Movie Reviews

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Larry Crowne

      So let's get right into it. Tom Hanks shows his true colors both directing and starring in his new movie "Larry Crowne." He isn't one of my favorite actors but he proves himself to be one of the hardest workers in the business. Take a look at his resume you'll find that he produced thirty four titles, directed eight others, and played sixty-four different characters. He is someone that is worth watching and has shown talent from day one. In his new movie, "Larry Crowne", Hanks shows poise and never loses his composure. It's most likely the cause of years of experience and a state of seriousness. Just think about it. If you had to work for money, instead of just borrowing it from your parents, you'll be less likely to splurge with it. Since Hanks directed the movie, his acting must have improved with that fact.
      Hanks plays the role of Larry Crowne, who is a dedicated salesman and has been employee of the month a total of nine times. The only problem with his superiors is that he doesn't have a college degree. After being fired and with a little help of Cedric the Entertainer, he heads back to school to forge new friendships and relationships. What do I think about Cedric in this movie? I thought he did a satisfactory job. Nothing too special there but he's Cedric the Entertainer...I don't mind him in any movie. There were points in the script in which I started out wanting to rain hell on the movie and then ending up not knowing what to do. Hanks kept it for the most part original and always changed things up on me, except for one scene. Keep on the look out for it.
      Julia Roberts plays the role of Mercedes Tainot, a tired college professor with a crumbling marriage, who is on the cusp of being an alcoholic. She faces the grim theory that she can't help any of her students because of their lack of cooperation and attention, that is, until Crowne becomes her student. I don't know what to say about Roberts other than her laugh scares me. For me, she's in the grey. I don't really like watching her but at the same time she makes me want to shield her from the injustices of man. I don't quite get it. Would I watch this movie again? Probably not. There were several instances of "forced" acting and powerless lines in clutch scenes that I very much dislike. In the end, it is a nice family movie that leaves the viewer with not much to complain about. Just do me a solid and please tell Wilmer Valde-what's his face to get off the set, please. Thanks.

Monday, August 29, 2011

India Trip Days 13-16: The Hitch

      "I knew it was too good to be true! One can't have a great vacation, like the one I was having, and expect to have nothing bad happen in between. I should have seen this coming 1.6 kilometers away. (Fun fact: Distance traveled here is measured in kilometers not miles.) I solemnly ever get sick but when I do, it's like having the flu. It feels like you're this close to not making it. Just imagine a pointer finger and thumb moving as close as they can together but not touching. This cold had to strike right when we decided to move from Papachan uncle's house to my mother's sister's residence. So for the next week, we will be staying there to experience my mom's side of the family.
      We just got back from an amazing house boat cruise and a gorgeous evening at the beach. Once we got inside the house, to my dismay, I started to sneeze continuously. I ended up having a 104 degree fever and my whole body felt as if it got hit by an rickshaw. My parents took me to a Hospital where the nurses proceeded to inject medical substances, that brought down my body temperature, straight into my ass. The next day, the temperature started to rise and I immediately began my regimen of antibiotics. I hate taking medications and dealing with their side-effects. Don't even ask if I take them on time.
      However, this cold couldn't have come at a better time. My little health situation forced everybody to calm down and relax a little. I swear, if I was going to go to one more house... I probably wouldn't do anything but please understand my frustration. We visit a total of ten houses per day and each house has us drinking tea and eating desserts within the first five minutes of our visit. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Wrong, before you know it, you're only able to eat a fifth of your delicious dinner and there's no usable bathroom within thirty miles. On top of this, we have to all squeeze into a small car to go from house to house. My stomach and my legs couldn't take it anymore, getting hit by a rickshaw was a safer bet. Today, I actually sat down and watched a little television. I do feel sorry for my mom's sister though. I think Papachan uncle and his family got the best of me while Ammani Aunty and her family got the worst. Sorry, where are my manners? My mom's sister's name is Ammani which means, "A gem of a woman."
      I couldn't do anything all day. If I started to walk outside, I would start coughing as if I'm hacking up a kidney.  My mind wanted to get myself outside and take a look around but my body told my mind to "f&*^ off". My legs felt as if they took a break from the idea of balance for a couple of days. In the middle of all this health hiatus, a childhood friend, one that I haven't seen in eight years, decided to pay us a visit. I haven't felt that awkward in a long time. I just didn't know what to say to him. I have to speak to him in Malayalam and my brain filed for a temporary leave of absence two days ago. The last time I saw him, we were playing cricket outside his cozy little house. I threw the cricket ball into a well behind him and his dad ended up having to send a pail down to scoop it up. I forgot his name but the boy was doing really well for himself. He is studying to be a chartered accountant and had already started the program for it.
      The next day, my aching body was put to the test. This test was sponsored by the Sunday Orthodox Mass. I knew that I was in for some major trouble. I am half Orthodox since my mother comes from an Eastern Orthodox family so I had first person experience with their masses. These masses are known for their beautiful chants that seem to never end and the pain that they cause my legs. Let me explain. We have to remain standing for long periods of time before we are given a couple of minutes to sit. You should have seen me. I was wobbling around trying to find the least painful way to stand and yet there was none. When it was time to sit, I immediately wanted to get up. Lying beneath me wasn't a lush comfortable carpet but a thorny cement like material. There is no escape for me here. By the time service was over, I had nothing else on my mind except the drug...Percocet. Who cares about its side effects?! Finally, my uncle volunteered to take me home while the rest of my family went to do something really boring.
      After that, all I remember is a whole lot of people coming into my room and placing their palms on my forehead. It might sound weird but that's how people gauge the severity of your illness here. If your forehead is warm that means that the fever has not left you yet. Even the doctors do it here. By the time the effects of the antibiotics started to kick in, it was time to leave Ammani Aunty's house to stay at her sister's house. There are too many relatives here. Things were much simpler back in the States."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can't a guy sleep?

      I had a long week. Hell, I bet we all had one because of this damn Hurricane. Work this week was ten times crazier than it has ever been. All our patients thought that this hurricane was going to cause the end of the world as we know it. They must have thought among themselves; "Why don't we all just go in the store at one time to get what we need and all be a pain in the ass while doing it. It may be our last time doing it." Why didn't all one thousand of you come inside together with axes and pitchforks? That would have been better and more effective. I gave a major portion of my life this week to my job. When I come home from one of these days, I think of sleep and a peaceful time doing whatever it is I think of at the time. Remember, this week is my last week of "vacation" before school starts. I shouldn't have someone yelling at me, I've had ten hours of that already.
      Yet, that is what happens. Let's take a prime example of an experience I had close to midnight yesterday. While I was laying in bed quietly reading The Second Messiah, my dad came barging into the room, asking me what I was doing up. I guess seeing me reading wasn't enough but he wanted to hear it from my mouth for him to understand what was going on. He then comes in and asks if I was studying from class material. He looks one look at the cover and says the name of the book in question form, "The Second Messiah?" I just wanted him to leave me to my reading. He then made a quick reference to my below average grades in school and advised me to be careful. Thank you, I appreciate your input.
      This happened, yet another time, just a couple of minutes ago. I had just come back from another eight hours of work and because I didn't sleep well last night, I felt like dosing off for a little while. My dad started calling my name enough times that I could hear him calling in my dreams which woke me up. He asks me whether or not he heard me and what it was that I was doing. After telling him that I feel asleep, he made me repeat the words "I feel asleep" a good five times before he understood what I was saying. He then sees the book, which I was reading the night before, laying open before me and starts getting mouthy at me. "Why are you reading this book? Your main purpose right now is to complete this program and graduate from school. If you put just 25% of the effort you put into reading religious books like "Messiah" into school, you would have no problems getting good grades. I feel like I'm wasting my time trying to give you advice." Thanks, I really needed that pep talk; it couldn't have come a better time.
      My dad looks out for me and that's all he was trying to do. But its coming to the point that I can't read something or go online without making them think that I don't care about school anymore. Of course I care about school. Why else would I even want to stay in this six year program? All I wanted for him to do during that drawn out rant is to leave the room and leave me alone. I'll figure it out. But right now, this is the last thing I want to think about. As we speak, Kristen Kreuk is fading from that dream I was having and I need to get back to it as fast as humanly possible.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dirty

My hands are coarse.
They have forbiddingly felt and wish to forget.
My eyes are heavy.
Each long for the nightshade to cover their signs of regret.

