Photobucket had recently changed their policy and now all the images from my 650+ blog posts are disabled. I am slowly editing them by moving my images to my own server at AWS, but it will take time. In case there is a particular old post you want to see the images of, kindly drop me a mail at mizohican@gmail.com and I'll keep that at a high priority. Thank you.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chp 578. Burnnn baby burn!


We are all fascinated with fire. There is something about fire that makes it so intriguing and mysterious. Of course anything extreme is not good either, and an obsessive impulse towards fire may be a cause of pyromania, where one may deliberately start fires to induce euphoria (I have watched enough Criminal Minds episodes to know this :P )

But the fact of the matter is, fire is always interesting. And that is why my favorite character in "Team Fortress 2" is Pyro.



Now for the uninitiated, Team Fortress 2, or TF2, is an FPS (first person shooter) online multiplayer game, where you can play only if you have good internet speed :P

There are nine classes of characters in TF2 you can select from, each one unique and with his own special attributes. One of them is the Pyro. Unlike other classes, his primary weapon is pretty useless at long range combat, but devastating when it comes to short range attack. His flame thrower not only burns up the opponents in flames, but even if they managed to escape or kill the Pyro, the "after burn" effect can still take them out if they don't reach a medi-pack  or get healed in time.

Now, as any true gamer, I spend a lot of my time in various gaming forums too, and from what I have read so far, turns out, a lot of people hate the Pyro. The main reason why people hate the Pyro so much is because of "W+M1". In TF2 (or most FPS games), WM1 means pressing the "W" key on your keyboard (which means running forward) and pressing the Mouse 1 (left click) button together. When people WM1 using a Pyro, it means they're charging towards an enemy, burning up whoever happens to fall in their path. And yes, people hate this technique because it does not require much skills to perform this and yet does so much damage.

I'm definitely not a Pro at TF2, I have just around 300 hours of game time, whereas most of the players I end up playing with at different servers all have 500 to 1000+ hours of game time. So yeah, I'm still pretty much a n00b. But I have spent most of that 300 hours playing as Pyro, and to be honest, yes, when I first started playing as Pyro, I was just WM1'ing everywhere. But the more you play, the more you evolve.

Now I have moved from being an F2P (free to play) player to a premium one. I have invested a lot of my hard earned money on different weapons and cosmetics at the Steam community store. According to my credit card statement, I have spent $145 on microtransactions on Steam as of today (this includes the Steam Store, TF2 Mann Co. Store and Steam Community Market). And out of that $145, I have spent around $115 on TF2 alone! That's... around 7.5k in INR. Ouch!

Here are some of the stuff I've bought so far, check out my four Pyro configs! :)

[click on all pics to enlarge]





&nbs[;
As you can see from above, the bulk of my spending went to buying special cosmetics, taunts and "strange" weapons. I've decided to buy "Strange Professional Killstreak" attributed weapons for my favorite weapons of each class, and some of them don't really come cheap. For example, the Claidheamh Mor sword and Half-Zatoichi samurai of my demoman both cost around $10 each, I got the direct-shot for my soldier for $12, and so on.

Maybe I'll post screenshots of my other classes in another post. Because these days, I've started playing regularly as other classes as well in order to master them, but when I do play as Pyro, I switch between my primary + secondary + melee  weapons a lot. My usual kill signature in a one-on-one combat changed from WM1 to WM1+M2+Q+M1+Q+M1+M2. I've spent more time with my secondary weapons like the scorch shot and shotgun, and I "flare jump" using the detonator whenever it is necessary. I now have more kills from airblasting back a rocket or sticky bomb, and I love harassing snipers with my flares from a distance :D

And just as you improve your Pyro skills and learn other classes, you also get to know that it is actually pretty easy stopping a WM1 Pyro. And yes, there are times when you still need to WM1, especially when you're lying in wait of the enemy and ambushing them from behind with a 100% crits using the Backburner or Axetinguisher. Also, Pyro is the best person to spy-check and kill disguised enemy spies, especially when you're defending that final section of the Control Point or Payload with heavy sentries around you. I also use Pyro to protect sentries not just from a spy's sapper, but also from incoming projectiles by airblasting them away.

The possibilities are endless. Maybe that is why I proudly use Pyro as my customized office coffee mug here at work :D


Cheers everyone, and keep it burrrrnnning!

And please do add me on Steam if you want to play TF2 with me. My steam id is Mizohican. Cheers once again. Ending this post with a few Pyro videos, enjoy :)










Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chp 577. Home is where the Wifi is


So FINALLY, eight months after I moved to Pune to start a new career, I finally got a new broadband connection at home!

