The Ruins

I actually saw this movie in 3 parts, over the course of 2 weeks. It’s an ok movie as far are the newer horror movies go. The Ruins is a 2008 film directed by Carter Smith and starring Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore, Jena Malone, Laura Ramsey and Joe Anderson & is based on the novel of the same name by Scott Smith, who also wrote the screenplay.

Two couples on holiday in Mexico help a German tourist Mattias look for his brother and Dimitri who is searching for his girlfriend in an ancient Mayan ruins site. Just as the arrive, angry villagers attack them and they climb the ancient ruins. Dimitri is shot and killed when he tries to approach the villagers to explain. When Mattias falls while being lowered into a minshaft at the top of the ruins, he is paralysed.

The two girls go down to help him back up. Unfortunately the vines are alive and creep into both Mattias and Stacy. It spreads into their bodies and frightens the hell outta the group. The villagers won’t let them go as they fear that they might spread the infection. The group realizes that the vines are predatory and that the Mayans are actually trying to keep them quarantined and have salted the earth all around the hill.

There’s a brutal amputation scene and also it’s funny that the flowers on the vines can mimic sounds, like voices & cell phone ringing. At the end Amy (Malone) is the only one to escape while the rest are all killed and she makes her way to safety – and later we see two unsuspecting Greek tourists making their way towards the ruins. 7 outta 10!

Questions Of The Fall

It’s been a while since I’ve answered a meme, so hope you like this one: Meg has asked all her readers some questions

1. What internet activity tends to drag you down the wormhole (endlessly clicking through photo albums on Facebook, daisy-chaining weird Wikipedia entries, reading about gadgets, celebrity gossip, price-checking on shopping websites)?

A. Clicking through Flickr for photos that peak my interest, or going through Youtube videos.
2. What one thing do you do every single week to maintain your sanity?
A. I have an hour or two long chat with a friend; she always makes me feel better.

3. What is your favourite kind of weather?

A. Raining throughout the afternoon and evening; it’s quite hot in Cochin, where I live.

4. Tell me all about your perfect fall day: where do you go? Who are you with? What do you eat? Extra points for detail (although I don’t know what you’ll do with those points.)

A. Go to Barista Cafe for a nice grilled smoked chicken sandwich (light but delicious), some cold coffee with whipped cream. Wander through the mall looking at stuff that I can’t afford to buy, then going to the mall opposite that to buy cheap dvds, and then going for drinks & lunch.I’m usually by myself. If not, I’d want my two best friends Madhu & Anil to hang around with. Drinks are usually vodka + sprite, food is varied.

5. If I went into your closet and stole one item of clothing, which theft would make you cry?

A. There’s my favourite shirt, it’s blue with strips and extremely comfortable.

6. Dedicate a song to someone!

A. For You by the Barenaked Ladies! I dedicate this…to the cutie from Bangalore!

The Simpsons Turns 20 Years Old

The yellow gang celebrates 20 years as tv’s most famous & celebrated family.  Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and Maggie Simpson were all on hand to celebrate 20 years of The Simpsons. Their series is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and it recently surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American primetime scripted entertainment program.

The carpet was crammed with guest stars who’ve lent their voices to Simpsons episodes, including Robert Englund, the actor best known for playing Freddy Kreuger in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and George Takei, who is famous for playing the role of Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek.

Ozzy To Rock With Metallica

Rock fans will be waiting with bated breath and wondering how things will sound on the 30th of October when two legendary artists take to the stage together.

Metallica are due to perform an upcoming concert in New York to celebrate 25 years of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The San Francisco rockers, who were inducted in April, are due to take to the stage at Madison Square Garden as part of a series of shows dedicated to the coveted musical institution.

And fans attending the gig are in for an extra special treat – grand pappy of heavy metal, Ozzy Osbourne, has confirmed he will be rocking out with the band. The event will also feature performances from U2, Aretha Franklin and Eric Clapton. Rockers from the 80s will remember that Metallica joined Ozzy’s 86 tour as supporting act around the time that they broke into the big time.

Arsenal 1 AZ Alkmaar 1

Playing well away from home, Arsenal conceeded a goal in stoppage time and throw away 2 points that they richly deserved in the Champions League match last night. Cesc Fabregas had put Arsenal ahead from close range while AZ keeper Sergio Romero made several good saves, particularly from Robin van Persie.

