Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear 16 - The Final Shot

As at Friday afternoon this was the posish, as much as I could see. It will have mutated more by the time you read this, mostly because of rebellious rulebreakers, leaving open tags, multi tags and some who have even tagged merely one person.

I think the time has come for me to let go. It's been good, the tag has spread far and wide. I read about it in the Sunday Leader Kottu section, the online version of course, wondering if there might just be a flood of readers unfamiliar with Kottu and Sri Lankan blogs in general who'd email their letter in to Indi.

There have been bastardisations, such as Whacko's letter to his sixty year old self, a nice and different approach, and there have been funny as hell ones, like DQ's distinctly "that's worth another look at" one. We're still waiting on Indi's and Electra's versions, possibly they're too cool for school, maybe they just don't want to do it or are too busy with small things like plays and politics.

As we read this, well you read it and I write, there may well be some chap over in another blogosphere who has been tagged and is busily thinking about what he's going to write. Odds on he's thinking that it might be really funny if he tells the sixteen year old him a bit about sex, perhaps how he'll have it quite soon and never stop thinking about it.

That's been the best thing for me about this tag; discovering some blogs I hadn't heard of, "meeting" a few new people and seeing what we think we've learned since we were sixteen.

And no one has dared to tag Java. We're all too scared, including me. It would be like waking one of those ogres in a cave, good fun but dangerous and foolhardy. But, if anyone dares to tag him I reckon his letter might the most interesting one ever.

Sorry if you're missing from the chart, I've tried to keep track but it ain't easy.

Happy Monday out there all.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

You're Fired And You're Hired

I'm doing a bit of housekeeping here at LLD. I was thinking about changing the whole layout, the colour scheme and even the header, not because I don't like them as they are but just because I believe it's good to get a nice balance between familiarity and freshness. Where that balance lies is anyone's guess and the catch is that each person have different preferences anyway. But, I like my header so much that I can't bear to part with it right now, even temporarily, thanks be to that Mika Tenekoon and her artistic talents.

So the housekeeping has taken another form and is in the one of some new bloglinks and a few deleted ones. I always feel a little bit sad whenever I delete the link to a blog. Fellows tell me that they get a few hits when I chuck a link up and I take that as a nice compliment, a reflection of that fact that LLD is reasonably well read in the Lankanosphere. I don't mean to sound arrogant there, I'm very proud of my blog's popularity but also aware that these things can die overnight.

The sadness is not out of sympathy or anything, it's more that it means I'm less likely to read the blogs that have been sent off to the naughty corner, for the large majority of my regular reads are from the links over there on the left. Google reader and RSS Speedwagon and the like are way beyond me, more for the young bucks, which is basically all of you except Java and myself.

And conversely, which is not to do with basketball boots, the new blogs listed are ones that I've found myself reading regularly and also that are updated frequently.

Let's start with the blogs that are being sent off the field of play.

First there's Cynically yours, Sach's blog. It was one of the very first that I read and I've learned a lot about writing from observing Sach's journalistic endeavours and style, not to mention her piercings. The blog still exists, but it's like one of those ghost ships in Star Trek, maintaining a state of existence with no signs of life onboard. Actually, come to think of it all the blogs I'm deleting links to are in that situation.

We all know that Sach told us she was going to stop this blog and that she was going to start a new one, I can't find the new one for love nor money. If anyone can point me in the direction I'd be most grateful. Thanks for Cynically yours oh cynical Sach but the time has come.

Next is Ravana. Most of his posts are gems, precious ones at that, but there just aren't enough of them. I believe that he's too busy writing to write on his blog, which is ironic Alanis okay.

Lastly, for what I suspect and hope is going to be a temporary period, comes Kalusudda. I'm one of his many ardent fans but none of us know where he is, if he's okay or what's going on. The fact that his blog hasn't been touched for over four months is indisputable and makes it a wasted link. So, with a lot of regret Kalu, you're fired, hopefully only until you return from the sabbatical.

The new links, which you'll see over on the left, go like this.

At the front, much overdue as I've hung on his every word for as long as I can recall, is Mr D Blacker esq, with The Blacklight Arrow. His blog is eclectic, covering many aspects of his life, from the love side to the car side to the whole being a soldier side of things. I think it's the variety and the thoughtfulness of his words that make the Blacklight Arrow so well read. I wish he'd write more but he probably couldn't without churning out rubbish, like those fellows who publish posts every day and talk about poo and stuff.

Second in is N, whom we all know. He used to be called something else, but I'm unclear if I'm allowed to say that, so I won't.

Here's an uncanny story; the other day, about an hour after I'd started writing this post, a friend was telling me about a dream she'd had. She told me that she'd dreamt about a chap whose name was N, the same N as N, and his surname was X, the exact same surname as N has, though his real surname doesn't begin with X. I just assumed that she (the dreamer) actually knows N and he'd popped up in her dream, but no, she told me that she's never met him and never heard of him. Yet a fellow with the exact name had turned up in her dream. Weird.

So his blog is called In the confusion and aftermath and it's eminently readable. I hope I don't have a dream about him now. Chee!

The final addition is DBS Jeyaraj. I was first put onto this blog by David Blacker and I now find myself visiting it with increasing regularity. I admire his bravery, I respect his wisdom and I like his writing. More important than all of those is the fact that I learn a hell of a lot about Sri Lanka each time I read one of his posts and the hundreds of comments that they attract. Somehow I doubt that the esteemed Mr J has even heard of LLD but I'll forgive him for that as I'm such a fan of his.

There we are, out with some old, in with some old but new.

May the weekend be with you, may it be a spiffing one.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Burning Question Is......

....should I make an attempt to continue with the chart for the Dear 16 tag or not? Earlier in the week I tried to add connection onto a print of it with handwritten lines and the result looks like a web weaved by a drunken apprentice spider.

