Thursday, April 30, 2009

Me, Indi, VIC And Sri Lanka

This post was originally entitled "The Futility Of A Sri Lankan Blog" and was intended as a diatribe about the way I feel about writing on my blog these days. But fuck it I thought, and whacked up a title that reeks of blogstitution.

The funny thing is that I'd written much of this post a few days ago. Then, I saw VIC's comment on his post here and it made this one more topical than I had already thought it was. Some may think that I've written this as a reaction to VIC's comment, that's not the case, you will I'm sure feel free to make your own mind up on that one. However I'm going to add more to it since reading VIC's comment.

It's a half draft and half new post.

I'm not a political animal, as you're likely to be aware. Like most of us I'm interested and passionate about Sri Lanka, I think it's the one thing that binds the Lankanosphere.

However I don't really have strong political views. I'm not a supporter of any side, my colours aren't pinned to any mast, unless supporting peace is a side and it doesn't seem to be.

Any attempts I've made in the past to write about the Lankan conflict have been met with the same level of interest and discussion as if Pradeep Jeganathan had suddenly written a post about his favourite type of poo, well probably far less when I really think about it. And I'm okay with this, there are people whose opinions I and many others respect when it comes to Sri Lankan politics. I'm not one of them.

If you want to know about poo, kettles, drums and other bits and pieces I'd like to put myself forward as a candidate.

This is what's bugging me these days.

With everything that's happening in Lanka in the very recent past and the very seemingly climaxing present writing a blog post about shit, literally and judgementally, just seems so, err crap. Yet I've never blogged about political stuff, for the reasons I mention earlier.

VIC says

" RD is a victim of this syndrome. He lives miles away from the real situation of Sri Lanka (Both physically and mentally; most mentally), and he sees Sri Lanka solely from Indi's and few other "pet bloggers'"eyes. "

and, in all honesty I think he's incredibly accurate in one way but has totally missed the point in another.

Yes VIC, I do live miles away from Sri Lanka, but physically, not mentally. My mindset, unlike my accent, is quite Sri Lankan. It's quite insulting when you say that I see Sri Lanka solely from Indi's and a few other pet blogs. I read about Sri Lanka from all perspectives, I travel there regularly and I listen to all views. Please believe me VIC when I tell you that I have friends and family, Sri Lankans who take every position you can imagine.

I would include Indi as a friend, that doesn't mean that I agree with everything he says. It does mean I respect him. Dinidu and Sanjana are people I would call friends, it doesn't mean I agree with them, to me it does mean that I respect their opinions and may use them to form my own.

You add

"RD doesn't care of any of these things, cuz he lives a comfortable life out there in London. That's why it is difficult for him to understand our emotional reactions towards cowards like Dinidu and Sanjana. RD will never understand this!"

Well right again, I do live a comfortable life in London. I'm pleased about that and, as we Brits say, I'm sorry but I won't apologise for it. And yet again you're right when you say that it's difficult for me to understand your emotional reactions. I don't, but I've never claimed that I understood them, that's why I asked you in my original post.

Wrong again too VIC. I do care. I don't feel a massive need to prove it to you, that's all, but again I ask you to believe me on that one. I don't think that I can have the level of knowledge, the intuition and mindset that people like yourself, or Indi, Dinidu or Sanjana, who all live in Sri Lanka can have, but I do think I can hold an opinion too.

As an aside I don't think Dinidu and Sanjana are cowards, I think it takes guts, particularly in Sri Lanka in this day and age, to speak out the way they do. That's my opinion, it's your right to disagree.

An interesting thing about identity, my feelings on it at least, which I credit my brother for, is that I believe it's personal, that one man's way of judging someone's identity isn't necessarily the same as another's. So VIC, when you say

"because he is not a true Sri Lankan though he claims to be a one."

it actually only makes me shrug my shoulders and smile. The fact that you don't think I'm a true Lankan is fine with me. I accept that, by your standards, I'm not. However, when you talk about my limited scope of thinking and my failure to move out of the frame I'm trapped in I genuinely wonder what frame you're referring to and on what you base that statement. I could well be wrong here, I certainly don't read my blog, but I can't recall saying things that have indicated a particular point of view on the Lankan situation, largely because I don't have a view.

Also I know that, were I to suddenly write a post about the conflict, whether it was pro LTTE, pro GoSL or pro any other view, I feel quite confident that I'd be faced with a wall of comments telling me that my opinion is crap and wrong because I'm not Sri Lankan and don't live there.

As for my limited scope of thinking, well I think, when I tell you that I have a tested IQ of 64, that I won first prize in the Petersham Flower Show (under 10, crafts section) for my balsa wood model of a ship in 1976, possibly 77, and that I understand the meaning of that thing called sarcasm, then my credentials are pretty clear.

There you have it VIC.

Respect is a big thing for me. I listen to people I respect, which doesn't mean that I agree with them, more that I treat their opinions with respect.

Right now I feel that I'm caught in a trap.

Not blogging about the bigger issues, when I'm aware that my blog is a bit of a part of the Lankanosphere, seems wrong, as if I'm being disrespectful to the things that are going on.

Blogging about the war/conflict would be just as bad. I don't claim to be as knowledgable as one of you guys and wouldn't want to insult you in that way.

As we say here in England:

"Vut too doo?"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lady And The Tramp

You may or may not recall that I wrote a post about meeting my old school friend B, who's now a bit down on his luck.

It was nine months ago and you can read my original post here if you wish. Well since then things have progressed and moved on a bit, I've got to know B a bit more and learned things about him and his life.

I've seen him more times than I can count in that same spot. Every time I stop and have a chat, just about everything and nothing. It's an experience that has taught me quite a lot already.

He sits on the pavement and doesn't stand up to talk to me, not that I've expected him to do so, but I remain standing as we talk, something that I feel awkward about. Should I sit down next to him or is it fine as it is? B doesn't appear to be bothered so should I be?

I was interested to find out exactly what had happened that resulted in him becoming a tramp, though I'm not even sure if "tramp" is the correct term to use. He doesn't display what I would describe as the "usual" signs of a tramp in these parts. He's not drunk, doesn't look as if he's been doing lots of drugs and in every conversation we have he comes across as the highly intelligent and quick witted guy that I went to school with.

After several conversations I felt that we'd got to a level at which I could ask him what had happened, to phrase it as "what went wrong" is wrong isn't it? I mean who am I to judge B's life as being wrong and mine as right. Undeniably though that's what I meant, what had gone wrong?

We were having one of our conversations. He sat, I stood. One of the things I've become aware of when we talk is the way other people look at him, then at me. To most people a tramp is a common enough sight, the surprise is when they realise that the chap is having a conversation with a "normal" looking person. Almost everyone does a double take to see what's going on.

B mentioned his medication and I asked him about it. It felt appropriate. He told me that he was/is a schizophrenic, that was his "curse". After we lost contact he'd gone to university but then the schizophrenia developed and he went off the rails, dropping out of uni and basically losing the plot. He spent years struggling with the illness and it's only in recent years that he's found suitable medication and dosage to keep everything under control.

He has bad days when he feels down, but is generally fine, as long as he has his medication.

When I learned this I felt as if I understood. I know little about schizophrenia but I now know how it can affect a person's life. There but for the grace of God and all that.

I want to help B and don't know how, or what is best. He's told me that he loves conversation and talking to people about stimulating matters. So I make a point of chatting to him about life, football and literature, the things I know he's interested in. I tell him about my work, my daughters and my life and we reminisce about school times, playground fights and what happened to our old friends.

I've been thinking about whether I should give him a book. I know he used to love PG Wodehouse and the Jeeves and Wooster stories and have contemplated giving him one of those, but then I wonder if he'd prefer money. The other day he had a copy of one of the quality Saturday newspapers next to him, I knew he was going to read and devour it in a way that you or I probably never would.

Some weeks ago I was in Richmond with K, the 12 year old. I told her that we'd go and see my old friend B and explained his situation to her. She was transfixed as I told her how bright he is and of the cards life has dealt him.

Sure enough he was there. I introduced them and they were equally delighted to meet each other. They had a conversation of sorts. B asked her questions and she spoke to him nicely, but wasn't sure what to say to him, understandable really.

