O’ Canada

One of my favourite guitarists / artists Gordie Johnson, currently fronting Grady and formerly of the under-rated Big Sugar, recently made an appearance in Toronto, Canada to sing / play the national anthems of the US & Canada. The game was between the home team, the Toronto Maple Leafs vs the New Jersey Devils. After singing the US national anthem, Gordie belts out on his double neck Gibson guitar, his country’s national anthem. Watch this magic moment. He’s done it before but this one rocks, even if he is unaccompanied.

I’d like to hear him play Jana Gana Mana one of these days!

Star Trek – An Atheist’s Dream

While watching the episodes of Star Trek : TNG on tv, I used to be struck by the predominant characteristic theme of atheism. In the world of Star Trek there is no need for money, materialistic possession, hunger, famine, diseases are almost non existent (other than the ones that the crew encounter on their trips) and instead there is a brotherhood of humans. And there is no god for humans! If you want to live a peaceful life bettering yourself, its possible. But from time to time, a human has been mistaken for a god.

Like in this case, Jean-Luc Picard is thought to be a God by a less advanced race. Saying he has no desire to send them back into the “Dark Ages,” Picard is determined to repair the cultural damage as much as possible while not further violating the Prime Directive. It finally takes the witnessing of the death of a human at sickbay for them to realize Picard is just as mortal as they are and that his godlike powers are nothing more than a technological advancement.

Rain Is Lovely

As I was walking back home a few minutes ago, I got the first draft of breeze that seemed to imply the promise of some rain. Further ahead, the wind picked up and I was sure that we would be blessed with the welcoming raindrops that I have been so longing for. Just as I reached my building, it started getting a little colder and I was glad that I reached the gate and did not have to dig out my umbrella in my bag. I got into my apartment, I changed my clothes, washed my face, & legs and sat down at the computer and presto….it is raining! Open the windows – the very same windows which I would pull shut in fear of numerous mosquitoes invading my space and sucking my blood – and let the cool wind bath me it all its seductive glory and watch the rain fall on a thankful city.

Coffee, Coffee Where Are You?

If you are like me, you will be in a zombie stage before you get your first cup of coffee in you. A creature of the dead until that first cup o’ bliss touches your lips and flows down your throat. If you are like me, you probably drink 3 to 4 cups of the nectar a day. And you probably crave it like crazy every time you don’t get any. If you are like me, you will curse the entire company when the coffee runs out in the office coffee machine. You will howl at the sky when you wake up in the morning and reach for the coffee powder only to find out that the bag is empty and everyone in the house forgot to buy some.

If you are like me, you will appreciate the picture & product below.

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At plain sight it is a standard black mug as they come a dime a dozen and in big white letters it say OFF. Nothing fancy, but once you add the hot beverage of your choice, the mug changes color and is turning white and in big black letters it states: ON. the wonders of heat sensitive pigment… Dishwasher safe of course!

Mismatch

I went out for a bit today. Other than a coffee and a couple of cookies, I wanted to check out the cd collections at Planet M as they were having a discount sale on older stock. So in I went and was disappointed to note that their English music selection has shrunk incredibly! Not just that, they seem to have developed shit for brains, the shop guys. Consider if you will the mismatch of cds and the label on the top of the shelf.

Country : Nelly Furtado “Loose”

Gospel : Black-Eye Peas, John Denver & Juanes

Pop : Judas Priest, G3 (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai & Eric Johnson)

World Music : Santana, Shania Twain & Reba McEntire

Did I miss something? Did the above mentioned artists change their musical genres? Now if Judas Priest had been in the Gospel section, I would have screamed.

Guess Who? That Funny Bird

The post about Popeye & Olive got me thinking about all the other cartoons I loved as a kid. All of you who, when young or even now, remember this loony character who went into mischievious antics at the drop of a feather. Woody is also famous for that one of a kind laugh, which is often immitated but never ever has anyone been able to duplicate it. I used to watch Woody Woodpecker as a kid in Kuwait, but can’t ever remember seeing an episode since we moved back to India, until very recently.

I must protest to Cartoon Network. My two nephews watch all these nonsense cartoons that couldn’t hold a candle to the red & blue bird. There have been very few cartoons in the last decade or so that are worth watching. Sometimes there is nothing like a good cartoon to bring back traces of your childhood & innocense and can banish all your adult worries & stress, even if only for an hour or so.

One of my favourite episodes of Woody Woodpecker is the one in which he goes to a restaunrant for lunch. The waiter there (a cat??) sees in the paper that there is $100,000 reward for the capture of a woodpecker. He dreams of the money, motorcars & women. So he sets out to capture our bird friend. When the waiter approaches, Woody asks “Can I have a Menu?”. “A menu?” asks the waiter, to which Woody replies “Yeah, M-E-N Men, Y-O-U, You. MENU!!”. Simpley hillarious and typical Woody. My sister & I used to mimic this dialogue a lot when we were much younger…..we don’t do that anymore.

