Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas/EOY post

I don't think I'll be able to post anything in the next couple of days, so here goes my wishlist for 2011:

Right the wrongs

I've done some stuff that I'm not too happy about this year and I hope to right at least some of them before new year's day. 'nuff said. :)

Less Illness

I've been sick a lot this year and it's not fun. Here's to a healthier year!

Learn Wijesekara and blog more in Sinhala

This has been on my wishlist for a good couple of years now. But 2011 could be the year I finally get down to it.

Less hasty/irrational decisions

A calmer, more logical Chavie? Something that can't be left off the list after everything that was said and done in 2010.

More meetups!

We meetup and fly kites. We're hardcore like that!
And more cupcake parties! :D 2010 was billed to be the year of blogger meetups (in my head, albeit) and it was, to a certain extent. We could've done better though. :P

More travel!

Eclipse in Anuradhapura, January 2010
2010 sucked travel-wise. Despite having been on vacation for a good 4 months this year, I only got to go on 2 or 3 trips and it rained like hell during one. 2011 could will be the year I'll be meeting Kirigalpoththa, Amila and going on my first Sinhalaya Travels adventure, whether my parents let me or not! :P


"Sup, bitches?!":D
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, y'all! :D

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Nope, not talking about Dinidu's balls here. :D

At the end of last year, I felt like doing some comics, but putting them up on this blog was not an option, what with no anonymity and the rather political (and rather offensive) nature of most of the comics. So I created a webcomic blog called Dingdong, made about 8 or 9 comics, ran out of inspiration and shut the thing down. Sadly I lost all the comics (They were stick figure art... I had just discovered xkcd and my drawing was terrible), but there was this one comic I remembered and I redrew it today (with updated art and what not). It was entitled "Living it up in a puritan society". I used GIMP almost exclusively for today's comic (I usually use Paint.NET) so this is my first comic created in GIMP and in Linux. :D

Monday, December 13, 2010

The lights, and the action

I was fortunate enough to witness the gradual development of "Who Turned The Lights Off?", from a draft script to the version performed at Punchi last Friday. Over the course of several chance (gives Himal the :P face) run-ins with the crew in meetings and practices, I watched as the story took its final shape and form.

The story arc is something that is not unfamiliar: Boy and girl fall madly in love, girl trusts boy, boy does wrong, girl is left HIV-positive and abandoned by friends and family. Sadly, no matter how common the story is, it still gets repeated way too many times in society, with the same tragic ending.

And forum theatre is a place where people get to change that ending, and in the process learn some important facts about HIV, and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from it. I should note that you can never be too informed about these things, as a lot of us learned the correct way to open a condom wrapper during an audience member's (highly passionate) intervention.

Don't use your fingernails or teeth when opening a condom wrapper. It's very easy to tear the condom inside.
Another fact that people might not be aware of:

Don't use oil-based lubricants, like baby or cooking oils, hand lotion or petroleum jelly as lubricants with latex condoms. The oil weakens latex and can cause condoms to break.
(You're supposed to use water-based lubricants)

The play itself was brilliant, the story flowed nicely (nothing too overtly complicated, and no WTF?! moments) and the acting was superb. In a show with so many brilliant performances (from the butt-smacking 'Men have needs' guy, to the crazy Dad, to the depraved pharmacist who makes buying condoms near-impossible), the female lead (who, I think, was making her FT debut) took everyone's heart. The Awwws were free flowing that night, and so was the sympathy when her character found out her fate. Beyond Borders certainly has stumbled across some fine actors and playwrights. :)

So, in conclusion, the only way to prevent the terrible scourge of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is the continued education of high-risk groups, the foremost of which is our youth. This is of utmost importance, at a time when even those in the know have a nasty habit of becoming victims.

Eighty percent of Americans with HIV do not know they are infected.
– Philip Emeagwali

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chavie's unfunny comics, part eleventy-four

Well, Starpoints guy makes a comeback. Oh and please don't call your better half IE6. :S

Talking of star points, they have to be redeemed them before they expire on the 31st. Yes, this was a paid advertisement by Dialog Telekom PLC. ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blogger screwups

I should've written this a couple of months ago, but didn't have the balls to.

The wise Makuluwo said it best when she posted this on her Tumblr:

We were once a big happy family, just euphoric and full of goodwill. But stuff happened and everyone did and said things that they weren't supposed to. I get that, it's human nature to screw up a perfectly good thing and it happens all the time. But dragging it out this long is both painful and childish. We're all adults, so can't we just smile, nod and pretend nothing bad ever happened?

And you know what the worst part is, it makes people choose between us and being loyal to their best friend, and that is something that nobody should ever have to go through. I certainly wouldn't want to.

This might seem an angsty, immature and rather naive post, but I really needed to put this out there.

P.S. If you get invited to a meetup near/just past your birthday, please do try to make it. We'd like to thank you muchly in advance. ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


November started off on a positive note with a presentation at uni that went off pretty well on the first day of the month. But plenty of other things that were planned didn't happen as expected, but it was a good month nonetheless.