My room is dirty.
It is consumed with empty bottles and crossed out paper.
My face is burdened.
It holds the tainted complexion of a troubled sleeper.

My motives are guilty.
Too many intentions marred by ideas unwanted.
My actions are weak.
They only lead to easy paths frequently trotted.

It asks, what does it take to change?
My forcibly softened inner voice pleads.
How much dirt can you permit to derange?
It whispers; Enough. Raise the volume and trust where I lead.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

      When have you ever seen a chick flick last for more than an hour and a half? It's understandable, there's only so much a writer can put in this type of movie before the viewer starts to get bored. Now, combine a flick that lasts for almost two hours and had Steve Carell playing the lead role and what do you get? Actually, a decent movie. I'm going to be completely honest and say that I like this movie. I paid no mind to this movie when I passed its title in the suggestions box several times. This is because Mr. Dunder Mifflin was in it. I can't stand his movies. I hated "Date Night" and his other movies simply fail to impress me. The only reason that I gave this movie a chance was because of the band "Muse" who lit up its trailer with their song, Starlight. I made up my mind in an instant. "Muse" supports them so why should I care who's in it? Hook, Line, and Sinker. Geniuses.
      Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's "Stupid Crazy Love" tells the intriguing story of two men who learn that love is not what they originally thought it was. Cal, Carell, is a cautious husband who is trying to cope with his wife desire to end their of twenty five year strong marriage. While Jacob, played by Gosling, is a womanizer with a story of his own, who takes special interest in Cal's situation. Through comical scenes and a plot twist, that you won't even see coming, both characters show that love is not for amateurs. Surprisingly, Carell, who I thought could never play a serious role without making a fool of himself, showed some signs of talent and maturity as he sold me some weighty scenes. Proving himself to be an ace in all sides of the board, Gosling, paired with Emma Stone, lifted the movie with his overflowing charisma and wit.
      Don't get me wrong, I don't love this movie. In all chick-flicks there are turnoffs. The remnants of ancient unoriginal lines, smack-dab in the middle of pensive scenes, that should have been long forgotten by now are still around crashing the box office. The presence of unnecessary slow motion scenes that, at their best, made a negative impact on the story's fluidity is yet another issue. Take these two factors out of the picture and I would have watched the movie a second time but as it is right now, I'm happy to just say I've seen it. So take my word for it and give it a shot. It'll lead you to believe that one day, even if it takes dating all the wrong people to get there, you'll find the person that you won't mind talking till sunrise with.   

Friday, August 26, 2011

India Trip Days 12-13: Bathroom Issues

      "I have a bit of an issue. Actually, I'm using the wrong word. Because there is a negative connotation attached to the word "issue", I'm going to say that it's more like a tic. If given a choice, I just can't use any bathroom I set my eyes on. It has to be one that I am comfortable using. The toilet must flush properly, the faucet shouldn't have dirty water coming out of it, and there shouldn't be spiders the size of Crocosaurus chilling in the corners. Diverging from the subject for a brief moment... Eight years ago, due to the scarcity of Western toilets, I have been forced to use the likes of "Eastern Latrines". Don't be fooled by the exotic vibes that that name gives away. It was one of the grossest experiences I had to deal with during my childhood trips here and it still succeeds in haunting me today. In order to for you to understand how bad it was you need to see it for yourself. I will not be putting up a picture of it because it will ruin this entry. So you can look up the words "Indian Toilet" yourself on Google images when you decide to knowingly compromise your day.
      The bathrooms here have evolved significantly since then, however; there was one thing I observed. Most of these houses don't have a separate bathtub in their bathrooms. Imagine yourself taking a shower where you regularly brush your teeth. That's just the way it is here. Fading back to my original thought...I'm comfortable with the bathroom in Papachen uncle's house. Here, instead of crawly spiders, we have sneaky lizards hiding within the cracks of the room and behind the light fixtures. Nice right? Furthermore, I could actually use toilet paper here, while I can't in the houses I visit. In these places, the only cleaning utensil that is used is a flexible pipe attached to a water source that works somewhat like a faucet. It's not easy to use this thing. There is some secret technique that my parents failed to teach me when I was in my younger years. There is no choice in bathrooms here. This is what I have to deal with and I end up leaving the bathroom, half soaked in water, with my hands covering my face in shame.
      Now, add spicy Indian food, as the little hot pepper on top, and you end up with a nightmarish battle between your digestive system and your self respect. I'm going stop all this toilet talk with that thought. Every time I say the word toilet, I feel dirtier. Right now, I'm back at Shwetha Bhavan. I feel great, clean, and full of energy. It's been two days since I left Papachen uncle's house to visit some distant relatives. We stayed overnight at Annie's house. Annie is my mom's niece and she had two amazing little boys: Jerry, the ecstatically playful one, and Jibin, the fun yet mature teen. 
      One of my favorite memories of this trip will be of the time I spent with these two boys. I almost didn't have the heart to leave. Early the next day, as we were leaving, Jerry understandingly said, "Ok, see you next year." When we replied that we wouldn't be coming back for another four to five years, you should have seen his face. It was one of disappointment and sadness. It's obvious, it's rude to think of leaving when you have only just said hello. It was a reality that I, unfortunately, had to face. But add children into the picture and it's borderline criminal."  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One of Those Days

      I'm exhausted. I know it's almost two in the morning and I should be sound asleep by now. I have work in the morning so it's only beneficial for me to get in some good REM sleep in there but, frankly, I don't want to. Actually, my eyelids are aching to close. It feels like there are ten pound kettle-bells weighing themselves on each of them. Just, imagine how big my head has to be for that to be true. The point is that I didn't do one thing for myself today so this entry will be my well needed compensation.
      Today was my day off. Emphasis on the word "was". So, technically, it should have been a time for me to kick back, keep the feet up, find some new music,  and do things I actually enjoy. But I have a sad tendency to make it hard for myself. Since one of my coworkers called out yesterday on short notice, I volunteered to take over her hours to make the boss's life easier. It was a short shift from five to nine, no biggie, right? Not when you take it out of context. Let's talk what I did on my day off before I had to step into work.
      Every year, for my continuing education, I have to have a complete physical and a thorough testing of my blood-work. My medical records expire in a year and without these updated records, I will not be placed in specific classes and will have to be forced to take them in a later period. If this happens to me then I would be liable to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. The doctor's office called my cell phone and left a message on the voice-mail stating that that appointment will take place on August 25th at precisely 8:15am. Let me clue you in about my cell phone situation. I barely use the cell phone so I don't really care when the batteries are dead. So the night before I checked my messages and, lo and behold, I was reminded that I have a early morning appointment. I had somewhat forgotten. After getting a whopping five hours of sleep, I headed towards the clinic completely unaware that I left my wallet on top of the counter. Driving without a license! I'm living my life on the edge.
      After the exams, I was required to obtain a chest X-ray which took me on a frantic search to an Imaging Center through unforgiving construction sites and pot-hole infested roads. Afterwards, I went straight back home to take my mother to her doctor's appointment. What can I say? We're a sick lot. It took two hours for my mom to see the physician and come back but, again, no biggie. I came prepared. The Second Messiah accompanied me throughout this arduous journey. But, I wasn't ready for what was about to happen next. My mother commanded me to take my sister to the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain her junior permit. Unlike everyone else, my experiences with the D.M.V. were nice and short. I only had good memories about this now dreadful place. While waiting for more than three hours for my sister these memories started to boil away into vapor. Supposedly, she finished early but the person grading the exams took an hour to review the exam. Seriously? It's only 20 questions. By the time she opened the testing room's door it was 4:50 in the afternoon and I had already called in late to work. I immediately floored the Civic at seventy five miles an hour back to our state of residence to change and head to work till closing. What a role model, right? My sister kept stating that it was not a good idea for the State of New York to allow me a licence.
      On a better note, I ended up reading a total of twenty six chapters of the The Second Messiah and I'll let you in on this much. This book does not show your imagination mercy. I feel as if I was right down there with the characters helping them unlock unearthly mysteries and finding ancient artifacts that could change the fate of human existence and belief. Sometimes, I wish that is what I did for a living. Tomorrow seems a bit bleak since the talk of Hurricane Irene passing through the area, on the weekend, has everyone on their toes. Hopefully, I don't get hit by a tree on my way to work. That wouldn't be pleasant.

