The Big Bang Theory – Season 3

After the sentimental way in which season 2 ended, the four scientists return back in season 3 with full beards and long unkempt hair courtesy their 3 month expedition to the North Pole. enny finally expresses her feelings for Leonard with a passionate embrace and kiss. However, their ability to follow through with their now-revealed feelings for one another is persistently interrupted by fallout from Sheldon’s discovery that his friends tampered with his experiment while at at the MNP, which caused Sheldon to falsely believe that he had made a¬†Nobel Prize-worthy discovery. An embarrassed Sheldon resigns and returns to Texas as he had mail the discovery’s details to most of his colleagues. His friends travel to Texas and convince him to return with more than a little help from his mother. Sheldon and Howard stake their most valuable comic books on a bet to determine the species of a¬†cricket. Howard wins, while he Leonard & Penny explore their new relationship; they decide to go back to being friends, however it’s clear that neither wants that and they soon give in to their attraction.

Howard and Raj go out to a¬†goth¬†club and meet two girls. After they say they would prefer to go “somewhere else and have some fun”, the four end up in a¬†tattoo¬†shop, which makes Raj and Howard reveal their true selves and admit to not being goths (as well as having fake tattoo sleeves), missing their opportunity with the girls rather than having tattoos. Raj ends up working for Sheldon as his department closes and instead of going back to India he takes up the offer of joining Sheldon. Penny sets up Howard with her friend Bernadette (the cute little Melissa Raunch who will soon become a regular cast member) while Sheldon meets his arch-nemesis Wil Wheaton (who plays a different version of himself) – Sheldon was angered by Wil’s no-show at a convention many years ago and has held a deep resentment since then. In a card tournament the two face off in the final and Sheldon can easily win, but Wil lies, claiming his grandmother’s death prevented him from appearing @ said convention, which tugs at Sheldon’s heart-strings. Sheldon let’s Wil win, leaving Sheldon even more resentful of him after Wil tells him the truth.

While Raj & Howard go kite flying Sheldon, who grew up in Texas where it is popular, teaches Leonard how to understand¬†American football¬†so that he can try to fit in with Penny’s friends. Sheldon also behaves like a kid when Penny & Howard fight and he runs away. Later Penny dislocates her shoulder and gets Sheldon to take her to the hospital as no one else is available and gets him to sing ‘Soft Kitty’ to her. Leonard is with Raj and Howard on a camping trip to watch the¬†Leonid meteor shower, but all three succumb to¬†‘magic’ cookies¬†they get from¬†Deadhead¬†campers nearby. Hilarity ensues as their minds expand and the¬†munchies¬†set in and they forget about the meteor shower. Howard & Bernadette become a serious item when he proposes to Bernadette at¬†the Cheesecake Factory, gets rejected, and then sings her his version of the song “Bernadette” in order to win back her affections, in which he becomes successful when she declares it as the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for her. Penny gets Sheldon to teach her some fundamental Physics so she can talk to Leonard about his work. We also meet Leonard’s mother ¬†Dr. Beverly Hofstadter who gets along better with Sheldon; a somewhat inebriated Beverly gives Sheldon a deep, long kiss, but by the end of the episode they agree to keep that a secret from Leonard.

Sheldon gets inspired by a children’s ball pit and solves a physics equation that he has been troubled with for long. This is the episode that starts the ‘Bazinga’ craze. Leonard ends up taking Raj to Switzerland for a conference as both Penny & Sheldon who wanted to go along fall ill. Sheldon then gets a restraining order from Stan Lee for going to his house for an autograph. From a garage sale the four guys find one of the rings used in the Lord Of The Rings movie and fight over who gets to keep it. Sheldon’s friends come to his aid when his fear of public speaking stands between him and a coveted award. They offer to be Sheldon’s¬†X-Men, which Sheldon changes to his “C-Men” because his last name is Cooper. At the event he gets hammed and drops his pants on stage. At a bowling competition between Wheaton’s team and Sheldon’s team, Wheaton puts the seed of doubt in Penny’s mind and she breaks up with Howard. As the two of them run away from the alley, Sheldon’s team has to forfeit the game. he episode folds with the four guys walking into the comic book store dressed like¬†Catwoman¬†(Raj),¬†Batgirl¬†(Howard),¬†Wonder Woman¬†(Sheldon), and¬†Supergirl¬†(Leonard), since they lost the bet to Wheaton and Stuart. After the break up lays it is as if Leonard and Penny are a divorced couple with joint custody of a child, Sheldon.

