Thursday, January 29, 2009

Help, I'm In Galle, Send Scissors.

Dear All,

Help, I'm in Galle, send scissors and a stylist.

This morning I woke up and all I could hear was that miserable sound of rain, when you just know that the weather is gray and the atmosphere is dull. But I was wrong. The rain was actually the ocean, more or less at the end of my bed. The weather is best described as Galle sunny and Sri Lankan hot.

For that is where I am; in the Fortress in Galle, in the midst of some literary festival that you may just have heard about.

Yesterday afternoon I was at the opening ceremony at Martin Wickremasinghe's birthplace. There were dignitaries galore, women wearing the most god awful clothes you can imagine, as well as some stylish and sexy types and all kinds of Sri Lankan society people.

Authors and poets read bits and pieces, Romesh Gunasekera spoke passionately and eloquently, I guess one expects authors to be eloquent. He needs a haircut though. I wonder if he spends so much time poring over words that he doesn't consider the hair issue. He should. Take it from me as I know about hair and writing. He probably knows a lot more wrods than me, maybe even the meanings too.

There was poetry too, an art form that continues, try as I might, to fox me. I chatted to Electra at one point and, when I told her that AA Milne's "When we were very young" was about the limit of my tolerance for poetry, she gave me that look that women often give me. It's a sort of "are you really that much of a fuckwit?" look, my answer usually begins with y and ends in s.

I suppose I appreciate poetry, I understand that it exists, I just don't get it. Maybe, in the coming days of wandering around the GLF I'll become a fan of poetry and decide to give up the drums and use my sticks in poems instead. Who knows?

In the evening I was at the cocktail party for the GLF. Authors and Sansonis were everywhere.

I met Thomas Kineally, the author of Schindler's Ark. A more modest and nice chap one could not wish to meet. It was brief, he complimented me on how sweet my kids were, only they weren't my kids. I admitted this just in case it was a ploy on the author's part, perhaps the kids had nicked his wallet or something and he was going around trying to locate the parents. I'm no fool and saw through his plan immediately.

It was only a little while after the conversation that I discovered the identity of my interrogator. He had only told me that he was one of the participants in the GLF and the he was "doing a few things tomorrow."

He looked a bit like Father Christmas dressed up to go out on a Hawaiian themed stag do, one that he thought would end particularly madly, so he'd worn some old clothes. I never guessed he was the literary equivalent to Bill Gates. To be fair I don't think he realised that I was RD either, THE RD. As we speak he's probably writing a book about the encounter.

Germaine Greer was around too, though I didn't, rather dared not, approach her. These feminists are scary, one inadvertant glance at her breasts and I'd be thrown out of the festival quicker than a quick thing in a zero gravity part of space. I bet she'd be quite happy if I held the door open for her though.

She was surrounded by women, it seemed that most of the other men had the same idea as me. I chatted to other people, like Tracy Holsinger, though there was one point at which she threatened to hit me over something I said. It's part of my charm I guess.

The evening ended, as this post shall in a few lines. I'm heading into the Fort to find authors and participants, to listen and learn from them and enjoy the rather wickedly cool ambience.

The ocean's still blue and making that swishing noise, the temperature is still hot and some of the sunbathing white tourists are about three shades darker than they were when I started typing this post about an hour ago. That's the Sri Lankan hotel wireless internet for you.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lost For Words

Well I am, but it's happening while I'm sitting in the Barefoot garden cafe, so I'm thinking that it's okay, that the novelty factor of writing and publishing a post when I'm here will make up for a total lack of substance and content.

I just went to Majestic City and found out that they've built a new entrance at the side where the KFC is. It's swish and flash, which sound like the names of two of the reindeer owned by a superhero Father Christmas I know. It's all clean and smart, but there were no beggars. They used to be a pain and now they're not there it feels strange. One thing's for sure; they haven't ceased to be poor.

The garden here is as atmospheric as ever. A scattering of people, all white and me. Not only are they white but they look French. There's that mixture of sexy, stylish and good looking with the obligatory ugly one who has no sense of style. That's the thing about groups of Frenchies isn't it? There's always at least one who looks as if she's just stepped out of a page in Vogue.

Yesterday I must admit I ate far too many string hoppers, perhaps the more mental among you might say far too much food. Breakfast was strings, chicken curry, white potato curry, parippu and pol sambol. I ate with the pleasure that it deserved and the discipline of a monk. One rather serious plateful later and I was done. I sat back with a feeling of repleteness and a little smugness, knowing that I would eat no more, that my willpower was good.

I was wrong. I followed up with two pastry things and some whipped cream and jam, a tragic waste of stomach space I know.

Lunch was the Gallery Cafe's black pork curry, as I was being still maintaining my healthy balance thing. I was accompanied by a rather beautiful woman as it happens, so only ate one main course.

Dinner was string hoppers again with more accompaniments than I can recollect. I was told that the average amount of strings a Sri Lankan man eats in a sitting is twenty. I ate a mere fifteen of the red type, which are a bit heavier. I guess it was a performance well below par, if par is twenty, but I'm a sceptic there.

So I'm out with that. The temperature here is hot, the ambience is cool, the mellow jazz is chilled and the French people are cold. That's life.

Oh and I'm off to have lunch.

This is hard work.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Here I Am

Just to make DD and Darwin a bit jealous really. Here I am, back in the island of many different names.

The flight was good, I had two seats to myself, always a bonus.

The drive into Colombo from the airport was full of totally expected surprises. Sunday afternoon meant that the roads were quiet but still life carried on.

We drove past the minibus carrying the pilot and crew of my plane and they had met with an accident. There's something so Sri Lankan about that, even though it could have happened to any crew in any country.

I sat quietly and watched Sri Lankan unfold before me. The men sitting outside their smallholdings watching the world go by, the fellows on bikes in the road. I saw one chap on a bike narrowly avoid a collision with a bus, the avoiding would have been much easier but the cyclist was somehow carrying another bike across the handlebars of the one he was riding, so braking was a bit awkward for him. In fact cycling was a bit of a tough task.

I was the only person remotely interested in the goings on as he went through a St Vitus dance of a stopping manoeuvre to try to prevent getting obliterated by the bus.

I gazed at the slum dwellings as we crossed the river into Colombo and recalled how all of this looked to me when I was ten and saw things for the first time "proper" on the same journey. Then I looked at it with eyes as big as basket balls, these days the eyes are only slightly smaller. The wonder is a different kind, the familiarity means that I look a little deeper and uncover that bit more.

Is it just me or are the people a little bit less gentle each time I come? Is the spirit slowly being worn away?

Tomorrow I'll hit the usual haunts and do some mooching about. As I type this I can hear that backdrop of noise that almost warms my heart, the mixture of diesel engine rumble and horning.

It's a totally mad place.

I love it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The 2008 Blogging Awards - The Closing Ceremony

We're finally at the end of this thing and there are a few little words I'd like to say. It's been quite a reflective week or two for me as I've written the posts that have made up this virtual award ceremony. I've looked at many blogs I don't normally look at, I've reread many a post that I hadn't paid much attention to the first time around and I've delved into the far reaches of the Sri Lankan blogosphere.

In terms of nominees and awards it has been entirely subjective, based wholly on the Sri Lankan blogs I read and follow. Of course that is primarily influenced by what is listed on Kottu, the Sri Lankan blog aggregator.

I know that there is a plethora of Sri Lankan blogs I have missed out, ones that, were things objective, rational or democratic, would have been forerunners for winning every category. Maybe in the future there'll be a real Sri Lankan blogging awards ceremony, with real people in a real place. I should add that I'm happy to host the virtual awards, but everyone round my Mum and Dad's place in Richmond might be a bit cramped.

We all go through that stage of blogging, the one in which we think about why we write a blog and then we write a post about it, thinking that we're very original to be so deep and insightful. I'm told that the next stage is to become aware that we all go through the stage of wondering why we blog.

But, one of the things I reflected on as I wrote these posts, was how being a part of the Sri Lankan blogosphere has affected me, what it has meant and done for me. If this was an advert for a moisturiser this would be the part where our Jen would say "here comes the science", but it's not, nor is it science that's coming. Other than that the comparison is a strong one I feel.

It's a stroke of very poetic and lovely timing that all this was going on for me while VIC wrote his rather sensational post about Sri Lankan identity and so many others, including me, chipped in with humorous pieces about Sri Lankans, most of which could have been attributed to many other nations as well as Lankans.

You see, I realised that my blog, the fact that it has picked up a few readers, largely in Sri Lanka, with one in Scotland and another in Boreham Wood, has made me feel more Sri Lankan. I've always felt Sri Lankan, but, as I've got older, the feeling has grown, unlike my hair. More visits to the Motherland, more contact, more absorbing of the cultures and the people, all of which happen as frequently as I can manage, have all contributed to the feeling of identity.

One of my fundamentel beliefs is abundance. I believe that identity is abundant. I'm not one of those who thinks that the more British I am the less Sri Lankan I am, or vice versa. My cup overfloweth and I think that I can be 100% Sri Lankan and 100% British, I can be proud of both.
Writing is a funny thing, somewhat faceless, or at least identityless. I guess you might read my words here and picture a good looking guy with an incredibly witty sense of humour. You'd be right of course. But, your view of my "Sri Lankaness" might be very different to mine. The very first time I met Java he told me that he had expected me to be more Sri Lankan.

