Shilpa Wins

As we expected – Shilpa Shetty emerged, from behind the tears and racial torture, as the winner of the Celebrity Big Brother. The event, which earned a staggering 40,000+ complaints being lodged against the racist bullying by Shilpa’s fellow contestant Jan Goody and two others, was heavily covered in the UK and in India. The support for the Indian beauty was staggering to say the least. Host Davina McCall stated that Shilpa won a majority of 63% of the total votes cast by viewers of the show.

This time too, Shilpa was tearful, although these were tears of happiness & joy. And Shilpa has again come out and said that Goody was not a racist but an aggressive and hot-tempered person. Shilpa has hired an agent to further her career in the UK and is expected to earn around 1 million pounds from new contracts, other than her appearance money from Big Brother, which will want to sign her as her she has won the event. This could also lead to more exposure on British and other national televisions as well; this current series of Big Brother earned the show more publicity than previous events. After the racist remarks, more than 8.8 million people tuned in to see the show. Other participants on the show included former Jackson Five leader Jermaine Jackson and “A-Team” actor Dirk Benedict. Model Danielle Lloyd and singer Jo O’Meara were among Shilpa’s tormentors and could face a backlash like Goody.

13th SAG Awards

The 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held earlier today (last night in the USA). I have rarely seen this particular award show in it’s 13 year history, but it is rather unique as this is the award winner is judged by his / peers and is therefore considered highly prestigious. What better award that to be given a big pat on your back by your talented peers. Again here, I haven’t seen most of the award winning movies or television series. But Forest Whittaker won again for best actor, which means that he will be a hot favourite to win the same category @ the Oscars. And that is a good thing! Helen Mirren also must be a shoe-in for best actress at the Oscars as she wraps up another prize. So must Eddie Murphy, finally in line for major awards in his storied career

Movies:

Actor: Forest Whitaker, “The Last King of Scotland”

Actress: Helen Mirren, “The Queen”

Supporting actor: Eddie Murphy, “Dreamgirls”

Supporting actress: Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”

Cast: “Little Miss Sunshine”

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Actor in a movie or miniseries: Jeremy Irons, “Elizabeth I”

Actress in a movie or miniseries: Helen Mirren, “Elizabeth I”

Actor in a drama series: Hugh Laurie, “House”

palo pinto gold movie download Actress in a drama series: Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”

Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Actress in a comedy series: America Ferrera, “Ugly Betty”

Drama series cast: “Grey’s Anatomy”

Comedy series cast: “The Office”

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Lifetime Achievement: Julie Andrews

ATM Blues

I was always a big advocate for using ATMs. I started using an ATM primarily since 2003, when I worked for Aspinwall and they gave us salary accounts (zero balance) with HDFC. Since then I have always used it and rarely ever been inside a band unless I absolutely had to and if there was not option to do it from an ATM. The past year, since I changed my primary cell phone number to prepaid, I was also using the ATM to recharge my connection. My former company had a tie-up with HDFC and hence any of the customer’s using my former company’s connection could recharge via an ATM (of selected banks). This was one of the coolest aspects of using the ATM as well. And practical! Since moving to Kacheripady I would often get down, late at night, near the ATM and do my recharges before coming back home. And since two ATMs were less than 5 minutes away, there was a certain comfort level in it. I could use it in an emergency or even otherwise like if there was a total bandh or a hartal or a bus strike! Yes people, if you live in Kerala these kind of thoughts are very, very normal everyday thoughts. You’ll know once u settle down here for a few weeks or so. Hell, people not from here, notice that during their first few days in and talk about it a lot.

But I have been having some problems lately. About a week ago, I was at the ATM near Padma, to get some cash before I go shopping. I tried to take Rs.1200 out. Just as I keyed in the amount, I got a phone call from Jalpa. I took out my cell and was trying to juggled the ATM, my wallet, my phone & it’s pouch. So I tried keeping the pouch and my wallet on the table next to the ATM, so I could pull my card out. It must have taken just 5 seconds or so, but some asshole swooped in and pressed some button on the ATM machine by then. I was a little pissed but I told him that I wasn’t through so to wait his turn like a normal being. What he did I don’t know but somehow, I didn’t get the entire money out – after I took my card & the money out, I noticed that I only got a Rs.500 note and two Rs.100 notes. A Rs.500 was missing. The asshole told me then (??) that he saw a Rs.500 note stuck in the slot that the money comes out of. I was so fucking angry that I almost slugged him. But I waited until he was over then tried again. No luck! So I had to sign a complaint and they called me and got the money back in my account in a couple of days.

