Odd To An Iconic Beverage Legend

Beer in a dark brown bottle

I was going through some old photos that I had uploaded in one of my Flickr accounts. My first Flickr account actually. I had uploaded pics from my Motorola Razor and then my Blackberry Curves and Blackberry Bold in it. I spent a good hour going through those pics and they brought a smile to my face. I’ve decided to showcase some of those pics here (though I may have posted them in my old Blogspot blog).

First up is an odd to an iconic beer – the Kingfisher. Granted that they are no longer my first choice when it comes to beer (or second or third or ….6th even) but they are still an icon. I spent many years drinking these beers until we started getting the Carlsbergs, Tuborgs, Millers and Heinekens. Nowadays I only drink Kingfisher if there are no other options left but still, I do value them. Here are two pics I took back in 2006.

11 Years of This URL

I have just renewed my website URL for the 11th year running. Awakeanddreaming.org is booked for the next year, 365 days from November 14th. I first booked this URL back in November of 2006 just a couple of months after I made the move from Thrikkakara to this apartment in Kacheripady. A friend of my cousin had started his own internet website service and webspace reselling business and I contacted him to set me up with a URL. I called him up and he asked me which url I wanted and I checked out a few.

It’s been over a decade so I can’t remember exactly all of them but I think I checked out and came up with 4-5 final choices :

  • countroshculla.com
  • roshanmenon.com
  • rgkonline.com
  • rgkmenon.com
  • awakeanddreaming.com

I finally decided to get awakeanddreaming but couldn’t get the .com version. So it was a toss up between awakeanddreaming.net or awakeanddreaming.org and I should have taken the .net but they had a discount for the .org URLs and I though, what the heck. I remember I had to pay him through the money order option for the first couple of years as netbanking was still new for us.

And like that this name stays on.

Social Media I Use

I dunno about you but I am addicted to Social Media – to the point that I prefer to stay indoors and not be very social and instead connect via my laptop or my smartphone.

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram – these are the big four that I am usually always online at when I am not at work. Sometimes at work I can still check Facebook and Twitter. And ofcourse Flickr has all my photos that I shoot on a regular basis. I have an on and off love affair with Pintrest and even went a whole year or more without access it. But I am back on it and I love it again. I have two Tumblr accounts – one for general stuff and the other for just Star Trek – but I haven’t used it in about 3 years.

Something that is not the norm as far as Social Media is concerned is 500px which is a photo sharing website and it is awesome but they recently reduced the free upload option to 7 a week instead of the 20 pics a week which came with the free account. The payment for a year, with a discount that I have is almost $60 and since I live in India that is a big amount to pay for uploading pics, especially since I haven’t sold any yet.

Youtube is ofcourse my jam! It has replaced tv for me and I love it for the vlogs, the professional done channels and the music, especially the live concert clips which is amazing for me.

The Most Memorable Thing I Got In The Mail

What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail?

I only started getting things in the mail in the past few years, like 2011 or 2012. And it’s only since 2015 that it has been on a regular basis. So a couple of hard drives, 3 I think, 3 phones and a bunch of other things from juice and snacks to mugs and decorative stuffs for the house.

But among all of these the best things that I have gotten in the mail – or courier/carrier – are my Star Trek starship models. Specifically the ones that Eaglemoss makes as part of the Official Star Trek Starship collection. These are things I dream about and marvel for hours and hours on my tv screen or on my computer. To have them in my hands and displayed on my shelves is a big dream come true.

So the most memorable thing I ever got in the mail is the iconic USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. The one that you see in 7 seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation and the movie Star Trek : Generations. Which is probably the best of all starships out there in the known universe. My excitement and pure joy still amazes me when I look back at the video of me unboxing it.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Thor : Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and is the seventeenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnar√∂k.

This movie is just out and has already made $450 million plus and is a behemoth in the box office. It certainly is the best of the three Thor films. Let’s see the various aspects of the movie:

  • It is really funny. Thor himself is a more relaxed and chilled version of himself and there’s plenty of jokes at his expense. This is despite the rather sad experience of losing his father, Odin. Hemsworth intearctions with The Hulk & Bruce Banner are hilarious as is his banter with Tom Hiddleston / Loki is also great.
  • Good new characters introduced in Korg – who sounds so New Zealandish -, Jeff Goldblum¬†as¬†Grandmaster, Karl Urban¬†as¬†Skurge & Tessa Thompson¬†as¬†Valkyrie are all well done and well cast. Valkyrie will be a recurring character in more films with Thor and MCU movies in general and she is pretty good as a hard drinking recluse who left Asgard in shame after Hela killed all her fellow legendary warriors of the¬†Valkyrior. The Grandmaster is basically Jeff Goldblum playing the Grandmaster playing Jeff Goldblum! If you can imagine that.
  • Karl Urban’s character Skurge is a predictable one – he is a lower rung Asgardian trying to come up in the world. He guards the Bifr√∂st Bridge in Heimdall’s absence and aligns himself with Hela to survive. He becomes her executioner but his heart isn’t in killing his own people and in the end he sacrifices himself to save people.
  • The Hulk/Bruce Banner/Mark ruffalo is awesome in this – for two years he has been The Hulk and Banner has been in the backburner. The way that the Hulk talks is like a toddler and it is even seen in his behaviour. This is probably the best the Hulk has been done in.
  • Kate Blanchett – I might be biased but she plays an awesome villain who is just pretty damn awesome to watch. She is bored when challenged but kicks so much ass that she backs up that strut and boast of being the goddess of death. The reveal that she was the first born child of Odin and was once his executioner and general in his army was surprising. Also – how old do these Asgardians live? It kinda seems like Hela was imprisoned for very long and both Thor and Loki are unaware of her.
  • Waititi also provided the motion-capture performance for the fire demon¬†Surtur, based on the mythological being¬†Surtr, with¬†Clancy Brown¬†providing the voice for that character. Thor co-creator¬†Stan Lee¬†makes a¬†cameo appearance¬†as a man on Sakaar who cuts Thor’s hair. There are also several cameos in a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of¬†The Dark World:¬†Sam Neill, who Waititi previously worked with on¬†Hunt for the Wilderpeople, plays the Odin actor; Luke Hemsworth, brother of Chris, plays the Thor actor; and¬†Matt Damon¬†plays the Loki actor.
  • Oh yeah and nice to Doctor Strange in a cameo appearance in it as well. That scene was really good.
  • The action is awesome, the fight scenes and battle scenes are great and entertaining, the special effects is awesome and the acting is really good. What more could you want? 9 outta 10!

Wednesday Out For A Movie

Well I am back to the evening shifts as of yesterday. I think I prefer the evening shifts for this process and company because I usually will get enough time to relax and rest, watch some tv for a while before I have to go to work. Day shifts take a lot outta me as I end up having to stay back at the office for 10,11,12, 13 or 14 hours at a stretch and then having to come to work at 8:30 am or 9:30 am still tired and sleepy.

This Monday & Tuesday as I had the morning shift I had more time yesterday as a)I left the office early as I wasn’t feeling very well and left at 5 pm and b) I was working a 5:30 pm yesterday. So I had time to head to Lulu Mall for a 1pm movie (Thor : Ragnarok) and then have a late lunch before heading to work and reaching a half hour early. The movie was good and the mall wasn’t as crowded on a Wednesday as it is on the weekend but still a lot of people were in it.

After the movie – and I just reached there in time to deposit my bag at the counter and buy popcorn and a large Pepsi and stepped in as they started the commercials. Ofcourse, I just had to get a seat next to two lovey dovey people who talked a bit during the movie and even hugged at one point – at the interval and I happened to stretch and look that side and then quickly looked away! Can’t stare at it for too long, just like the sun.

Childhood Reading Pleasures

What was your favorite book as a child? If you have kids, do your children love it as much as you did?

I don’t think I had one favourite book as a kid. I read a lot and I read a lot of books. I read Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle, Archies, Super hero – DC & Marvel and a lot of Indrajal comics (Phantom, Mandrake, Dick Kirby etc) and a bunch of others. Among my favourites were Nancy Drew, The Famous Five and the Hardy Boys books. Those were cool for that age man. I wouldn’t want to read them now as I would find them boring now; but as a kid those stories was awesome.

There is one more such teenage detective story series but the name escapes me. I remember reading a few of their books as well and enjoyed them as well. Actually, now that I recall there was one book which I read over and over again. That would be Robinson Crusoe! I remember devouring that book – with images and dialogue bubbles as well – and atleast 20 or more times. I dunno why but that story spoke to me.

From the same publishers I also got The Prisoner of Zenda and that too was a book I read a lot from the age of 8 to 12. Enjoyable as heck!

Prompt from 30 DAYS OF NOVEMBER WRITING PROMPTS at the SitsGirls

Musicman Ball Family Reserve Steve Morse In Tahitian Blue

Musicman Ball Family Reserve Steve Morse in stained Tahitian Blue translucent finish accentuates the beauty of the highly figured maple top. Available only on the Steve Morse, the 2-over-4 headstock gives this instrument a striking, bold appearance. Deluxe white binding ornately compliments the richness of the exclusive Tahitian Blue finish. Each guitar comes with a back plate signed by Steve Morse and a numbered certificate of authenticity. Limited to 69 pieces.

