Random Thoughts, Cricket, Movies, Music ...

Friday, June 30, 2006

Brazil face France tomorrow

Much as I would like Brazil to win against France, I have a fear that France might pull up a surprise tomorrow. Brazil have not been as fluent as I would have liked them to be. The closest they came to their best was during the match against Japan, where they were 1-0 down and then they played some of their best soccer to completely dump out Japan. If they need to win against France, they need to come with all guns blazing - stars such as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Robinho all must click and click together.

France, on the other hand, are facing an upswing in fortunes. Zidane continues to inspire the team and with this being his last championship before retirement, he might still have tricks up his sleeve to prove that he is still the same old magician. Brazil needs to nullify his effect.

It seems that we are in for a wonderful and exciting battle.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Brazil 3 - Ghana 0 - Brazil don't look very fluent

Brazil defeated Ghana 3 goals to nothing in their 2nd round match and Ronaldo became the leading scorer in World Cup competitions - his tally now reads 15 goals. That is the only positive that came out yesterday's game against Ghana. Ghana, who were the undergods, played like champions but were really unlucky to score any goals - some of them were wonderfully saved by the Brazilian goalkeeper Dida, some were hit wide from close range etc. In short, the conversion ability of the Brazilians saved them on this day but it won't be enough because they now face France, who are on a upswing after their come-from-behind victory against Spain.

My take on the game:

  1. Brazil completely missed Robinho, out due to a thigh injury sustained during practice. He was a dynamite in the field in the last match, setting up many goal-scoring opportunities in the last match. His replacement Adriano was a pale shadow of him.
  2. Brazil was completely playing in one zone - in the center. They were not passing the ball around as they normally do - i guess, the fact they were a goal ahead and soon 2 goals ahead, caused them to relax and hence, went into a defensive mode. But this won't work against stronger opponents such as France or Germany.
  3. Their star for the day was indeed Dida, who brought up some wonderful saves and saved some purely by luck - but then thats what goal-keeping is all about.
  4. Ronaldinho needs to strike some form - he does show some glimpses on and off but he needs to do that for the full 90 minutes - he is the game maker and Brazil depend a lot on him.
  5. Brazil players need to be a little less-selfish - there were a couple of easy chances yesterday that could have been converted had the player passed it to another player instead of taking a shot at the goal. Again, this could have been as a result of being ahead in the goals against Ghana - nevertheless, this could prove costly against a stronger team.
Brazil now face France in the Quarter Finals and going by what I have seen so far, they have a tough battle ahead !

Go Brazil :).

-- T

Monday, June 26, 2006

Portugal FIGHT for their win

Portugal and Holland literally fought it out in their 2nd round match yesterday. Man - it was one of the most violent soccer games i have ever seen - in a mad passage of play after half time, the refree was bringing out his cards - yellow / red for every single foul. The Dutch players were losing their cool because they could not find the net - after that Portugal's players lost theirs and finally, the Russian match refree lost his cool too.

Even though Portugal made it to the Quarter finals and will now play England, I think it is England who will be really smiling. Firstly, Portugal will be without a couple of its main players because of red card (Deco being one of them) and secondly, Ronaldo is carrying an injury which put him out of the last game. Although he should be fit by the time of the Quarter final, the injury scare still persists.

I think the World Cup is really heating up now - the action and thrill has just begun.

-- T

Friday, June 23, 2006

36 Chinatown - watchable !

36 Chinatown

I had not heard very good reviews about 36 Chinatown, the latest "whodunit" from the director-duo of Abbas-Mustan, who have previously given us hits such as Baazigar and Ajnabee. However, the movie turned out to be a good surprise - it had good elements of comedy with Johny Lever and Paresh Rawal at their best and also it had a good deal of suspense element as well. All in all, it was a movie better than the average crap that Bollywood dishes out - you will have fun and also have some good thrill. Music is decent and well, the lead actors, Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor do not have too much of a role to play and so, there isn't much to write about that.

Go check it out when you want to watch a movie with not much strings/hype attached.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Brazil - 4 Japan - 1 : Brazil slowly waking up

When Japan netted their first goal today against the run of play, few would have imagined the final scoreline of 4-1 against them. Till then they did all they could to resist the Brazilian attack and also had found the lead. As such they found themselves in an unfamiliar position of leading against Brazil. But then the honeymoon did not last very long - Ronaldo headed in the equalizer in the dying minutes of the 1st half. In the 2nd half, it was Brazil all the way with relentless attacks on the hapless Japanese. Ronaldo scored his 14th goal in World Cup equalizing with Gerd Muller of Germany - amazing feat indeed.

