Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two Years Down The Road

So yours truly completes two years of blogging today. However, I feel like it's been much longer. Perhaps because it's become such a big part of my life, that it's something I enjoy very much. However, this time around I'm not going to write the usual "oh it's been two years, I never thought I'd come this far, you readers rock, thank you everyone" post. Instead, here are some of my favorite memories involving blogging.

  • Discovering that I could actually write decently. I always was, and still am an avid reader, but writing was new to me. It feels good to know that you're at least fairly good at it.
  • Discovering Kottu. It opened up a whole new world to me, and I got to know this interesting community that is the Sri Lankan Blogsphere. Unfortunately I can't read Tamil, but been reading both English and Sinhala blogs ever since. Interesting people, interesting ideas. Long live Kottu.
  • The first comment I got. It was an Anonymous comment, probably a friend who felt obliged to write something just out of decency. Still it felt good. Actually, I remember the early days when I'd put up a post and waiting impatiently for the comments to appear. Was even looking at hits counter very frequently. Funny.
  • The first big hit post. A personal experience prompted me to write it, and it got a lot of attention as well. Remember the little top post thingy that used to be on Kottu. This was also my first post that appeared there.
  • Gradually getting to know a lot of bloggers through Kottu and making friends with some of them. To-date I haven't had the good fortune of meeting any of the bloggers, but have been in contact with some of them. It's kind of amazing how you know so much about these fellow bloggers, the peeks you get into their lives, despite not having met ever.
  • Finding out that there are a lot of very good writers in Sri Lanka. Some of these guys (and girls) write way better than some of our published writers.
  • The post that gets me the most hits to-date. Let me tell you, there is a bucket-load of people out there who want to know how to put a Facebook status message. And they all end up here.
  • Finding out that the Blogger spell checker thinks that "bloggers" is an incorrect word while "blogger" is not.
  • Knowing that there is a bunch of people, some of whom are great friends, some I know nothing of at all, who do read and enjoy what I write.
  • Discovering that I could also write some fiction. They are disguised as incidents happened to me, but there are a few almost entirely fiction posts here. Go figure.
  • Writing to a little different, if not international, audience in Island Cricket. Particularly this post got me a lot of responses most of which were along the lines of "you're a fool", "you idiot", "retard" and such. Some of our fans don't really know how to handle criticism. It's fun to piss off these guys though.

So, along with those memories and these posts which are some of my personal favorites, I leave you, my dear reader. Enjoy!

Stories about me and my slippers, and also about my favorite teacher reminds me the good old days back in Paradise which makes you feel nostalgic, but none more so than this. This also is about a friend from the good old past, a friend whom I have no idea when I'll see again, if ever. Then this and this are some funny stories from this Land of the Rising Sun, though at the time didn't all all looked that funny. Finally, I assume most of you guys know that I am a big cricket fan, so it won't fit if I didn't have a couple of posts about cricket to mention here. Fear not, I have them. This is how I did a translating job on behalf of Mahela, and this piece is about a very famous schoolmate of mine. But, out of them all, this piece about how we should uphold the spirit of cricket is my favorite, and perhaps the best as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Do You Save?

I mean, really, how do you save? I have serious problem with the whole concept of saving. Let me explain.

I earn fairly well, so despite Japan being a country with a huge ass cost of living I'm supposed to save a reasonable amount each month. But alas, I fail at it miserably, even more than Mervin Silva would struggle at his ordinary level Math class. But wait, don't think I'm like one of those chicks who shop just for the sake of it. No I don't go ga-ga when I see a shopping mall. In fact, I hate shopping pretty much. That is why I never went on a shopping spree with my ex after the very first time or two. I usually get tired after an hour of browsing through the shops, two max, but she used to want to have even two day shopping sprees. You, the poor guys out there, should know how I must have felt. But I digress. The point is, I'm not a crazy shopaholic, but I don't seem to be able to save a penny these days. OK, not just these days, ever since I can remember.

The funny thing is, even I can't figure out where all the money went. For starters, I don't know how much I spend each month because I never keep accounts. Once I tried writing down all the expenses for a month, and the whole exercise lasted all but one day. I have a sneaky feeling though that it could be the 'this won't make a difference' attitude. Imagine those two red devil and the white saint guys who appear on each of your shoulders and whisper to you. Whenever I'm going to buy something those two guys appear and the saint dude is all
"Sach, don't! You're supposed to save, my son. This is not a necessity right? You can do without it. Don't be so careless with your money blah blah blah..... OK?"
And then the evil fella laughs his evil laugh, which is pretty awesome by the way, and goes like
"Dude, who gives a fuck! Enjoy the day! Who knows what'll happen tomorrow. For all we know an asteroid might hit the earth tomorrow and you'll be study material for scientists in another 65 million years. Plus it's pretty awesome right? Go ahead sucker, buy it!"
So, after carefully considering all the pros and cons I usually end up listening to the evil fella. Damn it's about time I listened to the boring yet wise old nice guy. He sure knows what he's doing, or rather what he's saying as that's all he ever does. Anyway, yeah, I must try save some money I guess.

By the way, there's this point and shoot camera I saw the other day which is pretty awesome.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are We Truly Alone?

So I've been watching a lot of Astronomy related documentaries, and reading on the subject as well. Call it a renewed interest, as there was a time when I was totally into that kind of thing. I think until the age of 15 or 16, the heavens always amazed me. Well, it still does but however that interest died down after that age. Back then, I had a collection of newspaper articles and photos cut from newspapers or photocopied from library books. Yes dear reader, it was a time when the so called age of information was still a decade away. I did not own a computer and the Internet was only heard of. So, yes, the information was not a Google search away and come to think of it that may have been one reason my interest died down. But a few weeks ago I read this news somewhere about a new found solar system some thousands of light years away, and that sparked my interest again. Luckily, this time around I'm better equipped - the Internet is there, and you can download just about all the documentaries that there are. Thank God for the speedy Internet in Japan though. Thus I set to work; downloaded some stuff, started reading on the subject and started feeling amazed again. How can you not be? Here are some fun and amazing facts that I recently learned, or refreshed the memory of.

Our Sun is a very average star, it's about 5 billion years old and will probably live another five more. The moon was created as a result of a huge body more than half the size of our earth crashing onto the earth, at a very early stage of Solar System's life. Now, the moon's been orbiting around us since then but gradually moving away from us at a rate of 2 inches every year. And it is destined to leave us one day, once earth's gravity is no longer able to hold it. The results would be catastrophic to earth; earth's tilt of 23 degrees will be much more than that, the four seasons will be all messed up with having 6 month long winters or summers depending on which part of the globe you are in. Some species will be gone forever, our biological clocks altered, there won't be tides and it'll take some getting used to. However, luckily, the deadline is some 50 billion years away. Thank God.

Mars has the largest volcano found in the Solar System, and it also has an ice cap. There's also evidence that there once was flowing water on it, but it's all gone now. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are all gas planets while some of them have bigger moons than Pluto. Speaking of which, it was demoted to Dwarf Planet because there are a couple of asteroids out there that are bigger than Pluto. Poor guy, must have hurt his feelings. Jupiter has a moon called Europa, not Europe, which has a thick crust of ice beneath which scientist believe is an ocean. One big ocean that is. And they say it is very likely there is life on it, or rather, in it. Sadly, with the current technology we have it takes six months to Mars, the closest planet, while a trip to the outer Solar System takes up decades. Planning a weekend swim in Europa's oceans is a little too early I guess.

Let's move outside our Solar System. The closes star is some 4 light years away. That's crap, so even at the speed of light which probably we will never achieve, it takes four years to get there. But hold on, if that is the closest, how far away do you think the furthest? Well it's hard to say, but estimates have been made that it's possibly 156 billion light years wide. To put that in perspective, the age of universe itself is estimated to be a little over 14 billion years according to the Big Bang Theory. I mean the real theory, not the TV show. That means if you started travelling at the speed of light since the beginning of the universe, as of today you have covered only about 10% of the width of the universe. This might seem a contradiction, because according to the Big Bang Theory, when this big bang happened, the universe was a singular point. Now if nothing can go faster than light, how come the universe itself did? Well, read on, it's explained there.