Will the satisfaction of the final achievement be worth the effort, will I get lost in a sea of blog titles, links and open tabs on my PC? Is anyone interested anyhow?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Everybody Wants To Be A Cow

Lately I've become aware of a bit of a happening over here in Blighty. It's a happening to do with fashion, with leather specifically. Or without leather, to be even more specific.

As the biting chilly air and dark grey evenings of a London winter really start to set in, I've noticed that the shops are full to the brim of leather jackets. They're beautifully soft to the touch, some are given the worn and faded look and others and shiny and black. Some have those white fur collars, the ones that make your neck feel warm just by looking at them, others have built in hoodies to make it look as though you're wearing a hoodie underneath.

There are biker style jackets, bought by people who've never dreamed of riding a motorbike, there are world war two fighter pilot's ones, bought by people whose knowledge is gleaned entirely from watching Airplane and there are trench coats, worn by fellows who haven't even watched Blackadder goes forth.

And all these jackets, as different as they are, have one thing in common; they're all not made from leather, which kind of reminds me of the old joke, you know the one.

Chap A says: What have Attila the Hun, Winnie the Pooh and Henry VIII got in common?

Fellow M says: I don't know, what have they got in common?

Chap A: They've all got the same middle name. Badumtish.

Luckily I'm a drummer so I can chuck in the "badumtish" with relative ease.

It seems that fake leather has reached a new level of sophistication. In these days of iPhones, Satnav, ereaders and the tiniest of remote control helicopters, ( hard to believe I know but I own one for office use) one would think that fake leather would have been an easy thing to perfect some time ago.

But no, for so many years fake leather has looked as shiny as a black bin bag dipped in varnish, felt about as authentic as Celine Dion playing drums with James Brown's band and smelt like Jerry's underpants after the elephant incident. Around these parts the only people wearing them were fellows going to a fancy dress party dressed as the Fonz. Or poor people.

Then bang, the boffins went and perfected the stuff. They've probably got to a stage where everything else has been invented, apart from time travel and a PC operating system that actually works of course. I've heard that time travel is close though.

These current versions really do feel like leather, they look like leather and they cost about a quarter of the price. The odour isn't authentic just yet, but at least it's not as repugnant as it used to be (sorry Jerry). As I've been casually browsing through racks of the things more often than not I have to look at the label to figure out if they're real or fake.

Naturally, as the metrosexual man about town whom you know so well, I had to buy one. It's got that brown and faded look going on, is softer to the touch than a kitten wearing a velvet waistcoat and looks even better.

And it was so cheap inexpensive that, when it goes out of fashion in about four hours time, I can afford to get the latest thing. That's the problem with real leather jackets. You spend a fortune on one but, if you go for the highly trendy type, then it will be out of vogue before you can say "the fashion Police are coming". Only the minted, top business people, film stars, NGOs and the like can afford to live like this.

Normal people like us have to wear the latest thing for one season and then face about four or five years of wearing it and looking like a person who doesn't even know what ANTM stands for.

As far as I'm concerned fake leather is the new real.

And cows are happier too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ooops Dad Did It Again!

It was about eight forty five in the morning, that's quarter to nine for the less advanced amongst you, and I was busily pretending to do some work at my desk. My mobile rang, that's a cell for the Lankans among you. I glanced at the display and it said "A calling", A being the fifteen year old daughter, not A the carpet cleaner.

I had that momentary feeling of worry that most parents can probably relate to. Her class should have started so I wondered if she might be at home sick or if there might have been some sort of emergency going on. After some fumbling around with the new sexy phone, that old man's fumbling that involves staring at the thing and wondering how the hell I answer a call, I managed to figure which virtual button to press.

It was one of those calls that people make by mistake, those annoying but interesting ones when they've left their phone in a pocket or a bag and somehow they or the phone have managed to make a call that they're unaware of.

They're annoying because the receiver usually rolls an eye or two, makes that tutting noise and feels slightly angry at the interruption. They're not that annoying though are they? We always listen, realise what's happened and then keep listening for far longer than is really needed, just to satisfy our curiosity and be a bit of a peeping tom, perhaps an eavesdropping Dad in this case.

True to form I listened and heard a cacophony of voices. It was evident that A was in her class, probably with her phone in her bag. I could just about pick out her voice but the main sound was that horrible clutterred mix of schoolkids, girls at that. It sounded as if it was the class get together thing before the teacher had turned up, all excitedly showing off and laughing and shouting. I did that "Hello, hello, A are you there?" thing that we all do too. There was no response.

After the most brief of listens, perhaps only staying on the line for about ten minutes, I hung up and thought that it would be good to call her back, to let her know that she's left her phone on, which is a serious offence in her school. I did so.

The phone rang then was answered by A. But, before she said anything I heard another adult voice saying "you're year 11 now, you're now getting away with this".

I heard A say something quite meekly to the adult voice, along the lines of "sorry" and then the line went dead. As I write this post I'm waiting to hear the consequences. In all likelihood her phone has been confiscated and I'll be public enemy number one. My pleas of only calling her to tell her that the phone was on and such will be met with the wrath.

Vut too doo?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dear 16 - The Audit Trail

The Dear 16 year old me has been, it's fair to say, quite a success. Of course success is relative and I mean that it's been a success if one judges it by the volume of posts that have resulted and the general "interest" factor.

If you'll let me be honest with you I'll inform you that I feel quite the proud father about this. I mean to say, I sort of started it. And, while there's a small dose of honesty going around here I should share the fact that I so nearly lied to you in that original post. You see I was so close to pretending that the topic itself was my idea when the truth was that I'd seen it on Jonathan Ross' Twitter. I'm not sure on the apostrophe situation with the name "Ross" either.

