Friday, October 31, 2008

Plethora Of Blox

I'm not easily swayed or influenced. I'm a man of principle and high moral values.

But, any girl who requests a photograph of me, particularly one with lingerie on my head, deserves a link.

Noorie's eclectic blog is now in my links on the left.

Check it out. It's good.

New Beginnings

That's quite a stupid title for a post isn't it? I think there's an album or a book that I've read by that name.

Stupid because a beginning is always new, that's what it means.

Anyhow, today is yet another massive day in my life, not just because it's a Friday. I think, as I get older, life becomes more jam packed with activity, it gets more complicated and it gets more busy. But, and this may be news for those amongst you who complain about hitting the ripe old age of twenty whatever and feel old, it gets better.

Some sit around and moan about getting older, about becoming boring and staid. Well those people will become like that, that's the law of the Universe; we become what we believe.

For me today is a massive day because it's the first day of the rest of my life. The girls and their mother are moving into their new house today. I can't describe how this feels, though of course I'm going to make an attempt at it.

In the last couple of years I've had several first days of the rest of my life.

There was leaving the former family home, saying farewells to things that had meant so much to me. Leaving the girls with the knowledge that everything would be different forever was fucking hard I can tell you.

Then there was the day the decree nisi came through, meaning the first stage in the legal process of the divorce was complete.

Then the decreee absolute. I was divorced. It was big.

It's as if there was a piece of chewing gum stuck to the pavement and each big day was one of the strands being stretched until it was no longer attached. To have children with someone means that some strands will always be attached and they're strands that I love more than I can describe. Yes, more than even I can describe. Me with the powers of description better than a thingy in a whatsername.

The past weeks have consisted a lot of the splitting up of posessions. It's something that would have happened a year or more ago if the house had been sold then, but it wasn't, something to do with a worldwide recession that we've talked ourselves into. This splitting and dividing things is hard, even more than you see in the films. There was no happy reminiscing between the ex couple as we laughed over old moments. There was no being friends and all mature about things as if we were some kind of text book divorced couple. They only exist in text books.

More or less every thing represents a memory, one that usually involved one of the girls as they grew up. A piece of homework, a handprint done at nursery school with a message wishing me happy Christmas. There was a drum book that I remember working through with A when she first started drumming, they all represent little pices of the history of my relationship with my children.

And, as they move on to their new home, I move on in my life.

I'm still their Dad. I still love them.

I'm just not with them. I hope one day they'll understand.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oi Paki!

A Virile Nagalingam left a comment on my McCain post that set some thoughts off, like Diwali fireworks in my head. I'll explain the situation.

Dinidu had left a comment in which he said

"Damn! Honkie has skills!!!"

I think "honkie" is spelled with a "y" on the end but we'll let that one lie, or ly. I suspect that Dinidu left it as an innocuous sort of comment which we're not supposed to think anything too much of. I certainly hadn't, even the post was buried in the nether regions of my memory.

Mr Nagalingam's comment changed all that.

"i suppose if mr. alwis said, "negro has skills!" it would be acceptable as well, correct?" he writes.

Now I don't know Mr Nagalingam (AVN) other than through his comments on my blog but my feeling is that he's merely pointing out an interesting thing; that Dinidu's use of the word "honkie" didn't appear to raise eyebrows but, had he used the word "negro" then all hell may well have broken use. When I say "all hell" I mean it in a blogospherical sense, which has little impact on real life as we all know.

For the sake of clarity I feel a need to point out that, in my experience, Dinidu is about as racist as Mahatma Gandhi or Jean Luc Picard.

But AVN's comment reminded me of a post I've been meaning to write for ages.

As a teenager growing up in the late 70s and 80s in London was interesting at times. It would be nice if I could pretend that I was subjected to racially motivated bullying and attacks every other day, if I could make out that life was tough and my teenage years were one of those Brit / Guy Ritchie type films waiting to be made. Well, it wouldn't be nice but it would be far more interesting than the reality.

The truth is that my teenage years were boringly Brit / Sri Lankan middle class. That all too familiar mix of rice and curry, baila, Uncles and Aunties at weekends and being just like any other white kid in the week, except I wasn't of course. The burning issues for me were mostly centred around whether Debbie Harry would ever sleep with a thirteen year old brown kid. She did, loads of times, she just didn't know about it.

All of a sudden my existence was shattered by the arrival of the National Front, racism and Pakis. Or so it seemed. The fact was my existence wasn't shattered, this was in Richmond and, for anything to be shattered, planning permission was required, forms had to be filled out and hair had to be ruffled slightly. So I suppose it's more accurate to say that my existence was ever so slightly nudged, it wobbled, just a bit.

No, what happened was that a few of the kids at school became "racists". They'd draw National Front symbols on their exercise books, those books that were for subjects taught by teachers who'd allow it of course. They would listen to Ska, ironic for all the obvious reasons, they'd wear DMs and sometimes, very rarely mind, they'd call me or one of the other brown kids a Paki.

At first I was hurt and upset by this. Kids who I'd been friends with for years suddenely turned on me. Then, after some time, I decided to join in. If someone told a Paki joke I'd retaliate by telling two. My method was effective. As we got older and wiser my friends went off to run companies, write books, produce films and TV shows and write award winning books about racism and equality. One bloke went to prison but he's an estate agent now.

The whole name calling thing is strange isn't it? This is the thing I started off thinking before I wandered into the territory of my childhood.

Why is it that Chris Rock can make a stream of nigger jokes and that's okay?

Why is it that I can make loads of jokes to my (white) band mates about how white people can't drum and that's okay, but if one of them made a joke about my skin colour I'd be upset?

Why can Dinidu call John McCain a honkie and it's fine, but if McCain turned up at Dinidu's house and called him a curry eating fuckwit it would probably get him lynched?

Is it because of familiarity?

Is it because it's okay to laugh at our own but it's deemed unnacceptable to mock others?

What do you reckon?

World Wide Webs

Every morning, as I leave for work and walk out of the front door, I spend some seconds peering in the dark at the frame of my parents' porch. I look for the latest arch enemy in my life, it can have a seriously bad effect on a whole day for me and there really aren't many things that I can say that about.

As I squint into the darkness and try to focus I often spy the enemy and make a split second decision on how I'm going to leave the house without being assaulted and smothered.

Yes, it's a spiderweb.

For the last two weeks I've bowled out of the house with a spring in my step, laughter in my heart and that usual itch in my pants and promptly walked straight through the web. Like one of those primitive animals that doesn't learn from its mistakes, I've slept the night and forgotten that the web would be there, in the same place as it was the previous morning.

It must be a bit of a bummer to be a spider. You're intelligent and smart enough to build webs that are so strong and perfect in terms of engineering they can catch fully grown elephants. But you don't have the brain power to think that there's something fundamentally unproductive in building one in exactly the same place every night because some idiot carrying a brief case destroys it each morning. Imagine having a memory that erases itself every so often, it must be terrible.

I've come to the conclusion that there's nothing worse than that cobweb in your hair feeling but I can't figure out exactly why. It's only small and thin this web material but one strand of it in my hair makes me feel as if I'm trapped in a pit full of snakes while wearing a suit made of snake food and told not to move and definitely not to play the drum kit in the pit with me. The only thing worse would be if Jennifer Aniston was naked on the other side of the pit and in the mood for some drummer love.

I spend my whole day attempting to get the web out of my hair and my mind imagines things that frankly are a waste of imagination time. Like flies, insects and spiders crawling around my head and eggs being hatched in the deep recesses of my hair, not that I have any deep recesses in my hair nowadays. Every so often I feel a bit of web somewhere on my head, but it's never to be found. Plenty of moving hair around with the hand type of activity usually only succeeds in messing up my hair and removing that morning's hair product. Not good.

My feelings of empathy and sympathy for the average fly that gets caught in a web are big and flowing. I know exactly how it must feel for the chaps and will be happy to lend them some hair product if they apply through the usual channels. At certain points in the day I look like one of those chaps fighting off a swarm of invisible flies, as I try to nonchalantly rid my head of the web that I know is in there.

I've now come up with a plan. It's usually dark as I exit the house but I've sussed out this particular spider's game. The web is always there in the very same corner of the porch and I cunningly and cleverly stoop and swerve, like a top class rugby player evading a tackle, as I leave the house.

If anyone sees me doing this they would probably think I look like some sort of twitching weirdo. It's usually about six in the morning and they would witness me crouching low and bending my body from the waist to the right. On particularly joyful mornings I might even incorporate a spin into the routine, though that leaves me in danger of falling into one of the plants, or pulling something.

Every few days I forget to do this though and get trapped. Not literally of course, I don't spend hours stuck in the web waiting for a casual passer by to rush in and help me out before the massive scary spider comes and eats me. No, that was just in a dream I had.

But is it just me or does everyone hate that spiderwebby feeling?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Bra On My Head Business

One day last week, out of the blue, I received an email from Noorie, her of the Plethora of Blox place. She asked for a picture of me, something I'm quite used to. These days my inbox positively overfloweth with requests for pictures of myself in a state of dress or undress. I wish.

I have been asked to send old pairs of pants, drumsticks and torn out pages from my journal. Someone once asked for a half drunk bottle of Diet Coke. Someone once asked me to send them money to complete their studies, pretending to be a relative, that's about the limit of my fanmail.

So in reality the request from Noorie was quite a surprise. Then, when I read the last line, it turned into a choking on my tea kind of surprise. It said

"Ummmm..... you've got to wear a bra on your head though."

