Saturday Chat

I went for a long day out with my cousin Sujith. We hadn’t seen each other for around 6 months so it was high time we had a get together for some good food, drinks and a long chat/discussion. We arranged to meet today at around 11:15 at Fort Cafe for some coffee. I reached first and waited as he made it through a bad traffic block and we then went into the cafe. We both ordered Butterscotch coffees, he has a mozzarella sandwich while I had a beef burger.

We sat there and chatted for almost 2 hours and then left to go get my new pair of glasses from Lens n’ Frames. I wanted to try a different style of frame but decided finally to go for the one that I am used to. I think it’s still a good pair.


The beef burger wasn’t as good as I remember. It had been a good 7 to 8 months since I had a burger from here but I remember it as being as juice & delicious. This one was dry as dust and the bun was crumbling badly. I think they either have new personnel in the kitchen or their standards have fallen badly. Sujith’s sandwich looked smaller than the ones we have had before too.

Can’t complain about the coffees, they were very good and refreshing. We enjoyed them and Sujith had another one too as he was really disappointed in his sandwich. Much later we went to have a few vodkas (with ice & 7up) and some late late lunch & continuing our very long talk. By the time we were done it was 5:30 pm ~ good golly Miss Molly, where did the time go? It was fun.

Beer Types ‚Äď Scotch Ale

Scotch Ale was first used as a designation for strong ales exported from¬†Edinburgh¬†in the 18th century. The term has become popular in the USA, where strong ales which may be available in Scotland under a different name are sold in America as “Scotch Ale”.¬†As with other examples of strong ales, such as¬†Barley wine, these beers tend toward sweetness and a full body. Examples from the Caledonian brewery would have toffee notes from the caramelizing of the malt from the direct fired copper. This caramelizing of Caledonian’s beers is popular in America and has led many American brewers to produce strong toffee sweet beers which they label as a Scotch Ale.

Scotch Ale or Whiskey Ale is a designation used by brewers in France and Belgium for peat-smoked malt flavoured beers. Even though the malt used by distillers in Scotland is no longer dried by peat burning, some peat smoke flavour is added during malting by an additional process.Although recent research from brewing historian Ron Pattinson shows a lack of evidence for peat smoked malt being used by any Scottish breweries, American craft brewers often add peat smoked malt in their versions of Scotch ale. These malts are occasionally used in beers where the peat smoke flavour is reminiscent of whisky.

also known as “Wee Heavy.” In the 19th century Scotland, they’d also be known as 160/-, a nomenclature based on the now obsolete shilling currency. Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown in colored brew and are best served in a thistle glass.

Examples are the scotch ales from Samuel Adams, McEwan’s, Simple Malt & McAuslan (pictured above). Food pairings that go best with a scotch ale are roast pork, smoked salmon,¬†or lamb and other grilled meat.

It’s Not Your Fate

Fate is the lazy person’s cheat and cop out. It’s the cowards way out. Things not going your way? “It’s my fate!” or the “Fates are against me”. Your life is a result of your experiences, the chances you take and other “earthly” factors that can be positive or negative for you. In some cases an event/incident can be positive to you but negative for someone else. Your life is not decided for you; you can choose to believe that and you will never make a difference to yourself. Or you can say “fuck that shit” and make things for for you and if you can get help in doing it, all the better.

If you are one who believes that you have a set path laid out for you and if it is a good one, by all means stay on it. If you are satisfied that is. If not, stray from the path and see what changes you can make in your life. The stars have nothing to do with your future. They are just balls of gases in the vastness of space, like our own sun. They give off light, energy and have a gravitational effect on planetary and other bodies that revolve around them. Similarly no angels, fairy godmothers or celestial beings can influence your life path. It is you who makes that decision and it is you who must deal with the consequences.

In closing I would say that free will is the greatest & most precious thing we can utilize as individuals. Let’s not easily dismiss it or chuck it as the power of some imaginary deity. And to quote Rush:

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose freewill

The Walking Dead – Season 1

Based on a comic book series of the same name, The Walking Dead is a post apocalyptic zombie horror tv series developed for tv by Frank Darabont (he directed the films The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist, all based on stories by Stephen King).  The highly successful series focuses on a group of survivors who band together to get through the Atlanta metropolitan area and into the surrounding woods. They have to survive on whatever food & water they can find and avoid the scourge of predatory zombies who will attack and kill anything living.