And yesterday another thing – I normally never have any issues when I recharge via the ATM. But yesterday I tried recharging Rs.100 for my sim and I got a printout to that effect. But no go; it didn’t get recharged. And I threw away the printout with the transaction number so now I can’t lodge a complaint either. That is money down the drain. I am so pissed off right now.

Song for the day – “Money Talks” – AC/DC

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How Nice To See U?

Well rested and energized for a long session tomorrow….nah! I have not slept properly for a few days, inspite of us having three days off from the training program. This is because several of my new colleagues are from the Bangalore branch of this firm and were not given more than half a day to catch a flight to Cochin. Hence, they were told that they could take this Friday, Saturday & Sunday off (since Friday was Republic day and Sunday being a normal off). However Kerala union took over and declared Thursday a bandh. So the company decided to give us Thursday, Friday and Saturday off instead and our Bangloreans went home on Wednesday evening to complete their move to Cochin – move from rented homes & apartments, pay off bills etc.

So I spent Thursday at home, unable to go anywhere & I have already told you about yesterday. Today I woke up late and had to get my ass down to Thoppumpady and go the old office. I needed to see the HR person in order to get a relieving letter and an experience certificate for my current job – both weren’t necessary, but since the HR person is Baanu, she gave me both. Everyone was happy to see me and I shook a lot of hands, patted a lot of….backs (I know what you were thinking you dirty old goat ;) ) and ruffled a lot of heads. I stayed there for a while and left just around 3:45 and went to collect my photographs. I then felt hungry, not having had any lunch so I decided to buy something and have it at home. Got a blasted cold now!

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West bests East @ AllStars

For the first time in three years, the NHL AllStars was held and the Western Conference AllStars beat the East 12-9. Although the East lost, Daniel Brier (representing the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference) was voted the MVP of the game. The Hull, Quebec native had a goal and four assists, playing mostly on a line with Marian Hossa & Dany Heatley. Hossa also had four assists, just like the West’s Joe Sakic. Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf scored perhaps the longest empty-net goal in All-Star history when he banked a shot off the boards from behind his own net and the puck rolled into the vacated Eastern net. However, disappointing to the average fan, Sidney Crosby was held scoreless in this, his first ever AllStar game. Alexander Ovechkin was also quite in his Allstar debut. For the Western Conference, Minnesota’s Brian Rolston and Columbus’ Rick Nash each scored two goals and two assists. Chicago’s Martin Havlat scored two goals and an assist, while Phoenix’s Yanic Perreault netted two goals. The Coyotes’ other All-Star, defenseman Ed Jovanovski, had two assists. For the East, Boston’s Zdeno Chara scored two goals for the Eastern Conference, while Ottawa’s Dany Heatley scored a goal and two assists. Montreal’s Sheldon Souray picked up a goal and an assist and New Jersey’s Brian Rafalski had two assists.

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Goin Where The Wind Blows

Today I was playing songs randomly from my now huge collection of mp3s and I got stuck, out of choice, at a particular song. It is still playing in my head; and why shouldn’t it? It is a great song. Plus, I kinda played it 12 times today ;). It has temporarily dislodged To Be With You as my favourite Mr.Big song. We’ll see, but in the meantime enjoy the video and the lyrics are on the side of this page. I love it so much.

Song for the day – “Goin’ Where The Wind Blows” – MR.BIG

House Hunt

Happy Republic day to all Indians. What did you do today? Did you show your patriotic best? Hmm! Well I was actually surprised at the number of people out on the streets and the number of businesses that were humming with normal day activity. Hey, isn’t it actually a national public holiday? Well it didn’t seem to bother the majority of our population as most people went about their normal routines, I guess. Everywhere I looked people were bustling about. I had promised a friend that I would go with him to look at a house that was on the market. His parents & him are planning on moving & settling down in the Cochin area. They are from Thrissur but his mom has most of her family here. With his father now retired and my friend working here, it makes more sense for the move. We were supposed to go yesterday evening but my friend got caught with something at work so we kept it aside for today.