It's one of those last lines that causes the reader to blink in a sun in the eyes kind of way, to think, in a split second, "Hold on, did I read that correctly?"

I did all that, then went back and read it again. The bra on the head line was still there. I scratched my balls. Something I do to help me think. I think a lot. I need a lot of help.

Now you know the posish. I'm divorced, living with my parents, albeit temporarily. I have two teenage daughters, an ex wife and a fleet of girlfriends in many parts of the world. I'm not sure if girlfriends come in fleets, actually I'm not sure if they come at all, but that's another double entendre altogether. You asked for it, so I gave you one.

In terms of everything except money I am a rich man. Or, maybe a better way of putting it would be to say in terms of everything except money and a library of pictures of me with a bra on my head I am a rich man. I guess some chaps could just go to their flickr account or whatever they use and choose from any number of pictures of themselves dressed in womens' undergarments, but I'm not one of them.

I guess there are fellows with girlfriends, wives or their own bra shops who might be able to take a picture of themselves with a bra on their head at the drop of a bra. Well I'm not one such bloke, so I was stuck. My immediate thought was that I wanted to help poor Noorie, it was only natural and I'm kind like that.

But what the bloody hell could I do? More to the point, how could I do it? This request, to take or supply a picture of me with a bra on my head, well it was a minefield, or even worse, a lingerie field. I thought through my options. All of them were options that centred around one theme; the idea of borrowing a bra from someone and taking a picture.

Of course my first port of call was to look at the girls at work. I'm looking at them as I type this and wondering why I wasted the couple of seconds I spent considering it in the first place. It's not right for so many reasons.

Then I thought of female friends and the like. Now I don't know what the other guys who had the request did but I felt uncomfortable at this in a big way. If I went up to one of these women and asked them to take their bra off for me it would lead to all sorts of things that I just wouldn't have been looking for. It's the old "can I borrow your bra because I need to take a photo of me with it on my head" line. So friends were out.

Then it was family. This was equally bad news. The thought of asking either of my daughters was swept away from my mind in a sea of discomfort. Specifically one of them going

"Uuuuurgh Dad, what are you, some sort of perv?"

And of me thinking that it's not normal. And of the fact that explaining exactly why I needed a bra just wouldn't help things.

The last option was the most shiver inducing.

My Mum.

Oh fuck. No way. It makes me feel quite sick to even think about. The conversation, the photograph and well just everything. I must point out that I didn't even consider it, it just flashed through my mind for about half a nanosecond to be put in the back and never to return.

The result of all this was that I emailed Noorie back to say that I couldn't her what she craved. Pictures of me in front of drum kits, people and buildings I have aplenty. Photographs of good old RD with a bra on his head were in short and probably never to be increased supply.

"Not to worry", she said, "just send a picture of yourself and I'll photoshop a bra onto your head".

Well I trusted the girl. I sent some sexy pictures of me and relaxed, safe in the knowledge that Noorie's photoshopping skills would rise to the challenge.

How wrong I was.

The Emperor's new bra! Did you ever?

Hoping You're All Ok

It's a funny thing, this being here in London thing. It's 7.53 in the evening and we've had freezing rain with snow predicted for the night.

Then, as I've logged on and looked at Facebook and Kottu I've seen the reports, hearsay and rumours about what's happening in Colombo. It's thousands of miles from me but it's also right here in my heart.

From the various reports, it looks like all is okay.

I think of you and wish you well.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Photo Of The Moment


Browsing through the blog of Gallicissa, or Amila Salgado, is always an experience that stimulates several of my senses. He writes interesting words and tells a good tale, comes across as a nice guy and he takes photographs that are simply wicked.

The only choice I had to make in the photo of the moment thing this time was which of Amila's beautiful pictures to choose. His macro work is jam packed with the brightest of colour and the most vivid detail. I could have chosen any one of his pictures of scary things and you probably would have gasped, though you've probably seen them all already.

Instead I chose this little beauty.

Why?

Well I could attempt to wax lyrically about the silhouette, the birds that are either landing or taking off. I could write some poetically challenged words about the tuk tuk and how Sri Lankan it looks, about the slight obstruction just in front of the tuk tuk that I can't figure out. I could even tell you how I'd love to take a picture this good just once in my life.

But no, forget all that flowery stuff.

What I will tell you is that, when I look at this photograph, it makes me feel as if I want to poo.

And I mean a nice poo.

That's how absofuckinglutely fanfuckingtastic it is.

Thanks Amila.

A Poem - By RD (aged 13 and a few months)

I really don't

know how to write

poetry.



Should it rhyme?

Should it have rhythm?

Does each verse have to

Be the same length or do

I have to start each line as if

it's a new sentence?



Or can I just write stuff

And split up each sentence to make it look

nice?

Monday, October 27, 2008

How To Do A Stealth Fart

As a blogger I sometimes feel an obligation to write an educational post, particular as I know some of my readers are a bit younger than myself. Some chaps write educational things about politics and management, the trivial things in life. I think it's better to write about important things, those that are of real use in everyday life.

Farting is one such subject. Stealth farts are one such example.

And one of the facts about being in charge of people at work is that one has to get good at doing stealth farts.

It's one that you have to sneak out. It's the James Bond of farts and has to be parachuted in behind enemy lines in the dead of night without the enemy realising it's infiltrated its territory. Years of training and hour upon hour of practice are needed before anyone can claim to be a master stealth farter.

You see, I sit in my office for most of the day. I put out the occasional fire and generally act as the sea of calmness that I am. That's what I do for about 5% of my working day. The rest of the time I practice drumming under the desk (honestly) and write bits and pieces in my blog. And do stealth farts. My office has a big glass wall and is surrounded by women. Loud and manly "Corr blimey have a whiff of this" type farts aren't really a viable option.

And, over the years, I've developed the level of arse cheek control to be a Samurai of stealth farting. I feel the urge, look around at the women in my office, then surreptitiously lift up my right cheek ever so slightly. This slight shifting of the cheek is important as it prevents air getting trapped and the fart becoming a loud riproarer.

Young novice stealth fart trainees often make the mistake of either not lifting the cheek enough, causing the aforementioned riproarer, or lifting the cheek too much, which keeps the fart silent but shows the casual observer what they're up to. Beginners may find it useful to cough or make a loud noise when practicing. This will disguise any noise that may be produced in the training stage.

The face is the next thing to work on. Because of the level of straining that goes on in the arse cheek vicinity the face can be a give away to the casual observer. Novices may find it particularly helpful to stare at their monitor with a look of bewilderment. This will give the impression that they are peering at a strange formula that's just gone wrong in their spreadsheet. Biting the inside of a lip can help with this. After practice you should get to the level where your face remains detached from your bum activities, but it can take years.

Smell is part of the stealth fart concept. A true stealth fart has to smell as if there's an evil illness hiding in the drawer in your office just behind an old prawn sandwich. A fart with no noise and no smell is frankly just a bum cheek movement. We're not interested in those.

When that fart smell creeps out and wafts around your office, perhaps your car or your shop, it can cause problems if you're unskilled. It's one thing to be sitting there basking in the smell of your own work, like a master painter gazing at a recently completed picture or perhaps Mr Sting after he listened to Roxanne for the first time. But, if someone else enters the environment you have to be ready. James Bond has his gun and all the latest gadgets when he's caught by Dr No, we have our wit and intelligence.

For some years I was fazed and foxed by the situation. I could do a good stealth fart, there'd be no noise and no facial giveaways but then I'd be stumped by someone walking into my office with a message or a question. The guilt would be written all over my face and the odour would be wafting all around my office. I would often see the person approaching and wonder if I should jump up from my chair and exit the office, but, by the time I'd made up my mind, the person would be standing next to me, pretending they couldn't smell anything. You know that feeling, you're both standing there and you both know who's farted but you pretend nothing's happened.

The method I've developed to deal with this isn't easy to get to grips with at first. It involves a high level of brazenness and not inconsiderable courage. It's like a bungee jump, you have to go for it with the confidence that all will work out well. Hesitation and dilly dallying will ruin it.

Yes, as the person walks into the environment you first act entirely normal, which may be a challenge for many. Then, after about twenty seconds you screw up your nose a bit. Then, after about another ten seconds, though some people prefer only seven or eight, you say something like

"Uuuurgh, have you dropped one?"

If the question is delivered with enough confidence and boldness, the subject, particularly if they have a few years on them, will think that perhaps it was them. They'll deny it, but leave the area thinking that they might have dropped one accidentally. It really is all in your performance.

Those of you with an even stronger cruel streak may choose to mock the person all afternoon. A bit of mentioning to others that so and so came into your office and dealt a really smelly one is always a good laugh.

That's it, I hope the lesson has been valuable.

Have a great week.

Aircraft Quality, Yeah Right!

I was spending a bit of quality time with my drum kit the other day. Cleaning, tuning and stroking, everyday drummer's stuff.

As I caressed the metal and thought about how Soixante Neuf or Kinkywhat'shername might report the situation I looked at the bass pedal and noticed a sticker on the shaft. It said

"Made from aircraft quality aluminium"

Now this shaft on a bass pedal needs to be strong and long lasting. There's a hell of a lot of force that travels through it and it needs to be up to the job. But, "aircraft quality"?

I bet whoever wrote that brilliant bit of copy had never been on a Sri Lankan airlines plane. I bet they'd never sat for eleven hours on a flight with no working video screen or a seat in front that couldn't go back to the upright position.