I learned a fair bit of C, and can implement everything we learned up to now at uni using it. Object orientation and such are obviously not supported, but the workarounds exist and as many programmers say "C is easier to learn in its entirety, and that is the biggest advantage it gives a coder". Basically, when you know exactly what the language can and cannot do, it makes coding so much easier and more productive.

A thing I didn't get to do was visit ol' Tommy. The time elapsed since I last saw him has hit a new high of 5 freaking months! :( And I don't think I'll get to visit him this weekend either. Sucks ass.

A lot of the travel planned for November had to be shelved, especially due to the bizarre weather conditions. The family did visit Katharagama and the south, but it was a rain affected journey. The planned hike to Nuwara Eliya with Uni buddies didn't work out, and neither did Arugam Bay with Sai and the old thread gang. I did get to spend an extraordinary amount of time at Sai's place though (thanks for the lunches, Sai! :D And the lulz too.) Spending time with one of your best friends in the whole world who only drops by the island once every 15 months or so is one of the true delights of life. :)

Hmmm, so what else. Watched a couple of movies, including "Toy Story 3" (How the hell does Pixar impress over and over again like that???) and "The Social Network"  by David Fincher. The latter was one of the best movies I had ever seen. It had the obvious geek appeal for me ("OMG Zuckerberg uses Linux!!!") and also the first Beatles song in a soundtrack that I've heard in a long time (Baby, You're a Rich Man, off Magical Mystery Tour. Beautiful song.) But what I loved about the film is that he achieved in a couple of years things that most people wouldn't in their entire lifetime. And it made me think... What's the point of being called a geek, what's the point of knowing what a wget command does if you don't apply that stuff and do something exciting, do something that you can be proud of? Will you forever be remembered as a nameless faceless glorified typist who slaved away coding some buggy commercial software, or will you be remembered as a Torvalds, a Stallman or a Cohen? Someone who gave up a boring, well paying life to do something that they genuinely found exciting and worth working towards? It's something I'll have a long hard think about in the next couple of months.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Welcome to the rain-affected test match known as life*

11:21 AM

The downpour keeps steady as I gaze out the window on the second floor of Liberty Plaza. Hard enough to make the towers in the distance a barely visible grey silhouette, but not hard enough to drive away the people from the street. The street, as it runs in front of Liberty, has 6 lanes and is one way, though it functions like a 4 lane road. I love staring at the rain, more so when I'm safely behind a window. Yes, I'm evul like that.

Liberty cinema is playing a Hindi film called Guzaarish. Aishwarya Rai reminds me of a creep zombie for some reason. O_O They're playing an old Bathiya Santhush song called 'Tharuka', which I heard is based on a Hindi song. Earlier they played some hip-hop song which had the lyrics 'This is an awesome ring tone for your phone' in the rap. Hmph.

01:34 PM

We're walking back to Kollupitiya in the rain. The buriyani and doughnuts we had for lunch are getting digested. Talk shifts to malfunctioning computer parts and how to destroy hard drives without any scratch-marks and have them replaced. The school yard has filled up like a lake and a stream is flowing out into the road. Fucktards drive at breakneck speeds in the almost bumper to bumper traffic and splash water all over the pedestrians. I yell obscenities at 'em. Rain is fun.

2:51 PM

We're at the uni canteen again, Meshak, another friend of ours and I (Yes, in the middle of vacation. So what? We kinda missed the place okay?). The second years had decorated the common room with and the wall sported a sign saying 'Thank U'. I guess they threw a little party for the lecturers before 'graduating' from here and moving on to the bigger campus. I'm going to miss them. They were the polar opposite of our own batch, always together, having fun. Even from a distance, it was a treat to watch them. Le sigh.

* Okay, the title has got nothing to do with the post. But it does vaguely sound like something off Chinaman, yes? ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pwnage on the cloud

Cloud computing is touted to be the next big thing. From Google Docs to Dropbox to Chrome OS, innovative applications are putting thousands of super powerful servers at the command of users like you and me. But non of these applications seemed that interesting. Granted, backing up to the cloud is one of the most failsafe ways to secure your data, but none of these things had that Ohmagawd effect. I was reading Gizmodo yesterday (sorry Jerry!) and I was hit with that effect thanks to this.

OnLive MicroConsole
(Image copyright Gawker media. Please don't sue me for unauthorised use!)
Think about it for a second. A game, rendered dynamically on the server, streamed to your home like a normal IPTV stream. Provided network latency is low (something that we really need to work towards in this country), your controller-strokes will be transmitted to some server in Palo Alto and the resultant scene in the video game rendered and retransmitted to your HDTV. It's like having a PS3 without having a PS3. And think about it, you don't have to worry about hardware upgrades, or buying expensive VGAs for the singular purpose of playing games anymore. The physics will be beyond awesome, the system requirements will always be met, and you don't have to deal with those pesky anti-piracy measures because there won't be any piracy anymore. If all the games run on servers, and no retail versions are ever released, there's obviously no way to pirate the games. It's a win-win situ whatever way you look at it. And imagine the amount of money spent on hardware that can be saved. You'll essentially be sharing a server with some dude in Bosnia, and while you sleep (due to the time difference) he'll be pwning away, and while he sleeps it'll be your turn. Playing multiplayer would be a breeze since inter-server connectivity is lightning fast (no need to worry about who's hosting and what his upload speed is anymore!)