The largest star found so far is estimated to be between 1800 and 2100 solar radii (the radius of the Sun), but luckily it's 4000 light years away. Though it is a singular star just like our Sun, most of the stars out there are binary stars. Even they don't like being alone do they? Some of these massive stars, at the end of their lives may collapse onto themselves forming black holes. Now black holes are big bad guys who suck up everything that dares get too close. However, contrary to popular belief they don't go around sucking up everything in their paths. If you go near it with just the right speed and angle you can settle into an orbit around it just like you would orbit around a planet. There are some billions of black holes are out there, and you could find a super massive black hole at the center of most galaxies including our own, Milky Way. Their masses are on the order of hundreds of thousands to billions of solar masses. However, you'd be surprised to learn that they have an average density lower than that of air. Don't believe me? Go here and read then. And if there are billions of black holes in the universe, how many stars are out there do you think? Well, there are about 10 to the power of 11 or 12 stars in our galaxy alone, and there are about the same number of galaxies in the universe. So, do the math. To put this in perspective, there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on earth. How's that sound?

But, the sad thing is despite knowing all this, we still have absolutely NO evidence whatsoever to say that we are not alone. Not yet at least. When you think about the size of the universe, the variety of it, everything suggests that we must not be alone. Think about it, among so many trillions of stars there should be at least a few planets that are able to support life as we know it. Of course there could be life far different from what our conception of it, but let's not go there. The universe has all the elements we have on earth in abundance. Scientists have already found a few Earth like planets and they have estimated there must be at least hundreds of thousands of such planets in our galaxy alone. So why haven't we met anyone yet? The most probable answer is that the speed of light is actually can never be broken irrespective of how advanced a species you are. It could just be the limit of transportation after all. Of course there are theories such as using wormholes for interstellar travel, so maybe we just aren't in the right place or the time yet. It is also possible that we are not really of any worth intelligence to those higher beings that are able to travel to distance stars, and that they are giving us time.

Or, simply, it could be that we truly are alone. I dearly hope though that it isn't the case.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Have All the Speedsters Gone?

This year's Tri-Nations ended last Saturday giving the All Blacks yet another emphatic win, and us fans a memorable game. Actually this years whole tournament was full of them - both wins for the Blacks and memorable games for us fans. The tourney got underway with two thumping wins for the Blacks who swept aside the Boks with ease. While the Blacks were mighty impressive you could also attribute the margin of victory to the lackluster performance by the men from the Rainbow Nation. They seemed so out of touch, out of sorts and without a plan. Then the Blacks went on to demolish a relatively young Wallabies team and and looked set for another Tri-Nations win. All they needed was to lose by less than 7 points to the Boks in the next game to secure the trophy. But that just isn't the way they do things; after trailing behind for the better part of the game, Blacks crossed the line twice during last five minutes, first by their ever impressive captain Richie McCaw and then the big man Nonu. The whole game was a treat, and the Boks had improved immensely from the last few games. That was the first of four memorable games to follow; Wallabies and Boks shared a piece in their next two encounters both of which were absolute nail biters. Last of the two was just a phenomenal game. Boks were trailing 31-6 just before the half time and their impressive lock Victor Matfield scored a dazzling try to give them some hopes going into the breather. Score: 31-13. And they did hit hard after the break and the scoreline read 31-30 in favor of Wallabies around the one hour mark. After that it was just one tense game, but finally the Wallabies edged ahead. Then this weekend was the last game of the Tri-Nations. Again, Blacks showed that they are a class apart and arguably one of the greatest Blacks lineups ever with a coming from behind win to claim a clean sweep of Tri-Nations game.

OK, so it was a great tournament and one for the memory. But now let's go back to the title of this post. While it was such a great tournament, it lacked fast open rugby specially by the backs bar the penultimate game of the tournament between the Wallabies and the Boks. Yes the All Blacks back division with the big names like Cowan, Weepu, Carter, Nonu, Conrad "Average Man" Smith, Rokocoko, Jane and Muliaina is almost intimidating. Yet they hardly matched their predecessors of late 90's or early 2000s in my opinion. I think that the Blacks' line up (specially the backs) of that era is probably their best ever as well. Justin Marshall at 9, combined with Andrew Mehrtens (and later Spencer) at fly half and probably their best ever center Tana Umaga. Then they had the wingers like Jeff Wilson, Dough Howlette and the big man Jonah Lomu, but probably the best of them all was their legendary fullback Christian Cullen. Man, he was FAST. Not just fast, he was mighty good. And the best thing about their rugby; they ran fast and they ran wide. There were so many counter attacks from their own 22 running the ball wide and often ending up crossing the line.

But nowadays, I'm seriously missing that. I don't know what the reason is, but I'm boiling it down to two reasons. Either the defensive play in rugby is improved a lot or simply the fast runners like those guys have vanished. Or perhaps a bit of both. Come to think of it I do believe that the defense has improved immensely, with carefully planned tackles and better marking of players. But perhaps it is also possible that those legendary runners are extinct for real. Now that would be such a waste.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Plug that's Worth It

Yes, a plug to a post that's actually worth something. It's from my good friend Nee's blog, and it's a new perspective to the whole retardedness that is ragging. Maybe this is why they do it.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In Retrospect

I'm not quite sure about the meaning of the title. However it felt like the right thing, plus I believe it makes me sound intelligent. Which is something very important. Throwing in a big word or two, casually, is a good method of achieving the target. But I had a feeling that you might not notice the fact, hence this opening para. This renders the 'throwing in casually' part null I know, but still.

So, yes. The past year has been one of the absolutely best in my life. Was it perfect? No. Did everything happen the way I expected? Yes, but merely because I expected things to not happen the way I expect. The point is, nothing's perfect and I shall not expect them to be. With that in mind, looking back, all I can say is the year has been nothing short of awesomeness. To start with, I quit smoking for good and now it's been a year. I never really thought I would be able to though I so wanted to. You see, it IS cool, and how can I give up, thought I once upon a time. Wrong. All you need to do is find the right reason, and you'll be fine. However, cigars are an exception. They don't count right?

Then you might know that I love food. In case you didn't, now you do. But I've stuck to a far healthier diet of late, cut down meals in half, added a lot of veggies and less carbs. Believe me, a well prepared veggie meal tastes as good as any juicy beef steak. OK, maybe not, nothing matches that, but still it's almost there. I've always been a fairly good cook if you exclude the first couple of months. The problem with me was I'm very lazy to cook. (Isn't Hogwarts so awesome, with food appearing on your table and all). Not anymore - I've made it fun to experiment with new stuff and all, and things are looking good. Then, I'm a long sufferer of migraine so eventually I gave up of chocolates and coffee, two heavy triggers of migraine attacks. It was shit at first, but I've learnt to live without them, and things seem good.

But it's not just these. Personally, I think I've become a better human being. I've stopped being a jerk as much as I can. I've learnt to let go of my big ego at least at times. That helps. Built up seemingly lost relationships, helped people in need, fixed things I should have fixed long before. And I am glad for all that, way more than I could ever tell.

Doing the right thing ain't easy, but it sure as hell make your life wonderful.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shame on you Sri Lankans



I was ashamed, to say the least, about the reaction of our good old Sri Lankans, including women, about the above video. The very same ladies who whine and bitch about how women are not treated equally, how men put them down and what not. But this video has been doing the rounds in Facebook and several forums, and the general conscience has been that she's dumb, retarded, an embarrassment to the country. I'd say those people who criticise her are a bigger embarrassment.

The reasons for these pundits to laugh at her are 1)she's not very good looking 2)she's not good at English and 3)her answers are silly and 4)she doesn't know what a cow sounds like.

Let's see. Her beauty, or anyone else's for that matter, is a matter of personal opinion and taste. While I agree that she's not the best looking girl ever, who are we to judge. Besides, it's not her fault. She has the right to contest, so she did, and if she truly doesn't deserve the title judges are to be blamed, not her.

And why the fuck should English be a qualification to win a miss Sri Lanka or Miss Universe contest? If you look at the video it is clear that she's very uncomfortable and nervous because she is speaking English. Had she spoken Sinhala (I assume she is Sinhalese) I don't think she would have sounded that nervous, plus her answers would have been better. If I blame her for anything, it is because she did not speak in Sinhala. Perhaps that might have something to do with us Sri Lankans' inferiority complex, but everyone who laughs at her are suffering from it more severely than she is.

I agree that the best gift you received being denim jeans is a kind of not an answer that is expected. Maybe she said something simple like that because she might have found it difficult to explain in English how your family, or you being a woman is the best gift she received. The thing is, though impressive the answers given by others are very fake. The best gift you received is you being a woman or your family or whatever? Those are well rehearsed answers and are supposed to impress the judges. All you have to do is call for the world peace and the next thing you know you're into the next round. That's the nature of these Miss Whatever contests - it's all a big lie. At least this girl is honest.

