My Plate Is Full

Ok, so I was on leave yesterday since I wasn’t feeling all that good. But I can’t believe how much stuff is piling up on me. I think that from now till the 23rd of the month things are going to be trying for me and my patience is going to be tested full time. I can’t imagine if someone asks me to do one more thing! My response may not be pleasant and those faint of heart will not be able to survive the shock.

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So a project on quality, one on research, one on product (this is something I do every month), one more on implementation (that alone will take 5 hours a day) and another week of reports! All which will end on the 23rd, I am hoping. I am going crazy just thinking of it.

And then there is the lunch/dinner on Saturday, which will take up my entire day. And Vinitha’s wedding on the following Monday! That is in Thrissur! But I am seriously thinking of coming back straight to the office and working a 9 hour shift after the wedding. I hope to leave there in 2 hours. I’ll wait and see. For now, I am just hoping to start two things tomorrow and then prepare for Saturday’s function.

Song for the day – “Gentle Seduction” – OSCAR LOPEZ

Penguins New Outfit

Pittsburgh Penguins survived financial loss, a possible move away from their city, heartbreak, the retirement of Mario Lemieux, horrible form…and in two years are one possibly one of the top 3 most exciting teams to watch! How about that! They unveiled their Rbk uniforms on the 5th. Look for Crosby, Staal & Malkin jerseys to sell out in weeks.

Here are some Penguins players modeling the new jerseys – Maxime Talbot, Ryan Whitney,  Brooks Orpik & Ryan Malone.

Turgeon Hangs Up His Skates

19 year NHL veteran Pierre Turgeon has called it quits. The 38-year-old Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec native was limited to only 17 games last season with the Colorado Avalanche because of groin and calf injuries. “It’s with confidence that I’m going to begin this new chapter in my life,” Turgeon said at a news conference Wednesday to announce his retirement. “Hockey is a team sport, and I admit my teammates will be greatly missed.” Turgeon was an unrestricted free agent. He had 515 goals and 1,327 points in 1,294 career games. Turgeon won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportmanship and gentlemanly conduct while playing for the New York Islanders in 1993. As for his future plans, Turgeon said in the short-term he’ll coach his daughter Elizabeth’s under-16 girl’s hockey team.

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Analogue – A-ha

Norwegian trio A-ha have had huge success throughout the world with their work in the 1980s and are still very popular in South America & Europe now in latter half of the 2000s. I was a fan from 1987 till 1991 and then they faded away in the wake of all my rock, metal & blues bands. The band temporarily split up. Then in 2000, I heard what would become my favourite A-ha song – Summer Moved On and Minor Earth, Major Sky from their comeback album and was hooked again. I prefer this A-ha over most of their 80s stuff, a very melancholic approach to pop-rock that only these Norwegian trio can do. Still I didn’t have any of their songs until, a couple of years ago, based solely on nostalgia reasons, I bought their greatest hits cd and regained my taste for them.

Analogue is the band’s 8th & latest studio album, released in 2005. I was able to download it in its entirety and enjoy the wonderful songs on it. The album starts off with first single Celice, about people who have lost their direction in the hunt for meaning – and loneliness as a result of lost innocence. You hear the opening lines by singer Morten Harket, the music of Paul Waaktaar-Savoy & Magne Furuholmen and it’s like meeting a familiar face. When Don’t Do Me Any Favours is about non-compromising & rejecting a person (probably a former lover) like the line “I’d rather be your adversary than to be your slave“. Cosy Prisons is many fan reviewers favourite track on the album (I love it but my fav is another track). The song is about the hi-life & things that money can buy and enclosing oneself in a protective bubble, isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and compares that kind of life to being in a “cosy prison” without a clue about the real world.

Analogue is downright one of the best a-ha songs that I have ever heard and is so addictive that I already played it 10 times on my pc and on my cell phone! It starts of with an ominous guitar sound and then the keyboards kick in with that repetitive line that is so atmospheric! It’s a plea of a loved one to return. In a similar vein, but much slower, is Birthright, which tells a person who is planning on leaving, that the answers might not be there and that time can take care of things.