We pursued the comment as we both found it interesting and realised that he had been expecting my accent to be more Sri Lankan. The fact is that my accent is pure west London, I can't even speak Sinhala or Tamil yet I feel Sri Lankan. I'm pretty sure that if I met many of you you'd look at me as a tourist or a Sudda, but you probably wouldn't think that way if you're a reader of this blog. That's interesting isn't it?

Of course I do have what I consider probably the most important characteristic in a Sri Lankan; the fact that I'm so short that I don't get any bigger as I walk towards you.

I've rambled a bit there and the gist of what I'm trying to say is a thank you for letting me be involved in the Sri Lankan blogosphere. It's an honour.

Thank you to all the bloggers whose words I read regularly. I've learned so much about so many things from them and I hope it continues.

Also thanks to the guest judges. To Dominic, The Missing Sandwich, Cerno, Indi (better late than never), DD, Java, Darwin and George W Bush. They were all genuine, except one. It's no coincidence that they were all up for awards this year as they're the bloggers I admire and consider to be the experts. They were all happy to be "guest judges" and to write a few words.

This year I've decided to go the whole hog, to really ramp things up a little bit. This year I'm proud to announce a big, a special and a new award. I don't know if it will be awarded every year, it just depends whether there's someone who deserves it. Hell, I don't even know if there'll be an awards ceremony next year, what with the credit crunch and everything.

I am proud to announce the first ever Legend of The Sri Lankan Blogosphere Winner.

You know, I think this is a reflection on this person's character. I've been thinking for a while about how to write this, how to say a few things about what this person has done without revealing the identity. Build up a bit of tension, make you think that it could be one of several people, you know the thing.

And I can't. I figure that as soon as I say anything about this chap or chappess you'll know who I mean. That's some achievement, or my writing skills are crap! So, I'll just tell you a bit and do it anyway.

This guy writes brilliantly. He writes what is undoubtedly the most popular blog in the Sri Lankan blogosphere. A blogger whom I admire greatly said of this chap

"He's developed a way of writing, on his blog at least, that is identifiably his way. Mistakes, he's made a few... It's a kind of outpouring of his mind onto the keyboard. If I did the same thing you'd just see a stream of swear words and nudey pictures but Indi does it in a way that makes the reader feel as if they've casually strolled into the inner workings of his brain and are looking at how his ideas and thoughts develop, rather than listening to the end result."

Frankly I don't think I could have put it better myself.

He's fearless in his writing and comes out with posts on everything, from politics to photography to advice on how to get laid. He is THE Godfather of the Sri Lankan blogosphere.

As if that wasn't enough he runs Kottu. He does it with a casual and charming sense of nonchalence. never seeming to be arsey or overly protective of it and always appearing open to suggestions and ideas. As far as I know it's not a money making adventure for him, just a labour of love, and he pretty much lists any blog that satisfies his requirements to be a Sri Lankan blog.

I was reading some of the Sittingnut crap the other day and thinking that it's very abundant of Indi, more so than most would display, to continue to take those insults to his family and still list that blog on Kottu. I think, were it me, I'd tell the guy to start his own aggregator or something.

So there you have it.

I'd like to present the first ever Legend of The Sri Lankan Blogosphere award to

Indi Samarajiva.

That's it, really.

Many congratulations to all the winners. I remain a bit bemused and even more stunned that people are genuinely appreciative and touched to win one of the awards.

Tonight I'll be on one of Sri Lankan Airlines' finest heading to that Island we love.

Maybe we'll bump into each other.

Thank you for reading.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Where Do Those Comments Go?

As I left a comment on Lady D's blog a short while ago, it was my second attempt, a thought struck me.

I know I'm not the only person to go through the whole missing comments thing. You know, when you leave a comment somewhere and it doesn't show up. I often see people who leave a comment here and then manage to send it twice. I presume they hit the submit button twice or just aren't sure if the first time worked.

Not that often, but occasionally someone will tell me that they've had trouble commenting here, that they have lost a comment. Java had a spell a while ago in which he maintained that none of his comments got through, though he often makes up things to get attention so we can never be sure.

Then there are comments that bloggers must decline to publish for whatever reason, perhaps because they're spam or insulting or whatever.

What happens to them?

There must be billions of unpublished or lost comments floating around the great big blogosphere.

Perhaps there's a room somewhere where there all kept in a cupboard, maybe they're filed away. How would you file them anyway? I guess by the name of the commentor, but the "A" section would be too big with all the anonymous ones.

Hmmm...I wonder.

The 2008 Blogging Awards - The Big One Is Here, Blog Of The Year 2008


It's been a relentless journey, though I don't know if journeys are allowed to be described as relentless. A telesales person can be relentless, perhaps a Jehovah's witness as he tries to save my soul, not to be confused with sole, as that would be a fish and I always prefer meat. Can a journey be relentless? I don't know. I'll ask David Blacker or Brandix or one of those writer coves and get back to you.

But here we are. It's Friday, it's the end of the week and it's time for the big one, the award for Blog of The Year for 2008. I'll confess and admit to being a bit knackered after all this handing out of awards thing. I feel a bit like one of those chaps whose had a party round at his place and, though it was great fun but I've now got to do the clearing up as well as recover from all the getting ready beforehand. This hosting isn't easy you know.

I'll explain something here, something that you may think is undemocratic. I've excluded both Darwin and Cerno from being nominated for this award. Purely because they are the last two winners and I wanted to give the award to someone else. It's not a hard and fast rule, next year it may be open to all the previous winners, but we'll just see how it goes. It should be noted, for the sake of the constitution, that Darwin and Cerno, had they been nominated, would have been prime candidates to run away with the title. Check out this incredible post from the C man if you doubt me.

I must be the same as most bloggers and blog readers in that there are a handful of blogs that I read day in day out. Frequency of posting is such an influencer for all of us in terms of how much attention we give to a blog and I wish all of the nominess would publish more. But, unlike me, I guess they don't get the benefit of hour upon hour behind their desks, they've probably got proper jobs with managers and things.

I'm hoping for a guest judge on this one but I've just been given a message that he's running a bit late, it's mostly my fault as I only asked him at the last minute. We'll hope he gets here in time to present the award and do a speech.

The nominations are those blogs that grab me and that I always read. There are others that I'll check every now and again but these are my real attention grabbers. It's subjective I know, your ones will probably be different, but that's why these awards are being held at my place.

Here we go with the nominees:

1. David Blacker for The Blacklight Arrow. - I admire these proper writers, I really do. They have styles and big vocabularies and DB is well known for his huge one. The only word that springs to my mind in relation to the Blacklight Arrow is eclectic. Other people would probably have different adjectives, like captivating, varied, stimulating and eye catching. Sadly I'm just not up to it. The only two negatives are that he just doesn't post often enough and sometimes the pictures overlap the text. He writes, we read. It's that simple, that good.

2. Dinidu de Alwis - He has been a shade on the quiet side in recent days, so much so that there are some rumours circulating that he's run off with Kalusudda. Keep that quiet though won't you. He sometimes writes provocative things, sometimes he hits us with hard hitting pieces and then chucks out a photograph of a flower or a story about someone's scary kid on facebook or something. The fact that just about anyone who is anyone links to Dinidu's blog is a reflection of either its consistent quality or the fact that he knows everyone. Or both.

3. Lady Divine for A Glimpse Of Lady Divine's World - I suppose this is what many would call a pimped up diary of a blog as it's really a pimped up diary. Of a blog. What is it with these bloody creative types and their ability to write in interesting and grabbing ways? It's almost as if that's what they do for a living or something. She regales us with the words to accompany her day to day life, there's the odd poem chucked in for good measure and frankly it's just a damn good read.

4. The Missing Sandwich - Another big star of the Sri Lankan blogosphere. TMS, when not organising the Solidarity Gaymes, appearing on TV, in newspapers or on stage, is really a quietly spoken girl who keeps herself to herself and likes nothing better than a quiet night in. She is the shrinking violet of the Sri Lankan blogopshere and hardly appears in public. She also writes the blog that I'm first in the queue to read.

5. DD for ViceunVersa - His post titles aren't just attention grabbers, they're more like sexily dressed nymphomaniacs who walk up to a chap and grab his balls. Or, for the girls, the ones who don't have balls, I suppose they're like a chap who rushes up to you and says "hey Odel is having a half price sale on shoes today and you've just won 50,000 Rs to spend there." Not that anyone we know has ever won such a prize of course. And while I'm on the subject I'll chuck in a little story about balls and prostitutes if you promise to keep it quiet.

One of my business partners was on a long weekend in Prague with some mates. While he was innocently standing at a road and waiting for the green light to cross said road, a woman, who was quite clearly a prostitute, came up to him and asked if he wanted sex. As she did this she squeezed his balls very, very hard. Women, you won't know the pain but, imagine being right in the middle of that Odel shopping spree and then waking up and discovering it's all a dream, and you'll have some idea.

