Family Dinners

Family dinners for me is of 3 types – 1) when my sister & I were younger, 2) when my sister comes home for dinner with her husband & kids 3) when we have a big family dinner with lots of relatives and 4) the majority of dinners are when I am just home with my folks.

When we were young my sister & I had dinner with our parents it was usually around 7:30pm – 8:30pm and we’d be parked in front on the tv in our small apartment in Kuwait, plates balanced on a coffee table situated in the center of the living room. We watched all the great tv shows that they would air during those years – the A-Team, Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica, Moonlighting, Remingston Steel, magic shows like from magicians like David Copperfield or Paul Daniels etc etc. Or even wrestling! We stayed back on the sofas with our plates until the show that we were watching ended. Those were some fun times. When we moved back to India, from 1987 till 1991 we didn’t get cable tv (hadn’t been launched in India yet) so if not for some sports event on the national channels, we’d watch some songs or stuff. At times we’d have our dinner at the big dining table at one end of the living/dining room of our house.

When my sister comes over now, along with her kids and at times my brother-in-law, they all crowd in front of the tv. Usually it will be a movie, which is fit for the kids to watch as well or some award show. I am usually in my room and at my laptop and will only come out for the actual meal and will eat it quickly and then go back. It’s funny to see how fussy my niece is about food, cause her mother was one real fussy eater until her 20s!! Like mom, like daughter!

When we have family get togethers it’s usually a noisy, unfocussed & fun affair. Drinks will be part of it and there’s a lot of jokes being bandied about and private conversations between 2 or 3 people going on in separate corners. Food is plentiful and plates being passed around and usually a small kid will come crying in and then it’s a group effort to pacify it, with only the parent being genuine; the others are just vague attempts with some humour thrown in. The percentage of humour increases if there is alcohol consumed and increases even more as the number of drinks increase. Towards the end is the usual goodbyes and promises of meeting real soon and the hurrying into vehicles.

98% of the time it’s just me, my mom & dad in our little apartment. Mom calls for dinner, I come in, sit at my usual seat at the table. If there is a football match on or if I want to watch a movie, I’m usually on the sofa near the tv and my folks are at the dining table. We eat usually in silence unless either one of us has some news to pass on. I finish my dinner, keep my plate in the sink, wash my hands & mouth and then head on back to the tv or my room.

Powered by Plinky

Cause The Place Feels Still Alive

When The Smoke Is Going Down by Scorpions

Back in 1987-88 I & my sister spent a lot of evenings in Kacheripady in my mom’s eldest brother’s house. I would also spend some summer days at their house along with some of my other cousins. My eldest cousin brother Satish had some amazing rock band music collection. Mostly greatest hits & compilations of many of the bands like the Beatles, CCR, Neil Young and the Scorpions. I became a huge fan of the scorpions when I was 12 years old and to this day I love this band.

The Hangover

From the time that the movie came out, The Hangover has been claimed to be a great film, a great comedy and one of the most funniest films of the decade. Most people I knew who watched it raved about it. It was all over the internet. I even know of a few people here who don’t watch many English language/Hollywood movies at all – and even they loved it a lot. I dunno why I never got round to seeing it till this afternoon but I can’t understand what all the fuss was about. I didn’t find it to be that great!

Ok I didn’t say it wasn’t a good film or that it isn’t funny. It is funny but not that funny. Maybe I built it to be so much based on the hype but I wasn’t that impressed with the film. I have seen a lot better. It’s a good film and I would recommend that you watch it but ….. you get the idea! Here are some points on the movie:

  • Guys on a drinking trip, in Las Vegas, things going wrong – its a formula that will always work. Nothing like a guy bonding film to attract the young crowd.
  • Las Vegas is the ultimate party town – if you have the money. And if you want to get married!
  • The Mike Tyson cameo was a great idea and it worked.
  • Heather Graham looks lovely in her small role. I have missed watching her in movies.
  • I don’t like Zack Galifianakis – he just puts me off. But I can’t believe that he is ‘Davis’ from tv’s Tru Calling! I liked that show a lot and it seems like such a long time ago that I had seen it. He was better in that series.
  • The tiger in the bathroom angle seems to be a concept borrowed from Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.
  • The movie makes good use of the music.
  • I think Ed Helms as “Stu” was the best thing about the movie.
  • Who is this hottie Alexandra ‘Sasha’ Baresse? Growl!
  • I really liked the photo slide show thingy at the end of the movie, which shows exactly what the 4 guys did on the night!

