Sunday, 29 April 2007

One people

I've never been through anything more surreal.

I was at the CH & FC watching Sri Lanka bat when suddenly we heard what sounded like a couple of explosions. The electricity was shut off. 1500 people were stranded in the dark. No one was let out. No one was let in to the grounds. Then there was gun fire which was followed by a burst of flares from all directions of Colombo's night sky. Surprisingly everyone didn't panic. We got news that Colombo was under attack. No one knew exactly what was going on though.

Then everything quietened down.

About an hour after the lights went out, they were turned back on again. The screens were still turned off so no one knew what was happening to the match. At that point i'm not sure many people cared. People were too busy finding out whether their loved ones were ok, if they could get on the already congested mobile networks. But a little while after the lights were turned on, there was another burst of a million flares that lit up the night sky. It would've looked gorgeous if not for the emergency of the situation. There was more gun fire. And then we saw a plane in the sky. Everyone panicked. The main ground lights were turned off. People were breaking the bulbs of the lights in the food stalls in order to get the whole place dark again. Then the electricity was turned off again. People started running everywhere. Some were crying. Some were just sitting there.

I'm proud to be from where I am. We, as a people, have been through a lot. Alot more than what others have been through. We've grown up through war and strife. We've gone to school amongst bombs going off and people being killed. I'm proud of what our people have become. I'm proud of the fact that everyone at the CH, whatever their religion, race, caste or creed were worried about each others families.

What happened to the world cup? I don't really care. I'm proud of the way our team played right throughout. We're an island nation at war, but we still conquered the world in my heart. I'm proud to be Sri Lankan.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre - Our Government's Fuck Up

It's common knowledge that Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 before taking his own life.

Doing the dutiful diplomatic doodah resulted in our government offering condolences to the US by way of the following statement (which can be found as reported in the Daily Mirror here).

"The Government of Sri Lanka condemns, in no uncertain terms, the appalling, senseless killing of 31 innocent students and teachers, at the Virginia Tech University in Virginia, USA recently.

As citizens of a country deeply conscious of the value of non-violence, we share the feelings of grief borne by the people of the United States of America.

We convey our deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy and to all those who were, either directly or indirectly, affected by it."

Wouldn't a little bit of the professed "chinthana" have gone a long way and prevented causing considerable embarrassment to the Sri Lankan people?

I also wonder whether our government sends out condolences to Iraq, Sudan, and other places where such numbers and then some are killed on a daily basis by disturbed suicidal people.

I guess it's a case of lust after the sexiest arse. After all, kissing a miserable, unshapely one is not gonna be of any use.

Monday, 23 April 2007

...until the next time

An ode to the friends and memories I left behind in Hull, UK. How I miss it...

Friday, 20 April 2007

Death by Bureaucracy

What a bright and sunny morning. Stark contrast to the heavy rains of last week. But the gloom of exams still hangs over. Short of notes. 5 days to go. Headed over to the Open University first thing in the morning so that i could buy a few books and then head to work.

I get there at 2 minutes to 9. Obviously, the shop was closed. My private sector punctuality was a mismatch to his public sector career. The King of the bookshop entered his court at a quarter past 9. Smart looking chap. I underestimated his insight into his job. See, he manages the bookshop for all the subjects taught at the Open Uni, so there are a bloody lot of books there. So i never expected him to know what I was looking for. But lo and behold, I had to only mention the subjects and he swiftly pulled out what i needed. Maybe government servants were on the ball after all. hmm. He starts writing out what I thought was a receipt.

I pull out my wallet. Count out the cash. He hands me the paper he was scribbling on. Tells me to take it upstairs (which is a bit of a distance away considering his throne was at the back of the building) and pay it at the finance department. Sweet. Maybe I shouldn't have underestimated him cause he was only following orders and he did what he had to do well. But I should've known his department was going to spring this one on me. But I made the mistake of underestimation again.

See, I thought I could stroll into the finance department, pay the thing, come back, get my books and go. How wrong I was.

So I go up to the cashier and surrender the paper. He takes one look at it, gives it back and tells me to get it signed from an office "over there". So i head "over there" and ask the first guy I see who should I get this signed from. He points me over to a table which is surrounded by many eager ladies pulling at goodies that lay on the table as if it were a screaming nugegoda vedor's ware on a saturday afternoon. So this lady seated behind the desk, who was the nugegoda vendor's substitute, quickly puts away a saree and jumps when she sees me there with my paper. She quickly signs it, obviously embarrassed like a nugegoda vendor when caught selling fake goods. Then she points me to another "over there" and tells me to get it signed again by a manager. At this point I'm thinking WHY? So I go to the manager. He pulls out a calculator and checks to see whether the King (remember him?) has got the amount right. He signs it. I heave a sigh of relief. Head over back to the cashier who takes about 15 minutes to write out the actual receipt. Finally I get it and head back to the King who is in the middle of a long chat about the cricket with 3 others in his court. He takes the receipt without looking at how much I had paid, hands me the books, and finally i'm on my way...