She was touched and concerned by his plight though and afterwards asked me how she could help him. She wanted to go back and give him a radio she doesn't use as she'd spotted his radio that he listens to all day long. I told her that I thought the best way she could help him was to just say hello next time she's in Richmond. I said that she may have to remind him who she was but that I was sure he'd like that.

And that is it. There's no happy ending nor is there a sad one. Life goes on and I'll continue to try to help a friend, hopefully K will too.

I've learned a lot from B in these months and his arrival in my life has given me a bit more humility and gratitude for my good health and good fortune.

I just thought I'd update you as so many people were interested in the original post all those months ago.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another Drummer!

There's a new kid in town. Not just a music fan but a drummer too.

Welcome to the Lankanosphere Heshan. My name's RD and I'm a drummer too.

Good luck with your blog, I look forward to reading the drum bits and learning about your playing.

However, if I may be so bold as to offer you a little advice. No one in these parts is interested in drumming posts, except me. It's a bummer but the way it is.

Anyway good luck again, I'll be checking in regularly and hoping to learn from you.

RD

Pictures Of Us

I've been meaning to write a post about this for some time now. It sits there in my mind doing nothing and each time I see a random person taking a photo I remember it, then promptly forget.

Well it's all different this time, for I've remembered and am here, at the keyboard, typing letters and words.

It's about photographs, specifically other people's ones, even more specifically it's about how many random photographs each of us must appear in.

How many pictures do we have, perhaps a cheesy one of ourselves or a loved one standing in front of a touristy site, maybe Galle Face, Sigiriya or Big Ben? And in each of those photos there's often one or a few random strangers, people who happened to walk past or maybe were busily taking their own pictures at the same time paying no attention to you.

The chances are that they're people we've never known and never will meet. The chances are that there are just as many photos owned by other people that contain chance images of each of us.

Well how many of these "lost" pictures with you in them do you think actually exist?

I reckon a major factor has got to be how well travelled you are and how many of the world's more well known and popular tourist sites you frequent. Some bloke who works selling trinkets at the Taj Mahal may easily be one of the most photographed chaps ever and might never know it. Conversely and sadly a poorer person in a village in remotest Lanka is less likely to crop up in these pictures all over the world. Though he's probably not bothered about that either.

Whenever I think about it my mind goes into overdrive. On a mantelpiece somewhere in rural England there may sit a picture of a lobster coloured couple being romantic on their honeymoon on a far away beach in Sri Lanka. And behind them, for all we know, Cerno might be standing and innocently picking his nose. Except the couple will never know that it's Cerno and Cerno will never know that he's in that picture. Who knows? The man in the picture might have trod on a little Cerno bogey as they walked away and said Cerno bogey might still be stuck to the bottom of the groom's slipper up in the cupboard.

A couple of years ago Darwin took a picture of a very talented and good looking bloke playing the drums at Barefoot. She found out afterwards that she'd actually taken a picture of me, neither of us had known it at the time though we were regular readers of each other's blogs. It's continues to amaze me, that she was standing just a few feet away from me but neither of us knew this. It can happen you know.

The event that finally made me remember to write this post happened on Sunday night. I was in RD Towers and practicing away to my heart's content. In between songs I glanced out of my window to see a camera crew and an assortment of people fiming what was very obviously a music video.

There was a young trendy looking black guy walking along the path by the river and singing whilst being filmed. For the life of me I didn't know who he was but I'm on the case and will let you know once I do.

I noticed that the camera was pointing towards me and thought how funny it would be if this chap's video came out and I could be seen in the background, practicing Starlight by Muse. It would be good until some smart arse spotted me messing up the hi hat splash as I went into the chorus. The all hell would break loose.

I've got countless pictures of random people at random places, wouldn't it be amazing if there was a way I could identify those people, perhaps to find out where they are now, whether I might actually know them. Of course the people who feature in my thousands of photos taken in Sri Lanka would create a surreal level of interest and connection, what with our two or three degrees of separation instead of everyone else's six. I bet there'd be bloggers and friends of friends cropping up all over the place.

In the days of analogue photography, of prints, negatives and film the information would be almost impossible to sift through. But I've got an idea that could work in this age, this digital, GPS, hard disc and technological era we're in.

What if we all wore or carried some sort of electronic talisman?

I know the impact on civil liberties and freedom, how many people would be very against the idea because of those big issues. I'm not talking about those things, they're for serious bloggers and intelligent people to debate.

No, I'm talking about some kind of tag that records my presence whenever a picture is taken with me in it (the technology undoubtedly exists already anyway). Then, whenever I wanted to I could log on to somewhere, type in my details and pull up every random photograph, taken by random people, that contains me.

Wouldn't that be incredible!

It's my idea, don't go stealing it now.

Oooh, what's that sticky thing on my shoe?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seduced.

There I was, strolling casually on my way to the hairdresser's. I was happy and calm and at peace with things. The RD mind, as if often the case, was like the RD wallet; fairly empty, unless you include receipts and credit cards.

Then I heard it.

At first it was faint, a distant sound that had been carried by the wind and ended up hovering around one of my ears. I barely paid any attention to it, but the next time it was that little bit louder.

"RD, RD, I'm here. I want you and you want me". The rhyming was accidental.

It wasn't the deep voice of a bearded six foot bloke either. Which was nice.

It was feminine, husky and seductive, a bit like Britney Spears smoking a cigar, getting all classy and acting sophisticated. Some might say that makes it not like our Britney at all, I'm not one to argue over minutiae, so I'll ignore you.

I looked around, over my shoulder, behind me and all about. I saw nothing, I heard nothing.

Then it was there again.

"RD, I'm here, I know you'll want me."

I turned around quickly determined to find her, eager to see her and feeling a little bit of a wanker. This was Kingston on a Saturday afternoon, not some American film with Jennifer Aniston and a random Zach.

This time I saw her. Or, more accurately, I caught a glimpse of her beautiful and sexy curves. They took my breath away and made me swallow air. I was transfixed as she just looked at me with the arrogance of a girl who knows she can have any man she wanted.

Involuntarily my hand reached out and started to stroke and caress her curves, before I could do anything to stop it, not that I would have. She didn't flinch, she didn't do that usual thing, when they say "fuck off perve, I thought you were my cab that's all". I could feel my pupils dilating and the tension growing. She asked me to take her home, we both knew there was only one outcome. Why mess around I thought, still unsure about the quotation mark rule for one's thoughts.

I knew that she'd be expensive, that she might be trouble and that her glamour and her exquisite sense of style would be too much for me, but logic went flying out of the window and gut feelings, emotions and the butterflies in my stomach were the rulers of the day.

It had to be done. I took her home and turned her on. One day I'll fail to turn her on. Until then she sits on the side looking like this.







It was a lot of money for a kettle, worth every penny I think.

Happy Monday all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

London, Lanka and Drums

It's 9 AM on Sunday morning and I feel more mellow than a particularly laid back Leopard sleeping off a nice big meal under a tree in Yala, after smoking one of Java's "herbals".

In fact, the state of mellowness, this feeling of relaxation is so great that typing into my laptop feels like a bit of an intrusion. I'll try to tell you why, even though it's Sunday and I know no one will read this.

Here I am, sitting in the planter's chair, you know it by now. I've got my sitting room windows wide open and the sun's streaming in. The sky is blue with not a cloud to be seen and the river is at its best and in all its glory. I've been observing ducks, rowers, boats and swans glide by, with a passing thought about what a swan might taste like with some rice and parippu, but it was just a quick one and has long gone.

There's a bit of a rumble from the traffic going over the bridge, but it's early for an English Sunday and things aren't really busy yet.

Oozing out sexily through the sound system is the fantastic album by Grant Chamberlain; Colombo Beast. I don't think the sound is coming out of the speakers, it's feels more as if it's floating in over the water and wafting in through my windows.

It's a surreal album, of musicians playing on a level I can only dream about. Shiraaz Nooramith, on the drums, has the touch and feel of a master, showing that it's more about what you don't play than what you do play. His playing inspires me and makes me want to sit and practice all day, forever.

Some time ago a friend told me very kindly how "London, Lanka and drums" was a great choice of title for a blog. I'd like to have taken credit and regaled him with a nice story of how I used my great creative mind to come up with it, how I'd done flowcharts, mindmaps and used noboboards to find it.

Sadly it was just because they're some of the things I love most and seemed like a good idea at the time.