Holy Ground is about saying goodbye to someone who you used to love but now the love is ground due to differences in their respective thinking. Over The Treetops is a sound that seems to be about a nature lover and wanting to live the simple life closer to it. Halfway Through The Tour‘s subject matter that has been written & sung about by many, many bands who are regularly on the road – being homesick and lonely even when playing for stadiums across the globe and being in the media spotlight. The Fine Blue Line is about how good things can change quickly and nothing is permanent. Keeper Of The Flame & Summers Of Our Youthare a nostalgic look at playing music in the passion of youth, while Make It Soon is a love song. White Dwarf is about a picture of planets, moons & a white dwarf! At best I think it’s a analogy for fading love!

All throughout Harket’s vocals draw you into the world of a-ha, while Waaktaar & Furuholmen lend their musical talents to weave a musical tapestry that is far superior to their early works. Their best album ever? Who cares, just get it!

Song for the day – “Analogue (All I Want)” – A-HA

Montreal Canadiens's New Look

The 2007-08 season will see the debut of the Rbk Edge jerseys for each of the 30 NHL teams. The clubs are taking this opportunity to also change the overall design and or logo or just update what they were using till date. However I, as well as numerous other hockey fans, weren’t too happy with most of the changes that have shown up till date. The new New York Islanders home jersey absolutely stinks!

It’s good to see that the Montreal Canadians, perhaps the most revered of all clubs & uniforms, haven’t changed the look much. It pretty much looks the same. Somethings are best left unchanged.

What's So Special about Sevilla FC?

What indeed is so special about Sevilla Fc? Nothing, it seems on paper. But they are the current holders of three major trophies: the UEFA Cup, the Copa del Rey, and the Spanish Super Cup. They are, infact, the two time defending UEFA Cup champions (2005-06, 2006-07) beating elite opposition along the way. The history books will show you that the club started in 1905, that they play at the 45,000 capacity Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium and that they finished 3rd in La Liga last year behind Real Madrid & Barcelona. That from 1915 they have been involved in one of the most violent football derbies whenever they play their cross-town bitter rivals Real Betis (which was created by a rival faction within Sevilla itself).

And there is the sad death of Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta. On the first day of the Spanish League 2007/2008 season, Sevilla were playing Getafe CF when Antonio Puerta began walking towards his goal area, keeled over, placed his hands on his knees, and collapsed onto his back. His teammates and Sevilla medical staff came to aid him to make sure of him not swallowing his tongue. He was revived and substituted. In the dressing room afterwards, he collapsed again. He was hospitalized and after 3 days in hospital (in which he was in a ‘critical condition’ and his health was ‘unfavourable’) reports came from the Spanish media that Puerta had died. These reports were later confirmed. As a mark of respect for his passing, players from Seville and AC Milan wrote “Puerta” on their shirts during the European Super Cup match on 31st August 2007. Furthermore, as Milan went on to win the match, no jubilation was done as a sign of respect for the grief sustained by Sevilla, as the win was dedicated to Puerta.

When Sevilla played AEK Athens in Greece on Monday, in the qualifying stages for the Champions League, a minute silence was observed at the stadium while flags flew at half mast and images of Puerta & the damages caused by the Greek forest fires, which claimed 64 lives last week were shown on the giant screen. The matched ended in a 4-1 victory for Sevilla (6-1 on aggregate) who will now play in the Champions League for the very first time. And they will face my Arsenal side in the group stages. I hope they do well.

Sevilla FC are a great club with character & team spirit, as they shown in recent years. They may not have star names in their side : Goalie Andres Palop, defender & captain Javi Navarro, striker Freddie Kanoute & defender Khalid Boulahrouz (on loan from Chelsea) are the only names that I, as a regular follower of European football from 1998, know off. But they will be one to watch and they are proof that the Spanish league is a whole lot more than just Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia & Deportivo La Coruna.

