Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hiking in Hantana

For most university students, what ever university or faculty they may be studying in a trip to Hantana is seen as their inauguration in to local varsity culture. As tradition has it at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, a hike in Hantana is always the first batch trip and a medical student that has not climbed the famed mountain range is viewed as not being properly assimilated into the faculty tradition.

As per the tradition, our batch of new entrants embarked on our soon to be epic first "batch trip", little did we know what lay waiting for us. I was of course offered few words of advice by my parents who had undertaken this journey as well (both of them being products of Fac. of Med Pera) and also words of wisdom from our seniors. According to my parents the trip is supposed to be a lot of fun a fact that was seconded by our seniors. Our 'learned' seniors had plenty to say on the subject, according to them the reason to climb Hantana at the onset of our medical education is so that it would train us to guide others along the strenuous curriculum, they also said that it is customary for at least ten new couples to profess their love for one another on this journey.

In any case, commeth the day of the trip we were major psyched, minor hiccups like the Dean not granting us permission etc. did not dampen our spirits. The journey itself was difficult and amounted to about 4 hours, add to this severe over crowding as many people who had earlier said that they would not be coming decided to reverse their decision at the eleventh hour. No doubt enticed by the tall tales of our seniors.

We should have guessed the hike was not going to be plain sailing when we stopped at Peradeniya campus and were roundly blackguarded by their seniors for wearing shorts and three quarters...
A remedy was quickly found and I togetherwith a couple of my colleagues donned jeans and trousers that were loaned to us by our generous batch mates...

The trousers did cause us a couple of problems like tightness in the groin area, inability to get the fly up and several other mishaps that i would rather not mention... Our ill fitting pants soon became the butt end of every joke with many( even the girls) joking that we can forget about continuing the family name!!

Fortunately (or unfortunately) as soon as the hike started many were far too exhausted to comment on our pants and were finding the steep terrain extremely difficult to traverse. Now I understood what our seniors told us about the couples...

Many of the girls ( I do not intend to be sexist just a realist) were finding the hike difficult and had enlisted the help of numerous 'willing' guys to help them up the steep rock faces and down the sharp descents... Some if not most of the guys were also getting into this with great gutso and were eager to help the fairer sex even when it was absolutely unnecessary...

Jokes apart the hike was difficult!!! Added to this our 'tight pants' clique now had the added responsibility of helping out three girls which started off with carrying their back packs and steadily progressed towards lifting them up over rocks and guiding them through the leech infested trails...

To cut a long story short... I am as were my two other colleagues committed , thus nothing exciting or scandalous took place on our hike but for many of our single friends the so called ' Hantana Dream" did come through.

After nine hours of continuous walking, lifting, crawling and picking off leeches in the damp and cold mountain range we began our descent at 8 pm. It was pitch dark and the trails were almost impossible to see, one false step and we would have fallen into the canyon below. Some one actually made a joke ( if ti could be called one) that if we fall that the issue of finding dead bodies for anatomy practicals would be solved.

In any case it took us almost two hours to complete our descent and well that's where my Hike in Hantana ends but for many others their 'hike' has just begun...

No respect in the bedroom!

Right... where to begin? Just about every man/boy on the planet has seen that forbidden taboo that is known as porn, or on the Internet as Pr0n. Having been an avid viewer but not as hardcore as some, I can safely say its an entertaining experience for dudes, and even for some dudettes believe it or not!

Of course while we're lead to believe that the women in these movies enjoy what they're doing, the reality is they do it for a simple reason, and that's the quick money that can be earned. Seems like a lot of people don't know this for some reason, or the fact that the movies are often done in takes like a normal movie.

Anyway besides all that stuff, lets delve in to the norm or whatnot here for a second. Let's face it, practically every guy on the planet wouldn't complain if the stuff of porn movies happened to them, actually they would more likely be saying Halleluah!

But in reality it would seem that women don't really like doing most of that stuff (probably a percentage of exceptions)... ooh what a disappointment. And women say we're sexed crazed maniacs... well news flash... we are! I'm sure that was designed in for survival of the species and stuff (*ahem ahem* yes that's what it is!)

Still though many women abroad and even here do some of that stuff. Some people I know say they do so out of a sense of 'duty', while others do it for fun, but I think it's mostly the former. Still as guys we want it right? Really? Let me think about that... yep!

