How’s Your 2011 Going So Far?

Well let’s see. It’s not going the way that I wanted it to. But then on the 31st of December I kinda knew that it wasn’t going to go well. I had an explosion of sorts blow up in my face – I was getting blamed for something that I hadn’t done! Something went wrong and someone above me was trying to shift the blame onto me and I wasn’t willing to take that shit.

Well immediately after that it was nice ofcourse; I got to spend New Year’s eve with my two best friends. We had a few drinks and some good food and unfortunately it was raining quite heavily and we 3 got soaking wet but reached our respective homes in one piece. Because of issues at work I could not attend my friend Anil’s engagement ceremony on the 5th of January. My mind was occupied and it was heavy with not so happy thoughts.

Things went by for a few more days. There was no way that I would miss attending Anil’s wedding day. So I joined Madhu, his wife and a former colleague of my two best friends and we traveled to Thrissur on the 13th and watched Anil transform from eternal bachelor to a married man. That was not something I thought I would see soon. The only downside; we 3 haven’t been able to get together since for a nice dinner.

Since the 13th, I’ve taken 3 days off to search for a new job, floating my resume in a few places and sending a lot of emails. I’ve also asked a few consultancies to help me out by promoting my resume when they find any suitable job vacancies. And now, after a couple of weeks of silence, I finally have call backs from 3 places. I’ve already been selected for one comany but I’m not too sure about them as they are a startup. Tomorrow and on Thursday I have interviews in a couple of places that look very promising and I have my fingers crossed.

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The Bold & The RIMarkable

At one stage I changed phones once every year, if not exactly at the 12 months stage. That meant that I got to try a few different phones & brands – Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola & Blackberry. A few years ago I first heard about Blackberry devices while watching an Oprah Windfrey show episode; this was before BlackBerrys were available in India. Slowly some of the Indian mobile service providers started selling them and you could also get unlocked phones that were not tied to any particular networks as well.

I’ve wanted RIM’s phones for many years. Back in 2007 I even made a new year’s resolution to get one. But they were very expensive and at my then salaries I could not afford one. I went online to check out the devices and lusted after them. I finally got one, my current phone, a BlackBerry Curve 8320, on New Year’s day 2010. I had wanted the Bold 9000 but it just was out of my reach at the time and I envied my cousin who was a proud owner of one. But I still loved my gray Curve and got good use of it since Jan 1, 2010. The model is outdated and they have stopped production of it and it’s looking like an ancient device.

It’s time to get a new phone. Once a BlackBerry addict, always a BlackBerry addict. I won’t even look at the iphones. Well to each his own. I love the Bold 9000 form factor and I would love to get one of those. Even if the 9000 is a bit outdated now and has two GSM descendants, I still like that phone. But I’ll be looking out for a good offer on either the Bold 9700 or it’s younger sister the 9780. They are really sleep looking phones. The 9700 came out in Oct 2009 (I think) and the 9780 was in Nov 2010. I’m checking out the local shops, the websites of various mobile service providers and ebay. I’m sure I’ll be changing phones in a few.

Love is..

….knowing that someone cares you a lot, probably as much as if not more than you care for them!

….a warm, fuzzy feeling that envelops you and makes you feel all tingly

….wanting to do things for your better half and making them happy and keeping their happiness above your own

….knowing that you’ll always have someone to talk to at the end of the day

….understanding that the world does not revolve around your ass but it solely revolves around the object of your affection

….worth dying for

….pulling the sheet over your loved one in the middle of the night, half asleep, without even thinking as soon as you begin to feel a bit cold

….knowing that she alone can knock that frown off your face and bring a smile instead

….finally getting what all those love songs & ballads mean

….never having to be alone

And finally, love is….something I wish I will have soon!

Out On The Town

Today I just wanted to have some fun by going out and enjoying myself. I woke up around 8am and leisurely watched 2 episodes ofĀ  Star Trek : Enterprise while lounging on my bed. That done, I went to get some coffee and did various stuff on my laptop – answering emails from friends and from work and fielding some calls from work. I arranged to meet with my cousin Sujith in Convent Junction.

After purchasing some medicine and stuff I made my way to Convent Junction and waited out side the medium sized mall over there and waited for Sujith to reach. While he was on his way, I had to attend a conference call from work – I was put into the call without even checking if I was able to attend one. Just like that! Standing outside in the hot sun and answering a few questions was not my idea of enjoying a day off. Anyway the call got over quickly and Sujith reached as I was saying my goodbyes. We walked around a bit and then went into Fort Cafe. If you remember Fort Cafe is this cool cafe I had first visited with Sujith back in October.