Rick Grimes, a deputy sheriff wakes up in a bed in an abandoned hospital weeks after he was shot and went into a coma while apprehending suspects in car. The pilot sees him waking up & finding himself in a world overrun by the zombies, called ‘Walkers’, shuffling around aimlessly until they see a living creature and then attack it en-mass. He makes his way home and finds his house deserted just like the streets and his wife & son missing. Rick makes his way to Atlanta on the rumours of a group of survivors from a black man & his son who take him in for a little while and feed him. A few miles outside the city his wife Lori and young son Carl are hiding with Rick’s best friend and fellow cop Shane and a small group of other survivors.

On reaching Atlanta Rick is surrounded by a horde of zombies and takes shelter in an army tank and helped/guided out by a young man Glenn and they meet up with a handful of humans who are holed up in a department store looking for supplies.¬† Glenn and Rick attracted the attention of the walkers and the group has to rush away, leaving behind an antagonist racist, Merle, who was handcuffed to a pipe to keep him restrained. Using the sewers they make their way out while the zombies rush in, and escape in a truck while Glenn takes a red sport car. When they reach the survivors camp, Rick is reunited with his wife & son but tension mounts as Shane believeing Rick to be dead had said the same to Lori and the two had begun a secret affair. Lori is furious with Shane but doesn’t want anyone else to know of the affair. When Merle’s younger brother Daryl comes back from a hunt, he lashes out at the group for leaving his brother back. Rick leads some of the men back to go get his bag of guns, a radio and Merle.

At the city the four men run into a Latino group who also were looking for the guns that Rick dropped. Although initially the two groups are antagonistic & suspicious towards each other, they later become friends when they find that the Latinos were supporting & protecting a hidden old age home. Rick gives the leader of the group a few guns & ammo and the group leaves, only to find their truck stolen, most probably by Merle who escaped his cuffs by cutting his hand off. Meanwhile at the camp the rest of the group are having a dinner of fish that sisters Andrea & Amy had caught when their camp is attacked by zombies. Several including Amy are killed, with a sobbing Andrea holding her dying baby sister in her arms throughout the night. Andrea stays with her sister until Amy revives as a zombie, when Andrea shoots her in the head (the only way to kill a walker). One of the survivors, Jim, was also bitten and he develops a fever and is restricted to the back of a trailer truck. Rick decides that their best bet is to make it to the CDC facility in Georgia but one family decides to part ways with the rest of the group, choosing to try and find some of their relatives.

At the CDC building, sole survivor a scientist named Jenner notes that it has been 194 days since the outbreak and he is the only one still working on a cure. His samples are however destroyed when decontaminated. The group minus Jim, who wanted to die alone, makes their way to the CDC facility which is surrounded and plead their way inside. Jenner tells them that once inside there is no way out. He piles them with vine and good food which the grateful survivor gratefully eat. He takes them to quarters where they can take showers and sleep on proper beds. Jenner talks to them telling of how he came¬† to be the sole CDC staff still working when other slowly left. The next morning he shows them a test subject’s brain on an MRI video on a time laspe and how when the subject becomes infected with the zombie virus, their brain activity is all but gone save a few basic urges. Jenner then reveals that the facility will run out of power in about an hour, at which time automatic decontamination procedures will commence.

When the power runs out decontamination procedures will burn the air and explode the building ensuring that no diseases escape out. The group is trapped but they are finally able to break a front window with a grenade. Jenner an instant and painless death to everyone inside but only Jacqui and Andrea choose to remain. Andrea is forced to come out by Dale, a father figure who refuses to leave without her. The building explodes and the facility is destroyed with Jenner & Jacqui in it. As the episode & short first season, just 6 episodes, ends the group heads out again.

Great cast, acting is awesome, great character development and plots. A must watch for all zombie fans.