And then some laugh at it because she imitated the cow as 'umbaa' as oppoed to 'moo'. Well, anyone who studied at a Sinhala school knows that that's how they are taught. Again, inferiority complex much? And above all, why the fuck should you be able to imitate a fucking rocket or a cow to win a Miss Universe contest? The organizers who thought of asking that kind of a question are the retards I'd say. And if you look at what some of the other contestants do, this girl does not look that bad. It's not the answers, it's the questions that are really silly.

But what do we do? We laugh at our own the hardest. Shame on you Sri Lankans.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Upholding the Spirit of Cricket

Following yesterday's cricket encounter between Sri Lanka and India, SLC and BCCI, the cricket boards of the two respective countries held a joint press conference in which they addressed several issues regarding the incidents happened which seemed clear breaches of BCCI Code of Conduct.

Umpire Kumara Dharmasena was found guilty following him giving Virender Sehwag out LBW when the batsman was only 88 runs short of a well deserved 100. We find this act unsportsmanlike, and should be avoided in future games, remarked Nishantha Ranatunga the secretary of SLC. This is not the way we would like our players and officials to approach the game, hence Dharmasena will be severely penalized for his behavior. He faces a prospective ban of 4 international games, and will be likely to lose all his match fee for the Sunday's game. However, the BCCI officials confirmed to us that Dharmasena went to the Indian dressing room during the break and apologized to Sehwag, an act of showing his remorse which might come in his favor when giving the final verdict. Batsman Virender Sehwag has confirmed this on Twitter saying "He came to me apologizing, and I accepted it being the gentleman I am". Mr. Ranatunga extended his apologies to the BCCI on behalf of Dharmasena at the press conference.

Furthermore, Mr. Ranatunga stated that they have launched an investigation regarding the conduct of the selection committee of SLC which is headed by the former cricketer Aravinda de Silva. We are questioning their move to bring Thissara Perera into the Sri Lankan lineup out of nowhere, who dealt a decisive blow to India's chances of winning the game by taking a 5 wicket haul. We have appointed highly reputed investigators to find out if this was a deliberate move by Mr. De. Silva and his committee to defeat Indian and not upholding the Spirit of Cricket. If found guilty, they may face severe penalties which may include life bans on selecting anything whatsoever. We do not tolerate this kind of behavior, as plotting to win a game of cricket against India is a clear breach of BCCI Code of Conduct, said a visibly angry Ranatunga. The fate of Thissara Perera is not yet clear, but he is more than likely to face a ban of more than a year preventing him taking part in next year's world cup. Ranatunga again apologized to the BCCI regarding the matter.

An official from the BCCI stated that Asad Rauf, the Pakistani umpire who gave a horrendous decision against Yuvraj 'Water Boy' Singh has also extended his formal apologies to the BCCI and the Water Boy himself. He told us that he deeply regret the moment of insanity where he gave the accomplished Water Boy out, and will make sure would do no such thing in future. Meanwhile, a senior official at the BCCI who wished to remain unnamed informed this reporter that Mr. Rauf has also offered to give five decisions in India's favor in the next world cup if he was given the opportunity to officiate those matches. When asked what the response of the BCCI was, he replied that they have no intentions of doing things that would go against the BCCI Code of Conduct.

The SLC secretary also said that they were launching a separate investigation about the manner in which Sri Lankan openers batted in reply to India's total. They racked up 79 runs in mere 9 overs, a severe spanking of Indian bowlers which does not seem in right spirit of the game, added Mr. Ranatunga. However, they (Dilshan and Jayawardene) have sent messages to the SLC saying that they got out deliberately, and asked us to take it into consideration in giving the final verdict. Finally we have asked Kumar Sangakkara to explain himself why he denied Ishant Sharma a well deserved hat-trick. If he is unable to satisfactorily explain why he failed to uphold the spirit of cricket by letting Sharma take the hat-trick, he may face severe penalties, stated the secretary of SLC. Mr. Ranatunga extended another apology to BCCI for the players' disgraceful behavior.

Being asked by a reporter whether these moves have got anything to do with SLC being broke and BCCI being their only ally, an outraged Mr. Nishantha Ranatunga imposed a life ban on the reporter right then and there, preventing him from attending any more SLC press conferences, thus ending the proceedings for the day. At the end of the day, the Spirit of Cricket was upheld, and all was well, said a beaming BCCI official on his way out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don't Read This

Things are strange. In an uneventful, monotonous yet mysterious way. I already see that this is going to be one of those unintelligible gibberish type of a rant to you dear reader, but oh well. Let this be one of those rare posts which I might as well have written on a notepad and clicked delete, yet I'm gonna hit the 'publish' button. If it's really unbearable, I suggest you do something else worth your while.

Alright. I'm back at work after nine days of summer vacation where I did nothing much except eat and sleep, movies in between. It wasn't that bad to be back at work this morning, which surprises myself more than anyone else I guess. Why, I don't know. I'm kind of unhappy, albeit slightly, about something I can't really figure out what. I usually have this attitude - maybe a developed one but still - that I don't much worry about things that are out of my control. And I always try to see the cup half full. Thus, I could truly say that I was happy with my life, what I have, and things seemed perfect. Until recently.

I never thought letting your thoughts out is this difficult. But right now, I'm struggling to put a few sentences together, and I'm not able to even rant properly. Neglecting this blog of late must not have helped - looking at the recent posts I see they are really far and apart. More than half the month is gone and this is the first post. Only 6 for July, 4 for June and May each. Not good, but what can you do once you lose the drive to write. But I digress. The point being, there's something that's bothering me and I can't say what it is, and most certainly I have trouble putting it to words. The only thing I can say is I don't like it. Sometimes, not knowing what your problem is worse than knowing you have a big ass problem in which case you can do something about it.

Does anyone know if there's a "How To Find Your Problems for Dummies"?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Linkin' Post

My life is heading towards ultra boredom. So much so that - I never thought there may come a day I'd say this - I'm dreading the coming 10 or so days of summer holidays. Having 10 days at your disposal, with nothing in particular to do, in scorching heat no less, isn't really my idea of a vacation. Strolling on the ruins of a great empire, or the 'water streets' of Venice, like this time around last year, is. Damn I should have planned something a little earlier. I could climb Mt. Fuji, but I did it once already, and not really feeling like it this time. It would account for a few breathtaking photos of course, but still. Or else there's always the option of randomly picking a train, preferably a long distance one, and go wherever it takes me. There is also the thing that a lot of weird, funny or potentially life threatening things happening whenever I'm on or nearby a train, so at least I'll have something to blog about afterwards. We'll see.

On other things, after months of procrastination finally I started my own Project 365. What held me back the most is, as good as my life may be here in Japan, daily photo opportunities aren't that good - at least not when your camera is an SLR. You see, usually my weekdays comprise of going to work at 9 in the morning, and leave it 6pm-ish. I'm SO not a morning persona to wander around with a camera in hand at 7 in the morning, and after a hard (let's say so for the sake of my happiness) day's work, you don't want to go out again just to take one photo. It is not practical to bring the damn camera to work so all I'll be left to shoot will be inside my apartment which is like 10 x 10 feet. OK not that small, but you get what I mean. However, finally, I drew inspiration from our good old Darwin, though she's not as much old, and made up my mind to do it challenging myself to come up with something interesting each day. Not gonna be easy, but let's see. Here are the first week's stuff, take a peek guys. And girls.

And then, on the same historical day, I got the bicycle I ordered online, delivered to me. It is, however, is a historical day not because I started my Project 365, nor is it because I got the bike. It is because our good ol' chap Murali took a wicket with the last ball he ever bowled in Test cricket, but I added to the speciality of the day with my project. And my bike. Don't you think so? But I digress. The thing is, this time I'm determined to not let any poor Jap steal my bike, like the last time. I shall take extra care with it, which merely mean check upon it once a month as opposed to two, which was the fatal error I made last time. The bike is quite good, sexy even, though it is not the same sexiness you'd associate with a particularly hot chick. I digress again. As I was saying, the bike is excellent but for the seat. Why someone designed a seat such as that is something that beats me. After 10 minutes of cycling my ass started to hurt so much I briefly contemplated letting someone steal it this time around as well. It is such a pain in the ass, the seat is. And I mean it literally.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Farewell, legend, you will be missed...

Some of my very first memories of cricket, which did not involve backyard games played with the kids, are of Murali. However, those are not the games he played for the national team. I was greatly lucky to have gotten the opportunity to study at St. Anthony's College, Kandy, which to date is one of the most memorable places in my life. And I was equally lucky, nay, honored that I was there at a time when a great cricketer of all times was in the making. Yes I was only 9 or 10 at the time, and knew only very little about cricket, but Murali was my hero - he was just about every Antonian's hero back then.