(Copyright: BBC)
2 goals from Ronaldo put him on top of all-time World Cup goal scorers

I don't want to point out things that Brazil can do to improve because today they played close to their best. However, their tendency to be a bit slow in the beginning could cost them in any other match. But for now, let us just sit back and enjoy this victory.

-- Thyaga

USA out of World Cup soccer

So, the party for USA is over ! - they lost to Ghana 1 to 2 in a match that they needed to win at any cost. Of course, that had to supplemented by Italy winning over Czech, which they did anyway. Last World Cup's surprise Quarter finalists, the USA were hoping that they could repeat their performance of last World Cup but the Ghana team were too strong for them - both physically and on the field too. Talking of Ghana, what a World Cup it has been for them - they now go into the 2nd round and most probably will face Brazil (provided Brazil does not lose today).

Anyway, its hard luck for the US team - of course, soccer does not have such a huge fan following such as baseball, basketball or American Football - they were hoping that a good show here will help to improve awareness. I am not sure that will happen now - time for USA to think back and reflect on possible changes that can be done in the next 4 years.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sachin easing back into action

Sachin Tendulkar played hist first game today after his shoulder operation - he represented Lashings World XI versus Cambridge Universities. Oh yeah! - he scored a hundred too :).

-- Thyaga

Interesting soccer/football incident

Before I leave for office in the morning, I try to catch a bit of World Cup Soccer action and get the update on the score. Today morning, there were 2 matches going on in parallel :

Angola - Iran
Mexico - Portugal

When I started watching, Portugal was leading Mexico 2 goals to 1. In the other match, Angola was leading Iran 1 goal to 0. If the score would have remained at this, Angola would advance to the 2nd round and Mexico would be out. On the other hand, if Iran / Mexico scored in the remaining 15 minutes, then Mexico would advance to the 2nd round. So, it was indeed a difficult time for Mexico :). Within 10 minutes, Iran scored a goal and equalized with Angola - that left Mexico a tense last 5 minutes to play out - either no more goals should be conceded or they score 1 more goal or just hope that the score lines remain as it was. After 5 more minutes, that is how the scoreline remained :

Portugal 2 Mexico 1
Angola 1 Iran 1

Thus, Portugal and Mexico made it to the 2nd round.

What is interesting is that at the same time, our Mexican housecleaner, Jose, landed up for his appointment to cleanup our house. Seeing him all dressed up in Mexican jersey, I could understand that he was visibly tensed up because he was unsure that Mexico would make it to the 2nd round. Once the match was over, I told him the news about Mexcio scraping through to the 2nd round and boy! - he was really thrilled - he gave out a sigh of relief, thanked the gods, called up his relatives/friends to confirm/pass on the news :). I just felt that I had done some good to someone on my Birthday :).

Sports is such a great leveller indeed !


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

ICICI Bank in Vancouver

When we driving by the financial district / downtown in Vancouver, some familiar faces came up on the billboards. First, there was ICICI bank - smack in the middle of downtown with Shah Rukh Khan's image inviting us into the bank.

Here is the branch photograph from the ICICI bank's website - this, unfortunately does not have the Shah Rukh Khan photo.

ICICI Bank - Howe Street, Vancouver, BC

Amazing sight indeed !


Brazil 2 Australia 0 - Brazil still struggling

I saw the Brazil versus Australia match over the weekend and yes, I feel good that Brazil won and NO! - I don't feel good in the manner by which they won.

  1. Ronaldo is still struggling - although his move was vital for the first goal (scored by Adriano), I still think that he is far from his best. On the other hand, his substitution Robinho was fast, energetic, young and easily ruffling the Aussie defenders

  2. Ronaldinho seemed to be off-color - for some weird reason he was off-color. He did show flashes of his brilliance on and of, but he was far from his best. I think, the pressure might be getting to him now - probably, he is one who can play better without too much of pressure. Whatever be the reason, they need to fix that issue soon.

  3. Dida was good but not great - Dida, one of the stars of the first game, made an attrocious mistake of not being able to collect a ball properly and it went straight to an Aussie striker. Luckily for Dida and for Brazil, it wasn't a fatal problem.