In a series of flashbacks we discover how Sheldon & Leonard became roomates and how Leonard introduced Raj & Howard to Sheldon, 7 years ago. We also learn of an accident that blew up the elevator and thus why it is always shown as under repair!  Howard and Raj submit an online dating profile for Sheldon, wondering who could possibly be compatible with him. The only match is  Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Balik who would also soon become a regular character). She turns out to be just as intellectual, opinionated, and particular as Sheldon and she acts almost exactly like Sheldon.

Be Careful What You Wish For

A cowboy was riding on his horse when he saw a rattlesnake. He took out his shotgun to kill it when, astonishingly the snake spoke and said “Please don’t kill me sir. Let me go in peace and in return you shall have 3 wishes as I am a magical snake”!

The cowboy was skeptical but still said “Ok. I wish for Brad Pitts looks as a 29 year old, a body like Arnold in his prime and for the 3rd wish well….. I want my sexual organ to be hung like this horse here!” The snake agreed and said by morning the wishes would come true. The snake went away and the cowboy went back home and had dinner but although he was too excited to go to sleep he finally collapsed on his bed.

The next morning as soon as he woke up he went to the bathroom mirror and washed his face – his now handsome face just like a 29 year old Brad Pitt! Excited he checked his body – rippling, bulging muscles just a young Arnold and a V shaped frame. Finally he removed his pajama bottom, trembling with excitement, looked down and cried “Oh shit, fuck! I forgot I was riding Mary Sue yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!”

The Descent Parts I & II

Directed by Neil Marshall, The Descent is a 2005 horror film with an all women cast, save for bit roles for the lead character’s husband. A year after her husband and young daughter were killed in an accident, in which she was the sole survivor, Sarah is joining her close friends Juno, Beth, Sam & Rebecca as well as Juno’s new friend Holly at a cabin in the woods. After a evening of enjoying themselves, they retire to bed as the next day they are to go caving. Sarah is clearly distant and withdrawn, seemingly by herself as the others bond as they explore the caves. Juno tries to talk to her and apologizes for not being there for her friend during the past one year.

As the group moves through the next passage it collapses behind them and a heated discussion later Juno admits that that she has led them into an unknown cave system, instead of the fully explored cave system they planned for. Worse, no one on the outside knows where they are! As they try to find another way out, Holly breaks her leg when she falls into a hole. Sarah seems to sly a greyish, humanoid creature drinking water from a pool in the distance but the other don’t see it. But soon, they are attacked by one of the creatures and it kills Holly. The crawlers, as they are soon named, are carnivorous creatures about the size of normal humans and hunt by sound as they are blind. In the confusion the girls run and Juno mistakenly stabs Beth through the throat.

As the crawlers attack, Juno leaves Beth behind and runs. Later Sarah finds Beth and sees that Beth had grabbed onto Juno’s pendant as she fell. A dying Beth asks Sarah to euthanize her, which the latter reluctantly does. Juno catches up with Sam & Rebecca. Sarah soon encounters and kills a young crawler, a female crawler, and a male crawler, while the other 3 run into a pack of crawlers and both Sam & Rebecca are killed off and partially eaten. Finally it’s just Juno & Sarah who find each other and have to face off against the crawlers and escape. Sarah then faces Juno, and reveals that she has Juno’s pendant – she recognized it as being her husbands! Juno admits to having had an affair with Sarah’s husband before he was killed. Angered at her betrayal and for leaving Beth to die, Sarah ripples Juno with her pickaxe and runs away, leaving Juno to face an approaching pack of crawlers. While running Sarah falls and is knocked unconscious, and she dreams of escaping through an opening.

When she wakes up, dazed she sees her daughter is near her and about to cut a birthday cake the  field of view widens to reveal that Sarah is hallucinating and she is actually staring at a torch. The calls of the crawlers grow louder, but Sarah is unaware.

Part 2 was released in 2009, directed by Jon Harris and produced by Christian Colson and co-produced by Paul Ritchie with¬†Neil Marshall, the producer and director of the original, as executive producer. Sarah has survived the traumatic events and escapes 2 days later after the events of the original movie ends. She is dazed and bloodied and found by a man in the woods, having lost her memory. At the hospital the cops ask her about her friends, but she can’t remember anything and when they test the blood on her it matches Juno’s blood type. Sheriff Vaines, deputy Elen Rios Sarah and three specialists ‚Äď Dan (Douglas Hodge), Greg (Joshua Dallas) and Cath (Anna Skellern) ‚Äď must go back into the cave to find the missing women.

They find a separate entrance in an old mine shaft operated by the old, mysterious Ed Oswald, sniffed out by a¬† police dog. As they go deep in the mine they reach parts of the cave where the 6 women were and they find Rebecca’s mutilated body. This causes Sarah to have some flashbacks and she runs deep into the caves. As Vaines puruses her he runs into a crawler and shoots at it causing a cave in that separates Cath from the rest as she is trapped behind some fallen boulders. The other must leave her behind while they get to Sarah but they are attacked by crawlers and are separated. Elen runs into Sarah, who know has recovered and remembers how to fight the crawlers. The two then watch as a crawler attacks and kills Dan, ripping his throat open and dragging him away. Cath has to escape from a crawler who discovers her and it is crushed by rubble.