My initial post tagged the Gypsy and DD, some wise choices I had thought. If one wants a tag to take off and spread like wildfire (the fires that are wild not the band, who are no longer I think) then these two bloggers appeared perfect. The Gypsy, though prone to strange hand movements, can always be relied upon to come out with an eloquent and elegant bit of wordcraft. We waited for a few days and then she did her stuff. Ever the rebel though, she went and tagged three people, that's a whole fifty per cent more than was allowed in the rules. The cheek of the girl!

DD responded and tagged the Blacker Bros, a risky and dangerous move. These ad people are generally too cool for school and it was always a gamble as to whether the bros Blacker would respond. I played a gig the other night to a room full of ad people and they stood there, arms crossed, with a look on their faces as if we'd just told them that they could do with dressing a bit more trendily when they go to work. Yes, they're a tough crowd.

But TKRP responded pretty quickly with this post and, some days later DB kicked out this beauty. It started a minor spat about the exact period in which DD and DB actually met as well, always a bonus. The bros done well.

About this time I thought I might try and do a chart of sorts, just to see how things had, and would progress. After some deliberation I settled on Word as the software of choice. For a bloke with my knowledge there wasn't a lot of deliberation to be done and Word was the only I have a passing knowledge of that might have done the job. I proceeded and drew lines, arrows and added in links and all sorts of things that I hadn't the slightest clue could be done.

The chart is rapidly becoming an indecipherable scrawl of blue and black ink, but I hope, if you decide to click and enlarge it, that you'll be able to follow the story so far. So far up until Friday morning that is. I'm at home and it's Sunday evening as I write this, you'll most likely be reading the post on Monday and the chart outlines the position as at Friday morning. If your first name is Dr and your surname is Who then you might just understand that last sentence.

My last foray into the Lankanosphere showed that there have been a few more people writing their Dear 16 post. I wonder if it will continue or if it will get too boring soon. Surely there must come a point at which we all get bored of hearing how we were all desperately trying to have sex at 16, how none of us actually had done and how much wiser we are at this age. It's interesting to observe that we all think we've learned loads between 16 and now, whatever now is, yet we talk as if we know it all now.

I wonder if I'll write a letter to the 43 year old me when I'm 70 and think that I knew nothing when I was 43. It's also a damn scary thought that the gap between 16 and now is that same as that between now and being 70, if my maths is correct of course.

Many of the Dear 16s have been poignant, touching and quite revealing. Dinidu's is one such example, though he had the audacity to tag me. If he'd been within striking distance I'd have attempted to give him a cuff round the ear. Instead I sent him a copy of the chart with a note saying that I started it. Sometimes these kids have to be told.

I'm still waiting for Hissyfits' one, pretty much guaranteed to be funnier than a jar full of Stephen Fry's Tweets on acid, and I've discovered a bunch of blogs that I had never read before, always a good thing.

I'll keep on trying to update the chart but I fear it won't be long before I drown in the scrawl, or at least need to go on to a second page, which could be way beyond me. In the meantime if anyone wants an emailed copy of it just ask, leave a comment or whatever and I'll chuck it across.

Happy Monday all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Things I've Been Randomly Doing

1. Seeing Muse

2. Gigging

3. Trying to work out a drum solo for gigs using paradiddles and Kandyan rhythms.

4. Having quite a few headaches.

5. Pondering on why the steering wheel is one of my most important things in choosing a car.

6. Learning about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Not to be confused with a grandmother standing on a stepladder. That's a higher Archchi.

7. Hearing a slightly disconcerting noise coming from within the bowels of my MacBook.

8. Eating a breakfast, one a day actually.

9. Trying to keep track of the Dear 16 year old me tag.

Et vous?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some Rare RD Wisdom

Once in a while, I estimate it more accurately to be about once in every forty three years I come up with a piece of wisdom, a little nugget of wise behaviour. Yesterday such a thing happened. It took me by surprise. Here's the story.

We had a bit of a flood at work last week. It wasn't one of biblical proportions, there weren't fellows sailing around on arks with lots of animals on board, but in terms of my work and my office it was quite big. We had to find the source of the water leak, a job that's still ongoing, and deal with the aftermath. The biggest bit of damage was of the water type to the carpet in our meeting room. We needed to get a carpet cleaner out to, well carpet clean, not unsurprisingly for the more astute among you, those ones sitting at the front.

And, if I may take you back to when I was about DD's age, one of my very first jobs was to sell carpet cleaning services door to door for a chap, we'll call him A, who I'm still friendly with about twenty years later. I use the word "friendly" in quite a loose manner. He's a bit of a division four chum, someone who I see once in a while, go out for a beer or a meal with, then wonder why on earth I did that as he's such a pain.

To be fair, it's probably his longevity more than his intrinsic quality that gains him membership into the very exclusive club that is known as the RD circle of friends. In fact it's more of a dot than a circle.

These days he still cleans carpets. Frankly, from what he has told me his business doesn't appear to be doing very well and so, last week, when finding myself in need of a carpet cleaner I called him for what I thought was a quite urgent job. I left messages, I sent him texts and tried several different numbers, some of them his. After about thirty six hours he got back to me.

I was in meetings and explained to A that I needed some stuff done and while he was there would he clean another couple of offices and leave the invoice on my desk for me when he was done. As I know about the price of carpet cleaning, as I used to sell it for A, I felt that I had sufficient knowledge and also that I trusted him enough to just get the job done and charge accordingly. It was a job that most carpet cleaning companies would have charged about £200 for.

The morning after he'd done what was a superb job I came into work and saw his invoice on my desk. He had handwritten a box in which he said that he had to do lots of extra cleaning as the carpet was so dirty but, if there were any queries, just to call him. The invoice was for £450. I had fourteen heart attacks and farted quite a bit. £450 was extortionate and I knew what A had done, or tried to do. He'd looked around at the office, he thinks (wrongly) that I've got a few quid in my pocket and reckoned that we, as a company, could afford it and would pay the amount without question.

