Interstellar – Must see in IMAX

Interstellar Poster

After months of waiting I finally watched Interstellar on IMAX a couple of nights ago. Without giving away any spoilers of the movie I can say that it was a moving experience. Moving, not because of the script or the acting, actually I cared more for the concepts visualized than the script. I’ve been reading about space travel and interstellar travel for a long time but have never seen a movie that actually went to such great lengths to show this on the big screen.

If you’ve read the book ‘A brief history of time‘ by Stephen Hawking you’d have heard about some of the assumptions of worm holes and bending the space-time continuum.  In my previous post on Gravity I’d said that after 2001 Space Odyssey there were very few good space movies and now this is my second best movie after 2001.

I’m going to watch 2001 again this weekend and considering that a movie made in 1968 is on par with a movie made almost 50 years later shows how great a collaboration between Astrophysicists /scientists/thinkers like Carl Sagan and  and movie makers can be. Christopher Nolan consulted Kip Thorne for the movie and it was as close to real science as possible.

If you haven’t watched the movie ‘Contact‘ you might wanna see it if you’re into this genre of film. That too was a great movie concept wise but it wasn’t popular back in the day. The series ‘Cosmos’ is also highly recommended.

This post has probably turned into a ramble about Sci-fi but coming back to the main subject;  watch Interstellar on IMAX NOW! The only negative things I have to say about the movie are; running time is almost 3 hours long and unless you’re a geek you may find it dragging. Since its in an IMAX theater the sound is great but at certain points the bass is so powerful that the dialogues kinda get drowned out.

Best 4 KD that I spent on a movie this year!

Cinescape [link]

2015 Honda Accord – 3.5 Sport

Accord Badge

I was pleasantly surprised a couple of weeks ago when AlGhanim Honda asked me if I’d be interested in test driving the 2015 Honda Accord. I was even more surprised when I was handed the keys to see that I got the top of the line 3.5 v6 Sport model for the whole weekend!

Accord Front Offset

OK, now I’m going to deviate a bit from my regular style of reviewing since this is a special car. I usually get family sedans for testing and they’re almost always focused on utility and small features that makes life easier for the driver. I’m not going to do that all, instead this post is going to be about how happy this car makes you feel.

Accord Profile

Let me go back to the 80’s when my dad had an Accord coupe. He really had a great time with that car and still has fond memories of the speedy shiny green (yeah those of you who know my dad would be surprised about the color choice too) car. Honda’s have this tendency to bring a smile to one’s face and if you know how to exploit the VTEC then you’ll really have a good time.

Fresh Design
Accord Front Low
The 2015 Honda Accord is not a radical change from the previous model but it does have new styling cues that give it a more dominating front grill (I like it more than the Cross Tour) and a more flowing rear end. The sports version gets a tiny little rear spoiler and good looking 18 inch alloys. Its also got LED headlights, daytime running lights and integrated fog lamps.

Accord Dash
Once you get into the driver’s seat you’ll immediately notice the huge reduction in the number of buttons on the dash. Similar to the 2014 Honda City that I reviewed a few months ago, the new Accord has a similar black piano finish and a touch screen interface for the radio and telephone. There are two LCD screens in the Accord, the larger one displays GPS maps, rear and side cameras and general video outputs while the smaller one is a touch screen and controls your radio and mobile phone. The central jog dial also feels like its been lowered a little and you can easily reach it if your right hand is resting on the gear lever.
Accord Center Console

Rear Camera and Lane Watch

Lane Watch camera
The Accord has a reverse camera and a ‘Lane watch’ camera that’s activated when you turn on the right turn signal or press the button on the control stalk behind the steering wheel. The lane watch camera is a neat feature especially when you’re dealing with erratic drivers who overtake you from the right lane or if you want to snoop on the car beside you when you’re stopped in traffic. I’ve only seen this on a Volvo before but its good that other car makers are adopting it.
Reverse Camera

Accord Rear Seats

Overall the driver’s cabin feels bright and cheerful and with the electric seat adjustment you’ll find the perfect driving position in no time. The rear isn’t too bad either. The leather seats are soft and comfortable and wide enough to accommodate three adults or in my case, my wife and our two little kids. One of the features I liked was the power operated rear window screen and the side window screens for the passengers. It wasn’t hot and sunny when I took out my family for a spin but I’m sure it will come in handy during Kuwait’s hot summers. Its great to see that a reasonable priced Japanese car with premium features you’d normally see on an expensive German sedan.