That means I managed to survive for 8 months without any internet at home!!!


The first thing I did after moving to Pune was look for an ISP. At first I couldn't make up my mind. Shall I go for Hathway? YOU Broadband? Tikona? Airtel? So many to choose from! So many different plans. Shall I go for an unlimited plan with lesser speed, or binge in the joys of a lightning fast connection but with FUP and bandwidth limitation?

It was only months later that I realized I was living in a false Utopia. After all, this is Pune. Not freaking Mumbai. Towards the end, I didn't really care what Internet Service Provider or what plan I was taking. I just needed some damn ISP with any damn plan, because any plan is better than NO plan. Yup, that was the problem I faced. Even though I was staying in the middle of Koregaon Park, a supposedly upmarket vicinity here in Pune, getting a broadband connection was no walk in the K.Park!

First, the YOU Broadband guys came, promised me a great experience, I paid the installation charge and first month bill cost, and they said they would come and install it within a week. A month later they called to tell me it was not possible to give me a new connection. Just like that, no reason given. WTF. They said they would refund the advance I paid, and I spent almost half a day searching for their damn office to collect my cheque (their office location according to Google Maps was wrong by at least a mile). And later I lost that freaking cheque too, so that's like 3000+ bucks down the drain. Fuck you, YouBroadband.

The same thing happened with Hathway and Tikona. "Yes sir yes sir, we shall give you a new connection immediately", only to be followed by, "No sir no sir, we're very sorry but turns out we cannot give out new connections right now". One common excuse I kept hearing was, "Sorry sir, we don't have permission to dig across the main road". I mean seriously? Shouldn't you have figured that out first before signing me up? I was so frustrated that I started growing a thick hide. I started becoming accustomed to disappointments. When I decided to try one more time and approached Reliance, I got the usual, "Don't worry saar, we are not like those other people" promise, and the sales agent vowed to install it within a week. I paid the advance amount again. A month later, still no connection.

Their excuse? It seems, there were currently no empty slots available for a new connection. Yeah, then why the fuck did you make me pay for the advance??? And then I got the standard, "Very sorry sir, we will refund you the money, please come and collect your cheque from our office located at an obscure address".

I was so sick and tired of running from one office to the other collecting refunds and spending so much unnecessary energy and time on things that were of no fault of mine. I couldn't help but think I was being taken advantage of... I tried to control my temper but ended up screaming on the phone, "Fuck the refund!". The Reliance person probably thought I was speaking in Marathi as that meant something else... I continued, "You know what, don't give me a refund. I don't need a refund. Just... just hold on to my registration and give me a new connection whenever you have a vacant slot."

I hung up.

A month passed. Another month went by. And then suddenly, Reliance called me up one fine day - "Sir, we finally have a vacant slot for you!" Oh that was great news indeed, but experience taught me never to be optimistic about anything here in Pune, so I trod with caution... "Aaaand? So you'll come to my place to fix the new connection?"

And that's when it happened again.

"Yes we can come sir. Only thing na sir, we don't have modems right now sir. So you'll have to pay for a new modem sir..."

I was like, "Whaaaat!!?? Didn't my plan include the modem as well? I already paid for all that three months ago!"

"Yes sir, but currently we don't have any new modems to spare..."

"How much would that cost me?"

"Around 3000 bucks sir. I can bring it with me when I come."

"And will this amount be refunded to me once you have a new official modem available? Because I already paid for that modem as a part of my initial advance payment..."

"No sir, you will not be refunded because this is your own private modem. Also sir, please confirm quickly if you are buying the new modem so we can come and install the new connection today itself. If you don't confirm soon, others who are also in queue waiting for an empty slot will take your place and you'll again have to wait..."

At this part, I just choked. I couldn't speak anymore because I was so fucking angry. No words could come out of my mouth, so I just gave the phone to my friend Abhilash and he blasted and abused the hell out of the Reliance guy so much that the dude just disconnected. We didn't even bother to call him back... Damn, that was such a cheap move man. Of course they could be genuinely out of new modems too (which is very unlikely considering this is Reliance we're talking about) but most of my colleagues felt I was being taken for a ride just because I'm from Mizoram, but they were happy I didn't give in to it. Yeah I was desperate for a new connection, and I really didn't mind paying 3k extra after waiting for 3 months, but the way I was being forced into doing that was not right at all.