Who Was Behind The 9/11 Attacks?

In a few days we will be observing the 6th Anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Many questions still remain unanswered and there are mysteries covered all over. I was sent this in an email by a colleague and it seems to have struck a chord in several people. Try it out:

Open Microsoft Word and do the following:

1. Type in upper case Q33 NY. This is the flight number of the first plane to hit one of the Twin Towers .
2. Highlight the Q33 NY.
3. Change the font size to 48.
4. Change the actual font to the WINGDINGS……………………

You will get this –

Plane crash, into the twin towers & death caused by the Star Of David (Symbol on the flag of Israel).

A little creepy isn’t it?

Sold For A Smile – The Gandharvas

So this is the second album that I have of the Gandharvas, their third overall release. Released in 1997, Sold For A Smile is proof that the London, Ontario band were on the verge of great things. There are many instantly hummable tracks and the bands excel at that kind of no frills rock n’roll/alternative that was the rage during the early to mid 1990s. I guess you can find, in their music, traces of Blind Melon, Aerosmith & Perry Farrell like vocals. Anyways, this is a good album, I first started hearing in 2002 and enjoy it as much now. I lost my original copy and was able to download the songs as mp3s, so I guess it deserves a review over here.

The album starts with one of their hits, Downtime, an up-tempo rocker and feel good song with wavy guitar riffs throughout the track. It’s a song about forgetting what others think of you and to do what you think is best. Stick to your guns, so to speak. Gonna Be Loose is the second track. Shells is a slightly slower number with some deft keyboards and cool guitar breaks, that ends kinda abruptly. And I get a slight Beatles feel over the song. Then you get the raucous Waiting For Something To Happen, with singer Paul Jago singing in a semi-narrative style for the first verse, then screams part of the vocals and then goes more gentler and back and forth. The album title comes from a line in this track.

Hammer In A Shell is a more playful song – “swinging her hips like ringing a bell, swing a hammer in a shell” – and is basically about this girl! Watching The Girl is a great track and probably the best on this album, although not the most famous. Sasparilla is the bands tribute to punk rock, which builds in intensity during the bridge / chorus and a song made for moshing. Into The Mainstream is a bit more ominous that most of the songs and features crashing guitars and frentic drumming and the singer stretching his vocals.

You then get Milk Ocean a bit more, dare I say it, sensous and a bit sexual as well. The Gandharvas don’t write any love songs for sure! The guitars sure are dreamy in this track and the vocals, at that point, add to the effect. A pause and then the singer becomes more intense as the song draws to a climax. Oh you want ATTITUDE? You got it, in the form of Diabalony an in-you-face, rampant & rebellious abusive track, filled with the word fuck! Some versions of the album ends with a fantastic, rocker version of Cindi Lauper’s Time After Time, which many have stated they like better than the original. It sure is a great track with a great guitar solo, the last official song on their discography.

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Throat

I have a sore throat that has stemmed from taking 3 quick sessions in a row. I hadn’t planned on doing that many in quick succession but with the overflow of calls in our call center, the only way to complete the training for 365 people is to grab whatever opportunity comes your way, as it may take days before you get them again. So two 30 minute sessions and a 40 minute, which started at 12:20, I was tired and my throat could have used a hot, black coffee.

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Song for the day – “Nothing As It Seems” – PEARL JAM

Chelsea Falters @ Aston Villa

Aston Villa are looking like a team that can cause some damage to the top 4-5 teams in the EPL. Although Villa, traditionally a big club with huge support in the city of Birmingham & otherwise, have never won the EPL or finished above 7th place, they can be counted for some memorable matches. Against Chelsea, debutant Zat Knight and Gabriel Agbonlahor, both local boys and lifelong Villa supporters, scored in the second half to leave Mourinho still waiting for his first Premier League victory at Villa Park.

