What Keeps Me Up At Night

Strong black coffee keeps me wide awake 0~0; it gives me such a buzz that my eye lids are pried wide open and they won’t shut down.

A bad day at work usually keeps me awake. A good movie or tv series has that same affect too but only the latter is enjoyable. I especially like watching scifi movies/tv series around 11 or 12pm. Horror movies too.

But the thing that can keep me up at night the most is depression:

About where I am in life and the mistakes that I made which kept me here. About the stuff that I did that I now regret and wish I could go back in time and undo. The decisions that I made which I have to live with and the remorse that I feel when I am reminded of it by something. The fact that I’m turning 34 in a couple of days and there’ a lot of things that I haven’t achieved / done / got at this stage of my life which I think I should have by now.

But most of all what keeps me awake at night is loneliness. The feeling of emptiness that a guy feels when he does not that special woman to share his life with. I look to the right side of my bed and see the big empty space just begging to be filled with the form of a woman. To hold onto and talk to and hug to myself and feel that I’m not alone. Not having that special someone to confide in and be there for her as well.

That’s what keeps me up the most.

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Stargate Universe : Episode 15 “Lost”

So when we left the series Chloe, Eli, Greer & Scott were stranded on the planet due to the tunnel caving in and Destiny moved back into FTL and left the system. Lt. Riley finds out that soon Destiny will be out of range of the planet that the 4 are stuck on and unless something is done soon, they will be lost forever as Destiny will be heading out of this Galaxy and onto the next. Within minutes of this explanation power shuts down in systems of the ship.

According to Rush, he believes the ship is going into a power saving mode, though life support is still fully operational; Rush says he will find a way to work around the problem, though Brody suggests they shouldn’t, since Destiny must be doing it for a reason. Meanwhile, Riley believes the power loss may be due to the fact that Destiny is old and that the computers are malfunctioning. Meanwhile, on the planet the 4 lost ones realize that they only have enough water for 2 days and will have to dig out from the tunnels to search for more. Eli deduces how to reach Destiny by drawing three overlapping circles; they can’t dial straight to Destiny, but if they can reach gates in between, they can catch up to it. However, there is a 50/50 chance they will go the wrong way and run into planets they already visited.

While trying to get out, a part of the tunnel caves in on top of Greer, knocking him unconscious  and he is separated from the other 3. By the time he comes the other have made their way on without him as they can’t contact him. Greer frantically manages to dig his way out and tries to catch up with them. Scott, Eli & Chloe make it outside the tunnels and go to the Stargate and dial out to another planet; Greer just misses them as he comes out of the tunnels. The other 3 encounter a dinosaur like creature on the first planet that they enter and leave immediately.  On Destiny, while rescue attempts are being made to find their lost team members, TJ informs Young that she is pregnant and that he is the father. As Greer waits at the planet’s Stargate he is met by Lt.James and team and they bring him back to Destiny.

Although Greer is returned back to the crew, they still haven’t been able to get Eli, Chloe and Scott. As the ship moves back into FTL, Greer retires sullenly to his quarters. And the 3 lost crew know that they have just missed dialing to Destiny’s stargate and perhaps can never find their way back to them.

The Best Kinda Cure

Back in 2004 I has a little accident which, lucky for me, gave me only temporary pain and no broken bones or blood spilled. I have to stress this, I was a lucky schmuck that afternoon as a little change in my step and I would probably have lost a leg or worse.

Ok, this was around April of that year and I was invited to go attend the wedding of my friend Sreekumar’s brother. I was working as a call center associated in Idea at the time and doing a 3m to 12am shift that day, so the place was to leave my house at around 11am, go to the wedding hall in Palarivattom, attend the wedding and spend time with Sreekumar and other friends and then leave for the office at 2pm. That was the plan!