David Mendes Da Silva struck to snatch a point that Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, superbly volleying home Graziano Pelle’s knock-down. The equaliser was harsh on Arsenal, who despite the absence of the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott seemed to have the measure of their opponents for the vast majority of the match. The Gunners, who were looking for their third straight win in Group H, now have 7 points in three games.

Choosing The Right Colour For Me

I just can’t wait for November 2nd and for the BlackBerry Curve to be delivered to me. I’m a little obsessed right now….ok a whole lot obsessed right now. I’ve been wanting a BB for a very long time, from 2006. In fact it was one of my January 2007 New Year’s resolutions! So it’s the 20th now and I just have to survive the next 12 days.

The question I was asked was what colour I wanted it in! Good question : I am aware of the default silver, pale gold, titanium, black & sunset colours. Black is cool but most of my phones (7 in all) have been black. The ones I really like are the red & sapphire blue colours (as shown here) and either would be cool for me. I do not want the pale gold colour as it is so bland and 3 other people in my office have taken the titanium one! The sunset colour is so cheap that I would not be caught dead with it! I’ve seen an orange version but I think that is a 8330 and not an 8320.

All In The Name Of Rock

While talking to one of my team members, I was reminded of my time in Bangalore back in 1995-96. I was a 19 year old studying Computer Software & Hardware in a Polytechnic in the Garden City. I would drop out after the first year but living there was an experience that I can never forget. I was reminded of the time when I had to spend the entire night in the streets!

Well it wasn’t that bad; you what happened was that I was staying in a hostel provided by the college. In October 95, Indian rock band Indus Creed & thrash metal band Millenium were performing in one of the huge outdoor grounds in Bangalore. About 20 of us from the college, including 11 of us from the hostel wanted to attend the show. So we did and it was a huge blast and we had the time of our lives. At around 11:45 pm the show ended and we made our way back. 7 from our gang of 11 were going to spend the night at friends’ houses and so the remaining 4 of us headed back to the hostel.

Only thing is that there weren’t any buses at that time and so we walked for 2 hours back to the hostel. By that time it was 1:45 am and the hostel doors are locked by the warden at 10:30 pm on Saturdays. We were out on the streets and the wind picked up. I could see the lights in my room (which I shared with 2 others) and longed for my bed. We decided to sit on the steps leading up to a small realtor office and spend the night huddling for warmth.

Pretty soon the other three guys fell asleep and I was awake alone, scared to close my eyes. I just sat there on the steps and waited for the sun to come out and for 6 am, when the hostel gates would open. Around 3 am, the lights came on in a house near me and a huge Alsatian was let loose. We’d befriended this huge, scary looking but well trained dog and he came to give me company. There I was with three buggers snoring on my left and a huge dog bending his head down for me to scratch behind his ears – what a sight that must have been!

About 30 minutes later, I heard a loud whistle – the dog’s master calling my buddy back home and the dog obediantly went back to the house after giving me an affectionate lick (thanks for scratching my ears, Roshan) and I waited till 5:45 am and then woke my friends. We went and drank tea from a nearby shop and then walked into the hostel. I changed my clothes and as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was fast asleep and dead to the world.

The Big & Little Red ‘O’

Since late October 2006, I’ve been a FireFox user & fanatic. It’s been my browser of choice. I went so far as to taunt & ridicule the tech department of my office to try and get them to switch over to FireFox from the default IE. It did not work but there were many converts who used it for the home PCs!

Around the same time, or perhaps just before my switch to FireFox, I also installed & tried out the 2nd alternative to IE – Opera. I quite liked this browser and could see myself using it a lot. It’s a lot like Mozilla’s FireFox except that I think the pages seem a lot more flatter. To understand what I mean, open the same page in both FireFox & Opera, side by side and you’ll see the difference. Created by the Opera Software company based in Norway, the red ‘O’ is very user friendly and features tabbed browsing, page zooming and an integrated download manager.

After a very long time, I’ve recently started trying out Opera for a few sites here and there. I find that it’s a bit slower than FireFox and some WordPress Themes do not seem to work well in it. The reason I wanted to get back to using Opera again is because they have a mobile version, the Opera Mini, for browsing through mobiles & smartphones like the BlackBerry models. I can’t see myself completely shifting to Opera on my PC but it’s a good software to keep as an alternative.