  4. Brazil need to make some changes in the midfield - they need to pace up the game and probably start off with Robinho to make the early inroads. Once they have the lead, they just go from strength to strength.
-- Thyaga

Vancouver Vacation

We came back from Vancouver yesterday night after a wonderful vacation. Here are the details:

Day 1

We started off from San Jose on Friday morning and arrived Seattle by 9:00 am. From there, we rented a car (the guys tried to upsell a higher priced model as usual and we refused ... as usual :)). After that, we started off on our drive to Vancouver. The drive was pretty indeed - the trees are dark green covering the freeways and so it is indeed a pleasant ride. However, we were stuck for more than a hour on the US-Canada border - i guess, we were not the only ones vacationing during that time :). After crawling past the border, we made our way to the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Vancouver. After checking in at the hotel, we went to the harbor from where our cruise ship was supposed to leave. The dinner cruise was just LOVELY - the weather, the ambience, the food, the people gave it all a heady feeling - we really enjoyed the dinner cruise. After the cruise, we headed to the hotel for a good night's rest.

Day 2

We had a good breakfast at the hotel, watched a bit of soccer in the morning and then started off on our day. Our first halt was at the Capilano Supension bridge and it is just an absolute splendor. It hangs on top of a rainforest and so, you have a narrow canyon below, dark trees all around and in the middle is a suspension bridge which you can cross to go to the other side. This was indeed an adventure. After that, we headed further up the mountain to Grouse Mountain, which had a wonderful Gandola ride to the top. At the top, they had a world famous lumberjack show, which was a treat too. After spending some time there, we headed back to the sunny plains and wandered around at Stanley Park for sometime. Finally, we decided that we have had enough of driving and so, we parked in the downtown and walked around there. Vancouver has a fantastic downtown and as Susmita pointed out, the fashion and clothes of people resemble the Europeans a lot - that is actually very true - it is indeed "British Columbia". We ate at a wonderful Singaporean place and then headed to the hotel to sink into the bed :).

Day 3

We headed to Granville Public Market on the 3rd day in the morning - it is a wonderful place - lots of people, fantastic view of the harbor and the city line, live music, public markets, good food court and so, it had everything you need to spend time (and money). After spending quite a bit of time there, we headed to see Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden - the speciality of this Chinese garden is that it was set up to display how the Chinese scholars used to stay, meet guests etc. I must say that this is a good place to visit for knowledge seeking but nothing else :). Nevertheless, we took the time to relax in the cool garden. After that, we spent some more time at the downtown but we were a bit tired too and so, we decided to head to the hotel and relax.

Day 4

We woke up in a lazy mood knowing fully well that our vacation was coming to an end :(. We made a stopover at Harbor point from where the whole of Vancouver and its buildings could be seen. We then went to the Pacific Center shopping mall, spent some time there and then started the drive back to Seattle. The vacation had come to an end - but it was one which we will remember for life.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saurav Ganguly interview on BBC

If you think that you have seen the last of Saurav 'Dada' Ganguly, then think again. In this exclusive interview with the BBC, he talks about his past, his present and his future plans. He very much intends to come back to the Indian Test and 1-day team as a player and definitely wants to be part of the World Cup in the Caribbean.

All the best Dada !

-- Thyaga

Thursday, June 15, 2006

National Geographic Genographic Project

Yesterday, I had been to my friend Anand's house and as always, he shared with me some information which was interesting indeed. Apparently, there is this project called Genographic project conducted by National Geographic and IBM, whereby you can trace your ancestral lineage. In other words, it will tell you where ur ancestors hailed from. Once you sign up for this, you will be sent a kit and then you need to follow the instructions. Go to their website and find out more - i am sure you will love it :)


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Brazil 1 Croatia 0

Brazil won their first match in the World Cup with a facile 1-0 win over Croatia. However, it was far from convincing win for the title holders and favorites for this year. Dida, their goalkeeper, was their best performer and that says a lot about the game ! For much of the 1st half, the Brazilians were kept at bay by the Croatians untill Kaka struck in the dying minutes of the first half. It was a rasping left footer which swung in like a banana in the left corner of the goal.

There were a couple of close chances that Brazil could not capitalize on - Adriano missed a couple of easy ones, Ronaldinho missed a sitter header. In spite of this performance, Brazil must take heart from the fact that this was just the opening match and so, they can only get better from here. Some of the key things that they need to address:

  1. Figure out what is wrong with Ronaldo - throughout the match, he hardly looked the player who has scored 12 goals in the World Cup. Finally, he was replaced by Robinho in the 2nd half, which brought more flexibility to the forward line
  2. Improve the conversion rates of goals - Brazil, by their own standards, did not convert many chances - Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, Adriano all got their fair share of chances but none succeeded to convert
  3. Play more balls to Kaka - one of the standout players today was Kaka - his shot selection and his control on the ball were exemplary. I am sure in the next matches, he will be more closely guarded but then he has this ability to shoot from a long distance and that can only help Brazil
  4. Ronaldinho needs to strike his best form - he was good today but far from his best. He is the gamemaker in the side and for Brazil to lift this World Cup for the 6th time, it is important that he strike form.
So, a lot of things for coach Carlos Alberto Parreira to ponder about before their next encounter.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Fanaa - good ... but not a classic