Overall I’d give the movie a 7 outta 10! I don’t see myself watching this movie many times over the years.

    Changing Place Names In India

    Why change the names of Indian cities & states now, many many years post independence? This ofcourse after the recent renaming of the state of West Bengal to Paschim Banga (which is the literal translation to Bengali).

    The first flurry of renaming cities & places from more “Anglicized” names was back in 1995-96, almost 50 years post Independence. During this period Bombay became Mumbai & Madras became Chennai. My hometown of Cochin (a name I love so much) changed it’s name to Kochi, but a lot of us still call her Cochin. The capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum became Thiruvananthapuram – a name which on use borders on oral abuse in 1991. Other cities – Quilon to Kollam, Calicut to Kozhikode. In most cities in Kerala it was a case of making the name of the city in the local language of Malayalam official. In 2001 the capital of West Bengal, Calcutta was renamed Kolkata.

    If we had the balls, we should have renamed them on Aug 15th 1947 right in the face of the British who were leaving. Instead we waited like sissy fucking pansies for 50+ years and then started renaming & Indianizing the places! Bangalore = hip, sexy, trendy, Bengaluru = sounds like a bitter vegetable; Bombay = fun sounding became Mumbai = a down on her luck 50+ year old prostitute; Calcutta became something you say as you swallow something nasty in taste = Kolkatta. Now morons want to call West Bengal Paschim Banga or Bongo or Pogo!!!!! There are also proposals in place for renaming Mangalore to Mangaluru, Patna to it’s ancient name of Pataliputra, Mysore to Mysooru, Hyderabad to Bhagyanagaram, Delhi to Indraprastha & Ahmedabad to Karnavati. Where will this end?

    And why is it so important to do this? Don’t the state governments have better things to worry about? The biggest item on their agenda is to change the name???

    Stargate Universe : Episode 29 “Visitation”

    We start the episode with Brody fixing his still and Morrison, Lt.James & some other crew listening, only semi-interested to Dr. Rush’s discussion on the pattern of the background radiation. The ship comes out of FTL near two planets & just as Col. Young asks for a report from Volker, the lost shuttle appears out of nowhere. Robert Caine, one of the crew who opted to stay back on the artificial planet in another galaxy, calls over on the comm which further confuses the crew of the Destiny. Rush is curious as to how their shuttle could have made it this far, not being space-worthy let alone capable of such speeds. But here is Caine along with the other 7 who opted to stay back on that planet. The crew is also baffled as to how the advanced aliens who built that planet knew where the Destiny would be and when they would drop out of FTL to bring their people back to them.

    Pleased at getting a working shuttle back, Col Young asks that the 8 people be brought on board but to take every precaution. TJ wants to meet up with them to see if they have a baby with them (she had earlier had a vision that her baby was with the 8 crew members). She fights back the tears after she sees no sign of the baby, composing herself when Young asks if she’s alright, then quickly leaves. Meanwhile Chloe’s condition is progressing along and there is a new patch of alien skin growing on her arm. Scot wants her to fight it even though she believes that it is too late. Later Greer discusses with Chloe that she may be killed if she changes completely to the blue alien. He offers an apology to her while he still can and they say goodbye. Chloe records a farewell message to Scott, telling him that she loves him and wishes they could have done everything a normal couple would have.