Definitely, Maybe

The only bad thing about this movie is the title – it reminds me of an album by Oasis, who I cannot stand!

Anyway, with a good story and a wonderful cast, how can this movie miss? The film stars Ryan Reynolds as Will Hayes, a 38 year old about to be divorced father of a precocious 8 year old daughter. After she begs him to, he tells her the story of his love life, featuring the 3 women who he has loved – one of whom is his soon to be ex and his daughter’s (Abigail Breslin) mom. He changes the names of the women with the exception of April, the woman he still pines for. Will was a speech writer for the Clinton campagin in 1992 and met April (Isla Fisher) there. He had left behind his college sweetheart Emily (Elizabeth Banks) in his hometown in Wisconsin to work in New York.

The 3rd woman was Summer (Rachel Weisz) an authour and briefly Emily’s lesbian lover as well. Will falls in love with each of the women at different stages of his life. Emily turns down his marriage proposal after saying that she slept with his college roommate as she knew that both Will and her were on different paths in life. He becomes close friends with April and becomes involved with Summer. However he has a falling out with Summer when she writes a scathing expose on his boss which effectively ends the boss’s political career and Will’s life as a campagin consultant.

Drunk and disillusioned with life after that and when the Lewinsky scandal breaks out, he turns to alcohol and drinks himself into a stupor. On his birthday, while at a party arranged by his friends, he realizes that he loves April but ends up insulting her. He is upset that she is dating someone and loses touch with her soon. At a party a few years later, he reunites with Emily who he later marries and has a daughter with.

Towards the end of the story his daughter understands that her father still loves April and encourages him to seek her out. He does and after some difficulty she is convinced that he is the one for her. She invites father & daughter into her house.

It’s funny, it’s sweet and I loved it. 9 outta 10!

Sens Update, 19th Oct 09

Well Ottawa seems to be getting in their stride of late. On the 10th the Sens welcomed the Atlanta Thrashers and came out 4-2 winners. Mike Fisher had a goal and an assist. Alexie Kovalev, Chris Neil & Jarko Ruutu also scored and goalie Brian Elliot made 27 saves.

Two days later however, the Pittsburgh Penguins came calling and handed us a 4-1 defeat. Milan Michalek got his first Ottawa goal to open the scoring 15:59 in. Pascal Leclaire made 24 saves as the Senators (3-2-0) ended a three-game winning streak. On the 15th, Michalek registered his first three-goal game in the NHL, including a pair of shorthanded tallies, to spark Ottawa to a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scotiabank Place.

Kovalev, Alexandre Picard, Nick Foligno and Ruutu also scored for the first-place Senators (4-2-0), who leaped back over the idle Buffalo Sabres in the Northeast Division. Goalie Leclaire had a relatively easy night, facing just 17 shots and stopping 16 of them. The highlight of that game is shown below. And just last night, Kovalev scored a goal and had an assist against the team he had played for from 2004-09 – the Montreal Canadiens. The Sens scored a goal in each period to win 31, with Neil & Daniel Alfredsson scoring the other two.

Arsenal 3 Birmingham 1

Arsenal continue their winning ways and thrilling their fans. The Arsenal engine was purring perfectly early on and after 16 minutes, Robin van Persie celebrated the birth of his daughter this week with his fifth goal of the season. Followed by that lovely goal, Abou Diaby grabbed another almost immediately.

However Lee Bowyer plundered a goal seven minutes before the break despite Arsenal claiming a foul on Vito Mannone in the build-up. The visitors then tried to build on that goal and make a good challenge for the match but Arsenal had to thank the Italian goalie for a crucial save late on and could only breathe easily after Andrey Arshavin curled home a low shot from the edge of the area with five minutes remaining.

Worth The Long Wait?

1 year and 4 months! That’s 16 months, or 485 days (approx). That’s how long I’ve had to wait for a promotion hike. That feels like a very long time to me. And now I finally have the papers to prove that yes, the company is no longer to deny me what I deserve. But I’m not happy with what they have given me.