In other matches I saw last night, Manchester City lost to a solitary goal @ Blackburn while in the Spanish Premier League, Bracelona beat Athletico Bilbao 3-1, with a brace by Ronaldinho, their first win of the new season. Meanwhile, Read Madrid continued their impressive start by thrashing Villareal 5-0, with new sigining Wesley Snider scoring 2 goals. The former Ajax midfielder now has 3 goals in his first season in Spain. Fellow Dutchman Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Guti & Raul had the other goals.

The Forgotten

I saw a bit of this movie a couple of weeks back and was wondering if they’d show it on a Sunday or a Saturday when I am at home. And it did show, tonight! The movie stars Julianne Moore, Gary Sinese & Dominic West. Telly Paretta (Moore) lives in Brooklyn along with her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards of ER) and has lost her son Sam in a plane crash. She is still coming to grips with it 14 months later. Suddenly, all traces of her son seem to disappear – photos, video tapes – like he never ever existed. Her husband tells her that they never had a son and her psychiatrist (Sinese) confirms it! Angry with her husband, who she initially thinks took aways her son’s photos, she goes to the house of Ash Correll (West), a former New York Rangers player and whose daughter was in the same plane crash. Ash’s daughter Lauren & Sam were friends but Ash has no memory of having a daughter! He later calls the cops on her and as they take her away, he goes into his office and sees his daughter’s drawings on the walls which were covered by wallpaper…and he remembers his daughter! Overcome, he runs out to find Telly being put into a car by NSA agents and helps her escape.

The rest of the movie is about Telly & Ash uncovering the truth – that they kids didn’t die but were abducted by Aliens as part of an experiment. A Brooklyn cop tries to help Telly but she is blown away by the Alien behind the experiment and who also masqueraded as the manager of Quest Air, the airline of whose plane Sam & Lauren supposedly died on. It is later revealed that the Aliens are watching the events and several humans’ memories are wiped clean of their lost loved ones, until they say the lost person’s name out loud. Also, the NSA is a pawn in the Aliens plan and they are forced to go along with the deceit. The psychiatrist also knows about it but he has no choice but to co-operate.

Finally the alien’s experiment is defeated as Telly still remembers her son even though he takes away her first memory of seeing Sam – the moment he was born. But she remembers when he was in her during the months of pregnancy and she screams at the alien to give back her son. The alien is blown back to the sky, presumably by his superiors and things go back to normal. Telly runs back home and the to the playground where she finds her son playing with his friends. Happy & relieved, she finds Ash, who has no recollection of the events, waiting on the swings for his daughter Lauren, who is playing with Sam and their friends. Telly shakes hands with Ash and she sits on the swings until it is time to take Sam home.

It is a very watchable film, which starts slowly, almost dragging in the first 20 minutes as we begin to think that the movie is going to be about a woman’s agonizing over her dead son. But with some great plot twists and some cool effects, it turns the whole story on it’s head. Recommended to watch on a boring afternoon with nothing else to do. Plus I’ll use any excuse to stare at Julianne Moore’s delicious lips ;).

Slipped & Fell

Just like I predicted, I ended up being too torn & lazy to go for any of the functions and I just stayed at home alone all day (am I psychic or what?). But the reason for me not going out at all, other than to buy a packet of instant noodles & a big 7up for lunch was because I got the wind knocked out of me. I slipped in the bathroom and fell.

Nothing broken and no visible bruise but my leg hurt for a long time and therefore I decided not to go out for anything other than grab the food & drink. Even as I woke, I was feeling kinda tired & sleepy, not having slept well and being woken up early by the ringing of my cell. Even after I put it on silent mode, my father & mother tried waking me up and telling me that they were leaving. My moron of a cousin Arun, also was knocking on the bedroom door and it looked like the asshole wanted to break the door! He really is without any manners and sometimes I wonder about that brain of his! Must have been dropped as a baby!