So my business partner says no to the woman and she wanders off , leaving him in some pain. Later on he's in a bar with his mates, he goes to take out his wallet from his back pocket and, you've guessed it, it's gone. He then remembered feeling something else as the woman had squeezed his balls. That was her removing the wallet. So there you go. It's nothing to do with DD, I just thought I'd share the story with you.

As for ViceunVersa, well it's a blog, it's written by a Sri Lankan who has a clear and burning passion for Sri Lanka. Sometimes he says things I and many others disagree with. Sometimes he gives us little insights into the advertising world, of Sri Lanka, the UK and elsewhere. There are times when he writes poignantly about his life before the UK and he does it with that gift of the written word, the gift of taking his reader to the place. You know, without hauling you onto a plane and actually taking you there. But it's an all engrossing blog and consistently in the most popular reads listed on Kottu.

There we are, those are the candidates, a strong bunch of chaps and girls and an even stronger bunch of blogs. It's a mixed bag and it's been a tough task to pick the winner. Eventually I've gone with my gut feeling. Which blog is the one I feel most excited about?

Yes, the winner is.....

The Missing Sandwich.

And, in the nick of time, the guest judge has arrived. It's the great man himself, last year's winner, the Right Honourable Lord Cerno. I'll hand the podium over to him:

"Congratulations to TMS, well deserved winner of the "Best Blog of 2008" award! She will be (or already is) the happy recipient of the award which is a 16tonne Olmec ( head sent as an email attachment. Anyone who frequents the Sri Lankan Blogosphere ( would have already read something of TMS. The blog's unignorable posts feature regularly to the "most popular posts" list on

TMS attracts a fair share of drama. I was already a regular reader when a photograph of TMS appeared on the Sunday Times. Then her blog got hacked. She has also been attacked in the papers. But she continues post on with passion, courage, and above all a great sense of humour. Instead of taking my word on this take hers by reading TMS blog yourself. While you are there, lend a hand moving the award."

What can I add. Other than a message to T that the speech genuinely was by Cerno.

To The Missing Sandwich, 2008's blog of the year and to the runners up I offer my hearty congratulations.

Tomorrow we'll wrap up the awards for this year with a very final new and extra special one and some slushy words from me.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

You Might Be A Sri Lankan If.....(an extra one)

You always have to spell your name for white people.

You Might Be A Sri Lankan If....

I thought I'd jump wholeheartedly onto the already overladen bandwagon. Here are my additions:

Every meal includes rice and toothpicks

The distance between your big toe and your little toe is greater than the length of your foot.

You have a relative in most countries in the world.

You think it's perfectly okay for two first cousins to marry

Your surname has more than three syllables

You always need to weigh your luggage before check in

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 2008 Blogging Awards - The Best Newcomer

The pace is hotting up, I'm feeling ungainly and awkward. Ungainly, because that's how I walk, awkward, because the bashful me thinks that these awards are a bit of fun and they're coming at you thick and fast, perhaps too much. And, also, quite frankly, a bit awkward because occasionally, just occasionally, I wish I knew more about the correct usage of commas.

Sir Trevor is getting impatient and things are getting near to the big one, the Blog of The Year award. It's only me and everyone I've told who know who the winner is. That's how top secret things are in these parts.

The best newcomer award, unlike VIC's views on identity, doesn't need a lot of explaining. It's doesn't watch Sirasa TV, it doesn't hold a Sri Lankan passport and, most importantly, it hasn't taken it upon itself to be the expert and authority on identity. No sirree, it's just an award for what I think is the best new blog in the Sri Lankan blogosphere in the last year.

The guest judge for this has been a little bit busy of late so I'm going to present, announce and make the speech on my own. It's a hard task but I feel I'm up to it. Katie Perry did the MTV things so I figure I'll be okay, perhaps with the occasional drum solo thrown in here and there.

The nominees for Best Newcomer are: (badum tish, ga dum dum dagga dagga daaar) - <-- that was the first drum solo

1. Jade, for Shades Of Jade. - I spotted Jade's blog some months ago and was drawn into her slightly cranky, slightly mad world pretty quickly. She describes herself as "just another raving lunatic" but she seems quite normal to me. My standards though are often deemed as "different". It's an eclectic blog, covering things from blind dates to politics and our Jade's not afraid to have a little rant when the need arises. I like.

2. Gypsy Bohemia - It's very new this one and has the look of an old sepia photograph. Gipsy's writing reminds me of no one, which is a good thing. There are interesting words, eye catching pictures and an joie de vivre that feels infectious. Oh, and she likes Britney Spears, so gets my vote immediately. Find out more about her here.

(ding ding da, da ding ding der da, ger dinga dinga dahga dinga dinga dinga dah) <---the second one

3. Soixante Neuf - There's no point linking to her blog and hardly any point in talking about her as it's all been said. But, she was new and she was different, she was popular and we all loved her. Now she's gone but remains a fading star in all of our minds. Or should that be "mind"? I'm never sure on that. 4. Kalusudda, for Kalusudda comments - I go on and on and then some about positivity, creativity and good things. KS has come out with his blog and it's right up my street. I don't know if the idea was his but it was certainly new to the Lankan blogosphere. It's simple and brilliant. People often describe me in the same way, only without the brilliant bit.

Well those are the honoured nominations. Before I announce the winner I'd just like to compliment The Missing Sandwich on the rather sexy strapless red dress she's chosen to wear tonight. Doesn't she look good over there at the back, next to the chap dressed as a nun, with the Nikon?

So, the winner of The Best Newcomer for 2008 is.....


Thoroughly deserved KS. Personally I love the fact that you write nice things and demonstrate that cream always rises to the top. Now come back, we miss you.


The 2008 Blogging Awards - Best Written Blog

The frenetic frenzy of fabulous err, Sri Lankan blogging awards continues like one of Murali's finest, gathering pace and swerving all over the show with the only certainty being the fact that it will probably all end in tears. Maybe.

This morning we have the award for the best written blog, an award for which there are candidates galore. The Sri Lankan blogosphere is blessed with fellows and girls who write for a living who, as if they don't do enough of it in their day job, then go out and write their blog in their free time. Fucking weirdos if you ask me, but fucking weirdos who never fail to write interesting, poignant and poetic words and posts.

Would I want one of these creative types to write the copy for an advert for my Company? Hell no, but do I read their blogs and wish I had their gift for the written whatsername? Absofuckinglutely. Last year's winner was Java for his magical place and wonderful ruminations, but as he's already been a guest judge once we've got a newish one along, Mr Viceunversa himself.

I suppose there are some who'll think it's unfair that this award is based on the English language. Yes, it is unfair but I'll give you my two very good reasons. The first one is that I don't speak or read Sinhala or Tamil so the beauty of the written word in either of those languages would be lost on me.

The second is that, on both my computers, Sinhala and Tamil appear as little itsy bitsy noughts and crosses boards. This is a bummer, unless there's a Sinhala or Tamil blogger out there who is writing specifically about noughts and crosses, in which case I think the blog is fantastic and deserves an award anyway. Perhaps some kind of board game would be nice.

Let's get this show on the road and present the nominations:

1. Drama Queen / The Madcatwoman for Hissyfits. Ok. I'll tell you now that she's not going to win this or she'll get all big headed and boastful and I'll be accused of having favourites, even though she is one of my favourites. From now on I think she should be referred to as the award winning DQ. You know her and where to find her by now.

2. Sach for The Cynical One. She's a real journalist and writes real things, articles and the like. She talks us through her life, her adventures with a boyfriend and his weiner and her numerous piercings. There are serious bits in there too. When she's old and famous I'll stroll around saying things like "I knew her when she was young and famous."

3. Indi for I have a lot of admiration for Mr Ca. He's developed a way of writing, on his blog at least, that is identifiably his way. Mistakes, he's made a few... It's a kind of outpouring of his mind onto the keyboard. If I did the same thing you'd just see a stream of swear words and nudey pictures but Indi does it in a way that makes the reader feel as if they've casually strolled into the inner workings of his brain and are looking at how his ideas and thoughts develop, rather than listening to the end result.

4. Brandon Ingram for the Black Lullaby. Brandon would be the runaway winner for the dodgiest hairstyle in the blogosphere if there was such an award but it's his blog that gets the attention today. I'm running out of metaphors, similes and superlatives, particularly ironic as this is the best written blog award, but this blog is another that takes us through the writer's trials, tribulations and journeys. You get the feeling that he's telling us everything, every detail of his life. He puts it across in poignant and poetic language and hardly ever uses really big words. He even uses Italian words, ones that aren't pasta dishes, every now and again.

5. David Blacker for the Blacklight Arrow. Not only has the man got more tattoos than Edinburgh, not only can he kill a herd of Elephants with one glance from a different continent, not only can he build an AK 47 from bits of coconut husk and a ball of string but he can also write a bit. Check out this post for an example of his ability, the writing ability not the gun making one. He lives with his parents too. I like that in a man.

So there we have the nominees.

I am pleased to announce that this year's best written blog award goes to.....

David Blacker for the Blacklight Arrow. With no time wasting I'll pass things over to DD for his words of nicety.

"The best written blog – the Blacklight Arrow – David Blackers Blog. He says "It's a blog. Stuff I wanna say. That's about it." Knowing this Blacker bloke well and loving him like one of my own I am surprised to see the rapid disappearance of his divine intentions of being gods gift to womankind. Through his writing, he displays rare compassion seen in a human, a passion for life, and most of all he's humble in the knowledge he writes well. A distinction rarely seen in Sri Lanka – Humbleness I mean.

