Dexter, Dexter… and more Dexter Morgan

I am on a Dexter trip – that TV series that puts the blood into bloodbath. Dexter Morgan Season 4Courtesy a generous ‘long-lost’ friend, the fourth season of Dexter was something I was looking forward to ever since I heard that it beat the living daylights out of Season 3. Not that Season 3 was bad… maybe it was slightly muted compared to the high tension of the first two seasons, but what the hell considering Dexter‘s high standards, it makes ‘Lost’ go hide in whatever black hole the island generates out there. Not that I hated ‘Lost’, but hey you get the point.

Michael C. Hall is now doing double duty as Executive Producer and lead character and after going through half of the fourth season I must say that one of the most intense cat and mouse sequences are in motion with Dexter facing off with the Trinity Killer played by the ever impressive John Lithgow. Lithgow is one of those actors who can crack you with his ironic humour and scare you with his maniacal intensity which can go outright campy as in Cliffhanger or downright creepy as in Dexter and Raising Cain.

As I type this out, Season 5 is well in progress. Here’s to Dexter Morgan. Go slice them Dex.

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A pleasurable restaurant review – Veekes and Thomas, JP Nagar 2nd Phase, Bangalore

Just got back from a great dinner at Veekes and Thomas. This dinner was the last I will be sharing with my cousin in Bangalore before he gets married in November. Now Veekes and Thomas is a restaurant that came with very strong recommendations and it certainly did not disappoint.

It took us some time to locate the restaurant in JP Nagar 2nd Phase. Tucked away close to the Ranga Shankara Theatre, Veekes and Thomas is a 3-4 table small restaurant, with a big heart. Entering the place, you realise that you have made it to a simple place, he to frills and no fuss, but with an underlying class that expresses itself in the quality of food. The rattan chairs around small glass tables do make it a bit cramped and slightly uncomfortable to sit, but I am going to oversee all this to get down to the food.

Continental fare at its best with a taste customised for our Indian palates – that’s how Veekes and Thomas describes itself in its website and that’s the taste we got from the very first bite. Easy on taste, sense and palate, it is truly a relaxing gastronomic experience.

Now for the menu. The Veekes and Thomas menu is extremely detailed with a lot of Italian/Continental terms and at the first shot it did present a confusing mixture. Maybe it’s the fact that my tryst with Continental fare is limited, but then when you start reading through the menu, it does give you a pretty good idea of what’s what.

Despite the detailed menu, we were a bit lost on what to order and that was when the friendly manager and manageress came in. They took turns to give us a fair idea and recommended the dishes to be tasted. And that’s how we ended with a classically fried plate of chicken nuggets with brown sauce followed by chicken salami with oyster mushrooms crostini. The crostini topped with a thick layer of cheese was crisp and quite a mouthful of tasty chicken and ‘rooms.

For the main course, aided by the manager, I settled for a chicken steak with mashed potato while my cousin had the stuffed chicken (pocked? was it) dish. Laced with thick gravy that was not greasily heavy, these chicken dishes were real juicy and not too rich or thick with spice. This balanced blend of spices made it that much more comfortable as the meal gently settled in.

Topping this meal, I had a wonderful mocha desert that came with a ‘just right’ crunchy crust with a rich chocolaty flavour that was not too rich, if you know what I mean. The chocolate mousse ordered by my cousin was a creamy chocolaty delight.

A delectable balance exists in the food served at Veekes and Thomas and I would definitely rate it extremely high on the burrpometer. However, I would love to see the place expand. Going by its theme of being the ‘Fab India’ of the food scene, Veekes and Thomas looks to be taking this route in a planned manner avoiding any reckless expansion or investment in the highly overpriced real-estate sector in Bangalore. It would do well to improve the seating experience a bit as the low, sunk rattan chairs are a bit hard on the back when eating. That apart, I would definitely give a two thumbs up and I did give a physical demonstration to the manager when he passed by our table.

Now, we come to the bill. Veekes and Thomas follows a NGO sort of business model, where they use biodegradable material for plates, hire and train the underprivileged to be a part of their growing business network and team. Commendable, that business men are putting the ‘good’ into business in a real sense of it. The dishes are fairly priced compared to the highly overcharged fares on MG Road or Indiranagar.

Summing up, this is not the last time I will be visiting Veekes and Thomas. We went to the JP Nagar 2nd Phase branch at No. 22, 5th Cross, 24th Main,  JP Nagar 2nd Phase Bengaluru. However, they do have another branch near the Brigade Millennium apartments in JP Nagar 7th Phase and street counters in Jayanagar and Cunningham Road. Takeaways seem to be popular at the moment, but I guess a larger dining experience could make a better impact.