And you know what the best part is? Servers hate Windows, because it is buggy, slow and expensive, where as Linux is stable, fast and free. The gaming servers will also need to run on Linux, which means... MORE GAMES FOR LINUX, YO! :D (side note: I discovered an open source clone of one of my favourite classic strategy games: Transport Tycoon Deluxe. It's called OpenTTD and! A must have for any Linux user. There is a port for Windows too.)

All of that being said, I'm still not going to pay $99 a year to play games on my bullcrap internet connection. :P

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2nd Semester ST Project

The main intention I had when setting up this blog was to share coding related stuff and other content that would be deemed boring and too tech-y for my other blog. The following post is about an accomplishment of mine that I'm very happy about, and this seems like the perfect place to share it.

Software Technology was my favourite subject during my (recently concluded) second semester at SLIIT. We were blessed with a wonderful lecturer and assistant lecturer and this, combined with my love for code, resulted in one of the most enjoyable learning experiences I've ever had in my life, comparable to that time during A/Ls that we learned about sub-atomic particles and nuclear energy, or the time in 8th grade which I started my first website on Yahoo! Geocities. (RIP)

So, at the end of the semester, we had to do an assignment based on the stuff we learned. It was done in C++, in Visual Studio, this neat little Windows Forms Application. But all that Microsoft goodness came at a price, and our simple application was 1.8 megabytes large. Another drawback was that it wasn't portable, meaning poor old me couldn't compile it in my GNU/Linux machine.

So after we finished our semester, and began our two month long vacation, I reimplemented the program in C. I simplified the problem that we were given (it would otherwise need an insane amount of coding, which I - a lone programmer without the incentive of assignment marks - would find difficult to do), but also switched the data structure we used to store the records from a linked list to a binary tree. The advantages of using a binary tree would be  that searching and inserting would be pretty fast. I also did use a post order deletion method to ensure that every record on the tree was deleted before exiting the program, so as to ensure that there were no memory leaks.

My original idea for the C program was to implement it in GTK+ (a cross platform widget toolkit, itself written in C), but I settled for the command line in the end because I had no experience with GTK (and very little experience with C itself) and the learning curve could've been too steep to handle. But I did what I could do, and I finished up with this, a working system that does what does. :) And in the process, I learned how to use malloc and got a new found sense of respect for the 'new' feature in C++ which makes memory allocation so much easier.

So this concludes this long, boring and pointless ramble about a piece of code that doesn't really do much at all. But it is released under the GNU general public licence, not because the free software foundation needs crapware like mine, but because it feels so right to give back to the community that has given us so much, including (but not limited to) the OS that I'm using (GNU), the kernel (Linux), the distro (Ubuntu), the web browser (Firefox) as well as the compiler (GCC) and the text editor (gedit) that I used to create the program. Long live software freedom! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Southern coast in 8 pictures

Over the bridge...

past the temple in the sea...

a beach!

A wide deserted beach, with the softest, whitest sand...

But the sea is rough,

red flags are up,

what to do but walk away... least the pool is tranquil.

Kinda ironic that I'm writing about beaches and sunshine when Colombo is undergoing the worst flooding in decades. What can one do but have hope in times like these.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The quest for cheap slippers

I'm the kind of guy who wears slippers anywhere (apparently not Coffee Stop, guess that's another for my list of places to never ever visit), hopefully even to my grave. But my old pair of DSI Beach slippers are getting a bit old and I wanted something nice and comfortable to replace them. I always considered spending more than 200 bucks on a pair as blasphemy, but if you're going for the 200 rupee limit there's not really a lot of choice in the local market.

Trusty old DSI beach
The selection is further limited by the fact that I'm a bit anal about details. My ideal pair of slipper has to:

a) Be flat topped. No spiky 'health' slippers for me Sir, thank you very much.
b) Shouldn't be too thick.
c) The top and the bottom should both be very non-slippery, since I jump off buses in the rain in these things.
d) The shape should be the proper round foot-like shape and not hexagons or something.

So I begin my search at Bata. The slippers are a couple of cents cheaper than those at DSI, which is always a nice thing. There's nothing much in the way of colour selection, but dark blue or red with a white stamp on it looks pretty good. Things are going pretty nicely till I flip the slipper over. OMG, the most horrid underside I have ever seen. Plastic, baby... slippery slippery plastic. I throw away the failslippers in disgust and mosey over to DSI.

The DSI beach slippers look good. I like their blue, black and red colours, but their green and orange leave a lot to be desired. I spot this nice looking dark blue pair, but the price tag says 700 BUCKS. -_____- Stupid 'Walkers'...

So I guess there are two kinds of people in this country. People who spend 700 bucks so that their slippers look good, and those who don't. The vast majority of people belong to the latter category, but they're being kept away from slippers that have a semblance of style in them and are possibly being put at deadly risk with those stupid plastic undersides.

Why can't Bata make slippers like these anymore?