In early 90s school cricket was immensely popular the length and breadth of Sri Lanka. Perhaps because there wasn't much TV coverage of international matches, perhaps because rugby was still to be a major sport in Sri Lanka or merely because people had more time in their hands. Either way, school cricketers were very popular not just among school boys but within the general public as well. The likes of Murali, Kalpage, Marvan and Vaasy were well known even when they were playing for their schools. And Murali, perhaps, was the biggest star of them all - everybody knew he was something special - and he brought many a victory to our college which we could boast about so proudly back then. Heck we still do it, but it really is something to be proud of, isn't it? I remember back then, being the cricket enthusiast he was, our principal father would let the students out of the classes at 12 on Fridays if there was a match. And we stayed to watch till the end of the day's play, and even come back to watch on Saturdays - that was a time when tuition was only for the inept. The point is, as little kids we grew up watching Murali play for our college, and he was our hero, our Murali, long before he was everyone's "our Murali". Wonderful times, those were.

Many a year later he is now at the end of a long and illustrious career in every sense. The man has carried Sri Lanka team almost singlehandedly through two decades, and arguably the man who's responsible the most for making us a force to be reckoned with in international cricket. Yes there were others, but where would Sri Lanka be if it wasn't for Murali? No other player in the history of cricket has had an impact on his team as huge as Murali had on Sri Lanka. Here is a champion if there ever was one. However, wonderful as it may seem his career is, no other cricketer in the history of the game has had to go through so much shit as he did. Never has a sportsman been harassed as much as Murali has been, in the history of any sport, but he managed to smile through it all and emerge the winner at the end of the day. And when you see where he stands today, victorious, I can't help but admire the courage the man has. I don't even go into the whole ridiculous mess of chucking - time and again he has been cleared by the ICC, and he is not a thrower, and there the matter rests. If anyone can't accept it, too bad but it's their problem. Murali will always be remembered as one of the true legends of the game.

Murali isn't just about cricket either - he is much more than that. In a country which was torn apart by a long and depressing ethnic conflict, here is a minority Tamil who was loved alike by everyone. Honestly, I am yet to meet a Sri Lankan who didn't like the fellow. When he was winning us matches, it wasn't just the Tamils who cheered. When he was called for throwing, it was the whole nation that sided with him, not just Tamils. In short, he is a man who united a whole nation just by his presence. Nobody ever really thought of him in terms of race, he was, and is, everyone's hero. He truly is a man apart.

Today he is sending down those mesmerising deliveries for one last time. Today he is trying to win us a match for one last time. While batsmen the world over must surely be thinking that this is a cause for celebration, for us who loved the man so much it is hard to believe that we won't see those big off breaks anymore. Those eyes, as big as fists, who could have not loved those? And his childlike enthusiasm and the truly Sri Lankan smile, not to mention the awesomely wild batting. I am almost certain that his wild slogs brought joy to people as much as any good batsman did with his perfect stroke making. However, as much as I am sad that the legend is leaving, it is also the right time I think, for every good thing must come to an end. You should always go on your own terms with your head held high, and he decided to do so. For that I salute the man. We will never see another Murali again, and rightly so. There was, is and will be one and only one Murali.

He will be missed though his legacy will live forever. Thank you Murali for all the memories!

Friday, July 16, 2010

My World

So I hurriedly accepted the open tag from the Drummer who was inspired by LadyD. Yes I'm jobless like that.

Things That Make Me Happy

Friends
Hanging out with them doing nothing
Or doing the things we love to do the most
Friday evenings
Waking up early in Saturday mornings to realize that it's the weekend
Wit
Watching All Blacks play rugby
Playing touch rugby
Playing cricket
Watching cricket
A hot water bath after getting really tired
Coffee
Eating what I cooked
When a program I wrote works like a charm the first time
A good laugh
Beaches
Long evening walks on them
When a photograph turns out better than I expected it to be
Cats
A good book
Opening the inbox to find an email from an old friend
Or from a very dear one
The thought that I am so lucky
Just About Anything...

Have a nice weekend all!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why?

  • Why is it that in Hollywood flicks the mob boss always fancy cooking? Picture a scene; a helpless dude who knowingly or unknowingly did some wrong to the mob boss is brought to meet the boss by some mean looking goons. The dude is shaking like a fish out of the water, and he will always be taken to the kitchen to meet the boss. Now this kitchen is usually very big, like one in a five star hotel, and for some reason everything in there is made of steel. The boss is in there alone, wearing an apron and all that (but rarely a cooking hat, perhaps because it takes away the mean-look of the boss a bit) cutting some vegetables, stirring a pot or making a pudding. The gist is, he's always cooking something. Now when the poor dude is brought to meet him, he'll usually take some time doing what he does, taste what he was making, and probably will offer some to the poor sod who's about to die. Only after all that fuss will he get into the real business. Why?
  • Why do people put a status message in Facebook and then click "Like" as well?
  • Why do graduates like to take photos in front of shelves with huge books that look like copies of Bible?
  • Why is it that in Hollywood movies people always fall safely? I bet you've seen more than once how they fall unconsciously, like trees, but never ever hurt their heads. Imagine it in real life though; if you fall on a hard floor all of a sudden you are almost always sure to bang your head very hard.
  • Why is it that the comment section of any article regarding a cricket match that involves either India or Pakistan turn into an India - Pakistan war?
  • Why is it that people consider it very important to watch the latest movie before anyone else does?
  • Why couldn't they phrase the saying You can't have your cake and eat it too a little better? It sounds more like saying You can have your cake but you can't eat it.
  • Why do footballers trip over blades of grass and claim to have the leg broken if the opposition is in possession of the ball at the time, but miraculously get up and run if their own team has the possession?
  • Why am I writing this knowing I will never get any good answers?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Retards' English

This new generation's supposedly cool and fashionable English is the most retarded thing since George Bush. The guy with a 'W' in the middle that is. Without further ado, let me jump in straight.
1. Itzzz
Wonder what that is? Well, that is the kool (or even kewl) way of writing it's. The number of Zs may wary depending on the emphasis you want to put in as well as the general level of stupidity of the person writing. Don't ask me where the apostrophe is.

2. Rockzzzzzz
Same as above. Argentina doesn't rock, but rockzzzzzzz according to these people. Them getting ridiculously thrashed by the Nazi boys is a different matter altogether.

3. Nic
When somebody said nic pic on a Facebook comment, I wondered why would someone say 'National Identity Card Picture' on a rather cute picture of a stray dog. Only later I realized it meant nice picture. Will it kill to type the last 'e' and save us the trouble?

4. Niccccccccccccc
This is also a way of writing 'nice'. In other words, retards gone a whole new level further. You can't type just one 'e' but can instead type a whole bunch of Cs. How do you pronounce that even? Oh well.

5. Fineeeeeeeeeee
The retards' way of saying fine. Wonder if the number of Es indicate the level of fineness or the level of retardedness.

6. Brothazzz
Apparently this mean brothers. However I think it suits better for a big fat ugly alien. Or a mountain troll would also fancy that name.

7. Kewl
It ran shivers through my spine the first time I realized that this in fact is a way of saying cool. Enough said.

8. Elaaazzz
This isn't English. It's the retarded way of saying 'ela' which is a Sinhala slang similar in meaning to something like great, brilliant or wonderful. But you feel my pain right?

9. Gr8
Hip way of saying great. So then can I write height as h8?
And finally,
10. Wazzup dawg?
This is more about spoken English. When niggers do the nigger talk it fits. But when a bunch of brown ass wannabes do it with an Asian accent, it's hardly bearable.

Happy Monday all!

Friday, July 2, 2010

How God Messed Things Up

You see, I love chocolate and I love coffee. My love for chocolate is a very old one, so much so that if this my-love-for-chocolate was a person he would have been only two or three years younger than me. Ever since I knew food, I knew chocolate and then I also loved them. But my love for coffee is a recently developed one. Since I came to Japan a little over two years ago to be precise. Many things in that Paradise Island are absolutely brilliant, but coffee is just isn't one of them. Coffee there is just, let's say, average. However, coffee you find in Japan, now that's a different story. It really has the aroma, the taste of real coffee, and for two years it was part of my breakfast.

But I had to give them up recently. Fuck.