By 12 I was in his car and we headed our to Kakkanad, where the house is located. I hadn’t been to that area in a long while. We got a little lost and so we called the current owner and he guided us. It was a quaint little house, not bad at all. It does have an add appearance as the top floor does not cover the entire top of the bottom floor! The ground floor is bigger than the one above it – this was explained by the owner as it having being constructed much later. Ah, ok! The owner and his wife live alone there, their son now living in Orissa, where he is settled, and their daughter lives in a house with her husband in Fort Kochi. The parents were moving to be near their son and wanted to sell the house.

I don’t know what my friend will decide as he mulled it over quite a bit. We had coffee and thought more about the merits of the house (it seems like a dull neighbourhood, to say the least) and he spoke for 3o minutes to his parents on his mobile. Anyway we decided to get some lunch as it was almost 1:30 pm and we were hungry. So we went to have a beer and lunch – I had noodles, he had fried rice and we both ate beef. It was ok and we settled in our comfy seats and chatted about moving homes in general.

I came back home just before 4 pm and napped for a bit. It’s hard to as the carpenters are still at it. It has been so long. My younger nephew, Aditya, was there since yesterday evening and he was watching a Mr.Bean marathon on the children’s channel, Pogo. I watched a bit with him – there was Mr. Bean & Mr.Bean the animated series as well. Both are funny in their own way. Mr.Bean is Adi’s favourite tv show now, it seems. Earlier he had a fascination with Scooby doo and he would wait for it to show on tv before he ate his lunch (it was on during lunch time). That kid can eat bananas like a chimp!

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50 Reasons – why its great to be a Guy!!

1. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

2. You know stuff about tanks.

3. A five day vacation requires only one suitcase.

4. Monday Night Football.

5. Your bathroom lines are 80 percent shorter.

6. You can open all your own jars.

7. Old friends don’t give you crap if you’ve lost or gained weight.

8. Dry cleaners and haircutter’s don’t rob you blind.

9. Your ass is never a factor in a job interview.

10. Guys in hockey masks don’t attack you.

11. You don’t have to lug a bag of useful stuff around everywhere you go.

12. You understand why Stripes is funny.

13. Your last name stays put.

14. The garage is all yours.

15. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

16. You never have to clean the toilet.

17. You can be showered and ready in 10 minutes.

18. Wedding plans take care of themselves.

19. Your underwear is $10 for a three pack.

20. The National College Cheerleading Championship.

21. None of your co-workers have the power to make you cry.

22. You don’t have to shave below your neck.

23. If you’re 34 and single nobody notices.

24. Everything on your face stays its original color.

25. Chocolate is just another snack.

26. You can be president.

27. Flowers fix everything.

28. You never have to worry about other people’s feelings.

29. You can wear a white shirt to a water park.

30. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

31. You can eat a banana in a hardware store.

32. Michael Bolton doesn’t live in your universe.

33. Nobody stops telling a good dirty joke when you walk into the room.

34. You can whip your shirt off on a hot day.

35. Car mechanics tell you the truth.

36. You get to jump up and slap stuff.

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37. Hot wax never comes near your pubic area.

38. You never have to drive to another gas station because this one’s just too skeevy.

39. You can sit with your knees apart no matter what you are wearing.

40. Same work… more pay.

41. Gray hair and wrinkles add character.

42. Wedding Dress $2000; Tux rental $100.

43. If you retain water, it’s in a canteen.

44. The remote is yours and yours alone.

45. People never glance at your chest when you’re talking to them.

46. You have a normal and healthy relationship with your mother.

47. If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you might become lifelong buddies.

48. If something mechanical didn’t work, you can bash it with a hammer and throw it across the room.

49. You don’t have to remember everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries.

50. Your pals can be trusted never to trap you with: “So… notice anything different?”

The Banana

Today evening I had to buy some stuff for my mom. I hadn’t been out to the nearby stores in almost 2 weeks now and was glad for the change. Among the things I had to buy was bananas. Bananas to be eaten after dinner or lunch as desert and also as a digestive assistant. Bananas are the fourth in human consumption (rice, wheat and maize rank above it. It is also supposed to be a berry or seed and not exactly a fruit. So as I have a banana, I would like to blog about the yellow fellow. Bananas are a valuable source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and potassium. They mix well with anything like ‘puttu & kadala’ or ‘uppumav’. People eat them with their evening tea & paripu vadas. And they make u go to the toilet in a much calmer manner! :)

They make excellent deserts – chop a few pieces of banana in ice cream and it takes on a whole new taste. Banana flavoured ice cream is one of the best (it gives of such a sweet & fresh smell). Banana candy is so tasty. Then you have banana cake, banana cream, banana cream pie, banana bread and banana milkshakes! My first attempt at making a milkshake at home was when Raju was there one day and I made some banana milkshakes by putting cold milk, sugar & ‘chingam’ bananas into a mixie. They tasted so good.