As I write this I'm wallowing in all three, big time.

Must go, there's chilling to be done, it requires all my effort.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Meanwhile Somewhere Else

RD Towers is shaping up nicely.

Things on the morning of day 18 look a bit like this, well exactly like this:







The new chair is in dark brown, though it may look like black in the picture. It's so comfortable that it makes the planter's chair feel old and clumpy. I'll say that quietly as I'm sitting on the planter's chair as I type this and don't want to hurt its feelings.

The new light, that table, the bookcase (which expands) and the chair are my new sexy objects of desire, even better than the moving tag cloud I think.

All in all I'm feeling rather pleased with the way things are going. The planter's chair's just in the sitting room temporarily until the new red settee arrives, yes, I bought it. The nice TV unit, made of glass and stainless steel so it doesn't make the room look smaller, should be here early next week.

Then I'll tidy up all the cables, as it's important, according to the magazines I read these days, to declutter as much as possible so that the clean modern lines are preserved.

Once all is done I'll be left with one burning issue; do I get a rug for under the coffee table or not?

The Lankanosphere - So This Is Progress?

Recent events have been "interesting" haven't they?

I use quotation marks there for two reasons; first is that I tend to use far too many of them anyway, like commas, which I'm fond of. Second is that not everyone has found them interesting in a positive, good or nice way.

I'm taking the positive approach and concentrating on the good things, that to me is the way forward, in life as well as the smaller issues.

A certain person with a specific one liner of a post made me think about these things. There are blogs and bloggers out there who inspire, interest me and teach me things and this fellow is one such person.

When I stepped gingerly into the Lankanosphere just over three years ago it was much smaller than it is now. It had the atmosphere, if a virtual world can have an atmosphere, of a small club, a bit like the Capri Club that our fathers (and Java) used to frequent.

Everyone knew everyone and the well known and most popular bloggers could easily fit around a table in a garden cafe somewhere, and often did. As I joined the club in my fairly relaxed and leisurely way I was amazed and delighted by the generally abundant way in which I was welcomed.

The well established leaders were nice people and would comment and correspond with me, there would be some spats (not to be confused with sprats), some insults and mud slinging but it had a certain air of maturity and respect about it, mostly.

What struck me most was that all the Sri Lankan bloggers I met, though their views may have been contrasting and their mindsets different, demonstrated an appetite for knowledge and a desire to learn, characteristics I'd like to think I share.

Three years in the Lankanosphere is about the equivalent of thirty years in "real" life I reckon. That's how much things have changed in what to most is just a short time. It's like a little and friendly football club that used to play Sunday league for fun but has developed into a fully fledged professional club in a few seasons and is now facing a new set of circumstances.

I wonder how the Lankanosphere, largely driven and reflected by Kottu has grown in terms of numbers, both readership and blog membership in the recent past. Indi may know that sort of thing but I suspect the increase has been large and fast, like one of Dominic Sansoni's lenses.

And perhaps the amount of bad stuff going on is merely a by product of the growth. Perhaps there was always half a percent of people on Kottu, or in the Lankanosphere who wanted to behave like that, but it's only now that half a percent actually equals a whole number.

Perhaps, as the the Lankanosphere moves into the next level, this is natural, expected and progressive.

I'll continue to believe in positivity and good things, as I'm sure will TMS and many others. I'll continue to be inspired by and to learn from some of the great friends I've made.

But what do you think?

Are these things just natural symptoms and understandable residue from the Lankanosphere's huge growth?

One thing's for sure. In the words of the great and leather clad Johnny Nash:

The more that I learn the less I know.

Enjoy the weekend all. Because I said so.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ooooh - That Jade!

Recent events have made me think very seriously.

About life, blogging and big things.

Then, I saw THAT pic, of Jade, you know the one.

Fuck me. She's cute.

If I was ten fifteen twenty years younger, significantly less attached and possessed the good looks of one of those Blacker boys I'd be ringing her up and probably getting rejected right now.

Cute no?

Blogstitution - The Meaning Of

Well, I thought it was my word but a quick google search proved otherwise. Such is life.

However, for the benefit of those who are in doubt, here is my definition of the word that I'm rather fond of. I'm more fond of String Hoppers than blogstitution but less fond of Wattalapam, that should give you an idea of my positioning:

Blogstitution - To use "cheap" tactics in order to gain readership and/or hits for a blog. The tactics can range from talking about sex or sexually related subjects to trying to antagonise well known and popular bloggers in order to stir up a storm. I suppose, as a chap does suppose, blogstitution is using negative means to garner popularity. And, as an aside, I'm not sure what the word "garner" really means, so apologies if I've used it inappropriately. I'm hardly an authority on words and definitions anyway.

That clears that one up I think.

Be sure to check LLD tomorrow where I'll reveal some juicy insider gossip about Dinidu, Gyppo and TMS.

Only In Singapore



Seen in a coffee shop at Changi Airport. Here in London the same sign would say "No lounging" or "No begging" or something equally bad.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Photo Of The Moment



I don't like to say nice things about the lad, but he's done well with this one. He's out and about poking his lens into everyone's nether regions at the moment and this is one of my new favourites.

My well worn theory about what makes a good photograph came into play here. At first glance I didn't consciously think about sutter speed, aperture or composition, no, I just looked at it and felt that excited feeling in my stomach.

To some it might look like just a blur. To me it's a wonderful split second capture that says colour, dance, movement and Sri Lanka.

Nice one Dinidu.

Lips, Willies, Tummies And Boobs

I was driving into work and heard a piece on the radio talking about a new weight loss pull that's coming out today called Alli. I listened with interest and turned things over in my mind.

Later I talked to someone about it and she told me that she's fundamentally against the idea of taking a pill to reduce weight. Forgetting about the whole aspect of whether a person should take something before it's been clinically trialled for ten or twenty years, this was about whether it's right for people to use something that messes with the natural balance of the Human body.

We then moved on to talk about plastic surgery, of tummy tucks and liposuction, of boob jobs and penis reductions (a most painful procedure I can tell you!).

I suspect I'm one of a majority with my views on plastic surgery. I hate the look of those over plasticised Hollywood women, the ones who get to fifty or sixty and have a face that's about as tight as one of my snare drums but skin on their hands and neck that's as loose as that on the contents of a KFC bargain bucket.

There's not really anything attractive about a person who looks as if they've had plastic surgery and ends up appearing a few thousand years younger than you know they are.

But where does one draw the line? Where is the exact point at which vanity goes too far and we start to shake our oh so perfectly coiffured heads and smile through our ever so tightly botoxed lips in dismay?

Take me as an example. I had laser eye surgery a few years ago, as you may know if you're a regular around here. Frankly my reasons were primarily vanity related, it's hardly the type of surgery one could say was desperately needed. Did it improve the quality of my life? Yep, big time, but my life, as lives go, was fairly good anyway, I don't think it would have suffered had I not had the eye surgery.

But, there are people who might say that it was wholly unnecessary, that I could have spent that money on other much more worthwhile things.

Some years ago I auditioned for a band. They were a nice enough bunch of people but I didn't get the drum chair. These things happen and I reckon it's better to fail an audition or two than to pass them all. But the really interesting thing was the singer, well her boobs. You see she had just had a boob job, the audition / rehearsal was her first one back with the band since she had her her mammories enlarged, as the somewhat uncandid lead guitarist told me beforehand.

I was fascinated by the hours that followed. The singer didn't know that I knew the score, so I watched her with interest. It was the first time I'd knowingly seen a pair of surgically enhanced breasts for real and they looked as false as a Doctor's note from Sicile Kotelawala. They were nice, just in a false way.

The reason that the girl had had them done was because she had been "blessed" with a naturally tiny pair to start with. Even her new ones must have only been a small B cup in size, so I can imagine that the previous models must have been tiny. I wonder if this kind of plastic surgery is acceptable or not. Perhaps it's a simple answer based around the fact that it's all subjective and if a person is bothered enough about small breasts or whatever then it's their right to have an op.

Going back to this diet pill thing, I asked myself if I would take them, if I were a big fat bloke instead of the slim and lean fellow I am now. I'm lucky with my choice of hobby in relation to weight. Drumming is a good cardiovascular workout so I think I get one of those more often than some. I also do a lot of stomach things, sit ups, eating rice and the like.