Ah the dream of a lot of us grown up men in our 30s! No not a wife as cute as Kate Beckinsale, although that is a nice dream as well! But a universal remote control that could control your universe as well! That’s exactly what this movie is about as an overworked architect who neglects his family and misses most of his life when he receives a remote-control device that enables him to skip over unpleasant events. Frank Coraci directed this movie written by  Mark O’Keefe and Steve Koren and starring Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, sean Astin, David Hasselhoff & Henry Winkler.

So Michael Newman (Sandler) is our overworked architect who readily sacrifices family time to work in order to be able to give the a good life to his wife Donna (Beckinsale) and two kids Sam & Ben. His overbearing boss Mr. Ammer (Hasselhoff) makes him work extra while dangling the possibility of making partner in his firm. One night Michael goes nuts over the number of remote controls in his house and goes to buy a universal remote at a huge store where he meets a mad scientist kinda looking clerk named Morty (Walken) who gives him the remote control but warms him that it can never be returned. To Michael’s initial shock he finds that the remote can control time!

Mike uses it to skip fights with Donna, go forward until he rids himself of a cold, and skip a family dinner to work. Morty tells him that while skipping an event his body is on auto-pilot, only his mind skips time. Mike skips ahead a few months to when he gets promoted to partner with Ammer but finds that he has missed a whole year of his life. He also finds out that he is in marriage counseling and missed the death of his dog, which he is quite sad about. He then sees that the remote is programming itself to his previous commands and finds that the remote fast forwards without him controlling it. During a conversation with Ammer Michael reveals that he wants to be CEO of the company and the remote fast forwards 10 years in the future to 2017 when an older Michael is CEO but he is also obese, lives alone, divorced from Donna and his kids don’t talk to him! He goes to see his old house and fights with Donna on seeing her new boyfriend and ends up knocked out by the new dog.

The remote fast  forwards another 6 years and he is in the hospital; Donna reveals he has cancer and also subsequently suffered a heart attack as he ate so prolifically during chemo (as his body was on auto pilot). Michael is no longer obese thanks to liposuction, Donna has re-married Ben’s old swim coach, Bill, and Ben has gone into his father’s line of work. When Mike goes to see Ben, he learns of his father’s death and cries over not being there for his last moments on earth. Michael uses the remote to view the last time they spoke. While on auto-pilot, Michael angrily rejected Ted’s offer for a night out with him and Ben. Morty, who reveals himself to be the angel of death agrees to show Michael a happy time and fast forwards a few more years to Ben’s wedding. There however he suffers a second heart attack when he hears Samantha call Bill “dad” and is rushed to the hospital. Michael’s family arrives and Ben reveals that he has cancelled his honeymoon in order to work on an important deal that will keep his business going. Not wanting Ben to make the same mistakes as he did, Mike rushes after Ben and collapses. He manages to convince Ben that family comes first and tells his family that he loves them. Morty arrives to take Ben away and he closes his eyes. A white light flashes – and Michael wakes up to the present time! He was asleep in the store where he had gone to buy the remote!

Was it all a dream? Believing it to be so and a life lesson, he happily rushes to see his dad & mom and tells them that he loves them. Then he goes to spend time with Donna and the kids to celebrate. At home, he sees a note from Morty – which states that Morty knew Michael would do the right thing this time, and realizing he actually experienced the events, he throws the remote in the trash and goes to restart his new life with his family.

Funny in a lot of ways, the latter half is most sad and it made me sad too. I liked this movie a lot. I thought Sandler did a swell job in his role and preferred this to his usual antics. There is still some typical Sandler grossness like when he pauses his boss and farts in his face. LOL! 8 outta 10!

Kids These Days Have Advantages

I think it would be great to be a kid born in recent years. The kids these days have it so much more easier and better than we, that’s my generation, ever had. But isn’t that true for each generation? What I see is that the kids these days seem to be more clever and more in tune with what’s happening around them. It’s just the way things are setup for them. Don’t you think it would have been great to have high speed internet at your fingertips when you were a kid? Think of all that time spent in books and encyclopedias and dictionaries when you could have easily done your tasks and researches on your laptop if u had one as a kid. That would have blown my mind as a kid.