We saw the latest Aamir Khan starrer Fanaa over the weekend and my feeling after the movie was that it was good ... but not an Aamir Khan classic such as Dil Chahta Hai, Lagaan or Rang De Basanti. The film starts off well and in fact, keeps you engrossed during the first half. In the second half, the film drags a bit and in fact, loses a bit of momentum as well before picking itself up for the climax. Aamir Khan as Rehan Qadri is good and Kajol as Zooni Ali Beg is just awesome in her comeback film. You can't make out that she has been out of the industry for the last few years - she looks great and her acting matches Aamir's scene-by-scene, frame-by-frame.

I don't want to go into the details of the story - it might spoil the plot for you. All I can say is that expect a great 1st half, a slow beginning to the 2nd half and a good finale. All in all, you will feel that it is a good (but not so new) story with great actors.

If you are an Aamir / Kajol fan, then go there without even blinking an eyelid - it will be worth your every penny.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Amazing Rainbow ...

Check out this amazing rainbow

[Copyright: AP]

Mother Nature at its very best indeed !

Ads by AdGenta.com

Listen to a PDF file

Ok, here is a bit of magic that a friend of mine recently told me about.


You can listen to any PDF instead of reading with Adobe Reader 7 .0 Or 6.0,
and the short cut is:
Ctrl+shift+b - to hear the entire Document
Ctrl+shift+v - to hear the page
Ctrl+shift+c - to resume
Ctrl+shift+e - to stop

Open any PDF File and test.... unbelievable



Wednesday, June 07, 2006

1st Test between West Indies and India ends in a nail-biting draw

The Ist test match between India and West Indies ended in a nail-biting draw. India had to take out 1 more wicket and the Windies last wicket pair had to play 3 overs to survive. Amazing stuff! Take a look at this picture - YES! - this is the Indian slip cordon waiting for an edge to come by!

(Copyright - AFP)


Friday, June 02, 2006

Some Web 2.0 companies

Yesterday, we had a discussion about Web 2.0 in our Internet Marketing class - here is a list of companies that people came up with - some of them are interesting and I think will be successful in future (most likely will get acquired).

(1). Riya - Photo search and facial recognition site : This is one step ahead of Flickr - here, the photos can be tagged automatically thanks to the patented facial recognition technology

(2). Redfin - Seattle based realtor site which is a mashup using Google Maps - here, you can buy and sell property. Another company in the same space is Housingmaps - a mashup on Craigslist and Google Maps.

(3). Prosper - This is an E-Bay like model that brings "lenders" and "borrowers" together - of course, the lenders would come there because they can earn a higher interest rate. Borrowers come here because their credit scores are low and so cannot get loans from banks - this is what I find a little difficult to accept in this model.

(4). Box.net This is an online storage site which acts as an extension of your hard disk - gives up to 1 GB Free

(5). Pandora - This is a music personalization and recommendation engine - this learns about your tastes in music - what type of music, what type of voice, what genre of music you like to hear and then offers recommendations for you to hear on the web. If you like the song, you can buy it at Amazon / ITunes.

(6). Runningmap - Another mashup that helps you to find out the distance of your run.

(7). Edgeio - This pulls classified listings using RSS in different websites and shows it under the same site. This is one of the ventures of the Techcrunch guy - Michael Arrington.

(8). Spymedia.com This is a C-2-B company where users can upload their photographs and companies (media companies, marketing department in companies etc) can buy them for a specific prize.

(9). Servicemagic.com - Here people can find contractors who are rated by the people who use their service. Obviously, it makes more sense for contractors to do well and have higher recommendations.

Check out some of these sites - it is interesting how the Web is involved - it is probably coming to a phase where you can monetize the web. What do u think?

-- Thyaga

Sportingstreams taken down

A couple of weeks ago, I had reported about a new website Sportingstreams where I was watching the cricket matches between West Indies and India and then ones between England and Sri Lanka. Looks like I celebrated too early. Today, when i went to the site to watch the cricket test match between West Indies - Sri Lanka, it reported that the site was taken down due to legal considerations and of course, they were not able to provide refunds. Here is what you will see when you go to the website now:

Well - its disappointing to say the least. I was getting quite used to it, I must say :).

Anyway, we will see what lies in store in future.