If none of the above existed in my life and I didn't have the means or inclination to do exercise I wonder whether I'd take a diet pill to reduce my weight. My internal jury, the one that usually concentrates on far more mundane and shallow matters, is out on this issue.

If I could have a form of cosmetic surgery that no one would actually know about, perhaps a little tummy tuck or a brief hair transplant thing, just to "freshen" up the increasing in size RD bald patch, would I do it, money permitting of course?

Hmmmm.....I ponder.

I reckon I probably would.

You?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hang On A Minute Lads, I've Got A Great Ikea

It's compulsory, in all the Western world and much of the East that, on moving into a new home, at least 64.2% of all the furniture MUST be from Ikea.

I'm no exception and there's nothing I like more than spending an evening poring over an Ikea instruction booklet, counting dowels and screw like things and turning strange looking planks of wood over and over again while trying to figure which is the one that is actually featured in stage 14 in the booklet.

I won't fall into the trap of believing that Ikea actually invented flat packed furniture but I think it's safe to say that they've taken the concept to new heights, or lows, depending on your perspective. We all know that you can get everything from Ikea in flat packed form these days.

You want a house, well they do it. You want a special chair that's tested by four million robots for a longer time than dinosaurs were around? They've got it, it's flat packed and it's available in a range of twenty seven different colours. Or twenty six if you're in Sweden as they don't have black over there.

In fact the only thing Ikea don't do in flat packed form is Swedish meatballs. I suppose, if they did, it would just be called Swedish meat. In Sweden it would be just meat, perhaps Ikea meat.

Isn't it genius this build it yourself and feel good about it furniture thing? At first glance, upon opening boxes and desperately trying to locate the bag of screws and bits, most of us are disappointed to see that we've got a lot of building to do. Despite the fact that there are no Ikea virgins, people who've never made an Ikea thing, left in the world, we all hold on to an impossible dream, one of opening a box and finding that we have bought a fully built item.

Time and labour, specifically how we view our own, are interesting subjects. Some people take the view that their time is worth x per hour, x being based on how much they earn. Some awkward chaps use y or even epsilon, but it's all Greek to me. Whatever letter they use they then figure that it will cost them that amount mutiplied by the number of hours to make said item of furniture.

It's a view, one that works for many. I prefer to take the approach that the value of my time is only appropriate if I'm actually working in that spell, or if I'm turning down money earning work in order to build a Billy bookcase. So, if I'm using up an evening or two and those evenings would otherwise have been spent lounging around, then the only thing I'm actually losing out on is some rest time. No big deal.

As me and the girls built the RD bed last week I marvelled, yes I simply marvelled, at the skill and ingenuity of the blonde and wispily bearded Swedes. Not just any Swedes either, though I'm a big Abba fan and think that they wrote some of the best songs of all time, this was marvelling at the very select group of Swedes; the ones who write and draw the Ikea instruction leaflets.

You see, in olden times, we'll refer to them as BI, there were carpenters and skilled woodworkers. They still exist but the likes of you and I never get to deal with them. They'd make things like beds and shelving units, tables and chests of drawers.

In those days a chap would buy an item of furniture and the artisan would deliver it, stick it in the room where you wanted it, and leave. You'd pay him and the deal was done.

These days the artisan makes the item, after it's been designed by Karina Haffel - Stromson, and then the instruction makers take it apart. They totally destroy all the skill that has gone into it. They then figure out not only how the artisan made it but also how an idiot, or worse, someone like me, can replicate the whole procedure.

This dumbing down of someone else's skill must be a bit hard on the person or people with the skill. Can you imagine if someone invented a similar idea for music? A game in which people were given simplistic instructions on how to play a dumbed down version of an instrument, like guitar or drums, then they followed the instructions and went away thinking they had the talent of a proper musician.

Exactly, it just wouldn't work would it.

However, I digress, the gift of the Ikea instruction booklet designer is huge. As you're well aware I struggle on a regular basis to explain the simplest of concepts to the most intelligent of people. Teaching and training, like most things, are just not up there in my list of talents.

The bed that we made last week is, in its finished form, a reasonably complicated thing. Not if you compare it to the innermost workings of a Formula One engine but still pretty involved. If you gave me a tree and some screws and bits and asked me to make it from scratch I'd be lost. In fact, you'll find this hard to believe, but I'd even be lost if you gave me planks of wood.

So, for someone to guide me through the process, step by step and bit by bit, is a major achievement. What's more is that most people, even those who aren't as skilful with wood, can probably achive the same. I'm fortunate in that I often have wood, I know how to work with it.

Then, once all is built, the idiot assembler (me) feels more pride in the finished item than God did after that week when he made the world.

Old God's all well and good and he may well have made the world in a week, but I bet he couldn't have made an Ikea double bed in two evenings.

I bet he doesn't walk past the world and look at it with joy, give it a little pat because he's so chuffed with it.

That's the beauty of Ikea.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Handjobs And Glad Dads

Frankly, though I'm somewhat blowing my own trumpet, some would say banging my own drum, if I gave out awards for the best titled post, I'd seriously consider giving first prize to myself for this one.

The post that follows may be tosh, but the title came to me as I was sitting in the noodle bar with A and K and things unfolded. Things you don't know about yet, but read on and you shall see. Originally I was going to call the post "I've made my bed" but then I'd have to lie in it and I don't really like telling lies, so that was out, and the rest of the story took place and well, it just all fell into place.

It all happened last Wednesday, my evening with the girls. They were in their Easter holiday and had some kind of holiday cabin fever. They were excited about coming to my new pad, their mother looked relieved that they would be out of her hair for sometime and I was pleased to see them. It was better than a win/win situation. It was, as we management types like to call it, a win/win/win/win situation.

I had briefed them before, telling them that we were faced with the task of assembling my new IKEA bed. Being an IKEA bed actually meant that it wasn't so much "assembling" as building the whole fucking thing from scratch, but that's a triviality, and a small one at that. The fact is that both girls were excited at the prospect of building this bed. I wasn't, but that's because I've quite experienced at all things IKEA, I know what can happen.

After the initial ten minutes in which we struggled to open the box we started to read the instructions. In my wiser and later years I've learned that the way to tackle IKEA instructions is the concentrate on one step at a time, not that the bed had steps. It's only if you get really stuck and as a last resort that you should look at later stages to see how things are supposed to pan out.

There were so many ingredients to this bed that the normal procedure, when you lay out all the bits and check that everything's there, just wasn't feasible, so we steamed in. It was a pleasant, though tinged with some short temper, few hours. I taught the girls how to do all those IKEA putting together things that will be so useful in later years. How to use those little metal screws that are put into holes then turned to tighten other screws, how to line up arrows and things.

I suspect somewhere right now there's a boy scout proudly sewing his IKEA badge to his jumper. If there isn't then there should be, knowing the whole IKEA procedure must be more useful than learning about knots and putting out fires. Come to think of it, if there is an IKEA badge there's no way it would be sewn on to a jumper. It would have a dowel and a screw that has to be tightened from the other side and, if you got the dowel the wrong way round, then the boy scout would be fine in his everyday life except he wouldn't be able to use his left arm. Yep, that's about the size of it.

We carried on though. It was time consuming simply because there were lots of bits and steps and everything was just so big and cumbersome. The girls' interest swayed like a pendulum. One minute I'd have a daughter watching with interest and begging to use the electric screwdriver next to me, the next I'd look up through my mist of Swedish confusion and find myself alone, the calming tones of Bart Simpson and daughters' laughter blasting at me from the other room.

At times it was painful, letting them use their new found skills with the electric screwdriver, watching the thing turning as they failed to pushed hard enough and risking them stripping the heads off the screws is a hard thing to do, but I knew that I had to let them "play" and learn, even though it was slowing things downs and often squirm inducing. I think it was Jesus who summed it up best when he said it's better to teach a man to build a bed than to give him a fish. My thoughts exactly.

We got to a level where the bed, or the main structure of it at least, was done. There were drawers to be built and finishing touches to be done but we were hungry and time, as it does, was ticking along. We called it a night. The mattress was placed carefully down, I told the girls that I'd finish things the next day and we strolled off merrily to the noodle bar down the road for dinner.

Now Ozcuz, if you're reading this you'll understand straight away, the rest probably won't know the programme so I'll have to do some explaining.