Elegant slippers for a more civilised age

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rainy rainy Katharagama

I've been to Katharagama about a dozen times, and I never knew that it rained like THAT! On the 4th evening, just as we got there, it began to rain by the bucket-load. I hadn't seen rain like that since... since the last time Colombo got flooded! :D

At the end of the day, I was drenched to the bone... and shivering on the bed. The rain subsided somewhat in the night, as we made our way to Kiriwehera in darkness (the electricity supply had been disrupted due to rain) in a tuk-tuk taking a jungle road, all the time hoping that an Elephant won't emerge out of the shadows and just flatten the little thing into a roti pan. Kiriwehera in darkness (and ever increasing rain) was a surreal experience.

By next day though, the rain had thankfully ceased.

Katharagama Maha Dewale

These guys were out in force.
Elephant bathing in Menik ganga.

Sellakatharagama seems to have undergone a construction boom since the last time I visited, which includes the building of a new bridge, a parking lot, a suspension bridge from the temple to the parking lot and a beautiful hollow stupa.

The roads in and around Hambantota are beautiful, though they seem to have undergone a deterioration due to the construction that's still taking place.

P.S. If you ever go that way, don't forget to eat Yoghurt from the NLDB farm in Weerawila. That stuff is gooood. :O

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Patriot: My take

Word of warning: Long and pointless post ahead.

Let's begin with definitions first.

Patriotism is love of country; devotion to the welfare of one's country; the virtues and actions of a patriot; the passion which inspires one to serve one's country.

Political freedom is the absence of interference with the sovereignty of an individual by the use of coercion or aggression. Freedom is commonly known as a state of being free from government oppression.

"L'Etat, c'est moi." (I am the state.)    – Louis XIV, King of France

First things first, country ≠ the government or the ruler. Loyalty to your country does not mean you should be loyal to your leader. In [an ideal] democracy, the government really has no say in what an individual can do with his life (as long as it's within the laws of the land) and cannot force him to do something that he refuses to do. This is a fundamental human right guaranteed by our constitution and this is why there are Fundamental Rights Petitions in the supreme court. That being said, Sri Lanka is not an ideal democracy. Not really because the paperwork isn't there (we might complain loudly against this 'bahubootha wywastawa' of ours, but really it's positively heavenly compared to, for example, what the Chinese have) but because there are thuggish ministers who are 'above' the law and can mess your life up pretty bad. Ministers with firm handshakes and funny laughs, actually.

So imagine you're Mr. David Senanayaka. You're the son of a famous General Abhaya Senanayaka, who gave his life serving the country. You're quite a hot commodity in the advertising world. You've got a nice wife who's expecting your first child, a mother-in-law who knits stuff for you and friends who talk of our glorious 'Hela Sinhala Buddhist nation' while sipping 800 Rupee lattes in posh Colombo coffee shops. Oh and you hate the government. Not 'hate' as in bitching at the dinner table 'hate', but hate as in "To hell with them, I will not work for them even if it gets me, my wife and unborn child killed." hate.

The reasons for this hatred is not really explained, but thanks to snippets of dialogue I theorise it's because:

a) He believes the government (of the time?) bled his father dry and left his carcass for his mother and him.
b) The severance payment wasn't enough to support them.
c) He believes the government is not doing a good job with post war reconstruction. ("The north got completely demolished by the war. Then why is so much money being spent on the south?")
d) He's wary of the 18th amendment.

So when your bitchy boss sets you up with a government propaganda contract which promises rewards limited only by the star at the centre of our solar system, you pick a fight with your boss, get drunk, badmouth the president of the country in front of his loyal coffeehouse electorate, and get whacked by the minister's thugs. The interventionists offered two plausible alternate endings:

a) Tell the minister to go shove it and leave country fast. Ironic since David is a 'patriot'.
b) Swallow your pride, shut the eff up and work for the government. You're in advertising for heaven's sake, you DON'T HAVE IDEALS! (What sort of messed up moral compass lets people make ads for 'fairness creams'?)

Okay, so final thoughts: You might think you love your country, but that doesn't make you a better person. (Example: me) You might think you're right and the government is wrong, that doesn't make you a patriot and them oppressors. It just means you have political and ideological differences. For all you know, the laughing foetus-murdering minister might 'love the country' as much as you do. There's no definite way of saying that you love your country more than someone else.

But in conclusion, in this country, loyalty to the head of state is more important than loyalty to the state itself. (Example: Compare Sarath Fonseka's present situation to that of Karuna Amman.) In this country, we shut up and keep our heads low, for love of everything we hold dear, and wait for the next election and hope the government doesn't rig its outcome. If you don't like the system David, you might as well a) cut the patriotic crap and leave b) enter politics and attempt to shake things up. Sorry for being blunt, but that's how 'we' roll.

I hear you asking, what's the point of this long and wandering post? My point is that the title of the play should've been "Political Freedom" and not "Patriot". Yes, I'm pointless like that.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dr. Sheldon Cooper FTW.

I've watched all the episodes released so far in the last couple of days, and BOY I can't wait till Friday to see the next one!!! :D Long lost television addiction, here I come! :D

Talking of television, I suck for missing last night's drama involving Mervyn, "kukku", Dayasiri and Kauda Bole Ajith. Though watching it all on YouTube makes up for it somewhat. ;)

P.S. I dunno why but the character I root for the most is Howard Wolowitz. I guess it's because I know where he's coming from. ;P

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Right royally screwed

My last exam is tomorrow and I have:

a) Studied anything - negative
b) Done at least one past paper - nope
c) Watched the entire first season of Big Bang Theory in one day - check!