Well this time we chose one of the low tables with lounge type sofas and ordered the same cheese beef burgers that we had last time. We had some cold coffees along with them and yakked like two women do after a long shopping session. We spent a long time there and then decided to go window shopping. In particular I wanted to check out Penta Menaka and see what the prices for the BlackBerry Bold 9700 & 9780 were as I knew that Vodafone had slashed its rates. I could take a phone from them but then the phone would be network locked and I didn’t want to be tied down to one network, especially with MNP and the good offers that Airtel and Reliance were tempting me with to join their networks.

We went to a few stores and checked out their rates, Rs.25,000 seems to the standard rates at the moment but I can get one from Vodafone at Rs.20,212. Hmmm gonna have to wait a few days and see. Also I can get one for around Rs.20k from ebay India, so I’ll take my time before I purchase one. Also awesome to see the Samsung Galaxy tab up close and personal. It costs Rs.27k and although I am not planning on buying it, it sure is an awesome device. Anyways, we were hot & sweaty a little later so we decided to stop at Velocity and spend a few hours there.

Lounging at Velocity is one of my favourite pass times and if I have someone to talk to, all the better. I stuck to a beer – Tuborg beer and it is a great tasting beer at that. I loved it but wasn’t in the mood to have more. We enjoyed a few snacks as we talked a lot and sat back and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. Sujith wasn’t drinking as he was still under medication and hence only drank pepsi. By 5pm we left the bar and left for our respective homes.

Rob You Of You Virgin Soul

I’m surprised that I never embedded this video in my blog before but yeah, a quick check later, I confirm that I haven’t. Well it’s a one time rock supergroup composed of Tommy Lee on the drums, Scott Ian on the bass, Gilby Clark on rhythm guitars, Slash & Ace Frehley on lead guitars and Rob Zombie on lead vocals. They are performing God Of Thunder live at the VH1 Rock Honours program in tribute of Kiss.

My Childhood Idols

Oh boy this is gonna be embarrassing but I guess we all have them skeletons in our closets. Ok, what I am about to confess is uptill the age of 11 years old. So I used to idolize:

Michael Jackson: – when I was young I pretty much listened to any artist or band that my older sister played for me on her stero. She played me ABBA, Boney M, Stevie Wonder, Culture Club, Wham!, Duran Duran, Madonna and Sade. I listened to this music along with her and it was only until I listened to Michael Jackson that I formed a musical identity of my own. I was a big Wacko-Jacko fan for a few years. Until I discovered rock!

David Hassellhoff:- hehehe, I was a big time Knight Rider fan and worshiped at the altar of the Hoff. He had the coolest car in the whole wide world, still does actually, and met a lot of hot women who he rescued. Plus he played around with two hotties at work as well. I wanted a leather jacket like him, I wanted to change my name to Michael (as in Michael Knight) and wanted to say stuff like “piece a cake” when someone asked to do a task.

Amithab Bachchan:- I was a big fan of AB as a kid. I watched a lot of his movies, I memorized the dialogues and learned all the songs. I had a lot of his movies recorded on tape and watched them over and over. He was my biggest idol for many years. Funny how I can’t stand him anymore; I think he is a huge sellout. Once he got old he couldn’t do anything right. I know that he still is a huge star but I just don’t like him anymore.

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A Law That Should Exist

A law that should be enforced on people is a simple one yet it can avoid dangerous situations. Parents or any other adults should not be allowed to forced feed any religious crap down a small child’s brain. A child in India, belonging to either a Hindu, Muslim or Christian family is subjugated to mind altering agendas even before he/she can talk. This has got to stop. You are poisoning an innocent mind even before she/he can spell. However good intentioned the parent or relative, this is absolutely playing with fire. The kid is taught that there is an imaginary person in the sky who will protect it and that in return all he/she has to do is pray a 100 times a week and basically kiss it’s ass. Not cool!

Think about it, grandmothers are the biggest culprits in this case, especially in Kerala and I’m sure in lots of oher areas of India. Bath the kid the first thing in the morning, adorn it’s face with kajal and all kinds of stuff, bring the kid to the pooja room in front of their favourite deity Krishna, standing in all his glory, blowing on the flute of his. And what does that grandmother make the kid say “Ambadi Krishna, enne rakshikyane!” (oh Krishna keep me safe/save me). Kid is shown how to fold his/her hands in prayer and that image & behaviour is embedded in the poor SOB’s mind. One lifetime of slavery to the Blue bugger is created and damn it you have a religious convert. This is the only reason why there are so many religious people.