I've been suffering from migraine for some time, but I never really did anything about it. However, if you are one of the unlucky fellows out there you'd know how much pain it is when the bastard decides it is time to show up. Recently I found out that both chocolate and coffee are strong triggers of migraine attacks. So very, and I mean VERY reluctantly I gave them both up. Why oh why, dear God? Why did it have to be chocolate and coffee? Why couldn't it be something like broccoli or pumpkin or something else like that? I would have happily given it up then. Well technically you can't really give up something you don't eat already, but then again that's the whole point. Why is it that always the good stuff come with bad side effects and healthy food taste like old boots? Why couldn't broccoli contain all the cholesterol in the world and why couldn't pork have been the healthiest food out there? I have a feeling that pigs might not find this thought entertaining, but you can't satisfy everyone can you? Imagine a wold where chocolate and ice cream is good for your teeth. Now that's a world where I'd die to live in.

Seriously, God, you suck.


P.S.
I've never eaten old boots.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The One Who Beats Shakira

Often I've said that I don't like to keep drafts. However there has been one lurking in my, err... drafts section for quite a some time now. Note 'has been'. Yes dear reader, I killed the bugger, which was named Things Never Turn Out The Way You Think They Will and so you will never get to see what was it about! Muhahahahahahaaa! Now I feel so relieved (NOT what you think though) that it's gone. I always like to type out what's in my mind and hit the publish button, but all this time that post has been troubling me. Like a little pebble inside your shoe. Whatever you do it keeps coming back to me, continuously nagging me; "Hey dude, did you forget? But I'm here, see, in your drafts! What're you gonna do? Are you not gonna publish me? Pleeease Sach, don't ignore me! PUBLISH ME!" Drafts are such drama queens.

Speaking of drama queens, my dear old friend Milla is a very good one. She's been, since forever, asking me for a post by all the dramatic ways possible but I still didn't do it for her. But then few days ago she did the sweetest thing and put up a post about me in her blog. I was expecting it to be dissing me all throughout, which is what she usually does, but it wasn't so. A very nice post and I would link to it even but for the fact that it has a picture of me. I don't really entertain the thought that every Tom, Dick and Harry out there finding out what I look like. I'm ugly you know. Anyway, Milla, this is for you! Oh and as I always say, Shakira doesn't stand a chance if she is to compete with you. With that body part I mean.

Finally, I'm bored to death these days, because having no TV series to watch kinda sucks. Why did they have to end House, Lost, Flash Forward, 24 and Survivor all withing friggin' two weeks? Why can't they plan them so that they air at least a couple of good series all throughout the year? Oh well, these Americans. So finally I decided on Fringe, which up to now I avoided watching because it, for me, isn't that interesting. It's like they tried so hard to beat The X-Files but still miles behind. Honestly, it's like the poor man's X-Files. And the cast sucks big time. But when you have nothing better, even that looks OKish.

Later

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Football and Jap Chicks

The other day, Japan played their first world cup game. Not only they played, they scored a goal and won the game as well. Of course you need to score at least one goal to win, but sometimes stating the obvious helps you increase the number of words in a blog post. But I digress, the point is it saddened me immensely. Not that I hate Japs or anything, but if you live in Japan, and if you're a sports fan but not a fan of the Japanese team, then the norm is to wish them fail. If not anything else purely for the peace of your mind. Let me explain; in the last Olympics held in China, the relay team of Japan won a short distance race. Though I said they won, it was only the second or third place, which I don't remember exactly. Apparently it was their first ever track event medal in Olympics and this is what followed; immediately after the race they showed a replay but the camera focused on the Japan team. Then another replay from another angle, still only the Japan team. Then the baton exchanges, again, only the Japan team. Then their finish. Again footage of their runners. Meantime, the team started a victory lap and the camera guy followed them all around the ground for another five minutes. Then personal interviews of each of them. Then they showed another couple of replays of their team for good measure before finally showing just one replay of the race with all the teams in it and only then I could find out who won - a good 30 or 40 minutes after the race. All this while other races were going on and we didn't get to watch any of them. And now the same fears have returned to haunt me; what if they win another game? Will they show that game every time there's another match being played? Will they somehow make it so that footage of the goal they score will appear on every web site you go to? Will they make it compulsory for everyone to have a CD of the game, bought for 10,000 Yen, at all times? These are fair thoughts you know.

Moving on, I was on a train station yesterday evening, as is the case with every day that I go to work. So then all of a sudden this Jap chick appeared in front of me, and no she didn't just appear there like Harry Potter, just that she came into my field of vision. Now there's nothing unusual about a Jap chick in a train station in Japan, you might say. Of course there isn't except for the fact that she had a perfect arse, one that any straight guy or a gay chick wouldn't mind sparing a second look. This in itself is a rarity, a Jap chick with a perfect arse that is, but that's not exactly what caught my attention. On the back pockets of her pants which were pure white, in big red block letters were the words;
FEEL ME
It takes a guy a lot of courage, determination and will power not to oblige, but yours truly has them all. Unfortunately.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cooking 101

For the first 27 years of my existence I knew only three things to cook. Or rather three ways of cooking one thing; boiled eggs, omelets and bull's eye. Then I came to Japan and survived on Jap food for a week. But any food prepared without using a few spoon fulls of rocket fuel isn't really food. Thus I set my hands upon the fine art of cooking Sri Lankan dishes.

Now my mom being the wise woman she is (despite being scary at times - especially when it comes to marriage related stuff), not only did she think it was good to send a bucket load of spices and all the other cooking ingredients with me, she also saw it necessary to write me a little 'how to' booklet of cooking and put it in my bag. So then I was fully armed with everything I needed I set to work. Now, my mom was all wise and good, but she forgot that she's a woman and I'm not. So, the whole booklet was full of phrases like "add a little salt", "heat the pan a bit" or "boil appropriately" or similar instructions. Now I don't know what these mean to women but I sure as hell know that they sound to men as comprehensive as calculus is for baboons. We know what it means when you say "add one tea spoon of salt". It's clear isn't it; you get a tea spoon, you pour salt powder into it once and add the thing into whatever it is being cooked. Or if you say boil for four minutes, then that makes sense. But what is "little" or "a bit"? Those words should be banned in cooking instructions and should be subjected to severe penalties.

Anyway, five minutes into my cooking adventures I was baffled as I could get, and I was sure nearby restaurant was going to get another order. But, yours truly isn't a man who gives up so easily. I did the only sensible thing I could; picked up the phone and rang mom. We went through the whole cook book, this time me noting down amounts and times exactly though it took more than a good few minutes for the process to complete. Simply because my mom continually failed to understand why I fail to understand what a "little bit of salt" means. Women, I tell you.

As you may have already guessed, albeit my determination the first meal was far from being edible so had to throw it away with much sadness and an empty stomach. But I took the advice of Thomas Edison, who was unsuccessful for about thousand times before finally coming up the perfect way to make a light bulb, that he did not fail thousand times but discovered thousand ways not to make a light bulb. It paid off, because soon I was OK and later quite good at making my rice and curry. However I'm glad that I did not have to wait thousand times like the poor dude or I would have starved to death or killed myself. Such is the fine art of cooking.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Growing up, Men and Women

Finally, I get around to blogging again albeit having nothing in particular to write about. You see, due to a combination of having to actually work at work, being lazy to blog in my spare time and having no interesting things happening around here of late. It's strange though - when you go a few days without writing something it keeps coming back to you. Like a particularly nagging girlfriend. From time to time you get the feeling "I must write", but in no time my laziness takes over and the result is only four blog posts in a month. But it's better not to write at all rather than writing something utterly crap, so I didn't bother. But today, after a hearty lunch I'm dozing off here when in fact I should pretend to be working. That's when a blog can come to your rescue. Writing it is then. Bear the random nonsense and read on, dear reader.

Firstly, it was sad that LOST ended. For so many years I was a huge fan and didn't miss a single episode. Every Wednesday was a cause for a mini celebration because it was the day you get LOST. No pun intended. But the way it ended was so disappointing - for a drama of such epic scale it was such an anticlimax. My good friend, D (who by the way is going to be a commercial pilot and make skies unsafe for us) put a status message saying D watched LOST and is LOST. Exactly. I mean, it's like even they, whoever this they might be, didn't know what to do with the story or how to end it. In a nutshell, they unplugged some kind of stone, killed the bad guy and plugged it back. Then everybody died or nobody died. I don't really know - I'm lost too. However, there's light in the distance, as our good old LadyD said that it has a deep meaning and kind of hard to explain. LD, I'm not mocking you, please do explain. I really want to know. And then, apparently, 24 ended too. Thank god! That guy never seemed to die and did not die even at the end of the last series. But at least it looks like it's finally over. Phew.

One of my very good old friends' father passed away this weekend. We haven't been in much contact of late, but the news kind of shook me so I called the next day despite having nothing to say. I mean, really, what is there that you can say to someone who lost their close ones feel better? So I dialed and told her that I don't really know what to say but just that I wished I could be there with her right now. I really do feel that way. It was really heartbreaking to listen to her - I can't even imagine the pain she must be going through. Hope she'll get through it, and may you rest in peace, uncle D.