Oh boy.

On a happier note, I hope I'll be seeing many of you at the upcoming Beyond Borders theatre production titled "Patriot". It's happening next Tuesday at 5.30 PM at the BC Audi. The last one, "Elected" was a blast and you'd be crazy to miss this one. :) Invites can be had at and you can check out their Facebook page here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Is the name of the theme I'm using on Linux, but that's of no consequence to this post really.

I just went through this awesome mind trip, a trip that took me through the beautiful mind of one of the most beautiful people I know. As I gaze at the squirrel trying to eat the breadcrumbs my neighbour has left him, I'm trying to make something out of it. This huge new chunk in my universe. The squirrel drops the crumb.

You meet these people in life who are so amazing that it takes a long time for you to absorb them and then figure out if it's wise to still hang around. My usual gag reflex is to welcome with open arms, but I'm older and less naive than I once was. Does it come down to jealousy? Maybe my childhood stories aren't so epic, maybe I've never met so many people, maybe my family is dull and conventional. Does it really matter? Does it make me inferior? Why do I have this mad urge telling me that I need to grab a piece of you while you last?

I've made this mistake a lot, bitten off more than I could chew. I need to be cautious. I need to take this slow. Whenever I say something I do the exact opposite, so I guess things won't be taken slow after all.

On an unrelated and mundane note, I hate this attitude about exams that I have. This I-know-all-you-can't-fail-me bullshit is going to get me stuck in a very very sticky hole soon enough. Oh joy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


If I put all the meetup stories into little comic strips, I would be able to post one a day for about two whole years, me thinks. :D

Anyway, here's something that happened last Friday, and please note that Makuluwo looks much better in real life (disclaimer, just in case... lol)

Well it was funnier when it actually happened. ;)

And in the mean time, exams continue, illness sucks and discussing what you shat and why you shat it with your parents can be real uncomfortable sometimes. Tudu!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This has become a bit of an unhealthy obsession of mine, so I'm going to type it all out without holding it all in. I wouldn't blame anyone if they called me mad after reading all of this. And as for the all-important question: "WHY are you so bothered with this Chavie?", I have no idea mate. I wish I did.

(Copied from a Google doc I had made to keep track of my obsession, and edited to make it suitable for the blog)


It was the end of our Foundation course at uni and exams were upon us. We had them in the 15th floor, the highest I had been to on the building till that point in time.

First sighting: 2x/12/2009 at around 7.30ish AM - Whole central mountain range clearly visible from 15th floor. Had phone but wasn’t bothered to capture image, since I thought this was a fairly common occurrence.


Further sightings eluded me for almost a whole year. It was rather disappointing, but I would return day after day and the first thing I would do is look out the window. I was getting obsessed. Then, on one bright blue morning, the first day of October, I knew I might have a spotting on my hands.

Second sighting: 01/10/2010 at around 7.30ish AM - Peaks partially visible from 12th floor. Took camera even but didn’t take any photographs. Glare was too much (the sun having risen up just behind the mountains) when the window was opened. :(

Common phenomena

I observed that on both occasions heavy rain had occurred the night before. No cloud cover at all in the morning, brilliant sunlight (Not the usual bright tropical sunlight you get in this part of the world, this light is unnaturally bright and powerful.)

Why are they so rare: my little half-baked theory

Although most mornings are clear and cloudless, a constant smog (or haze, IDK) seems to hang over Colombo (and the countryside surrounding it), obstructing our view of anything beyond the Malabe hillocks. On most normal days it will be there from the morning till 5.30 when we leave. I believe this is a testament to how humid and wet our little island is.

Now this is where the whole rain-on-the-night-before comes in handy. The rain and cooling of the water vapour forces the haze clouds down to ground level, clearing the atmosphere. This would explain the ultra-clear skies and powerful sunlight. (The moment I saw that weird light on the morning of the 10th, I knew I would get lucky that day.) The trick to getting a good clear view of the mountains is to make sure you get to the Towers before the bright sunlight evaporates the water droplets from last night’s rain and recreates the haze. This is where I succeeded first time around, and failed (by perhaps 15 minutes or so) on the second.

It bothers me that sightings are so rare and only seem to occur (approximately) during the inter-monsoonal season. And that, my friends, is where it stands now. I just hope that during the 4 days on which we have morning exams in October, one would be clear, blue, and with brilliant sunlight.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

When September ends...

...don't wake me up, I be exhausted and sleepy. The past 30 days have been perhaps the most hectic of my life, but thankfully it's all over now and October will be the month of waking up at 10 am and never leaving home unless it's for something fun. ;) So technically we're supposed to be on study leave, but who studies during study leave anyway? That's what the night before the exam is for! :D

Anyway, amidst all the chaos, I managed to make it to the book fair, got blown away by the literally madness (more like the breeze at Galle Face where we went after) and contrary to popular belief that I'm an illiterate hobo, walked home with a copy of Shehan Karunatilaka's Chinaman. He's perhaps the only person who's won both a Gratiaen prize AND a TNL Onstage. I'm glad I was busy, since I would've written a post about how absoflippinglutely freaking brilliant the book was, but I would never have made it sound as good as Indi did in his review.