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So let us toast the banana, the friendly fruit who mixes with just about anything. And ofcourse one cannot forget the sexual overtones of a banana! ;)

Hot Tamales & Coffee

Sometimes when you are bored and just browsing through numerous webpages aimlessly across the internet, you might hit upon a jackpot of a genius idea! Maybe not your own but someone else’s. And this truly takes the cake in marketing strategies. Oh yeah – a big, thick, chocolatey creamy & dripping with calories cake! Thoughts like “Why didn’t I think of that idea?” or “I surely wanna go there for my daily (or 5, 6 times a day) dose of caffeine” will creep into any straight male’s brain (or a lesbian’s brain). The moment I saw this my jaw dropped to the ground and my eyes gleamed with pleasure of the guilty sin kind. Ofcourse I want to go there. But ‘there’ is Washington state, USA – the spots are nearby Seattle, that Mecca for coffee drinkers & lovers.

What I am talking about is Cowgirl Espresso, a coffee drive in with skimpily clad female baristas, who give flirty services to the customers! Their words not mine. And oh what an array of ladies in lacy things and bikinis and oh such other naughty nice things! I want to emigrate to Seattle right now! The very thought is enough to make any tea drinker burn all tea estates and pledge his allegiance to the coffee bean. Take a look at four of those ambassadors of all things espresso. Then check their website www.cowgirlespresso.comYou will notice a lack of pictures of the coffee but lots of the girls. But Ofcourse!

Heroes

Ok new tv series on the horizon. I rarely get to watch the beginning of a new series (new as in showing in India for the first time) these days so I was happy about catching the premier episode of this one. Heroes is a new tv series altogether (started in 2006) and it looks promising. I hope that the episodes are capable of keeping the same standard throughout. I really enjoyed the first hour of this new series. Heroes is about a group of people who are just realizing that they have extra-ordinary abilities like time travel, telepathy and flying! In once case we have Claire Bennett, who jumps of a high bridge, is burnt in a fire while rescuing a man trapped and gets her hand mangled in the waste disposal – but she is not affected as she has the power of spontaneous regeneration! Nathan Petrelli & his younger brother Peter are also highlighted – the former has the ability to fly and the latter can mimic powers of people he is in close contact with.

There is a Japanese programmer who bends the space-time continiuum and tele-ports himself from Tokyo to New York. Ali Larter plays an internet stripper who has an alternate personality which takes a life of it’s own and which she can see in reflections. And when it does, she has superpower abilities. Her son is a technical genius and can communicate with computers & other electronic stuff. And we have Sendhil Ramamoorthy who plays a genetics professor in Madras, India and who comes to New York is search of his father, who was killed.

Song for the day – “Blue Powder” – STEVE VAI

Ripping CDS 6

Ripping Cds concluded it’s 6th effort rather meekly as I was feeling quite sleepy and was involved in other things as well. Today’s choices are:

  • The Singles – A-ha
  • 1982-1992 – Europe
  • Disc 1 : All Their Greatest Hits – Barenaked Ladies
  • Three greatest hits albums by three very different bands. You couldn’t find an odder trio in my list here! Two bands that remind of my childhood and one band, BNL, which is my joint favourite band of all time. Nostalgia plays a huge part when I hear either Europe or A-ha. I can remember debating their songs with some of my cousin. Ah, let the good times rock!

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Rocking On

Nothing much to report on my daily activities. One thing to say is that both the Tibetan brothers seem to have left the company we just joined. The older brother was in my section and he seemed to be distracted and disinterested throughout the last three days of last week. I kinda had the feeling that he was a goner and guess what – he did not show up yesterday. Turns out he and his brother might drop off. They went to Mysore for some reason or the other and said that it was rather urgent.