Fright Night

     Yesterday, I postponed reading The Second Messiah, to watch Craig Gillespie's "Fright Night." I stumbled upon its movie trailer, earlier in the day, and I was immediately intrigued. Maybe, I was excited to see what Colin Farrell had come back with after his satisfactory performance in "Terrible Bosses." Or maybe I was happy to see Anton Yelchin as the lead role? I shouldn't have been so excited. I have been dealt with crappy hands twice already after deciding to watch something new. Actually, I was more pissed off about the fact that Yelchin, with his substantially growing talent, has been brought down by these movies. At least, that's what's going on in my perspective.
      "Fright Night" is a vampire flick about young Charley Brewster, Yelchin, whose life is turned upside down when he learns the truth about his new neighbor, Jerry. You see, Jerry here, played by Farrell, is a puffed up brainless bloodsucker straight from the depths of hell. I should have to stopped the movie once I realized that Christopher Mintz-Plasse, known for his roles in "Role Models" and "Kick-Ass", plays a prominent part in it. I couldn't take the movie seriously anymore. I mean, sure, it's a fantastical movie about Dracula but just for that hour and a half, I try to forget that it's not real. They could have done wonders with this movie. Take out Plasse, allow Farrell to play the role of a semi-intelligent monster, keep the graphics, keep the musical score, and let Yelchin loose. Do this and you'll have a movie to contend with.
       I dislike movies that lack smooth transitions and a significant build-up to the plot. Especially with this kind of story, the director can't bring out the plot too quickly or viewer start thinking of the word "fake" a little to early. But I have to give respect where respect is due...Yelchin has started to show up actors who have been in business for years. When he talks in character about something, whether it is about how he feels or what he's going to do, I can't help but believe him. Give this guy a decent movie and he will soar; I have no doubts. Furthermore, I enjoyed the graphics that were spread, although sparingly, throughout the movie. But if you're thinking about watching this movie, I'll give you a piece of advice. Don't. Instead, watch Shia LaBeouf's Disturbia. It's essentially the same thing, given that there are no vampires, but you're sure to enjoy it.
   

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New addition!

      I've been fine tuning the site the last couple of days and I came up with an idea. Nothing too crazy... actually not even remotely crazy. I added something that probably won't do anything for the site but I thought it would be nice. I love to read books especially those that are part of a series. The fact is, I don't like good novels to have endings. So, as a result, I'm adding a "My Book List" column so that you guys can see the books that I am sticking my nose in. Picture that for a second. I'm doing this for several reasons. One. I could keep track of the books that I have read. Two. Maybe, you'll be interested in one of the books and end up reading one of them. Then all the credit will go to me. Three. I'll get to talk about the book if I come across something interesting. And Four. It's been a while since I read a book. So, I'm going to stick with it.
      The Second Messiah, written by Glenn Meade, is going to kick start this whole thing. I went to the library today for the first time in months to grab a couple of books off its overflowing shelves. You might ask why it has been months since I went to the library? Well, I owe them money and I was over the fine limit. This means that I can't take out books without paying it off which was about seven dollars! Do you know how many days it would take to accumulate seven dollars in fines? Anyway, let's talk about the book.
       I was skimming through the titles of new novels and after one good look at this book's title it was a no brainer. I knew, right away, that this book had to do with adventure and people looking for some deep dark secret that other people doesn't want to let out. Not really, but I knew that this was a good choice because it fit my requirements well. The main characters have to be unlocking a heinous conspiracy. There must be life threatening chases in every three pages. Finally, the book has to be one that I could finish in a matter of a week. I have a good feeling about this book.
       On another note, I just saw a trailer today for "Fright Night" and I have to say, I'm excited. As an added bonus, the main character in the movie is played by Anton Yelchin. I thought he was great in "The Beaver" and I'm curious as to what he brought to the table this time. Honestly, I'm going to leave the reading for tomorrow night and watch it now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Conan the Barbarian

     There were only a couple of movies this year that I was looking forward to watch. These included: Captain America; The First Avenger, Transformers 3; Dark Side of the Moon, Real Steel, and Conan the Barbarian. Let's try something. Imagine yourself stumbling upon a trailer of a movie that picked feverishly at your curiosity. Now, your friends started talking about it and they even sent you little links referring to the movie that brought your excitement to new levels. So you wait and wait until the months have passed by and the movie finally went public. What if it ended up being half of what you thought it would be? That's what happened to me with Marcus Nispel's Conan the Barbarian.
       Jason Momoa, known for his roles in Baywatch and Game of Thrones, played Conan who is a scarred wanderer who is on the lookout for those that killed his father and villagers. In his defense, his expressions and the aura of blood-lust around him added to the viciousness of his character. But as the movie went on he started to resemble Karl Urban's Ghost in Pathfinder. Guess who directed that movie? Marcus Nispel. Makes sense but I enjoyed watching Pathfinder. What's Nispel's excuse with this? The lack of character development and unsatisfactory transitions in this movie was something that could have been easily avoided. There is no doubt that Momoa had great potential for this movie but, unfortunately, what can one do if the writers took one night to write the screenplay? At least, that's how it seemed.
       On top of all this, the movie included a narration which sounded extremely out of place. The voice in the background sounded strangely like Morgan Freeman and I believe the movie would have been better off without it. It made the movie seem a little less believable than it already was. I know it's a fictional story, I don't need Freeman to indirectly repeat it to me whenever he speaks. (The voice actually did belong to Morgan Freeman.) The battle scenes of this movie were slightly above average solely because of the attitude Momoa brought to the table. Other than that, don't expect to have a lot to say to your poor friend who you dragged along with you to the theater.
     

I have the worst luck...