Anyway, I better get to bed now... long long day ahead, many bugs to squash. I fell short of my target number of posts for September by about 7, guess this means I should set more realistic targets for next month. ;)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bus route 99

More about the title later.

As the absence of posts in the last couple of days have suggested, I had a pretty awesomely busy weekend. Went to watch 'Bambara Walalla' with a friend on Saturday, and I have to say it was pretty good. Don't want to reveal any plot details, but at the end I felt a cocktail of emotions about how everyone acted. It's just that there is an absolute lack of any black or white characters, and all you see are various shades of grey. And the brightness and contrast of this grey picture changes abruptly with the plot twists and turns. Ok, I've said enough, methinks. If you're one of those people wait ages for a quality Sinhala movie comes, go catch this one. It's not perfect but it's one of the best I've ever seen. (Note: Regal, where I saw it, had English subtitles. So don't worry about the language issue). And the film was followed by a hastily organized blogger meetup on Sunday. Things are getting regular again, which I dig... :)

Ok, so Bus route 99. Colombo to Badulla (I've seen a couple of Welimada buses too)

You get on at Fort (or where I live, coz it passes in front of my house) get down in Kalupahana, trek up the 'Devil's staircase' to Horton Plains, camp, mess around in the highlands and take train from Ohiya back to Colombo. There, instant holiday. What say you, Meshak? ;)

Excuse the pointless post. Hopefully I'll get to write about how Meshak, Inosh and I ate a whole bag of 'gal siyambala' inside the networking lab soon! :D

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Window seat

The view over our beautiful city at 8.15 this morning. I've been meaning to take a panorama and put it up but it never happened till today. Once, on a really really clear December morning, Meshak and I were treated to the silhouette of the central mountains in the distance, and the distinctive shape of the butterfly mountain in the middle. Unfortunately, stupid old me didn't realise at that time how rare seeing the mountains were. I've stared out these windows on more than a hundred mornings since, but never again caught a glimpse. But I'm hopeful. Maybe this January, eh? ;)

p.s. Please excuse the image quality. This is what you get when your phone camera shoots through an unclean window. :D

p.p.s. You can see Mount Lavinia in the distance. :)

Also, I'll tack on a pic of old Tommy since this post is a bit too short. :D

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Twitter Cycle

I've been meaning to do a comic on this blog for a long time, and comic turned out to be a loooong one too, so long that it had to be broken in two. :)

Disclaimer: The events depicted in this comic are entirely fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A quick one, while he's away

Enough with the classic rock references already? ;)

Ok, I'm running out of time (have to leave for uni within the hour) so I'll make this quick. The past month was a feeble attempt (that almost succeeded) to kill the blog. Yeah, bad Chavie. Not that I haven't been busy, oh I have been oh so busy. Between exams, assignments and learning a myriad of ways to sort and search data, I've had little time to breathe and play the occasional game of Civ. Did I mention that I got addicted to Civ in the middle of all of that? Yeah, so all the free time I had was spent producing artillery to bombard the enemy's capital and be a general dick to everyone on the map. But I digress.

The reason I was away was that I didn't want to deal with all the emotional shenanigans that have been taking place behind the screens all around this place we call the blogosphere. But all of that is behind me now, and I've found out that all it takes is a couple of nice friends to express their confidence in your character for you to move on. So "Screw the misunderstander(s), I'm going home!" (Yeah, I've started watching South Park too... awesome doesn't cut it!).

Aaaanyway, since I'm so good at giving promises and breaking them, I won't tell you that September will be a post-filled month. But hopefully, for the sake of my sanity (oh how I've missed ranting on this thing), it will be.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

When tolerance runs low

Whoever told you to 'be yourself' was laughing at you behind your back. Nobody wants the bundle of pervy humour, great insecurities and ugliness that you are. For so many years of my life, I was a different man for different people. Then, at the beginning of this year, I had entered Uni and all and I thought I was adult enough to go towards a unified theory of everything. If you ever think of doing the same thing, please don't. People expect you to be a different man for different people. If you can suppress all your cussing when you're in front of your parents, do the same thing when you're not with your closest friends. Keep secrets. Secrets will protect you, as long as you protect them.

Friday, July 2, 2010


This week has been rather hectic. Some idiot waited till my uni started to blow up the bokkuwa in Kattiya junction, turning the previously super high speed 138 bus route into a messy bumper-to-bumper situ just before Nugegoda. Oh joy. Gone are the days when 45 minutes and two dozen bucks could get you from here to Town Hall. sigh!