Power Corrupts…Absolutely
Accord Rear 3 Quarter
Now this is my favorite part of the review and forgive me if I sound like a gushing teenager. The 3.5 iVTEC mated to that 6 speed transmission is fricking awesome! Normally I’d use the paddle shifters on the steering to keep the car in the rev range I want but the kick-down on the auto box is really responsive and once you get it spinning above 4,500 rpm it just takes off like a bat out of hell. The v6 generates around 276 horses at 6,000 rpm and when you consider the fact this is a lightweight sedan, that’s enough power to propel you to the front of the pack when the light goes green. My brother and I were fooling around shooting a mock auto review and here’s a short clip.

Like all Honda engines, this too eagerly revs to its 7,000 rpm rev limit and then smoothly transitions to the next gear ratio. All this drama put a silly grin on my face and I was looking for every opportunity to give it some gas. The v6 roar is quite enjoyable too and even though the cabin is insulated you can hear enough to know that there’s something special under the hood. Of course all this power is useless if you don’t have the tires to match and a traction control system that keeps you from spinning out. The brakes were pretty good too with discs on all corners and gave enough feedback when braking hard.

I cannot emphasize enough how much fun I had with this car over the weekend and when it was time to hand over the keys on Saturday I was in a funk. Even my wife remarked that she’s never seen me this sad when returning a test car.

So in conclusion, if you want a decent sized sedan with enough safety features and comfort go for the Accord 2.4 with the CVT but if you’re looking for a powerful sedan with all the extras and luxuries of a much more expensive brand then I’d suggest you consider the 3.5 Sport. It will put a silly grin on your face each time you take it out for a spin.

Accord Display

Prices the 4-cylinder starts at KD6,795 and the V6 starts at KD9,395 and KD9,695 for the V6 Sport (as tested). All cars come with free service for 1-year or 30,000KM and the warranty is 3-year or 100,000KM.

Showroom: Al Rai Safat Alghanim Mall, Al Rai, 4th Ring Road,  P O Box:6474, Zip:70458 Shuwaikh Phone: 24964000

Accord Front Portrait

Synology Disk Station DS212+ Quick Look


The last few months I’d suffered a significant amount of data loss during to failing disks and the last straw was a recent failure where I lost some personal files and home videos which I had failed to backup. Since I was already planning to invest in a NAS I quickly did a comparison of the available options for the Home and Small Office segment and made my decision.


I picked up the Synology DS212+ from Cameo‘s brick and mortar shop in Salmiya. They also have an online shop but I was facing some issues placing the order online so I went there personally to get the items. I’m lucky I did coz the guy at the shop gave me a decent discount for the items, something which I wouldn’t have got if I’d ordered online. I filled the bays with WD RED 4TB drives which are Enterprise Edition drives and meant to run 24/7. I also configured the drives in RAID 1 so that I’d have redundancy and less headache if one of the drives fails.


Whats in the box
The box contains everything (except the tools) you need to install the drives and connect it to your home network. NAS Chassis, two drive trays, screws for 3.5 and 2.5 inch HDDs, Cat 5 cable, power adapter and installation CD.

Installation and Setup
Attaching the drives to the trays was done in a couple of minutes and the drives easily slide into the chassis and click into place. The drives are hot swappable and you only need to remove the front panel to quickly access the trays. I hooked it up to the network and installed the utility that detects the NAS on my network. Once I had access to it I downloaded the latest version of the DSM OS and formatted and configured the drives. If you’re using a media streaming device like an XBMC, WD Live or Apple TV it would be a good idea to give it a static IP. I had created network shares for certain folders so I needed a static IP anyway.


The good thing I noted about the DSM was the non-intimidating GUI and the menus. I don’t have much experience with setting up storage boxes but with the DSM OS I was able to configure things very easily. The OS also supports many widgets that lets you use the box like Media server, FTP server, Mail server etc.

Home Media Server and Backup
I’ve had the DS 212+ for a couple of weeks now and primarily use the NAS to backup my personal files and media. Since I have a WD Live connected to the network I can easily stream music, videos and photos to the main TV in the living room. The specs on the DS 212+ are enough to handle streaming media to multiple devices but I did face some issues with 1080i BluRay videos. The NAS has a Gigabit network card but my router and switches are all 10/100 so I believe there lies the bottleneck. I might upgrade the network components at a later date.