We have this newish and hilarious comedy called The Inbetweeners here. It's about a group of boys in the sixth form of school, that's 'A' level. It tells of their fumbling through puberty, of boyish pranks and bragging, of chasing girls who are about ten years more mature than the average boy of the same age. It regales us with joyous tales of discovering alcohol and of fancying teachers and thinking they might actually fancy you, a spotty teenage boy, in return.

It's rude, but not in a rude way. The rudeness is needed and appropriate, like the violence in a Tarantino film. It's the language that teenage boys really do use, at least British ones do.

It's brilliant and embarrassing to watch with the wrong people. I made the mistake of watching some episodes in front of my parents, with Musicbiz bro. We were faced with blasts from the past as we tried to decide to laugh at certain jokes or not, whether to hide or run away.

We also were faced with a mother who grabbed the opportunity to appear young at heart with both hands and therefore had to laugh at everything, particularly the references to one of the character's mothers and the things the others wanted to do to her. It was tough going and my embarrassment was only matched some weeks later when I turned up at their house to collect the girls and found them watching the same thing.

I sat with them and watched the end of an episode. I watched them laugh at jokes that were close to the edge, the edge of me wondering whether A and K really understood them, or if they were pretending but really didn't have a clue. Over noodles, at the noodle bar, I found out the answer to that question.

Conversation somehow veered towards The Inbetweeners. I told the girls how embarrassing it was when me and Uncle Musicbiz watched the DVD in front of our parents, their Grandparents. They laughed sympathetically and then I told them how funny it was when the situation was replicated but one generation along, as they watched it in front of me. We all laughed merrily at that.

I asked them if they "got" all the jokes in the programme, something I've wondered about for a while. They eye rolled to each other and answered with that sigh thing that teenagers do, you know, when they talk but manage to sigh at the same time.

"Yeah Dad, of course we get it" said A. It was apparent from her tone that I'd insulted not just her but also K and more or less every person in the world in their age group with my question.

"What, you get it all?" I asked incredulously.

"Yeah" chipped in the younger sister. "We're not kids you know."

My mind raced on, at milkfloat speed. I was thinking of some of the jokes, of how I could test the girls to see if they really did understand it all, to try to benchmark their level of knowledge on these rather risque matters. With the benefit of hindsight that might have not been my wisest of thought patterns.

"Did you watch the one last week, the one when they went to the under 16 disco thing?" I asked.

They answered in the affirmative and we chuckled about some of the moments in that frankly superb episode.

"So you know when the guy (whose name I forget) was getting off with that girl in the disco, do you know what she was doing?" I asked.

It was a question that seemingly had no downsides. I was sure that I could get out of it without giving a full and detailed explanation, but their answer would help with my benchmarking. At worst I thought A might know and K wouldn't.

They exchanged glances, shifty ones. I felt my throat drying, just for a split second. It's probably what happens when an animal realises it's about to be killed by a leopard and there's nothing it can do to save itself. This was far worse though, they're teenage daughters.

"Yeah, off course we know what she was doing" replied K rather indignantly.

She said it with a little bit too much indignation, I felt a need to interrogate further.

"Really?" I said. "So what was she doing then?"

"Well, you know" said one child, I can't remember which, but it was definitely one of the two.

"You know what?" said I, the Father.

The girls exchanged shifty glances again. With this fantastic hindsight now in my possession I know the glance was a "should we tell him" glance. Unfortunately I didn't have this amazing hindsight beforehand.

"So? What then?" I asked.

"Well" said A.

"She was giving him a handjob."

The answer, though factually correct, was not the one I had hope for.

We all exchanged glances, embarrassed yet knowing ones.

It was apparent that each of us had learned something about each other.

Then, we ate our noodles.

Happy Monday all.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Something For The Weekend




This song, this version, is one of my all time favourites. It reminds me of many things. One of them is my parents and their great friends dancing to it in that so very Lankan way, back in the seventies.

And check out the leather. Men were proper men in those days!

The Power You're Supplying, It's Electrafying!

It may only be a quick burst but I just wanted to tell you how pleased I am that Electra has come out with two posts in quick succession.

If you're a newish person around the Lankanosphere then you may not know of Portrait, Electra's blog. Well, I'm not new and I do know about it. It was one of the very first Sri Lankan blogs that caught my attention, along with Indi's and a few others, it was one of the ones I'd read on a daily basis as I cogitated on the vague idea of doing some kind of blog myself.

I reckon most people know Electra, I've met her a few times and she's a confident sort of girl, one of those ones that scare me a little bit, well, like most women actually. This year at the GLF I was taken aback by the way she stood up in front of audiences and calmly and surely introduced participants, workshops and events.

I'm not a confident public speaker and have much admiration for fellows who can do it with aplomb, Electra, at the tender age of about RD/2 minus some more, with the RD/2 bit being in brackets, seems to take it in her stride.

Portrait is a lesson to bloggers in how to write good things, things that might just change minds, opinions and actions. There are music bits, good bits, bad bits and even the occasional girly lovey type of thing. I've often disagreed with the things she's written but I'm almost always inspired to think. There's poetry too, but it can be excused as everything else is so good!

In recent months her posts have become somewhat sporadic and I've missed them. I'm hoping that, by writing this post, she'll realise how much she's missed and get back to more regular blogging. Two posts in two days might indicate a new start, a new whatsername thing.

If you are a newishbie to blogging then take it from me, check out the archives in Portrait and pick up tips on how to write a good blog. Then just do it, it's as simple as that.

"Just do it" - Hmmm, that would make a good slogan for a sportswear company wouldn't it. I can't believe no one's thought of it.

So Electra, from a not so mystery fan, please come back and write more.

Have a nice weekend all.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Is It About Water?

Some weeks ago I was sitting in a trendy waterside bar in Singapore. It was early evening and me and C were enjoying an alcoholic beverage as we took in the view.

To tell you the truth it wasn't even much of a view. There was a lake of sorts, with construction work all around, a not too distant rumble of traffic and there were high rise tower blocks surrounding us. Yet it was tranquil and relaxing.

Some weeks before that I was lucky enough to have been enjoying a similar set of circunstances but in Sri Lanka. Same girl, same sun, different water and different landscape. But, the same sense of tranquility and relaxingity (I'm in an inventing word mood) prevailed.

And now the new apartment is on the Thames, and I mean right on it. Outside my windows are boats, murky water and Geese. Let's face it, as rivers go the Thames is a bit of a legend.

There are probably smaller rivers who look up to old man Thames with admiration and a bit or "river envy". They chat to each other in bitchy tones about the fact that the Thames is a bit old and cumbersome, a bit slower than he used to be, but all the time they're jealous and admiring. They envy the history of the old legend, the stories and battles that have been won, lost and told. They want a bit of Thames action.

I've been born and brought up here in London, the Thames has always featured largely in my life, as is the case for most Londoners. And I look out of my window and see a dark green murky soup of a river. It looks pretty crappy really. I don't look at it and have that desire to jump in or splash about in it, the one that I get when I'm sitting on a beach in Lanka.

Yet, it's tranquil and relaxing.

My question to you is this, oh Lankanosphere of untold wisdom, infinite humour and the intelligence of all the Captains of the USS Enterprise added together;

What is is about water?

I've been asking people this recently and no one's come up with a reply I'm happy with.

I've been told that we're attracted to it because 70% of our bodies are water. I can see why this might be the case but don't really get it. A hell of a lot of our bodies are bones but we don't spend hours on end gazing with a drink looking at piles of bones.

One fellow said to me that we're also fascinated by fire and can be drawn to that in the same way. I pondered on it and then said no, we don't build houses and buy property next to big fires so we can look at them.

The closest I've come to a theory is that it's the way the light's reflected off water. There's that shimmering and calming quality to light when it bounces off the H20 stuff. It bounces around in our vision with gentle undulations and kind of rocks us into a peaceful dreaminess. I've been amazed at my own ability to stare and the river Thames and get lost in thought, nice thought.

I ask you again, in case you didn't read it earlier.

What is it about water?

The best answer wins an evening out with Dinidu.

The worst gets two nights out with him.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Come Sit With Me

The unpacking's done and the purchasing is beginning.

This is bad news for the RD economy but seriously good news for any shop within a certain radius of RD Towers.