I got down at Palarivattom and then took an auto to the wedding hall, which was the town hall in Palarivattom. The driver stopped the auto just next to the front gate of the venue and I paid him and then tried to get out of the auto. I put my left foot out of the auto and the wham! I felt something hit my ankle and the worst pain I had ever had in my life struck me. What happened was that another auto had passed by in the gap between the auto I was in and the walls of the venue and the protruding middle part of that auto’s hubcap hit my left ankle as it passed by!  That explains the pain.

I was in agony and trying not to scream out too loud. People came rushing to see what it was that had happened to me. My friends came and saw that it was me who was hit and they grabbed the other auto driver, who had stopped his auto and come to check on me, by the collar and was threatening him. But it wasn’t his fault – his brakes had failed and he had swerved his auto into the gap in order to avoid hitting some women on the other side. Unintentionally I got hit at the ankle. Well, can’t blame him! There was no blood and nothing looked broken so I tried walking but it was painful.

I sat down, spoke to my friends and they suggested that I go to the hospital. As there was no wound I decided to wait until the wedding ceremony was over and then skipping lunch, I excused myself and went to the bus stop. I could walk without limping but my ankle did hurt & tinge a bit. I headed over to Ravipuram and went to a hospital over there, City Hospital I think. I walked up to the nurse at the front desk and stated that although I had no wound and that nothing felt broken, I just wanted a doctor to take a look at it and probably get an x-ray. The nurses got into action and said that they would check if the doctor was free and that I should take a seat. In a few minutes they ushered me into a doctor’s room and said that the doctor would be in to see me in a minute or two.

I sat there and waited, rubbing my ankle and feeling the area where I got hit. I was apprehensive and feeling some pain and then saw that the doctor was coming in and…….I felt no more pain at all! It was a lady doctor, a Dr. Fathima and boy was she was sight a sight for sore ankle…er eyes! She was hot and beautiful and my attention was diverted. When she asked me where it was that I felt pain, I almost pointed to my heart and said “here, but you can take care of it with just 3 simple words”. :D

I am incorrigible, I know. Anyway, the x-ray showed no broken bones so she gave me pain killers for two days and sent me on my way. I went with a smile on my face and a song in my heart and almost jumped and skipped on my way back; it was a miracle! I was cured!

What Makes Me Roll My Eyes

People talking about god saved their lives or how they were touched by some specific god this and that. In a desperate bid to feel part of something that is more grandiose than their miserable lives, they choose to bore your head off with stories of this or that experience when they were particularly feeling down & dejected and god chose that opportune moment to “reveal” himself/herself to them.

Ofcourse in mind I always a god “revealing” himself to that individual, like actually flashing himself to the person.

Also how a particular temple or church or some other place of worship was “so peaceful” and that they “felt one with god”. Now this stuff is still continued after I’ve told them that I’m an atheist and have no interest in listening to stuff about fairies and monsters! But they still persist and insist on numbing my brain with drivel. Then I have only one option – to either move away or stand there, take out my ear phones and play some music to drone out the mumbling idiot.

Take a hint!

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Alone On A Planet

In one of the most memorable episodes of Star Trek TNG, The Royale, the crew of the Enterprise meets up with a lost early explorer from Earth. Or rather his remains. When the debris of a 21st century NASA space ship turns up around a planet of a previously unmapped solar system, the crew is puzzled. Initial scans of the planet show it to be quite inhospitable: Nitrogen, methane, liquid neon, surface temperature -291 degrees Celsius and wind speeds up to 312 meters per second.

They are lead to a structure that surround breathable air on the planet – even more curious. Commander Riker, Lts Data & Worf beam down to investigate and are confronted  by a revolving door that leads to a 20th century hotel & casino – The Royale. There’s tons of people there, playing cards & gambling but none of them are real. They interact with the ‘fake’ people who are intent on going about their ways. On further investigation, Data finds traces of  human dna and leads the team to one of the hotel rooms on another floor. They find a human skeleton, who had died 283 years ago, under the covers of a bed. The skeleton remains belonged to a NASA astronaut, a colonel Richley, whose crew met up with the unknown aliens who created the Royale on this planet.