It’s not restricted to Hindusim; Christians also are criminals in this act. And don’t get me started on Muslims and Islam. The less said the better. And now let’s start the death threats. All I am saying is believe in the fairy in he sky if you want to. Don’t force feed an individual on that religious crap; wait until they can think for themselves and then make a choice after carefully evaluating all the facts and fiction (holy books) before declaring themselves as a Christian, Muslim or Hindu.

If after all that they still wanna be a religious person…….well…then….Satan bless you. HAHAHAHAHA!

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Stephen King’s IT – My Fav Novel

Without a doubt the book/novel that has had the most profound influence on me and changed my life is none other than IT – my favourite novel by my favourite author Stephen King. The king of macabre came out with this novel back in 1986 and the first time I knew about this novel was when I saw parts of the tv mini-series on which it was based back in 1991. The bits that I was more than enough to tickle my fancy and I looked to get a copy of the book to read.

I managed to find one out in the local library that I went to every month and took it. I managed to finish the novel within the following weekend, starting on Saturday morning and ending on Sunday evening, stopping only for food, coffee, a shower or two and as little sleep as possible. This book is so engrossing and mind-consuming that I thought of nothing else for the next week or so. School classes must have happened but I was oblivious to it. Since that first time I must have read the novel atleast 12 times as it is my favourite and been as absorbed in it each time.

IT deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking beneath a faƧade of traditional small-town values. The idea of 7 young pre-teen kids being stalked & terrorized by an evil & powerful entity and them fighting back is endearing and you will find yourself rooting for our heroes with fists pumping. It is also up to standing up to bullies of the human kind and about friendships and the love that the bond creates. Although mostly tragic and horror-filled, IT also has a lot of funny moments, gross stuff that kids love to laugh at and you will laugh out loud at some of the moments.

In my mind this is the ultimate novel, fat and all consuming and if you start to read this one, make sure that you have a pretty much open couple of days in which to spend yourself immersed in it. Make sure you have some food and drink nearby as you may not want to do anything like cook or go out and meet people until you are done with it.

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Republic Day Rant

The Republic Day of India commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on 26 January 1950. The 26th of January was chosen to honour the memory of theĀ declaration of independence of 1930.

Like every other holiday in India (and perhaps the world) it has become a day where a portion of the people make some money by commercializing the event. Shop keepers sell little flags of cheap cloth/paper stuck to a straw. I mean, that’s not right!

Most people these days only know of the Republic Day as just another holiday and an excuse to stay away from school/college/work and relax at home or go out and do your thing. I blame the corporates & companies of today – you take so much out of your employees that they look forward to such events as just rest. And then the companies try to do a one up on their staff – make then come to the office for an hour, hoist the flag (and do it all wrong in the process), someone from upper management (who doesn’t have a clue as to what they are talking about) will make a speech and try to make you feel like a loser for not doing enough for the country and then they will distribute sweets or cut a cake! Yep, corporates in India will cut a cake for anything these days.

Well that’s my 2 cent of ranting for the occasion. I hope you have a good Republic Day my fellow Indians.

My Favorite Sporting Event

When I was 6 years old the football World Cup took place in Spain, and Italy came out as victors. I was way too young to have a major impression on my mind but I was crazy about football as were most of my friends. Then 4 years later Mexico hosted the world’s best footballing nations in 1986 and it was fiesta of colourful images and celebration. I was a 10 year old football fan glued to some of the images that the showed on Kuwaiti television.

A local bubblegum company had also come up with the idea of creating a scrap book of the World Cup and featuring stickers of all the players in the tournament. When you bought their bubblegum you would get 5 of the stickers and you had to collect the entire lot, stick the players profile image in the respective countries pages and the first 10 people who submitted the book back got a prize. I remember me and my friends actively participating in the event although I didn’t get to finish the collection.

That was the beginning of my love affair with the world cup. Italia 1990 – I was back in India by then and school was just an obstacle in watching the games throughout the month of the tournament. I even had to do a school essay on the magic of the tournament. 1994 was a tough year for me but I still managed to watch most of the games telecast live from the US. And then came 1998 and France.

That was a big deal. I was studying at NIIT at the time and my classes started at 7am. The matches got over at 2:30 am – which meant sleep till 5:30am, get ready and leave for the institute by 6:30 am. The entire day would be spent in a daze and then evenings & nights were spent back in front of the tv. I even dreamed about football! 2002 was spent mostly watching games in my uncles house along with him. The matches were held in Asia – South Korea and Japan and hence easier time slots for us in India.