I am also happy to add that I am proud of David's achievement. Among his many good characteristics, he is one man among very few to have in one's corner. A truly loyal friend who can rumble as well as anyone in the WWE, and shoot a Heckler Koch machine gun equally well or better than most blokes in MI6. Well-done Davy."

There's nothing much I can add, except to say that the speech is a little bit girly.

Many congratulations Mr Blacker.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 2008 Blogging Awards - The Shitload Of Comments Whenever They Post Award

I know I'm piling it on with two awards in one day as well as Obama's little thing going on but it's because, as those fellows in Muse would say, our time is running out. It's Tuesday and there are five more awards to go, I lied yesterday when I said the same thing. There were actually six left but one was hidden under the carpet.

And, on Saturday I depart for a quick week in a little island I know and love, so things have to move along a bit now. It's like a TV awards show where everything's running behind schedule because one of the winners has made a huge speech in which they thanked too many people, cried a bit too much and generally went overboard and Trevor McDonald is sitting there impatiently waiting to read the News at Ten. So, I'm typing this very quickly and, if you can read it very quickly, that would help too.

When you see that last year's winner of this much coveted title was Indi and the previous year's winner was Nazreen Sansoni I think you'll get some idea of just how prestigious this award is. Despite the seemingly flippant title this is a heavyweight award, in everything but weight terms.

There are no guest judges for this one, it's just little old me, the slightly pervy Uncle of the Sri Lankan blogosphere. Let's do this thing. The candidates are:

1. Gutterflower - I don't know if it's just me but something seems to have happened and I can't see much in the way of Gutterflower's archives, which isn't a euphemism. And doesn't the word "euphemism" sound like a euphemism in its own right?

But, our Gflower says something and everyone reads it, everyone comments on it. It's a fact of life, blogging life at least.

2. Indi - Last year's runaway winner is back this year. He is the undisputed Godfather of the Sri Lankan blogosphere and he's done it without writing about sex (much) and without saying totally contentious things just to get people's backs up. Check out this little twenty one comment post for a good example.

3. Voice In Colombo - This is an enigma of a blog for me. I believe, though please correct me if I'm wrong, that it's written by several contributors now. Nevertheless I almost always disagree with what is said there, yet am always fascinated by it too. And many others are fascinated and fixated, so many that there are regularly shitloads of comments, though statistics show that 98.7% are from Sittingnut.

And the winner is.........

Voice In Colombo.

I'd like to congratulate VIC or the people who write it for this fine achievement. It was a close thing between Indi and VIC but there can only be one winner. Someday I'd like to buy the original VIC chap a drink and share a wade or something. He'd probably beat me up and throw me out of the country for not being Sri Lankan enough but I'll take the chance.


The 2008 Blogging Awards - The Best Overseas Blog

It's like Wimbledon isn't it, as we move into the second and final week of the awards and the tension, excitement and boredom build to previously unknown levels. We have five more awards to go and will finish off with the much sought after Blog Of The Year title.

Today's award, for the best overseas blog, is accompanied by yet another genuine guest judge in the form of The Missing Sandwich. It's an award that goes to the best Sri Lankan blog that is written overseas, as in overseas from a Sri Lankan perspective. Simple really.

The Missing Sandwich is one of the best, and most well known, bloggers in Sri Lanka. In her spare time, when she's not writing adverts, appearing on TV herself or being featured in the newspapers, she likes to organise Olympic Gaymes and act in plays. So, to get her along here for a bit to help out with the judging is something I'm quite chuffed about. Let's get started shall we? The nominations for Best Overseas Blog are:

1. Viceunversa - We all know of and probably read DD's blog. It's made up of about 60% advertising and creative world things, 40% Sri Lankan bits and pieces and then about another 30% of random things about life, DD's in particular. The fact that its content adds up to 130% proves how interesting it is and it's almost always in Kottu's top posts.

2. Indyana - I did think twice about including this in the awards. Purely because Indyana now resides in Hong Kong and writes little about Lanka. But, she used to live there, she has a strong Lankan connection and, what the hell? I like her and she's brown too. She continues to regale us with tales of her kids, her husband and the life of an Indian in HK and I know many in the Sri Lankan blogosphere read the tales as they unfold.

3. Darwin - The first winner of the blog of the year award has been a little bit quiet of late but she can be relied upon for ongoing quality, some ongoing ranting and the occasional hilarious sheep related story. I mean the story is hailarious. not the sheep. Well, I suppose it might be a funny sheep but I don't know. She's always opinionated but never afraid to give her opinion. Cool. And I mean Darwin there, not the sheep.

4. Ian S - Formerly, and still often, known as theonetruecoolguy. Ian's is one of those blogs that I feel I've grown up with, rather it's grown up with me. Over the years we've followed our management consulting, charity working intrepid blogger as he's visited, worked in and studied in country after country. From Sweden to Nepal it's been fun and interesting and I hope the adventure that is Ian's life continues to be reported online. I'm still unsure about the white suit though.

5. T, or Sosnazzy or Dance in a triangle - I'm never sure with these bloggers who change their names what to call their blog, but T is the name of the writer for sure. She's an alien in New York, though seemingly legal, and over the year has narrated stories of drunkeness, boys, weddings and the life of a girl who works hard and plays hard and writes a bit. She basically does everything that I know my kids will be doing in a few years' time, but I hate the thought of it.

6. Kalusudda - He's the first and only newbie in this category but thoroughly deserved. I'm a firm fan of KS and I think that a person who comes up with the idea of writing about other blogs in a positive light is to be commended. Sorry Darwin, I don't want to go on too much about it though! It's been good to watch KS' blog develop from one that only commented on other blogs to one in which he also now tells us about his own thing. But, he's been quieter than a quiet thing in a church lately and I hope he gets back to us soon.

There you have it, those are the esteemed nominees and I'll pass things over to TMS for the award and her few words:

"I can't believe I didn't make the connection between T and Dance in a Triangle! She's my shoo in for the winner. An almost 23 year old, Calvin loving, alcoholic with a reluctant bohemian streak. The thing about her posts are that anyone can read them and find something to nod, chortle or snigger about. She's got that knack of being able to double relate. What do I mean by that? She's relates her stories and anecdotes in a way that others can relate to it ofcourse. This girl is going places and I don't just mean in the New York sense of it.

Close seconds are Indyana and Darwin. Darwin's blog is in dire need of a facelift though. Indyana comes in 2nd too I guess. She writes so well and comfortably that you can't help being drawn into her posts.

Ian and DD come in 3rd. Although I think Ian needs to blog about something more than work-related stuff. DD... well he concentrates on advertising and politics. Not that I'm one to talk! Although he is utterly ballsy and that certainly makes him a good read even if you disagree with his sentiments.

Kalusudda's blog comprises mainly of holding up a mirror to the rest of the blogsphere. And, though this does have its benefits, one wonders what he has to say for himself."

There you have it, she has spoken and judged and the winner of the Best Overseas Blog for 2008 is T.

Many congratulations T and thank you to the others for the enjoyment they've given me.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Some Random But Important To Me Things

Look, I know he died tragically and all, I know he did made some wonderful music, but that version of Hallelujah, the one by Jeff Buckley, well it's a bit sad and boring isn't it? And Run, the way Snow Patrol do it, even though it's their song, it's still crap isn't it?

But both of them, the Snow Patrol version of Run and Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah are about 3.7 million times better than the bloody X factor, Pop Idol or Leona bloody Lewis manufactured versions that are all over the radio and TVs at the moment aren't they. And I hate Snow Patrol, really I do, almost as much as I hate Coldplay.

And I took Ozcuz to see Slumdog Millionaire on Saturday. It's fantastic, brilliant and I keep thinking about it.

I can't figure out why it's so good, but it is.

Trust me.

Right. As you were. Carry on.

I just thought I'd tell you those things.

The 2008 Blogging Awards - The Funniest Blog

It's Monday morning and what better way to begin the week than to have a look at some of the funnier blogs in the Lankan blogosphere over the last year?

The nominations are, rather sadly, a bit sparse. There are some blogs with the occasional funny post floating around but there's a strange deficit of Sri Lankan blogs that consistently write humour. By and large, by the way, I think it's fair to tell you that my definition of a Sri Lankan blog is pretty much what is on Kottu, as well as Darwin's one. The nominees, all three of them, are:

1. Hissyfits - Yes, it's DQ again. She has that way of writing that forces a smile onto the reader's face. Whether it's talking about men, as in her award winning post here, or telling us about the things she's done, she's had me in stitches. Yes, yes, yes, I guess it's a bit easy to predict that I'm going to laugh myself silly at someone who writes about their toilet habits, farting in public and splitting their skirt to reveal a thonged bum, but it really is funny. When I read lines like this one, I piss myself:

"When I try to skip rope, I piss myself."