Sena 4 Phoenix 2

Losing games to Anaheim, Los Angeles & San Jose was hard. Winning their games in Arizona against the Phoenix Coyotes snapped their 3 game losing streak but it doesn’t change the fact that the Sens are in big trouble. Their defense is leaking goals and they aren’t scoring as many in return to counter that.

Mike Fisher scored two goals, his first in 19 games, adding to Phoenix’s home woes with a 4-2 victory over the fading Coyotes. He has 21 goals this season. Dany Heatley scored the go-ahead goal, his 32nd of the season, on a power play 1:33 into the third period, then Antoine Vermette’s rebound goal made it 4-2 at 9:59. Ottawa improved to 2-3-1 since John Paddock was fired and general manager Bryan Murray returned as coach.

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Ottawa was without leading scorer & captain Daniel Alfredsson for the third straight game because of back spasms.

A Piece Of My Heart

the tiger s tail download She is leaving for her home in two days. I won’t see her before her departure and now. It might be 5 weeks before I see her again. My eyes teared up as I said good night & good bye and safe trip. And my heart broke as I made my way back home.

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Cartoon Fever

The last few days I’ve been coming home late, after 11 or 12 hour work hours. I hate leaving the office that late but it was just necessary these few days. But I’m too tired to do much once I get home. Anything other than watching a bit of tv or a movie or playing some music is taxing enough. Add the fact that I’ve been losing sleep, it makes me very tired. I try to watch some wrestling or catch a tv series or some…cartoons!

So yeah, I’m 31 and I like cartoons. So sue me, eat my shorts. Not all of them, just a few that I like. Like Tom & Jerry or Popeye! Here’s Popeye with his gal Olive Oyl. We have a girl in the office who looks like Olive, with a similar nose! She kinda blushes when people call her that. So what do I do? When she passes by I go “toot, toot”!

Akakakake! Why blow me down!

Missing

Today I got a call from a friend, Shiju, who I haven’t spoken to in 9 years. He had got my current number by chance and decided to call me up. It took me a while to remember who he was. We spoke about the last time we met, when he came by my house and gave me a small bottle of Absolut vodka. He was working in the Merchant Navy at the time and then had left it to join a company in Bangalore. Currently he was working for a Bank in Hyderabad and was married with two kids.

After the usual catching up and stuff, I asked him about James. The expected silence was followed by a sigh. James was his best friend from the age of 10 and a mutual friend of ours. They were inseparable and did all kind of things together. They even worked in the stock market together for a few years – until James went missing. The rumours were that he had a huge gambling debt or that he had borrowed a large sum of money for his sister’s wedding and stuff.  Whatever the truth about the reason is, the fact remains that James has been missing and is presumed dead for the last 10 years.

Today would mark the 10 anniversary of his disappearance.

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Keys + Chains

While getting ready today, I decided that the key chains to one of my cupboards in my room was too large & silly to be of any practical use. Its a plastic bubble with a form of an AC Milan jersey inside it. It looked fun to have such a key chain at the time but now it just feels silly. My apartment keys are attached to a key chain with the old Hutch logo. Then I have a bunch of keys with no key chains attached to them. Its kind of easy to keep a track of your keys if you have a key chain to go along with.

I have seen my share of key chains – cigarette shape, shaving razor shape, tennis racket, cricket bat, lighter, guitar and several other shapes. I think I need to buy a few key chains just to keep things easier to pick off doors & tables.

For Life

Learning about Jeff Healey’s death due to cancer is one thing. The fact sinking in is totally another. It makes you think. Guy, who was already blind, heavily talented, successful, helpful to other people’s careers, made a name for himself, has a loving wife & two kids, and yet he loses his life to cancer at the age of 41. Makes me ask myself “What do you have going for you?”

Also it puts another thing into perspective. My friend and colleague, who is throwing her life away for the sake of an asshole druggie & wife beater. She tried to commit suicide and she has made almost everyone hate her because of the things she has done. She knowingly went to marry this moron who has a drug taking & violent history and gets beaten up herself and then goes back for more. A few days back when she left things were hopeless, she took an overdose of pills and it was only due to her landlady’s concern that she is still breathing today.

Makes me wonder.

Jeff Healey RIP

The world is not right. Its a shame that the great man couldn’t live longer in this world. Jeff Healey, blind blues rock guitar wizard & jazz musician died in a Toronto hospital today due to cancer. He was just 41 years old. His lifelong struggle with the dreaded disease that took away his eyes at the age of 1, finally gave in and the cancer won. The Grammy-nominated Healey rose to stardom as the leader of the Jeff Healey Band, a rock-oriented trio that gained international acclaim and platinum record sales with the 1988 album See the Light. The album included the hit single Angel Eyes. Healey was considered a prodigy and earned numerous Juno and Grammy nominations in the course of his career.