2006 was ok; I got to watch a lot of matches but nothing stands out for me at all. 2010 – well I barely watched a full match and work was the villain standing in front of me, baring me from enjoying the games. An plus my tv was on the fritz. I wasn’t even interested in watching many games either as I was going through a sea change in my life and wasn’t sure that football games held much meaning at that time.

I wonder how the next couple of World Cups will be?

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DS9 Season 7 & The Cute Trill

I’ve reached the 7th and final season of Star Trek : Deep Space 9. Although a big skeptic of the 2nd live action Star Trek : TOS spin-off, I became a grudging fan by mid second season and a genuine convert by the time I started the 4th season. Contrary to what I initially though I really do the arc themes in the shows which gives us a change from the normal episodic stuff that we are used to.

DS9 stand out as a separate entity from TNG & Voyager, the two Star Trek shows that preceded & followed it respectively. Although it at times a lot like Voyager (which is a ship all on its own lost in the Delta quadrant) in that it’s on the cusp of the wormhole that is the doorway to the Gamma quadrant and lots of new alien lifeforms, it has more in common with TNG.

As the 6 season ends & the 7th starts an important change occurs in terms of casting; Terry Farrell who played the Trill Jadzia Dax wanted to leave the show and the writers decided to kill off her character and bring a new host for the Dax symbiant – Ezri Dax! The actress that was chosen to play Ezri was to be different from Terry’s character – while Jadzi is a bold, confident & self-assured, experienced officer, Ezri is not too far away from the academy and is unprepared for being the host of Dax. She was thrust into being a host out of necessity and hence is more than overwhelmed by the voices of the 8 previous hosts, their memories and their experiences.

To play this character the youngish looking & cutie pie actress Nicole de Boer was selected and she did a wonderful job. As she struggles with the 8 life spans within her memories, she finds adjusting to her life not an easy task. She is convinced to staying on DS9. Upon joining, Ezri is assigned to Deep Space Nine and promoted early, because of her extensive Starfleet experience and knowledge from the Dax symbiont, to lieutenant, junior grade. She serves as counselor.

The Fourth Kind

The Fourth Kind is a movie that deals with the alien abduction theory. StarringĀ Milla Jovovich,Ā Charlotte Milchard,Ā Elias Koteas & Will Patton the film, although completely fictional, makes the viewers think that this is based on real life events occurring in Nome, Alaska. The film has two componentsā€”dramatization, in which professional actors portray the individuals involved, and video footage purporting to show the actual victims undergoing hypnosis. Towards the latter half of the movie, the two clash and you get a quickened sense of something major happening.

Nome is supposed to be an epi-center of alien abduction as depicted in the film, having more missing people for a town it’s size. Dr. Abigail Tyler has 3 patients who all suffer from insomnia. The 3 also say that each night they see a strange while owl looking at them through the windows. Tyler puts a two patients under hypnosis, and while under, both patients recount similar terrifying stories of creatures attempting to enter their homes. Furthermore, both patients also have bizarre occurrences following the hypnosis sessions.

The patients also speak in a mysterious language during hypnosis, which is later found to be Sumerian. One of her patients goes home and kills his family and then himself as he is unable to adjust to the vivid images of the creatures and what was done to him during the abductions. The sheriff blames Dr. Tyler for goading people who are already traumatized into believing that Aliens abducted them and that she drove her patient over the edge. Abby calls a friend and colleague Dr. Abel Campos to help her out with these cases.

We see her other patient levitate while under hypnosis, creating a scary situation. He also speaks in Sumerian. Later Dr. Tyler reaizes that her late husband, Will Jammeson, who was mysteriously murdered one night in his sleep, leaving her to raise their two children, was killed by aliens and that she herself is an abductee. Later, Tyler’s daughter, Ashley, is abducted. Tyler undergoes hypnosis in an attempt to make contact with these beings and reunite with her daughter. Campos and Odusami, a language expert, videotape the session, and once hypnotized, is it revealed that Tyler witnessed the abduction of her daughter. The camera scrambles, sounds of violence are heard in the background, and a harsh voice yells “Zimabu Eter!” before the camera returns to normal. The remaining footage is of an empty room, the camera’s tripod knocked on its side.

The film cuts to an interview with Tyler in which she explains that all three were abducted during that hypnosis session and none have memory of what happened. The film returns to the aftermath of Abbey’s hypnosis session. She wakes up in a hospital after breaking her neck in the abduction.

The film tricks you into believing that this is based on actual facts. The movie boasts some nice imagery and good eerie scenes – the video shot of the owl’s head turning around almost unnaturally, following the camera. (Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as 270 degrees in either direction). The acting is good and believable. 6/10 – not bad for a movie made on a budget of $10 mil only.