Two more months passed by. Two months of extreme boredom at home due to no internet connectivity. Suddenly, last weekend, my doorbell rang. It was the same Reliance salesman! Before I could say or do anything (I dunno, maybe high-five him, with a chair, on his face), he blurted out saying he had lost my phone number and that there was a vacant slot again and that their engineer would come by later to install my new connection. And just like that he was gone.

Wow.

Again I kept my cool. I told myself I was going to be happy only when everything had been done.

Since it was Saturday, I cancelled my other plans and waited for the engineer the whole day. In the evening, the Reliance sales guy called me again, telling me the engineer was on his way to my house but the traffic cops caught him for driving without a license. I mean, what are the odds of that happening again and again to me???

I hung up, least he started asking me to pay for that guy's traffic fine.

The next day, Sunday, my doorbell rang again. It was the engineer! He apologized for not being able to make it the previous day because of the traffic cops, and even though Sunday was a holiday for him, he was instructed to give me a new connection as I was apparently on a "high priority" back in their office, hence the reason he came on a Sunday. He also mentioned that they finally got new batch of modems the previous day only, hence the reason why they couldn't give me a new connection all this time...

Again, wow. Should I or should I not believe him? It's pretty much like the story of the boy who cried wolf, eh? Anyhoo, he quickly got to work, fixing the connection at the terrace and then connecting it to my system, and within an hour or so, I FINALLY HAD INTERNET on my home PC.

And so, that is how I am now enjoying a 4MBps connection from the sweet comfort of my home. You may think, why just 4MBps? Because it is unlimited. All the other Reliance plans with 50MBps and 100MBps came with certain thresholds. Being a heavy user, I am more inclined towards large data capacity rather than faster speed, especially since I spend 80% of my time in office anyway. Finally, after eight months of wait, my life can now slowly get back to normal.

This is the first blog post I'm updating from my new home connection, and here's hoping I'll be able to update many more in the coming months and increase my blog count :D

Cheers! :D





Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chp 576. Blast from the Past - The Grinder


No this is not one of those #backtothefuture related posts, especially since yesterday was "October 21, 2015", also known as "Back To The Future" Day because it was the date Marty McFly travelled to the future to save his children. But this post isn't about the popular movie franchise. This post is rather about a popular TV series of that same era.

In my previous blog post I wrote a review on "Blindspot", "The Player" and a couple of new TV shows that started airing this year. I do intend to write about other new shows such as Limitless, Minority Report, Quantico, Scream Queens, The Bastard Executioner, Code Black, and Blood & Oil (as suggested by my friend Conrad Barwa).

Of course finding the time to do all that is going to be a problem, especially now that the new seasons of some of my favorite old shows have just started airing... We are now currently into the fourth or fifth episodes of shows such as Criminal Minds (season 11), Madam Secretary (season 2), Chicago PD (season 3), HTGAWM (season 2), The Blacklist (season 3), Scandal (season 5), The Flash (season 2), Arrow (season 4),  Marvels Agents of SHIELD (season 3), Modern Family (season 7), Supernatural (season 11) etc. not to mention others like Suits, Silicon Valley, House of Cards, Banshee, etc that haven't started airing their new seasons yet.

Yeah, good times ahead...

But for now, I'd like to mention one new TV show that has just started airing this year. The name of the sitcom is "The Grinder" and it's about a popular Television lawyer-actor who tried to join his family's legal firm and the many conflict he faced with his brother who is an actual lawyer.



The show mainly revolves around real life versus reel life issues of the legal world, about the many things that happen on television that actually do not happen in actual life, and I do find most of the humor to be quite fresh and original.

Now one main reason why I really love the show is because of the awesome casting. There's the glorified television-actor lawyer Dean Sanderson played by Rob Lowe, more popularly known as Chris Traeger from "Parks and Recreation". Then there's the dad, Dean Sanderson Sr., played by William Devane, whom most "24" TV series fans would immediately recognize as James Heller who appeared in four seasons of the show including the latest one "24: Live Another Day" as the American President. Others like Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Natalie Morales and Hana Hayes are no strangers to the screen world as well.

But the one person who really got me all excited was the lawyer brother, Stewart Sanderson, who was always sceptical about Dean's glamorous version of how the legal system works in real life. And the role of that character is played none other than...

*drum roll*

Fred Savage!!!!!

OMG OMG!

Fred freaking Savage, ladies and gentlemen!

Ok if you have no clue who Fred Savage is, then I really pity you for not having an awesome childhood. :P

I'll give you a clue...