Oh and on a lighter note, though getting old is not a thing to be taken lightly, yours truly turned 29 a little over a week ago. See, I was thinking of posting something about it but was so lazy I totally ignored it. Anyway, the 30s are getting closer and it is time to, err... adjust your thinking. From now on anyone who's younger than 40 will be considered a youngster so that I can relax thinking there are ten more years to go before I'm officially being declared 'uncle'. However, couple of days after my birthday I had a kind of a funny conversation with my cousin sister, P, who's my favorite one too. Funny because I'm 29, she's 18, we were talking about marriage, having kids and stuff, and she was being serious while I was not. This is how, as I can remember, the conversation went.

P is my sis and S is me.
P : Hey... so when are you going to have kids?

S : WTF! I'm not even married.

P : So get married and have kids soon. I want to see your kids.

S : Why the hell should I get married so soon?

P : It's not 'soon' anymore you know. You lived almost in stone age.

S : Shut up. I have time.

P : Oh come on don't be selfish.

S : What do you mean selfish?

P : When are you going to have kids? Do it quickly or when your kids are at my age you'll be 60 and retired and you'll have no means to support your kids education and stuff. How are you going to send them to good universities and get them married and stuff?

S : WOW! Hold on you young lady! Are you mad? I haven't even thought of getting married and your planning about MY kids' education and their marriage? You surely are crazy!

P : But it's true!

S : So you admit you're crazy?

P : NOO! You should think about getting married and those stuff. You should be responsible.

S : No way. Not now at least. You know, I have thing that I want to do. I want to travel the world, see the world. Enjoy life. How am I gonna do all that with a noisy kid by my side? LOL. No way lady, I'll have kids when I do at least a little bit of those things I wanna do.
It's so true isn't it, when they say that girls stop being girls and grow up when they become adults while men... well they never grow up.

Have a nice week all!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Unbiased? Who?

If you hear something you like to hear it's unbiased. If not, biased. And that's all there is to it, folks.

Later

Monday, May 17, 2010

England Wins, But So Do We!

1979, 1987, 1992 and 2004. The four previous times the English team made it into the final of a global cricket tournament and got hammered. So if you had your doubts this time, you should be excused. The chances were they would fuck it up and hand the Aussies another trophy to add to their trophy cabinet which already is brimming with a gazillion trophies. But it wasn't to be - England played brilliant cricket and totally outplayed the Aussies and were the worthy winners. I bet our own lovely Kalu Suddha, Pseudo Random is partying all over the place probably wearing an England jersey and a Sri Lankan hat. Spare a thought for the Aussies too. They played brilliant cricket and just strolled their way into the final with ease only to repeat the last year's T20 WC finalists' fate; Sri Lanka won all the matches up to the final and lost the one that mattered the most. Maybe losing a couple of games on the way isn't bad after all.

However, I'm not a big T20 fan. For me the best analogy to describe T20 is porn. You don't need to be an actor of the quality of Tom Hanks or Denzel Washington to act in porn and similarly you don't need the skill and genius of Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulkar to play T20. You don't really need a plot for a porn movie - it's just wham bam and so is T20. Porn is for only one thing and by next day you've already forgotten what you've watch last night. So is T20 cricket - while you will talk about Lara's legendary match winnings innings against Aussies even hundred years later you've already forgotten who won the last year's T20 WC. Finally, you don't criticize porn, and so you shouldn't T20. It just is, but that's it. It doesn't have the grace of Test cricket.

So, while this unimportant T20 match was being played in West Indies, there was another very important match - two actually - was going on in Japan this weekend. Yes, you guessed it correct, those were the two games which yours truly played in. If you remember we had a fine start to the tournament last week, and it continued to be so when we thrashed a hapless Indian team on Saturday. Too bad I couldn't make much of a contribution with the bat this time but we put on a formidable 204 in 40 overs before routing the Indians for a paltry 87. It was good, but the evening party was better. We headed to one of the team members' apartment that night, cooked some Sri Lankan food and the night was fun. However, next day, it was our turn to get routed by a Pakistani team for 119 runs. They won in the end but we gave a good fight and took 6 wicket. To be honest after being all out for 119 we were always going to lose it but losing like we did was, in my book, alright. Going down without a fight is what I can't take. It's not just about cricket though; being out there doing something you really like, hanging out with a bunch of really awesome guys, having fun being in the middle of Sri Lankans after a stressful week at work with the Japs, that's what's it is all about. It's good workout for you body, but it's even better for you mind.

In a nutshell, cricket is my punching bag.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

woes of an iPod owner

i have an iPod. and i meant iPod, not iPhone or iPad, but what's the difference really? iPhone is an iPod that can make calls while an iPad is an iPod magnified ten times so the oldies and people with chubby fingers can use it easily. but i digress. what i was saying was, i have an iPod which is somewhat old - like close to 18 months or so, and it had an earlier, not so fancy operating system running on it. still i liked it - the touch system is, well, sexy and the sound quality is really good. plus you can play shitload of games on it and read a lot of books. so, to and from work yours truly can usually be seen listening to something while reading a book on it. but for all its coolness, sometimes iPod sucks. i mean it's so sophisticated but you can't do multitasking on it. if you were reading a book and you want to change the song you are listening to you have to exit the book and go to music. or else, if the iPod screen is off, to change the song you have to slide unlock it and change the song. time and again i wished they had simple next/previous buttons, but seems it's not an option in a touch screen device. or they seem to think that way.

then, in the later operating systems they have this cool 'shake' feature. if you need to change the song you just give it a gentle shake and it goes to the next item in the play list. wow, i thought. there ends all my problems and the iPod achieves perfection. now all i have to do is buy the newest os and shake shake and shake. read and shake. shake is all i have to do. the iPod i mean. so i spent the few bucks they wanted me to and got the new os.

the next day i was on the train listening to something while reading a book. then after a while britney started singing so i gave it a shake. the iPod i mean. nothing. i gave it another shake, a bit harder this time. still nothing. wtf! third one was a pretty violent shake and still it is bluntly refusing to shuffle. this was a couple of months back, during the winter where you wear winter jackets and your hands are in your pockets at all times. so i guess shaking your hands inside your pockets must not have looked... right. couple of japs near me moving away suggested this so i took the fella out (i mean the iPod) and unlocked it by sliding. and gave it a gentle shake again and voila, it shuffles! i wasn't sure whether i should cry or laugh. if you add a shaking feature so that we don't have to use the screen, but in order for it to work we have to use the screen to unlock the device, it kind of defeats the purpose i guess.

good job steve jobs. maybe you should change your name to steve job.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm back, and so is Cricket!

Hello people!

How have you guys (and girls) been? Doing good I suppose. Damn I have been neglecting this blog of late a lot, for which I feel SO guilty. I mean, hell, this was - and is - an important part of my life and I shouldn't be so lazy to chuck in a post or two every week. But then again, you see, in my defense it was spring holidays and we all know that Blogging is to be done on working days. So you could say that I was just abiding the rules.

Anyway, the spring break which is called the 'Golden Week' here in Japan was a welcome break. I have no idea why it is called such but have a sneaky suspicion that Google might know. Wise fella, he is. Wonder if the feminists out there would threaten me with a lawsuit if I didn't correct myself and call Google a she. Beats me why people want think of all the majestic inanimate things as female; be it a country, ship or a even a car. Oh well.

Getting back on topic. The Golden Week was fun and relaxing. First I had some good long hours of sleep which is a must I'm sure you all will agree. We also had a barbecue and ate so much dead animals that I didn't touch anymore for almost a week. It wasn't just the barbecue; we also played some softball cricket which I regretted the next day so much. After so many months of winter which means doing nothing, it was the first day we really went out and played any sport so the whole body was aching the next day. Oh and the Poker that night too was fun. Wonder how long will it take for me to win my first WSOP bracelet.

And then, yesterday, it was time for some real hard ball cricket. The cricket season here in Japan got underway which was something I was so looking forward to. We traveled to Shizuoka some 200km or so away, and I managed to take a cool shot of Mt. Fuji from the car. She (ahem!) was looking majestic as ever, and see the picture if you're not sure. Anyway, we got there in time - to the ground that is, not to Mt. Fuji - and got to bat first. I was to bat at 3, and was in the middle in the second over. Perhaps we were a bit rusty, lack of match practice or whatever it is but we were soon 40 something for 4 and 76/6 a while later. I managed to hang in and score a satisfactory 91 while we manged to put up a challenging 195 in 40 overs. It was in fact a real good score considering our very good bowling attack and we ended up winning comfortably by sixty odd runs. It is always great to start the season with a win and we have two more games next weekend. However, I need to work on my fitness. After like 75 or 80 runs I could hardly stand, let alone bat. Now I know why Arjuna 'walked' half his runs and why somebody else ran for him half the innings he batted. Wise fella he was.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Let's be a little considerate people!