Being able to watch my fav tv shows an stuff online in the comfort of my own room when I was a kid. No fighting for the remote cause you want to watch Star Trek, while sis wants to watch a dance program, dad wants to watch the news and mom wants to watch a soap serial! That would have been great to be able to have. Catching up on sports scores & news as a kid would have been really great. I had to wait for the weekly sports magazine that I subscribed to from the ages of 12 to 16. Also all that music. The late 80s and early 90s were a great time for music in general and I would have love to catch up with my favourite rock bands online and watch their music videos and live clips online. I never dreamed of a home computer, a laptop or an mp3 player during my childhood!

I never even thought about cellular phones until the mid 90s when I started noticing them on tv shows or movies. I was 20-21 when cell phones were launched in India and at that time only rich businessmen and highly paid executives could afford to own one. The outgoing & incoming call rates were expensive. I could afford to get a pager for work but not a phone. It would take me until the age of 27 (2003) to get a cell phone because of work & money issues. Kids these days are getting phones at the ages of 7 or 8 and are experts at it by 10! They use ebook readers, tablets, laptops and smartphones and listen to music on the go. Can anyone of us in our 30s & 40s say that we even dreamed it to be possible?

Kids have it so good these days. They have so many advantages. Well atleast their cartoons suck! Big time. We had such wonderful cartoons on tv that will always resonate within our hearts but the cartoons these day ~ :P HOLY SHIT!

The Other Side – Cathy Richardson & The Macrodots

Grammy Award Nominee and four-time DIY Music Award-winner Cathy Richardson is a Chicago based singer who hit & conquered the local scene before Cathy made headlines being cast as Janis Joplin in the Off Broadway hit Love, Janis. She later toured the US with Big Brother and the Holding Co. and in 2008 became the lead singer for psychedelic rock originators, Jefferson Starship (with founding member Paul Kantner). A strong female vocalist, she then started the Macrodots with San Francisco guitarist/producer Zack Smith. Their debut album is called The Other Side.

The opening & title track sees Richardson going for the jugular with her killer vocals as she hits us full throttle. Musically the song, The Other Side, reminds me of a bit of Garbage – with balls. I really like the rhythm section on this track. The second track, Beautiful Girl, is a bit more ballad-y without being corny. A nice distorted guitar solo just adds to the feeling of longing in the song. Cathy has a voice that most female singers, and quite a few male singers, would sell their souls for. Everything Is All I Want is that obsessive, passionate lover kinda number yet cheerful & almost celebratory. Not Too Late is the hopeful kind of advice seemingly targeted to a saddened and depressed individual. The music itself has some uplifting elements to it. I love the drummers’ fills in this song.

A bit in your face and, dare I say, Piece Of Me reminds me of 60’s blues rock a lot like some of Kula Shaker’s stuff. Todd Kerns fans would find this particular track reminiscent of a couple of songs from his 2004 solo album Go Time. The dreamy I Am sees Cathy stretch her magnificent vocal in the chorus, where the music shifts intensity. The guitars & keyboards rule on this track. Every Time reminds me a bit of something Tori Amos would do if she stood up and rocked a bit more. If I Could sees Cathy singing her socks off in this vocal showcase of what a woman with the right set of pipes can do for rock. This is the ballad that could launch the band to the limelight. Richardson could literally kick the pants of any popstar wannabe female singer across the planet on the strength of this one track. Yes they are that powerful & awesome.

A bit more in your face is Kiss My Ass a blatant fuck-you to the antagonist target of the singer’s ire. The whole band lock in as one unit behind this track to deliver a strong punchy track. Raunchy Rock And Roll Part II with it’s killer riff¬† is that rocker anthemn that we can all relate to. I can just about picture it being played live in front of a massive fist pumping & headbanging crowd, who appreciate the ballsy guitar solo and lusty vocals. The lost woman’s lament in Save Me is a smoke filled bar ballad that will resonate with most people who need that helping hand. Once again, Cathy’s voice is awesome and will fill your home even if the volume is kept low when you play this track. Thus ends a truly wonderful rock album.

Without having to resort to cutesy, sexy barbie doll type stuff or hysterionics or any of that nonsense that young rocker-wanna gals seem to be doing these days, mature & experienced Cathy does it the way it’s supposed to be. She doesn’t apologize, she doesn’t back down and neither does she tone it down or pretend to be something she isn’t. 100% genuine rocker with balls to spare and a voice that could knock the wind outta you. Awesome and worth spending many hours just to appreciate the songs. A must buy for those of you who like rock n’roll and want to listen to what a lady rocker should sound like.