Cath finds Dan and they try to radio for help, drawing more crawlers towards them. They travel deeper into the cave and find Sam hanging lifelessly above the chasm where she was killed in the first film. They decide to try to use her to swing across the chasm, but are both attacked by crawlers. Greg falls into the chasm, whilst tackling a female crawler, and although Cath makes it to the other side, she is attacked and killed once she gets there. Meanwhile Vaines is almost killed by a crawler when a still alive Juno, comes up from behind and kills it! She had survived for the last 3 days using just a pick axe and killing off crawlers who attack her. Elen and Sarah crawl through a tunnel and, escaping a crawler, fall into a communal defecation grounds pool. A fight ensues between Elen, Sarah, and a crawler with the two teaming up in order to kill it. When they meet up with Vaines & Juno, initially the two former friends fight but are calmed down by the other two.

Vaines handcuffs Sarah to him so she cannot leave them to die like she did to Juno. As they progress, Vaines falls over a ledge, almost taking Sarah with him, however she begs Juno to help her, which ends up in Juno ordering Elen to cut off Vaines’ hand to save Sarah from falling as well. The 3 women make their way towards the entrance of the cave. As they try to tip-toe around the crawlers, Juno is grabbed by a dying Greg, causing her to scream in surprise, gaining the attention of four crawlers. Greg promptly dies and the women are left to fight off the crawlers. Juno dies in Sarah’s arms and Sarah screams out to attract the crawlers, sacrificing herself and leaving Elen a free path to the outside. She runs and is about to call for help on he cell phone he is attacked by Ed, who hits her with a shovel and drags her back to the entrance to be food for the crawlers (perhaps he has been feeding them for a long time). As Elen recovers quietly from the hit, a bloodied crawler jumps out of the entrance as the movie ends.

Scary & jumpy and it will give you some creeps. Love both the movies and I am giving them both a 7.5 each out of 10!

Was It A Malware?

Had a close scare this evening. Around 6pm I was sitting at my laptop just chatting away and for no reason in particular I wanted to check on some old WordPress themes that I had installed. Now I have no intention of straying away from this particular theme unless I find another one with similar settings. I really like this one but was just checking on some old themes for fun. I tried the previews of a couple and then saw one called ‘Varg’ which I didn’t recognize as having installed it earlier. Instead of clicking on ‘preview theme’ I clicked on ‘activate’ by mistake and when I refreshed my blog, it showed just blank – some error! Oops, I went back to the admin page for Themes in WordPress and deleted that particular theme. That should have sorted things out.

But it didn’t. Some kind of malware I guess; Varg took all my WordPress theme, including the default ones that comes bundled with WordPress! WTF? I panicked a bit and logged off from my admin page and then logged back in. Still the same and I’m unable to access the blog. Oh boy! I used my FTP software and deleted whatever files were there in the themes section of my WordPress. Post that I transferred a couple of themes, including this current one that I have been using for 8 months now. And things were working once again. I contacted the technical help of my website server space provider and asked them to check and see if there was a Malware still remaining. A quick check later he reported that it was clean and to keep my passwords fresh and update all my software in the website.

Yes I shall do that. Then I went about re-activating all the widgets that you see on the sidebar since they got deactivated when the theme got cancelled. But I could get them back in a few minutes. Whew! Close one!

Euro 2012 Final – It’s Spain vs Italy

And there you have it! The final will be decided between Italy & holders Spain. After a long, at times boring, semifinal on Wednesday night, Spain finally edged out their Iberian neighbours Portugal via a penalty shootout. Portugal looked dangerous going forward with Nani & Ronaldo threatening to score on multiple occasions. Iker Cassillas stood firm in the Spanish goal and his saves were important. After 2 extra period we still found it hard to separate the two sides and so penalties it was. Spain won 4-2.

Last night Italy beat a favoured German side 2-1 thanks to first half goals from Mario Balatelli. He was sharp, he was on form, on fire and it was his night. Germany were found wanting at the big game stages and faltered. At times it felt that the German coach’s tactics of rotating his strikers a lot probably cost them the match. Germany did push in the second half and got a goal back through a penalty in the dying minutes but it wasn’t enough. Italy looked sharper and deserved to go through.

So Spain vs Italy. May the better team win on Sunday night. And no penalties please.

Do You Return Money Given To You By Mistake?