      At precisely 2:13pm on the 23rd of August, New York felt the tremors of an earthquake that originated in Virginia. Everyone in the five boroughs felt the aftershock of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck near Lousia County. Everyone except me! My first earthquake and I didn't even know it happened. Patients coming into the store started calling home to their families asking if they felt the shakes as well. They were excited. At least that's what I would be at that moment if the ground underneath me shook me around a little bit. It was the second biggest earthquake take place in Virginia and here I am, sidelined, not being able to partake in history.
      Maybe I'm just over-thinking it but when's the next time I'm going to see a tornado or an angry mob of cyclones? Can I at least feel the 2.2 magnitude aftershock of an earthquake that occurred in a place that is more than 300 miles away? Nope. After my shift came to an end, I left for home to hear quake stories from the family. My sister felt the shaking but she blamed them on her inability to coordinate herself and her lack of balance. She didn't know about the earthquakes until I enlightened her about the situation. My mom was sleeping deeply at the time and, as a result, the news of an earthquake opened her eyes as wide as possible. All she said was that "See. Now you watch. It's all coming to an end." Of course, she was just joking.
      The idea that the world was going to end in 2012 hasn't entered my mind in a while. It may be because my mind automatically does a garbage sweep in the rooms of my brain every Monday and Thursday. Remember September 10th 2008? I was the guy who was counting down the days till the Haldron Collider created a black hole so massive that it ate the world. If there is a minute chance that what she says is true then I, damn well, better see a couple of volcano eruptions before I get punted out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

White Benches and Shallow Lakes: Part 2

      After the night's lively campfire, I found myself spending the next four hours playing Bananagrams with the youth. Honestly, I wanted nothing to do with the game since I decided to leave my brain by the doorstep back home. But after helping a friend win his first game, I was forcibly thrown into the mix. We called it a night when our brains turned into mush and the wins were pretty much going to one person. Remember the old friend that I mentioned before? Yes her. That aside, I wanted to hit the sheets as early as I could to do some solitary venturing at the first signs of morning. I had half of this place scoped out and accumulated many photo ideas that I wanted to put into fruition.
       The idea to wake up early was pretty much a failure. These form fitting beds mixed with the fact that I was in a room all by my lonesome made the separation of my body and the mattress close to impossible. Do I dare say? This bed was more comfortable than my own bed at home. I decided to cut my losses and sleep in for the day. Later on in the day, I went to the shoreline where I found the perfect reclining bench and laid outstretched for a while. I didn't bring the iPod but it did give the winds a reason to rustle up a tune through the use of pine needles. There I was, without a care in the world, laying under the comforting shades of a native tree and slowly drifting off to sleep. Until a little friend of mine found me.
        We went rowing in one of the most shallowest lakes I have ever had privilege to step foot in. My oar kept on scraping the floor as I was paddling and I may have just unknowingly destroyed dozens of marine communities just by rocking the boat a particular way. We went further than everyone else and yet as the distance from the shore increased there wasn't much change in the depth.
         In the middle of the lake, there was an small island that was connected by an arched bridge from its right side. It was inviting enough to demand a visit from us. I mean, who would not go and check out the mysterious island? It would only require you to walk through a good two miles or so of forest with the theme of the Chainsaw Massacre playing in the back of your mind. There were others waiting for their chance to use the canoe so we pulled the plug and headed back to land.
         After I satisfied my trigger finger with dozens of photos, I stopped to skip rocks with the the little children. I believe my highest number of skips was an impressive three. As you can tell, my touch is certainly as good as ever. I, accompanied by two friends, trekked back to the bridge that led to that small island. We faced winding paths, five legged spiders, and five inch dragonflies before we encountered a wooden lookout within the island. My two friends stayed on the bridge as I approached the structure to get a closer look. To my surprise, inhabiting this lookout were the etches and markings prior visitors wanted to leave behind for others to see. Their names, their dreams, and parting words of wisdom were all here around me. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to leave my name behind but I did leave some attempts. My keys were too blunt to make a sure indentation into the wood and could only chip away at the structure until  a  good chunk was missing from the support.
          Before we knew it the day was over and the night was pretty much spent enjoying each other's company. It was difficult to leave Manchester Township the following morning but life awaited us in the form of our friends, textbooks, and bosses. It beckoned us towards a life of unpredictability, hope, and simple joys. All of which, I believe, is not all that bad.

"The Getaway" Photos!

         The Picsio strikes again and this time nature held nothing back. I still believe that all the little aesthetic things that emotionally bound me to this place were purposely placed where I found them. The administrative personnel must have known that there were suckers, like myself, arriving so they placed things here and there to grab at our simple minds. How else can a place like this contain so much "unintended" beauty? These people, I tell you, are geniuses of manipulation. These are some photos that I look at to relive those recent yet distant memories.
I would have loved this photo even more if the damn pump wasn't in the way. Nonetheless, my mind begged my body to fetch the camera just to take its picture. There was no way I was going to leave without taking a little piece of this back with me. 

 This was one of my favorite photos of this whole trip. The clouds, the pine tree branches, and the position of the white beach chairs just worked at that precise moment. At this point, I was laying down on a reclining bench ready to catch some well needed sleep. Couldn't feel better.
While I was about to give in to the lulls of the moving pine needles above me, one of the younger youth found me. I then convinced myself to take him canoeing. In the middle of this very shallow lake there was an small island. While canoeing, motivation immediately struck. I needed to find out what was hidden by those trees. 



The shoreline wasn't the best part about this place. It's the way that nature just carved itself into generously into the area. The well, I thought, was a very tasteful addition to this photo.
You must be joking. I was very excited to take this photo that I took many of them just to get one right. 




I proved that my fearless side was still intact while taking this photo. I stepped into the thick forest-life, which was filled with life draining flies by the way, just to get this shot.
 Don't you just want to take flight right off this dock and immerse yourself into the cool water below? Bad idea, if you did that, you might just end up breaking something or injuring yourself. The lake was as shallow as your bathroom floor when your toilet is clogged. Nice little mental image for you there.



Remember that little island that I made a reference to earlier? Within its caresses there was a solitary structure waiting for me to discover it. As I walked up the steps, I slowly began to realize that I wasn't the only one to come by this place. Here, I saw the names of many people that passed by etched into the wood. I tried to scratch in my own name but my key wasn't a good enough tool to do it. But I do have a nice area of incoherence and chipped away wood in its place.
                Hmmm...Something to ponder about as I go back to my beloved beach chair. 







An unusual gateway that I believed should have been brown but I'll just let this one slide...






 "Nature paves the way for those who know where they are going." This was the quote on a poster that I have up in my room. In a sense, this is true or frankly this photo wouldn't be possible.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

White Benches and Shallow Lakes: Part 1

       Hey, I'm back from a pretty sweet weekend in Manchester Township, New Jersey. Every summer, the church folk go on an outing for a night or two to strengthen their fellowship with each other. For me, it was the chance for me to get away. It was my last chance to shed life's problems and bask, uninterrupted, under the sun before the beast that is school devours my time.
       As we pulled up, my eyes were set on auto-lock to one thing, the shoreline. Filled with white benches and inviting docks, the beach was just what I needed. I pictured myself lying down on a reclining bench under the shades of a tree either reading a book or watching the treeline till my eyelids get heavy. Right away, I realized that a different type of peace inhabited this place. It wasn't the manipulated peace that I receive when I enter the confines of my room but it was a stubborn kind of peace. You have no choice but to let it surround you when it wants to.
       My life seemed to be slowing down by the minute. No more running, it just turned into a slow pace. I started to observe those around me. I haven't seen my church members in a while, some of those who I grew up with almost seem unfamiliar. My work schedule coincided with church and it used to be a problem for me. Guilt usually weighed on me every Sunday I failed to show up but not anymore. I don't feel the same way about church as I once did, something has faded.
       But there I was, in this place where the winds were unpredictable and the thunder was roaring through the sky. However, there was no sign of rain. There was a sense of secrecy within this place. I didn't know what it was trying to hide from me and what I'll be leaving with.
       To my surprise, I met a good friend who I haven't seen in a long time. So much for a quiet trip. I've known her through the years but it seems as if our relationship hasn't changed much since we were kids. We still interact with each other the same way we did in the fourth grade. Through my Sunday School years, I believed that she was the smartest girl I knew. She wouldn't come some Sundays but I do remember being happy when she did. Now, she can't stop making fun of me. It's amusing actually.
        As we got further into the night, the darker and heavier clouds started to bully the worn out sun behind them. A campfire was lit, the marshmallow bag was ripped open, and the festivities started. I'll let you in on a small tradition that we do when standing around a campfire. The parents tending the campfire will actually cook with its flames. They place plantains and yams within the smoldering wood and set it there until they are warm and soft. All this is totally normal to us and I personally love it.
        The winds were unpredictable that night and there was a slight drizzle. They started to carry the smoke and vapor straight into my eyes causing them to sting and well up. Getting the point, I then walked toward the shoreline where I entered into a conversation of reminiscence and memories. Sometimes, to reignite latent friendships one has poke at memories that reside in the stuffing in your brain, somewhere in there. Pop the right one and you won't stop laughing until morning. A good laugh is all it takes to wake up a sleeping relationship.
     