The "call me if you have a query" bit was also a clear indication that he was trying it on. Most people, if they're charging what they really think is a fair price, don't go into the scenario thinking that their customer is going to baulk, or fart. I did both.

I don't mind telling you, my reader, that I was extremely disappointed with the situation. Here was an old friend, someone who I've been kind to over the years, someone who I was trying to help by giving him the business, trying to rip me off. It wasn't on. I called him.

I started by thanking him for a job well done and telling him how pleased I was. Then, like a Leopard pouncing on a carpet cleaner who had tried to overcharge, I told him that I was a bit surprised and disappointed about the high bill.

What followed was a half hour comedy conversation. A tried to squirm his way out of it, but not in any way that satisfied me. He attempted to justify the high cost through logic that only a Sri Lankan personnel manager on an efficiency course would possibly understand. At every junction and each turn he contradicted himself and made things worse. He told me that it was because the square yardage he had cleaned was so great, then couldn't remember what the size of the area was. He told me that the job took such a long time, then said that it wasn't about the number of hours taken. I realised that he should have been employed as a digger of holes, big and deep ones.

The gist of it was that he continued to try to justify the price when I knew that he had come to a figure of "about £500" simply because he thought he could get away with it. All too early in the conversation he offered to reduce the bill by £100, which didn't really help. I still felt that the price was too high and that he'd attempted to take advantage of me. We ended in a stalemate.

A asked me what I wanted and what he could do. I told him that I didn't know, that in reality I just wished he hadn't tried to charge the amount in the first place and that now the damage was done. It was an awkwardly dodgy situation. He offered a reduced amount yet still claimed that the original price was fair. I said that I'd pay the £450 if he was so adamant that it was appropriate, though I knew that I'd never ask him to clean a carpet for me again.

We had a stifled "friend's" conversation after that and parted. Neither of us was happy but I knew in my heart that I was in the right and my conscience was clear. A clear conscience is one thing, but I was left with the invoice to pay. I sat on it, the matter not the invoice. The fact was that it was wrong to pay the amount and it would have been wrong not to.

Then, yesterday morning I had my flash of inspiration. It has made me smile and feel that, were someone writing a bible right now, they'd look at me and consider using this as a parable or a stable or whatever they're called.

I gave the invoice to the woman who never pays for her lunch and asked her to write a cheque made payable to A for £350. Then I also asked her to do another cheque for £100 but to leave the payee blank. I sent them both in the same envelope to A, with a compliment slip. I wrote a message on the compliment slip and asked him to do whatever he felt was correct with the £100 cheque, to make it payable to himself, give it to charity or rip it up.

I have a feeling that I'll never find out what A decides to do with the cheque. I'll let you know if I do.

I'm quite chuffed with myself though, just thought I'd tell you. I can't wait until I'm eighty six.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Phone Wars

I was at a meeting the other day, one of those meetings with quite a few high powered people. And me.

There were about twenty people there, all business types. Most of them were pretty well known and biggish players in my industry and around the table sat many large, well nourished and well trained brains and many more large and not so well trained egos.

I go to these meetings about four times a year as, in theory at least, I'm part of this business group. The truth is that I go because I want to learn from these fellows, I want to learn more about my industry and about running a company, all that serious stuff that I no doubt would have learned had I gone to university. Even though I'm about the same age as most of them I sit there and feel as if I'm a child in an adult world.

One of the chaps has an unusual appearance and demeanour. If you imagine Father Christmas on a day off, dressed in a business suit and with the beard packed away in a box, you'd have a decent image of him. That's the physical appearance taken care of, the demeanour is friendly but in a "I always stand up for my principles and take no shit" kind of way. In several meetings I've witnessed him push a point beyond the boundaries that most others would, seemingly because he digs his heels in and wants to win, more than his desire to really analyse a point.

I reckon he's in his late fifties or early sixties. He comes across as the sort of bloke who's been in the industry since he left school, who knows nothing else and has no desire to know anything else. The sort of bloke you want on your side not on the other side. Scary, and until some months ago I stayed fairly well clear of him. Then I overheard him chatting to another fellow. They were talking about drums and my drum radar went into overdrive. I scraped into the conversation and he's now my new best friend.

So, there I was in the meeting last week sitting next to my new mate. Before the meeting had formally begun we did some serious drum talk, of snares and cymbals, sticks and kits. It was good, if you're a drummer.

The meeting began and I observed something taking place. It was a phone war, slightly subtle but even more slightly unsubtle. Most people put their phone on the table in front of them. They then got involved in the meeting at the appropriate moments. But, at almost every other opportunity, they all checked their phones, replied to a text message (seemingly) and trying to portray an air of being busier and more important than they actually were.

The subtletly was signified by the fact that all the ringtones were turned off, the messages were silent and the actions were a bit hidden. The lack of subtlety was in the fact that it happened at all, a bit like an elephant trying to hide in the butter dish in the fridge.

All these fellows had flash phones. Blackberries, blueberries, iPhones and Star Wars phones were out in abundance. It was a bit of a competition to prove that each had the best phone, the one with the best flip out QWERTY keyboard. I must admit that's the first time I've ever typed out the word "qwerty" and strangely I was totally surprised at how easy it was to physically type out. That's a bit mad isn't it? It shouldn't really have such a shock to me. Try it and I bet you'll catch yourself looking for the keys.

And I've got a brand new phone, a flashy one without real buttons. It's got a keyboard that appears on screen and turns on its side when it eventually decides it wants to. The instructions say that the phone senses when it's turned and adjusts the display automatically. The instructions lie, the truth is that you turn the phone sideways, bang it a bit, give up on the whole display going horizontal thing and turn it back the other way. Then the display turns on its side and catches you unawares.