One for Michael… from the Far East

Far East Movement may be making waves with ‘Like a G6‘, but it was in 2008 that these guys made one of the best tributes to the King of Pop. ‘Dance Like Michael Jackson‘ brings in the funky pop/rock flavour that defined Jackson’s music in the ’80s with a twist of the new age R&B that brings the old school of Quincy Jones‘ productions to the new kids round the block. Love the mix, and a fitting tribute to Michael Jackson R.I.P.

Club Sufi – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan feat. Massive Attack

Sufiyana never sounded so beautiful as in the words and tenor of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. ‘Dam Mast Qalandar’, sung with that richness of tradition aged in the dry sands of the North Western Frontier Provinces, brings a gentle sway to life when fused with Massive Attacks‘ synchronized synthesizers that respectfully blend in. Listen, relax, enjoy.

Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 opening ceremony – A big hit

The Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 Opening ceremony just got over and I caught bits and pieces in between. From what I saw, the spectacle was on par with other great global showpiece events and the Government of India along with Sheila Dixit‘s office do deserve all the praise for getting the Games up and running on time especially considering the ineptitude of a few, who nearly derailed the games.

For all the talk about corruption and ineptitude in the run up to the games, Suresh Kalmadi‘s enthusiasm and confidence to make this one of the best games ever seems justified now that the games have begun. India works well at the last minute and I have seen this happen time and again through first hand experience in my work. We seem to work best with our backs against the wall.

Anyway, getting back to the Games, everything went like clockwork. A small aberration would have been the boos reserved for Kalmadi when he got up to speak. An encouraging feature were the cheers for Sheila Dixit, Delhi’s Chief Minister, when her name was mentioned in the speeches. She was at the forefront of cleaning up the mess of the Indian Olympic Association and helped get the games back on track.

The cultural events featured during the show were the usual, showcasing the diverse culture of India. However, the presentation was not tacky and with a huge helium filled balloon hanging like some out-of-this-world orb over the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the whole production of the opening ceremony was a brilliant display of India’s kitschy culture. The Indian railways that form the heart of the India’s movement to greater things, was featured in a skit to the strains of ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ from A.R. Rahman. The train skit had some unique ‘bogies’ displayed featuring India’s mad riot of colours, work ethic and platform culture.

The right athletes were given prominence from India when it came to the baton relay. Abhinav Bindra led the Indian delegation in the march past, Vijender Singh brought the torch into the stadium for the final stretch of the Queen’s baton relay and passed it on to another boxer Mary Kom who handed it over to Samaresh Jung (who won the most medals by an individual at the last Commonwealth Games at Manchester) and finally Sushil Kumar handed over the torch to Prince Charles.

A memorable opening ceremony for all the right reasons and a good advertisement to the International Olympic Committee, what with Jacques Rogge visiting as an observer, Kalmadi’s dream of bringing the Olympic Games to India may still be on track.

White men can rap – Fallon Timberlake nail it

Justin Timberlake’s latest outing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has thrown up one of the most memorable rap homages ever. All in fun, but also in respect, this duet with the talk show host and the award winning singer (whose work as an entertainer has gained respect over the years away from the bubble-gum pop origins) featured an awesome mash-up  some of the greatest hip-hop tracks ever – from the Sugarhill Gang to Jay-Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind’.Jimmy Fallon Justin Timberlake

I knew Timberlake could nail it, having seen the guy do his thing on other talk shows and live concerts, and I know Fallon has an impeccable comic timing, but the two together really got into the groove here and matched each other line for line and step for step. Check out their moves here.

A History of Rap: Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake & The Roots.

Congress – BJP domain wars

Type http://www.bjp.com on your browser and you are going to be taken to the Indian National Congress official website. At least that was the case this morning at 11.46 AM IST as I entered this post.

The current official Bhartiya Janata Party website is www.bjp.org, but the popularity of the .com domain makes users naturally enter http://www.bjp.com on their browsers. The re-routing of this URL to the Congress website is particularly fishy and quite hilarious in fact, and it needs to be seen which imaginative mind either on the Congress’ side or the domain host providers’ ventured ahead with this.

BJP may be regretting that they were not alert when the domain registry term expired. If I am not mistaken, http://www.bjp.com used to redirect to http://www.bjp.org.

Right now, looks like there’s a verbal battle going on between the two parties as they each convey press conferences or concalls with various media outlets. NDTV is running the same on TV. Looks like the Congress IT Support team has showcased some creative initiative here, it’s left to the BJP IT Systems staff to firefight this out.