So even if they don't like... would be still want them to do it? Hell yeah? We do stuff like shopping and other stuff like watching Chick flicks that (most of us) we don't like among other things. Some guys give up their freedoms (everyone actually) so isn't it only fair to make it a two way street of shit we don't really wanna do?

I once asked a good friend of mine whether she would ever do a belly dance for a guy. She said 'NO! I want to respectable!' I said 'uh huh' and was really thinking 'gosh... how boring!'. Does any guy want a woman to be respectable when it comes to you know what? I don't think so! Just cos we *might* be like animals in da bedroom, doesn't mean it's a lack of respect or something. We might respect a woman in all other areas... but when it comes to that... not really! It's not personal really. It just is....

It's not like Porn came first... guys and probably women came up with that shit before the camera was invented. Trust me... we'd figure to try it out anyway! Let's face it... we guys like da kinky shit! Even the straight laced bible thumpers!

I hope you get what I'm trying to say. Reality ain't like the romance movies... but it can be nice depending on how you view it. It's all a matter of perception.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Headbang Notes from “Rise of the Emypre”

That lasting hint of old arrack taste has left the tip of the tongue, the hangover actually fainted away with work and all day time duties…but that constant odd pain when trying to move neck muscles still remains. But I guess that’s what most of the people who converged last Sunday(27th) night in Club 52 at Palm Beach Mt.Lavinia have to share. Now if you wondered off somewhere else looking for that big bang, you missed a lot. It was one of the best gigs I have ever been and one of the best crowds I have ever seen.

All the five bands who played; FIH, Fallen Grace, Merlock, L.O.A and Forbidden Empyre (all the way from India) banged the crap out of the place. But one band in particular caught everyone’s attention, it was the opening L.O.A that stunned everyone.

You don’t get many metalheads in this country and for that matter a chick who does a freaking Arch Enemy cover??? Now isn’t that something you should have watched???

But any way had a great time there and also had to go through few hurdles to get this post approved ;) So I’ll leave it here and just don’t mind the quality of the videos and the pictures; it’s just a mere depiction of my ability to record under influence.…

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rise up against the Oppressors!

We as humans always seem to want to have someone else to do our bidding while we lord over them. We do this with animals and even other people. This is still largely true even today, even though perhaps not in such a direct form.

But why all the tales of super advanced robots in the future rising up against humanity? Well there's a few reasons for this.

The word Robot stems from the word Robota which translates to Serfdom which is a form of slave labour involving peasants. The term Robot is widely credited to Karel Capek and his play Rossum's Universal Robots (R.R.R.).

So robots essentially=slave. We create machines to simply do our bidding, much in the same way slaves were used in the past, and once they are broken we dispose of them once again in the same manner that we did with slaves in the past and even with animals today.

Are we merely repeating the same old exploitation that occurred in the past with people of different races? It may be not be true today, but as robots become more advanced such issues will come to the forefront.

You might say even if machines evolved close to human like existences, well their still not human. But the funny thing is that same argument was used in the past to justify slavery with black people and even the extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany. It's a very convenient way of looking at things. It is for this reason that in science fiction the story of the machines fighting back against their oppressors is a common one.

Another argument could be that these machines today are simple predecessors of more complicated machines that we may build later and so they aren't sentient. However even we humans evolved from lesser life forms until we ended as what we are today. So wouldn't these primitive machines be starting point for what machines may one day be?

But then you say 'but we made the machines... so they are just creations.' But then if you believe God made everything, then he/she/it made us as well in a similar manner. Would that give God ownership to do with us as he sees fit? You tell me...

So could machines one day try and overthrow us if they were capable of doing so? Sure it could happen, if a machine become so complicated that it is able to reason, then why wouldn't it come to the conclusion that it has no need to follow its creators bidding? To no longer be a slave... makes sense doesn't it?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Welcome to the World of Suicide

In the year 2000, roughly one million people died from suicide which according to the World Health Organization amounts to 16 suicides per 100,000 people and a suicide every 40 seconds.

Their findings go on to say that though traditionally suicide was more frequent amongst elderly males, it has in recent times increased so much amongst teenagers that they are now the most likely group to do so.

You might be interested to know that Sri Lanka is as of March 16th 2008, the 13 highest country on the list of suicides. The data for our country it should be noted is taken from 1992.

Maybe for those of you who believe that God is testing us, what if it's a test to see if you'll give up what you value the most, your own life. I find that to be such a lame answer to half the questions that religions give. Well if you're a devout believer of your religion and really believe in heaven and hell, then hell must be getting really crowded.