I once found a 500 buck note lying on the side of the road. Except for a little dirt which I could easily wipe off with my finger, it was clean. Obviously someone dropped it while walking from the nearby shop or something. I couldn’t find anyone so that was mine to keep. It was food for me and a friend at a hotel in the evening.

Many weeks later at the shop that I mentioned above I once went to buy a few things for home, little grocery items, milk, bread eggs etc. My total purchase came to roughly Rs.380 and I handed the shopkeeper a Rs.500 note and helped his kid to put all my purchases into plastic bags. The owner gave me my change and I pocketed it and walked on back home. Once I got back I realized that he had mistakenly given me back Rs.120 + 500 instead of just Rs.120! I went back and told him about it and gave him back the money.

Also 2 years ago I had posted about buying shawarmas from a restaurant nearby and as the bill came to Rs.105, I handed over the cashier a Rs.500 note and a Rs.5 coin ‚ÄĒ and he gave me back 4 Rs.100 notes‚Ķ‚Ķ.and a Rs.500 note back! I didn‚Äôt check and didn‚Äôt pay attention and only noticed a little later just as I reached my building, so basically I got it for free and he gave me Rs.400 as well! I went back a few days later explained and gave him back the Rs.500 note. It felt good when he said that most people wouldn’t have bothered and what I did was nice.

And the oldest incident I remember was when my cousin & I were in Coimbatore on a little trip back in the mid 90s and we stopped to buy some sandwiches & pastries at a famous local fast food joint. It was packed with patrons on that day and similarly the owner made a mistake and gave us back a lot more money as change back. We were on our way back to Cochin but we did notice the mistake and went back to the fast food eatery and gave him back the money. In each case the people were grateful and it felt good to do the right thing.

Babylon 5 : No Surrender, No Retreat (Season 4)

When I first started watching Babylon 5, I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t like the visual effects, I didn’t like most of the actors, I didn’t like the sets and I wasn’t impressed with the actors or the plot lines. It took it’s time; for season 1 I was just barely hanging on. By mid-season 2 things were a lot more engaging and I was getting to really like it a lot. Season 3 was great but Season4!!! Season 4 is fucking mind-blowingly awesome!

First we have the search for John Sheridan. Some people think he is dead but Delenn, Ivanova & Lyta travel to Z’ha’dum to search for Sheridan, while G’Kar ventures out to search for the missing Michael Garibaldi. No one knows what happened to either of them and the presumption is that both are dead. ¬†Londo finds that the political climate on Centauri Prime has worsened under the rule of Cartagia, the insane emperor. Sheridan is helped by the mysterious alien Lorien and is brought back to Babylon 5 with his help. Garibaldi had been captured and undergone some mental torture and brainwashing. While in search of him, G’Kar is capture by Emperor Cartagia and brought to the Centauri homeworld and tortured brutally.

As the first step towards ending the war, Sheridan decides to act against the new Vorlon ambassador and continues putting the pieces in place for his final strike against the Shadows and the Vorlons, while Londo and Vir make the final preparations for assassinating Emperor Cartagia. With the help of Lorien and the First ones, the Vorlons & the Shadows are defeated and they are told by Sheridan to leave the galaxy. Lorien then tells the Vorlons and the Shadows, as well as the remaining¬†First Ones¬†that have been assembled that their time is over and they must all go “beyond the rim.” He assures them that he is going with them. This will leave the younger races to define their own history without interference. Just as those on Babylon 5 relax,¬† Garibaldi resigns his post and Bester comes aboard¬†with the news that Earth Alliance plans to isolate and discredit Babylon 5. Things are made worse¬†¬†when an ISN reporter arrives on the station, claiming that he wants to do an objective and truthful story on Babylon 5, but the ensuing video is a biased one that makes Sheridan and his crew look like tyrants.

Marcus & Franklin are sent to Mars to help coordinate the resistance efforts there and also attempt to persuade the Mars Resistance to assist Sheridan in opposing President Clark. Garibaldi shows increasing hostility towards Sheridan and they almost comes to blows. Michael starts his own business, doing private eye kinda work but then gets called to work for a rich & powerful mysterious client. Sheridan has his own plan to overcome President Clark’s propaganda machine – he has Ivanova host a regular new bulletin from Babylon 5, broadcasting the truth. However once Sheridan learns that Clark’s men have been engaged in illegal attacks on civilian targets, he decides the time has come to take direct action against Clark and those in Earth Force who followed him and leads the White Star fleet against EarthForce to liberate Proxima 3. Meanwhile Garibaldi goes to Mars to meet his new employer William Edgars and finds out that he is married to Michael’s old flame. Lyta also arrives to join the fight and helps Franklin to make progress with the frozen telepaths. Sheridan is lured to Mars by Garibaldi, acting under the influence of Edgards and is captured by Earthgov forces.

