Archive for the 'awesome' Category

09
Apr
12

This Isn’t Over Yet, Lakegala

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The dogs constantly mocked our stamina.

Over the long weekend, we decided to finally head over to Lakegala in Meemure, a sort of remote village somewhere in the knuckles range. It’s pronounced Lak-gala, apparently. Indi managed to think it was Lake-gala (lake-rock, literally).

A bus and a van journey later, we wound up at Meemure village near the temple where we would spend the nights and paid off the peeved off van driver who hadn’t come this way before and was complaining that his van was all busted up.

The locals are really great and offered to cook our meals for us. It was pretty delish. Everyone we met from teenagers playing cricket to the shopkeeper told us we shouldn’t go up to the top because it’s raining/windy/too hot, and to just go up near the peak, then return. We found out after we came back down that the whole village has some creepy deal in place where they dissuade everyone they see from climbing the thing, to prevent injury and/or death by stupidity.

We started the ascent in the morning. About fifteen minutes later Himal and Raisa decided to turn back due to grievous injuries of the nonexistent kind. I kid, it was more like ten minutes.

After a few kilometers through jungle, we finally got to the base of the proper “peak climb”. There was a nice rock pool with cool water where we filled up, and made mental notes about how exactly we’d relax in the natural jacuzzi on the way back down. Getting to the peak is gradually more difficult, starting off with a short climb over a diagonal(thirty-five degrees or so) slope of what looked like cooled and hardened lava. It felt like we were climbing up a frozen river of chocolate. I didn’t try licking it.

After another stretch through some annoying bushes, the whole way to the base of the peak was loose soil sparsely populated by bushes and rocks which will stab you in the back and steal your wife if they could. Sitting there looking all stable and then trying to murder you when you step on them. Tch.

Finally, we got to the big prize. There was only a 100m or so left to the top. Unfortunately this last bit required us to climb along the equivalent of a butt-crack on a near vertical rock face. You so funny, nature.

I was undecided on whether to actually get up there since I was already feeling dead enough after what felt like a hike up a giant ball of cotton candy, but the guide said we’d need to take our shoes and bags off before proceeding, which would make it a lot easier. Note to self: Don’t take anything up a mountain if it can be avoided. Water and minimal food should be enough for most.

Halfway up the wrinkle on the rock, our guide tells us to stop and goes a bit further up to get the rope in place for the last bit. There was already a length of rope put there by a group who were just ahead of us, and the guide wanted to tie our rope to theirs. It was sent up. There was much talking. We (literally) hung out on the side of the rock, clinging for our lives and trying not to look down. Our friend from the village below decides this is a good time to ask us what religion we are. We answer. We also wonder how much your life expectancy is lowered when you get up here. He starts chanting pirith.

I get images of buddhist funerals with oil lamps and smoke billowing around in the wind, with someone chanting things in the background. I try not to pay any attention to it.

Eventually the group ahead communicate that they don’t want to go the remaining 40m or so because it looks batshit crazy. The guide recommends we go down as we don’t want to leave it to them to secure our rope, which is only just long enough to complete the climb if you’re clinically insane. I accidentally look down. I wonder if this is what having vertigo feel like. Indi’s at the bottom of the line, followed by Kirigalpoththa, myself and then Halik just below our guide.

We carefully claw our way down the rock, a task considerably more difficult than climbing it, and head back down, disappointed. Getting down to the lava river was a sea of bruises since the plants decided to get back at us for chopping our way through them on the way up. I even kept slipping and falling on my ass thanks to the loose rocks. A quick dash down the lava-looking thing and we were back at the pool.

After soaking in it for a bit, we headed off back down to the village before it started raining and made the whole trail back a mudslide.

Hopefully we’ll get back there soon, with a length of rope more suited to rock climbing duty instead of pulling-water-out-of-the-well duty.

Pictures will be on facebook soon, along with an ST post(really!). Till then, there’s this flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/indi/sets/72157629402568568/with/7056719387/

27
Feb
12

Movie Review Time

I recently watched Warrior, starring Tom Hardy and Joel somethingsomethington. It was probably one of the best movies I’ve watched in the past year. It was so good that I went all over the internet reading about it, and found it compared to “The Fighter”, another movie featuring two brothers and ass-kicking.