He was the star of one of the most popular TV shows back when I was a kid.

Fred Savage, dude!

Ok still doesn't ring a bell? Here's a photo of him in the show "The Grinder" with Rob Lowe where, as mentioned earlier, he plays the role of a serious lawyer brother.



His face looks familiar?

No?

Seriously?

Ok here is another photo of Fred Savage, taken many years ago with his two co-stars of that era...



Ahhhhh... now you remember! :) Kevil Arnold (Fred Savage), with his best friend Paul and his neighbour/crush/girlfriend/ex Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar), who was also the crush of many guys of my generation, including me :) The Wonder Years!

Who can ever forget their iconic theme song - "What would you do if I sang out tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song, I will try not to sing out of key, yeah..."

The good ol "Star Plus" days when Rupert Murdoch initially launched the channel in India and it used to broadcast only English Movies and TV series like The Wonder Years, Tour of Duty, Sledgehammer, Moonlighting, M*A*S*H, Remington Steele, etc...

But coming back to the present, dayymnnn Fred Savage definitely looks different now from the Kevin Arnold days...

And maybe that is why I really like "The Grinder" - He kinda still plays that passive nerdy role who gets trampled by the more outspoken and bold older brother (of course Dean is much kinder than Wayne Arnold ever was).

So yeah, do try to catch this show if you can, I'm sure you'll like it.

Cheers for now :)



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chp 575. Strike Back, Blindspot and The Player


One of my favorite TV shows that is surprisingly not very popular among my circle of friends is this British American show called "Strike Back". I really love the show for its action, simple plotlines and secrecy. Season 1 had just 6 episodes, with the main character being former British SAS commando John Porter (Richard Armitage) who joined "Section 20", an elite covert British military intelligence and counter-terrorism unit.

Season 2 onwards had 10 episodes each, and we were introduced to two new main characters as Section 20 agents  - Sgt. Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), former Royal Marine and SBS commando, and Sgt. Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) a disgraced U.S Army Delta Force operative and former CIA contract killer.


And that's what I really love about Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton. They seem to have the perfect combination together, with an on-off chemistry and relationship. Both are badass hardcore action junkies, but at the same time they have very contrasting behavior and identity - Philip's character is a stickler for rules who does everything by the book, whereas Sullivan's character is more of a carefree rebellious womanizer who gets to sleep with half the female casts of the show :D

But as all good things must come to an end, Strike Back aired their season finale as the final episode of Season 5 came out on June earlier this year.

To me, that felt like the end of "24" all over again, when Jack Bauer appeared for the last time on TV.

So you should imagine how much I rejoiced when I found out two new TV shows called "Blindspot" and "The Player" were coming out, both starring Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester respectively. I mean, they weren't going to be together, but it was nice to see my favorite TV action stars again.




But then, maybe I counted my chickens too early. After having watched a couple of episodes of both shows, I must honestly admit I am disappointed. And I'm probably not the only Stapleton-Winchester fan who felt this way because Strike Back is still at 8.3 on IMDB, whereas Blindspot and The Player have both fallen down to 7.8 and 7.3 since airing (they both started with a rating above 8.0)

[Warning - may contain Spoilers]

I really love the beginning of the pilot episode of Blindspot. It was intriguing and made me sit on the edge of my bed. My first thought after watching the first few minutes was definitely the 1996 action flick "The Long Kiss Goodnight" starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson. It was one of the few good movies I saw in our School's auditorium during Wednesday "movie night" screening for hostellers. Also, Blindspot appealed to me instantly because, God I love tattoos! :D



But sadly, episode 2 onwards, one can't help but think Blindspot is just a mediocre attempt at copying "Prison Break" and "The Blacklist". To pull that off, you really need a Wentworth Miller or a James Spader, otherwise it's just not going to work.  The plotlines too started becoming weaker and weaker, not to mention many of the clich├ęd and lame dialogues that really made me cringe.

Nothing great in the cast as well. And comon, why do the producers or scriptwriters have to glorify the main casts so much, making them larger than life at any incident? It was kinda realistic watching Sullivan in "Strike Back" being the lonesome gun-slinging action hero attacking drug cartels and terrorists on his own because he's a covert agent slash commando and that's what he's supposed to do. But now that he's playing the role of an FBI agent, it becomes so ridiculous watching him being the only hero who can defuse a bomb or catch terrorists or save the city from a rogue drone attack or an incurable disease. Comon where are all the other freaking FBI agents or even normal cops for that matter? Or how about that lame reason why Assistant Director Bethany Mayfair decided to break all protocol and send out Jane Doe with the team for the first time - because she spoke Chinese? Urrmmm... nobody else in the FBI or the whole of Manhattan spoke Chinese? :D So many loopholes everywhere...