When they say "aircraft quality" they can't be referring to the quality of the wiring in the overhead lights, the wiring that makes half of them stay on through the whole flight and the other half not work at all.

They can't be talking about the same quality that is evident in the ceiling panels that rattle and vibrate as if they're about to represent their country in the rattle and vibrate Olympics.

Perhaps they are talking about the same quality that goes into the little milk, or fake milk, cartons that you get with tea and coffee. Now they're tough and long lasting. They must be made of the same material used to make black boxes, things don't often get past or through them.

My first hand experience of plane crashes is limited, almost zero I suppose, but I have a feeling that the black box is actually just a copy of the milk carton things only about twenty times the size, with a tape recorder made out of the wrapping that they put the knives and forks in. This must cause untold confusion for the rescue teams as they wouldn't know if that milk carton looking thing in the distance was actually the black box really far away or a milk carton quite close.

Take it from me. Aircraft quality?

Pah! Or perhaps pffff!

I'm not sure which word fits the best.

What's next?

Export quality!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's McCain For Me

Obama can't do this:



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aitch Two Eau de Bambalapitya

I think I told you at some point about my Dad's scathing and frankly rather extreme and radical views on mineral water. Yes, he holds the opinion that all mineral water is a waste of money and anyone who buys the stuff is falling victim to one of the biggest cons of all time. It's an opinion shared by many, particularly those who were brought up on a diet consisting of tap water and survived. We don't really hear much from those who didn't survive, which probably proves my case anyway.

As an aside does anyone else have the problem with their apostrophes that I have? It seems that almost every time I go to type one my finger hits the semi colon key to the left of my intended target. I just read through the last paragraph and had to change the "don't" and the "didn't" which had both been inadvertently typed as "don;t" and "didn;t".

Whenever possible, and I'm aware that this may make me sound like a ponce, I drink mineral rather than tap water. I suppose it's a stupid generalisation for me to think that all mineral water tastes better than all tap water but it's one that I make. The fact is that tap water varies from area to area and mineral waters come in every flavour you can imagine. I was reading an article recently about the fact that many top restaurants now have a water waiter and a water list, rather like a wine waiter and a wine list. I'm also aware that that sentence contains far too many Ws and Ts and words that sound and look similar.

Apparently the discerning water fan will order, rather like the wine thing, a specific bottled water for the starter then a different one for the main and so on, I think you can get the idea. But there are now fellows who are employed to talk about the water and extol the characteristics of each variety. If I ever open a restaurant I might have a Rice Waiter.

As I type this I have a team of chaps designing labels for my next venture, a new water which I'm calling "Eau de Bambalapitya". It's quite dusty and dangerous, with a hint of salt and must be boiled before drinking.

Back to my point though. After dinner the other night, after some weeks of this ongoing debate between my parents and myself about the validity of mineral water, I found myself involved in what can only be described as a taste test. I don't really know how it happened, but I was sitting at the dining table and my Mum was pouring mineral water into one glass and cold filtered tap water into another identical glass to see if I could tell the difference. My Dad lurked in the background in that way only a Sri Lankan Dad can do, making those "pffff" noises of pretend disinterest.

I don't like to brag but I had thrashed him at Carrom an hour before and he was still reeling from that. In one game I had actually potted all my seeds and won and he was left with all his nine on the board, but I don't want to talk about it.

There were some nerves present in this water challenge, all mine. If I lost I would face about ten, perhaps fifteen, years of taunting from my Mum, she's kind like that. And I didn't even know if I could taste the difference between the waters. The rules had been established. She would present me with two glasses, one of tap water and one of Evian. They were equally cold. I would taste each one and try to identify the fluids. This would be done three times.

The first two glasses were laid down on the table. I don't want to boast but it was the same table on which the Carrom board, the scene of a massive victory for me against my Dad, had been placed earlier.

The tension was high, you could have cut it with your fingers, if you're someone who eats with your fingers. I lifted up one glass and smelled it. I lifted up the other one and did the same. It was an unfortunate time to make the discovery that water doesn't really smell of anything, except maybe gas, before the stuff is put into the gas to make it smell like gas. I soldiered on, not that many soldiers get involved in water tasting issues.

I took a swig from the right hand glass. I did the thing that wine buffs do, swirling it around my mouth and looking like an idiot. I resisted the urge to spit it out on the carpet. I swallowed, that's the type of man I am.

Then I tasted the other glass. I was pleased and amazed as I squinted at my leering Mother. I was amazed because I could taste a massive difference between the two waters. That bit was good, but it was followed by the bad bit. I may as well have been tasting a glass of milk compared to one of Coke, seriously the difference was that big. But, the bad news, or the good news, depending on whether you support me or my Mum in this fierce battle, was that I hadn't the faintest idea which water was which.

I tasted both again and vaguely detected some sort of metallic taste in one. In the dark recesses of my mind, just behind the fantasies about the Slave 4 U video and the missing drummer, I remembered that I've always thought the tap water in these parts has a certain metalness to it. Rather like Nickelback or Def Leppard, just that very slight hint of metal.

I made the call. The glass on the right was tap water and the left one was the Evian, depending on whether you were on my side or the other side of the glasses.

My Mum wouldn't reveal the answer until I had gone through the next two rounds. They were easy, providing I had succeeded in the first stage I knew I would have got through the other two. I could identify the different tastes readily but it was all or nothing.

We came to the scoring section. My Mum, through gritted teeth, told me that I had got each one....



.....CORRECT.

Phew. I was seriously pleased.

To think that I'm crap at swimming too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Advice For Dinidu

I read this post by Dinidu, all about being an activist, the different types of activist and why he wants to be one.

I guess, like most of us, I feel quite paternal towards Dinidu. Well most of us apart from those who feel maternal towards the fellow. And I have some advice for him about this activist business. I hope he listens to me and takes me seriously.

Don't do it Dinidu.

The world of activism may seem glamorous and full of rich rewards, indeed full of rich people, but they're the exception. I guess young chaps like Dinidu can get taken in by the illusion and swallowed up by the images they see.

Well Dinidu it's not like that for most people in that world of activism.

We all see Daniel Craig as James Bond, Brad and Angelina and the Al Pacinos of the industry. They make millions and live the lifestyle, filling the pages of the glossy magazines and getting photographed everywhere they go. They get to sleep with each other, marry each other and then have celebrity divorces. Their tattoos are more famous and recognised than you and I am.

They make guest appearances in Friends and marry a cast member, they appear on the West End stage in a dodgy play just because they want to.

But they really are the tip of the iceberg.

Most activists struggle to make ends meet. They work in crappy jobs in between auditions for parts they'll never get. They do this until they're about forty, which is really fifty but they have to lie about their age, then they end up in a dead end job because they're too old.

So Din, do something worthwhile, like campaigning for the rights of underprivileged people. Perhaps use your intelligence and brain power to bring about social or political change.

Stop this idea of being a thespian immediately. It's not natural for a start.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thanks For The Lesson DD

I read this quite brilliantly interesting post by DD the other day and learned some good quality knowledge.

The first thing I learned was about DD's shopping habits. A tad metrosexual if you ask me. The Bodyshop things, the cotton buds and the honey and ginger shampoos are all a bit suspicious, though I know there are girls involved in DD's household so they may well be the cause of this.

The second bit of knowledge gleaned was about DD's haemorrhoids. I'm not one to disclose the secrets of others but, as he's now blogged about it, I figure it's okay. Yes, old DD went and bought three packets of Farmer Giles cream. That's a serious case. If I bump into DD on a London street I'll be sure to walk a fair distance behind him. Keep clear and don't give him a friendly pat on the bum is my advice.

The third thing I learned was something I'm slightly ashamed and embarrassed about. You see, for as long as I can remember I've been keenly interested in the workings of the brain. I've read up on many aspects of the old grey matter, from psychology to the different types of intelligence. I don't claim to be an expert, just a chap who's fascinated and captivated by these things.

If you're in need of even the mildest form of brain surgery then I'm not the person to come to. I might be able to write a slightly humorous blog post about it afterwards or bash out a half decent groove on the operating table while the Doctors are doing their thing, but that's about it.

However, start a conversation about brains, minds and intelligence and I'll be first in the queue to buy tickets and listen to the experts.

So, back to DD's post. I read his bit about the left brain and the right brain. It was something I already knew but wait, I thought, he's only gone and got it the wrong way around. He said that the right brain is:

"Random, Intuitive, Holistic, Synthesizing, Subjective, Looks at wholes."

and the left brain is:

"Logical, Sequential, Rational, Analytical, Objective, Looks at parts."

Now, for many years I've "known" that the right brain is the logical bit, the one that deals in objective and analytical what nots. The right brain is what accountants have bulging out of their ears because it's so massive and dominant. Not to mention the fact that DD spelt "holes" wrong and went and put a W in front of it, but I shan't mention that.

I've also known that the left brain is the more creative and arty side. It's the part of the brain that is all about creativity and feelings, emotions and gut feelings. It's the side that's dominant in photographers and painters, in brilliant musicians and even some guitarists.

I'd gone through the last fifteen years with the knowledge that all my life I'd developed and pushed my right brain, the logical side. It was only once I started playing the drums that I discovered the joy I get from using my arty and creative left brain and thought that I'd found my vocation.

I did the only logical thing. I googled "left and right brain" to find out for sure. DD's post was informative and interesting but I had to let him know his mistake, purely for invalidation purposes.