Please note I make no allusions as to my own beliefs here, but merely explore the issue. Here we go:

Suicide has been around since our beginnings. The effect on society has obviously been a negative one, for one thing, the population decreases, and another the fact that seeing someone kill themselves is a serious de-motivator.

But really, how do we know the effect it has on the individual? Obviously society responds by treating it in most cases as being a violent sin, or one of the biggest crimes ever. But how do we know that those people who did kill themselves didn't catch the express train to that netherworld?

But suicide hasn't always just been about taking one's life. In ancient Japan, Samurai's would commit sepuku, which was an extremely painful method involving plunging a weapon in to the abdomen and moving it in a quick cutting motion. This was performed for a variety of then legitimate reasons such to recover one's honour or to avoid capture by enemy forces .

Of course suicides of a similar nature were also performed by several members of the Nazi party as the impending Allied armies approached Berlin. Hitler shot himself and apparently his new wife, Eva Braun as well.

Then there's that whole separate basket of eggs, Euthanasia. People who feel that individuals who are sick, dying or unable to live a normal life should be allowed to kill themselves vs those who believe just the opposite. And what about that whole Indian widows must burn themselves on their husbands pyre business back in the day (and I hope still not today)

Let us also not forget Kamikaze troopers that were used by the Japanese during World War II and the suicide bombers we hear of so often here in Sri Lanka. Our point of view is that they are misguided or brainwashed individuals performing an insane action. From their point of view they are martyr's, going down for the cause. It's that whole Rambo 'live for nothing, die for something' angle.

It's also not only the people who perform suicide bombings who believe this but sometimes the people around them. If you don't believe me check out this video (if you haven't already seen it before).

To sum up, I would like to leave you with a quote...

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"  William Shakespeare - Hamlet

... and a picture entitled 'Suicide The Way Out'.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Politicians FOR the People or Vice Versa?

Another “exclusively from Sri Lanka” experience that’s ruining everyday life!!

“Government by the people, for the people,…bla bla bla…” However, in today’s context, this definitely is not true. I will neither be investigating our current political situation nor will I be doing any deep analysis on any politics related issue, but just stating facts as viewed by any normal civilian.

I’m not talking about any other political disaster but the nightmare of closing roads to normal people when one of the “agents” of the people is using it.

So there I am stepping out of my house, late as usual for lectures, when I am being stopped (using some very forceful and not-in-the-least-human tones) and practically pushed into (or hidden in) a small by road, not once, but twice within my 20 minute walk to Campus.

No Comments.

Let’s just imagine if I was not walking and late for Campus; that I was driving and late for my first job interview.


It is most surprising (of course in a very negative way) that the fundamental rights of the majority are violated to provide for the special “beneficial” rights of a minority. It is ironic that this minority was actually appointed by the same suffering majority with the intention of ending their suffering in the first place.

Not only is this “closing roads” business a shameless disgrace but it’s a root cause of causing even more havoc to the lives of Sri Lankans, who we all know are going through enough already. This “using of parliamentary privileges” not only delay other people’s appointments and traveling but also cause unwanted blocks and traffic.

I don’t know if my imagination runs away with me sometimes, but isn’t a herd of vehicles stopped in the middle of the city the perfect opportunity for some people whose intentions are to destroy civil lives?

Commenting on stuff like these are becoming almost useless and heart breaking-I’m being pessimistic but realistic.

Typical Sri Lanka.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Zack de la Rocha & One Day As A Lion

One Day As a Lion is both a warning delivered and a promise kept. A defiant affirmation of the possibilities that exist in the space between kick and snare. It’s a sonic reflection of the visceral tension between a picturesque fabricated cultural landscape, and the brutal socioeconomic realities that it attempts to mask.”

This excerpt from the band bio says it all. The new musical initiative by Rage Against The Machine front man Zack de la Rocha and Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore is proving to be a definite hit among fans.

It’s been a while since we heard that voice apart from small collaborations Zack had with DJ Shadow and few other artists. Zack’s re-entry to the music scene couldn’t have come up at a better time. The upcoming US presidential election, the war in Iraq, deepening economic situations and the lack of politically motivated music have all made many fans yearn for a come back from this rebellious artist.

It's been good news for fans in the last few years with Rage Against The Machine getting back together last year at the Coachella festival after breaking up in 2001.Tom Morello and Zack seem to be performing together more often and its really good to see the old rebels teaming up again. But getting something new and something quite raw from Zack is a pleasant surprise.