2. Plethora of Blox. This blog, written by Noorie, is not really a laugh your sides off place, more of an off the wall and slightly whacky ongoing diary and series of outpourings. The best description is by the lady herself:

"Quirky, eccentric and has a passionate love for exclamation marks and caps to drive a point home. No license yet though. All in good time. "

Posts about huge insects and even huger feet are blended in with random funnies and stories about dogs, tattoos and suspicious sounds on Noor's roof. It all leads to an eclectic blog, one that is seriously funny at times and funnily serious at others.

3. Jathika Chinthana Pravahaya, a blog title which, I can almost guarantee, is a damn sight easier for you to say than it is for me to even attempt. If Sittingnut and Voice In Colombo sat down and decided that they wanted to write a satirical blog then this would be it. It's like their bastard child, but born with a sense of humour and a lot of colour. Occasionally I find myself wondering about the level of seriousness within its content, is the writer really trying to make a point or totally taking the piss, but it's too funny for me to spend much time pondering on.

At this point I'm flattered, privileged and honoured to be able to introduce another genuine guest judge, another legend of the Sri Lankan blogosphere, Mr Java Jones himself. I'll open the envelope with the winner's name inside.

Yes, it's Jathika Chinthana Pravahaya, I'll hand things over to Java to present the award and say a few carefully chosen words:

"About JC and the “funniest blog" category - all I can say is that whoever is behind it has done an excellent job of tongue in cheek satire that had (and has) so many confused as to their true intentions. I found a couple of their early ones to be quite hilarious - and that was compounded by the confused readers who took them seri-assly and either vented or rejoiced. But then there are those who do not think this is a 'funny' blog at all, and instead take it to be the reflection of a true blue Sinhala chauvinist patriot(s) telling it like it is! All in all Java enjoys the satire and will agree that it is one of the funnier blogs."

That wraps things up for today's award. The next few days will culminate in the prestigious Blog of the Year award as well as a special new award.

Happy Monday out there.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hands On (Part 2) - Elegance, Eloquence and Elephants

Continued from here.....

She glanced down now, so much later, as they drove along the dimly lit road. His left hand flexed then relaxed, smoothly changing gears, his right rested casually on the wheel. Competent. Sexy. She turned away, inexplicably saddened, unbearably aroused. If she forgot everything, she'd remember those hands. ‘What’s wrong’ he asked, sensing her mood. She glanced at him, his perfect profile, her voice a mere whisper of need, ‘pull over’.

"What?" he said, though he had heard her the first time.

"Pullover, you forgot your pullover" she said.

His left hand flexed then relaxed again, smoothly changing gears. Changing gears smoothly was a skill he had picked up when he was in the States, Sri Lankan drivers were fundamentally against the idea.

"Ammi I don't need a pullover. I think I'm old enough to decide that now. And, can't we stop doing this whole 'you're a groupie and I'm a guitarist rock God game now'?" he asked, getting a little bit lost in quotation marks and question marks. "It's not natural and all my friends think you're a bit weird, particularly when you wear the leather trousers."

"Darling you should have worn the pullover, the one with the sheep on it, you'll catch a cold and you know how that makes you feel. Pullover."

"I'm fine" he said, with anger, hostility and some of the parippu from dinner in his throat.

"I said pullover" she matched the anger and the hostility but she had never been a parippu fan and could only offer a strand of spinach covering two of her front teeth.

Despite the way she clung to him, despite the way she insisted on looking after him, even when he didn't want it, despite the way he almost hated her at times, he'd still catch himself marvelling at her elegance and eloquence. If only she owned a herd of elephants the sentence would be complete. There was something sensual about the way she could use the spoken word and she'd make the most average of sentences sound like the most delicious of seductions.

"No, you stupid fucking cunt, pull the fucking car over, there's something there, in the fucking road." she said.

He slammed his foot on the brake and peered into the night.

She was right, there was something there.

It was....

Over to Darwin now.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The 2008 Blogging Awards - The Funniest Post Of The Year

This year we have two awards to do with humour and, though I think I should get at least one of them myself, that's not part of the plan and is against the rules. There aren't many rules and they're my own ones anyway so there could be some sort of conflict going on here.

Today's award is, as it says in the title, for the funniest post of the year. The next award for humour is for the funniest blog, which requires an ongoing level of consistency in wit and side splittingness in its writing. And I do realise that consistency, by definition, has to be ongoing anyway, otherwise it would be just a flash of wit, which rhymes with sack of shit of course.

Choosing a guest judge for this was a hard task. My natural choice would have been the person who is the winner, I don't think I need to tell you why that wouldn't work.

I was tempted to ask Mahinda Rajapakse to write a short speech but I hear he has other things to deal with right now. I thought about asking that Rajpal chap, the one who was editor of Lakbima News (I don't know if he still is), but he'd only use other peoples' jokes in his speech and pretend he'd written them himself anyway. Then we'd have to go through the whole "I didn't think I had to ask for permission" business and that's all a bit tedious.

I even thought of asking the Maharajah of Shit Bad but he's hiding in a place called anonymity these days.

Then I realised that my old friend George W Bush isn't doing much these days so I had a word and he's agreed to help out. Admittedly he did struggle with some of the more sophisticated humour in the Sri Lankan blogosphere but we eventually settled on some of the most hilarious posts as the nominees:

1. Cerno for this post about the Royal Colombo Flatulist Association's Annual Recital.

2. Dramaqueen, Hissyfits and themadcatwoman for this little chunk of laughter in a post.

3. Java Jones for his second letter to Santa. He may be trippy but, even at the ripe old age of 84, Java shows the youngsters that real wit needs intelligence. And drugs can help too.

4. Noorie, for her Bra Head Friends post, even there are a couple of them. Most people must realise that she's mad, but this is genius. Where on Earth did she come up with the idea to ask friends to pose with a bra on their head? There's always one twat who doesn't do it and just sends a normal picture in though isn't there?

That's it. I must admit to feeling like one of those chaps who host comedy awards, the pressure being on me to be funny in front of a discerning audience and all. Well the best thing I can do is get on with things, to hand you over to Mr President and let him announce things with his characteristic wit and charm. Do not misunderestimate him.

"Well RD, thanks for the introduction. This year I've spent many a happy hour and moment reading the many blogs that make up the Sri Lankan blogosphere. Your country interests me greatly. Whenever times have been tough, when the criticism has got to me and I've started to think I might be messing up, perhaps by invading the wrong country or something, I look at the situation in Sri Lanka and realise things could be so much worse.

As I said to Pope Benedict in April last year 'thank you, your Holiness, awesome speech.' though that didn't go down too well either. I don't particularly like it when people put words in my mouth either, by the way, unless I say it myself.

Without further ramblings I'll announce this year's champion of wit. Yes, I am pleased to give the award to Dramaqueen, Hissyfit and themadcatwoman for her fabulous laugh a line post about men, how to annoy them and tidy their rooms specifically. The first time I read this I laughed almost as much as when I was told I'd be running against a black man in the election. But the post is still funny. And now, back to RD."

Thank you Mr Pres.

The other people have all written posts that have made us all chortle and chuckle but this is a well deserved winner. I only discovered DQ's blog in the latter part of last year but it is rather good and rather funny. Strangely there's something very British in her humour, I don't know whether that's a compliment or an insult.

Have a good weekend all. Back with more next week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Feeling Naked

The trials and tribulations of a metrosexual chap.

Today I forgot to mosturise my face.

This is serious.

Don't tell anyone.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Camp Aniston Or Jolie?

There are many "the world is divided into two types of people" statements. One of my favourites tells us that the two types are whose who divide the world up into two types of people and those who don't. I think, through my intensive research, that I've stumbled upon the definitive one.

Me, Ozcuz and my Dad were watching a film the other night, "Wanted" was its name and it starred Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and some others. It was ostensibly about assasins and a secret closed group of people with special skills called The Fraternity, a bit like Freemasons only with the power to make bullets go round corners.

The plot was irrelevant, it really was an excuse to chuck every special effect at the viewer and a car chase that had the three of us perched on the edge of our seat. At one point my Dad almost woke, it was that exciting. There were twists, turns and suprises in both the plot and the car chase.

I kept up with those in the car chase but got quite lost with the plot, particularly when it came to some sort of thing about rats wearing digital watches. Ozcuz kept up with it all quite happily. In the couple of days I've got to know him a bit I've realised that he's an intelligent fellow, I assume he gets this from the other side of his family.

He clearly understood everything that went on, probably with brainpower left over. I pretended to understand, not wanting him to realise what a dunce I am. We ate dinner during the film and he wolfed his way through chicken kievs and rice while keeping up with everything that was going on, that's how bright the bloke is. I had garlic butter dribbling down my chin and got stuck with the exploding rats and digital watch business.

Ms Jolie paraded around in her usual role; half action woman, half all over body tattoo and half plastic. I assume she must be a huge Rolling Stones fan with those Mick Jagger lips she's now got. I'm no fan but she certainly plays the one part pretty well.

She's like a snake to me. I'll explain that for you; I hate snakes, they give me the creeps. The thought of one of the slithery fellows makes my face screw up in a look of "chee" and a sharp intake of breath. But, I'm fascinated by them. If I see one I have to watch it, it's probably called snako masochism. And that's what Mrs Pitt does for me, she kind of captivates me.