     

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Help

      I am a thriller genre kind of guy. I like thriller movies and action packed books that could I cruise through at sixty miles per hour. But recently, I took it upon myself to launch myself out of my comfort zone and into a deeper genre. Yesterday, I struck gold with "The Help", based on Kathryn Stockett's book and directed by Tate Taylor. Don't be surprised to see the name of this movie multiple times on the 2012 Oscar nomination ballot. You heard it here first.
     "The Help" takes us back into the 1960's, where the idea of African Americans being treated as equals disturbed a large portion of the white community in their sleep. Place a young white woman, who had enough of the oppression, in the mix and you get one inspiring movie. Taylor did a great job in making the gravity of the situation flow smoothly with a good amount of witty humor. The story was serious but with just the right hint of comedy to keep your lips ready to crack a smile but fist armed and loaded to pulverize the closest wall.
     Both Viola Davis and the jovial Octavia Spencer thrived in their respective roles as housemaids. Although Emma Stone, the quick mouthed journalist, may have seemed like the main protagonist but these three characters played roles of equal and important value. The musical score embedded within the scene was subtle but it quietly spurred within me a desire to start mouthing off at Bryce Dallas Howard for being a pain in the ass. All in all, a must watch movie that will not disappoint.
     On that note, I will now be heading into the depths of New Jersey to spend a couple of nights with some faces I haven't seen in a long time; the church folks. I'll be back on Sunday.
 
     

Thursday, August 18, 2011

India Trip Days 8-11: I miss my couch

      "Tonight, I'm writing for multiple entry dates because I had no freaking time to write anything. For the last three days, we were out visiting relatives and friends of family. If I wasn't doing that then I was shopping for clothes for the people we were going to visit. My family has this complex of not entering a household without bearing gifts like fruits and clothes. Meeting familiar faces is great but it gets old very fast. My legs hurt from the walking and all I want to do is fall into my couch which I, unfortunately, left back in the States. That couch always succeeded in making me feel better. There is some good news though. Not everything about this trip is boring and tiring.
       I always wanted a motorcycle. When I think of motorcycles, I think classy, powerful, fearless, style, and freedom. Now I can drive one! Well, not exactly a motorcycle but his nerdy sister, the scooter. My older cousin, Binu, took me out around the block and taught me how to drive it. I'm a fast learner and driving a scooter was actually very easy. It didn't take long for him to ride in the passenger seat behind me. We did get into a little trouble though.
       We passed by a cop's house and watching us closely, the officer could tell that I had no license. He walked toward us on his porch and told us to stop fooling around. My cousin ended up sweet talking the policeman into letting us continue. His exact words were, "Look at him....he's innocent. Let's just have him learn. We'll drive somewhere else where we won't bother you. Please." Man, I missed Binu. Guess what? He's going to be handing out with us for the next couple of days, which is exciting. He's funny, witty, and a blatant liar. He doesn't lie about serious things just the little things. He mainly does it to make us laugh and does it in full consciousness that we know he is lying.
       Sadly, two days ago Shwetha had to leave to go back to her hostel. I couldn't even say bye, she left when I was asleep. She did, however, tell her dad that she didn't want to leave because we were all here. Cute huh? But I just got news that she will be returning for the cruise on Saturday. Yes, cruise. Stay tuned. I'm thinking about buying Shwetha something before I leave for good. Nothing too big but it has to be something that she'll be happy with. Maybe a couple of DVDs starring her favorite actors and some chocolates to boot. I have to figure out how to do that with this packed schedule.
       Tomorrow is pretty much our biggest shopping day. We will be shopping for ourselves and for the people at home. I help out with the selection process. I'm here, I can't really go anywhere else so why not? My sister always looks at me before making her final decision on whether or not she wants a particular piece of clothing. If I say no then its no. I must have said "no" a thousand times. The way you buy clothing here is much different than buying clothes off a rack in the US. You go to a particular counter that has the type of clothing you are interested in buying and then the store worker will show them to you. They will then leave that piece of clothing in front of you and go back an select another piece of clothing on the shelf and show that one to you as well. This cycle keeps repeating itself until you find something that you will buy or if you want to leave to look elsewhere. I could tell my parents were getting a little annoyed at the stacks of clothing we refused. What do you want me to do? I like what I like.
        The one thing good about this shopping trip is the nice sized van we will be taking to get there. For the past few days, I have been dealing with unbearable physical pain but I just don't show it. We are doing all our visiting with my uncle Papachen's car. The popular car to have here is the Maruti Suzuki which is a compact car that is small enough to fit in your pocket. So this car to fit all seven of us? You must be joking. There was no other choice but to have my sixteen year old sister sit on my lap for hours on end. I mean, I'm in pretty good shape and have developed a substantial amount of padding over the last two weeks but this is bringing me to my limits. I feel like a dog who was just given a nice delicious T-bone when my uncle puts the car in park.
       During the car ride back home from a relative's house my goal was to keep my Aunt Suja, musically entertained. She loves Hindi music and I had my Ipod filled with them. I believe I did a good job at being a music jockey for her for the night. Early on, I found out that she likes the songs I like so it was easy for me to keep her fingers tapping. I am running out of new songs to play and tomorrow we're headed on a three hour car ride to a shopping complex. Yep yep. This is going to be fun to watch.
       I feel as if I'm cutting out so much from this trip but three days worth of stuff is a lot. Right now, I'm stuffing my face with food and trying to take photos of my Aunt Suja, who hates being in pictures by  herself. Not at the same time, mind you."

JustPassingBy Victorious!