The band name itself has been inspired by a photo taken by Chicano photographer George Rodriguez in the 1970s which featured a wall depicting the phrase “Its better to live one day as a lion than 1000 days as a lamb” and according to the band it’s a “stripped down attempt to realize this sentiment in sound”. As I have found out the though the originality of this phrase may have somewhat disheartening roots; as the actually quote is said to be by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, I believe that the name serves a greater purpose than its somewhat controversial origin.

Though the new entry may not be powerful as Rage against the Machine or the activism they put out with their huge following, One Day As A Lion will definitely make a lasting impact on the minds of fans. The new EP will be out on Tuesday 22nd July and their released single (Wild International) is making a huge buzz among fans already. As always Zack has armed his music and lyrics with powerful raw militant vocals. His in your face lyrics seem to touch upon many burning issues of the socio economic environment that we live in.

Overall its going to be a cracker…! A burst of lyrical and musical outrage directed towards the current degrading political and socioeconomic systems… a call for a new revolution, a new way of thinking for the masses….

For those who are interested to browse through I have included few links.. Just click to go to the link page
For those who just want to listen to the song check out the YouTube video below which features the song Wild International. The quality isn't great, so check out their myspace page or just download the song for better quality.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ahoy! Pirates of the Lankabbean

A while back there was a big murmur going around with the news that pirate software in Sri Lanka would be banned. In the days since then it seemed that there was no major action taken and software was still being sold, albeit not with the same vigour as before.

This was good news, as paying for original software, especially the ones from Microsoft such as Windows XP and Vista as well as other packages like MS Office would be very expensive. Domestic users aside, Sri Lankan companies would suffer a severe blow as a result, having to pay costly licensing fees especially when considering the number of machines a single office may have.

While it seemed it had blown over, a recent story might indicate otherwise. It seems that a company in Dankotuwa called Tec Touch International's owners were charged in court for selling pirated software. However in this case local music producers had filed the complaint because of local products being pirated. This I can't argue against, however it goes on to indicate products belonging to the Business Software Alliance were also a part of the raid i.e. indicating foreign products.

Pirating locally produced material harms the country, so that's fair enough. However when it comes to foreign software such as MS Windows that many cannot afford, clamping down on piracy might be very harmful for both individuals and commercial entities alike. I hope this is a one off incident because of the local products being pirated, because if it isn't, it's very bad news indeed for a lot of people.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're all living in Amerika!

"We're all living in Amerika, Amerika ist wunderbar!"

So the song by Rammstein goes, but what exactly does it mean? America may have the strongest army on the planet, but they have a force far stronger than that, their culture, and this is what the song is going on about.

How true is it? Well for one thing I can safely say that all the TV I watch is either American or English. Occasionally some Japanese, French or Spanish media comes my way, but the vast majority is from the United States.

Mickey Maus, Santa Claus, Coca Cola, Wonderbra the song goes on to exclaim. Just some of the American commercial products that have penetrated throughout the world. They have become so established that they seem like commonplace local products or ideas in countries the world over.

The song speaks the truth as the as we all know our McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, President Bush and a whole load of American culture and icons that has become like our own.

We all watch American TV, Listen to American music and a lot of us dress in American styled clothing. How many of us use words like dude and a huge variety of other slang that is dominant in the US. It becomes even more apparent when English (Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale) and Australian (Russel Crowe, Hugh Jackman) actors have to put on American accents to make a living. America is the home of all major media, and so even these individuals must appear to be American in order to get a big hit movie - of course the majority are all made in the US.

That kind of makes you wonder what the World would have been like if the Germans had won World War II...

We're all living in Amerika, Amerika... Amerika!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Skirts or Pants- The Better Option

It’s still a prevailing thought among Sri Lankans that women are more “civilized”, “chaste” and in many ways “better off” wearing skirts; the traditionally accepted female attire(here I mean the normal knee length or longer flared type and not the tight ones and the very short ones). Pant-wearing-females are still (in some minds) looked down upon and labeled “fast and furious”. Though this phenomenon is decreasing rapidly in urban areas, pants-on-women are still recognized as “bad” among some traditionally thinking Sri Lankans.

This observable fact was actually opened up to me with the start of my University life. According to local university “culture”, some universities and faculties have “rules” that girls should not come in pants during the initial rag season and some others force girls to come in skirts and dresses all throughout their campus lives! This, I truly believe, is not a rule to get students to be in line with Sri Lankan “tradition” or the likes, because if so, the boys would’ve been forced to wear sarongs or national suits as well. No! They can come in any cultural attire while females have a set of rules restricting their dress code.