Finding a diary that the colonel had maintained, the away team learns that Richey was the sole survivor of an alien contaminant that killed all the others on his ship. He then found himself in the Hotel Royale exactly as described in the novel he found in his room. He managed to survive there for 38 years, learning that the aliens created the hotel for him out of guilt using the novel on the shuttle as a guide. Unknown to the aliens, the recreation of the clichéd and shallow characters of the book only served as a hell for the colonel. He welcomed death as it would release him from it. They crew pay their last respects to the lonely explorer and leave the planet after figuring out how to leave the hotel.

Three Things I Do Everyday Without Fail

Read the papers along with my morning coffee
Despite the fact that I can get online news for free, there’s some comforting about sipping a coffee and holding the paper in your hands. I scan the front page and immediately head for the sports section at the very back. I also go through the comics – Phantom, Hi & Lois, The Lockhorns, Beatle Baily and my bald headed young friend Henry! Then it’s the world news section, some national, state and then city news. Finally it’s a check to see if there’s a good movie showing on HBO at night.

Day dream
I always find time to day dream. In the toilet, lying in my bed, on the way to work, on the way back home, sometimes at home as well. Flying in space ships, exploring the universe, fighting the bad aliens, rescuing the sexy alien chicks who wanna bed me, blowing up asteroids, making first contact with a new species and boldly going where no man has gone before. That’s right, in my dreams I am Captain Kirk!

Listen to music
I gotta play my tunes! Music is extremely important to me and I gotta get my rocks off to get by the stress of the day. Hard rock, metal, alternative, country, flamenco – anything from my vast collection. I play some songs in the morning before I take a shower and head for work and I play some songs during the late evenings until it’s bed time. I need my music, I am a music junkie. When I am at home, browsing on the net or just reading, I have music playing all the time. And I have to sing along and play air guitar at the same time! :)

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RIP Maury Chaykin

Veteran film & tv character actor Maury Chaykin passed away on July 27th, 2010. Born in the US he later moved to Canada and was known for portrayals of blustery supporting characters and the occasional lead, as in the character Nero Wolfe in the tv films or in Whale Music. The former role lead to a two year series in A Nero Wolfe Mystery. He was also the Mahoney in Owning Mahoney.

Maury Chaykin (July 27, 1949 – July 27, 2010)

Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot

For the uninitiated, Chickenfoot is in simple words best described as a “supergroup”. 4 excellent musicians who enjoy working, ie. playing music with each other, got together to create a strong unit. The 4 of them are Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) on drums, Sammy Hagar (ex-Van Halen & solo artist) on vocals & support guitar, Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen) on bass and the legendary guitar maestro Joe Satriani! Now unlike a lot of so called super groups, this really defines the term SUPER GROUP!

It’s a celebration of sorts when 4 gentlemen of this high caliber come forth to make something new and enjoyable and their eponymously titled debut album has tons of good things for rock fans. Let’s start off :

Avenida Revolution, with it’s excellent riffs thunder out from the onset, a great way to start this album. Lyrically it’s about the street in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, that runs alongside the US/Mexican border. Funky rocking & fun loving – is how I would describe the next track that is Soap On A Rope. The video is equally fun to watch with the band running around, playing their instruments along with this lengthy rope in the way. The main riff, although simple, is extremely catchy and induces air guitar sessions like crazy. Sexy Little Thing is a kickass, crowd pleaser and is for the top down, driving on a summer day. When it slows & quiets down a bit before banging back into life – magic! We then come to my fav track on this record – Oh Yeah! which is a rock anthem with the requisite groovy guitar riff snaking all over the song. Solid solo, bombastic drums and booming bass – what more could you ask?