      Yesterday, I was put to the test against a four week old angry fungus in our upstairs refrigerator. Gloomily, I went to work right away but, at one point, I thought it wasn't safe to inhale anymore of its stench. As a result, I put the battle on a temporary hold to go buy a face mask from a nearby hardware store. But by the time I came back it was time for me to get ready for work.
       As I was driving, feeling the breeze on my newly shaven face, I let my imagination loose. In this daydream, I was picturing myself talking to a patient about a health condition and then, abruptly, I stop talking. Seeing this, my boss comes toward me asking if I was feeling alright and I tell her that I may need to be taken to the hospital. An ambulance is called.
      The patient starts getting nervous about what's happening before his eyes. All I can do is look straight down with my hands trying to hold my body together. I was taken to the back of the store where I proceed to tell my boss that the likely cause was a fungal exposure earlier in the morning. At this point, I was on my knees looking at the floor sweating and wincing at the pain. Then there's a quick visual shot through the perspective of the patient looking in. All these people in white lab coats speeding to the back asking each other what was going on. (Divert back to my perspective) I didn't want them to see me in a weak state so I started waving them away. The daydreaming had to stop here because I pulled up to my place of work. When I dream, I dream heavy.
      Today, it was round two. The smell of yesterday's coat of Lysol and really bad eggs entered through the tiny holes of the face mask as I opened the doors. My eyes were on the verge of tearing because of the rancidity. There was a black syrupy-like substance along with the fungus that lay congealed in a pool under the bottom fruit compartment. It may have once been the contents of a Heineken bottle or maybe it was syrup, I will never know. After an hour and one whole roll of Bounty paper towels, the battle was over and I stood in victory. Take that you stubborn alcoholic black fungal beast. Feeling uplifted and full of adrenaline, I stepped outside to mow the lawn.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

JustPassingBy vs. The Fridge

       I've got some bad news. I just might find myself in a compromising health condition tomorrow as a result of helping out around the house. Today, I was given the responsibility of cleaning the upstairs refrigerator. The one that we emptied out and turned off before we set of for India in mid July. Convincingly enough, this fridge looks innocent on the surface with its artificial flowers draping over the top and family memorabilia scattered throughout the front. Then you open the door and take a curious peek inside only to see what hell crapped out of its butt-hole.
       I was hit square in the face with a pungent smell that I couldn't identify. In utter disgust, I searched for the source of this repugnant odor. Actually, searching wasn't really required at all, the source couldn't have been more apparent. The bottoms of both the fridge and freezer, which were once cream white, are now black. I've seen white fungus on food that we kept in the fridge for too long but this is the first time I've seen black spores enjoying the chill. So, I put on gloves and went to work with three different types of cleaning sprays but it wasn't enough to mask the stench. To tell you the truth, I was afraid that I'll spray the fungus with Lysol and anger it. In my mind, the fungus will then proceed to come alive, take shape, and proceed to ruin my day.
      For preventative measures, I realized my best plan of action would be to buy a face mask so I don't breath any more of this into my respiratory system. Fortunately, by the time I came back, it was time to get ready to work. So tomorrow, I will be finishing what I started with undeniable confidence. But if tomorrow's post title states: "There is mold inside me," you'll know that the fridge won.

Fall of Regret

All wild animals can be tamed.
Cage a lion and one day it will start to beg.
How loud he starts out doesn't matter.

Regret changes a man,
a powerhouse of emotions.
But do regretful actions knowingly,
how strong it is doesn't matter.

Packed emotions propels a man.
Diluted regret weakens him.
Numbers start to matter.

Do the deed, two, three, four times.
Your innocence diminishes with each completion.
Cage the beast, cage regret
And start counting the days till you turn black.

The Beaver

          Another long day of work...another movie night! I wanted to break away from the thriller genre and sit in on a family drama. For a couple of nights now, I've been skimming through the titles, just to see my options, and I passed by "The Beaver" once or twice. The strange feeling that the title gave off caught my attention and I ended up giving it a shot. 
      Bad idea. This movie, directed by Jodie Foster, stars Mel Gibson, Foster herself, and Anton Yelchin. It is about a depressed and mentally ill executive and father who decides to use a hand-puppet to turn his life around. Foster should have given this role to someone else. Sorry to say this but the story line isn't original, it has a take on the 2007 Oscar Nominee, "Lars and the Real Girl." Add this into the mix with Gibson's carefree acting and the only way this movie will shine is through the hard work of the supporting characters. You would think that Gibson, being a two time academy award winner that he is, would be able to really sell it. No dice. His character situation was serious but he turned Walter Black into someone to laugh at. 
     In my eyes, the only hope for this movie lies within Anton Yelchin's fresh acting. He certainly is the person to watch in this movie. He plays the role of Walter Black's son, who wants to be the exact opposite of his father. He plays this role with finesse. If it wasn't for his presence in the movie, I would have pressed the stop button midway. Overall, sorry Gib, I loved you in Braveheart, but you can't ask me to watch this movie again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

India Trip Day 7: Memories

       "Here I am, in the land where my true roots are and always have been. I don't know what it was but once I stepped into the car heading for my dad's younger brother's house, good feelings flooded my system. I was happy with the thought of seeing familiar faces again. These faces have slowly faded during the eight years I spent away from India. My dad's brother, Shaji, and nephew, Binu, both came to pick us from the airport. It was one dingy airport. When my dad and his brother locked eyes, I knew they were truly excited to see each other. They both looked at each other with grins on their faces, then for a split second looked away to their left, and then locked eyes again. It might seem weird but to me, it's common. I even do it sometimes without thinking. It's a "I can't believe you are here" look. In the split second they spent looking away from each other, they decided to cast that extra happiness into the air so that they don't make a scene. Or maybe they just had something in their eye.
        The car ride, which was supposed to take four hours, ended up just being two. Recently, there was a more direct road specifically made for people to travel to and from the airport with ease. This turned out to be very convenient for most of us. Unfortunately, these 2 hours were worse than the 13 hours I spent sitting nonstop on the airplane. The odor that my sister was giving off was gross and she's the type that uses it to her own advantage. "Move a little that way if you don't want to smell it." It was her way of getting a little more leg room. My mom on the other hand was happily sleeping and drooling on my right leg. The one thing that was in my favor is my dad's arm that he spread behind my head so I could use it as a head rest. At least, I think he did that to help me out after seeing my ill-fated situation, right? Well maybe not. Anyway, it was great fun talking and cracking jokes with my uncle and cousin. We hit it off just in a couple of minutes. Can't wait for what's going to happen tomorrow.
        We arrived at Papachen uncle's house, Shwetha Bhavan. Shwetha Bhavan is the name of the house which my uncle named after his daughter. Bhavan is the malayalam word for refuge. Cool stuff ain't it? What would you name your house? I have to think about mine, I'll get back to you on that. Eight years since I've been here last, eight years, and everything is pretty much the same. My dad's two brothers, Papachen and Shaji, are neighbors. Each of them own dogs which both my dad and my sister are afraid of. Losers. They don't seem to mind the six rabbits in the house. All three of Shaji Uncle's sons are all grown up and in school. I think the only real difference about this house is that they moved the glass table from the center of the room to the wall. The house is still the warm welcoming house its always been and Papachen uncle's wife, Suja, is still beautiful like the last time I saw her.
      You know one thing that surprised me ever since I set foot on Indian soil? My Malayalam speaking skills have sky rocketed. My mother's really happy about that. Things were a little quiet between my dad and his brother but they are the closest of brothers. I think everyone just needs to get sleep, it's 2:50 in the morning. Shwetha, their daughter, is coming back home tomorrow from school. She's all grown up and I just got word that she is going to become a chartered accountant. I wonder what her personality is like...My mom has been nonstop reminding me about her good grades so I can't wait to meet her. I'm having so many flashbacks, too many for a full nights time of typing. My battery is going to run out so hopefully I could find a computer that allows me to charge it. Night!
       Wait up, I found a computer right here in the house. What you know about keeping up with technology?
(The following entry was written the same day but in the afternoon)
        We just picked up Shwetha from her hostel and she is so funny. I thought our meeting was going to be a little different but this will have to do. She just ran right past us, crying?! Sadly, she got a third place award in a dance competition today. She kept saying that she wanted to kill the judges and that she was rightfully supposed to get the first place medal. Of course the killing part was a joke. She's very fun loving and witty. The way she talks to her friends is like the way a heroine talks to her best friend in movies. She totally forgets that I'm in here too. At least introduce me? I see a little bit of myself in her. It's fun to listen to her.
        Guess what? Shwetha is turning out to be my younger girl clone. She likes everything I like and hates everything I don't like. For example, she loves the actors I like to watch in cinema and she hates the food I can't stand to even look at. Good stuff, eh? I think, we're off to a little slow start though but I think we'll do just fine, we got 2 weeks!"