While we were watching I casually remarked to Ozcuz that I cannot, for the life of me, see why someone would swap Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie. Our Jen is close to perfection in a multi millionaire film star whose Godfather used to be Kojak sort of way. Angelina is scary, bad and mad, though that's just my opinion.

Ozcuz agreed with me and retorted with a memorable line

"Yes, I'm firmly in Camp Aniston myself."

My further investigations indicate that men are divided. I quizzed the chaps at band practice the next night.

C, the keyboardist, is one of us.

C, the singer mind, is one of them, loving the Jolie.

A, the bassist appears over on our side.

B, the guitarist is in the Jolie camp.

There are no grey areas to this. It's a fact, maybe even a law of nature.

All men are firmly in either Camp Aniston or Camp Jolie.

Where are you?

PS - If your name is Brad Pitt you can bugger off, we're not interested.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The 2008 Blogging Awards - The I Wish I Hadn't Written That Award

This is the first of the new awards to this year's proceedings and it's proved quite a hard one to decide upon. Not because there aren't any candidates, oh no, there are plenty of good quality nominations out there. The problem is that, in order to truly qualify, in order to really prove that you wish you hadn't written a specific post or blog, then you really have to delete the thing.

And, if it's been deleted, then I can't refer to it, unless I'm one of these parasitological wizards who uses Google Dreamcatcher and all sorts of other mean and marvellous software to keep track of my regular reads. So my memory comes into its own here, which is like losing a cricket match by a few runs, knowing that one batsman could do it and then realising that Murali is the next batsman.

I'd also like to welcome another genuine true life guest judge at this point, young Darwin herself. She is of course no stranger to these awards, being the first ever winner of blog of the year, but this is the first year she's worn such a skimpy dress. I'm unsure about the Bata Haiwaianas as the choice of footwear though.

The candidates are mostly memories, with one notable exception. I'll try to describe them and you, at this juncture, may be wise to try and remember them.

1. Viceunversa's fantastically timed post only last week. The one in which he said that the attack on Sirasa / MTV was justified because people who voice their opposition to the GoSL are traitors. Old DD took some serious stick for this and it was only made worse after the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga. But, if you read perhaps you'll have seen that the murder seems to have changed DD's opinion. His previous "traitor" post was deleted and DD is almost one of the good guys. Or is he?

2. Soixante Neuf - in her, or her blog's, entirety. She came, she came again. He came, all over the place and then she told us all about it in the most intimate details. Most of us wish that we could write as well as 6 and also get as much action as her. There were rumours all over the Lankan blogosphere about whether Soixante Neuf was / is real, there were as many rumours about who the mystery man was. In a way they are all irrelevant as the blog became as big as a huge big thing in a tiny little world and we hung on 6's every word. Finally, when things changed the blog got deleted. I suspect 6 doesn't wish it hadn't been written, but then surely she'd leave it hanging around for all to see.

3. Darwin's post on Muslims, cartoons, Dutch and Danish people caused some reaction and outcry, from me as well as others. Sadly our heroine didn't even get into the nominations "proper" as, though I and many disagree with her, she stands by her sentiments, albeit with an edit added onto the end of the post. You've got to respect a person who can do that. Though funnily enough I respect Darwin for sticking to her guns as well as DD for swapping his guns for a sarong.

4. The final nomination is Dinidu de Alwis for this post, also about that God fellow. Amongst other things Dinidu said:

"I’m pretty outspoken about my views on religion, I’m an atheist, and I simply think those who practice a religion are, for the lack of a more diplomatic work, stupid."

Now I have bucketloads of time and admiration for Dinidu, a sneaky bit of me even admires him for coming out with tosh like that. He's young, he writes quite brilliantly and he wears his keyboard on his sleeve near where his heart is. When you get older you usually get more cynical and accepting of things and acceptance can be an empowering thing.

Dinidu's little assertion that those who practice a religion are stupid was to diplomacy and tact what Sittingnut is to objectivity and cool headed writing with sharp and incisive content, and good spelling too while we're at it. Not only was there a fatwa out on the fellow but there were nuns, monks and priests of all denominations hunting him down with evil on there minds. I heard that there was a very short little monk from a very working class family, about 3 feet tall, who had big grudge against Dinidu for quite some time. He was the lowest common denominator though. (Did you see what I did there?)

The time has come to announce the winner. I'd ask for a drum roll but we don't have any drummers around here.

The winner is...............

Dinidu and the religion post.

Darwin has these kind and sympathetic words to say to our Dinidu:

"It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Mr De Alwis on being the winner of the 'I wish I hadn't written that post' award. Speaking from personal experience, I know that the subject of religion is a difficult one to discuss on a blog (a topic only slightly less volatile than SL politics!) and many a time even I've had a few trolls obligingly prove my point by simply showing how dumb their defence of religion is. But while I agree with Mr De Alwis' position on the topic of religion, even I couldn't quite manage to trigger the shit-storm that followed on the comment section and other follow-up blog posts. In this post that made even the venerable Christopher Hitchens look like a de-clawed kitten, Dinidu managed to take careful aim and shoot himself (and atheism) on both feet. Well done!"

Many congratulations to Mr de Alwis. I assume he's won other awards for his writing but this must be the biggest.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bloggers, Let Me Introduce....


It's good to have a new character around these parts and Ozcuz is him.

Last Thursday I returned to the 'rents' place, I guess I should refer to it as home but that doesn't feel appropriate for some reason, maybe because I know it's a temporary thing, to find a young and dynamic and Australian cousin of sorts present.

I suppose I didn't "find" him, for he was expected, but he was there anyway. And, while I'm talking about strict use of language and terminology I should point out that, in British terms, he's not a real cousin. Well, not one of mine anyway. In Sri Lankan terms he'd just fall into that nice open category, the one that contains anyone of roughly the same age and a randon distant connection, the one we call "cousin brother".

On my Dad's side of the family I have more cousin brothers than, well certainly than can fit in a average size Japanese car, which you'll understand is a hell of a lot. If I'm with them all I can usually recall their names with a high degree of accuracy. Seeing one face helps me to identify the next face, along the lines of "If that one is called..........(insert random Muslim name, usually with lots of Ks, Zs or Rz) then that other one next to him must be......(insert similar name with same letters but in a slightly different order)".

But, give me a solo cousin and I might struggle, hence overuse of the machang word, albeit with West London Blur type inflection.

On the other hand, the other side of the family I should say, all my cousins are known by name, face and intimate detail. It's weird, maybe aided by their lack of hijab and beard, but that's the way things are.

So Ozcuz, which I think may be a good title, is the son of my first cousin on my Mum's side. I think that gives him a genuine title like second cousin once removed but I remain unsure and quite disinterested. He's family and once you're in this family you never leave. Unless there's a divorce or you just don't like someone, or you live far away.

Either way, I'd never met him before, though in typical Sri Lankan fashion I knew every detail there is to know about him, his family and most of his friends. He's spending about two weeks in London before heading up North to one of those University places that I've read about. He's twenty one, but far more mature than I was at that age for sure, he may be a damn sight more mature than I am now come to think of it.

I turned up and could sense that, after a mere few hours, my Mum was driving him towards being the crazed psychokiller mass murderer he previously thought was just a film character.. Even though he's Australian and therefore a little bit backward, he's twenty one and here to see London, have some fun and do things that twenty one year olds do. Instead he's in a village that's on the outskirts of London and is more sleepy than a Sri Lankan father towards the end of a function.

On top of that he was being "parented" by my parents. I felt for Ozcuz, I really did.

The first thing that strikes any newcomer to the 'rents' place is the temperature. It's so bloody hot that there are days on which I nip over to Kew Gardens and take a stroll around one of its big greenhouses, in the summer while wearing the warmest winter clothes I can find, just to cool down a bit.

I'm used to this, which doesn't mean that I'm comfortable with it by any means, just that I've learnt to live with the situation. When it's minus ten degrees outside it's about forty three degrees inside and I deal with it by usually wearing beach type clothing in the house before changing into English winter clothing as I leave. I used to think that it was just because the 'rents are older and that they feel the cold more. Now I know that it's not the case, it's just that they're mad or something.

Poor Ozcuz looked like an extra in that episode of Friends, the one in which they had a party while the heating was stuck on full. He must have thought it was a one off and that the temperature will return to normal soon. I was happy to tell him that he was experiencing normal, that he should dress accordingly.

It was nice to have some dinner and talk to and listen to the chap. Getting to know a cousin whom I've never met before will be fun. We've been friends on the book for sometime but, as everyone knows, that doesn't mean shit in relation to real life. As we sat, ate and got to know each other I was aware of my Mum showing off to Ozcuz.

It's something that perplexes me for a number of reasons. One is that I'm a parent myself, not just any parent mind. I'm one who prides himself on being quite cool as parents go. Yet I want to get the balance right for all interested parties. I want to be cool, trendy and modern but not too much. I don't want my kids or their friends to look at me and see a wolf in sheep's clothing mutton dressed as lamb a parent trying that bit too hard to appear young.

Another reason is that my own parents are genuinely quite young and trendy anyway. Anyone who knows them will agree with me on that. They both, just in physical appearance, happen to look younger than their years. Then, on top of that, they dress young. You won't catch my Dad wearing baggy jeans hanging below his arse with his pants showing, nor will you see my Mum watching football in a Liverpool shirt and swearing at the TV. But they also don't prance about in clothes that make them look old.