Runnin’ Out is a song that reminds me a lot of old Van Halen and it’s a groovy song about running out of stuff. A bit more heavy sounding riff starts off Get It Up, with the exclamation “Arriba, ‘riba”. Musically it’s Satriani’s baby, with some excellent guitar chops laid down over Anthony’s bass licks and Smith’s drum work. Down The Drain is up next, a song about letting things go waste. My Kinda Girl is about the down to earth & tough woman who is more to the liking of the singer. Learning To Fall is about at the end of day, after all is said and done and you are tired, you will go crawling back to what you trust best. Turning Left & Future In The Past close out this solid album which has not a single weak song or even a weak moment in it. What you get is 4 tried & true veterans with loads of experience & road miles under their belt and who now just wanna have some fun with their friends. And we get some cool rocking tunes for that.

Here’s the video for Oh Yeah

Manchester City’s Summer Shopping Sree

Shelling out tons of cash seems to be the way that Manchester City are going to gain silverware and possibly win the league. While they await the completion of the 25 mil pounds signing of 19 year old Italian striker Mario Balotelli from Inter Milan, it would bring the summer spree to a total of 107 million pounds.

City coach Roberto Mancini hopes he will be soon reunited with the Italy international of Ghanaian origin whom he had signed while in charge of Inter. Balotelli, who demands to be paid his desired wages of 3 mil pounds a year on a 5 year contract, has already had a farewell party for friends in a trendy cafe in Milan and joins his Inter teammates for a pre-season tour in the US.

Mancini has already signed Jerome Boateng, David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov and paid 30 million pounds to Barcelona for Yaya Toure.

My Thoughts on the Death Penalty

Do I believe in the death penalty? Here’s my answer : with a few exceptions, I do not believe that the death penalty. It’s confusing even to me because who is the right person or persons to decide which crime or crimes deserve the death penalty? What kind of human being is to be declared unfit to continue his/her existence on this earth that killing them and ending the pain will be the best outcome?

I do believe that serial killers, rapists and child molesters do not deserve to live. A man who kills babies & small children, old people and the ill who cannot defend themselves do not deserve to life wile their victims are dead. Someone who sexually abuses his own offspring or another child related to him cannot be considered fit to continue living. Organ stealers, drug peddlers who target the young.

Who about war crimes? Dictators, leaders, politicians and kings who have committed genocide and massacred thousands of people. Do they deserve to live? The religious fundamentalists who destroy other lives just because they do not see eye to eye on beliefs and way of living?

Who is to decide? I do not know if the law is correct. Can there possibly be a man/woman who everyone else has declared unfit to continue and even a danger if he/she still lives and so they all decide that he/she is to be killed? Not even Saddam or Osama or even Hitler etc etc.

Although there are quite a few people that I wouldn’t mind seeing dead, heck I may even dance on their graves and hand out free candy to passers-by, I’m not sure that I could decide if the death penalty is the right punishment.

Well, except if you are a member of a boyband!!!!

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No Longer A Spring Chicken

This is my last week of being 33. I still consider 33 to be young. I will turn 34 soon and it’s not the end of the world. I will consider myself, or anyone else for that matter, to be middle aged only at the age of 50. Besides it’s how you feel inside and treat life and not your actual age that matters. Remember my motto – you are only as old as the girls you feel! And I fully believe in it!

But yeah I’m not getting any younger, no longer a spring chicken. What is a spring chicken anyway? Chickens that only live during Spring? 34 is the age where I expected to be a lot more settled in life than I actually am. I’m not anywhere as close to being there as I thought I’d be.

  • I’m still a bachelor. Still single. No special woman in my lonely as hell life.
  • I have virtually nil savings. This is a scary aspect which I am trying to remedy.
  • I still live with my parents in a small apartment. Another thing which I want to rectify.
  • I’m kinda stuck in a job dealing with clients I cannot stand and dealing with a corporate setup that I neither understand nor want to. It’s high time I made my move from there.

As it usually does around this time of the year, my mind is bombarded with these topics and I’ll deal with them by putting it in words. I tend to get very depressed around this time so please bear with me.

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The Worst Teacher I Ever Had

I don’t think she was that bad to be honest. When I was in the 10th grade, we had this elderly English teacher who, I hope it isn’t too rude to say, should have retired a few years before she joined our school. She was a grandmother and she was a disciplinarian and boy was she strict.