In a startling episode, Sheridan is ruthlessly interrogated by the Earth Alliance. That episode alone should win many awards & accolades for Babylon 5. ¬†Ivanova takes command of the fleet for their next engagement, while Garibaldi learns that it was Bester who had captured him and brainwashed him against Sheridan. He rejoines Franklin, Lyta & Marcus and convinces them that he is on their side. Sheridan is rescued and brought back to Babylon 5 for treatment. He then commands the final assault on President Clark’s forces with the help of Garibaldi, Franklin, Lyta and the Mars Resistance. Sheridan’s forces attack Mars and Earth, disabling the fleet and preventing Clark from destroying Earth. Clark kills himself before he can be arrested. Ivanova is critically injured but Marcus makes the ultimate sacrifice and uses an alien device to save her at the cost of his life. Sheridan surrenders to the Earth’s force and is reunited with his father.

Sheridan is later forced to resign from EarthForce. The Interstellar Alliance is formed, with Sheridan as its President, and Earth agrees to join this new alliance in exchange for limited access to Minbari¬†and¬†Vorlon¬†technology. The Alliance intends to use the¬†Rangers, whose primary mission against the Shadows has now expired, as the arbiters and peacekeepers of the Interstellar Alliance. In his last act as part of EarthForce, Sheridan promotes Ivanova to captain. Unable to bear the burden of living in Babylon 5 with Marcu’s memories, she is assigned to command her own ship and leaves the station (and the series).

Awesome season, just amazingly well shot, written, acted & directed!

Euro 2012 : Semi Finals Lineup

We are nearing the end of the Euro 2012 tournament and tonight & tomorrow the semi-final matches will be fought. As I predicted (Roshtradamous is me) it will be holders Spain vs their Iberian neighbours Portugal and Germany vs Italy. Very strong looking lineup indeed. Let’s look at how they got here.

Portugal seem to be riding on the goals on Ronaldo and their captain is peeking at the right time. Once again he provided the goal, the lone strike against a brave Czech side. They will look to him to lead them against a tough Spanish side who are still hungry for trophies but are a tad weaker side than what we saw at the last world cup. Spain however did enough to win 2-0 and see off France in the quarterfinals. This time Xabi Alonso was the hero scoring both goals including an injury time penalty to see Spain safely through. Will he continue to shine? Will Fernando Torres start?

Germany have impressed everyone with their form in their tournament. The youngest side at Euro2012 defeated Greece 4-2 with goals from four different players with the surprise omission of Mario Gomez & Lukas Podolski up front. And the final quaterfinal match was between England & Italy with penalties proving to be the English side’s undoing again. After 2 extra times the game went to a shootout but England had impressed in places. However was veteran Andrea Pirlo and his Italians going through 4-2 winners in the shootout.

Which two teams will make it to the finals? Tonight it’s Spain vs Portugal & tomorrow it’s Germany vs Italy. Spain vs Germany is my prediction. But the Italians can thrown up a surprise or two.

The Gift Horse And Appams

I have said and used the saying “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” quite a few times. Also there is a similar styled saying in Malayalam, which has a similar meaning that goes like this – “appam kazhycha madhi, kuzhi ennenda”. Loosely translated, go ahead and eat the appam (unni appams are a sweet snack) and don’t count the holes (appams are made in a vessel with half hole shaped to give the appams it’s dome shape).

So what do they mean? Well the latter literally means when someone offers you something to eat, just be grateful for the free meal and eat it instead of enquiring the vessel it was made in and stuff. Similarly for the former, if you are gifted a free horse accept the fact that u got the animal for free and don’t check it’s teeth to see how heathy and therefore expensive he is.

Now that is the meaning behind the sayings. But – if I got a free horse and I knew something about horses will I not want to check on his health? So why can’t I look at his mouth? What if his teeth need cleaning? Or he is ill and has a sore throat? A look inside the gift horse’s mouth will be necessary then. Not so stupid now to look him in the mouth is it? Or what if he is being used to smuggle drugs and the said drugs are hidden in his mouth? What then genius?

And the appams – what if they were cooked in a dirty vessel? Or in bad oil? Wouldn’t u want to check the vessel it was cooked in? Or if you had never seen appams before, you’d be curious to know how it is cooked so you could make it at home yourself, right? Any harm in looking at and counting the holes? None whatsoever. So those two sayings……don’t always hold water!