New Beer : Kingfisher Ultra

Yesterday I went to have a beer during lunch and went to Veocity pub. I asked what beer they had and was hoping for a Carlsberg or try out the Budweiser if they had any. They didn’t have either but the waiter recommended a new beer that they started serving just a month ago. Considering that I haven’t had a beer or anything else for a month or so, that explains why I haven’t heard/seen it. So I said ok, bring me that.

Wasn’t much different from any of the usual stuff that we get. 5% macro bland stuff. It was also ruined a bit because it wasn’t cold enough. Drinking these beers unless it is ice cold is not that great. Nothing great to talk about it. It’s pretty bland but I’m sure that I would have enjoyed it better had it been nice & cold instead of being just slightly chilled.

Coffee Shop Noise Maker

I hadn’t been out for some coffee & good food in a while. That had to change today and by golly I was planning to relax today. I had to go the bank and to meet a consultant and the plan was to stop for coffee and a bite in between. I chose to go to Fort Cafe out on Convent Junction and armed with a book I set forth. The bank thing took me very few minutes to settle and I went to the cafe, chose my favourite table, sit down and ordered a Mozzarella chicken sandwich and a cold coffee chocolate. I wanted some ice cold water to drink first as it’s been quite a hot day, as the last few have been, and I was parched. So there I was sipping my ice cold water and reading my book and waiting for my coffee & sandwich to arrive.

I was all alone in the cafe and the servers got me my coffee first and the sandwich followed close behind. I set the book aside long enough to smell the sweet bouquet of the coffee and the mozzarella chicken sandwich and proceed to take a big bite out of the sandwich. As I sat and chewed and read, a family came in. At first only the dad and daughter came in and they ordered the same sandwiches as mine and mocktails. The mother and other daughter went back to their shopping and they would return later. Both daughters would be in their late teens. Unfortunately for me they took the table right next to mind. They were noisy as hell and annoyingly so. They spoke in Telugu I think, I recognized a few words, and they were doing it loudly and standing way too close to me. When the mom & other daughter went to a clothing store next door, the daughter who sat in the cafe proceeded to talk my ears off!

Seriously, she just yakked and yakked and I could understand most of what she was saying cause she used a lot of English words in between. I couldn’t relax and read my book because of her motor mouth. She went into a detailed description of the items on the menu to her dad and then went on to explain that mocktails weren’t with alcohol in them! Apparently one of the parents thought that mocktails were like cocktail drinks with alcohol and she kept rambling on about it. The dad was only half paying attention but the moron was sitting like he owned the place. Arms and legs all over the place, just like it would be if in his living room. I can’t relax when people do that, I wanted to tell him to learn some manners and sit properly. Idiot!

I managed to get my concentration back to my coffee and my book and tried to tune out the blabbing girl next to me, when she started to sing!! Oh lordy, she was singing along with the videos of songs playing on the flat screen. I need to get out of here. And then a ninja came in! No not a real ninja but a fulled veiled muslim lady with two men. One of the men rushed to the counter and asked for two coffees in a parcel! Wait, what? Parceled coffee? He meant in the paper cups and the server understood and served them quickly. I paid for my stuff and then went on my way. I needed beer after all that.

Opportunity Knocks

Dana Carvey is better known for his SNL roles and for being the funny sidekick Garth Algar in the Wayne’s World movies (which was also an SNL skit to begin with). Around the same time that I saw & loved Wayne’s World, I also happened to rent the movie Opportunity Knocks, starring Carvey. This movie came out two years before Wayne’s World, in 1990 and stars Carvey along with Julia Campbell, Todd Graff & Robert Loggia. I remember loving it so much that I would rent it once a month for a year, watching it atleast 3 times each time I rented it.