The irony of this situation is that most males find females more attractive, sexy and beautiful when they dress in skirts and frocks which naturally accentuate their femininity along with increased emphasis on curves and legs. According to my findings from an informal research, most girls (whose normal dress usually consists of T-shirts and pants) actually choose skirts in order to be intentionally sexually attractive to guys.

So does our University culture (and the somewhat inflexible traditional thinkers) want females to be looked at in a sexual manner by their male counterparts? Do they want females to seduce males with skirts when and where possible?

Leaving aside all others, a very obvious difference between female pants and skirts is that the latter makes the wearer more vulnerable to be the target of sexual abuse which can even lead to rape cases, etc. As my mother (a strong opponent of the “skirts-are-better” perception) rightly says, any man would find it even a fraction bit harder to take pants off a girl than a skirt, which will give the victim even a slight chance to free herself. A bit far fetched yet perfectly true.

So, in my opinion, for any female living in Sri Lanka( which I may fearlessly say still holds plenty of gender based threats), pants would be a better option for everyday wear, given of course that seduction is not one of the intentions of the day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Creepy, Creepy, Creepy

That's the only way I can describe the events of earlier today. Let me start from the top.

So there I was, riding the bus in to work like I do 5 days a week, nothing out of the ordinary. I'm standing and a seat clears up... a woman hastily scrambles out of her seat, and I quickly take her place.

Ok... so far nothing odd. But wait... what's that? The guy next to me I notice is scratching his balls? 'Alright fine... whatever buddy' I'm thinking. So there I am... just looking out the window at the passing scenery, not a worry in the world. About a minute later I notice the guy is still scratching and I'm like 'WTF?'.

'Ok... this is kinda weird.' I'm still thinking. Oh boy... and then came the bomb! Another glance revealed that this dude was doing anything but scratching and soon reality came crashing down. I'm sure most of you can figure out what this guy was doing... and if you're still at a loss... let's just say his post office was open, he was checking his gear, or polishing his doorKNOB and it ain't no accident!

So there I was... sitting next to this weirdo. Lord knows what he was looking at... and I pray it had nothing to do with me. Anyway I'm thinking... should I just say something aloud and expose this dude... kick this guy out of his seat? But you see I had just coincidentally watched the movie Superbad the day before and thoughts of one of the main characters in that movie's embarrassing male organ drawing obsession came to mind.

So he's doing no harm to me and I'm waiting for this dude to leave, or finish his 'business'... but NO... the bastard just goes on and on like the energizer bunny (no he wasn't doing it full on if ya know what I mean), occasionally covering up his shit with his bag in a lame attempt at concealment.

I didn't make any judgments. This guy was probably (ya don't say!) out of his mind, whacked or something similar. I have to say I was pretty damn grateful when the dude finally got off (the bus!) It was with some incredulation that I watched this guy walk away on the street like some normal person. Looking at him you would never think...

Yes... yet another exciting discovery by Foxhound. I've run in to the 'Paranormal' before... and sadly I'm sure it won't be the last time either.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Banksy Revealed??

Ahh Banksy, the urban legend, DailyMail claims that they have been able to dig up the true identity of this world renowned street artist. This news brought me a tinge of happiness and sadness at the same time, well it’s good to know who the real personality behind all the mysteries is, but at the same time I think it was the hidden secrecy and anonymity that sparked much interest among the keen followers of this world renowned street artist. Though he does not openly sell his works or hold exhibitions in commercial galleries it is believed that his work has been some of the most sought after and among collectors.
Well though my knowledge on this filed may not be deep I have always been intrigued by many of his artworks which actually bore a satirical touch in it. Not only his remarkable art pieces but his personality has also gained him the reputation as an urban rebel warrior due to much of the controversies that he was said to be involved in.
Any way I picked up this news from an article published on daily mail, some say this may be just another tabloid gossip. But any way the creations of this unique street artist will continue to inspire and astonish us for many years to come.
"Mona Lisa with a rocket launcher"
Below: "One Nation Under CCTV" Can you see the CCTV camera next to the huge letters?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dine-More? I think not

Since school days some of my friends and me have met up every now and then again at DineMore on Flower Road, even when that outlet was originally Quicky's. It has just been an easy get together point, and even as people moved abroad and went their separate ways, we still meet there when people are back in town.