It's got wifi, a cubey thing that spins around and that general array of functions and applications that we've all been fooled into thinking are essential for us to exist in day to day life. I use it to make and receive phone calls, to send and receive texts and to look at the weather so I can decide which shirt I'm going wear the next day. As far as I'm concerned the best thing about it is the silicone rubber case that I bought with it, it's got a very sexy feel to it, a bit like writing with a ballpoint pen when you're on the conveyor belt at the supermarket.

After a while I thought I'd better get my new phone out. I went through a myriad of menus and a score of screens to put it on silent and plonked it on the table. For the next couple of hours, while the other chaps played their phone war, I checked my phone at the appropriate intervals. Nothing happened, not even my Mum called.

I pretended that I was important though. In the couple of hours I sent about thirty fake messages to about thirty fake people. I made a screwed up face several times as I pretended to read an email about some slightly puzzling topic. I smiled quietly to myself while making sure a few people caught sight of me as I read a pretend message about something amusing and I sighed with dismay as I pretended to receive one that was a pain.

Then I wondered if that's what all the others, with their sideways qwerty keyboards were doing too.

And later on I won six bottles of French wine.


Monday, November 16, 2009


So I spent way too much time drawing up a word doc to show the progress of the Dear 16 tag thing.

I thought it might be interesting to see who's tagged who and so on. After a hell of a lot of fumbling around in the darkness that is my knowledge of Word I did it. A slightly fancy looking charty thing, with lines, links and even an arrow. I'm proud of it, though I reckon one of my kids could have done a much better one on about half the time.

Then I discover that there appears to be no easy way to chuck the thing up within a blog post. I had assumed that I could just link to it, like I can with pictures and it would show up and people could click on the links I'd inserted and all.

Vut too dooo?

Any ideas?

Nothing To Say

It's Sunday night right now and I've got so much to tell you that I've ended up with nothing to say. Does that make any sense?

I've got a list of about ten subjects that I might write a post, or ten posts about.

There's the Muse gig on Friday night. I might write a post or I might just tell you that it was absofuckinglutely fanfuckingtastic. The latter method is probably far more descriptive than I could manage if I tried to get all reviewerish.

There's the tangential story about A and K's behaviour at the gig and how I wondered if I was a cool or an embarrassing Dad. But that's for another time, maybe when I've decided which one.

Or you might be interested in A and her purchase of the four inch high heels. If you're one of the female type who reads around in these parts I think you'll chuckle at and relate to my tale of watching her try to get used to her first pair of high heels, for a party on Saturday night, how I looked at her with that parental mix of horror, love, fear and pride.

My thoughts on watching the Sri Lankan woman on TV the other night, on "Come dine with me", might interest you. She won the competition yet made herself look like an idiot and I pondered on how an individual in a foreign country tends to represent their home territory, in a rather ambassadorial sort of way.

The Dear sixteen year old me thing seems to be tagging along quite nicely. I must admit I'm quite proud of it, though it wasn't my idea at all. It's proving interesting to see what we all think we've learned, the mistakes we've made and the good things we've done. I'm waiting for someone, just one person to announce that they'd actually had sex before they were sixteen. So far no one, not even a Blacker or a Point.

I drew up a chart this afternoon to see who's tagged who and how far it's spread. I might take a picture of it and chuck it up for all to see at some point.

But I'm just going to wish you a happy Monday and write about all this in more detail later.

So, there you go.

Happy Monday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lately Auf Das Lankanosphere...

Ja, fur zis veek ve vill in another language talk. And ze language is Cherman. Das idea vas gut ja?

Except for the fact that my German has now been exhausted. By that, I don't mean that I have a cute German girl under my desk who's now totally knackered. No, I mean I've run out of German phrases, words and umlauts and things. It's probably because I failed my German 'O' level all those years ago and, on top of that, I don't know if the Lankanosphere's male or female.

The past weeks in the Kottu world have been a hive of all sorts of activity and have certainly made for interesting reading. Even as I start this has the smell of a long post. I'd suggest that you grab yourself a cup of something, sit down, get comfortable and prepare for a longish read. Like a good asian family it's all relative and it's not a long read compared to one of Bill Shakespeare's shortest works or the average length of a Sittingnut comment.

The first thing is that the sad passing of Mohan Ariyaratne has caused many bloggers to tell of their feelings and thoughts, whether happy, sad or both. I didn't know him well, to me he was the chap at Barefoot who looked after many things, music in particular.

I don't think he knew my name but he'd always acknowledge me and we'd have a little chat, often about music. I once gave him a CD of my band with me drumming and, to my surprise, he put it on at Barefoot. It made me smile like a cheshire cat to get played there and I'd like to thank him for that.

Indi's post has got a really atmospheric and poignant picture, Dom's post is a beautifully crafted black and white portrait as only he can make with a poem to accompany and Electra's post is written in her uniquely thought provoking style. Java gives us all a bit of background and history in his particularly esoteric way.

It's been a couple of weeks but there was the perplexing story of the Lankan blogger who went and got himself arrested. Perplexing because things were hazy, facts were unclear and simply that perplexing is a word I haven't used for a while. It's unclear who the chap was, though a name has been bandied about, and exactly why and what charges have been brought, if any.

Indi tell us about it here and Aladdin, the slippered Lothario gives us some more detail here. As a blogger I find it a bit worrying, though any arrest on my person is more likely to be from the fashion Police (metrosexual division) than from a political squad.

Rajaratarala, yes him with all the As in his name, has decided to go into acting. Word has it that he's been seen busily auditioning for the latest Gillette commercial, involving a sarong clad sword wielding fiend and lots of shaving gel. He tells us a bit more about it on his captivating blog. It seems he also ran over a bloke in a garage, then pretended the chap was working under his vehicle without the aid of a jack.