    Eli, Camile & Young interview the 8 civilians who only remember going to sleep inside the shuttle, which they were using for shelter from the winter, and woke up just when the shuttle appeared near Destiny. Caine believes that God brought them there.  After recording the interviews with each individual, Wray & Young discuss about them. Wray feels that their memories were tampered with in an effort to hide something. Later when Eli talks with Val on her memory on the planet, blood pours from her eyes and mouth and she collapses. She later dies in the infirmary. On using hynosis on Peter, one of the 8, Wray finds out that Val & Peter both suffered deaths on the planet but reappeared here and are dying again. Peter died from dehydration and hypothermia (freezing to death), Val from bleeding as hit by a blunt object (hit by a falling tree). The others save from Caine are also suffering the symptoms of freezing.

    Finally Caine is the only one left alive but he knows that he too will die again. In a recording on a Kino, we see Caine in the shuttle on the planet praying after the other have died and a bright light suddenly blocks out the picture. TJ surmises that the aliens may have sent them back to say goodbye.

    Fights Like Cats Not Pussies

    When I was a young preteen a wonderful new cartoon was shown on the Kuwaiti tv channel. This must have been in 1986 and I was 10 years old. Thundercats was all the rage in school after the first episode was shown. It remains a big memory from my childhood years as one of the coolest cartoons.

    Now I come to know that they have come up with a new show based on the original. Trailer seems good. They are on the loose and on the move.

    Newly Promoted Club – Queens Park Rangers

    For the 2011-12 English Premier League season, like in previous years we have 3 newly promoted sides who came up from the second division below the Premier League; Queens Park Rangers FC was promoted on virtue of being crowned champions of the Football League Championship for 2010-11 season. They have the honour of playing in the top division for the first time in 15 years.

    QPR  is a London football club, based in Shepherd’s Bush,Hammersmith and Fulham, west London and they play in the Lotus Road stadium. The club has been managed by Neil Warnock since March 2010 and the current chairman of the club is Gianni Paladini. When you look at the squad you won’t see any big name players with the sole exception of English & former Newcastler midfielder Kieron Dyer.

    After a number of years of financial difficulties which included a period in financial administration, QPR was bought by Formula One tycoons and multi-millionaires Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore in a ÂŁ14 million takeover in August 2007 and then the Mittal family purchased a 33% stake from Briatore.  On 18th August 2011, Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes was unveiled as the majority shareholder after having bought out Ecclestone’s 66% stake in the club for a rumoured fee of around ?35 million, while the Mittal Family retaines their 33% stake.

    Musicians Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode and Recoil, Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, Mick Jones of punk band The Clash, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Robert Smithof The Cure, Pete Doherty, of The Libertines and Babyshambles are all fans of the club. Let’s see how well the club does at the top level in England.

    What I’d Name My Own Clothing Line

    My own clothing line – well I do have very bad cloth sense. At this current juncture I like comfort instead of style and therefore am not at all fashion conscious. I would have a line of shirts & pants for men & women's clothing that will stress on comfort factor rather than trendy styles that don't last longer than a season.

    And it will be called Second Skin – cause that's what I would want you to feel it is like. Comfortable, natural and hassle free. Almost like being in the nude but yes it offers the protection of cloth. But feel free and move around easily. Second skin – it's to die for!

    Powered by Plinky

    The Perfect Host

    The Perfect Host is a dark comedy which pits the acting abilities of the two main actors, David Hyde Pierce & Clayne Crawford. The latter plays John Taylor, a criminal & thief who has just robbed a bank of $300,000 with the aid of a bank teller who is also his girlfriend. However he gets his foot injured & cut in the process and is trying to hid from getting caught. An attempt to buy disinfectant from a store is thwarted when the store is robbed at gunpoint and his bottle is broken. As the cops announce his name, description, car make & whereabouts on the radio, a tired & hurt John needs a place to hide. He tries to get into a house by pretending to be a fellow Jehovah’s Witness but is found wanting. He then raids the next door neighbour’s postbox and finds a postcard from a “Julia” in Australia to the owner of the house, Warrick.