A Little Bit Of The Sinful Chocolate

Share your favorite recipe that includes chocolate.

I dunno, I usually just like chocolate as it is. I mean the chocolate bars with nuts, almonds or raisins and stuff in it but usually I like chocolate as it is. Chocolate ice cream and stuff is awesome. But I guess I would love to make a mixed milkshake with lots of chocolate in it. How about this – vanilla ice cream, fresh bananas (and I have a few types in mind), milk and lots of chocolate (bars or not).

How about fresh strawberry and vanilla ice cream, fresh bananas (and I have a few types in mind), milk and lots of chocolate (bars or not)? Hmmm I could see that happening. I also love melted chocolate on strawberries or some other berries and nuts. Hmmm yum yum. What about chocolate on cake and in cookies? And on brownies? Cold, cold chocolate ice cream on a hot chocolate fudge or a hot brownie? Oh boy, now I am craving some.

Prompt from 30 DAYS OF NOVEMBER WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

Manchester City 3 Arsenal 1

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised his side’s “amazing” run of form after they outclassed Arsenal to open up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League. City have won nine consecutive league matches, a club record for a single season, have progressed to the knockout stage of the Champions League and are through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup. Kevin de Bruyne’s driven finish and a Sergio Aguero penalty put City in command and, even though substitute Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for Arsenal, Gabriel Jesus sealed victory for the home side from close range.

Arsenal were aggrieved at the penalty awarded for Nacho Monreal’s challenge on Raheem Sterling and both Jesus and David Silva appeared to be offside for the third goal, but the visitors did not deserve to take anything from the game. Still, the Gunners would have been beaten by more had it not been for the saves of goalkeeper Petr Cech and the wastefulness of the hosts. City go into the two-week international break with an extended advantage over second-placed Manchester United, who were beaten 1-0 at Chelsea. The eight-point gap between the top two is the largest after 11 games in the Premier League era.

Arsenal slip to sixth, 12 points behind City, and face a battle to regain a place in the Champions League. City have now won 15 consecutive matches in all competitions, including an EFL Cup victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on penalties. Their 11-game haul of 31 points and +31 goal difference is a Premier League record, built on some breathtaking attacking play. This win was no different, even if they were hampered by their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter

The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a 2015 American-Canadian¬†supernatural psychological horror¬†film written and directed by¬†Oz Perkins. The film stars¬†Emma Roberts,¬†Lucy Boynton,¬†Kiernan Shipka,¬†James Remar¬†and¬†Lauren Holly.

Ok, this is a bit boring so it’s not for all horror fans. Not that it’s scary, it’s more of a psychological horror. The movie shows us two girls, Katherine and Rose, who are enrolled in a prestigious Christian boarding school for girls. At a winter break, these two are the only ones who haven’t come to pick them up. Rose says her parents thought they had to pick her up a few days later while Kat’s parents are unreachable. Mr. Gordon, who is in charge of the school, says that they can stay there until their parents can pick them up and leaves two sisters in charge of them.

Rose, a senior at the school, thinks she is pregnant and goes out at night with her boyfriend to whom she wants to discuss this. When Kat protests, she tells her that the ¬†telling her a story about the nuns at the school being¬†devil-worshipers. When Rose returns, she goes to the bathroom and hears strange noises coming from the boiler room and goes to investigate. When she looks through a window in the door she sees Kat prostrating in front of the lit boiler. Kat had picked up a phone call and hears a distorted man’s voice telling her to kill all of them. She is soon possessed by a demon and is seen being contorted in an inhuman way. ¬†Kat tells Rose she knows her parents are dead, which disturbs Rose.

Kat begins to act strangely and is unable to pray and when she is scolded, vomits. As the nuns try to nurse her, she lashes out at them. Mr. Gordon rings to tell them he will be coming back to the school. It is implied that Kat’s parents have indeed died in a car crash. The women ask Rose to shovel the driveway for him. After shoveling, Rose tries to re-enter the chaperones’ house but the doors are locked, so she returns to her dorm room. Kat stabs and kills the two nuns and then kills Rose. She cuts off their heads and is found by Gordon and a policeman at the boiler seemingly offering the heads to the demon. She yells Hail Satan and is shot on the shoulder by the cop.

Kat is taken to an hospital and as she heals a priest performs an exorcism on her and the demon is gone. She is left in an insane asylum for 9 years but kills a nurse named Joan and steals her identity and makes her way to the boarding school. She is met at a bus stop by a man who offers her a ride in his car along with his wife. It turns out to be Rose’s parents who are on to their way to the town that the boarding school is on the anniversary of their daughter’s death. Joan finds out that they are Rose’s parents and takes a knife from a restaurant and kills both the man and his wife, cuts off their heads and takes it to the boarding school.