I was promoted to the current profile back in July 2008. I didn’t get any pay hike at that time. I asked for one and was told that I would get one in September. I didn’t get anything. I expected one in December and was disappointed once again. I voiced out my dissatisfaction to those concerned and was told to wait till April. April came and went and no increase in salary. I was getting frustrated.

In May, I got the news that I’ve been promoted to Assistant Manager and I was elated. The grade change was with effect from the 1st of April – did they just play an April’s fool on me? Where was the money? “Recession” is what I got back as a reply. This and that and about cost cuts. While Managers, DGMs, GMs & VPs traveled & stayed in luxury and carried laptops and expensive clothes. Fucked once again.

In June I was told that I would get a hike only by October’s salary, which I get in hand by November 1st. I was like “What the fuck?” I tried looking out for a new job many times. I came close a few times. A couple of places they laughed at the salary that I was drawing and insulted me. A couple of others I came towards the end but something or the other would cost me the opportunity. I grew more and more depressed.

So finally I have the papers and I know that my salary hike is hitting me in a couple of weeks. But it is much lower that I expected. As I explained I know that I should have a salary correction when I got promoted to this profile and then one more when I became an AM. Plus there is an annual increment based on performance. They lumped all that together. The minimum that I was expecting is Rs.5k more than what I have got. How can I be satisfied?

I can now use this as a building block for my next job. In January I would have completed 3 years in this company and that’s good enough. Time to move to greener pastures.

One Of The Worst Days Ever

This has been one of the worst days of my professional life. I run things with a lot of freedom given to my team, a lot of liberty & a lot of affection and I expect a few things in return. Loyalty, sincerty, decency and results – and if the results don’t come but the effort is 100% then I’ve got their back and I’ll take care of the rest. Today I could not defend the actions of a member of my team as I myself cannot accept what he has done.

This person who moved to my team about a month & a half ago, has been caught trying to cheat the system. It’s a huge integrity issue and I’m surprised that he has had the nerve to do it. I would never have expected that he would do this in a million years. And he tried to cover it and claims that he did not know the severity of what he has done. I know for a fact that many others in the Operations department are doing the same and even worse crimes but they are lucky enough not to get caught.

I don’t care about that but I do care that my team holds a high standard. We are trainers and we have to show the right way and we are there to improve upon performance. Not sit there and do bullshit and then offer the stupidest of excuses. I thought that I had laid the groundrules for a stable foundation but having meetings every week and sometimes twice in a week and reiterating these points. Apparentely one idiot had turned a deaf ear.

And he has been asked to resign. Caught red-handed the bugger did not know what to say when I confronted him. He is misguided but the crime is severe. I spoke to my superiors over the phone and they supported my decision. I was so upset that I raised my voice at him and when I addressed the rest of my team as well. I never do that! I don’t ever want to do that again. It’s not me.

The shame is that I inducted this guy into the company, I was his initial point of contact and I trained him for 5 days in Preprocess. I was quite proud that he had managed to get promoted but now I regret the choice. I just hope that this example will ensure that others don’t do such things.

I Heart Wikipedia

What’s the default page or custom homepage that you, my dear readers, have set on your browser(s) of choice? I know that some keep a site that they visit often and/or which is updated quite a lot, like a news site or a sports site etc. Some keep Google, Bing or Yahoo as their homepage. And some may keep their own website as the default page. I keep Wikipedia as my homepage.

I spend many hours in a week browsing through the pages in Wikipedia, clicking through the links that interests me in each page and ending up on a topic/article that is so far removed from the original search/page that I entered. For example; a search for the plot of a movie, click on one of the actors bio, to another movie, to an actress in that movie, to a hobby that she indulges in, to a list of famous people who also indulge in that hobby, to a musician, to his hometown, to other famous people in that town, to an authour who  lives in that town, to one of his books, to a person mentioned in that book, to the religion/ideal followed by the person, to the person who started that religion/ideal, to a concept of philosphy mentioned in the page, to the theory behind it, to the book that defines this theory! And so on!

An unfortunate thing is that almost on a daily basis, I keep checking the Recent Deaths section that is linked on the homepage in Wikipedia. As most of you in the past few months we’ve had many famous people passing away. And to keep a track of it, one of the easiest ways is to click on this link and get a list of people who have passed away date wise or month wise. I know it’s a bit on the dark side but how else do we get to know?