I was going to write just another one of those useless random posts today because, if not for any other reason, I haven't written anything for some time now. But at the last moment I thought I'd actually write something useful instead of showering you with my posts with such dry humor. This is not exactly something I wrote either; rather it is a very appropriate and timely article written by one of our fellow Sinhala bloggers who calls himself 'Pitastharaya-2'.

This is the link to the original article, and I urge all of you guys and girls to head over there and take a couple of minutes to read it. And spread the word as much as possible - put it as a FB status, Tweet it or even do the same I'm doing here. I'm sure you'll agree it's a worthy cause.

For you people out there who doesn't read Sinhala, I'll try to loosely translate it, just the gist of it. And I'll try to keep it as short as possible so as to not destroy it's meaning and show my ineptness at translating.
Behavior of many thousands of visitors from South to the North of late, particularly to Jaffna, has been very concerning and painful to the Tamils who are living there. For example the wells in Kovil areas are considered to be sacred by the Tamils, hence they do not use them for acts such as washing or bathing. However, most of the Sinhalese are not aware of this, hence they've been doing these thing of late. Also, if you walk in front of a Kovil you are expected to walk in such a way so that your right hand side will always be facing the Kovil. This too is something most of the Sinhalese are not aware of - despite it being a custom in Buddhist Temples - this and have been violating. Also, some of the military officials in those areas have been asking favors from the Tamil residents of these areas whether they could provide accommodation for few days for the said officials' relatives / friends who will visit North.
Personally I didn't know many of these things either, and I do believe that if those people who travel there were aware, they would have been more considerate of the feelings of the Tamils too. So, the best we can do is to spread awareness and cause less heartache to those people as well as do something really meaningful to the unity between the two races. These might seem insignificant, but in truth these small things are what lead to bigger conflicts. If we could get so outraged because some random artist had a Buddha statue in one of his music videos, Tamils over there certainly have a right to get outraged too. It's only lucky they haven't - at least not yet. So let's be a little considerate people.

Please spread the word!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What I Miss the Most

Friends. The few wonderful friends I left behind. Just hanging around talking nonsense was... fun.

Kandy. Hanging around there with the above said friends, practically doing nothing was like spiritual healing or something.

SL rugby season. Was a huge fan and watch every single club season starting from 1990 to 2007. From the days when KandySC was like the Bangladesh of Test cricket to today where they are the mighty Aussies. Then I missed everything since.

Playing rugby. Touch rugby though. At Pera, used to play at least one day a week - usually more - for about four hours. Those were the days.

Beaches. The awesomeness.

Campus life. A usual day would be like getting up at 7 or 8, be there at the campus around 10 for breakfast. Play one or many of the card games like Poker, 304, Spades, Hearts, Bridge or even 'Booru' when things came to that. Or head to Gym, play some Badminton, Carom or whatever else. Back to canteen, more card games. Or head to hostel rooms and play video games, watch Anarkalli's back in Sinhala Karaoke songs or just talk about the hot chicks in new batches while having a cig or two. Then kottu from nearby Night Kadey and head home. Ah... that was life.

Getting piss drunk for no reason. Specially in hostel rooms so that you don't have to worry about getting home presentably.

Food. Sri Lankan food that is.

'Book shopping'. Loved going to bookstores and browsing through the many a thousand books pretending to wanting to buy them. Because I hardly had enough money to actually buy what I wanted, which usually meant the whole book store.


Oh well, I could just have said I miss the paradise, couldn't I? I tell you people, the ones who are still in paradise, don't take for granted the things you have. You never know what you had until you miss them.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To be or not to be?

Anonymous that is.

I'm half anonymous when it comes to blogging. People who follow my blog but do not know me in real life know certain amount of things about me including my first name. They probably know where I'm from, where I am now and what I do, where I studied and some more. But they don't know my other name and many other information, not to mention how I look like, so unless someone does an NB guess it'll stay the same. Then there are another few wonderful people whom I got to know through blogging who now are in my FB, Twitter, Picasa, Flickr and other such networks. They of course have seen me, know more than those others do but that's OK because I added them on those networks because I do trust them in the first place. However I still haven't had the pleasure of meeting any bloggers, thus I think I still have got some level of anonymity among all bloggers.

Then, on the other side of the coin are the people I actually know in person. Friends, family, colleagues and even perhaps enemies though I'd like to think I don't have any. Those are the people I encounter day to day and to them I'm totally a known entity (obviously) though my blog wasn't at first. My blog was anonymous to them. Then, one by one they got to know that I have a blog mainly through FB and to a lesser extent by other ways. Most of them don't follow my blog, some read it from time to time and it's nice to know that a few of them actually read every one of my posts.

However, this in itself has presented me with a problem. A problem in the sense, the fact that those people who know me reading what I write has affected my writing. To be precise, it has affected what I write. When I started blogging I had no idea whatsoever I'd continue for this long or what I'll write about. I just wrote and some of you wonderful people on Kottu read and encouraged me. Nobody really knew me, so I just kept on writing whatever I wanted, about anyone I preferred. Concealing their identity of course. But now, since most of my real life friends know I blog, I simply can't write just about anything. Even if I tried to conceal the identity of someone, it's only a matter of time before someone put the things together. And not just about others, this has prevented me from writing what I want to write about myself as well. If you are one of the few who kept reading me from the beginning you'd know what I mean. I've been blogging less and less about me and the others around me while random posts have increased. I don't know if it's a good thing or not, but it certainly has restricted me.

Why did I let them know, you might ask. Good point, and to be brutally honest guess I loved the attention. It's fair too, I guess. There's no point in writing if you don't want anybody to read - you might as well write it on a piece of paper and burn it. Anyway, the thing is, on one hand there is the Lankanosphere to whom I can write just about anything. On the other hand there is the nice bunch of people I know, to whom I can not divulge everything about me. Funny isn't it? You are at ease saying anything you want to a bunch of strangers (in a way, at least) while you're not so comfortable about it when it comes to friends and family - the very people you love and care about the most. But I digress. As I was saying, now this has become a dilemma. By no way I mean that I don't want my friends to read what I write - as much as I did back then I still want them to read me, I know it's true deep down inside. Yet there is the problem that those very people prevent me from writing freely.

What should I do? Should I quit blogging? Or should I close down this blog and start one which is truly anonymous? Or should I admit that this is part and parcel of the whole thing, and continue blogging restraining myself? Or should I throw all caution to the wind and write whatever I want?

I just don't know.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy New Year Peeps!

So I haven't posted anything for a week. It's not because I'm having 'Avurudu Vacation' though - I'm not such a lucky soul and will be at work tomorrow. It's rather due to a combination of boredom, having better things to do and not having anything to blog about. Plus I have blogger's block which merely means I just can't get myself for writing something but putting it this way makes it sound cooler. No?

Anyway, happy holidays for you luckier fellows and wish all you people a very happy and prosperous new year!

ඔබ සැමට සුබ නව වසරක් වේවා!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let's Tease Your Brain

While I was browsing the Internet randomly last night I came upon this logic and math puzzle site. Here are a few relatively easy but fun puzzles to solve. Here are a couple of them, localized to fit us paradise islanders. See if you guys can solve them in quick time and let me know the answers. I'll publish all the comments after a couple of days.

(1)
The newly made crown of the King Rajapakse was stolen even before he got to set his hands on it and was furious beyond imagination. His royal police set to work immediately and apprehended five suspects in no time and were questioned. Each of them gave two statements, and a heavenly voice told the chief investigator that exactly one statement by each one of them was false, while the other was true. Following are the statements given by each of the suspects.
Ranil:
It wasn't Somawansha
It was Mangala

Mangala:
It wasn't Wimal
It wasn't Somawansha

Wimal:
It was Somawansha
It wasn't Ranil

Rathnasiri:
It was Wimal
It was Mangala

Somawansha:
It was Rathnasiri
It wasn't Ranil
Who stole the crown?