So then I watched that. The Fighter has Mark Wahlberg and Skinny Batman in a more realistic movie, with less emphasis on the actual fighting and more emphasis on the backstory about their family and stuff.

I’m not sure if I like these movies so much because I’m male. *cue “that’s such a stereotype, women watch macho movies too!”*

I mean, I loved Cinderella Man too. It’s like the magical formula to please my movie sensibilities is a fighting flick with just enough “story” in it to not be Mortal Kombat in movie form. I’ve seen Tekken, and some other fighter movie about convicts slugging it out that I can’t even remember the name of, but they didn’t really make much of an impact.

Either way, watch these movies! Unless you’re the kind of person who only watches movies that synchronize your menses with the rest of your sorority sisters. Warrior is the kind of movie that will punch your uterus in the face and make it question its existence. There might also be a scene where Joel professes his love for Tom, whilst they’re wrangling around on the ground half naked, but you’re sufficiently distracted by the soundtrack by then.

Hey Bruh

16
Feb
11

Interval

I’d like to take a break from the usual broadcasting schedule to share with you something I’ve loved ever since I was a little kid, still figuring out how best to undermine women’s lib.

This post shall contain no chauvinism, no sexism and a few other things ending in -ism. All I ask is that you read through.

Remember Calvin & Hobbes?

Clavin & Hobbes’ last few panels were inked back in 1995, my first year at school. A few years later I would see my first strip and be fascinated by it. Fast forward another few years and there I am cutting comic strips out of the papers and pasting them in an old school exercise book. I used to like Bill Watterson’s handiwork from all those years ago, but as I got older I started realizing there was so much more to these stories than just a quick gag.

Calvin managed to convey the joys of childhood, the folly of our ways, the infinite capacity for entertainment that an active imagination can get you and even the feeling of being utterly lonely in the world in a handful of boxes drawn into a newspaper. Do I think it was the greatest thing to happen to comic strips in the history of everything there has been, ever will be and ever happened in all the other parallel universes as well? In a word, good God yes it is. Eventually I got my hands on every single strip from 1985 to 1995 in digital form and went through each one many times over.

Trying to pick a favourite is a futile exercise as I always feel like I’m a kid sitting under a giant Christmas tree, trying to pick out a present from the thousands littered under it. This comic has cheered me up, given me inspiration, moulded my character and given me more embarrassing moments than I can count, when I caught myself chuckling in public while reminiscing about one of Calvin & Hobbes’ many adventures, among other things. More than belly laughs, the little guy and his tiger had me smiling to myself and just pausing to think about something far more than anything or anyone I’ve ever come across.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I love this comic. If you haven’t ever seen it, you should. I can’t find the words to explain how much of an impact a precocious little boy and his imaginary friend can have on you.

More: http://progressiveboink.com/archive/calvinhobbes.htm

12
Feb
11

I’m Going Undercover, Folks

Feminism is strange. The whole point of feminism, I think, is to eventually make a world where feminists aren’t required, and hence don’t exist. So they’ll know a  job’s been completed when their ranks start thinning. Right now, they’re working to get women a better quality of life, to not be harassed each time they go out in public wearing anything short of a Big Bird outfit.

Bus harassment is very real. It’s a terrible problem plaguing our people. A scourge amongst the populace. Take for instance, what happened to me just last week.

I was in Boralle, about to get into a bus on my way to work. A woman got onto the footboard ahead of me. I followed behind and, as the bus started moving, quickly grabbed onto the handle-bar on the side of the doorway. The handle felt weird. I didn’t have to look at it. My finely honed instincts told me what it was. I had grabbed the woman’s hand in my haste to get on the bus.

If only my instincts were even remotely reliable. I had, upon further inspection, grabbed the handle in such haste that I had managed to capture a number of hair strands from the woman in front of me with my hand, on its curving path. As a result I was now holding on to this woman’s hair, firmly pinned to the handle-bar on the doorway. She continued upwards, was pulled back by her hair being held by my arm and very nearly fell back on me, knocking us both off the bus.