So Eddie Farrell (Carvey) and Lou Pesquino (Graff) are two con men who go from con to con and without having real jobs or aims in life. In the begining of the movie we see them con a businessman who thinks he ran his car into Lou and he gives him some money, an expensive watch and diamond ring to keep him from suing him. Eddie is also at the scene as a concerned & informative witness. They need to pay off Pinky, who works for local gangster Sal Nichols and try to con tv & stuff from a family only for it to fail and they getting chased by the karate loving kids. They then break into a nice big house and find out that the owner has gone to India and his best friend who was supposed to house sit for him, can’t make it as he got a good business deal elsewhere.

Eddie & Lou take this time to enjoy themselves in the lavish house, with a well stocked fridge. They sell some of the items in the house to get $700 to pay Pinky but when he kicks them out of the bar they were in, the two steal his car. Only thing is, it’s actually Sal’s and he is mighty pissed. The two friends ditch the car which is later ransacked. Sal sends goons to get Eddie & Lou as there’s $60k missing from the car. The two friends run away and split up with Eddie hiding out in the big house. The next morning the owner’s parents, Milt & Mona come to the house and see Eddie, mistaking him to be the friend Jonathan Albertson and they invite him for lunch. Eddie goes along with them, thinking he’ll get to spend some time with the rich family. He also meets their daughter Annie, a doctor. Since Jonathan is supposed to be a financial & marketing whiz, Milt asks him to take a look at his company’s sales charts. Eddie manages to lie his way through and is later asked to join as VP of marketing for the bathroom fittings company, which he accepts.

Eddie decides to run a “love con” on Milt’s daughter and takes advice from his uncle and aunt, with Lou acting as his/Jonathan’s stockbroker. He charms Annie and even manages to make her fall in love with her. He also wins a big contract for the company using his street smarts & cons and endears himself to everyone. However Sal catches up with him and kidnaps Lou for the cash. Eddie steals $180,000 from Milt’s safe to save Lou and then decides to trick the gangster. Using the help of Lou & his aunt & uncle (with the uncle posing as a city council president) they trick Sal into signing a fake contract to demolish a building using Sal’s demolition company and get more than the money Eddie gave Sal as a payoff. Sal blows up the building and is arrested and sent to a long term in prison. Eddie’s uncle, aunt & Lou plan to leave with the money but Eddie refuses to do so. He takes the money he stole from Milt, goes back to them and confesses. He leaves a devastated Annie and her family behind. The son also returns by now.

Milt is also sadden and sees that Eddie returned a gift he was given – an expensive, signed baseball. Days pass and Annie refuses to speak to Eddie but he runs a final con – running into a car driven by his uncle & Lou! A concerned Annie goes to him and forgives him and the two make up. It’s fun, silly, light hearted and worth enjoying many times over. 8 outta 10!

On The Radio – Oh Oh

Sadly no, I don’t listen to the radio anymore. To be honest I wasn’t a big time radio listener. I remember being a kid growing up in Kuwait, my sister would record songs off some program on the radio onto cassette tapes. I dunno or can’t remember how often these shows were but I do remember recording a 1986 New Year special. We recorded all the songs on it and played the tape many, many times over the next few years. We settled in India in 1987 so that would have been the last such major recording we had from Kuwait. All the 1986 hits by artists like Madonna, Sade, Culture Club, Bon Jovi, Europe and Status Quo’s In The Army Now was on that tape.

Remember Tarzan Boy & the original “you spin me right round” song? That was on there too. So back in India we didn’t get cable tv until 1992 (cable tv as a whole entered the Indian market only in 1991) but there weren’t any decent English music channels run in our area. The odd exception was a 1 hour program on Sunday afternoons, which was a pseudo request show – the DJ had a limited set of singles to play from and he would always stick to that list. I remember sending in a request once and my sister & two cousins had also sent in a request for my 15th birthday. All the BBC had this weekly music program that I used to tune in to quite religiously.

Once cable tv came in to the picture and we got MTV & a couple of years later Channel V (this were during the years that these channels still played music videos and live specials) and the channels that showed tv series & movies, any thoughts of a proper radio channel quickly dissipated. For many years I never even entertained the idea of even trying to tune to radio station broadcast. It wasn’t until 2003 and when we got this World Space setup, did I start listening to radio stations. I tuned into classic rock, alternative, current rock, blues, contemporary charts and classical channels for a while. Relaxing with a good book and listening to songs in the background was very welcome, especially when tv channels became crap. Still the radio was only something I listened to once a week for a couple of hours on a weekend.