Anyways, it was football on tv all the way for me and listening to tunes. I cooked my noodles and sipped 7up all afternoon and watched half of a movie, that I had already seen. The fall I had and not having slept much took its tool and by 3 pm, with a cold wind blowing, I slept for about 3 hours and woke up feeling much better. Then on to watch Arsenal vs Portsmouth & Chelsea vs Aston Villa.

Song for the day – “Looking For A Place To Happen” – THE TRAGICALLY HIP

10 Man Arsenal beats Portsmouth

Arsenal continue their good start to the new season by beating Portsmouth 3-1. Arsenal were reduced to 10 men at the beginning of the second half but that wasn’t enough for Portsmouth to beat or draw against the Gunners. Adebayor sent Portsmouth goalie David James the wrong way with a 7th minute penalty after Robin Van Persie was brought down in the area by James after a sloppy Glen Johnson backpass. 28 minutes later, Cesc Fabregas doubled the Gunners lead by volleying in a goal from the 6 yard box. After the restart. defender Phillipe Senderos is sent off for the briefest of tugs on former Gunners striker Kanu. 10 men Arsenal respond a few minutes later, with a very cleverly taken quick freekick. Tomas Rosicky drills the ball through the legs of Portsmouth defender Johnson and past James off a tricky angle. This is one of the best & cleverest goals I have seen recently. However, Kanu gets a fluke goal which deflects off his ankle and past Arsenal goalie Manuel Almunia. Even Kanu didn’t celebrate his goal, as he knew that it was a lucky to score. The scoreline stays that way and Arsenal now have 10 points – the same as Liverpool, Everton & Chelsea.

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Torres Shines In Liverpool

Former Athletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres seems to be wasting no time in endearing himself to the Liverpool crowds, on the basis of today’s match against Derby County. He ran the Derby defence ragged as Liverpool thrashed their opponents 6-0. Spaniards Torres and Xabi Alonso grabbed two goals each, Ryan Babel netted his first for the club and substitute Andriy Voronin also got onto the scoresheet. Liverpool now top the table, their best start to a season since 1998.

Manchester United beat Sunderland by a solitary goal by Louis Saha, giving the victory to Sir Alex against his former captain & protege Roy Keane, who is the coach at Sunderland.

In other matches, Michael Owen scores the goal in a 1-0 Newcastle win over Wigan, while Fulham draws with Tottenham in an exciting match, that had Spurs leading 3-1 at one point. West Ham United beat Reading 3-0, while Everton beat Bolton 2-1 & Middlesborough beat Birmingham 2-0.

3 Weddings and an Engagement

Just what is it with tomorrow, the 2nd of September? I feel so torn, obligated to attend all 4 functions that are to be held tomorrow and knowing that I can’t. At best I can probably make it to 2, the 2 that are in the city, so I could theoretically show my mug at one wedding and race to the second just in time for lunch being served & pleasantries. The engagement is in Perumbavoor and that is the one I most want to go.

This is the engagement of two people I know very well from my earlier company – the guy is like a younger brother to me and the girl is like a kid sis to me! Obviously, they don’t feel brother-sister like to each other! Or else this would be one weird wedding! The 3rd wedding is in Kottayam and the person I know the least.

So what will I do? Which function or functions will I go to tomorrow? In the end, I guess I will probably not go to any of them and just stay home!

Song for the day – “I’m Sensitive” – JEWEL

Canucks Launch New Uniforms

The Vancouver Canucks unveiled their brand new Rbk jerseys. I was a little disappointed at the colour choices as I was a big fan of their normal jerseys and it’s gonna take me a while to get used to these ones. But like most hockey fans, I think the city name spelt out in an arch is an eyesore. The logo should be more than enough of an identity.

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Here’s Mathias Ohlund, Willie Mitchell, Markus Naslund, Kevin Beiksa & Trevor Linden modeling the new outfits.