Joan enters the boiler room with the suitcase only to find the boiler dark and cold. The demon is long gone and the school has been abandoned. She exits the school and looks back at it as she begins to sob, realizing she is truly alone. After the loss of her parents she was truly happy with the demon and wanted it to possess her. Strange ending but the movie is boring to say the least. I fell asleep at one point. 6 outta 10!

Star Trek Discovery : Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Star Trek Discovery‘s 7th episode has a familiar Star Trek and scifi theme – a time loop, destruction and repeat.¬†Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad may have a familiar feel to it but that does not make the episode any less entertaining and enjoyable.

Episode Synopsis:

While attending a crew party, Burnham and Tyler are called to the bridge to deal with an endangered space creature that the¬†Discovery¬†has come across. When the creature is brought on board, it is revealed to be carrying a person: Harry Mudd. He plans to kill Lorca and sell the ship to the Klingons, but when he is caught he blows up the ship instead. Time returns to the party earlier, with Burnham and Tyler called to the bridge again. They are intercepted by Stamets, who is aware that they are in a time loop due to his interactions with Ripper. Over several time loops Stamets works with Burnham and Tyler to find a solution to the problem while Mudd gets further in his plan each time. They eventually convince Mudd that he has won, and he ends the time loop. Preparing to receive a boarding party of Klingons, Mudd is instead confronted by his “beloved” Stella and her father, from whom he had stolen her¬†dowry. They take Mudd away. Stamets reveals to Burnham and Tyler that in one of the time loops they had danced together and kissed.

So while I was not really that chuffed about this episode, many people were. It’s been done before – especially a memorable episode in TNG – so I wasn’t that happy. Yet it did have it’s cool moments. The crew having some down time while still in the midst of this war with the Klingons (though they are winning at this point and hence it is understood) and having a party with music and drinks. Though playing an annoying 21st century hip-hop version of a Bee Gees disco classic (disco on the Disco-very, get it) is not cool. Tyler & Burnham kiss in one of the time loops, so you know that the pair are going down that road soon.

While I am know for not liking time travel (if done right it’s great, if not it just plain sucks) I can enjoy the complexity of it. Plus Rainn Wilson is loving it playing Harry Mudd in a Star Trek show (he is a fan) and is hamming it up. Again, even though I have a hard time placing him as the same Harry Mudd from TOS. And what’s up with Stamets? I just feel that something major is happening to that guy. Now he is outside of normal time! Will we see him transform and change into something else? And perhaps that’s why the spore drive is lost to Starfleet and we never see it again.

And one more thing – I can buy everything else but why let Harry go with his father-in-law and wife? He just committed a terrible criminal act, killed a few officers including Lorca, the captain, multiple times though because of the time loop there is eventually no harm done. I just don’t get that ending. Lorca should have imprisoned him or killed him. Oh yeah and Ash Tyler walking around unshave like that – it’s not becoming of a Starfleet officer. It doesn’t make sense. 8 outta 10!

Park Life?

Do You Hang Out in the Park?

Not really. Infact, never. But I wish I had a nice park nearby where I can go and hand out but I would want plenty of shade and it would have to be a cool breezy day. There is only one proper park near me and one a little further away and both are not places that I would want to spend too much time in.

I guess if we had a lot of greenery and there were some nice benches or seats where one can relax for a long time (I don’t want to sit on a hard bench and hurt my bum) but I wouldn’t mind it as long as I don’t sweat a lot as it’s too hot and humid. I would take a good book and sit there for a while. If I had a dog, I would want a dog park near me so I can throw a ball for him/her to fetch or throw a frisbee for him/her to catch.

I used to go to a walkway on Marine Drive which is concrete and inlayed blocks of bricks with some seating and benches here and there. There is a small mall next to it and you can either sit there in their food court’s air-conditioned seating – better seats and a table in front of you and food or drink and be near the walkway and stare at the Arabian sea – or sit on one of the seats out in the open in the walkway. Both are enjoyable.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Time Is A Bitch

How Good Are You at Time Management?

Not that good most of the time. I used to be able to do it a lot better but at times I feel like I am pretty bad at it. I guess it’s because I do not prioritize properly and end up doing a lot of things at once and then struggling to finish stuff at the time that it needs to be done. And I can also procrastinate a bunch.

So I guess I should do better in that regard and I can be better organized and get things done in a faster and more efficient method. And it will be less stressful and painful for me. One day, I will manage things better.

Until that time, I will struggle.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times