She being a woman and thus, finding basic reasoning to be as alien as cooking is to me, saw it fit to eyeball me viciously the whole time I was in the bus, as if I’d slapped her on the rump and gone “Beam me up, scotty!” or something. She even scowled at me as I got off the bus.

I’m currently involved in something called ReachOut, which is a loose organization kind of thing that does stuff to uphold women’s rights. Or something. BeyondBorders is teaming up with them, so I went along to see what I could sniff out about the feminist agenda. We’re doing a series of disruptive theatre performances, and a few workshops and things at schools based on the findings. We would appreciate it if some of you louts came along and lent a hand. Yes, the women are asking for help. Again. What else is new?

24
Dec
10

Christmas & Club-Noir

First of all, Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you find the time to reflect on things in the middle of your wasteful frenzy of purchasing. If you did, good going :)

The end of the year brings many things to many people. Presents, Resolutions, New Beginnings, Hope, Good Cheer and a lot of other things, like Herpes, being foremost on the list of things people get, whether they want it or not. One thing everyone gets around to eventually is parties. Well, most people. My social networking inbox was inundated by notices of parties ranging from beaches to back yards and it has been the highlight of my day today gleefully individually deleting them.

I’m not that big on clubbing. Let me rephrase; I would rather have my legs run over by a herd of hippos and then stand on the footboard of a local bus, than go dance at some party. Back when I was in school it was the “in-thing” to go clubbing and we were giddy as little boys clutching t-rexes under the Christmas tree when we found a place that would let us in. Now that I’m significantly older and smarte- After spending many nights with the following scene playing itself out, I kinda grew out of it.

We stepped into the establishment. People called it a night club, but I call it trouble. Losing sight of my companions in the crowd, I head to the bar. The surface looks old, it’s seen its share of skinny teenagers slamming their fists down on it, droplets of their hair product slowly arching towards the bartender with his back turned towards them as they nod their heads to music that would make a mob-boss scowl. Unthinkingly, I bring my glass to my maw, and take a sip. It feels like I was hit in the gut by a baseball bat. Like ol’ Billy had me tied to a chair and was trying to get a girl’s number outta me.

After a while I make my way to the dance floor, just drunk enough to not care. Thirty minutes later I’m left wondering if I should have just stayed home. Home was bed. It wasn’t a good bed, but it was better than my bones feeling like it was hit by the 9:15 to Chicago. I tipped my hat at the rest, and stepped out into the alley. The stones crunched under my feet like the teeth of a loan shark’s ex-customer. I lit my cigar. It started raining. The city fell into gloom once more.

It’s just that I really suck at dancing. Dancing creepily by myself in my room with music playing in my head is fine, I like Just Dance(Gaga) as much as the next guy, but on a dance floor, it’s a battle between my brain and my limbs. I mean, I can stay relatively vertical while standing in a bus that’s seemingly been driven by an Epileptic wearing a disco light ball for a helmet but on the floor, my body decides to make like a Possum and play dead. It would help if there were a least a few members of the opposite sex who were even remotely the same age. Online polls indicate that 90% of teen girls sneak into clubs. The other 10% are actually girls methinks*.

Sometimes I go along with people anyway. I give in to peer pressure easily like that, and just do my own thing and hope people aren’t running away screaming in two minutes. If they aren’t, rejoice, for the rest of the people on the floor are just as bad. I’m still not sure what this 31st will bring, maybe I can escape to some hill in Badulla and watch the sunrise with Now We Are Free playing in my ears. I don’t know.

*statistics pulled out of that place where most people tour their stats from.

26
Oct
10

Off to Kitulgala. Again.

People made use of the long weekend in a myriad of ways. Some hung out with friends, some took some much needed rest and still others might have gone sheep wrestling(It’s the new in thing, I assure you). I, along with a few dozen people from various Roteract clubs, decided to banish ourselves to the wilderness of Kitulgala like a bunch of lepers seceding from society.