Why couldn't he have taken the payment in the first place? Wouldn't that make the whole process alot more productive for both myself and the department?

Bloody red tape...You'll be the death of me.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Balls I Say!

What a load of bollocks over Sri Lanka's game plan for the Aussies eh?

Micheal Holding is the latest to add fuel to Ian Chappel's fires, already burning brightly with Arjuna Ranathunga's good ol' firewood. Unfortunately for him, I don't think he paused long enough to think about what he was saying. See, he's said that Sri Lanka's tactical move only allowed for corruption to creep in to the game by making the result predictable. How? Apparently because the odds in favour of Australia increased on the day of the game when it became common knowledge that Vaas and Murali were not going to be playing. So what?

I mean, why does not Micheal Holding say that West Indies should not play at all? After all, the bookies are going to know they are going to lose if they play against any half decent team. Right? So if the bookies are going to have foresight of a one sided match, does that mean corruption could creep in? Does that mean that one sided matches should not be played? Micheal Holding has handled balls (erm cricket ones but of course) for long enough to know that games are played between two teams, who use all the skills and tactics that they have, to end up one over the other. The teams are not expected to try and play the game in such a way that the bookies don't make an extra buck.

So what if Sri Lanka didn't want to play their best bowlers? I fully support the team's thinking. The element of surprise is the oldest trick in the book. Regardless of whether we get into the finals or not, if we do get in we want to be at our most effective. Leaving out key players in a match, the outcome of which has no significance whatsoever, is perfectly justifiable. This is not a "virginal" situation.

When I was young, I was always taught that cricket was a game of the mind. I've also read around that there's no point winning the battle, you need to win the war. If our war comes, i'm confident now that we will put our best foot forward, because our management had the sense of mind to employ, what I would regard as, a brilliant tactic against the Aussies. Now the Ireland match is another story altogether. I believe Marvan Atapattu should have been given a chance, considering our poor show up front in the first few overs in the last few games. Anyway that's another story altogether.

The likes of Ian Chappel, Micheal Holding and Arjuna Ranathunga are not the best ones to talk about bringing the game into disrepute. Australia have consistently applied tactics over sportsmanship in the past (ie the "go slow" incident at the 1999 world cup against West Indies). In 1996 Australia and West Indies both refused to play in Sri Lanka citing security reasons. Apparently there was nothing unsportsmanly in that, even though ample security was ensured. New Zealand refused to play in Kenya, and Australia and England refused to play in Zimbabwe back in 2003. But that's al forgotten I guess. Even Arjuna Ranathunga, who has always stood up against poor sportsmanship, turned a blind eye to the fact that there was no such incident in this whole scenario. If we won or lost we'd still be in the same position on the points table.

Enough on this. But Mr. Chappel, go tell the ICC that Sri Lanka are being unsportsmanly. I hope you went and told your mummy back in 1981 that your beloved brothers, Greg and Trevor, made fools of themselves and the Chappel name and brought the game into disrepute over the under-arm incident.

Blue James Band

I was introduced to about a month back. It's a great lil site that takes an Artist that you like and plays you music of a similar nature. Very cool. Very Addictive. You should try it. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Dave Matthews. So naturally I entered 'Dave Matthews Band' in pandora. The very first song it played me was a song called "remember me" by the lil known Blue James Band. I've never fallen in love with a song this fast from a band that i've not known from Adam.

My first impression was WOW. "remember me" had the charm of an acoustic with the energy of a charging rhino. The varied beats, the very addictive tune coupled with great vocals and lyrics had the makings of a great alternative hit. I tried to find out more about the song on google. I came accross the band's website here. After a bit of research, and listening to a few more songs of theirs, I was adamant that i had to get a copy of their CD, Thats That. But I was gutted that it was unavailable on amazon as well as any other website that i could think of (even torrents, haha). So a quick email to the band followed. I was surprised to get an enthusiastic reply from Cliff, the leader of the outfit. Having told him that I was trying to obtain a copy with no luck, he offered a few alternatives. When nothing worked and a few more emails later, he told me he would mail me a copy on the house! I was touched to say the least. It arrived yesterday and here I am, addicted.

Ripped the packaging. Had to hear it from the start. The music reminded me of the likes of Blues Traveller, Sister Hazel, Barenaked Ladies and Dave Matthews. Although "remember me" is still my favourite, "i can relate" has potential to knock the former out of its number 1 spot on my chart. Also loved "same person", "hello there", "falling down" and plenty more.

The album is an amazing mix of subtle power, beautiful lyrics, inspiring acoustic riffs and a strangely romantic charm. It's 'feel good' music at its best. It's a real shame that it's not more accessible for the people of the world. But the band has assured me the music is available for a nominal price on itunes. If it means spending about $2 on my favourite, i'd highly recommend it. Even if it is just cause I say so.

The band is working on their second album. I'll certainly be on the look out for that. 8/10 for That's That.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Jenny you are crazy! First i'm perfect then i'm lazy?