Of course, as I bet you know already, my googling showed that DD was indeed correct, that for all this time I had got it the wrong way around. Indeed the right side of the brain is the arty and creative part, the section that looks at holes. The left side is the logical and objective and rather boring part. I stood corrected.

Unless of course, my own brain has been installed the other way around. It could explain many things, particularly my propensity to talk out of my arse.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cars And Girls And Men

I like cars and I like driving. I always have liked them. Some of my earliest memories are of playing cars in sandpits and of building garages out of toy bricks and various drums that were scattered around the house.

Sadly, to this day, I can recall just about every number plate of each of my parents' cars. I can tell you that the white VW Variant they bought when I was about six was JLM 929K and so on. It might be one of my more boring posts if I list the number plates of all their cars though, I'm just giving you an example to illustrate things, to paint a picture, a car shaped one.

And I should probably apologise to women and hairdressers before I write this, but it's an indisputable fact to me that there are some cars that are man's cars and some that are womens' ones. Here they are:

The new Mini - A car of both sexes. The brilliantly designed machine looks good worn by men or women. Even though it's small and quaint it's good for both genders.

The new Beetle - A woman's car through and through. It's not that different to the new Mini in many ways. It's retro and a new version of a much loved old favourite. It's funky and it's German, which might be oxymoronic. But, it's a woman's car. This may well be because of the curves in the bodywork, of the car not the driver.

The old Mini and the old Beetle - Both sexes. Though these will probably be favoured by people who are more into form than function either one of the original types of these can be driven happily by boys or girls.

Porsche 911 - This car, the design icon that it is, is a man's car all the way. It might have the curves and grace of a supermodel but it's built for men and needs to be driven by men, real men like sportsmen and celebrity chefs, not musicians or creatives.

Audi TT - This is a funny thing. It's a sports car, with looks that I can only describe as sexy. In so many ways it looks like the 911, yet it's a woman's car, albeit the car of a woman most men wouldn't mess with. The man who drives one of these is a bit too much in touch with his feminine side. The woman who drives one has a feminine side all men would love to get in touch with.

Audi A4 Convertible - It's one for the ladies. Perhaps it's a hangover from all the paparazzi photographs of Princess Diana driving around London in her one in the 80s. I don't know but it's weird when you compare it to the car below.

BMW 3 Series Convertible - It's a man's car. The reasons fox me. It's so similar to the A4 in price, in performance and in looks, but it's just fact. A man looks quite at home in one of these. A woman looks disjointed, as if her Z3 is being serviced and she got given one of these for the dy by the garage.

BMW Z3 - Sorry but it is a woman's car. It's the curves and those air intake things one the sides. There's something about it that makes it unsuitable for men, even though they can be fast and mean and you can get one with an M badge on.

BMW Z4 - This machine, on the other hand, is for boys and men. As Good Charlotte said "Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money" or something. Well this is the car for the men that want speed and style. It's shouts masculine things as you walk past one, it roars at you with a throatiness in its voice and it's got a long bonnet. If it were a man it would act in porn films.

New Fiat 500 - These are becoming hugely popular here in London and it has to be said, they're great cars for both sexes. Breasts or a penis, it matters not which adornment you have, you can happily drive a new fiat 500 with either and all will look good and stylish.

Range Rover - I was watching an upper class looking woman driving one of these a few days ago and realised that this is enigmatic car. It's big, it's powerful and it's got manly lines and masculine hunks of body panel. It should really be a men only car. It's not though. Women, those of the horsey stature, can look perfectly at home in one of these. Maybe the sort of woman who could use her bare hands to hold open one of those bear traps while you get your leg out, but she'd still be glamorous and give you a damn good seeing to after she'd taken you home.

Mazda MX5 (Miata) - I probably shouldn't even list this here as it's too obvious but it doesn't matter what type of powerful engine they chuck in one of these or what bodykit is attached at minimal cost. It's a hairdresser's car and that's final.

It's Monday, have a great week all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Picture Of The Moment


I love a photograph that shows layers of atmosphere. This one, by Sebastian Posingis, does exactly that, in more than one way. The shades of grey and brown tones and the sun just about to pop up from behind the peak make for a scene I could stare at for hours. I probably will.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Kottu Of Sri Lankan Bloggers

Okay, I can hardly claim that as my own invention for one of those collective things but I have been thinking of some others:

A roll of drummers

A chapter of writers

A horn of Sri Lankan drivers

A bed of sarongs

A husk of coconuts

A den of Dinidus

A Colombo of one way streets

Any more for any more?

Photo Of The Moment

I was poking around in the workings of LLD the other day, trying to find ways of brightening it up visually. I've often considered what makes a blog interesting to look at from a purely aesthetic angle, which is an angle greater than ninety degrees I believe.

One has to decide exactly where to draw the line between familiarity and innovationiveness (my word). For, on the one hand, people like to feel familiar with the look of a blog. I know this from my own feelings about the blogs I regularly read. It's comforting to feel that a blog, or the appearance of it, is like an old friend and that I know what I'm going to get.

But on the other hand some change is good, just not too drastic and too radical. I don't want to visit one of my regulars and have to hunt around everyday to find the new postion for the comment button, but I like an occasional new colour scheme or the blog equivalent of a new pair of jeans, but worn with old faded boots.

I digress. There I was, peering, perusing and pondering at the look of this blog. Shall I change the colour scheme? Should I do something more drastic and change the layout altogether? I experimented with a new feature I found by which I'm able to chuck a photograph behind the blog title. I don't know if you saw it but it didn't work for me. I thought it looked okay but slowed down the loading and meant that one had to scroll down almost a whole screen's worth to get to the first post. So that concept got fired, for the time being at least.

But the added bit of colour and light pushed some buttons within me, not the Britney or Jen buttons but other ones. They've resulted in my new little feature, one that I've cunningly called

"Photo Of The Moment".

It's a clever title, quite catchy and self explanatory. It's a photograph, of the moment. Whether that moment is the current hour, day or decade I'm just going to chuck images that I like up there. I started with one of my own, not because it's good or anything, just that I quite like it and I wanted to get the permission from proper photographers before I start to use their images.

The thing is that I intend to put up those pictures that give me that butterflies in the tummy feeling that a truly great photograph can do. It's not neccesarily about technically brilliant ones, more about an image that excites me. So, if you're a photographer who specialises in capturing images of drums, then you may be featured heavily.

That's it really, I just thought I'd tell you about it. The first "proper" one will be up in a day or two. I'll be interested to know anyone's thoughts on the idea. Also, what are your thoughts about changing the appearance of one of your regular blogs?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Most Ghost Posts And Erotic Blog Mirrors

I got into work yesterday morning and went through my usual routine. A strange choice of words that really isn't it? "Usual routine". Well, a routine can hardly be unusual, or can it?

But I was surprised to see two blog posts, one by Kalusudda and one by Cerno, both of which were listed but not available. They're back now and you've probably read them already but what exactly happened to them in this twilight period? Were they stolen by hackers? Did the esteemed writers withdraw them to make changes as they were unhappy with the content? Hmmm... these things bother me.

And also, what happens when I write a post that mentions Kalusudda? If he reads it and comments on it then I assume he might mention the fact on his blog. Then we could end up caught in some kind of blogging version of a hall of mirrors. Comment, post, comment, post backwards and forwards like a tennis match, only with no viewers. It could get mad.

Today is a gig night, the past week has been a gig and music week of variety and enjoyment and I've got several blog posts stored in draft draft draft mode.

Draft mode is when I've written a post and saved it in blogger as a draft. Draft draft mode is when I've jotted down some vague plan, a mindmap or just some words on a bit of paper somewhere. Draft draft draft mode is when I've had an idea and it hasn't escaped outside the confines of my head.

And in the Rhythmic head, in that very vague way, are three separate posts linked by music and gigs. There's one about going to see the Ting Tings last Thursday. It was a brilliant gig, in a brilliant pop / rock fun gig type of way. I suspect Aretha Franklin won't be feeling threatened by the girl's singing abilities and I don't think Taylor Hawkins will be worried about the drum throne in the Foos suddenly being filled by the Ting Tings bloke. But, they were superb and the bloke could drum rings round me any day.

Then there's the post about the gig the day after. This was Billy Cobham and Asere, who many Sri Lankan readers may have seen at WOMAD in Lanka. The contrast between the two gigs on consecutive nights couldn't have been greater. Watching Mr Cobham and Asere was like a religious experience for me. As Academic Bro pointed out this may have been partly because it was in an old church. I met Mr Cobham, got my picture taken with him and couldn't help acting like a teenage girl meeting Justin Timberland or one of the cast of High School Musifuckingcal. It was all I could do to get some words out of my mouth instead of just dribble.

The last one in draft to the power of three mode is about my own music.

There's been a band practice on Monday in which I had to play softly. Playing softly for a drummer is surprisingly hard. Well, it's hard to make things feel good when the drums are played softly at least. We ran through the set for tonight's gig and there'll be four new songs to be played in all their splendour.

I'm excited about the gig. The place should be pretty full with punters and we're now a good band. My drums have got new heads on them and look clean and sparkly too.

And all of these posts my still come out at some point in the near future.

But, as a last thought can you imagine what would happen if Soixante Neuf ever slept with Kinkypinky?