Yet somehow my Mum, when faced with a nephew like Ozcuz, goes into a kind of "show off" mode. It's not enough for her to be content in how she is, she has to make out she's even more extreme in her youthfulness than she actually is and it doesn't sit right with me, when I see a big dose of youthfulness anyway.

I guess I haven't done a good job of explaining what's going on in my head here, perhaps a simile would do the trick; it's as if it's fine for her to watch Friends and enjoy it and be into it, just that it wouldn't be fine if she got into an argument with her fourteen year old granddaughter about whether Joey or Chandler had the better arse.

There, I think that sums it up. Poor Ozcuz had it all thrown at him over dinner and, to be fair, he handled it all very well. I felt for the chap though, give him a couple of weeks and he'll be far more used to it.

The dinner chat was over and Ozcuz retired to his bedroom, probably to sleep off the jetlag or something.

This morning, while checking out the Facebook happenings of the last twelve hours I saw that Ozcuz has a blog, one that he's started in order to document his travel experiences, an almost virgin blog, well one that had no comments on it. I steamed in and left the first comment and am now left with a burning issue.

Should I mention my little blog to him, perhaps link to his blog and therefore, as my good friend C says, close the circle?

Or am I better off telling you lot all about him as and when I choose and keeping things separate with little chance of him discovering the connection?


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sarong Erection

A couple of days ago someone arrived at my blog after searching for the above words.

What does it mean?

Were they searching for advice on how to tie a sarong?

Were they looking up how to actually make a sarong?

Or, as I sincerely hope, were they looking for advice on how to deal with an erection whilst wearing a sarong?

If it was the latter then they should know the best method.

Simply untie the sarong and then tie it, with the shaft held in by the edge of the sarong, pointing upwards. Of course be careful that it doesn't protrude too much as you don't want the German sausage to be on show for all to see. Careful position of the sarong material, where it's knotted, can cover it up.

On the other hand if you haven't got enough meat in the top of the sarong it might be slip down back into the material, causing the tent like appearance you so wanted to avoid in the first place.

There you have it. You know me. Always happy to help.

Friday, January 9, 2009

More About Amila And The Photoblog

Dominic has added this to his speech, I thought it warranted a separate post as it's high praise indeed:

"Amila Salgado's blog is a joy. I have been following it for awhile, learning about the birds and dragon flies in my neighborhood 'somewhere in the Dry Zone'. Having tried to take a few pictures with a Macro lens, I am amazed by what he produces. Not even a flower is stable and the slighest wind or any movement is enough to throw everything out of focus. How he manages to get that close to dragonflies is just a mystery. (Are they real?) I no longer see Bumble bees, house sparrows, parakeets or Katussa's at our home in Thimbirigasyaya, so I am just amazed by what he finds in his own garden. Apart from the great photographs, the writing is a treat."

Wow - Is all I can say.


The 2008 Blogging Awards - Photoblog Of The Year

The first award in this annual feast of blogging biggies heads in the direction of Nikon, Canon Olympus, Pentax and Fukuoka, the big five in the photographic world. I'm also quite honoured and just a little bit nervous as I introduce the first guest judge in the awards, a certain Mr Dominic Sansoni.

Some of you may just have heard of him, he has been known to take a photograph or two himself and is in fact the very first winner of the LLD Photoblog of the Year award, something I know he values greatly. It is also alleged that he controls 90% of the global traffic in Lamprais, though he continues to deny this, a bit too vigorously some say.

For some weeks now we have been studying photoblogs, looking at the quality of the images and drinking mysterious substances that smell of fish.

The nominations are:

Aamina Nizar

Yanik Tissera

Naren Gunasekera

Anush Wijesinha (last year's winner)

Amila Salgado

Sebastian Posingis

Alefiya Akberally

Apart from the older photographers most of the nominees are relatively young, but all of them have kept me entertained all year with their many spectacular photographs. Sadly there could only be one winner, unless we chose two of course.

The winner is the wonderful scrabble playing birdwatching fellow himself Amila Salgado.

Strictly speaking his blog probably isn't even a photoblog. It's packed to the rafters with narrative and interesting bits and pieces as well as the photographs. Sebastian Posingis came a close second but both Mr S and I agreed that he's too good looking to win the award this year.

Of Amila, or Gallicissa, Dominic said:

"Are you more of a Sociable Glider (adult male) or a Common Pierrot or in truth a juvenile Elusive Adjutant that I had mysteriously overlooked?

Anyway, I try not to get distracted with other life forms when I am chasing a particular target. These aggressive behaviors are characterized by charging & chasing of young males when they bask in the hot sun in the warmest times of the day when they are also quite approachable if you apply your stealth mode."

I can't quite figure it out either, but really that's what he said.

I leave you with this example of Amila's photographic talents and congratulate all the nominees.

They're all winners.

Except the losers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Land Like No Other

Like many people I'm appalled by what's happening.

One of the few things I remember from school is that the two pillars of democracy are liberty and freedom. I also remember strange school dinner type of smell that used to hang around near the lecture theatre.

Cowardice prevents me from writing exactly what I think. What I will say is that there are many differing opinions about the situation. There are extremes on all sides and Lanka somehow manages to have people in the middle holding extreme views. I'll be fucked if I know how but it happens.

Intelligent people spout shit, shit people spout intelligence and everything appears as if there are no frames of reference.

Yet, no matter what the opinion, what the mindset or who the person is, there appears to be a common denominator.

We all have that passion for the country that is Sri Lanka.

Surely that must mean something?

The 2008 Blogging Awards - Welcome

Here we are once again. I hope everyone's seated comfortably as I welcome you to the 2008 blogging awards.

After much reading, staring at the monitor and pondering I've finally started to put finger to keyboard. This year I promise you a veritable feast of Sri Lankan blogosphere related anecdotes, awards, frolics and fun. We have a few new categories, some new bloggers and guest judges galore, some of whom might even be real.

The year has been one of peaks and troughs as far as the Sri Lankan blogosphere has been concerned, though I was talking to a hill climbing friend of mine the other day and he said the same thing about life in general. Things have been dead quiet one month, then followed by a hustle of frenetic blogging activity the next. Bloggers have come, particularly those who have read Soixante Neuf's blog, and bloggers have gone.

Some of the old favourites, very old in the case of Java Jones, have gone quiet, almost semi retired. Some have got all loved up and are now putting their effort into sex and relationship related things rather than writing their blog and some have decided that life is to be lived, not blogged about. Others, like me, Cerno, TMS and T have carried on rambling about whatever takes our fancy, stealing humour and doing what we were doing last year, although I mean the year before.

I saw on the other day that he mentioned the possibility of some blogging awards in the future and I'd like to just point out that this is supposed to be a fun thing here on LLD. It's all about blogs I read and visit regularly, about things that appeal to me, me and me. This is no place for genuine objectivity, or intellect for that matter.

In a break with tradition, although I don't know whether doing something twice in two years makes it a tradition, I've decided to be all dramatic and smartarse about things. Instead of one long post, which gets quite boring towards the end middle, I'm going to serialise things. We'll have a category each day, possibly not even on each day if I do a huge poo that I feel is worth writing about, until the last day and the big award for Blog Of the Year.

Everything is written already in longhand in my journal. Well, not so much written but mindmapped, so I know who most of the winners are. The journal is locked away in a secret vault which also contains the recipes for Coca Cola, KFC and the exact scientific formula of the smell at House Of Fashions. Elephant House wanted to put the recipe for their Cream Soda in the vault too, but it was just a scrap of paper with some writing in purple crayon that said

"Vanilla, water, loads of sugar, even more yellow colouring and then some gas"

so I said no, but nicely because I love the stuff.

Without further ado, not to be confused with "adoh", either the magazine or the word, I think we should get on with things. So tomorrow will see the first category and award.

It will be for.....

The Best Photoblog.

Oh, before I go on I should add that, although things have already been decided, I'm still totally open to bribes and will happily give out an award for a small payment. It can be in the form of money, food, drink or just a nice word or two.

Let's move on...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Long Live The Maharajah!

Like everyone in the Sri Lankan blogosphere I am aware of and have been reading the latest trolling type blog that appears before our eyes as the Maharajah of Bad.

Now, calling Mr Maharajah a troll is something I do with a large dose of hesitation. Why? Well because to me a troll is someone who goes around slagging people off, generally causing trouble and angering innocent folks while doing little else. It's as obvious as a baggage porter at BIA that the Maharajah has caused some trouble and pissed off a few bloggers, but I think there's much more to the fellow than just that.

I'm a bit Oscar Wilde in this too. While I'm of course deeply insulted by the Maharajah's frankly vitriolic and downright evil analysis of my sense of humour I'm secretly chuffed that I'm one of his lucky victims. Not so secretly now but you get my drift here.

The thing about Mr M, if he/she is indeed a Mr, is that it's someone with a genuine sense of humour, a real talent for writing and a large dose of incisive wit. On one hand it's pretty easy to pick on a few bloggers and criticise them negatively, take the piss out of my sense of humour or whoever's liking for cheap porno mags. But, on the other hand Mr M does it with a bit of panache and style.