Surprise Surprise

       Today morning, before heading for a another day of work, I sat down and started reading my friend Will's blog at www.weallwantsomeone.org. This is the go to site if you are passionate and curious about music. I believe Will has great insight and his love for music is apparent in every entry that he posts. Mondays and Tuesdays are pretty much our worst days of the week when it comes to work so I had to take the necessary measures. I needed my mind to be calm and ready and the best way for me to do that is to listen to music. It can't be just any song, for me it has to be the right one. To me the obvious path of action was to find that song on his site.
       
        What I found was Dusk Warrior. An up and coming local band that is just bursting at the seams with talent. To tell you the truth when I think of local bands and singers, I think of attempts that just can't compete with the mainstream. I think of bands that lack that special something that sets them apart and above. I was very wrong. This band is something else. I love music that send chills pulsing through my body and emotions to uncharted heights. This is exactly what was given to me through their new album, Overdrive Sunrise. Finding refuge in this album is the type of instrumental music I would play in my car with the volume cranked up and the windows down. I'm proud to have a band such Dusk Warrior just a few miles away from my humble abode. It makes me think that even I could succeed in making other people feel good. With all those feelings in my mind, I set off for work with my mind at peace and my determination reset.
       If you want to listen to or download their album, below is a link to Will's post. Take a look!
       http://www.weallwantsomeone.org/2011/08/15/dusk-warrior-overdrive-sunrise-free-album-download/
   

Monday, August 15, 2011

India Trip Day 6: ..."Me Jareyu" (...I'm Leaving)

      "Despite having been tortured by the weather and the humidity here, I have come to the realization that we made a little home for ourselves here. In a couple of hours we are going to have to say our goodbyes to Monachen Uncle, Glency (who I now call GD), Glaison, and Gracy Aunty. Shucks.
      Remember when I told you that I'll make a friend out of Glaison? Well here you go. We were just talking to each other about music, the photos I took during the trip, relationships, dreams, and our goals. We were dying of laughter at one point. He's only been with us a day and when it comes to family, one day just isn't enough. We just hit it off. As I was charging my cameras in the hotel lobby, he came down and we talked for about a good hour or so. I learned a lot about him. He's in school for engineering and he's been getting coaching classes for the profession since the 8th grade! But his real interests lie in creating music, playing badminton, and government. He wants to make a difference in this country. He sees that there are politicians in high standings who don't do anything but bicker about the other guy. He wants to be that hero that propels this country into a kingdom with the likes no one has ever seen. He has great vision and a heart of honesty. I would follow him. I learned all this in just a few minutes. That's all it takes when you talk to the ones you trust. I hope he does the thing in which he places his heart. He better talk to me through emails like I told him to as I was leaving.
       I don't think GD wanted to address the fact that we were leaving. We were all standing in the lobby about to leave and when she came down the stairs she wouldn't look at us, she just went straight for the newspaper. Wherever Glency goes in life, she's going to bloom like the lotus in the summertime. I say lotus mainly because that's her favorite flower. I asked her if she ever wanted pets to take care of and she said, "No, I like plants and taking care of them." She's driven, super confident, won't take shit from anyone, and very knowledgeable. She has a pure heart and a steel attitude. Solid in what she believes in and tough to the touch. And she should be, we all all have the same blood in our veins. Seriously though, she has the qualities that I want in myself. If I was around her more, maybe I would have caught on myself.
        Monachen uncle...I don't really know where to start with him. I don't even know if I could end if I begin either. Some of the things he says makes us forget that we're heading in different directions in a couple of hours. He annoys me when I'm busy doing something or when I'm busy doing nothing. Out of nowhere, he would slap the area near me very hard and scare the crap out of me. I got a great candid picture of him, which I am keeping, with his disapproval, for a very long time.
        Gracy Aunty is as serious as she is humorous, very. Having the perfect balance between the two is freakishly difficult but she proved it otherwise. In times of hardship, she stands like a tower. She isn't scared of anything which I know is where GD gets it from. In times of need, she's the one that stands tall in front of everyone. Literally, I think she's taller than I am. Actually, that's not really saying much. My mom looks to her when she is in a bad situation, it's going to be rough seeing them part. They couldn't stop hugging each other when they first met in the airport.
        We're eating our last breakfast with each other. I'm being a bit of a drama queen, aren't I? I don't know the next time we'll see each other. But when we do, even though our finances, personalities, and state of minds may be different, the fact that family is family will never change. When we're together, we'll have each other to lean on and support. We spent only a moment with each other but it is a moment we'll always look back on.
         I'm sitting down in the airport lounge area right now. My stomach hurts really bad right now, I think it's because of the hot pepper and the sweet syrup I ate before. Don't ask.
         During our touring, we bought something from a small boy selling products on the street. It's something that changes its shape if you push or pull segments of it. We've been playing with it ever since we got it. The bad thing is that it breaks apart really easily since it's only strings of aluminum with ends like semi-closed hooks. By the end of the day, it had no resemblance to what it looked like when we first bought it. I fixed it today morning and wanted to give it back to GD but she told me that I could keep it. It's very special. The more I thought about it, the more it symbolized the relationship what we two families shared. Even though sometimes there maybe brief spaces between us or breaks, it could always be put back together giving a beautiful product. I have to stop being such a sap.
        Flight 465 isn't going to be ready to board for another hour and forty five minutes. Time is slowly floating by. My sister and I took a tour of the airport shops and by the time we were done, only fifteen minutes had passed. My mom right now is laying passed out on my sister's shoulder and I don't know where my dad went. Soon we'll be in Kerala, the state which harbors pretty much all of my family. It's hard enough letting just one family go, now I am going to be tested with more than 20 others...sigh. The freaking flight is delayed by another hour and a half. Seriously, Air India, seriously? I thought we look out for each other."

Midnight in Paris

         As yesterday was winding down, I decided to press my luck. It was a long day and after eight hours of work, all I wanted to do is lay in bed and watch a movie. Everyone talks about how movies today are unimpressive and lack creativity but I beg to differ. Given, the movies today are straightforward and don't really require much thinking power to understand but nothing has changed about where they leave your senses and emotions. Movies today are still able to grasp your interest and your imagination. "Midnight in Paris," starring Owen Wilson and Rachael McAdams, is somewhat proof of my statement.

I have a particular taste in movies. If I don't like the actor in a movie, I don't like the movie. There are only a few actors out there whose acting sparks something within me. You can call me closed minded but that's just the way I am. Owen Wilson is one of those actors who I don't like to watch. The vibe that he gives off his certainly different but I think that he can't bring a sense of seriousness into his movies, which I dislike.

The movie poster of this movie was inviting enough and I was in an artsy movie mood. I was hesitant to watch the movie at first but the story line peaked my interest. It's about the experiences of a struggling writer in Paris and how fantastical events shape the way he thinks about his writing and his relationships. I decided, what the hey? People say that I don't have an open mind, here you go.
       This movie works well in conjunction with Wilson's jovial and carefree attitude that he brings to his final products. In order to pull off a movie that is based on fantasy, you have to have the certain something that Wilson does have.  This movie had a nice balance of intrigue and humor and it left me with good feelings. I could argue that the end was a bit incomplete but I can accept it. Go ahead give it a go, I did.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

India Day 5 Photos!