The result has been the Father and I having to use alternate routes to get to Uni. Hence passing through Nawala. Hence thinking that I spotted a certain blogger. Hence putting up a status update on Facebook regarding that. Hence leading to a friend of mine asking me what my URL is. #anonymityfail

And like Y said today, I'm not my usual upbeat self. I don't know why, but I guess apathy happens. You start listening to the same old songs waiting for a person who only exists in your dreams to sprout out of the ground. You start disliking people, but they throw one smile at you and you go all wonky. You tell yourself that you don't care about what others say, but flip out when they throw a passing remark about the way you're dressed. You force-feed yourself for a month in the hope of being less epically underweight, only to find that you're just a kilogram heavier. You get into the same bus as that girl whom you used to like a bit, and realise that just two days ago she didn't get into that same bus because you were inside it. *facepalm*

I know this isn't the most appropriate song for the occasion, but to hell with that. Imagine that asking for rain is the main point of the whole song and enjoy! ;)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The post count matters.

Not really.

I planned to do a lot of blogging during this vacation, but things rarely go according to plan in the Chavieverse (oh no he didn't!) and those plans fell apart. But I'm going to write a brief recap of the things I did in these two months, so that I won't forget so that my post count goes up by one. :D
  • Went to watch Elected, and almost saw PapareBoy beat someone up. Almost! :( Also met Tulie for the first time! :D
  • Drew a webcomic after a loooong time, for Dee's TLC. Thanks again, Dee! :)
  • Took some pics in Hanthana. Got ripped off by a leech (ironically on the same day that I read Amila's leech post!).
  • Almost got to visit Pasikudah buh cancelled that to go watch Buddhi De Mel and Wagon Park instead. I don't regret it yet. :D
  • Visited the best friend's place in Mathugama, after delaying it for like 3 years. Had another leech episode! :D
  • Watched quite a few movies. Sita Sings The Blues is mind blowing for the fact that it was almost entirely created by a single animation artist named Nina Paley (also the first Creative Commons movie I've watched! Way to go copyleft!!!). Up, like WALL-E before it, just left a huge hole in my heart. Those Pixar guys really know how to tell a story, don't they?
  • Started playing Civ 4, my first turn-based strategy game (Yes, I'm always late to the party!). Highly recommend it, though I'm still learning how to play it myself! :D

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Computers (and I)

Computers crash at the most inconvenient of times: when a friend comes over and you need to copy something off his flash drive, or when you've got a report due the next day, or when you're expecting an important E-mail. I was tearing my hair out just over a month ago when my PC went down, and my mom was seriously questioning what they taught us at uni about fixing computers. That was one of those rare occasions when I felt like I had made a big mistake in picking the path that I have chosen.

I've got a really good friend from my A/L class, with whom I used to hang quite a lot at school. We'd be there in the computer periods, idling and checking out the latest Alienware laptops. He was into gaming and introduced me to Alienware, and signed me up for their E-mails, which I still get. So I met him at the reunion, and he delivered to me shocking news. He's in a uni in Malaysia and he was going to get himself a laptop, and he got himself a MACBOOK! EGAAAAD! A little hugeass part of me died. Apple, in my books, is the worst thing that ever happened to the computer trade. (Yeah, I hear you macs in the back piping in about how they never crash...) They're elitists, their software and hardware are as closed as can be, and they treat the customer like an idiot. I mean, look at the iPhone 4 and how they're handling the reception issues! "Don't hold it like that, hold it as if it's made out of human excrement.", old Steve Jobs said. Nice! N-I-C-E!!!

Talking about the computer trade, the computer trade in Sri Lanka makes me seriously want to lob a grenade up someone's rear quarters... And I mean seriously! A laptop that is worth roughly 65K LKR in the international market can be bought for a fabulously low price of 93K LKR from the local 'Authorised Distributors'. And I thought we didn't tax computers... meh. :/

P.s. Uni's back on from Monday. No more late nights. I am a little excited about it now, but all the drama that will invariably take place when it starts is going to test my enthusiasm. Orsum! :(

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In a moment of clarity...

... I write this. No, I didn't smoke anything (although weed featured prominently in tonight's conversation), but I did have the next best thing: a batch reunion.

I tend to over-think. I was worried shitless (I tweeted about it too) that my friends would think I had forgotten them, even though I had never intentionally avoided them, or ever missed a chance to meet up. People drift, and when distances involved are measured in continents rather than an hour's ride on a 138, people tend to drift even more. But when I met them, the guys who used to sit around me in my A/L class, it felt like we had last spoken just yesterday.

A wise person (I think my mom) once told me that the people you befriend in your A/L class will be there with you throughout life. I never really understood what she said till today. I had forgotten the conversations we had, the classes we would cut together, the punishments that a whole class would take as a group rather than rat on who was responsible. I had forgotten the deep intellectual conversations, I had forgotten how open our minds were in some regards, and I had forgotten how damn smart all of them were.

I hope I don't forget again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


These pictures were taken almost a month back, and since I got my PC back I finally got a chance to upload them! :D (please click on the images to see them at the proper resolution)

The famous communications towers atop Hanthana.

Two Eagles/Hawks in flight. Sorry about the quality since I had to crop the image.

I saw this dragonfly and was reminded of the LBO ad... 
"Hmmm... Is this a Pink Skimmer?" I thought! :)

The reason we went there: The gingerbread guest
houses my uncles were building.

The view from the restaurant.

Sorry about the wonky/tilted panorama. Got a 
bit carried away taking the shots! :D

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Spaced out

Long post alert: This is what happens when a space buff starts rambling!

