Friday, September 30, 2011

Farewell, Colombo 03

I'm sitting here alone in the 15th floor lab, near a window looking out on Dharmapala Mawatha. A view I've taken for granted since the initial wonder of being on a high-rise bulding passed. It's been two years, and the memories have been good. Good friends, good times and of course, pretty pretty code. :) The first great memory I had was seeing the central mountains from the windows, barely a month after first coming here. It was so beautiful that I kinda became obsessed with seeing them again. I have, twice, and once actually managed to snap a pic. :)

Other good memories from the first year include finishing off weekly programming exams super early in the evening, so I could go hang with Meshak and the others at Galle Face (he's got quite a few pictures of us ronde-ing around here and also, our national past-time of drinking Nescafe and plain tea in the canteen here)

All in all, a good two years, under the wing of some lecturers who really cared for us. Especially Miss A (our awesome junior lecturer on programming and algorithm-based subjects), who came to our lecture hall today and wished us all the best for our next year(s) spent in Malabe, to keep up the good work, and to make sacrifices now for a better future. It was pretty emotional, and it's sad that we won't be seeing some of the great lecturers who taught us in Malabe next year (but I'm hoping against hope that Miss A will get a transfer there or something!) :D

And now, without boring you any further: Chavie out, one last time. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tales of the Purple wonder-van

I think this blog will be going into nostalgia mode shortly. The impending end of our happy days at Kollupitiya campus will warrant another post, but I'm going to go way back with this one. Back to 2003-06, in fact.

I was about thirteen when my parents put me in a school van to get me home. Not just any school van, this one could be spotted from miles away because it was painted purple!

There were a couple of kids from our school and a friend of ours from Mahanama in the first-row seat and the makeshift backward-facing seat that was right behind the driver's seat. The rest of the van was full of women. There was never much interaction between the boys and the girls, which I put down to some sort of ultra-awkward incident that happened before I joined. The van had gone through various interesting 'incidents' before I joined, the most famous (known throughout the school, in fact) being when it almost got blown up by a bomb aimed at the prime minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake.

The memories I had of the van are mostly of being stuck in traffic, getting home two and a half hours after the end of school, wonderful. There was a pecking order, or rather a seating order that was strictly followed. The front row was taken by veterans, so I had to wait till somewhere like Nugegoda to jump into that one. C used to tell us about what happened last night on his favourite show: Angili Salakuna. Ni and S were WWE fans, so their stories usually revolved around whatshisname the Undertaker. They even had a pack of WWE cards that we used to play. Na was into music and smoking. A was the guy who was an year older than us, who used to chase me around and poke my (non-existent) tummy. Yes, I'm aware of how wrong that sounds. :D

One of the funniest things happened once during big match time. We had a College flag out one window, and we were passing out of Flower Road in moderate traffic when suddenly a guy came running onto the road, grabbed our flag and threw a rotten egg into the van. The egg was thrown at the back of the van (it hit the rear glass, and I believe it stayed there for a week till someone cleaned it up, LOL) and the girls were basically threatening us with bloody murder. But the funny bit is that as he ran back, someone was waiting for him: a stern-looking policeman! Good luck, dude! :D

Water fights were a common occurrence when the last day of school rolled by. This was when the animosity among the guys and the girls just bubbled and everyone threw a good bottle of water to make up for everything the others had done throughout the last three months. One such day, after much water being thrown, the guy who drove the van (our Uncle! oh how we drove him nuts as he drove us home) bought us all yoghurt. We ate the yoghurt, but as we were nearing the bottom of the cups, we found out that the yoghurt could be used for other purposes. When my bag started stinking badly a week after end of term, I realised that I had been hit. Oh well.

And finally, of course, the music. The van had a cassette player and radio. One day, uncle was bored and switched on the radio, much to the displeasure of everyone sitting in the van. The girls, cunning as always, exploited this moment of weakness by bringing two cassettes the next day: Ranidu's debut album and some BnS songs. Despite many failed attempts by the boys, these two continued playing on loop till we finally left the van 3 years later. And now, whenever I hear those songs, I remember the van days. :D

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Laura Marling broke Charlie Fink's heart, and other stories

When I first heard 'Blue Skies' on PseudoRandom's blog, I had no idea that this was one of the few uplifting songs in an album about a breakup. I listened to that live version a million times, fell in love with it, but didn't do much follow up with the band. I didn't even discover 5 Years Time, their big hit from the debut album. Oh the shame.