Minimal is the word. Classy, stylish and tasteful are some more words and they're ones I'm trying to keep at the forefront of my mind. This is a hard task, as it seems right now that all my thoughts are jostling for position at the front of my mind. Do you ever get that? Prioritising's all well and good, just not when everything's in at number one.

With a relatively small living room I'm doing all I can to make good use of the space, particularly as the electronic drums are essential but not exactly great in terms of the whole space saving concept. If I was a singer things would be much easier, though I'd have my ego to carry around and singer's egos are always a big issue.

And, for maybe the first time ever, I'm pleased, I mean really pleased, that I'm about three feet shorter than the average Sri Lankan male, so short that I don't get any bigger as I walk towards you. Why? I hear you asking.

Because over here settees can be bought in several sizes. There are three seater and sometimes four seater ones, two seater and then "compact" two seaters. These compact ones, well you can probably figure it out but I'll explain anyway, are smaller than the regular two seaters but will still take two people.

An average sized Sudda would struggle to sit on one, let alone lie horizontally with a stomach full of rice and curry and watch TV while falling asleep. Things for me are different. I can lie on one and there's enough space between my feet and the arm of the settee for Duplication Road to sidle in comfortably, I can sit on one without that feeling of floating in a sea of sofa that is so common for me on other ones.

If you'd walked through the furniture department of John Lewis yesterday you may have seen a good looking bloke lounging on one of these compact two seater settees with a smug and content look on his face. That fellow was me. I was having an epiphany, even though it was Easter Monday.

I was excitedly realising that a compact two seater might be the way forward, that it could be the answer to many of my questions. The thing is that I don't expect to be entertaining many people that often. There'll of course be C when she's over here and the girls on Wednesdays and alternate Fridays, but that's pretty much it.

The odd friend here and there and of course my Mum about three times a day but that's about it. The thing about post divorce life is that the dinner party circuit dries up and socialising becomes something that's done more out than in. It's also a symptom of kids getting older too, even though they're not with me.

All this rambling is just to try to explain my dilemna; that I need seating for the rare influxes of people, but mostly I need just enough for me. I must add here, isn't spellchecking mad? I just ran one as I wasn't sure if the word "influxes" is a real one. According to blogger's spellcheck thing "influxes" is fine, but "seater" doesn't exist. Well Mr Blogger Spellcheck, how come I was sitting on a two seater then?

So there I was, sitting on the compact two seater and feeling epiphenous (I'm pretty sure that word really doesn't exist), and I realised that I might be bold and courageous and buy it.

It was RED!

I should really say it IS RED.

My thinking is that a red settee would be modern, in that specific design at least, it would be bright and, most importantly, it would match the new mega expensive oven glove. The compact element means that I can fit in two trendy single seater chairs as well, probably in man's black leather, with a trendy and minimalist style.

I didn't buy the red settee there and then but the more I think about it, the more I look at the brochure and the more I look around, the more I know that I almost definitely will.

I sat in one of my three local pubs last night, sipping a rather decent pint of Asahi lager and read my copy of Good Housekeeping. There was a group of merry, bordering on seriously drunk, people next to me so I hid the magazine in a copy of the Gay Times to avoid embarassment. This furnishing business is quite an art really.

I could get into it.

Must go, there's a bookcase I need to look at.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You Know You're Sri Lankan

When you live on your own (mostly), you unpack your stuff and discover that you're the proud owner of three rice cookers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day Seven - The Planter's Chair But No Beef And Potato Curry






Here we are then. The kitchen is now done, everything's unpacked, put away and now it's just a question of finding things as and when I need them.

A good supermarket session may be one of my forthcoming pleasures. I was quietly pleased to discover that I had every spice necessary to make just about any Sri Lankan dish you can imagine. There was Maldive fish, turmeric, dried chillies, you name it and there's a glass jar with a label saying that very thing in my cupboard, the one on the right.

But, I have no food. There are some Kit Kats, some Oreos and some crisps, some Coke Zeros and Fanta Zeros and water in the fridge but that's it. I had to buy those things as K turned up with her mate, C, to hang here for a while the other day. That was quite pleasant, they chilled around, ate things and K was visibly proud to show off her Dad's new pad to her friend.

Yesterday I went out and bought that too trendy for my own good oven glove. I think it was either the most expensive oven glove in the world, or they saw me approaching and hurriedly switched the price label. I followed up by buying the most expensive doormat in the world. It's high tech and specially designed for people to bring in their wet dog after a walk in the woods.

That wasn't a good sentence but I think you know what I meant. Another way of putting it is that it's the type of doormat they use on the space shuttle, that's how high tech and marvellous it is.

My bedroom has turned into a little Sri Lankan oasis. I'm sitting on the planter's chair now as I write this. To my right, just outside the window, is the Thames, some boats and a bridge and things. Just before the window are five pictures of Sri Lanka, taken by me. You may recognise them from my Flickr account or somewhere.

I'd wanted a planter's chair for about fifteen years and finally got this one about two years ago. The shipping cost far more than the actual chair but damn, it was worth every rupee. This is the first time I've had it somewhere where I can really sit, relax and dream and it feels good, it was worth the wait.

There has been one slight disaster so far. I've been unable to find my favourite Sri Lankan cookery book, that one by Channa Dassanayake, the Sri Lankan Aussie chef. I loved the beef and potato curry recipe in it and haven't got the vaguest memory of how to make the dish without the recipe.

All I can recall is that I need beef and potatoes.

Bugger.

Must go, there's more unpacking to be done.

It's Easter Sunday today, the day the Easter Bunny was crucified I believe.

Poor bloke.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

RD Towers - The Story So Far

Day One looked like this:


































Day 5 was like this:




































It's slow but enjoyable, hard work and satisfying.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thank You

I'm kind of running out of ways to say this but thank you again.

Recent events have surprised and amazed me and the emails, the posts, the comments have been a shock, mostly pleasant and some not so pleasant. But that's okay too.

I'm proud to be a member of the Lankanosphere, the Sri Lankan blogosphere, the Kottu community.

You know what as well?

I'm genuinely sorry if I've offended anyone. That doesn't mean I understand why they're offended, but offence has never been my aim.

Normal service will continue, I'm not going anywhere okay.

RD

Lately In The Lankanosphere.....

Ha!

Not fucking likely!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Avurudu, Poya, Easter And Holidays

I'm trying to maintain a dignified silence, but I wish all of you a joyous few days.

And thank you.

Big Time.

All of you. Every single one.

RD, RJ and Girl RD

Men, Leather And The New Place

After doing my bit for womens' rights this week Girl RD was born, the new superhero, fighting for the rights of women, even ugly ones. I feel like one of those American blokes, you know, the sort who says that they're "in touch with their feminine side".

On Monday afternoon I got the keys to the new RD pad, which will be known as RD Towers from here on. I turned up there, met the estate agent, got keys and a huge big instruction book and was then left on my own.

I felt a bit like that tree, the one that falls down in the forest and everyone wonders if anyone hears it falling. Except I was a bloke in an apartment. And I didn't fall down. And I wasn't a tree. Other than that the similarities were uncanny.

After so many months of being with people, I was alone in an alien environment. I'd looked forward to the moment for so long, but suddenly I was on my own in the place, looking around and thinking "what now?"

You see, apart from kitchen appliances and some built in wardrobes, the place is empty. There's not a bed nor a chair to be seen, there's no TV and no telephone, no nothing.

The half full cup of optimist juice looks upon this as a rather trendy looking blank canvas, upon which I can paint a picture that reflects me now, with the things I like and want.

The half empty glass of pessimist juice thinks "Oh fuck, RD's going to have to buy furniture and cushioney things all by himself."

And, to tell you the truth, my mind swings like a pendulum on acid between the two glasses of juice.

Optimist juice is flavoured with excitement, real stomach butterfly excitement, and a hint of cardamon. Pessimist juice is flavoured with a bit of fear and some trepidation.

The existing catalogue of furniture in my possession is hardly one that competes with Ikea in terms of number of pages. I'd be pushed to call it a two page catalogue, mostly because it's only got two things inside; my planter's chair and my TV, and I think calling a TV furniture is banned by the guild of furniture fans, though heavily opposed by the pressure group "action against TVs not being classed as furniture" (AATVNBCF or AATVsNBCAF to the purists).