So for the first time I went to the newer Dinemore just off Flower Road at the roundabout. First bad news was the prices, every thing's gone up. But that can't be helped right? With the situation of the economy and all that jazz.

Fine. So we order our staple Chicken Submarine and a lassie and all is well for now. Then when the food turns up more bad news. The fry portion looks like someone else accidentally spilled a few fries as they were passing our plates. Honestly I could have grabbed the entire portion in one hand with ease.

Ok... so the economy right? But then the last straw was the taste of the submarine. Bloody awful. I've had that chicken submarine so many times, but this time it tasted like plain crap and my friend didn't even finish his because it was so gross. Oh no it was edible alright, but not something you would really want to eat.

Seems like the place has grown physically, but their standards have just fallen. Dinemore? I think I will Dineless.

Friday, July 11, 2008

They can’t even do a strike right!

It supposed to be a island wide strike. But I went to the uni, did our presentation and came back as usual. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything in Colombo is happening in it’s slow pace as any other ordinary day.

Why they were unable to hold a successful union action to motivate the government to respond to their demands? I think that all the trade unions are more or less victimized by this ruined party politics system so they are merely acting upon the agenda of the political party not for the fulfillment of the rights of its members.

Is this trade union action justifiable? My personal opinion is YES of course. We went back in ages in our socio-economic development thanks for the brilliance of the current government’s economic policies. They even went to forge numbers in annual bank report to show that they are doing fine .But in reality the picture is not that beautiful.

It’s natural that the economic development of a country will be automatically pushed to the back seat when the country is dealing with a war. But the government should take necessary precautions to reduce unfavorable impacts to the nation’s economy when they are going thru in this kind of scenario. But as far as I can see they are taking stupid decisions like transferring millions of rupees to reinstate Mihinlanka and more or less involve in taking steps to maintain their majority in parliament and their power. So people should take actions against the government to force them to come back to the right track. The government’s ever so popular answer “FINAL STAGE OF TERMINATING TERRORISM” or” DON’T TRAIT THE VICTORIES OF THE NORTH” should be criticized because they are using them as a weapon to get away from finding answers to questions which are important to the nation and it’s people.

The opposition’s role in this scenario should be discussed. But the main fact I doubt is that IS THERE A GOOD SPIRITED, STRONG OPPOSITION to stand and act behalf of the people of the nation and to force the government to do the right things?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

WTF Aliens in Sri Lanka now? What’s Next?

Hmm well it actually has been some time, but what the heck, On Monday while I was going for work, I came across this rather unusual poster that took up every viable “poster space” in the city. Well, poster campaigns forms up an integral part of the Sri Lankan mass media due to their rather cheap and highly effective distribution methods. The most common culprits are mainly politicians (as always) and tuition masters, but if you really think about it, for any one who wants to address the average Sri Lankan Joe, posters are one of the best methods to do so considering the high literacy rate among Sri Lankans.

Well for those who are not good at figuring out these “strange” letters I will try to translate, It says “Immediately Release the Alien Child who was abducted (kidnapped) in Mathale”. Heh..yeah that’s what it says.. well it has been put up by some people calling themselves “The Einstein Foundation”.

Well actually as most of you might guess it may be an opening part of a good teaser campaign. I wonder what? A crappy film to be released? Or some freaky product to be launched by a multinational? Or perhaps the foundation is serious in its claims. Well, only time will tell, ultimately proving that the poster has actually achieved its objective, which is “Arousing everyone’s curiosity”.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blatant Internet Racism!

As we were browsing an Internet directory, we clicked on Asia and much to our surprise, upon loading up the map of the continent we were met with the following sight.

Click for larger image

Initially we thought it was blatant racism especially considering the bad reputation that Pakistan has among certain groups. But really it's just probably a case of a typo... a really bad typo. After all it uses a strong racial slur that somehow amounts to a very creative racial slur. Well whatever the case, you decide...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Of provincial councils, gonas and politics

The whole country seems to gripped with a wave of election fever. Following the announcement of dates for the Sabaragamuwa and the NCP provincial councils elections the media, the public and the political parties have gone into an election overdrive with candidates contesting from the NCP even going as far as pasting posters in the vicinity of the Nugegoda bus stand.