Final Thoughts
I previously was working with multiple drives and my old media server was just acting in JBOD mode but now with the NAS I don’t have the worry of scattered drives and data loss. If you’re in the market for a storage device I’d recommend you take a look at the models from Synology as they’ve got systems to suit all budgets.

Online reviews from Xbit Labs , Bit Tech and PC World

Synology DS212+ video review [link]

Kuwaiti Trail Mix

Kuwaiti Trailmix

A friend of mine recently started a blog that covers a few of his passions, Bollywood, Movies and Idie music, to name a few. During a chat with him about the blog he mentioned that he wanted to dive into the expatriate subcultures in Kuwait and cover as much as possible about the various foreign communities in Kuwait.

He’s also a movie buff as I soon discovered and has an in-depth knowledge of Bollywood movies and stars. His blog posts will cover movie reviews, filmi updates and also cover Indie music.  Head on over to Kuwaiti Trail Mix and subscribe to the blog feed.

Passion for Pizza


I love a good pizza, especially if its baked in a proper oven since it gives the crust a very unique texture. A friend of mine, Nasser Al Sulaihim, is so passionate about the art of pizza making that recently he actually made his own pizza oven. The oven is similar to the one I’d posted about in my Pizza Connection post but while that one was flown in from Italy, Nasser made his own oven himself!

Oven making

I’ve made a collage of the oven in its various stages of design and production and its really impressive. He’s a really talented guy and you can follow him on Instagram to see how good he is at building stuff.


Cox and Kings Global Services – Kuwait


Yesterday a family member needed to renew their passport so we went to the newly opened Cox and Kings Global Services office in Sharq to submit an application. The visa and passport services of the Indian Embassy have been moved from BLS International to Cox and Kings.

The good thing about the move is that they’re now in 3 locations in Kuwait so that makes it easier for those living in the suburbs. We went to the branch in Behbehani Complex in Sharq and got our work done in less than 15 minutes.


They’ve got a whole bunch of value added services [link] including passport delivery which I think is quite convenient if you don’t have the time to go there or work in a double shift job. There are 6 counters to submit your applications and a mini snack counter that also serves coffee.

Here are the locations; Sharq, Fahaheel and Jleeb Al Shuyoukh (for some reason many Indians refer to Jleeb Al Shuyoukh as Shuwaikh)

Quick Trip To Kerala

I made a really short trip to Kerala during the Eid holidays last week to attend to some personal matters.

I knew I had a tight schedule but while packing my cameras I figured I’d get some free time to go out alone but that didn’t happen.

Here’s some of the few photos I did take during the week I was there.





Another thing I found out that most of the bars in Kerala have now been shutdown due to some court order and that means getting a drink with your lunch means you’d have to go to a place that’s above 4 Stars. Quite a shame really as there are many hotels in Kerala that have a nice ambiance but the alcohol bans keeps out the clients during lunch time like this place below.

Honda City 2014 – Review

City 01

A couple of weeks ago the local Honda dealer contacted me asking if I wanted to take out the new 2014 Honda City for a test drive. So I picked up the car first thing on a weekend morning and used till noon for some personal errands.

First Impression:
Now the Honda rep informed me that the new 2014 was a radical change from the previous model but I  thought it was just the usual marketing jazz. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The 2014 model looks leaner and with each iteration it’s catching up to the design cues of its bigger siblings.

City 02

My test model had a metallic black paint job with beige interiors. In the catalog its listed as ‘Crystal Black Pearl Golden Brown with Ivory interior’. The 16 inch alloys shod with low profile radials were stylish too.

Now as a technology geek here’s what I loved about the City; the list of options that it came with. I drove the EX Spec version which is the top of the line for the City.

City 05

The inside was a stark contrast to the highly polished black exterior and it felt bigger than it actually was thanks to the light color. One strange thing I noticed when I got into the car was the absence of buttons on the dashboard, not even for the HVAC controls. When I switched the car on I realized that all the buttons are touch sensitive and light up when the car is turned on. Otherwise its just a glossy black panel that looks very clean and smooth.