        We went to so many places that day it's not even funny. This means that there were close to a million photos in both the cameras. I plowed through them and here are the ones I like to look at a little too much.
I wonder how long they took just to build just this part of the Lal Qila Fort (Red Fort). These forts in New Delhi are the equivalent to castles that are built in Europe and the Middle East. I didn't get it on camera but waving right behind one of these lookouts was the Indian flag, which I thought was pretty cool. 


   I love path photos like this one. I love them even more when I take them.





There they all are. That's my family heading in all different directions to soak in Delhi's gorgeous historical scenery.


The magnificence of Lal Qila's interior speaks for itself. 






I enjoyed seeing simple structures like these stairs that only have support from its left side. I won't use these stairs though.














You never know what you may see when you turn the corner. I walked into an open area with a large green pond in the center which I really wouldn't mind in my back yard. 


I have seen enough palm trees to last me a lifetime in just one day. I have yet to encounter one palm tree in the United States. I need the beach.
        After one look, I suddenly don't want to go home anymore. 







Who says only food and girls can blow up a guy's mind? I wanted to take a dive in that pool but I was sure that if I did, I wouldn't be able to see the inside of the temple.
I just lost my family in the crowd somewhere. I think I was too busy looking at awesomeness.







This is Qutab Minar. The world's tallest red sandstone tower. The day is about to end and the sun is starting to play around with the sky.
The tower was decorated intricately with Sanskrit verses of the Islamic Quran and wildlife.  There are inscriptions on different places of the structure that writes of the history of its creation. For me, this photo is one of my favorites of this entire trip. If I left with only this photo, I'll still be happy. 



There should be an option to spend the night outside in this area. It seems like the kind of place you would want to wake up to. That is if you don't mind the many people in the area that would not hesitate to take all your stuff. Got to take the good with the bad.

Success!

       I was on my way to work and I turned the radio on. I didn't know what the song was but it immediately caught my attention and in no time I starting singing to it. In order to download the song later, I tried to memorize a line from the song but all I could gather were the sounds, "Na Na Na Na Na." Like that's going to be any help but that's all I had to go on. So, I just came back home and I've been searching everywhere for this song. The best thing to do is start at the source, right? I started looking on the Z100 site because that's where I heard it from. I looked at their playlist and pretty much listened to every song I didn't know on there to find it. After a good half hour of searching I found it!

The song is "You Make Me Feel" by Cobra Starship featuring Sabi. You should know that I'll listen to a song a hundred times on the basis of feeling alone. For me, lyrics are just added bonuses. The lyrics are pretty ordinary for this song but the music is great. I won't listen to a song that has hideous lyrics but I could care less about the so-so lyrics of a song if the tune makes my head rock. That's just me.  So, if you want to listen to it I'll post it on the "What I'm listening to right now..." column. Give it a shot.

India Trip Day 5: Dream Away

         The first part of this entry may be confusing. Hell, it was confusing to me looking back at the entry. I wrote this part right when I got up. I was probably still half asleep while writing it.

         "What a dream. All I remember though is one part having to do with what I wrote in my first blog entry and my little sister was in it. It's really strange. In the dream, I was writing notes from a book I read before. The name of the book is not coming to me. I then closed the cover of the book and the name of my blog was on the cover with someone else's name written under it! As soon as I saw it, I wanted to do find this guy and give him a piece of my mind, no, my fist. I remember walking around in determination and I told my sister that I need to find this person. What makes it stranger is that the book only had a chapter and a half of text written in it. It was incomplete. Why couldn't my dream be about me going back in time and taking the place of Shah Jahan or Akbar?  I'm waiting for an epic dream like that to blow my subconscious away. My subconscious, is there a worse place? I hope no one gets to see it.
         It's five in the morning here and I tried waking up my dad to tell him to get ready. No luck. He just turned the other way. If we're late in picking up his brother, he'd better not look at me. You know what, I'm going to play it off that I didn't try to wake him up at all just to confuse him. Hah!
         Yeah...That wasn't even brought up, failed attempt at confusion. It was a stupid idea anyway. That was an interesting trip to the train station. We had a possible encounter with a pickpocket but our aunt would have slapped him in the face and that's if I didn't nab him first. One lucky guy, I think he knew we were on to him so he went on his merrily way. We finally met up with Glaison and Monachen Uncle. Things were awkward at first with Glaison. We were very happy when we said our first words to each other and then we didn't talk for a good half hour. Truthfully, I don't think this awkwardness will leave us anytime soon. Hopefully it will. All I know so far is that he has played piano for a while and he likes to play badminton. All of a sudden I'm getting a headache. I think I've been staring the screen a little too long.
         Yo! Too much, too much. I can't believe I made it through the day. We visited so many places today, it's crazy. The only thing bad about it was that the dreadful humidity made that headache massively worse. As a result, I couldn't enjoy the first couple of sites as much as I wanted to. But after seeing the freaking amazing Lotus Temple all my problems just vanished.
         We had a lot of laughs today and we grew closer together as a family. We tried to surprise a family relative that lives in New Delhi but we ended up having a tough time. They expected us to get there a couple of days earlier but, anyway, we got through it as a family. Our driver was taking us for some shopping and, as I heard it, he kept calling the places "undergarment shops."  He kept on saying it and I couldn't help but get a little weirded out. Why does this guy keep on saying this and why is nobody else reacting? I don't want to go there. So as we were talking about what we were going to buy there and I casually answered, "undergarments." They all started to laugh hysterically. Supposedly, he was saying under-government. Hehe
          There's no sleep tonight. Tonight is out last night in New Delhi so we're going to put it to good use. We're going to talk to each other till morning. I don't know if I'm going to pull through that. I don't think I ever talked to someone throughout the night. Noon flight tomorrow to my second home. Kerala, its been too long. Eight years to be exact."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What I Want...

        For a long time I've been asking myself some very important questions. Where is this all leading to? What's the dream? What do I want? Every time I ask these questions, the answer is one and the same. This is where I want to be.
        Here, beauty surrounds me and soft winds guide my direction. I see myself, one day, walking down a path just like this one, towards the water. Hands in my pockets and wearing a dark T-shirt, I'm listening to some music while walking towards the shoreline.
        Here, peace of mind comes so easy. I love the water. I love being in it, on it, and near it. Even today, if I have trouble sleeping, I repose to the sounds of waves or raindrops softly tapping the windowsill. Maybe on one of the days I'm off from work, I'll take a little boat and just let the winds carry me across the water.
        Here, I'll fall in love. I'll be able to see that woman inside my little house overlooking the waves and when I leave her side, I'll be comforted by affectionate nature. What happens if Cupid strikes home before I get here? I don't think that would be a problem. Maybe if I'm lucky, she'll love the place more than I do.
        Sounds too much like a dream. It sounds like a place like this is not real and this photo is actually a drawing. See, this place... this dream... doesn't exist for me today but I assure you it'll be there. After all this studying and work is said and done, it'll be there.

India Day 4 Photos!

       These are some photos I took when we went to the Purana Qila Fort. Truth be told, this castle is hogging the world's beauty all to itself. I'll never forget the time I spent inside it.
                We are just about to enter Purana Qila and I can't help but be rude. I just kept staring.




I like taking black and white photos. But when I was taking these photos I wasn't aware that the B&W was selected. But they came out pretty awesome.
This art style is all to familiar. The curves and the designs can, undoubtedly, all be found in the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan didn't really want to move out of his comfort zone, did he? No biggie, I can look at them all day.








I love the way nature works in conjunction with this splendid piece of work.
 A very artistic and boldly created well. You really don't want to trip and fall into it. I can't believe things like this actually exist. 






I love simple things but I could make an exception or two.
Right place at the right time. 






Prison Area. I would be scared if I was placed in here to be disciplined.





What you know about style? I now think I know nothing.