-elect, his full-time wrestling days may be coming to a close, atleast for a while.

The 6-foot-8, 300-pound WWE wrestler sparked worldwide buzz when he eked out the Republican nomination in May. He bested Knox County Commissioner Brad Anders by just 23 votes letter of credit loan after a chaotic election night marked by questions about provisional ballots and a cyberattack that crashed the county’s website for displaying election results. Haney faced an uphill battle in the heavily Republican Knox County, which President Donald Trump carried by 24 percentage points in 2016. The only Democrat to fill the county’s top job, Tommy Schumpert, served as county executive from 1994 to 2002, before the position was called mayor.

My Birthday So Far

My birthday started out like this – at 12 midnight I was asked to come down to the cafeteria as the members of my team had arranged for a cake. Usually we do it with just the extended members of our department, which goes to 25 folks, but here it was just the 6 members of my team, a few from service delivery, quality and a couple of our clients. We had the cake cutting and then cake pasting after which I had to spend a good 10 minutes washing it off my face with water and plenty of tissue paper.

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I went back to do some work but clearly I was not in the mood as it was already 1:30 am and I lazed about for a bit until I could leave. I came home and as I planned, I drank a couple of vodkas with apple juice to celebrate turning 42. Not that it’s anything to celebrate; growing old that is. I went to bed and woke up by 10:20 am. I had coffee and went through Facebook thanking people for their wishes. Watched some videos. At 12 pm I ordered some fried chicken for my folks and I and we had a quick lunch.

Now I gotta go get ready to go back to work. I don’t want to, I usually don’t work on my birthday or I do a morning shift so I can have the evening to myself but this time I cannot do that. Ah, what the hay!