City 06


  • Key-less entry and ignition. This is one of my favorite features in any car and after driving my own car for the past 6 years I’ve become used to not using the key or even taking it out of my pocket.
  • 7 Inch touch screen entertainment console with audio, video and Bluetooth hands-free.
  • Steering controls include; Paddle Shifters, Bluetooth hands-free, Cruise control and Radio controls.
  • 12 Volts power sockets in the front and back, 2 USB ports and even an HDMI port. I’ve never seen an HDMI port in a small sedan before. I later on found out that its possible to mirror your Android or iPhone to the LCD and interact with your device from the car’s LCD screen. Its a neat feature and I wish I had an MHL adapter to try it out. Here’s a video demo of the system.
  • Bright back-lit instrument panel and digital readouts for current mileage and fuel range etc.

City 04

Driving Experience:
I drove it for about 3 hours while I was doing my errands and it felt nimble and fast in the city. Most of my work that day was in the city limits and I only had to get on the express way a couple of times to go to Salmiya and back to the city. Like all VTEC engines, this too was rev happy and even though its only a 1.5 L car the high rev-ability makes it easy to push it to the limit. If you’re not careful you’ll find yourself exceeding the speed limit on highways without even knowing it.

City 07

Driver’s seat and steering is adjustable so you’ll find your desired position quickly and there’s a small armrest in the center so you can lean your elbow for long drives. Even with the front seats pushed back my wife and mom had enough legroom in the back seats and with the rear AC controls they were comfortable in the summer heat.

City 09

City 11

I didn’t have any stuff to carry around that day and most of the shopping was already done for the week but the boot is quite spacious at a class leading 538L and is deep so like the previous City it too can swallow a couple of large trunks or a whole week’s worth of home shopping.

City 10

Overall I was really impressed with the car and its amazing how many features are finding their way into smaller sedans nowadays. By the time I handed over the car at the showroom I had a smile on my face coz it was a breeze driving the City around town on a busy day.

City 03

Test Version: Honda City 2014 EX Spec. Retails at KD 4895 and comes with a Honda warranty of 3 years or 100,000 Kms.

Showroom: Al Rai Safat Alghanim Mall, Al Rai, 4th Ring Road,  P O Box:6474, Zip:70458 Shuwaikh Phone: 24964000

My review of the 2013 Honda City last year. [link]

Playing with Fire and Light

A couple of weeks ago, a few friends of mine arranged a night photo shoot to have some fun with light painting and long exposure shots. We headed to this abandoned building in the middle of nowhere and a brave volunteer worked his magic with just some steel wool stuffed in a whisk and swung on a chain. Here’s what I got. I loved the results and can’t wait to do some more of this.







Here’s something I tried while I was playing around with the 2 axis head on the tripod. I set the exposure to around 10 seconds and then moved the camera on X and Y axis while focused on a string of street lights. This might make a good wallpaper for my mobile phone.




There was this structure that I lit up using a flashlight and managed to get the stars in the shot as well. The yellow haze is light reflected off clouds from the street lights and just above that the stars are visible.


Towards the end of the session we played around with one of those LED key-chains and got the following samples.




While I was editing the pictures I remembered that I’d taken some similar pictures of the Fire Dancers at this year’s Sand Sculpture expo so I figured those would fit into the theme of this post. So here are some shots from the event.

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Lahore Shahi Qila – Pakistani Food

Shahi Qila

I decided to write about this place after my second visit there a couple of days ago. Shahi Qila is a little Pakistani restaurant in Sharq area and it’s almost invisible unless you actually go looking for it. The place is so nondescript that my friend didn’t even know the name of the place even though he loves the food there.

Tikka Chicken

On both visits we ordered; Chicken Tikka, Channa Masala (Chickpeas) and fresh Rotis. The food is typical Pakistani fare with copious amounts of spice and oil. I love the Chicken tikka and channa masala at Khyber but this is now my current favorite place if I’m in the mood to get hot and sweaty for lunch.


The chicken tikka lacked that tangy flavor that you get in Khyber but its perfectly grilled and has the right amount of charring. Unfortunately I didn’t try anything else at Shahi Qila so I can’t recommend more dishes but the chicken tikka and channa masala combo is a must-try.


The place may look like a cheap joint on the outside but once you go down to the dining area on the lower floor you’ll be surprised to see that its neat and spacious. Prices aren’t too bad either. There were four of us and the bill was 5 KD. Parking can be a problem during working days so it would be better to park across the street near the police HQ compound and walk to Shahi Qila.

You can find the place in the map link here [Google maps]

Shahi Qila
Al Shoafaat Building,
Umer Bin Khatab St.
Tel: 22470965