I think I can safely say that since I got broadband at home, (Sept 2006) I’ve listened to a couple of rock channels on internet radio for perhaps 2 weeks before I gave that up. I concentrated on getting more & more music and expanded my mp3 collection and that is like a radio station for me. I don’t think I will ever buy a new radio or listen to a radio station channel again. I don’t see much need for it.

Love Letter – Jessie Farrell

Jessie Farrell is the redheaded all-Canadian country singer from Vancouver. I’ve been a fan of hers from her 2002, which was more folk pop than country but since then she’s shined on in her favourite genre. Her songs are sweet, fun and clap worthy and while the lyrics won’t stretch your brain cells, like 99% of most country songs, they are catchy. She may not be in the big leagues as far as country superstardom is concerned but she’s in my personal top 5 of female country singers. Love Letter is her 2011 release and her 4th album overall.

The opening number Catch Me is a dance inspired number, the lyrics are all about relationships with reference to dancing. This is a real bar or casual country ballroom dancing song at it’s best, with some clapping and footstomping. The title track, Love Letter is a straight mid-tempo ballad. It’s that wishing & optimistic style of love song but with a god mix of poppiness to cross over to a pop audience. The fun & frolic is back with the effervescence of Sunny Days. This song is all about the summer and the fun that young people want to engage in during those days. First single with a cool video Turn You Down is up next. It’s more rockier and probably one of my favourite songs of hers. I just love it when she sings in these style of songs.

Another ballad; well country songs are usually about love and heartbreak but I don’t mind it when it’s done well without a lot of pretension. Simple lyrics and feelings abound in Everything To Me. It works better in this version rather than the acoustic version I had heard on a tv show. You want more fun songs? The almost rockabilly Case Of Love aims to please and only asks you to grab your dancing shoes in return. Filthy Habits are about giving something up, changing your lifestyle for the best and making a fresh start. Lyrically it’s one of the more inspiring stuff that Jessie has sung. Making Ends Meet is about the struggles and the pains to do get by in life. Fall is another love ballad, about taking chances in life. The album proper ends with Love Never Ends, a mid tempo number.

We also get acoustic versions of her older singles Let’s Talk About Love, Fell Right Into You & I Guess. A nice enough album that’s easy listening and a pleasant journey into the life of Miss Farrell. I love her and her songs. Here’s the video for Everything To Me.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

As much I loved the original Harold & Kumar movie and the sequel, I knew that this one wouldn’t be as good. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the duo, go check out Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle and Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay first. The second sequel A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas – man I just knew that bringing the Christmas stuff into a movie franchise I so loved was going to ruin things. Just what is it about Christmas – makes all these cheesy stuff bland and boring stuff?

Anyways, released last year in 3D, the movie is directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and sees both John Cho and Kal Penn return as the awesome duo. This time however, a few years have passed since the events of the last movie and Kumar & Roldie aren’t friends anymore. They have lost touch and their lives have taken different turns. Harold is married to Maria and has a beautiful big house and is very successful in his job at Wall Street. Kumar has recently just broken up with Vanessa and he lives with little hygiene and has let himself go with no proper career. Vanessa comes over to see Kumar and tells him that she is pregnant with his child but they argue and she leaves.

Harold meanwhile has Maria’s rather large family over for Christmas including her intimidating father (Danny Trejo) who doesn’t really approve of his daughter marrying Harold. He expects Harold to make the perfect Christmas for him and has also brought a tree which he has grown for eight years and has deemed the perfect Christmas tree. Kumar gets a package at his apartment addressed to Harold (they used to live together) and decides to go give it himself. At the house the two old friends awkwardly talk and see that the package has a huge joint, which Kumar cannot resist. As he smokes it, Harold who quit a while back, knocks it out of Kumar’s hand and it falls on the tree which catches fire and burns.¬†To replace it, Harold reserves one of the last decent Christmas trees available at a nearby lot. Kumar feeling bad about the tree goes out finding a replacement and ends up bribing the tree lot owner to sell him the last tree – which Harold had also booked.¬†When Harold sees the car with the tree drive away, he chases it, and the car with Kumar’s tree crashes and blows up on the highway, destroying the tree.