Come November, the Space Shuttle will leave on its final journey into Earth's orbit. During the stone age of space exploration, the earliest space modules used a small spherical or conical capsule mounted atop a powerful multi-stage rocket to get people into space. That was how the Mercury, Vostok, Gemini, Soyuz and Apollo programmes worked, and how the Russians and Chinese send and retrieve their cosmonauts and taikonauts from space to this day. The Space Shuttle was the first and only major deviation from this tried and tested method. Instead of using a capsule that could be used only once, the Space Shuttle had an orbiter that could be reused. Instead of using parachutes to land a capsule into the Kazakh steppes or the Pacific Ocean, the orbiter landed on a normal runway like a glorified glider. Instead of using a multiple staged rocket, the shuttle used 3 separate rockets. The main engines on the orbiter were fed fuel from a giant orange fuel tank, and two huge solid-fuelled booster rockets on either side of the tank gave extra thrust during take off, and subsequently jettison from the shuttle and return to Earth to be reused.

Space Shuttle Orbiter (from here)

There were obvious benefits to this new system: The orbiter and booster rockets can be reused multiple times, the payload bay of the shuttle can carry a Spacelab - to carry out experiments in zero gravity - or satellites to be launched by the shuttle. The robotic arm on board can be used to capture and repair satellites and space stations. The shuttle could carry 12 astronauts, as opposed to the 3 or 4 that a capsule could carry.

There were not so obvious drawbacks as well. The booster rockets were solid-fuelled, which meant that they could be relied on more than liquid fuelled rockets to fire, but once they did fire, there's nothing much you can do to control it, a fact that was made brutally clear with the explosion that destroyed the shuttle Challenger in 1986. The main safety feature of the capsule era, the escape rocket, was also missing from the shuttle. The capsule is positioned on the very top of a large rocket, and a small rocket would be attached on top of the capsule. If anything went wrong during lift-off and the astronauts wanted to bail out, they would detach the capsule from the last stage of the rocket and fire the escape rocket, which would blast them off out of harm's way.

Escape rocket from Mercury era (from here)

But the main problem with the shuttle, and the one that eventually lead to its retirement, is the cost. It costs much more to launch a shuttle than it does to launch a traditional capsule-atop-rocket spacecraft. This is why the Russians, even during the tough economic times after the Soviet Union collapsed, were able to launch their Soyuz capsules, while even the world's leading economy couldn't keep launching their shuttles. Don't get me wrong here, the shuttles carried out more missions during this period than the Russians could even dream of, but it was eventually realised that the reusability of the shuttle was not going to pay back for the cost that it took to blast one of these things off into orbit.

SpaceShipOne (from here)

And while NASA is looking to return to its roots by getting rid of the shuttle and going back to old capsule technology, space enthusiasts like Burt Rutan are building next generation reusable space shuttles (Like SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X-Prize) that are so cheap to launch that they can even carry space tourists. The commercial space industry is bound to grow from the niche satellite market that it is in right now and move onto bigger things like space tourism and even settlements on other planets and moons (including Luna, our own). Costs will continue to come down, and more powerful rockets and propulsion systems are bound to emerge.

A golden age in space exploration occurred in the 50s, 60s and 70s due to Cold War competition between the US and the Soviets. As competition between various space companies grows, we're bound to see a similar golden age in the future too. But I can't help but wonder if the Space Shuttle was a costly misstep in human evolution into a space faring race.

Monday, May 31, 2010

(not so) celeb crushes

So Dili tagged me to list the most embarrassing/wrong celebrity crushes I've had over the years. Nothing I say will probably top KERMIT though! ;)

1. Alexis Bledel

Don't let her looks fool ya, that brain can kill!

Yes, I watched Gilmore Girls.Most people who diss the show have never even watched it, or just don't appreciate how well it dealt with a lot of the issues ranging from the challenges of being a single parent, to how girls in Asian cultures find liberation (I just loved Lane... and her mom!), to growing up, to sex drugs and rock and roll, all in it's own charming and quirky manner. So what makes me pick the actress who played Rory, instead of the cute and just utterly-amazing-on-all-levels character that she portrayed? Interviews, aaaand the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (yes I watched that too... so sue me!). I am fully convinced now that Alexis is Rory and Rory is Alexis. And I love her to bits! :)

2. Anna Stern, from The O.C.


Isn't she just one of the most gorgeous geeks ever? And such a sweetheart too. Now why did you have to leave the show so early? :(

3. This might be the weirdest crush on the list, but hold onto your hats:


Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender 

Bring out the feds, let's bust this pedo!

She was the force that held the group together during their quest to singlehandedly defeat the ultra powerful Fire Nation. And she's a kickass waterbender and healer too, how cool is that? :)

4. Ginger Foutley from As Told by Ginger

This is getting creepy, I know! O_o

I just love, love, love Ginger! And I've wanted to get into Carl's secret lab ever since I was a kid, and dating his sister might just be the easiest way in! :D

5. And ending things in a classy note:

Sydney Bristow from Alias

She can be anything you want her to be! ;)

Between her mom, her dad, the CIA and SD-6 trying to kill you, she might actually be a pretty nice girl to date!

I hereby tag Harumi, Meshak, PurpleBoxers and Black. Gogogogogo! :D