The effect on the Sri Lankan blogosphere would be slightly massive wouldn't it? I shiver at the thought of the posts, the comments and the excitement that would result.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A B(l)og Post - The Intelligent Toilet

Well you know I've been living at the 'rents house for some weeks now, settling in like a dream and finding things as mixed and contrasting as a night out with Dinidu and a group of gay Christians who like a bit of violence in their spare time.

The food is continually astounding, it's rice and curry almost every night and even the "western" food, a term I use with the looseness of the Sri Lankan highway code's chapter on how to use a roundabout, tastes like Sri Lankan food. My Mum does my washing and tries her hand at ironing my shirts, though ironing's not up there at the top of her list of talents so I tend to have to iron them again, particularly if I intend to wear them.

I've got a kind of privacy as well, my own area on the ground floor with a bedroom, bathroom, TV and small sitting room complete with my practice drum kit. I suppose it's a bit like having your "private" section while travelling on a plane, only your section has got glass walls, so it's private but in a confusing and complicated way.

All in all the positives are plentiful and I'm very grateful that in this time of need I've got the option to live there for a while.

But the negatives, oh the negatives, are tough going at times too. My lifestyle is suddenly under a microscope, quite literally at times as my Dad owns several hundred of the things and they're scattered around in various locations. A couple of weeks ago I was the recipient of a mini lecture from the old man on why all mineral water is a waste of money. He gave me this valuable information in that tone. You know, the one that sounds as if he's passing on a secret that was passed down to him by his Father and should never be told to anyone outside the family.

I faced a cross examination that would have made Barrack Obama turn into a snivelling shadow of his confident self when my Mum asked me what the white box in the bathroom was. I had to break it to her that it is a box of moist arse wipes, which are arse wipes that are moist, not wipes made for moist arses. I reckon the conversation when I told them I was getting divorced was much easier. That time I didn't have to explain why I didn't want to use the dodgy shower head arse douche type thing they'd installed or why toilet paper on its own doesn't always do it for me.

A few days later I was their version of a war criminal who has violated every human right ever invented and then stolen three Mars Bars from the local shop without paying for them, all while parked on a single yellow line. My crime? I suggested that I throw away an already three day old cooked chicken wing that was left in its tin foil on the dining table after dinner. I promise you it wasn't me being extravagant or wasteful, a Sri Lankan crow would have swooped in, looked at the chicken wing and rejected it for lack of meat before flying off to annoy some white tourists.

But my suggestion was met with those gasps of dismay that Sri Lankan parents are so good at. Gasps that had hundreds of words and thoughts behind them but were never actually spoken. The words and thoughts were things like:

"What have we brought him up to be?" and "How did we fail so spectacularly in our parental duties?" and others.

Meanwhile in my head were the thoughts:

"Fuck, fuck, fuck. Why did I make such a stupid suggestion? Why did I forget rule number one and just let my mouth work before thinking?" Rule number one, as you know, is never to suggest throwing away food, or pretty much throwing away anything for that matter, or even to suggest anything to be honest.

The biggest puzzler is my bathroom, well specifically my toilet. It's sort of my own bathroom, in that it's located in my area and rarely, though sometimes, used by other passers by. It used to be my bathroom when I was a teenager and lived there but I think it must have got smaller since then. I know, with the certainty of a bear strolling into some woods while carrying a pack of Andrex moist wipes, that I haven't got any bigger since my teenage years. Us Sri Lankans don't, we just get smaller.

This bathroom is like the average aircraft one with the addition of a shower cubicle. I stand in position and pee, I turn clockwise ninety degrees and use the sink and then, if I turn clockwise another one hundred and eighty degrees then take one step forwards, I'm in the shower. Come to think of it, it's the perfect bathroom for skateboarders. They originally built the bathroom and the whole flat for my Grandmother, but I can't remember her skateboarding.

The toilet, the main subject of this post, is like a phenomenon, a legend in its own lifetime. You see, this toilet is quite modern and has all the working parts needed to be the quintessential toilet about town. It's perfectly comfortable (for anyone under about 5 feet tall), the lid doesn't slam down as you're peeing and it has a good and powerful flush.

Almost.

You see, with this toilet, no matter what you do, how you flush it or how many sheets of paper you use in the wiping, it never, and I mean never, manages to get rid of the last piece of paper you used. It doesn't matter what type of poo you've done. It can be a ghost and you may have only used one sheet, just to check when all along you knew you needn't have. It might have been a two flushes type of clingon that needed a small rainforest's worth of paper. It matters not.

This toilet, which must have some kind of brain built into it, knows all. You can use normal paper or moist paper, or (my personal favourite) a cunning mixture of both and it matters not in the slightest. The toilet knows. You can do a short flush, a normal one or one of those extended ones that you're not supposed to do when there's a water shortage. And, you've guessed it, the toilet knows.

It just happens, like gravity or one of those other laws of nature. No matter what you do the last sheet stays there defiantly. I've thought about unfurling a whole toilet roll and then winding it back on the roll so that the first piece is the last one. But there's no point, the toilet would know, it's that intelligent. I've thought about throwing the last piece elsewhere, but it would be useless, perhaps a bit unhygienic too.

It kind of unnerves a fellow you know. To sit on a toilet and know that it's got a mind of its own, that it's quietly thinking in the background as you go about doing your business.

I just hope it can't read and access the internet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kottu The Ghost Town

It's been well documented by Indi but Kottu's like one of those ghost towns right now isn't it?

Whenever I look at it all I see is one post entitled "What's wrong with living together?", some nice Sri Lankan photographs and the list of blogs running down the right hand side. Then, as if to turn the knife in the wound, there's the message from Indi to tell me that the server is overloaded and to ask me to excuse any hiccups. I don't know if that's what everyone sees, but it's my current Kottu.

Only a few days ago it was a busy and bustling town. There were people and posts everywhere. Noise and the flurry of activity was incessant as bloggers got on with their thing, writing about their lives, their loves and their hates. Fellows moaned about girls and girls droned on about boys, others waxed lyrically about the perils and problems of Sri Lanka today.

Trainee and trained journalists practiced their art and world class photographers showcased their latest pictures. Hell, even politicians used Kottu to publicise their views and themselves. Well at least one did.

The shadow of Kottu that remains shows us, as if we didn't know, that sex sells. Kinkypinky and 6 feature heavily in the most read blogs or posts and Lady Divine's post about booze and virginity tops the monthly chart. It's funny how we take things for granted, how we all got on with our little blogs and just expected Kottu to be there to syndicate them in the background.

Each time I glance at it I feel like one of those chaps who has left his home town as a teenager and returned many years later to find it deserted, maybe with a few old people strolling around and a dog or two. This is not to be confused with finding a town desserted, when everything's coated in Chocolate biscuit pudding and Wattalapam, perhaps with some trifle too. You may think that the only difference is an "s" but it's not that simple at all.

I'd offer my help to Indi but my knowledge of code is about as good as my knowledge of women and how to make them happy.

Come back Kottu, we miss you.

Moving On

More often than not, when I'm hovering over that precipice, the one about whether I should or shouldn't do a post about a particular something, I decide to go ahead and write the post. This is no exception, unless I actually don't go ahead and hit the publish button when I'm done.

After all the detail, the turmoil, the anger and the hurt. After the mess and the shock and the guilt and the sadness, the positivity and the happiness, the solicitors and the bills it looks as though things are finally coming to the biggest sort of close.

Yes, the former family home has been sold, completion is due on the 31st of this month and my ex and my daughters will be moving to their new house. I don't think there's ever a thick black line that can be drawn under a marriage when there are children involved but this is definitely a thickish one in fairly dark gray.

It's over a year since I first moved out of the house and cleared out most of my things, but there were still many things there that my ex and I had collected over our almost twenty years together. There were photograph albums, books, CDs and general bric a brac that people build up over the years. All of it has to be sifted through and given a "home", whether that home is her new place, my new place or a rubbish tip.

I spent most of Sunday doing that. And it was sad. And it was happy.

Going through old photographs. What is it about old photographs that we can't resist? I glanced at the contents of a couple of boxes and caught images of the girls when they were babies. I saw one set that showed A's third birthday party. K, at the age of about ten months, was crawling around in bare feet in a Barefoot baby's dress thing.

I saw pictures of family holidays, lots in Sri Lanka. Of the Elephant gathering in Minneriya, still one of the most awe inspiring events I've witnessed. There were snaps of the girls in Poland in the snow, throwing snowballs and wearing scarves, hats and gloves.

Sorting through my CDs was strange. Some of them bring back memories. I'm lucky in that my ex was never into music in the way I am, so most of them are mine anyway. But it felt poignant to pull out the ones that the girls own and to hand them over, kind of like dishing out memories. There you go, that one's yours, this one's mine. So many of them brought back the memories of times past. They reminded me of all that we've been through, of how much the girls have had to grow up so quickly and of how much we've changed.

Britney's greatest hits. They listened to it constantly for so long and they wouldn't dream of listening to it now. But A still insisted on keeping it. It meant something to her. She took the Muse live CD and I put up a bit of a fake fight. I know that she loves Muse and we went to see them together, post separation but still it was us.

Black Eyed Peas, the album that opens with the Pulp Fiction song remixed and rapped over. I think it's called "Pump it". I recalled how me and the girls would listen to it as we washed and cleared up the dinner stuff. Every night for weeks, until we got bored and moved on.

Somewhere in a box I found an old bit of schoolwork done by A when she was much younger. I don't know exactly when but it was called "My Dad".