I got to know about Healey and his music back in 1990 when a friend of mine loaned me his copy of Hell To Pay and I played it 20 times during the following week. I soon bought my own copy of the album and was a huge fan to this day. I came to know about his blindness in 1998 and my admiration for him grew. His death came weeks before the release of his first rock album in eight years. Mess of Blues is slated for a North American release on April 22.

Rest in peace Jeff.  The cancer can’t get to you no more.

Cosmic Troubadour

When I think of the world’s best rock bass players, Billy Sheehan is one of the top 5 names to immediately come to my mind. He is one of the best, if not the best, bassists to have ever played. Billy has been called the ‘Eddie Van Halen’ of bass, but since the first really great guitarist that he has played with was Steve Vai, I often refer to him as the bass world’s equivalent of Vai. Having played with Talas, Mr. Big, Niacin, David Lee Roth & Steve Vai, Sheehan has come to be known as a real road warrior & a great musician. His second solo album Cosmic Troubadour was released in 2005 and last night and today, I was able to get a copy through an online friend of mine in Florida. Songs from the cd might be strange for the casual listener as, unlike in normal rock songs, the guitar is in the background and the bass is in the soloist (shredder) spotlight and in your face.

Toss It In The Flame starts things off with Billy singing, something he rarely does. Although he isn’t bad, the vocals pale in comparison to the man’s bass playing abilities. That being said, its a good song. Back In The Day follows; sounding a semi-Neo-Classical and traces of Dream Theatre influences. The title of the album is taken from a line in this song. The Suspense Is Killing Me comes at you with the intensity of a high speed train running off the tracks and sounding like it could belong at home in a James Bond movie soundtrack. From The Back Seat is a look at the world from a different perspective.

Don’t Look Down starts all mellow and then speeds up, with jazz tastes in the beginning. Something She Said is one of the best tracks on the cd. Up comes Dreams Of Discontent with its sci-fi soundtrack feel, definitely the album highlight along with Suspense…. Dig A Hole, Taj, The Lift, Long Walk Home, Tower In The Sky & Indisputable Truth follow.

Hope is the only ballad on the album and is one of the best instrumentals I have heard. Finally the bonus track A Million Tears Ago completes the album which showcases Billy’s indisputable talent and reputation as one of the best musicians to have come out with material during the last 20 years or more. I have had the chance to correspond with Billy via email, a couple of years ago and he is as down to earth as he is talented. For those who thought the bass can’t star in a rock album – take a listen!

Piktalicious

Mike Myers is a comical genius of the highest order. He is best known for creating larger than life characters through which he makes the world laugh. Shrek, Wayne Campbell, Austin Powers, Fat Bastard, Dr. Evil etc. Now add to that – Pitka! In his latest movie, Myers acts as an American who was raised by gurus in India and has become a commericial love guru for the masses. This is just too funny. The Toronto Maple Leafs offer him $ 2 million to make their star player get better again by reuniting him with his estranged wife. Jessica Alba, Ben Kingsley & Vern Troyer also act in this movie. I saw the trailer on youtube and man it is hilarious. I am so looking forward to this movie, if the trailer is that funny, my side are bound to split when I see the entire film. Something I am looking forward to is the version of ‘More Than Words’ that Mike sings with a sitar! Holy shit!

Something this good must have a flaw, rite? Yes it does! Justin Timbersucks is in it! Yuck!

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Sens End 3 Game Skid

What is wrong with the Ottawa Senators? They dominated the early part of the season, along with the Detroit Red Wings, building up a very strong lead over the rest of the East. They finally lose a few matches but are still strong. Then they beat Detroit, in what was billed as a possible Stanley Cup final preview – and they went off the rails.

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The Sens lost sight of who they actually are and they started losing games. Badly. They lost 5-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs a few games ago for crying out loud. The Leafs, who the Sens usually rake off the ice at the end of the game. They got shut out twice in a row and that almost never happens. We got some good players before the deadline, in Mike Commodore, Cory Stillman & lately Martin Lapointe. While adding size, speed & veteran leadership respectively, and not to mention 5 Stanley Cups between them, they team hasn’t been able to gel yet. Just a couple of wins recently and lost the top spot in the East to nearby rivals, The Montreal Canadiens. All is not lost, they will still make the playoffs and I prefer that they lose a few games here and win the Cup. That is most important.

Last nite they beat the Pitssburgh 5-4, with a couple of goals by captain Daniel Alfredsson and goals by Antoine Vermette, Lapointe and Dany Heatley. We need the defence to stop the goals, the offence to keep slapping in those pucks and great goaltending.