That first album, that big hit, has backing vocals by Laura Marling, whose own debut album was produced by Charlie. A great load has been written about their break up, but nothing more powerful than their second album, "The First Days of Spring". An album written and recorded when the pain of heartbreak was so raw, that Charlie apparently broke down the first time he heard the album in full.

Two years after the release of TFDoS, Noah and the Whale are back with "Last Night on Earth". I first heard "Life is Life", but didn't like it much. But then I heard L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N., a song that reminded me of Get Back by the Beatles and Oh! Sweet Nuthin' by the Velvet Underground, and I so began the listening on loop.

And then, I listened to a couple of more songs and decided to download the entire album, something I seldom do. But ukulele fans be warned, Noah explores new sound in this record, and electronic music does creep in. But it has been used with discretion, and class. Seriously, this record is awesome. Favourites include "Tonight's the Kind of Night", "Give It All Back" and "Waiting for My Chance to Come". But my pick of the lot? This absolute beauty:

Well I've always had a wild imagination,
And a see-through heart,
Which I know can be, a wild combination,
Like a flame forms from a spark,
But don't be shy, be brave little champion,
It's better to live than to hide...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's the What Ifs that kill me

Two IF conditions, in Allman style

I consider myself a fairly rational person, and hopefully others do too. But I am very control freakish about the world, to the point of obsession. If things don't neatly go the way I want them to, I take great offence. This is not to say I go around imposing my will on people. I do take suggestions and I do change my mind. But when things happen, and it seems very illogical, and nobody offers me a proper explanation as to why it is so, I try to fix it. Like a mad web designer screwing with Firebug, I hack away. Slowly but steadily, while you are sound asleep, I am awake, plotting away. Social engineering. Researching. Waiting for the perfect moment to launch a blitzkrieg... I know, creepy right?

And then, I fail. Because other people's problems aren't mine to "fix" (the polite way of saying I should sod off and mind my own business). And then, without letting go of obsessions, I let go of people. Ah, the greatest gift and the greatest curse of being an only child - the ability to be completely by yourself and yet have a good time. A great time. (Ok, a pretty much awesome time... People are meh.) ;P

So anyway, point of this post is to remind myself that I've tried 4 times to "save" someone, and four times I've failed, because if anyone wants salvation, they'd just ask for it. And probably ask someone else, coz I'm creepy. ;)

And before I go, I'd like to share the words of the great I from uni: "Anith unge prashna oluwata daagena api mokatada nahenne" or "Why do we bother with other people's problems to the point of killing ourselves".

Dedicated to G1, who is happy; to G2, who is confused; to G3, who I'm confused about; and to G4, who will see the light someday - I will make sure she does. Muhahahaha. :/ *facepalm*

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chavie who?

Soooooohhhhh, it took a complete GUI redesign at Blogger to bring me back to these parts huh? :D

Welp, I have been a biiit busy, ostensibly working on Kottu (a hora sneak peek at a new feature I'm working on here), but actually just doing nothing or catching up with Sai, WHO'S FLYING DOWN FOR GOOD THIS MONTH! Yaaaaayayayaya!!! :D

There are so many things to tell, so much to blog about, but ugh, goddammit this blogger interface is too shiny and distracting... I wonder what this button does...


Ok, lame jokes aside, I came here to write about how signatures are crap. I mean, I had the misfortune of going to the bank today, and the poor lady in front of me had put her signature a bit too longer than what was on her book thingy. I mean, wtf man?! How do people manage to keep their signatures looking the same? Mine changes like a gazillion times a day (anyone looking at the uni class register would understand) and I actually practice before going to the bank, and still mess up horribly. I mean, in an age where retina scanners and fingerprint readers are freely available, ugh nevermind... -_______-

So, anyways, good to be back. Will hang around this time, I guess, since working with Kottu means I get to visit your blogs quite a bit these days. We're rolling out a few new features in the next few days, so stay tuned to Indi's blog! :D