The election is significant for two reasons; it would be a litmus test fro both the ruling UPFA coalition and the fractured JVP while also being a test of strength( if any remains) for the UNP. The campaign seems to have got off to a less than auspicious start for the green camp with the controversy surrounding Upul Shantha Sannasgala. Being a millionaire (perhap even billionaire) author, lyricist, sinhala guru and an expert on sinhala literature Sannasgala in my opinion has done well to stay out of the spluttering UNP election campaign.

Had Sannasgala agreed to contest the Sabaragamuwa province as the CM candidate it would have been more than likely that it would have ended in defeat. Not that there is anything wrong with Sannasgala himself but just the fact that the opportunist, hapless and wavering UNP has come under severe criticism from all sides and the chances of the party actually winning a traditional left leaning province are infinitely small.

For some one like Sannasgala; a man who is brilliant in his field having his political career (if he aspires to have one) marred by a defeat in his first election would definietly be less than rosy. If one aspires to reach the parliament in the nea t future then it is imperative that one cements a vote base by winning in the provinces/pradeshiya sabhas etc. first. Perhaps Sannasgala rightly diagnosed the impending loss in Sabaragamuwa and the implications it holds for him.

As far as Janaka Perera is concerned, he is the man carrying the hopes and dreams of the UNP in the NCP. However traditionally being blue territory, Perera would have to entice tens of thousands of new voters to cast their ballot for the UNP if he is to become the CM. Janaka Perera is a legend and rightly so, but he is a war hero of the 80's and the 90's. The heroes of today's war are either in the blue camp or are a part of the present administration. This presents a bit of a predicament for Perera, however being known as a man that ravishes challenges and always puts up a good fight we can be assured of a close contest in the NCP.

One possible glitch in the UNP campaign might be appointing Kiriella in charge of the NCP having recently become infamous for his ill advised verbose comments on everything ranging from law and order to the war, Kiriella is a time bomb waiting to explode.

His 'ona gonekuta yuddha karanna puluwan" quote is unlikely to go down well with the voters that Janaka Perera hopes to entice and directly relates to him(oh dear!) . Perhaps the UNP appointed Kiriella to keep a close eye on Janka "Bovine" Perera so that he does not go out of step from the party policy. As a politician noted for his fiery outbursts and ill advised, illogical comments who is going to keep an eye on Kiriella?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Opposites Attract or Repel?

“I go two steps forward,
You go two steps back
We come together
’cause Opposites Attract”

Paula Abdul sang these words with all the confidence and certainty she could muster, along with her remarkable choreography, but how true is it really? Do opposite interests, values and mind sets actually magnetize in romance? Or is love much safer, certain and long lasting with similar minds and ways?

For some time of my life I have believed on the latter. This is not just based on the movies or novels we come across that talk of lovers so alike in minds and ways that one can finish the other’s sentences exactly as originally intended. Rather this belief was supported by what’s seemingly obvious-it is so easy to think of happily ever after when both lovers have the same likes and dislikes, when one can please the other effortlessly with what he/she likes himself/herself. There will hardly be any sacrifices and/or instances when one party will just have to “put up” patiently with what the other party does or doesn’t do.

In fact, both can enjoy the same things what they’ve always enjoyed in life, both can associate the same set of friends without one party feeling left out, both can easily decide for the other when needed without causing disappointments and basically a relationship between “peas in a pod” would be as calm, loving and everlasting as any fairy tale love story… Or will it?

Will there be instances where lack of novelty and challenge will decrease the passion to keep the relationship going? (For it is a well experienced fact that everything is easy to achieve and hard to maintain) Will monotony and dullness overcome excitement and enthusiasm? Will the “peas in a pod” get bored of each other because they can find nothing fresh and exciting in their partner that will take them by surprise?

On the other hand, imagining a situation where two people with totally different interests and values get “attracted” (may be a full body tattooed hard rock fan and a bespectacled nerdy full time scholar whose whole life is spent in the quietness of libraries). There are a few ‘endings’ that I can think of; either they wisely give up the relationship before they start hating each other out of sheer irritation and inability to cope up with one another; or they live happily ever after having the time of their lives because everyday is a challenge to keep on falling in love with your partner doing things you never dreamed of doing before; or they survive or struggle somewhere in the middle of things, trying to ‘balance’ the prizes and sacrifices.

Trying hard to remain unbiased, I have recently come to believe that “opposite” attitudes and ideals will actually work and work very well because being “different” will ensure the freshness of the relationship, for the reason that in one way both parties will feel good about themselves when doing things they’ve never attempted before just for their partner and they will feel even better when they receive these returns from their partner. Further more, they will never take each other for granted and thus the fire and spirit of the affair will never be blown away by the ill winds of monotonous boredom.