She wrote about her Dad being cool because he plays the drums, how kind he was because he thinks of others like the rest of his family and of how much she loves him. She calls him the best Dad in the world. It's now sitting on my bedside table. I look at it and it gives me hope that she'll like me again one day. Sometimes it's the waiting that's the hardest part.

As I drove back to the 'rents place the sun was out but getting low in the sky. The colours on the trees are stunning reds, oranges, browns and yellows right now. Almost every other tree looks like a coffee table picture waiting to be taken, as long as your coffee table is red, yellow, brown or orange. Or maybe just plain glass.

I contemplated getting my camera and driving back to Richmond and the riverside to take some pictures myself but decided not to. I decided to savour and enjoy the moment as it was, to use my eyes, my ears and my other senses.

I looked with wonder at the very English sun shining through the very English Autumn leaves. I turned up the music so loud that it shook me, it was Starlight by Muse and it shook me in many ways. I put my foot down and accelerated, feeling the seat push into my back and hearing the engine do its thing.

I laughed out aloud.

Life moves on. Change happens and we deal with things in our own way.

The next chapter is about to start.

For everyone.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cor Blimey Guvnor - Number 701

While perusing at the inner workings of LLD, which frankly are merely a load of draft posts and some bits and pieces about layouts and things, I noticed a statistic lurking in a corner that surprised me. It was crouching rather meekly in the corner with a shy but "look at me I'm so special" demeanour.

I like statistics, though I have one foot firmly planted in the camp that thinks 98% of all statistics are rubbish. They can be used for prediction and forecasting and I've even got an 'O' level in the subject, though I can't say there's much call for a drummer with a stats 'O' level these days. I'm also a firm believer that the past isn't necessarily an indication of the future.

Sure, if every time you hit me on the right ear my left foot twitches and I fart, then it's quite likely that it'll happen next time, but it's not always the case. It's also quite likely I'll just fart without being hit in the right ear. If a fellow burst into my office with a gun and forced me to write down my five hobbies I reckon farting would be in at about number four.

The statistic that jumped out and grabbed me with the surprise and stealth of a Sri Lankan tuk tuk driver appearing at the door of a 5 star hotel just as I leave was the fact that I've written seven hundred posts on my blog. This absofuckinglutely astounded me, though I'm unsure if it includes draft posts or just ones that have been published.

Like a Sri Lankan wedding, it's all relative, but seven hundred is a large number. Not, I suppose if you compare seven hundred years with the age of the solar system, or if you were a seemingly respected member of a country's upper eschelon and you swindled lots of people for a total of seven hundred Rupees. That would be a piss poor performance and probably get you thrown out of the conman's club. Seven hundred blog posts, for me, on a blog that I started to do on a bit of a whim is quite big.

I won't bore you with details you either know already or just don't care about, well maybe a few, but I started to do this blog just to see what would happen and now I suppose I've done quite a bit of writing. If they were printed out the posts would take up a not inconsiderable amount of pages, unless I used a really tiny font size of course. It would be a crap one but, with the addition of some cartoony line drawings or some evocative pictures of Sri Lanka and drumkits, my kids and touristy images of London landmarks, it might get up to a hundred pages or so.

But the thing is that I've come to quite enjoy this writing lark. I've read so many posts by the bloggers I admire and read regularly in which they write about their struggle to find inspiration, time or the inclination to come up with posts and it's not an issue I've faced. I think that's one of the benefits of not being a proper writer.

I have a faint recollection of being told how to write stories at school and I'm sure there was some sort of thing there about starting with a plan or a structure and then going from there, filling in the gaps so to speak. Well my plan for writing a post is just a little bit looser than that. Usually it involves starting with a title and a very, very vague subject that takes my fancy. Then I start and crap just flows.

I find that putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard as it is in this day and age, just spurs on the very act of writing. Sometimes I sit there and ponder on what to write about and get no response from my brain. But then, once I eventually think of the topic of the moment, usually things will flow, as long as I make that first step of writing something, just anything. Having teenage kids, a Sri Lankan family and a sense of humour as sharp as the pins that religious people all over the world are poking into their Dinidu De Alwis dolls also helps.

And here I am, seven hundred and three posts later, as I've written another two in draft since I started this. Since we first met all our lives have changed I guess, I know I've been through many big things, divorce easily being the biggest.

I hope you've enjoyed the ride and honestly, hand on heart and slightly girly and emotionally, I'd like to thank everyone who has read, commented, linked to and inspired me.

RD

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Something For The Weekend Sir

I read a comment on a Facebook wall that made me smile in that angelic way I do. It said:

"It's de javu (sic) all over again..."

Does that mean that the fellow had already had one deja vu and was now having another one? Or had he felt as if he'd had a deja vu before and was now doing the thing?

Bloody confusing when you think about it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Anything Cerno Can Post.....

Cerno's drumming monkey is okay, as drumming monkeys go, and they do!

Here's another one:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lately In The Sri Lankan Blogosphere...

It's been a while, but since I've started blogging I don't think I've seen things as quiet as they are at the moment, in the Sri Lankan blogosphere at least.

It's as if most of my regular haunts have decided to shut down and only post very, very infrequently. Maybe it's part and parcel of having a blog, that people do it for a while and then get a bit bored or just lose the desire to continue. Perhaps inspiration is in short supply these days, maybe the cost of living in Sri Lanka is so high that inspiration is way down the list of items to be purchased. Who knows?

But there has been activity and some of it has been interesting, a lot of it has been interesting in a highly sex based way, thanks the to new kid on the block, a certain Miss Soixante Neuf. I've written about her and I'm one of many whose interest, as well as other things, has been aroused by her sexual memoirs.

Dinidu's gone and caused a bit of a stir. Nothing big really, he just wrote something that would probably offend anyone in the world who holds any religious beliefs whatsoever. He says that he thinks those who practice a religion are:

"for the lack of a more diplomatic work (sic), stupid."

and this has kicked off an avalanche of comments, if "avalanche" is the right collective term for comments that is. Now I like Dinidu, I like his blog and I would consider him as a friend. But frankly his comment is, in my opinion, stupid. That doesn't mean that I think that Dinidu's stupid, not in the least. I think he's as bright as a button, but his comment and his thinking on that particular issue is stupid.

He has a right to be an atheist, I just find it hypocritical that a person who is a sexual rights activist, which I assume means that he fights for the rights of gay people, can make and believe a statement like that. Presumably Dinidu's all for tolerance unless you're religious, in which case you're stupid. Am I just being all mature and uncontroversial when I say that yes, religion has caused wars, death and volcanoes? It's also brought lots of happiness to many people and caused good things, like Father Ted for one. But people who practice a religion are stupid???!! I don't think so Dinidu. I was joking about the volcanoes by the way. As a rule I don't generalise.

The Missing Sandwich has been going through a poetry phase in recent days. She's worried that the ability to write prose has left her for good and writes one of her brilliantly worded posts to tell us about the worry. If Alanis hadn't totally fucked up my idea of it I'd probably think there was irony in that.

Java reports a heartbreaking story. It's yet another example of some people putting short term profit before the environment. It's in Sri Lanka, but it needn't be, there'll be one of these scenarios going on right next door to you wherever in the world you're reading this from.

Lord Cerno of Cernosville has been churning out his usual eclectic mix of posts. You won't be surprised that my attention was kidnapped by his one about the drumming Gorilla. I don't know about you but I'm never sure whether to write the name of an animal with a capital letter or not. I don't mean "Gerald" as in the Not the Nine o'clock News. I mean "Gorilla" or "gorilla". I think it's the variety in Cerno's blog that I love so much. One day it's that post about that (G)gorilla and the drums and immediately after there's one about building unmanned aerial vehicles in Sri Lanka. His mind really is like a fart trapped in a collander.

Over in Portrait land Electra complains about too many friend requests on Facebook. I understand her problem, I have a similar thing in real life. Oh no, I don't, that was a dream, now I remember. Those lines between reality and dreams get so blurry sometimes.

In Glasgow Darwin's been doing a few things. Firstly she's fallen head over heels for a Mexican, mostly because of his fondness for cleaning. Now we know how to get into everyone's favourite parachutist's erm, good books, just take along a cloth and some disinfectant. She's also been playing in the playground and getting all youthful. She's lucky that she's a woman. If it were a strapping young man like me who had done the same things there'd be a load of worried mothers warning their kids to stay away from me and calling the Police.

Over the pond T has been fruit picking. She's kindly posted a photograph of her lovely pair of peaches for all to see. Worth a look lads, I tell you.

Sach's review of the Thriloka and more gig at Barefoot made me pine for Colombo like one of those dogs locked in a room and forced to listen to a guitarist practicing Sweet Child Of Mine. I've heard from many people about how brilliant Thriloka and the older chaps were and I'm left with even more love for Shiraaz than I had to start with, in a manly hetero drummer's way of course, not that I think gay people are stupid or anything mind.

That's about it for now, at least in terms of my regulars. On a final note I'm missing Kalusudda . I don't know where he's got to. He went away with old Mrs Kalusudda and young Miss Fukuoka, fell down a mountain and survived to blog about it and now he's disappeared without telling us.

Come back Kalu, we miss you. I'm a fan and I think it's interesting to watch how his blog is developing. It started as a very factual record of the blogs he has visited and commented on and it's developed into a mix of that plus a blog about his life and times too. Very different and very captivating.