As Harold & Kumar argue their respective friends Adrian & Todd are also at the spot, along with Todd’s toddler daughter. Adrian says he will ask the girl whose party he is going to for a tree she has at her place. At the party things get worse when the girl’s father, a reknowned deadly gangster¬†Sergei Katsov, arrives and shoots up the place, chasing away all the guests. Harold & Kumar manage to escape along with everyone else, save for Todd & Adrian who hid in a closet but things get funny when Todd’s baby gets high on cocaine hidden there. Meanwhile¬†Harold and Kumar are forced to go to Broadway, where they surprising find a still alive Neil Patrick Harris (he was supposedly killed in the previous movie) who can help them get a tree. Kumar also gets a waffle-bot, a secretly deadly one, which falls in love with them. It helps the two escape from the Ukrainian mobsters that Katsov sent to kill them. As they leave, an errant shot from Harold hits Santa Klaus in the ass and he falls out from his sleigh in the sky!

The two patch up Santa and they also patch up their friendship. Harold invites Kumar to his Christmas party the next day as they say goodnight. Kumar goes to see Vanessa ¬†and explains he will stop smoking weed for the sake of her unborn baby and will re-take the exams to become a doctor. Harold returns to Maria’s house with her father waiting on the couch. The two argue until Harold explains he might not be the perfect son-in-law, but he is the perfect man for Maria. Maria’s father hesitates before accepting him into the Perez Family. The film ends with Kumar & Vanessa joining Harold, Maria and her family for a Christmas celebration while Santa smokes a bong and wishes us a merry christmas.

Cheesy, corny and messy in places, the movie still has some laughs but a lot of the stuff seem forced. This could very well be the end of the franchise. I wish it could have been better. 7 out of 10 and that is generous!

Do You Remember Your Very First Day In School?

I’m putting this question out to everyone who reads this post? Let me know what you do remember in the comments section.

I remember my first day of school. A proper school; I went for Kindergarten i.e LKG in a teacher’s home and then to Upper KG in Carmel School Kuwait. I was 5 years old. I remember being so excited and could hardly shut up the day before and could hardly sleep the night before. I was totally wired & excited; if you had put an electric cable in me, you could have powered the entire tiny nation of Kuwait for that day. All homes, shops, stores, warehouses & offices included! That’s how excited I was.

I couldn’t wait to get into my new school uniform. The light blue shirt and the dark blue shorts. Socks, shoes and tie completed the ensemble. I was psyched to be with my older sister, riding the school bus with her and going to the same school as her. That was a huge thrill. On the way over to the school I kept standing up and looking out – are we there yet? Are we there yet? Driver – get to this school that I have heard so much about. I am beyond myself with excitement. I need to be in school NOW! And finally we did reach! OPEN THE DOORS! LET ME SEE THE SCHOOL AND GET IN! So I did ……….and then……………

What is this hell hole you have brought me to? My parents couldn’t have done this knowingly? How cruel? And why does my sister go to the school every weekday? Is she mad? What are the parents thinking? I cried and cried and how I hated the school and the classroom and the teachers who came in and the people around me. I hated the other kids in my class, who were also crying like me save one or two stupid dolts who were too dumb to know what was going on! The day slowly passed on by and I only stopped to have a break for some food and then cried again.

School’s out, we got into the bus, I met my sister with tears still drying on my cheeks. I came home, I had a snack and I watched cartoons. Night came by and I went to sleep. For sure this was a bad day and never to repeat again. The next morning – what? Surely you can’t send me there again? You can’t be serious! I don’t wanna go!!!!!

Friday Sandwich, Coffee & A Couple Of Trees Pic

Friday afternoon sandwich photos for 23, March, 2012 from Coffee Beanz

Here’s my coffee. Cold one, a choco crunch. Nice, filling & delicious.

Now for the sandwich, a grilled chicken sandwich. Could have been done better but still good. Oh and they gave lots more chips with it, I just took the pic a little later. And they also had 4 slices of cucumbers with the plate.

I really wish that they would change the plate in Coffee Beanz. They look old & drab.

Oh and here is a pic taken from one of the windows of my bedroom. The big coconut trees are awesome aren’t they?