This all means that I'm building from scratch, basing everything around the planter's chair and my electronic drums. It means that I could end up with RD Towers being a style palace, one that Barbara Sansoni might come and do a chalk drawing of, or it might be the sort of disaster zone that looks like it's been designed by Joey and Phoebe from Friends, on their own.

Right now I say it's an even money situation.

This life, this one of furniture catalogues and interior decorating magazines, is enormously fun.

And I've realised another one of the fundamental differences between the fairer sex and the one with balls, well the one with smaller balls. It's leather, or use and application thereof.

Women wear leather quite happily. Shoes, bags, jackets, even skirts and trousers made of leather are seen on women of all types. You lot generally are fine with leather clothing.

But leather where furniture is concerned is a different matter altogether, we men love the stuff. For us a leather chair or car seat is a thing of beauty. A dark brown or black leather settee is the epitome of style and class for a man, even one like me, Girl RD. It doesn't matter about the shape of the item, the comfort of it or how the legs are designed. It's leather and it's good. End of story.

For women leather is something that men like. White leather falls into that in between territory. Statistics show that 98.6% of white leather chairs and settees are bought by Indian women, matriarchs who have husbands with delusions of grandeur. Apparently they let the husband have leather, then insist on it being white, sometimes that cream colour. No one is happy.

You know when you see one of those highly trendy designer type apartments? One with stylish leather furniture and metallic looking legs to everything. Well you never imagine that it's owned or lived in by a woman do you? In the head it's occupied by some sort of single George Clooney batchelor clone, a Cloney.

When you see one with colour and real taste, that's the place you imagine that's occupied by a woman.

Girl RD's all well and good, fighting for womens' rights and things. But I'm busily browsing through leather settees and chairs like there's no tomorrow. The only softer option is that suedey stuff, only if it smells of leather.

As much as I'm in touch with my feminine side I fear that to choose a chair or settee made from fabric, maybe with colours or patterns, could end in total disaster.

Leather it is.

Other than that there's nothing to say.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Unconditional Love - My Thoughts

A certain Reverand J Jones wrote a little thought provoking post about the subject of unconditional love.

I was going to leave a comment but got caught in that somewhat dangerous no man's land, the one where I'm never sure if I should comment or answer by way of a post.

At this stage, unless you're really quite stupid and think that I might stop the post in a sentence or two and point you in the direction of my comment on Java's blog, you'll have figured out that I'm going to do my own post.

I guess there are no clear answers, no rights and no wrongs to this issue. My view may be different to your's and your's may be different to her's.

But, I do believe in unconditional love. I believe that it exists and I believe that it can exist in all of us. I have a strong feeling that, were you to ask any parent about it, they'd agree with me.

Love can be conditional for sure, it depends on the specifics of the relationship. For example a person can cease to love a former partner, a friend or a particular snare drum. (unlikely I know) People fall out of love. Fact.

"Like" and "love" are two similar yet very different emotions and somewhere therein lies the key.

I reckon I'll always love my daughters, whatever they may do and however they may behave, but that doesn't mean I'll always like them. I think that love is a far more unconscious choice than like is, that we can grow to love a person if we like them first, as is often the case with a partner, but love can also begin of its own accord, without that like thing happening first.

When both of my girls were born I loved them immediately. I didn't know about their characters, I didn't know how they'd be as people, whether they'd be people I'd like, but those things didn't matter, I loved them from the word "push".

With friends and partners I've had to like them first in order to grow to love them. It's a different type of love, one that can die as well as exist. Java says in one of the comments that

"It’s a pretty subjective issue depending on one’s value systems and one’s logical processes."

and that's got to be true, but we all have a few unconditional love relationships with certain family members, it's just the way of the world, or of the mind, that we have differing boundaries. For example I might feel a sense of unconditional love towards my brothers, even if I might intensely dislike them at the same time. It's a concept that sits quite comfortably with me, though I happen to like both of the idiots in question.

But, another fellow, let's call him fellow B, might genuinely not love his brothers because they're arses of the highest order.

In the theoretical scenario where one of Java's dogs savagely mauled someone, I suspect Java would still love the dog, but would cease to like the beast. However perhaps Darwin, in the same position, would cease to love the dog. It's not often I get to talk about Darwin and the doggie position either. Then again, I wonder how Java would feel if said dog had savagely mauled Mervyn Silva. It wouldn't be as straightforward then would it?

So, after a bit of consideration my conclusion is this:

Unconditional love exists, but varies from person to person.

Conditional love also exists and it's as subjective as the other type.

Like is a very different, but similar thing.

All like is conditional, there's no such thing as unconditional like.

Why do you think there are no songs called "Unconditional Like"?

Thanks to JJ for the thought provoking post. There's another post / response to it by metheblogger here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

To The Boy Next Door, Yes, You, The One With The Hard On

Listen sonny,

I know that I like to wear a skimpy top or two now and again. You're right when you say it was my choice, you're right when you say that you didn't force me.

But, the rest of what you write is sexist and embarrassing. The thing is that it's not my responsibility to wear less skimpy clothes to stop your dirty little mind wandering into spank bank territory. It's up to you to do that.

I've got a great pair of breasts, I know that and I'm proud of it. That doesn't mean that men have to stare at them as if they've never seen a pair before, it doesn't mean that you have the right to perve over me like you do.

You say that you were nice enough to focus on my fun bags, as opposed to alternating between them and trying to make eye contact. Well I'm stunned. Do you expect me to be grateful for this? For the huge restraint you showed, that incredible demonstration of self control.

Sonny, I'm not flattered that you like the way I look, not one bit. The look I gave you in the lift, the one you say had a hint of "slight animal lust", was anything but that. It wasn't even annoyance, it was a look of pity, of indifference and of "I hope he doesn't have a semi again".

You see, believe it or not, I don't dress to impress boys like you.

It's real men, like that RD fellow, who appeal to me.

Yours

Lift Girl

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Beauty Of The Lankanosphere

I've learned many a fact and a bountiful treasure chest of information from the little section of the internet that is the Sri Lankan blogosphere.

There's not much better an example than this one. I asked a question here, as you know my thirst for academic knowledge is second only to my thirst for Elephant House Cream Soda. Yes, that's Elephant House Cream Soda, just Google it if you want to know more.

And before I could say "Papa's got a brand new manbag" Cerno gives a full and detailed answer and explanation.

I'm grateful to the Right Honourable chap for the research and time he's put into the answer. It makes me proud to feel a part of our little community, and let's face it, most of us are Sri Lankan and therefore quite little.

I've also noticed that he's got two labels for humour, one "humour", in the Queen's English as it should be, one "humor" as the Obamesians would say. Crafty and clever stuff. He learned this stuff in a Dutch brothel I hear.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday's Thought - With Credit to Zephyr And Sean

Which came first.

The axle or the wheel?

Though I've never been a huge Guns 'n' Roses fan anyway.

Let's Forget About Memory For A Bit Shall We?

This story is true but confusing. It's not even one of those ones that's starting out all clear in my head and then may turn out to read like a jumble of random sentences that no one can understand.

No, it's a mess in my mind and confuses the hell out of me as I ponder on it, but bravery is my middle name, well it might be if I had one, though Mohammed or Brian are probably more likely to have been chosen, and I'm going to attempt to regale you with the pertinent stuff.

It's all about the memory, my one specifically.

Since my late teens I've been an avid reader of self help books, not to be confused with self abuse books. I went through many years in which I read no fiction at all, believing that, if I was to read, I'd be better off spending that reading time learning about things rather than having frivolous fun in fiction.

I was wrong about that and changed my tune, but I still read the management books, the pop psych books and the how to be a divorced Dad books as if they're going out of fashion. Sadly I haven't found a book that teaches me how to invent great similes and metaphors, they're as rare as a predictable thing in an everyday place, with cheese.

At a tender age I also realised what I think is a pearl of wisdom; the fact that most of the content of any of these self help books is either common sense or total rubbish, about 93%. The common sense is things most of us already know, the rubbish is worthless, like rubbish. But that leaves 7% of goodness. Goodness that can only be gained by reading the whole 100%.

So, I read lots of the literature and try to filter out the useful bits from the tosh, then go forth and do my thing.

One such book that I bought and read some ten years ago was about the memory, though this was the memory in general, not just my one. It was by one of those memory "champions", the sort of fellow who can probably go to a supermarket and return with the three things his wife told him to buy without forgetting even one. I've never met such a chap but I'm told they exist.