This morning, I watched the latest episode of Blindspot (episode 5) and seeing the FBI and CIA agents aiming their guns at each other all because they wanted to be the first at questioning a suspect, I just cracked up. That was the freaking limit. I don't think I'll be watching the next episodes in a hurry anymore. Maybe if I'm truly bored one day, I'll go through the remaining episodes in one shot...

The same review goes for "The Player". So many comments to make on it, urrrghh... Having Wesley Snipes in it didn't seem to be any consolation at all. I guess I'll just leave it at that as well. After all, these two shows can still do well even if many people hate them. I for one could NOT believe "Scorpion" and "CSI: Cyber" managed to run for a second season!!! Those two shows in my opinion were two of the lamest new TV shows aired last year and I was pretty sure they wouldn't make it to a second season. But they did. Dayyymmm!

But hey, this year has not been disastrous so far. I managed to get my hands on the leaked pilot episode of "Lucifer", and I LOVED IT. Only sad news is, it's going to start airing only from 2016.



If you really want to watch a kickass new show this year, then I recommend "Narcos". This is one of the best TV shows I have seen recently, based on the life and criminal exploits of Pablo Escobar. And I recommend you watch this entire show (10 episodes) in one shot. Damn it's an awesome freaking show!




So I guess that's it for now. Will try to review "Minority Report", "Limitless" and "Quantico" in my next blog update. Until then, cheers...




Friday, October 16, 2015

Chp 574. When you can't stop yourself...


So I did it again.

I'm sorry I really tried to resist the urge, but I couldn't help myself anymore.

It was just lying there in the open...

...exposed, for the whole damn world to see...

...as if screaming out in humility, "Come, take me, take me, TAKE ME!"

And even though I promised myself I would no longer do it again... the temptation was too difficult to resist!

Well I did manage to abstain from it for two entire years...

But in those two years, nobody else took it. Nobody else swooped in. Everybody just... ignored it... like a discarded reject that nobody wanted... An outcast on the lowest rung of the societal ladder...

And so... once again, it was up to me... to do what I did a long time ago one very drunken night... to finish what I had started...

*click* *click* goes my finger on my mouse.

A few transactional steps. A verification and confirmation on my credit card.

Done.

There you go... It's mine again now.

Once again, I am the proud owner of the domain name www.mawng.com




I mean, comon, it's such a catchy name in Mizo! Mawng means bum/buttocks/ass, and the popular saying "Mawng kawm rawh" means... urrrmmm... "go dig your butthole", usually uttered to tell somebody to shut up or you know, to display your disagreement with their views. Mawng kawm. See how well that rhymes with mawng.com? :D

When I first bought the domain name mawng.com around 5 years ago, I really didn't know what to do with it, and so I redirected the domain name to the Facebook profile of my dear friend Lal Jo-a aka Father Sphinx aka ZoGAG-a. Since he liked trolling others and playing practical jokes, this was my way of returning the favour.

In fact my post about mawng.com at ZoGAG is still there to this day - click to view the post! I posted that back in 2012.

But soon after that, I didn't renew the domain name and it was up for grabs again.

I had completely forgotten about it...

Recently, GoDaddy contacted me, informing me that my domain www.kima.in was having a very high auction value. Basically, it meant somebody wanted to buy that from me. And of course I knew who that somebody was - KIMA. Kannada International Music Awards. Every year, just before its time to renew my domain name, the management team of KIMA approaches me, asking if they can buy my domain name kima.in from me. They also offered me a lot of money, but seriously, it wasn't about the money. For me, it was about having my own online identity since Kima is my freaking name. Hence the very powerful KIMA with their hordes of Kannada and Sandalwood superstars  including their own music channels and shows with extremely high TRPs had to resort to using www.kima.co.in as their official website.

This year, instead of renewing www.kima.in for a year, I renewed it for 5 years, so that I'll at least have a peace of mind for the next four years.

And while I was at it, I decided to check on mawng.com just to see who was owning it... and to my surprise (and slight delight) nobody owned it. It was still available! And so I decided, what the heck, it's not like I login to my GoDaddy dashboard every day, and so... I bought the domain name once again.

And just like that, mawng.com was reborn.

And like the good ol' times, I redirected it again.

Type mawng.com on your browser to see where it goes... :D

Cheers :)