Life in Taprobane is the name of the blog, Serendib Isle is the name of the blogger and Lebanon is the name of the Country, though not the Serendib one. Our S Isle has been perving travelling across Lebanon, telling us about his observations and ruminations and falling in love left, right and centre. The posts are good reading and made me want to see the place. Check them out. As an aside I wonder what they call lesbians in Lebanon.

Cerno kicked out two little nuggets that couldn't be more different yet share one thing; brilliance. Firstly we have this one about domestic bliss at home with the Cernos. It made all of us go all gushy and gooey and I even heard a rumour that it had prompted David Blacker to rush out and watch a batch of romantic comedies while eating a large bar of Swiss chocolate.

Secondly is his post on the People's republic of Dehiwala. I think he may have put the apostrophe in the wrong place but, other than that, it's an example of comedic and satirical writing at its best. I think, in reality I don't know what satirical means. As Obama would say, check it. The scariest place in the world must be inside Cerno's head. Well, after Belgium of course.

That girl, the Drama Queen, is back. If I tell you that this post mentions porn, fellatio, a Sri Lankan mother, Hi!! magazine and lines like "because only hookers dress like mums and go to Galle Face Green" I think you'll be interested. You'll laugh and laugh like a demented hyena in an interview for a million pounds a year job at the canned laughter factory. Which is to say, rather a lot. And Dinidu, Fellatio's not a Shakespearean character either. Or an Italian midfielder.

Our Gyppo has been on form lately too. This gem about her thoughts on the war, her attempts to understand and make sense of it certainly hit a home run with me, probably with many others too. Like I said in a comment I left, if more people displayed honesty like this instead of claiming to know all the answers the world would be a better place.

JapSach's gone underground, we know not why, we know not for how long nor how deep. But does anyone else ever has the strange thing happen when you read his blog? It's a thing where my internet browser keeps opening tabs for his blog. I have to do all sorts of task management things to get out of it and it only ever happens on his blog, though not all the time.

Talking of going underground, where on Earth is Kalusudda? The last we heard was July 1st when he published this post. Since then there's been nothing, no comments, no posts and no sightings. Give us a shout out KS, I for one hope you're okay and roaming around in your academic way.

To round off let's just mention the surplus of blogoversaries that has been doing the rounds. Everywhere I turn, every blog I read, every breath you take, I'll be... oops, sorry I went all Sting for a moment there. What I meant to say was that there are blogoversaries galore at the moment.

Gutterflower has passed the two year point. We like her.

Drama Queen's previously mentioned post, which I'll previously mention again, was her one hundredth, so congrats and all. She wins a night out with her Mother for that.

Then that hard hitting, courageous and ground breaking blog, the one that's helped formulate so many people's opinions and has tackled many key issues hit a nice clean one thousand posts. It's quite an achievement indeed.

Did I mention Groundviews?

That hit its thousandth post too. Nice one.

Well I'll be off then.

A merry weekend to you all. I'm going to see Muse tonight avec A and K. Can't wait.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Best Chat Up Line Ever?

I read the good Lady D's post here and was reminded of a chat up line, one that I reckon is the best one ever. Well, that's from a man's point of view, but it's well known how I'm able to virtually read the mind of almost any woman, except for the ones I've actually met of course.

It's a chat up line that I've never had the opportunity to use or try, but my feeling is that it could be the golden shower of all chat up lines, the holy grail, the one line to make all others look like the tri shaw occupying a corner in the Ferrari garage.

And frankly I don't know if I should tell you what it is. I don't know if you're up to the job, whether I can stand the thought of giving out this bit of stunningly lethal information and then sitting back with the knowledge that fellows will be out in public using it, bedding one beautiful woman after another.

It's a line that would take guts and courage for a man to use, not everyone would have the confidence to come out with it. It's the chat up line version of doing the most fantastic bungee jump; you'd just have to go for it, knowing that the rope would hold you and you'd have the best and most wonderful experience.

In fact, with some minor modification it could probably be used by men, women, gay or straight. It's so powerful that I reckon even some bloggers could use it to good effect.

What is it?

Not telling you. You can guess if you want though. Or bribe me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oi, You, The Blacker Bros

Come on, you've been tagged by DD. We're waiting for you, you're holding up the game.

And you too G12.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear Sixteen Year Old RD - Let's Play Some Tag

I got this idea from Jonathan Ross. It's a letter to your sixteen year old self. What advice would you give, with what you know now, to the sixteen year old you?

It's also been a while since we had a good game of tag doing the rounds in the Lankanosphere, so I'll start and I'll make the rules.

They go like this:

Write a post, a letter to your sixteen year old self.

Tag two people, no more, none of the "I'll leave it as an open tag" or "I'll tag ten people because I love you all so much"

Run round your house naked.

Here's mine:

Dear sixteen year old RD,

Life is going to be quite an adventure for you. That much is for sure. The older you'll get the more you'll actually realise how much you don't know. Right now you think you know it all, at forty three you'll know a lot more and feel like you know nothing. You'll be amazed that you've got a fifteen, almost sixteen year old daughter who thinks she knows everything.

There's so much to tell you about what's to come but I don't want to give it all away. Let's start with the thing you think about for about ninety eight per cent of your waking hours; sex. You will have it eventually and it won't be with Debbie Harry. But that's okay, she's not going to age that well, nor will Pamela Ewing from Dallas.

You'll be surprised about sex. Right now it looks as though it's fun and something only other people do. Give it a few years and you'll be one of them and startled at the trouble people get into over it.

You may want to think about getting a haircut, some cleaner looking and less heavy rock clothes. All the other kids are into a more modern and new wave look and sound and you're hanging around with hippies. Get a bit trendy, it will help you with the whole sex thing for a start. And for heaven's sake shave that bloody pubic bumfluff off your face. That stuff your parents are saying about not shaving too soon is all rubbish and you'll look better for it.