    Pretending to be a friend of Julia, who was with her in Australia, John cooks up a story of having lost his luggage and then getting mugged and unable to contact his cousin who lives in LA. He needs a place to stay and since Julia mentioned Warrick can he come in and call his cousin and spend sometime recuperating in his big house? Warrick is too much of a gentleman to shun John, even if he is expecting guests for a dinner of roasted duck & veggies. He invites John in and gives him wine to drink. As the awkward small talk proceeds, John manages to chug a lot of the red wine that Warrick serves. The radio announces that the cops are still looking for John Taylor and a babbling Warrick realizes who his unannounced guest really is. Threatening, hitting & bullying Warrick with a knife, John plans to relax and orders his host to call his friends & cancel the dinner party. However the wine affects him and he soon drops off. That’s when the real Warrick steps in.

    We find our perfect host is a rambling maniacal pyschopath. He ties up and tortures John completely turning the tables on him. His dinner party is filled with imaginary guests & friends who he has conversations with and he truly is the perfect host. Warrick also has a dark hobby; he ties up his prey and takes photos of them in various stages. He even drugs John and dances with him in an imaginary conga line; in reality it is just the two of them but in Warrick’s head there’s a house full of guests. Warrick even has imaginary sex with one of his friends! Warrick’s nosy neighbour, the Jehovah’s Witness, is suspicious but our dear host convinces her that he just has a too drunk friend who returned from a costume party and needs to sleep it off. This is where the movie looses it’s grip.

    Turns out that the injuries & cuts that John has suffered throughout the night at the house is superficial and solely for the perverted pleasure of Warrick and his photo collection. The next morning John wakes up outside in the dumpster and is seen by the neighbour who reports it to the cops. John goes to find his girlfriend who is making off with the cash without her boyfriend. We also find that Warrick is actually a police Lieutenant and is trying to catch the thieves of the bank heist. John makes off with the cash leaving his cheating girlfriend to be caught by two cops while Warrick catches up with John. He takes the bag of cash from John but still gives him some money and tells him to head for Mexico, apparently having become fond of his “victim”.

    We also see flashbacks of the bank robbery and the reasons for John wanting to steal the cash – his girlfriend is sick and needs the money for treatment. The case is closed as the cop can’t find John but two months later, one of the detectives find an envelope sent to him with a Mexican postcard and a Polaroid of Warrick and John and he confronts the Lt on it. Warrick tells the detective that it must be a forged one, despite the detective knowing that Polaroids cannot be forged. Despite this Warrick tells him to come over to his home for a dinner party and search his house to quench his curiosity – and we are left with the perfect host waking away home to prepare for his next victim!

    Too many plot twists spoil this movie which does have David Hyde Pierce’s brilliant manic acting. He goes all out in this role, thrusting himself into a maniacal, scary and demented mind with just enough humour to balance it out. His skills are still not enough to make this movie a success however! The rest of the cast just can’t keep up in this indie flick. And the script does not do the film much favour. I’d give it a 6 outta 10.

    Fabregas; Good Riddance

    As news of the transfer of former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas from the London side to Catalan giants Barcelona FC dies down and the player made his debut for his home side in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup, which Barca won, we Arsenal fans are left with a bitter taste in the mouth.

    The deal, worth $42 million or 34 million Euros, should have happened atleast 1 or 2 years ago. Forget the fact that this transfer was done so late, right at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, leaving Arsenal with little time to trade for & integrate new quality players into the squad. Did you see Fabregas playing for the Gunner the last two years? He was only half into the games, looking a lot like a player who does not want to be with his side. This was especially evident last year in the few games that he did play.

    If a player does not want to be there and is courted by another club, in this case Fabregas’s home club of Barcelona, there is no point in keeping him unless you can convince him that here is where he belongs. Arsene Wenger clearly did not achieve that and his squad’s captain looked like a guest player who didn’t want to be at his club. That is the worst thing that a player can do, especially one who has become a world famous star with the club’s help.