It’s no coincidence that we ended up going there again. A long time ago, a friend(A) and I went along with another friend(B) who was in the Leo club to Kitulgala, that time with a bunch of Leo club members. It was fun in that way that we like to get away from civilization for three days or so. So sneakily, my friend(A), who is by now in one of the few billion Roteract clubs scattered around Sri Lanka, decided it’d be great for his club to organize something like that. So we ended up doing the same thing all over again.

I still haven’t really gotten why these clubs exist. They don’t seem to do much. It’s as if they banded together out of a sheer lack of people to hang out with. I mean, you can go on wilderness retreats and paint people’s orphanages with your friends too, you know?

So anyway, we get there and the program is slightly different. We are told there will be “water activities” and later, white water rafting even. Cursing the fever I’d been suffering from the previous three days and under the influence of which I still was, I hoped to God I’d be able to shimmy along the ground guerrilla style as well as the skinny girl standing next to me. Listening to the same motivational speeches and spiel about the environment needing to be saved(you have to admit, saying it needed to be saved while standing someplace where the very buildings had vines growing on them wasn’t quite effective) got old fast.

I usually make good first impressions. If conditions are favourable and the person the impression is being made on is of a decent sort I usually come off as not only dashing and refreshing but also funny. Sometimes even more adjectives that end in -ing. Unfortunately for me, doing the camp thing all over again and the fever helped make a first impression worthy of someone straight out of a Green Day video. Skulking around in the organizers’ cabin wasn’t very social behaviour. When the time came to pick a team leader, I was nowhere near any position to be put up, as opposed to last time, when the team, clearly seeing that failure to pick someone who can recite the part numbers of nearly every video chipset released in the past few years would result in their utter failure to survive in the savage wilderness of Kitulgala, and hence their violent deaths, probably with angry natives and fire-ants involved, picked me to lead them to victory which only my particular brand of self-praise and doting on grammar could bring them. But I digress(While also boasting. See how good I am at this leadership business?).

Things were further confused for me when one of the teams decided to call themselves the “Tweeters”. My initial geeky reaction was to check twitter to see if anyone had mentioned it. Then, seeing that nobody had mentioned it, I switched to sleuth mode and, pulling my magnifying glass and trench coat out, went looking for answers. After going through half the team and being laughed at for my trench coat, and many lengthy arguments about it’s usefulness in the jungles near Ginigathhena, I found out they picked it simply because the team before them picked the name they were going to use and it was the first thing that popped into their heads. Dreams of a strange twitter meet-up in the wilderness shattered, I slunk off back to my sand covered bed. Suffice to say the rest of the trip was overshadowed by this terrible revelation.

In short, I went off to camp in the hills where we dived off of overhanging rocks into pools of water, hiked a few k’s through the jungle and went white water rafting. it was plenty fun, even if most of it was a repeat. I’d readily recommend it if you’re into that kind of thing.

07
Jul
10

THe Wolfman: First Impressions

Fist of all, a note. This theme makes all post titles lowercase. I find this displeasing.

I watched approximately 30 minutes of The Wolfman this morning while eating breakfast. At first I was taken aback by the same hollywood rulebook stupidity displayed by the first character you see. Wandering off into a forest at night? In the mist? That’s just asking for a were-something to attack. A were-shark. A were-weasel! Those things are vicious!

But then I kind of warmed to it when I saw Anthony Hopkins. He wouldn’t turn up in a completely crappy movie would he? But then he turns out to be always dressed like a Royal Bengal Tiger going to a fancy dress ball. On top of that, we have the actual werewolf. Feared by all! Terrorizing your villages and snatching your children. The ultimate predator; the wolf with opposable thumbs!But then you see its face and you’re left rolling on the floor laughing your fake fur off. Teen wolf looked more intimidating. Even his opposable thumbs are rendered useless by nails which look like they’re some creepy old hobo lady’s. I mean, how does he walk around with those? His front paws would keep clinging to the ground when he runs.

Anyway, I shall be watching the rest of it later. Shall report if it is anything remarkable.

Also, watch Kick-Ass! It is brilliant. So is the soundtrack.






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