Have a nice weekend all. I'm off to see the Ting Tings tonight and Billy Cobham tomorrow. It's a drumfest in these parts!

RD

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Absofuckinglutely!

Swearing isn't good is it?

Oh yes it is, when used in the right context and with the right people it can be a wonderful way to add some emotion or depth into a sentence or phrase. I think I probably swear too much in conversation. I throw in a "fuck" or "fucking" a bit too often for comfort, even my own. I'm okay chatting to a vicar though or a Sri Lankan Aunt, it's not that I swear as though I know no better and need to be kept away from posh people or something.

And since I've started blogging my use of swear words in conversation has reduced too, a natural result of my mind's continual search for new words as I scribble posts. I write, think about nouns, adjectives and those other word types; prochems or something, and I try to think of which ones to use instead of a swear word. Sometimes it's really fucking hard, I tell you.

Occasionally the insertion of a little touch of profanity is justified and essential. A bit like watching Kill Bill or just about any other Tarantino film. The violence, though graphic and strong, is always a big and vital part of the film, it's never gratuitous or unnecessary. Let's face it, we expect Uma Thurman to call someone a "cocksucking bitch" but Harry Potter would get a month of detentions at Hogwarts if he uttered similar things, no matter what evil he was facing at the time.

The other day I was reminded of a word that is quite probably my favourite one of the moment. It rings in my head, I use it when I can and it has a hint of dichotomy about itself. It's that beauty above, and below now;

"Absofuckinglutely".

As Stevie Wonder would say, though he probably won't be reading this post, isn't she lovely.

I like the pure sound of it, the way the vowels and consonants blend feels like a little drum groove to me. I like the way, as you say it in your head, that the emphasis falls automatically on the "fuck" and all the other syllables are that bit flatter. It's as if you're listening to a radio and the volume's suddenly turned up just for that one syllable.

The bit I like most is its extremeness, or perhaps that should be extremity. If something is absolute then it's an extreme in its own right. Absolute zero is the lowest temperature possible, absolute black is total lack of light and a Sri Lankan mother who's absolutely livid is the most dangerous thing in all existence.

Absofuckinglutely adds a little bit of sugar and spice, of drama and tension to an already strong word. The addition of the f word in the middle of it is like telling Peter Sellers as Clousseau to ham up the French accent a bit, to make it a bit more French sounding, perhaps a little bit funnier. I suppose if we used the English language correctly there'd be little need for the word, as using "absolutely" on its own would suffice.

Complaining about its use is about as effective as moaning about those people who talk about "giving 110%", which is possible in many ways, particularly if you're talking about money or something, but absofuckinglutely impossible in terms of giving effort. Who cares though?

As far as I'm concerned a swear word or two is a little bundle of joy if it's used in the right context and with the right degree of sparsity. And of course, there's nothing sexier than a slightly posh woman chucking in an unexpected "fuck" at the appropriate time.

I think I'm going to give my award for word of the month to the aforementioned combination of vowels and consonants. I won't type it again for fear of overuse, but you know what it is.

Now go out there on the streets and use it as much as possible.

But sparsely.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting Old

On Wednesday evening I took my lovable fourteen year old bag of female hormones, teenage moodiness and angst along to "interview" a new potential drum teacher.

She's been playing the drums since about a year before she could understand the sentence "Wouldn't you like to learn the drums?" and is now pretty good at it, even if I say it myself.

All parents agree that there's nothing worse than those pushy parents who try to push their dreams onto their kids but they'll all agree that it's different when your own child shows the tiniest, slightest and littlest hint of passing interest in something that you love yourself. It's other parents that are the problem.

I'm a bashful sort of chap as you know, but over the years I've come to the conclusion that teaching and training isn't one of my fortes. I can muddle through if the pupil is a staff member who might be scared of me or of being fired or if they're actually keen to learn. Give me one of my own daughters to teach something to and I'm about as useful as a g string on Koluu.

This has meant that over the years, after I tried to show A (14 yr old) the basics, she has had drum lessons with other people. My role is to help with homework, drum up enthusiasm and try to keep her motivated and interested in music and drumming.

So there we were. Outside a new potential teacher whose name I hadn't heard of. It had been arranged my A's mother and I was dubious of the fellow's credentials as a drum teacher. Well, when I say "dubious" I mean I didn't think he had any credentials, unless a pair of sticks counts.

I knocked on the door of credentialess' flat and he opened it. He had blonde wispy hair and a blonde wispy beard, the kind of beard that blokes grow when they first experience some facial hair, just because they can. I did the introductions and he mumbled and grunted a few things. He seemed nice enough in a twenty years younger than me sort of way as he led us to his drum room.

I asked him some questions about his drumming, his teaching and his credibility as a drum teacher but couldn't help feeling guilty. He had that look as if he might just break down in tears at any moment and I refrained from asking anything that he might deem as a bit tough. I had found out enough to think that he had a good dollop of knowledge and that his approach to teaching kids was reasonable. He told me and A a bit about things and started a sort of trial lesson, as much for him to assess A as it was for us to assess him.

After several minutes of three of us trying to fit in a room about the size of Dinidu's wallet I gallantly suggested that I should slope off somewhere and leave them to it. The speed and force of A's answer took me surprise. I'd expected something like

"No Dad you stay there", perhaps giving me that look that kids give to a parent when they need support or comfort.

My question of "would you prefer it if I left you two to it?"

was met with a resounding "yes" from A as soon as I got to the L in left.

All the wisdom of twenty and a bit years clearly hadn't given the drum teacher the skills to deal with this complex scenario. He looked confused and had that scrunched up face like George W Bush trying to remember how to spell Mississippi. Evidently this was a situation that was new to him, like the beard. Experienced drum teachers have waiting rooms and piles of magazines or just callously tell the estranged parent to bugger off and come back in an hour. The kid was worried about me so kindly suggested I go in the other room and mix with his girlfriend.

I ambled into the room and said some casual words to the girlfriend. She told me that she was catching up with emails as she'd spent the day shopping but that she's usually a student. Then she offered me a coffee and the use of the Wii thing. She held up the steering wheel bit and asked if I'd like to play. The temptation to crack a double entendre based joke was strong, but I resisted. Instead I looked at it with the disdain you'd expect from me. I felt as if I was Jeeves being offered a job in McDonalds for a week or two and tried not to scoff outwardly as I declined.

I just sat there in the boyfriend's Wii armchair and pretended to be deep in thought. She had kindly given me the TV remote to channel surf with but I stared at the Simpsons and continued to portray that air of a mature but good looking young at heart father of her boyfriend's new student who was thinking about serious issues.

The real things happening inside my head were merely that I was straining to listen to the lesson A was having, which to be fair sounded good, and I was contemplating the idea of dashing out to my car to get the book I'd brought to read. After some brain usage I decided against the book dash idea. I figured that it would be awkward, maybe even rude, to run out and get it and to expect that I could come back and sit in front of her reading, but reading in the car would prevent me listening to A's lesson. The girlfriend was quite cute too, in that "damn I'm just way too old" way.

I kicked off the conversation and discovered that she was a student nurse. This just made me feel depressed and old. I went out with a student nurse some time ago and I know what they can be like. Sadly this really was some time ago and these days the only circumstances that would find me undressed in front of a student nurse would probably involve some sort of back pain from picking up a drumstick at the wrong angle or turning a page in a book a bit too quickly.

We conversed, I told her a bit about my theory of music personality and she pretended to listen with interest. In turn I pretended to listen to her while I tried to listen to the lesson taking place in the next room. Before I knew it the daughter (mine) and the drum teaching boyfriend (the student nurse's) emerged.

Us drummers are an abundant lot, which is part of my theory of music personality, but that's for another time. We're such a strange species that, put us together with another or some other drummers, and we chat away about tips, equipment and technique like there's no tomorrow. There's not much secrecy that goes on between us. So me and the drum teacher spent some minutes exchanging pleasantries about drum kits, cymbals, pedals and the like. At one point even Nursey (student) joined in.

Then we said our goodbyes, I told him I'd call about further lessons and off A and I went. I thought everyone was happy. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you'll know that, whenever I think everyone's happy, I'm usually wrong. This was another one of those times.

"So?" I said to A as we drove away.

"How was it?" I asked.

"Good, but don't EVER do that again Dad".

On a scale of one to ten for being stunned and surprised I must have been at about infinity plus seven.

"Don't ever do what again?" I asked.

"Don't talk to people like that as if you're one of us".

"Eh, what do you mean, one of us?"

"I mean don't pretend you're young, that's why I keep you away from my friends, it's embarrassing".

"But I wasn't, we were just talking about drum stuff, that's what drummers do".

"Just don't Dad, okay".

I let it lie, but I sulked for the rest of the journey.

Later on, over dinner, I moaned to K, the twelve year old about this. I thought her wisdom might shine through and help me. Through massive mouthfuls of rice she listened to me, then she listened to her older sibling's side of the story. Then she delivered her verdict. I prepared my mind so that I didn't gloat too much to A afterwards. The verdict came:

"It's no use Dad, there's just no point pretending you're young and hip like you never were in the first place".

Next time I'll read my book and stay in the car.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Coked Up And Eating Vadais

Whilst browsing through Kottu this post by The Whackster caught my eye. Ostensibly it was about food, Sri Lankan food, so it covered two of my specific areas of interest. I read it. I'm predictable like that.