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Greatest Hits Albums

This is a list of my favourite albums of artists that have released proper greatest hits of their songs. This list does not included unofficial greatest hits albums that tend to come out without the band or artist’s consent and tons of greatest hits albums that were released in Asia on 60 & 90 minute cassettes (although they were instrumental in introducing a lot of us to the bands)

  • Bon Jovi : Greatest Hit (2010 release)
  • Def Leppard : Rock Of Ages; The Definitive Collection (2008 release)
  • Scorpions : Gold (2006)
  • Pearl Jam :¬†Rearviewmirror (2003)
  • The Electric Joe Satriani: An Anthology
  • The Essential Iron Maiden
  • Deep Purple : The Platinum Collection
  • Van Halen : The Best Of Both Worlds
  • The Beatles : 1
  • Europe : 1982-2000
  • Dire Straits : Sultans Of Swing; The Very Best Of

Hurts Like Hell

Superman was feeling bored after a long day of crime fighting and wanted to go out and party, so he called Batman to ask if he wanted to go out to a club and pick up some girls.

Batman said Robin was ill and he had to look after him. :|

A little disappointed, Superman called Spiderman to see if he fancied a few beers.

Spiderman told him that he had a date with Catwoman. :)

As a last resort, Superman flew over to Wonderwoman’s apartment to see if she was free. As he landed on her balcony, he saw Wonderwoman naked on the bed with her legs open. <3

Superman thought to himself: I’m faster than a speeding bullet. I could be there, have sex, and be out again before she knew what was happening? B)

So Superman did his super-thing in a split-second and flew off happily. :D

Meanwhile on the bed, Wonderwoman said: Did you hear something???

No said the Hollow Man, but my ass hurts like hell..!!

On The 2012 London Olympics

I can remember watching the 1984 Olympics or just bits of it here and there. I was a child of just 8 years of age and the opening & closing ceremonies struck a chord in my young, impressionable mind. And I guess every 4 years since then Olympic games has been as much about the ceremonies that sandwich the sporting events as the sporting contests themselves. 1988 Seoul had this song called ‘Hand In Hand’ that for me was rather cheesy but struck a chord in many. It was quite popular in India for a while. That was also the year of the Ben Johnson doping scandal. Those who don’t know what it was, google him.

I missed most of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona for some reason but did catch a lot of the 1996 Atlanta games. I remember something about Juan Antonio Samaranch’s closing speech which indicated that he wasn’t happy about the games that year as he usually calls each games as the best ever but he only said “Well done Atlanta” and called the event “most exceptional. The next olympic games were in Sydney and he resumed his former statements. Now around 1997-98 I lost all interest in the olympics and watched mostly tennis, football and in a couple of more years NHL. I can’t remember watching much of the games that followed Atlanta – Sydney, Athens & Beijing. I don’t think I will watch much of this year’s Olympics as well.

Maybe some of the opening ceremonies and if possible the football & tennis matches here and there. I would like to see what happens to the Indian contingent, especially the tennis players with all the controversy surrounding Leander Paes (he has threatened to withdraw from London Olympics rather than play with Vardhan whose world ranking is 328, following the refusal of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna to partner him). Let’s have a safe & fun games, whether I am watching or not.

Young Adult

From the writer & director of Juno comes Young Adult. Director Jason Reitman joins his buddy Diablo Cody roped in Charlize Theron to play out the main character, joined by Patton Oswald, Patrick Wilson & Elizabeth Reaser. Released in mid December the movie might have only made $20 million at the box office but made many lists for one of the best movies of 2011. I would even go to say that this movie is not for everyone while Juno was a much more entertaining movie, this one probably had better acting.

Mavis Gary is a divorced ghost writer for a one-time successful young adult series of novels living in Minneapolis. While on deadline with her editor to finish the last book of the soon-to-be-cancelled series, the 37 year old gets a mail from her ex, high school sweetheart Buddy Slade, announcing the birth of his baby girl. Going through depression, she takes this as a sign that she was meant to be with him and packs her clothes & dog into her car and sets off for her hometown of Mercury, Minnesota. On the way she keeps playing and singing a song¬†“The Concept” by¬†Teenage Fanclub¬†on an old¬†mixtape¬†Buddy gave her in high school. I love the way the title scenes show the inner parts of an old cassette tape while being played.

Once she checks into a motel, she goes to a bar and calls Buddy to meet her for drinks. He asks to meet the next day instead, so Mavis goes in alone and meets a former classmate Matt. Matt was crippled in a bit of high school cruelty when a group of students beat him thinking him to be gay, though he was not. Matt tells her that it wasn’t right to try and rekindle sparks with an old flame as he is¬† married & with a small child. Mavis meets Buddy the next evening and they reminisce in a sports bars. Matt also just happens to work there. Buddy invites Mavis to attend a concert by Beth, his wife’s, all mom band the next evening. Before that Mavis meets up with Matt for another night of drinking and bonds with him. The next evening she dressed up and meets Buddy at the bar where the band is playing, and sees that the other ladies all resent the former “”psychotic prom queen bitch”. Mavis flirts with Buddy but is upset when the band dedicates the song ‘The Concept’ from Beth to Buddy.