This fellow, whose name I've forgotten, started the book by saying that he thinks of the memory as a muscle, one that can be trained and made better. He believes that each person's memory isn't definitively good or bad, more that it all depends on how it's developed and used.

I suspect the logic makes sense to anyone. We all remember total crap and seemingly pointless information about things we're interested in. For example Java can remember the exact length (to the nearest millimetre) of each joint he's smoked for the last twenty three years and Dinidu can recall exactly how many friends on Facebook each of his Facebook friends has.

I know not how this nuggets of information will benefit the esteemed bloggers, I merely report facts to you.

So anyhow, I read most of this book. Well, the first few chapters to be honest, and was left impressed and quite chuffed with myself. I practiced the methods outlined and, before I could forget where I'd put the book, I was some sort of junior memory master. I could recall lists of things, really I could. Lists of random objects, perhaps ten or twenty of them, I'd be able to quote back to you days after the event, not that a list is an event of course.

I'd read, studied and practiced and went through my time going over these few early chapters in my head. There was linking, association and something involving cats. I felt as if I was going through my days training my memory muscle and, at every opportunity, I was the person who could remember all sorts of things.

After some weeks I stopped thinking about the methods consciously and decided to go back to the book and read the rest of it. I assumed the rest of the book would teach me how to do useful things with my memory, or at least things more useful than entering memory competitions and writing books about the memory. However that thing called life got in the way of going back to the book and I promptly forgot all the methods I'd so carefully memorised.

I reckon by now you'll be getting a sense of irony and a vague understanding of my confusion as explained at the start. I mean, how can these memory methods be so successful, powerful and life changing if I went and forgot them?

It's mad isn't it?

Well that's the background.

The story continues last Sunday, a Sunday that took place many years after the initial forgetting the how to remember things saga.

There I was, mooching around iTunes, lurking, browsing and perusing the wonderful virtual shop's goods and chattels. Nothing much on the music side grabbed me so I strolled into the audiobook section. Derren Brown jumped out at me with his audiobook about memory. I like Derren Brown, even though his parents could never make up their minds between Derek and Darren.

He's beyond description really, half magician, half psychologist and half hypnotist. I don't think he ever claims to be a magician but much of his stuff is more magical looking than many a rabbit in the hat type. So he's written, or spoken, an audiobook about the memory and there were a few references on iTunes that seemed to think it was rather good. I bought one, even though my cynical hat was quite firmly on my head. Well, as firmly as it could have been because of the furry thing with big ears that was inside it.

Now, it's Thursday afternoon, though you're probably reading this on Friday morning, and after listening to some chapters I'm back to where I was those years' ago. I can remember lists again.

It's freaky but it's true. I keep a list of the titles of blog posts I want to write. I used to write the list in my journal and, truth be told, I still do. But, I've also remembered it using linking things. In the old RD head is this complex but easy linked list of possible blog posts. There are about ten of them and the things I recall in order to bung up the posts are weird, they have to be really.

For example there's an image of my Dad playing Carrom against a sheep. This reminds me of the post that I've since written about the Carrom game against my Dad as well as the one about training animals, intelligence or lack of.

I'm sorry to inform Lady Divine that there's a linkage between one about incest and her. I have to visualise Lady D knocking at my door while there are some sheep comitting incest inside to remember other bits. It sounds complicated and perverted and I suppose it is, but it's working.

This post in particular is the last one on my list and it's preceded by an image of a cab driver who reads lots of self help books. Weird I know.

What I need to figure out next is if this technique will stick with me this time, or if I'll have forgotten it all in some months and I'll have a memory of having a good memory.

I suppose it would defeat the purpose if I wrote it all down to help me recall it.

Wouldn't it?

Oh yes, I almost forgot, have a good weekend too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Exploding With Excitement

Look what I've managed to do. I did a bit of HTML, bypassed the flux capacitor, made some JPEGs and converted them into falangey files

Look what DD has so kindly done for me, up there in the header of my blog. Never has this little Sri Lankan Brit drummer been this happy, not since he got a sexy moving tag cloud anyway.

Thanks a million DD, you're right up there in my list of heroes now, despite your crazy political views!

Oh, themadcatwoman is back. I laughed out loud, there really should be an acronym for that shouldn't there? Go read it. Here. It's funny, only in a side splitting kind of way. In fact, it's probably the funniest thing since the sliced wheel.

Welcome back madcatwoman.

Anal adventures my arse!

Thursday's Thought

I was looking at the title of my last post and it hit me.

What was the best thing BEFORE sliced bread?

Usual rules apply.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lady Divine, T And The Sachs - The Best Things Since Kottu?

Got a blog?

Ever look at the stats for it?

For me the answers are yes and sometimes, respectfully, for I'm nothing if not respectful. Especially to the older generations as that's what we Sri Lankans are taught.

Every now and then I look at the stats for LLD and try to process the myriad of information available. I marvel at things, useless things, then go and write a post about pooing or drumming, farting or sex.

This time I'm going to tell you about referrals and what I learned today about the little things.

You may be surprised by this, but I wasn't, my single largest referrer by far is Kottu, which currently accounts for 19.1% of my traffic. The smarter readers among you will probably be able to work out my total readership figures and the current price of a Karlstad brown leather sofa from Ikea using this information, and that's okay, if I can use the word "and" after a comma.

I am, in both senses of the phrase, a firm Kottu fan. I think the aggregator, if that is the correct term, is innovative and clever and Mr Ca should get a knighthood or a Deshamanya at some point for it. I've heard through the grapevine that he may get one soon, but it might have "Kotelawala" on the back crossed out hastily.

But it's satisfying to see how my percentage of referrals from Kottu has reduced over the three years. I remember in my first months that Kottu gave me 90 - 95% of my traffic, then about a year to eighteen months ago the figure was about 70%. This is satisfying because it shows that I'm getting more traffic from other sources, from direct links on other blogs, from things like google reader and people who subscribe directly to LLD.

I feel a bit like a kid who's growing up and becoming less dependent on parents, grateful for the support and also pleased that I can do things on my own, all with the knowledge I can go back and stay with them should the need arise. Not that that would ever happen of course.

After Kottu things are fascinating, and probably also a reflection of the popularity of these particular blogs in the Lankanosphere. You see Lady Divine, T and Sachintha give a combined total of 4.5% of my referrals. Lady D, the heroine that she is, is the biggest referrer with 1.8%, for which I'd can only offer my appreciation, maybe a durian or two as well.

I wasn't that surprised to see Lady D and T up at the top, for their blogs have been around for so long and I would only be insulting you to tell you how popular they are. Sachintha's was a bit of a surprise though, as his blog is not even a year old so a relative newcomer. I have to say here that there's something very captivating about it and it's right up there in my list of blogs I should link to when I next have a tidy up.

Both Sachintha and Lady D have their own logos too. This is something I must look into, mine will probably say "RD" just to keep it simple, then I'll get a tattoo done of it, maybe even a tramp stamp, not that I've got an ego or anything mind. While I'm at it I must also find out how to get one of the personalised headers that Sachintha and Viceunversa have both got, they're cooler than Nibras Bawa wearing a Barefoot sarong in a fridge.

In fifth place is the other famous Sach, the cynical one. Sadly her referrrals come in at 0.9%, unlike Sachintha's 1.0%. It's good, but she must try harder.

Then, after the cynic, things pale off into insignificance. There are little bits and pieces of referrals, small google searches and obscure websites that I haven't heard of.

These days Achcharu only gives 0.2% of referrals and that's decreasing quicker than Arundhati Roy's book sales in Sri Lanka. The once so promising and bright kid has turned into a bit of a delinquent teenager no one really likes these days. I guess that's what happens in life eventually.

And, at the low end, the Right Honourable Cerno's referrals, a mere 0.2% from his blog link and another 0.2% from his T100SLBPBP post surprised me. I would have guestimated that I'd get more from the man. I wonder if it means something, perhaps that people who like his blog don't like mine.

There you have it, just some thinking aloud, though silent, from me.

I have all this information. Figuring out what to do with it is the hard bit. Maybe I'll write a post about it all.

At some point we'll chat about search words. If your name is "chocolate biscuit pudding" or you happen to like "boys balls" then you'll be interested.