You know the way you've always thought about playing the drums? Do it, do it now, go and get some lessons, it will be the one place in which you feel totally comfortable. Don't wait until you're thirty one to find that out. Do not even think about being a professional musician. You'll end up having lots of fun and making no money. Can there be anything worse?

Now let's talk about Sri Lanka. You like it now, you feel a certain affinity to it and want to go there more. That's nothing. Next year all hell's going to break loose in Lanka, lots of it whilst you're there. It will take over thirty years for peace to turn up and do its thing. Yet, during that thirty years, you're going to begin your affair with that little island. You're going to become connected to it in ways you can't imagine now. It will become more important to you than even those Debbie Harry posters on your ceiling. Seriously. Sinhala lessons might be a good idea too.

And while we're on the subject, you're going to have a blog and get quite interested in writing and reading. This may confuse you as you don't know what a blog is. It's a thing that people publish on the web. Ah yes, you don't know what the web is. Let's leave it for now, you'll find out.

Learn to cook RD, it will be useful.

Make mistakes, make lots and learn from them, that's the key. Perfection is only attained by people who don't push their boundaries.

Parents. Well your ones will get worse. You'll love them but they'll drive you mad. That's what parents do, Sri Lankan ones just do it even more. Then you'll observe yourself behaving towards your kids like your Dad does and did towards you. Let it go RD, that's what happens.

I think that's about it. Your life will be fun, you'll make it fun because of your choices and your actions and you'll go out and get things, not just from Tescos.

With my kindest regards

Your forty three year old friend


My two tagged people are:

The Gyppo.

Now I have to go, it's cold with no clothes on.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shall We?

"Love how Sri Lankans say "shall we?" when they want to make a move"

Wrote, or tweeted, a friend of mine the other day. It made me smile, in a bit of a Sri Lankan way.

You see I was brought up in English, but it was an English that was littered with Lankan phrases and "Api yamuda?" was one of them.

I remember being at those very Sri Lankan get togethers, the ones that happen in England. All the adults would be great friends and there'd be dancing, drinking and back slapping and a bunch of second generation young kids scattered around scowling at each other and trying to win the competition to be the most English kid in the house.

Winning was achieved by displaying the most contempt possible towards all things Sri Lankan. This meant insisting on the use of cutlery, never ever dancing to the baila and quite a lot of general skulking and attitude.

The really brave kids, the ones who probably went on to become NGOs, lead singers or overtly camp interior designers with unusual looking business cards, would claim a dislike of rice and curry or even, yes seriously, NOT refer to the adults as Uncle or Aunty. None of us were ever brave enough to do it overtly, there was always a slightly mumbled sound so that the adult would think that they had been addressed correctly, but the thought was there.

Then there'd be a couple of girls, invariably with those uniquely Lankan rhyming names, like Sonali and Ronali or Shahila and Ashila. All the rest of us hated these girls but in a slightly envious way. They were the teacher's pets of the group.

With only a hint of a request from one of their parents, usually the Father, these girls would break out into a song and dance routine that would make one of the songs from High School Musical, either one, two or three, you can choose, seem like a Stigmata gig when they've decided to try and sound a bit heavier than usual.

All the older generation would cheer and clap and commend the parents of the girls on having such talented and lovely daughters. The rest of us, the kids, would scowl and huff, pretending that the last thing on earth we wanted was to be like them.

After all the merriment, the eating, drinking and dancing, remember this was in the days when drinking and driving was positively encouraged, especially among Sri Lankans, there'd be a brave wife or husband who'd look at their spouse, do that very Lankan head twist, raise an eyebrow and say


Then people would leave. Obviously, what with most of the people being of Serendipitious origin, the leaving process would take about another three hours, but eventually it would be done.

These days, on the seemingly rare occasions me and C are in the same country, I find myself a bit of an expert at the "shall we?" The words are often unsaid, the body movements are barely perceptible to a passing suddha. It's a quick bit of eye contact, the slightest bit of facial rotation ( I reckon about 3 deg though that's not scientifically proven) , just the merest raising of an eyebrow and the message has been conveyed.

Sometimes there's a little bit of lip movement but it's more miming the words than anything.

And, three hours later, we go.

Turning into my Dad? Me? Never?

Happy Monday all.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Saturday Night Quickie

I can't hang around and write a lengthy post with all the wit you've got used to. I'm in a rush, off to a gig tonight.

It's a birthday bash for some chap in town, should be fun, there are magicians and comedians and us, playing two sets. Tonight we debut Learn To Fly by the Foos. It's not the first time I've played it live but it's the first for this band and I think the maiden for the rest of the guys. They reckon it's not well known enough to go down well. I think they're wrong. In a few hours time I'll know the answer.

It's also the debut outing for my new Converse (s) in "optical white". Of course, as any metrosexual can relate to, I'm slightly concerned that they're just that little bit too new and too white to look cool. There might be a few people (singers and guitarists no doubt) making attempts to stamp on them and firty them.

The jeans will be the dark blue slim ones. C hates them but I like them. Pah, is all I can say to that. My choice of T shirt remains to be er, chosen. It's going to be something Superdry, I don't know exactly which one yet.

Well, toodle pip. I wish you all, whichever town and whichever country you're in, a good Saturday night.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What If There Were No Poya Day Holidays?

It was six o'clock and I drove to work in the pitch darkness of a typical London November morning. I listened to Learn to Fly by the Foos, as I had to have it mastered for that evening's band practice, and felt excited about the week ahead.

There were no specific reasons for the excitement, just general ones to do with all sorts of things to come. Learn to Fly and some serious steering wheel, brake and accelerator drumming always gets the old RD blood pumping a bit too. You wouldn't want to be driving behind me though.