After the concert Mavis offers to drive Buddy home while Beth celebrates with her band and at his home they briefly kiss until interrupted by the babysitter opening the door. The next day, after Mavis has an uncomfortable meeting with her parents at their house for lunch, Buddy invites her to his house for the baby’s naming ceremony over the weekend. Mavis spends more time with Matt drinking & bickering. At the party she professed her love for Buddy but he rebuffs her advances and she decides to leave but¬†collides with Beth, who accidentally spills wine on Mavis’ dress. In a profanity-ridden rant she reveals that she became pregnant with Buddy’s baby years ago, but had a miscarriage after three months. When she asks Buddy why he invited her, he admits that it was Beth who wanted her there as she felt sorry for her. Humiliated, Mavis leaves the party and visits Matt, where she breaks down in tears and initiates sex with him. In the morning she has coffee with Matt’s sister Sandra.

Mavis talks about needing to change herself, but Sandra says Mavis is better than the rest of Mercury and should not change. Mavis decides to return to Minneapolis. Sandra asks to go with her, but Mavis says, “You’re good here, Sandra.” She leaves alone. On her way back to the big city, she finished the final chapter of the book and as the movie winds down Mavis looks at her beat up in the parking lot, the result of her drinking & driving.

The movie is about someone who is clinging on to her glory days of her high school days as her life starts crumbling. She then believes that her ex is now trapped in a marital boredom but yet it is she who is in a rut. Her vanity does not let her accept that so she tries to break up his marriage & free him from what she perceives as his prison. There is a sense of longing & nostalgia about this movie. Watch it and let the acting speak for itself. Not for everyone as it doesn’t really a fast paced movie but it’s totally entertaining for me. 7.5 out of 10!

A Grand Buffet Lunch With Tweeple

Today was the long awaited meeting (and eating) of three of us who have self-titled our little group as the ‘Cochin Foodies Group’ aka the ‘Three Foodkateers’ and, one I just come up with now, ‘The Three Foodiots’. Three of us who initially met online on Twitter and in a couple of tweetups here in Cochin and have since been communicating regularly online. Over the last couple of years in the case of Ranjith and last few months in the case of Antoinette.

Today was planned to be our first official lunch out as a trio and inauguration of the Cochin Foodies Group. This was decided last Monday and on Friday the venue was chosen to be Hotel International which is quite close to where I live.

Having said that I still haven’t been to this restaurant since late 1995 – my sister & brother-in-law had taken my cousins & me for a dinner just after they got married. I remember we have beers and awesome sizzler steaks there. Since then I haven’t been to this place. Anyways, the three of us arrived at 12:30 pm, met outside and made our way into the buffet area. I started off with a beer first, just a normal Kingfisher gold. The other two don’t drink and so they ordered pineapple juice.

We were also busy on Twitter & Facebook, announcing to several friends that we were currently sitting down for a nice lunch. This is Antoinette on one of her two phones.

Ranjith proudly uses his new BlackBerry Curve 9320. However dude you should take better care of it and used a pouch or a case from day one. Rough useage – well it’s a lower end phone so I guess ok.

First round of food from the buffet. This is what I took – two pieces of porota, a super soft & delicious plain croissant type bun, butter chicken, pork, some salad & a dressing.

Round two was fried rice with more pork & butter chicken, a plain pappodom, a spicy pappodom, dragon chicken & dragon cauliflower and some salad. Amazingly delicious food and the best was the dragon chicken, which was not on the buffet menu but we ordered separately. Fantastic food.

Nothing like desert to finish off a great meal. Only Ranjith & I had desert as Antoinette started getting a headache. On my plate is an assortment – some kind of a pudding, a flan, two kinds of soft cakes, a fruit salad, nuts & chocolate syrup. I could not go back for ice cream as I was full!

What a grand meal fit for a king no a kingdom itself! Hope to go there again some day.

Brothers In Arms & Hockey Sticks

You can look at it as a younger brother wanting to play with his older brother and does that still happen in their 20s or you can look at it as a rare opportunity of brother playing in highest level of their favoured sport in the same team.

Two of the Staal brothers are being reunited in Carolina. The Pittsburgh Penguins traded centre Jordan¬†Staal to the Hurricanes on Friday for centre Brandon¬†Sutter, the No. 8 pick in 2012 draft and defenceman Brian¬†Dumoulin. Pittsburgh then selected defenceman Derrick¬†Pouliot of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks with the first-round pick. Eric, the eldest of 4 hockey playing brothers, is captain of the Hurricanes.