Shattering Noise In The Lazy Afternoon

It was about 4:30 pm in the afternoon. Lazy sleepy Sunday afternoon I might add. The kind I love. Where there’s not much going on except for people taking long naps or watching Sunday movies on HBO, Star Movies or on any one of the Malayalam, Hindi or Tamil channels. Or you know watching a dvd or two. The kind of Sunday where you get ice cream after a big lunch and the very thought of getting up from your couch/bed is enough to induce pure hatred. It was that kind of a Sunday – mom is watching a movie on the big tv, dad is deep in a nap and I’m lying on my bed watching an episode of Star Trek : Deep Space 9.

The episode was barely 5 minutes in when I lazily reached down to my left side to the bottom of the bed to get the bottle of water that I keep near me. I got up slightly and lifted the bottle to my lips to take a big swig of water when – KABOOOM! A huge earth shattering noise filled the air and I could get the smell of smoke. The power went out at the same time and my laptop was on it’s batteries. The external speakers I plug into the laptop went off as well. A nearby transformer had blown up and that was the sound and the reason for the smoke and the power going out.

With the unexpected shock of that loud explosion, I had a quick jolt and therefore spilled water all over my groin area and the sheet covering the groin area and also my belly. Kinda looked like I either had a bit of a bed wetting accident or that I was really excited to be watching Star Trek. Also it is during moments like this that you realize how salty your balls are – because in that nervous jump up from my bed that I did, I’m pretty sure that my balls jumped all the way up to my throat!

Anyways, I got up and changed the sheets while also using it to wipe myself dry and then settled back on the bed to wait for the power to come back on, which it did in about 30 minutes. And then I went back to watching my show!

The Decline Of The Senators

While they are the second-lowest scoring team in the league, the Senators have now surrendered 157 goals ā€” second most after Edmontonā€™s 159, before Saturdayā€™s action.

Since my last update of the Senators they’ve had just 3 wins in 15 games! Yes it has been that bad. Out of 5 games between 18th of December till the 31st, Ottawa scored 2 wins and 3 loses, out of which 1 was in OT. So that’s 5 out of a possible 10 points.

Of the 10 games we’ve played so far in January, the only bright spot is a 6-4 win against the New York Islanders. We’ve lost all the other 9 games, 2 in OT i.e a miserly 4 points out of 20. The low points have been humiliating home loses to Toronto 1-5 and 1-7 to Montreal. At home! Also a 0-6 loss in Boston to the Bruins. This makes reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs a distant dream.

It’s time to rebuild and that is only possible by offloading current players. Who do they move?

The Senators are casting about to see what they can get for Mike Fisher. But with the 30-year-old armed with a no-movement clause and two years left on his contract carrying a cap hit of $4.2 million, two league executives seriously doubt he’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. He’s been with the Senators his whole professional career, having signed on in 1998. Similarly the three Chris-es have been with Ottawa for more than a decade – Philips since 96, Neil from 98 & Kelly since 99. They form a huge core of the team – do the Sens trade these guys?

Ottawa needs a better top class goalie and better defencemen. The goalie problem has been stated for a long time and we just can’t depend on Pascal Leclaire who has been injured most of his time in Ottawa. If he is 100% fit he is more than capable of being a top class goalie. Brian Elliot is at best a good deputy but he has been leaking goals of late. Robin Lehner is too young and too untested but seems to be a goalie for the future.

I would try to sell the following – Gonchar, Smith, Shannon, Foligno, Regin, Ruutu, Winchester, Kovalev, Elliot & Kuba and try to get some strong players if possible.

Arsenal 3 Wigan 0

Robin van Persie missed a penalty. He more than missed it; he mooned the ball well over the cross bar. Never mind, he still scored a hat-trick tonight.

The Dutchman scored his first hat-trick as Arsenal outclassed Wigan 3-0. Keeper Ali Al Habsi gave Wigan hope with superb saves, the best of them denied Cesc Fabregas and Van Persie. But he was finally beaten when Van Persie lashed in from inside the box and again when the Dutchman sweetly volleyed in from Fabregas’s long pass. Van Persie skied a penalty, conceded by Gary Caldwell who was sent off, and also hit the post before scoring his third with a shot at the near post.

Arsenal’s victory keeps them in touch with leaders Manchester United and moves them above Manchester City to second place in the table – although the Eastlands side play later on Saturday. The performance was a sign of real intent for Arsenal as they continue their pursuit for silverware on four fronts – and with Van Persie firing on all cylinders, the odds look good on them winning a first trophy since 2005.

In other games Manchester United thrashed Birmingham 5-0, while Liverpool beat Wolves 3-0.