(2)
The next time, throne of the King was stolen. Usual procedure followed, and this time six suspects were apprehended. This time only four people dared to lie, and each of the four people who lied told only one false statement each. All the other statements were true. Following are the statements.
Mervin said:
It wasn't Ranil
It wasn't Wimal
It wasn't Rathnasiri

Ranil said:
It wasn't Mervin
It wasn't Mangala
It wasn't Rathnasiri

Mangala said:
It wasn't Ranil
It wasn't Somawansha
It wasn't Rathnasiri

Wimal said:
It wasn't Mervin
It wasn't Somawansha
It wasn't Mangala

Rathnasiri said:
It wasn't Mangala
It wasn't Wimal
It wasn't Somawansha

Somawansha said:
It wasn't Mangala
It wasn't Wimal
It wasn't Mervin
Who stole the throne? To give you a little clue, though this may seem difficult than the previous one, it is not. It might even take less time than the previous one.


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Monday, April 5, 2010

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence?

I have a problem with this Centre for Monitoring Election Violence. More precisely, with the name they've chosen to adopt. Read it a second time: Centre for Monitoring Election Violence. It suggests that election violence does happen and they attempt to 'monitor' it. Now I'm not being naive (read foolish also) to suggest that there is no election violence, but when supposedly a neutral organization such as this has a name of this sort, it is questionable. At least for me. Because it is accepted in science that when an experiment is conducted it is necessary for the experimenter to not expect a certain result. It is commonly agreed upon that if the researcher expects a certain result then the actual results tend to go that way - such is the human nature. That is why that when it comes to large scale important researches often the designer of the experiment differs from the one that carries it out and then a third party observes the results and make conclusions - to stop the research being biased towards a certain result.

Some time back, in Britain if I'm not mistaken, when black people were still considered to be 'uncivilized', there was the question of whether the white people are really smarter than the blacks. Sorry guys I've forgotten most of the details such as when and where it was or who did the experiment, but in short it was like this. The theory was that the size of the brain decides the level of intelligence, thus the race who has bigger brains should be more intelligent. The decided method to test this was to choose several skulls of people of each race and stuff them with grain and then measure the volume of grain in each skull. This was performed on several randomly selected skulls (by a white man, obviously) and the results clearly showed that the white people had bigger skulls, thus bigger brains and higher intelligence. However, it was later revealed that the experimenter had - unintentionally - compressed and stuffed more grain into white people's skulls. In short, though the experiment was seemingly to find out who's more intelligent, it was in fact an experiment to prove that the white men were more intelligent. There lied the difference.

I find the situation somewhat similar here with the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence. It is quite possible that they didn't think it through a lot, but if this is their mindset then it is also possible that it may affect the observations they make. You never know.


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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Invention of Lying

In the hands of a more able writer + director, this would have been one of the greatest movies of all times. It is such a brilliant idea that you could have done almost anything with it, yet they chose to make a lame ass third grade Hollywood romantic flick.

The story in short is that in a world where all the humans tell nothing but the truth (not out of choice but because of their nature) one man develops the ability to lie. Then he uses it to first save his apartment, then the job but does not lie to the love of his life even when it matters. Predictably she, at the end, realizes he's a wonderful guy and ends up marrying him. Meh.

Imagine what you could have done if you were the only man who could lie in a world full of honest chaps. People believing every word you say without the slightest of doubts! Now that's crazy, but also you could take over the world pretty much in a day or two.

Who says lying is bad?


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cricket Starts And We Decipher Songs

The much awaited cricket season in Japan started last Sunday. Much awaited by us, not the Japs. They don't know Jack about cricket and couldn't possibly have been waiting for it more than I do for Ranjan Ramanayake's next film. Anyway, as I was saying the cricket season started which I must say is a wonderful thing: if nothing else, it makes you feel at home a bit. We were to play a friendly game with another team which was based on a location some 200 kilometers away from where we are, so off we went in the wee hours of morning which is to say at about 8 a.m. The wheels were trusted with the experienced hands of Solomon, which we thought was a smart move. Within 10 minutes we realized it wasn't the case, as during those 10 minutes he violated more traffic rules than all the other people here did during the past two years put together. So after we entered the highway D took the driver's seat and we prepared an argument in case a traffic cop stopped us: the whole point of allowing people to drive only if they hold a driver's license is to make the roads safe. So which is better - a bad driver with a license or a good driver without one? And if the cop still disagrees, the last option would be to get him in the car and let Solomon drive further 100 meters which will surely make him agree.

So then, after so many heart stopping moments we arrived at Shizuoka, the place where we were to play the match. Everything was set to play, the Sun was out and we thought it was gonna be a good, if not great start to the season. Alas, it wasn't to be so. Shortly afterwards the clouds started gathering which was followed by a drizzle and the temperature started dropping at a rate faster than [insert something here which has a very high rate]. When we bowled the last few overs the temperature couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 degrees Celsius. Wearing only the cricket trousers and stuff, it was cold as hell when it freezes over. Then, just when we finished bowling it promptly rained thus ending the match. It seemed sort of stupid traveling some 200 kilometers to bowl 35 overs and come back, but such is cricket.

On our way back we got caught in a mad traffic and the car wasn't moving at all. As a means of passing time, being the intelligent lot we are, we got engaged in a few 'intellectual discussions' such as the latest movies, Shakira's bottom and IPL. When even that bored us, we started to actually listen to lyrics of the songs that we had playing and found out how rich the Sinhala language was. We were listening to Kasun Kalhara's songs, among others, and that song Sanda Sanda Wage came up. Cool song, I must say, and you can listen to it here if you want. We listened carefully and found out that it is a song about nothing but the plain and obvious facts, yet it's a nice song. It says moon looks like moon, flowers look like flowers, you look like you and I look like I. What else can they look like? If we still dumb it down and convert into a mathematical formula, it'll look like this:
A = A, B = B, C = C and D = D
As long as A != B and B != A
Then A = A and B = B
Lucky Newton wasn't in Sri Lanka or else we would have been learning Physics by songs.


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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Illegal Signatures and School Days

I'm good at forging signatures. I probably shouldn't divulge potentially harmful information such as this, but I trust you fellows not to let my secret out. I know you lot is a good bunch. Anyway, I'm quite good at it, and usually withing 20 to 30 minutes I can reproduce one good enough for petty crimes - the ones that are more or less harmless - of others. I often struggle to reproduce Sinhala signatures though - they are too complicated - and that is perhaps one reason among many why I sign in Sinhala. Not that anybody will ever think mine is worth reproducing, but still. English ones are a different matter though - I only have to keep practising the curves, and eventually I get it. The key is finding out where the lines start and where they end. Because it is near impossible to do a perfect impression starting a line from a different position to that of the original. If you study people's handwriting you will see that though they are vastly different and unique, they all carry some very common characteristics too. For instance, take the block letter F. There are three main ways in which someone would write it; one - draw the two horizontal lines from left to right, then the vertical line, usually from top to bottom. Two - draw the vertical first, then the horizontal lines. Three - draw the top horizontal line, then the vertical and at last the lower horizontal line. Almost all the time people write lines from left to right and top to bottom. Of course there are exceptions but generally above mentioned are the three ways in which F is written. So, if you can look at the handwriting and find out start and end points, then the rest is only a matter of practising the curves.

So, this skill of mine came in very handy while at school. I'm not sure if it still is the case, but back then if you were absent you were supposed to bring a latter from your parents the next day, stating the reason why you were absent. But of course there arise the need of being absent without your parents knowing due to a variety of very important reasons ranging from going out on a date (for the lack of a better term) with your girlfriend, going to the latest movie or just because you felt like. But there is a better chance of government media in paradise being unbiased than your parents writing a letter for something like that, so we had to do it for ourselves. And I was the go-to man when they needed to get it signed.

So one day, a Tuesday morning as I can remember, this dude comes to me early in the morning.
"Machan, sign this quickly please, I was absent yesterday"
I never ask many questions, so I just signed it and away went the happy fella to show it to one of the discipline masters before the school starts. He (the discipline master) read the letter and was like;
"Oh, your grandmother passed away? I'm sorry son, please accept my condolences. But is one day enough?"

"Uh... yes sir, she passed away on Saturday, so we had the funeral yesterday. So it's alright. Thank you sir"
Now, our school had a 'College Diary' in which you have all the pre-planned school activities were listed on the left hand side pages while the right hand side pages were blank. We were supposed to write all these letter on it - no letters on pieces of paper were accepted for any reason whatsoever - and that day too the letter was written on this diary of my friend. So, the discipline master casually turns the pages for no reason and finds out that the grandmother in question had died not once, but thrice.

We heard that the discipline master, who was a man with a good sense of humor, had a good laugh before punishing the poor dude. Oh and he too must be credited since he never said a word as to who actually signed it because had the word got out I would have been in deep shit because my father, at that time, was the assistant discipline master.


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