Mr Whackster talks about the increasing price of vadais over the years. It's not one of my areas of expertise, not that I actually have any, but the price of vadais certainly isn't one. Simply because I don't live in Sri Lanka and I don't actually like the little lentil based chaps. I've gazed with curiosity at the prawn ones at the Galle Face for years, up until the "refurb". They always look nice with the three prawns lying there as if their sole reason for living was to be fried, placed in that position and eaten on a Sunday evening.

But I've never bought or even tried one of these isso vadais. Love prawns, not so keen on vadais, vut too doo?

Mr Whackster's main point is that the price of vadais could be a good thing to use as a measure of inflation and the cost of living in Sri Lanka. This sounds like a fine idea to me and his plan to get the Central Bank involved with a "vadai index" is one of the finest economic ideas I've ever heard.

In recent years, as a person who gets to visit the odd country or two, I've actually found my own benchmark that I use to measure the cost of living in a country, and I say this with total seriousness and sincerity; the price of a Coca Cola. Not the price of a Coke in a five star hotel in Colombo, where it will be about four times the "street" price, nor the price a fat American tourist wearing a British policeman's hat will pay for a can from a stall outside the Ritz, which would be considered a rip off even by the F+B manager of a five star hotel in Colombo. I'm talking about the real "street" price.

The rate you'll pay for a can, or bottle, from a roadside stall in Sri Lanka or from a newsagent or corner shop in London.

It's got to be Fat Coke too, not the Diet option and not Coke Zero. These variants don't yet qualify as basic food items in enough countries. In Sri Lanka, I believe, most of the Diet Coke is imported, usually from Singapore. I think it's not actually bottled and produced in Lanka yet, therefore is relatively high in price. It's only real Coke that's bottled in most countries.

Coke sits in the same level in the hierarchy of food and drink in each country as well. I have looked at other dietary items but they've all been rejected. Pepsi because it tastes like Pepsi and will always be the poor relative to me. Big Macs, KFC, Pizza Hut and other food items have, after extensive field trials, been rejected too. They sit in different positions in the hierarchy in different countries.

For example, here in London the price of a Big Mac is next to nothing and always has been. Yet last time I went to McDonalds in Lanka I was amazed that it was relatively expensive. Things may well have changed now but at the time a meal there cost a similar amount as a meal in a half decent restaurant. The bun tasted different too, as if there was more air in it.

KFC is different in every country I've sampled it in. The menus vary, you lot can have that KFC buriyani, the thought of which makes me salivate, we just get chicken, chips and, if it's after eleven o'clock at night, a high chance of being stabbed or beaten up. In that KFC in Majestic City the staff treat the customers with about as much respect as the customers here have to treat the staff if they want to get served. Yes, it's all different.

I'm sure other people use things for their own benchmarks. What are yours?

The vadai index would never work in the UK as a measure though. Prices here are artificially high as they're all bought by my Dad.

Good weekend all.

RD

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Is It Just My Dad?

Or does your one do this as well?

He's sitting in the front room, about fifteen feet away from me, watching the A Team. I can't see the TV from here but I really don't need to. I can hear BA complaining about flying and calling Murdoch a mad fool. I hear Murdoch flying a makeshift plane and doing a vague impression on an opera singer. God, he's mad isn't he?

The all action violin and horn based music is matching the tension and excitement on a heartbeat by heartbeat basis and there's the occasional sound of gunfire. It doesn't take a man of superior brainpower to work out that it's all kicking off in A Team land, the big fight scene is about to happen and all will end with Hannibal saying that thing about a plan coming together.

My Dad, being the all action Sri Lankan Dad that he is, or maybe just because he's strange rather than Sri Lankan, or perhaps both, has a habit, not like a nun's habit either.

He sits there quite happily, on his settee, and kind of twitches as the fight scenes unfold. As if he's dodging the bullets or trying to evade a fist flying in his direction. I hear a gunshot and watch him body swerve and twist his head to avoid the bullet. I hear a fist and see him breathe in sharply and flex his torso so the punch doesn't injure him. St Vitus would have nothing on him.

Dads. They're a bit mental aren't they?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Freedom Of The Backspace Key

Actually I write quite a lot, in different bits and pieces and different formats.

To start with I have a blog, I'm not sure if you know about it. It's an ongoing little bit of me that I update whenever I feel in the mood. I have no real aspirations for my blog, no goals for it to become the biggest thing since instant string hoppers, no dreams of getting so many readers that I can retire from "normal" work and live off the six figure income that I get from ads. The only stipulation that I have ever, well stipulated, for my blog is that I keep it positive.

Then I have a journal that is on my PC, a boring and long word document that I update whenever the mood has taken me. For many months the mood hasn't taken me. The thing sits there dormant on my hard drive like an ancient ceasefire agreement, fading into historic obscurity.

I also have a paper journal. I write in this when the mood takes me, this happens quite often. It's a total unedited and unabridged outpouring of my mind. I used to call it a diary but it's become more than "just" a diary. To me a diary is either one of those things in which you write your forthcoming appointments or it's a factual record of what you did yesterday. Samuel Pepys would probably disagree with me. My diary became a journal when I noticed that I was writing just anything in it without a real format or plan. It ceased to be record of events and thoughts and became just that bit more flowery.

Some days ago I thought about the act of writing, of the physical sensations one feels when actually doing it. It dawned on me that writing on paper with a pen makes a chap, well me at least, feel very different to typing onto a screen via a keyboard. In my case I have two quite contrasting outlets. London, Lanka and drums is usually written with the reader largely in my mind.

As I write a post I often wonder if you'll find it interesting or funny or intelligent. I go back over paragraphs and sentences and change things to try and improve them. The backspace key is almost worn out and the delete key is just about to be deleted because of high usage. Most of the content and the editing happens because of my own standards and judgement. Usually I figure that if I like something or laugh then others will.

But when I write in my journal, things are very different. It's for me, no one else. I pour stuff out, sometimes miserable bits, sometimes dark things, often things that I'd never want to tell anyone. As I do it I get mesmerised by the feel and the look of the pen and paper. I get into a flow and really feel the words flowing out of my cheap Bic ballpoint pen. I'm not a pen snob but I find it a struggle to write with anything other than a transparent medium Bic pen with black ink.

Writing on paper is so much more permanent too. I can cross out, even tear out. I can draw a line through something or so many lines over it that it's illegible, but it's always there isn't it. Pressing backspace or delete on the keyboard obliterates words and sentences and in time it's as if they were never there in the first place. By the time I finish this post and hit the publish button I'll have more or less forgotten which bits I edited and which were my original thoughts and words.

Sometimes I start to write things on either format; paper or monitor, and my mind gallops off at a tangent, forgetting where I had intended to go in the first place. But the galloping is more free form on a computer than it is on paper. The freedom of the backspace key.

Before I started my blog I would always write a letter on paper before typing it up. I felt that I couldn't think into a computer, that I had to do that into a piece of paper, then copy to the screen. Times change and I'm comfortable with whacking something straight into an email, word document or whatever these days.

As time marches on with the inevitability it carries on its back I realise that I juggle my two formats with the ease of a multi tasking man. I keep up the journal, revealing my innermost thoughts and feelings to no one in particular and revelling in the act of writing with a cheap pen on a part of a tree. I also type happily into this blog and float bits of myself out into the blogosphere when the mood takes me.

They're so different in so many ways yet they're both writing.

How about you? Do you write and do you have different approaches or mindsets?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tiny Ickle Willies

Yes really. It's not a euphemism, nor is it a witty post about two friends I've got called William who are both well below average height. This really is a post about short penises. What exactly is the plural of penis anyhow? Maybe it's penii. Soixante Neuf, where are you? You'll know.

I was told a story about a friend of a friend of a friend who got into, ahem, a bed with an, ahem, man to find that said man had a, well you know, a two to three inch willy, when he was in a state of you know, arousal. Or, to put it a bit more bluntly for the less subtle readers; the bloke had a two to three inch cock when it was hard.

Said woman found it an awkward situation, one that she didn't know how to address. In the conversation about this there were women and men involved and the consensus among the women was that, despite all the attempts of us men to scoff and laugh at the matter, size does matter.

I've come to my own conclusion about this.

Women tell us that size doesn't matter and they mean it. But, they mean it when they're talking about a love truncheon being, say, five inches or eight inches long. You can add or subtract your own personal criteria to make the equation work, but it does work.

My theory goes on that it's the extremes that matter. The very women who say that size doesn't matter will say it with truth and conviction. However, confront them with a two inch Uncle Wiggly or a ten inch Uncle Johnston and they'll quite literally be out of their comfort zone.

The friend I told you about earlier said that she didn't really know what to do with the tiny three inch weiner. I asked her, purely for scientific reasons, what she ended up doing. Even as a man I struggle to see how a little thing like that can do a man's job. They say sex, for women, is all in the mind. That's all well and good but surely not if the fellow is sporting a weapon that's more of a handgun than a rifle, a small handgun at that.

The answer was, for her to get maximum enjoyment the best position was with him on top. This surprised me, I would have thought that it would have been better for the chap to be underneath giving the woman more control of the proceedings. No, she said, it didn't work like that. You know how shy and bashful I am at times and I must admit that I hit the edge of my comfort zone at that point and didn't pursue the matter. Unlike the short willied man I didn't want to probe further.

But I've thought about this a lot. Are there any ladies out there who can give some information on this? Have you ever been in this situation? Does size really matter?

As for me?

Well I don't have a two or three incher and I often find myself wishing for a ten incher.

Instead of this huge big thing!