    Fabregas was part of the Barcelona youth system and was signed on by Arsenal at the age of 16. Admittedly he was already well molded by that age but his blossoming into one of the best attacking midfielders of the current age was done at Arsenal & he was treated like royalty over there. Wenger had a lot to do with that and Fabregas should have been more grateful. Sure he has stated that he has nothing but praise for Arsenal; he didn’t play like he belonged to them for the better part of the last two seasons! He should have given it a lot more and I’m glad that he is gone.

    Arsene – I implore you! Please go and buy some good quality players even if it’s a short term gain. The squad looks lean.

    If I Could Make an Appearance on Any TV Show

    A guest appearance on a tv show? if it can only be current shows, the only one that I am interested in appearing now, where it can be an interesting angle, will be Sanctuary. I dunno how many of you watch Sanctuary but it is a very interesting Scifi show, albeit shot mostly in green screen which does admittedly take away some of the shine from the episodes.However I do like the show and the characters & they do seem to be doing something correct as they are the only scifi show in recent years that hasn’t been cancelled.

    Sanctuary, which has been renewed for a 4th season of 13 episodes – seasons 1 & 2 were 13 episodes while season 3, which I am currently watching, was 20 episodes – relies on the interactions between a solid cast (Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne, Agam Darshi, Ryan Robbins & Christopher Heyerdahl) and lots of special effects to showcase the various creatures or abnormal humans that the Sanctuary team must hunt and in some cases protect. The creatures & humans mostly have some special powers that lead them to be dangerous or valuable and in some cases both.

    So I would want to be a human with some special powers who will have a 3 or 4 episode arc and who is hunted for his powers that a criminal group want to utilize for their benefit & profit. I am contacted by the Sanctuary team who offer to help me and protect me from the bad guys. At the end of the 4 episode arc, I am killed while protecting innocents. That would be cool.

    Powered by Plinky

    Late Night Ventures

    I am even more tired that before. My work shift timings have changed yet again and this time it is for a UK process and hence we stick to a 4pm to 12:30 am (IST) time slot. I’ve been doing this shift from Friday onwards. Unfortunately because of the distance, I have a tough time getting back home. After 10pm we have intermittent state run bus services that are usually packed at these times. I leave at 12:30 and within 15 minutes I get a bus to Angamaly bus stand and wait for around 15-20 minutes more for a bus that will take me to Ernakulam town. I usually reach Kacheripady by 1:30 am and walk home (another 5-6 minutes).

    Once I reach home, I’m tired and weary and wash my face, hands & feet and that wipes away traces of any sleep that I have. I lie down in bed and watch something for about an hour or so (I find Corner Gas episodes to be great at this time of the day). Sleep slowly reaches back and grabs hold of me and I switch off the lights and go to sleep for 6 hours. This is not a great way to spend one’s day and it will also take a toll on me. As it is I have been having health issues and now these timings are making it even worse. There’s nothing that I can do about changing the timings at the moment and I will have to grin and bear it for a while, until either something better happens in the office here or I get another job. I may have to just looking at the affects on my health.

    RIP Rick Rypien

    Former Vancouver Canuck player Rick Rypien, who had signed a 1 year $700,000 contract with the Winnipeg Jets during the off season, was found dead in his home. He was only 27 years old. Rypien’s death in Alberta, Canada, yesterday isn’t being treated as suspicious, the Associated Press said, citing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police official it didn’t identify. It looked like a suicide.

    Prior to joining the Jets, Rypien, the cousin of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, spent parts of six seasons in the Canucks organization, though personal issues had plagued part of his time in Vancouver. Rypien, the cousin of former National Football League quarterback Mark Rypien, is the second NHL player to die during the offseason. New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard was found dead at his Minneapolis home on May 12. The 28-year-old Boogaard died from an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.

    The native of Coleman, Alta., made headlines last October when he pushed a Minnesota Wild fan after leaving the ice following a fight during a game in St. Paul. Rypien was handed a six-game suspension and later apologized for the incident.

    Rypien had just one assist in nine games with the Vancouver Canucks last season after leaving the team because of personal issues but later returned with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. It was the second time in three years Rypien left the team to deal with undisclosed personal matters.