I chuckle to myself each time I read his profile and get to the bit about buses having six wheels and this line brought a genuine laugh out aloud moment to my office, the one with only me in it:

"Back in the days of the kingdom, when our elephants were still alive, taming them and going to war and crushing innocent people and other creatures like women and alcoholics under the terrible weight of the elephant foot was one of our favorite pastimes"

The only other times I laugh out aloud are usually at one of my own jokes. Mr M really does write some funny stuff and, even though you may well think I'm mocking him here but I assure you I'm not, I would love to have the ability to come up with lines like that.

My admiration grows when I look at the readership stats on Kottu too. His blog is so bad that it's at the top of everything, only really competing with the blogging giants that are Indi, Dinidu and a post by Jade in which she writes about Mr M himself.

Hands up if one of the things that drives you in your blogging, perhaps just a bit, is readership figures. They certainly drive me, not entirely but they do matter, and it's taken me almost three years to write, post and build up a semblance of a readership, then Mr M turns up and shoots straight to the top of the charts. I take my hat off to the fellow on this.

And he manages to strike a chord with all of us doesn't he? Okay I don't know about you but in my case he did. I mean that thing about naming me the Grinch who stole humour did actually affect me a bit. In total I've probably spent about ten minutes of my life thinking about it, that's quite something.

The blog is a different approach to the Sri Lankan blogosphere. We had the Pada show, we had Soixante Neuf, rather someone else did and she told us about it in every detail possible, then Kalusudda came up with his great way of writing and now we have Mr Bad.

I welcome him.

RD has spoken. That was a bit too predictable wasn't it?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blood, Sweat, Curry And A Birthday

I was chatting with the best parasitologist in the world yesterday and she asked me something that was uncannily topical. Uncanny because it was only on Friday last week that I had sent music biz bro a text about the subject. Topical because it was a topic.

Darwin asked me what I thought about the theory that, when a chap eats a lot of curry, the sweat can start to smell of it. Of course Darwin herself smells of chocolate cake and science labs, but I thought it was an interesting question, one that I've puzzled about for some time.

In the life formerly known as a married one I would have probably eaten rice and curry once or twice a week. On really good weeks I just might have hit the number three and a holiday to Sri Lanka would throw the figure on the how many curries a week has RD eatenometer off the scale.

Then, during the segment of my life during which I lived on my own for a year or so, saw me eating less home cooked rice and curry but far more from the Bengal Brasserie, the absofuckingtastic Indian at the end of the road. I guess the frequency must have gone to about twice a week.

Now, back at the 'rents, the curryometer has gone to new extreme levels, the sort of high numbers that are usually associated with Sri Lankan public holidays, calories absorbed in an average Christmas holiday or the number of people that read

I'm certainly not complaining. The food is great, plentiful, delicious and welcome. It comes at me from all angles and only occasionally leaves me yearning for the blandness of some chips or a sausage or two. Anything not eaten, in true Sri Lankan parent style, is tupperwared and put in the fridge, to reappear the next day/week/month or year in a different form.

But there is a downside, the smell. After several days of eating R+C I start to feel as if it's somehow sweating its way out of me. The topical relevance to my discussion with Darwin is that I received a text, or SMS in Singlish, from music biz bro last Friday. He was at my parents' place, I was at work. He was trying to persuade me to go back there by describing the mouthwateringness of the mutton curry my Dad had made and that they were tucking into.

I, being the captain of industry I am, responded to him by saying, and I quote

"Son I've got curry oozing out of my bloody pores at the moment!"

Which I felt was true.

The parasitologist and I had quite a lengthy discussion on the matter. She feels that sweat is fundamentally odourless and sent me a few links that would seem to agree with her. Her opinion is that the smell comes more from external factors. So, you walk into an Indian restaurant and can often find your clothes and being end up smelling of the food and spices that get mixed with your general bodily juices.

Or you cook a nice rice and curry meal and the wafting spices, the curry leaves and garlic will blend in with your natural smells to create the odour that is you and I.

Me? I partly agree with Darwin, but also think that the curry smells do come out through the sweat. My belief is that when a chap eats a lot of spicy food some of those spices and flavourings start to ooze out through the pores and mix with the sweat. I don't know the science, you'll have to ask Jennifer Aniston about that, but I'm sure the sweat actually starts to have an odour itself.

There are however, levels of complexity to be added to the simple starting theory. First is the suspicion I have, based on a sample size of roughly zero but also with a lifetime of experience, that odours come through the sweat on men more so than on women. Even I, with my sheltered and naive background, have met a few rough old soap dodging birds in my time. But none of them have ever smelt as bad as a soap dodging bloke.

I reckon it may be the case that mens' sweat is different to womens'. You lot, with the breasts and femininity usually smell of sugar, spice and all things nice, except the spice. Us men invariably reek of engines, soil and curry. That applies even in the case of a good metrosexual like, er me. Maybe it's to do with testosterone, testicles or test matches, I know not.

Also this whole theory about sweat, curry, men and women goes flying out of the window quicker than you can say "flying out of the window" when I go to Sri Lanka. Granted, the smell inside a Sri Lankan bus is unlikely to be used as the inspiration behind the next Jean Paul Gaultier eau de toilette, but the fact is that people in England smell far worse after intensive curry eating than they do in the Motherland.

Maybe it's to do with climate, perhaps it's because we all eat so much rice and curry there that we become immune to the smell in others. I don't know, but ti definitely throws a spanner into my otherwise well researched findings.

So what do you think? The comment box is waiting for your input. Is Darwin right? Am I right or are we both right?

Oh yes, I lied about the blood bit, I've got nothing to say about the stuff, but it is my birthday today.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Oooooh - Monday Morning And It's All Snowy

The first "proper" day of the year and what a great start.

I woke up even earlier than usual this morning, it must have been about 4 AM. For some reason I glanced outside my window, but immediately felt happy that I had done so. I saw snow settled in the garden and, like the mature man that I am, it excited me. Then I slept some more.

A bit later I had showered and carefully chosen my attire for the day. Worn looking jeans, brown suede boots, a collared shirt covered by a black cashmere V neck jumper. And, one of my pairs of pink striped pants from Odel. I think it's important to set the scene for you, my lone reader. In this sort of weather layers are a major way to keep warm, as are cashmere jumpers.

You know when you see those deer skipping around in the snow, I think it must be because they get their feet cold when they hit the ground. They look so cute don't they? Well, I kind of felt like that, only my equivalent of skipping in the forest was driving to work in my huge big powerful car and skidding around some corners. Mind you I'd love a good venison sausage sandwich right now.

Snow has a dampening effect on the acoustics of life. As I walked out of the front door there was that lovely early morning eerie stillness in the air. It's usual at the time I leave, about 6.15, but the snow makes everything feel deadened, as if someone has bunged a very light set of muffles on the ears and turned the high frequencies on the graphic equaliser down a bit. I half expected to look up and see Father Christmas darting across the skyline reading Java's letter and trying to figure it out.

The short drive out of my parents' estate was on virgin snow. It was too early for other cars to have carved out their tyre tracks and I had the honour of being the first.

For some reason I thought of David Blacker and how he would have enjoyed it, not that I know if he would have enjoyed it, but I know he likes cars and driving. There are about five or six corners before the mainish road and each one had to be taken at less than about 5 mph to avoid slipping, sliding and having a slow motion accident. Each time I touched the brake I'd hear that grinding noise, similar to the grinding you hear in Sri Lankan taxis caused by worn brake disks, except this is the tyres crunching and sliding on the snow covered road.

A little burst on the accelerator resulted in nothing except some wheelspin and fishtailing. A snatch of open road without other cars saw me playing around with the rather expensive beast I was in, putting the many skills I learned on that one hour skidpan driving course I went on all those years ago to good use.

When I hit the main road things were almost normal. My in car thermometer told me that it was half a degree outside and there was snow everywhere except on the road surface, where it was that watery slush, the stuff they make Slush Puppies from, the grit flavoured ones.

The rest of the journey was average, though improved by my music choice. I have two new CDs and I opted for the lesser of the two, the latest Paramore album. It's a rocky set of songs that I wouldn't have bought were it not for K, my infamous 12 year old, being totally mad on them. I put it on, cranked it up and listened to the drummer, probably called Zach, who's also probably about 15 and plays in that superfantastic slightly look how good I am way that many American musicians favour.

When faced with an example like that fellow I figure that I can choose to be envious or motivated. I always go for the latter so listened to his playing with a sense of abundance and a learning type of ear. I might leanr to play a few of their songs, not for either of my bands but just to get comfortable with some of the quick and dexterous stuff he does.

As I turned off the main road and entered the little industrial estate that my office is on I hit more untouched and unspoiled snow, this time with no chance of sliding into anything. I turned left, put my foot down and felt the car slide. I corrected it then turned right with way too much gas. The back end swung out and I felt that sense of elation you get when the car's totally out of control but you know it won't plough through a shopping centre. I contemplated a tug on the handbrake to spin the car through a 360, but decided against it. I'm not Jeremy Clarkson nor am I a skateboarder.

I parked up, unlocked the office and made my first cup of tea.

Then wrote a blog post. It went like this.

And now 2009 begins for real.....