“Jordan is an elite two-way player who possesses a rare combination of speed, size, scoring ability and defensive responsibility,” said Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford in a statement. “For his young age, he has a wealth of NHL experience, including winning the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. “And he is obviously a natural fit for our team in joining our captain, his older brother Eric.”

Jordan¬†Staal has 120 goals and 128 assists in 431 regular-season games with Pittsburgh. He has a career plus-53 rating. The Penguins selected Staal in the first round, second overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. “He’s still only 24 years old. He’s got upside yet,” Rutherford told the Canadian Press. “I think it’s a great fit.”

In another trade during the NHL draft the Dallas Stars have traded forward Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals for forward Cody Eakinand a second-round pick (54th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft. The 32-year-old Ribeiro had 18 goals and 45 assists in 74 games last season.

Date Night

When you have Steve Carell & Tiny Fey as a  married couple, you have one funny movie. Date Night is directed by Shawn Levy and starring the comedy duo as a couple caught in a mess in the city and having to unravel it so they can get back to their home in New Jersey. Along with the comedic veterans you have supporting roles from Ray Liotta, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Leighton Meester, Taraji P. Henson & James Franco.

The Fosters, tax lawyer Phil & realtor Claire, juggle their work with raising two boisterous kids who tire them out. They have a routine and stick to it and at the end of the day they collapse on their bed too tired to be intimate yet each too polite to ask for anything. Claire in particular feels particularly worn out as she feels that she has to do a bulk of the work and especially since Phil never seems to close any drawers he opens. Every week they have a date night, where they go to a movie & then to the same restaurant for dinner, where they order the same dishes. When their friends, a married couple, inform them that they planning to divorce to escape the married-life routine and to have more excitement in their lives, Phil in particular gets scared.

To shake things up the next date night, Claire dressed up more than usual and Phil suggests that they skip the movie and go to a new restaurant that has been getting rave reviews. When they are unable to get a reservation, Phil takes a reservation from a no-show couple, the Tripplehorns, despite Claire’s misgivings. As they are enjoying their dinner, two men approach them and ask them to step outside. Thinking that the men are the hotel staff, they agree but the men start asking them, the Tripplehorns about a¬†flash drive¬†they believe Phil and Claire stole from¬†mobster¬†Joe Miletto. ¬†Phil and Claire try to explain that they are not the Tripplehorns, but the men threaten them at gunpoint. Not seeing any other way out, Phil tells them the drive is in a boathouse in¬†Central Park. At the boathouse, Claire pretends to show them where she buried the flash drive, while Phil gets a paddle¬† and hits the two men.

The couple escape in a boat and make their way to the police station and speak to a officer, Arroyo. However when Arroyo steps out the Fosters sees Collins & Armstrong at the station; it turns out that they also detectives, presumably on Miletto’s payroll. The Fosters sneak out of the station and decides to try and find the real Tripplehorns. . They return to the restaurant and find the Tripplehorns’ phone number. Claire remembers that Holbrooke Grant , a prospective client who ended up buying a house from another realtor, was a security expert & former government agent. They break into the realtor’s office, find Grant’s address and go to his house. Using his help they track the signal of the cell phone number and find out that the Tripplehorns are actually a couple called Melton. Seeing Collins & Armstrong arriving at Grants house, the Fosters sneak out and take Grant’s Audi. At their apartment, they find that Taste & Whippit Melton,went to the restaurant but left when they spotted Collins. They give the flash drive to Phil and leave.

The Fosters are leaving in the Audi when Collins & Armgstrong catch up with them and start shooting at them. They crash the Audi into a taxi but keep going until they hit an SUV. After evading Collins and Armstrong, Phil sees the contents of the flash drive but is not able to save it as it falls into the river along with the taxi. The contents are some documents & pictures of district attorney Frank Crenshaw  with prostitutes from a strip club. Apparently Melton took the photos as his wife works at the same club and planned to blackmail the DA and Collins & Armstrong actually are corrupt cops who work for the DA. The Fosters ask Grant for additional help and get into the club with Claire under the guise of a new prostitute and Phil as her pimp. After doing a pole dance for Crenshaw, they confront him and tell him they are the Tripplehorns. Crenshaw, Collins & Armstrong force the couple to the roof. Miletto arrives with henchmen and it is revealed that Crenshaw has been paid by Miletto to keep him out of jail. When Phil mentions the photos, a fight escalates between the mobsters and Crenshaw, Collins and Armstrong.

The cops soon arrive as Phil had been wired by Grant to record the conversations & goings on and Grant informed the cops. Arroyo apprehends the men and offers the Fosters a ride back home. However Phil takes Claire out for an early breakfast before they make their way back home and make out on the front lawn.

Fun, hilarious in places. I liked it and though that the cameos from the known actor worked well into the plot. Good job  7.5 out of 10!