    Rick Rypien (May 16, 1984 – August 15, 2011)  Rest In Peace

    What I Like To Debate

    I love a good friendly debate. I've had a few over the years. One of the most enjoyable ones I remember were on religion, gods & Atheism. Back when I was 19 and living in a hostel in Bangalore, me and a senior called Gautham were debating religion with around 8 believers and it went on for 4 long hours. It was never too heated but very intellectual and enjoyable that we all forgot about the dinner hours and missed our food. We had to get special permission to go out for dinner past the weekday curfew hour of 9pm.

    Several of my debates have been about religion & Atheism and while in Calicut back in 2002, 3 of us atheists in the office that I worked in would get together for an hour or so after our training for the job ended for the day and we'd wax philosophical about the state of Indians with regards to religion & god. This used to bring us the attention of the rest of the people at the office and although they never joined in the debates, we almost always had an audience.

    I love long discussions about football and the shape of the teams in the EPL, Italian, Spanish & German leagues. Calicut is a football crazy town and most of my friends there watched a lot of football and we would spend hours past the matches debating about the teams, players and the results. Those were some really enjoyable times. I also liked debates on life that we used to have on the beach in Calicut.

    I rarely get the chance to do so but if I do find a couple of people who are as Star Trek, Stargate or any scifi crazy as myself, I'd love to debate on the various themes in these movies/series. I could go on & on on about Star Trek and would love to find more Trekkies in my area. I would have enjoyable afternoons or evenings with some coffee and chatting about the show.

    I stay away from politics but there are times when I have been dragged into such debates. Usually I prefer if it is to some recently raised event that I know about and have read enough about it so that I can offer my 2 cents worth of words.

    Powered by Plinky

    McKay’s Second Childhood

    The Shrine is the 6th episode of the 5th & final season of Stargate : Atlantis. This is one of the standout episodes of this highly enjoyable tv series and of the Stargate franchise in total. The reason is the premise and the acting ability of one Mr. David Hewlett who plays the role of Dr. Rodney McKay, one of the main characters of the series around whom the episode revolves. During a mission, Lt. Col. John Sheppard’s team step through the gate to go to a planet where another team is supposed to be studying the effects of global warming, only to be soaked completely as the valley where the gate on that planet is stationed is flooded. During the 38 minutes it takes for them to be rescued McKay, who was already feeling a bit feverish, gets infected by a parasite that wraps itself in his brain. Initially he doesn’t seem to be suffering but soon the effects of the parasite suppressing that part of his brain start appearing; the effects are similar to that of Alzheimer’s.

    What happens next is brilliant acting; a normally brilliant genius, arrogant & sarcastic (funny to viewers) begins to soon have trouble remembering stuff and his memories deteriorates to the point where McKay is virtually unable to function. His speech is slow and he becomes almost childlike. This effect is hard on his friends in Atlantis and especially to his sister Jeannie who is brought to visit him and has to rush out in tears within a few minutes. There is no medical cure except for a shrine in another planet, where the enemy Wraith have also landed; a shrine which they soon find has radiation properties that suppress the parasite and it shrinks itself, making it operable on and Dr. Keller is able to remove it from McKay’s brain.

    Back to the acting, Hewlett does a great job of completely reversing his role from the character we have come & know for the past 4 seasons and to see him disabled in this manner is awe-inspiring. This episode is also about friendships – McKay tells Keller that he loves her and wants to do so before he forgets. Also the friendship between Lt. Col. Sheppard & Rodney – the scene where an infected mcKay runs scared to John’s quarters, frightened when he woke up in the night. John & Rodney go to drink beer by the peer and McKay chooses to say goodbye now before his condition worsens and he can’t remember anything but Sheppard is having none of it, saying that there is still time . McKay is touched but says “You’re a good friend Arthur”! Sheppard glances to see that McKay is joking and the two have a laugh about it.

    Awesome episode, worth watching even if you did not like the series.