Yesterday we went a little more in depth in the training and took a huge portion of the technical aspects of the industry. That kept things in perspective and things got a little more serious. Well today we moved from the hotel to the company’s main training center, which is quite nearby. It was kinda dusty as some work had been going on there and they cleaned it after we came in! But it is a much better training hall that what I am used to at Thoppumpady. I also went to take a few passport size photos for completion of my bank application form and other formalities. Oh and we had a great feast last night at the hotel. Quite tasty!

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Song for the day – “Rock The Night” – EUROPE

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Something For The Pain

I was trying to search for really good music videos and found this one : it has always been one of the most memorable ones by Bon Jovi as it features actors dressed up like contemporary singers of bands that were famous at that time. I thought at the time that this was their best video and I still do.

Song for the day – “Something For The Pain” – BON JOVI

Ripping CDS 5

Slow day today, we didn’t having running water in our apartment for most of the morning. Infact, it just came back about 15 minutes ago, luckily so I can take a bath in peace. This morning I decided to rip a few more cds. Here they are :

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  • Time Machine I & II – Joe Satriani
  • Real Illusions : Reflections – Steve Vai
  • Flashback – Oscar Lopez

Well if you don’t know these three extremely talented masters of their craft (the guitar), you should atleast be acquainted with the first two gents. The third of the trio, Oscar Lopez, is a Chilean born Canadian folk & roots guitarist. He plays flamenco & rumba music and his music is very inspiring and uplifting and soothing to hear. I would really recommend playing this cd during the evenings with a glass of win, vodka, beer or even plain water!

Late Winner

Sunday surely is the laziest day of the week. There sure is a great feeling to sleep late and be lazy on this day. Even though I woke up by 9 am, I could have gone back to sleep for another couple of hours. Wake up I did but the laziness got the better of me; I was supposed to go to Thoppumpady and collect my relieving letter from the old company as I have submit it to my current place of work. I later decided to postpone the trip to tomorrow and then laid back and read the newspaper at leisure. I spent most of the morning chatting with Kichu & his mom; since they had a mic I could hear the two of them through GoogleTalk but they couldn’t hear me. Kichu was playing his guitar and pretending to be Dave Murray, Adrian Smith & Jannick Gers all at the same time.

The afternoon sped by as I ripped my CDs slowly one at a time. The evening was up for grabs; my parents went to see Sherine and her kids. Madhu was indisposed for a few days, so Anil & I decided to head out for a evening on our own. We met at the HDFC ATM at Kacheripady and took an auto to Menaka. We went to the bar @ Hotel Sea Shells which, the only time we went there had a great ambience and great food. So we settled down and ordered two vodkas for me & two rums for Anil. We had some beef & egg burji to accompany them and we started out usual chat about the same stuff – work, career, money, women, marriage & the three of us! It’s funny how it seems like we are having the continuation of the same conversation when we get together. Anyway, both Anil & I wanted to leave earlier than usual so by 9:45 pm we were outta there.

I came home in time to catch most of the Arsenal vs Manchester United match. I was hoping for Liverpool to beat Chelsea yesterday and they did. 2-0! And then I wanted to see Arsenal beat Man U. And they did! Both Robin Van Persie & Theiry Henry scored goals and the Gunners edged out Manchester 2-1. Man U took the lead in the 53 minute when Wayne Rooney headed in a goal but 30 minutes later Van Persie equalised for the London side. Then, deep in injury time, captain Henry headed in a goal to clinch it for Arsenal and the Emirates stadium went wild. This means that both Liverpool and Arsenal do have slim chances of winning the league.

Song for the day – “Bad Boys Running Wild” – THE SCORPIONS

Ripping CDS 4

I finally got round to ripping a few more cds into mp3s to add to my collection. It really makes it easier to listen to any & all songs that you have at your disposal. Now if there only was a way to do the same for my numerous cassette tapes! I got a suggestion from Jody, but it remains to be seen. Anyways, these are the ones I did today :

  • Tempest – Jesse Cook
  • Passion & Warfare – Steve Vai
  • Mother Head’s Family Reunion – Richie Kotzen
  • No Code – Pearl Jam
  • Train Of Thought – Dream Theatre
  • No.1s – The Scorpions
  • Afterglow – Sarah McLachlan
  • How I Feel – Terri Clark
  • The Collection – Alanis Morrisette

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This is a very varied set and I love all these albums. The first three are by some of the best guitar players around – although their playing styles are so different. The next three is by some of the best bands around – again very different styles. The last three are by three very talented Canadian women – again different styles. What is similar is the fact that they are loved by me.

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