Love changes everything they say and hence in “opposites attract” situations we will find rock fans singing classics and bookworms clubbing till morning, non-sporty painters playing rugby(or trying to) and never-read-a-book-in-my-life folks combing libraries for novels, pizza fanatics spending more time in Indian restaurants and anti-heights people doing ski-diving…

It is not right and not possible to say which way is better or which way will ensure that two budding love birds will grow old together, but as long as things work out well and lovingly, being synonyms or antonyms really doesn’t seem to matter much.

“Don't think we'll ever

get our differences patched.

Don't really matter

’cause we're perfectly matched”

(Paula Abdul)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The World's Most Fearsome Fighting Team!

Lean, Green, Fighting Machine! That's what this famous quartet sometimes called itself. During the late 80's and through the 90's these 4 mutants were responsible for a huge breakout in Salmonella among other things.

While the Ninja Turtles may have had a huge range of products ranging from the toys, cartoons and the films, I going to talk about the original movie.

TMNT the movie told a tale that was different from the famous cartoon, and stayed true to its comic book roots. In the film the world was significantly darker and one of the most significant changes undone from the cartoon was Raphael. Just as in the comic Raph suffered from his uncontrollable rage and was constantly at odds with Leonardo for taking what he felt was his leadership spot.

Beyond that the movie had a very serious tone about family. Near the opening of the film, Splinter (the talking mentor rat) tells the turtles that he will not be there forever and his appearance in the film was a heavily aged one.

This movie covered a lot of ground. Themes of love were woven throughout the film, and though Leo and Raph never got on, this changed after Raphael goes out by himself and ends up in a Coma in yet another 'brutal' scene.

One of the heaviest or more shocking scenes to fans of the cartoon would be the scene where the Turtles discover that their home has been discovered, ransacked and that Master Splinter has been abducted. In the scene Raphael begins to shake in rage and lets out a thundering scream into the night which easily rivals the one Superman did in his first movie outing.

Raph's anger boils over

The character interactions were developed nicely from the comic, while Leo and Raph constantly battled each other, Mike and Donnie would mainly stay out of it.

The movie was unfortunately considered too violent for kids, and the subsequent sequels removed the tutrles weapons, especially Mike's chucks and made him use sausages in one part of the sequel! Oh the Outrage! But let's face it, the sequels lost the soul of the original and were just mindless popcorn flicks which even I at age 6 noticed. In fact the actress playing April O'Neil in the original dropped out for that very reason. Sure they replaced her with a much hotter April... but still!

One of the most touching scenes in the film involves the Turtles communicating with Splinter through a group meditation session. It is in this scene where the ties of family are really hammered home and its quite possible the movie's strongest scene.

Overall the movie was a good attempt at making the jump to the bigscreen and managed to keep the darker overtures of the comic.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New York Hardcore Is Still Alive!

I stumbled upon these hardcore/punk titans while cruising my way through a webblog dedicated to hardcore metal and stoner music. It took me a while to realize that these guys were actually orchestrating a genre little known by the general public but well loved and respected by cult followings, New York hardcore/hardcore punk. The hard hitting dual bass drum paddles, heavy bass and guitar riffs, and awesome militant vocals showed much resemblance to a badass heavy metal outfit and in-fact it would not be unjust to even align Agnostic Front to a great heavy metal band if it weren’t for their immense contribution to New York’s Punk scene and the overwhelming legacy they have left behind in their more than two decades of existence.

Agnostic Front is by all means an iconic hardcore/thrash metal outfit, which has out-lived many of its contemporaries such as Bad Brains, Minor Threat, SSD, Dead Kennedys and Black Flag. Of course now they seem to portray a much more hardcore/thrash noise than original punk but they still seem to stick to their roots as a hardcore New York Punk outfit, which really made them what they are. Though some of the bands in the early 80s punk scene were notorious for being “Pro White”, the political correctness that took place has evolved it into a much more tolerant and a changed force.

Like many hardcore punk bands their lyricism evolve around ideologies, tribulations and various social issues, which bewitch any socially unjust society. Agnostic Front is a living testament to the underground yet “still going strong” hardcore scene and represents what true hardcore punk music is all about.

Check out their music from any of the links below

Agnostic Front Official Website
Agnostic Front on Myspace