I remember a few incidents about her : she didn’t like boys growing their hair long! And when I mean long it wasn’t even shoulder length. She was crazy about it. About 6 of us in the class had longish hair and we were all into hard rock and metal music so our dream was to have even more longer hair. It was 1992 and we were 15 and we all had dreams of looking like Bon Jovi or the Scorpions. So she made it a point to constantly criticize and nag us to death about it. She even once demanded that we all cut our hair short before the next day! We rebelled and didn’t do it. She was livid.

She could be guilty of favoritism and partiality and she was not the nicest person to be around. Indian schools tolerated teachers using the cane and she did it once or twice. It barely hurt as she was not strong enough to inflict much pain. Anyone of us could have pushed her down with the slightest of ease and she would have broken a hip or some other bone. But we still treated her with respect because that’s what kids are supposed to do.

I learned that she passed away in 1999 and most of us had only good things to say about her at that time. Even the 6 of us rockers who had long hair and rebelled against her.

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Would I Survive No Internet For A Month?

Although a regular user of the internet since 1998, I didn’t have a connection at home until September, 2006. From then I would go once or twice a week to a nearby internet parlour to browse the net and check my email. For a year I also managed an internet club, a very small one with just 4 systems. It wasn’t a success so I quit after a year. By then it was 2000 and the internet cafe charges were a little bit more cheaper, so I went 3 to 4 times to a cafe and spend 2-3 hours there.

I moved to Calicut (about 5 hours from my hometown of Cochin) in 2002 and there I used the net very infrequently due to shortage of cash. The company I had joined has problems and so I was not paid for weeks. In early 2003 I moved back to Cochin and got a steady paying job, if if it wasn’t much, and I went back to using the net 3-4 times a week. This was also the time that my old pc died. As the years went by I used it more and more, settling on using it for 7 to 8 hours during the weekend and an hour or so on workdays. Until I moved to Kacheripady and then I got a new desktop computer and a broadband connection.

Last year I upgraded my connection and for the past almost 4 years I have been online almost extensively, only being offline when the ISP server goes down or there is a cable fault or when I am out of town. But yes I have been without the internet for 3 weeks – this year in May! After my pc died on me, I had to wait 3 weeks to gather the cash and get a new laptop. During that time I went without the internet at home and at work as well. I only checked my mail a couple of times and paid a couple of bills online, maximum spending time online would have been 10 minutes in total.

Never again though. I was so bored outta my brain.

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To Find Somebody New

This brings back so many memories! It’s a video from 1987 – just after guitarist John Norum quit his band Europe at the peak of their success, due to disinterest in the more keyboard dominated sound, he started his own solo project. From his debut solo album Total Control, here’s the video for Back On The Streets. If I’m not mistaken the vocals are provided by fellow Swede Goran Edman.

Food For Thought

My thoughts on some food items that I ate during this past week.

  • Unniappams – best tasting unniappams at our office canteen. The caterers make this fresh in the morning and bring it to our canteen. Amazing tastes!
  • Parippuvada – again from the canteen. Good but not as great as the unniappams. Sometimes they make them really nice but at times they bring us hardened and slightly stale ones. The vada I had today with my evening coffee was so hard & stiff, that had I thrown it at someone’s head, he/she would have been laid up in a coma!
  • Maggie noddles – instant noodles. Once a staple food of mine, I haven’t had it that much in a while. Today I wanted some and so bought a pack of it on the way home. It wasn’t that good.
  • Haldirams masala nuts – hmmm spicy nuts from Haldirams brand. Would go well with beer but I haven’t had any beer in a while.
  • Cake – while at an office farewell / celebration / birthday etc, cake is always there. And it never tastes good! Yuck!
  • North Indian sweets – the kind you get in a box with mixed stuff in it. Very yummy. Someone brought a box to the office this morning as his daughter recently delivered a baby girl.
  • French fries – best snack I can ever think of. I love them.