"Run and tell all of the angels....... make my way back home and learn to fly" sang Lord Grohl as I drummed along damn near perfectly. I glanced up at the sky and saw a gleaming and large full moon observing me intently. It was a picture book moon, made of cheese and urgently requiring a boy, or was it an alien, on a BMX bike to float past. It reminded me that the day was a Poya day over there in Serendib.

Poya days create a strange kind of jealousy in me. You see, over here we have bank holidays. They always crop up on a Monday, which does give us a long weekend, but they're seen about as often as Sicile Kotelawala waving her Golden Key credit card on a huge Odel shopping spree.

And, when we do have them, they're usually an excuse to fit in some DIY, to sleep a bit longer or to have some extra shopping time. Going to gorgeous places like Yala, World's End or Ooonerwartooner just isn't an option here. Unless of course you have a strange passion for Swindon, Birmingham or traffic jams on the M25. Some people have passions for all of those things and just love bank holidays here. They're not normal though.

My strange jealousy is because, while a public holiday here at least once a month would be cooler than Java Jones in a fridge full of cucumbers, what I'd really love would be the holidays combined with the absolute abundance of things to do within a relatively short distance.

Being sort of attached to Sri Lanka as I am, through blogging, friends and the like, I'm aware of Poya days. I see them from my readership figures alone, views go down dramatically, other blogs are quiet and Kottu becomes a ghost town. Except it's not a town. Colombo is, in its city sort of way, and I know how it empties each Poya weekend.

I wonder about Poya days. I wonder in all seriousness what the result would be if they stopped. Well, not so much stopped more stopped from being a holiday. I'm guessing even MR can't do anything to stop the occurrence of a full moon. But, if they became normal working days, I wonder what the effect would be in Sri Lanka.

It's fair and more obvious than an Elephant attempting to hide behind a naked Dinidu to say that productivity in many industries would go up. There's a very clear and big link between days worked and output that can't be argued with. I know at my Company that a bank holiday reduces our week's revenue, not necessarily to four fifths of what it would have been, but a reduction nevertheless.

As an employer I hate public holidays. People have to be paid, overheads have to be paid and we get no revenue, nothing at all in return. From a pure profit and loss point of view they're evilness personified. As an employee I love them. I get an extra day to my weekend and also one less day to the week.

But life's just not that straightforward and simple, particularly Lankan life. I ponder on the positive effects of Poya days, the rejuvenating results that they have on many people. We all feel better and more motivated after a holiday, we all have a bit more energy and feel fired up don't we? The benefits of sending employees off on a course are well documented, the positives of a short break are clear but hard to measure.

Not only that, but there's also the impact that a Poya day must have on the internal tourism industry. Hotels get busy, in a time where that business is much needed, and all other related industries, those that are allowed to operate on a Poya day, must gain business too.

I ask you, what do you think?

If Poyas were normal working days what would be the net result to Sri Lanka?

The best answer gets an extra day's holiday.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I'm going to blow my own trumpet, just a bit.

This is, as those Italians say, my Mth post. Or in English it could be described as my thousandth post. Or in Singlish we might say something like "well done machang, a thousand posts no."

And it makes me feel quite emotional to be honest.

My blog began as an experiment, an experiment to see what would happen, one without a hypothesis and still without a conclusion. Though I know not whether a conclusion can be reached if there's no hypothesis to start with.

It's taken about three and a half years to get to the first millennium and such a huge amount of big stuff has happened in that time, in my life, your life and life in general.

In the case of the first person I've got divorced, I've joined three or so bands, I've left one or two of them. I met C and I've moved four times, two of which were back to my parents' place. Yes, I think it's fair to say that the only thing that hasn't changed dramatically in my life is my work. If, on the day I'd started blogging, you'd told me that all of this would happen to me I'd have phoned up a Doctor to have you carted off to a special place.

There's no point in me telling you about the specific things that have happened in your life, as I don't know who you are, but the chances are that you're one of the people who have been affected in some way by the end of hostilities in Sri Lanka. Most of us, Lankans, Lankan diaspora and people who have an interest in Serendib have been affected somehow. Isn't it amazing how things, which looked so bleak three and a half years ago, look so different now?

The Sri Lankan blogosphere, or the Lankanosphere as someone has christened it, has changed beyond recognition. I don't know the exact figures but Kottu has changed and developed from a small handful of close knit bloggers to a vast spray of over three hundred Lankan and Lankan related blogs.

Many of my old favourites have gone, their blogs deleted or hidden from view, making me look back and wonder if Julesonline, Hot Chocolate and so many others were real or imaginary. Did they exist, did they really regale me with their tales and adventures then vanish so abruptly?

Others have gone from public to private blogs, from regular to irregular blogging, for numerous reasons.

Then there have been some constants. Indi has been consistent and, as a blog is over six years old. He still. Writes very. Short sentences. He still gets read by just about everyone.

Lady D goes way back to January 2006 and Sittingnut goes all the way back to Aug 2005.

Yes, one thousand posts after I started lots of things have changed and lots have stayed the same.

I've learnt loads.

If you've been a reader, a commentator, a fellow blogger, a friend or a foe then the chances are that I've gleaned something from you. I've learned a hell of a lot more about Sri Lanka and have got even more attached to the country that I'm proud to be from, that I'm proud to consider as one of my homes.

The best thing? I've met and made some great and fantastic friends, too many to mention by name, though I should mention DD as he's prone to sulking!

Thank you, here's to 2M.


EDIT - I was going to start this post by saying that something like

"By the time you read this Cerno will probably have published a post about the subject, as he's a bit like the Sri Lankan mother of the Lankanosphere with the way he keeps track of blogoversaries and events."

I decided that I wouldn't, as it was unlikely that Cerno's powers would extend this far, that he'd even notice.

I was wrong. Thank you very much for the post Mr Cerno, I think I might love you.