Catchy lyrics, bluesy guitars, soulful pianoes and groovy drum beats are all central to this great album. Paolo Nutini, a little known Scottish guy is growing in popularity faster than Sri Lankan's can kill each other.

Although being only 20, he has a natural ability to tell a story in a song with much sincerity and conviction. My favourite is "jenny don't be hasty" where when he was 18 he met a girl at a gig and he told her he was 23 because she was. Eventually he confessed that he was only 18 at which she slapped him and left him. Harsh. But great inspiration for lyrics like

"I'll be around again to see these other men
That are more adequate in the age department
I did not think you cared.There'd be no problems here
But now you're looking at me like you're disgusted
Then I'm definitely waiting for you to smile and change your mind
Then I'll say I'm sorry and I'll wrap my arms 'round your body
I really hope that you forgive in a hurry
And don't just ask me to leave".

Having missed him in the UK, where he has gained tremendous popularity within weeks of launching his album last summer, i turned to trusted youtube and also to a gig airing right now on The performances are nothing short of electrifying and make you wanna get up and jump around crazily as if you were really there. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a mood booster.

His voice is very mature for someone of his age. His strong Scottish accent and thick lisp make him almost unintelligible when he talks. But when he sings you just don't want him to stop. Raspy yet soulful, much like Jacob Dylan and Jack Johnson.

The music on the album is great. My picks are "alloway grove" (which reminds me a lot of Johnny Cash for some reason - must be the tripping blues type of beat), "last request" (a ballad which is already on the charts), "rewind", "these streets"(the title track to the album) and "loving you".

These Streets is music for a rainy day. A mix of slow ballads and bluesy beats. I'd compare it to the likes of John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Joshua Radin and even the Wallflowers.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Mokada Huththo Balanne?

A few of us from office, 3 girls and 2 of us guys, decided to walk down to Arpico and grab a few munchables a little while ago. So we were merrily on our way, the girls armed with umbrellas cause i'm sure that they were sure that the slight drizzle was going to dissolve them, and we were about to cross the always busy Braybrooke Place-Hyde Park Corner junction. The girls hesitated a bit cause this trishaw dickhead, who had crept forward on the wrong lane anyway, kept inching forward when they were trying to get accross. And then he shouts something to the effect of "get a move on" in a very impolite manner. So I looked in that direction as any normal human being would do. But then in Sri Lanka a look, or even a cursory glance, will most definitely be met by "mokada huththo balanne?". Here's what happened next.
Me: Mokadda prashne?
Wanker : mokada huththo balanne?
Me: *didn't i just hear that?* mokada happanna enne?
Wanker : *fakes an attempt to get out of trishaw and head my way* thamuseta puka denne na!
Me: mata umbe puka epa!
Wanker : pala do yanna
Me: thamuse giyoth hondai huththo, umba traffic nawaththala!
At this point Wanker fakes a move my way again and i just stand there in a puddle, in the drizzle.
Wanker : thamuse balaganing huththo
then he drives a little forward, stops, turns back and continues to stare at me, at which point i turn and walk into arpico now that all of us were safely accross the junc.

Must be the gloomy weather.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Sex. Plenty of it...

Thought that'll get your attention...

It's official! Sex appeal is what sells blogs.

As of late i've noticed that the top 10 on kottu is more often than not headed by a topic that deals with sex, hooking up, preference of girls, relationships, etc. The last straw was when a 14 year old chick brandished "flirt" on her topic, and now is number 1 on kottu's most popular. Her post was a sour grapes tale on how she didn't get into the interact club. Highly disappointing. But the only reason I can think of on why so many people would click on her link was to find out what "flirt" had got to do with the post.

So here's the deal. If you want to have a popular blog, make sure ur title carries a word which oozes sex appeal. I'd suggest "sex, flirt, i-wanted-to-do-him-in-the-office, mile high club, hottie, bikini, one night stand, screw-me-silly". Who knows, you might be number 1 on kottu.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Timbaland Presents : Shock Value

The most eagerly awaited album of 2007.

Whatever Timbaland touches seems to turn to gold. He has produced music for the likes of Destiny's Child, Ludacris, Justin Timberlake, Aaliyah, Nelly Furtado, The Pussycat Dolls, Jay-Z and Nas just to name a few. The clubs have been banging his beats for years and now he's just rolled out a whole album full of em!

Timbaland Presents : Shock Value just blew me off the hook. The opening track 'Oh Timbaland' sets the groove for what to expect. Almost like a self-introduction to him and the album. Sheer brilliance. I can see 'Give it to me' featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake being a song that'll be over played at the clubs. It's catchy and makes u want to get up and dance! The same can be said for 'Release', another one featuring JT.

It's a great mix of music. The collaborations include 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Magoo, Nicole Scherzinger to name a few. A few i would've never expected were Elton John, the Hives and Fall Out Boy! Watch out for 'Come and get me', 'Kill yourself', 'Scream', 'Bombay', 'One and only' just to name a few.

It's been a long time since i've liked every single song on an album. This is it. 10/10.