Archive for the 'rant' Category

01
Apr
13

We don’t go to urban kitchen

Semi-accurate depiction of the average meal at UK

Like Ravenholm, Urban Kitchen might have once been a sole beacon of shining hope for the famished and the hopeless. But, like Ravenholm, it seems to turn into a pretty hellish environ with less-than-hospitable inhabitants in the evenings. A few friends and I used to go there quite often, we’d end up there after some loitering about after work for a beer and some pizza. Even back then, service was always a bit spotty. It seemed that weekday night-shifts were when they brought out the new recruits. “A pitcher please” “A pitcher? we don’t have those :(” was an exchange that was had nearly weekly. This was always followed by “those big jugs of beer. you have them, go ask the bar”, and a pitcher at the table a few minutes later. Food was incredibly slow, but we stuck with it. The waiters weren’t bad people. Or, at least, they weren’t downright hostile.

For some reason or the other we switched to other, actual bars after a few months. Aside from the occasional short visit, it was abandoned. Till last week. Last week a group of us decided to go to Urban Kitchen partly because of Malinthe’s  insatiable lust for duck pizza and partly because, hell, it was right next door to where we were. How bad could it be? -he thought, while ominous music played in the background.

I couldn’t have been more wrong if I’d chucked a vinegar dipped cat into a vat of baking soda, and then stayed in the same room. Since this is not a local newspaper restaurant review, I’ll list out the details in an orderly fashion, untainted by useless details and ridiculous boot licking.

First, getting the attention of a waiter. It was a fairly average night, not overly crowded but not deserted either. After about fifteen minutes of faffing about, a waiter comes over. We start to recite our orders and he says he’ll be back with his notebook. I haven’t attended hotel school but I’m pretty sure if a table of seven calls you over for the first time, it’s not to ask you about the weather, is it? Maybe we interrupted him in the middle of his bar tending class right before the section on beer containers and pitchers. So we wait.

Another ten minutes. I wave over a waiter after furious gesturing(which, I admit, might have scared them off) for another three minutes at random employees standing around trying to look busy. You know the type. With the expectant look on their faces. I’m waiting on something important, you peasant. Go away with your orders and things. So after the second waiter comes over, I ask him if we can order yet. He says “yes, but you’ll have to wait for your server, because I have to go stand over there and look meaningfully at the pizza oven while occasionally glaring at customers who dare to ask for attention. Gawd, it’s like their parents never hugged them”. Maybe not all of it, but you get the gist.

So we wait for the server to return, later. We order. I try to smile and be polite, maybe he’s having a bad day, be nice to people making your food, blah blah. He goes away, we go back to talking and, our new national pastime, waiting. Hunters are sent out to hunt wild fowl, foragers go in search of herbs. Things are set in motion for us to receive our meal. Soon. In the meanwhile, a manager looking sort comes over to the table and asks, in that tone, if we’ve ordered. Yeah, you know that tone. I know that tone, the dude knew that tone. Oh he went there. “Have you vagrants ordered yet or will I need to call security?”.

I scowl and say yes. I would have liked to kick him back into a pit à la 300, but alas, there was no pit to speak of other than the growing chasms caused by our collective hunger. We could have tried to drown him in stomach acids but that could have gotten a bit messy. Besides, what would we eat with if we dissected ourselves to drown a mere cog in the complex machinery of Urban Kitchen’s inefficiency?

Anyway,

The food actually arrived faster than before. We ate, paid and left. Well, some of us stuck around for about an hour outside because it was raining heavily. In other words, the rain reflected the weight of the burden placed on our minds by the suckage of urban kitchen.

So yeah. Urban Kitchen’s gone from bad to worse in my experience.

04
Oct
12

Keells: a case study on sucking at saving the environment

So I have to go to the supermarket a lot now. Have a nexus card and all. I’m just missing the minivan, yes.

Keells has this big canvas bag they try to sell you when you checkout, saying that it’ll reduce plastic usage by x amount of African children killed etc. So I got one, since it was easier to carry and just 45 bucks.

Next time I walk in, proudly clutching my folded up red canvas bag/global warming solver, I was told to leave it in the baggage counter. Why? This just makes me use up the same amount of plastic bags and now has me fumbling about with the thing outside, trying to get all the stuff in, in a manner which I can only describe as reminiscent of a reverse childbirth.

I don’t even get to save the few cents they take off for not using bags.

Why must you piss in the wind, Keells? Why not let the bag full fill its purpose? Why do you hate it so? Why make me smuggle it in by wearing shorts with large pockets?

Why are people like this? Even my bank pulls stupid shit like this. I reset my online transaction password. I had to go fill out a form at a branch, log in and change the pass, and now I have to print out and send them an acknowledgement form. I use online banking because I don’t want to actually go to the bank, you schmuks.

The only alternative seems to be HSBC which apparently treats regular customers as if they were plague rats living on their estate grounds. Short of shooting people for daring to reset their PIN, I think HSBC has everything else from extreme condescension to outright harassment down pat.

28
Feb
12

Corporate Annoyances

I’ve had a list of pet-peeves and full-grown, wild peeves about a few corporate entities for a while now, just never got round to jotting it down.

"Send people anonymous text messages professing your love!" - That's exactly what Sri Lanka needs more of.

Dialog Spam: Why oh why do I have to put up with Dialog’s constant text messages advertising everything from costume jewelry to creepy stalking services? My time is extremely valuable. Valuable enough so that:

Service provided < (Amount I pay them – Compensation for being spammed)

So in essence, Dialog owes me money for having to put up with this shit. Having to reach for my phone, be disappointed by the message, and going back to whatever I was doing before that is devastating, Dialog. I’ll be expecting discounts on my bill from next month.

The Cinnamon Grand: I have nothing much against this place, except that they treat regular locals like lepers or something. Most annoyingly, they have a sign up front to the effect of “You can’t get in if you’re wearing slippers or shorts. That’s just for dudes, by the way. Women can wear whatever the hell they want.”

This is supposed to be one of the classier joints in town? The hell? That message wouldn’t look classy if it were engraved on a golden plaque with a built-in caviar dispenser.

Pizza Hut Pizza: I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Pizza Hut. They used to have those all-you-can-eat things, which were the highlight of the term-end while I was in school. Now they have an “All you can eat*”, with the footnote being “*Good luck with that. Screw you, and your mother, random customer. Also, you’re fat. Bitch.”

Most of all, I hate the fact that half the pizzas I order from the local pizza hut get here hilariously undercooked. For some reason, the Super Supreme is the prime culprit for this. The center is always… runny. The dough is simply not suitable for consumption. It tastes like paappa. I could probably put up posters with it too. The first time I thought it was a one-off thing, but then it happened again, even after I complained about it. It’s like there’s some Pizza Hut employee in there with an agenda that includes killing me with salmonella infested pizza or something.

01
Feb
12

Need for Speed : The Run, First Impressions

I recently lost my mind and installed the new Need for Speed game on my PC. I must have had a brief flight of insanity, as anyone who’s followed the series has noticed, the newer crop of NFS games have the entertainment value of a dolphin carcass.

After reading much the same on reviews, including details like it being more or less a console port, and using the same engine as Battlefield 3 but capping at 30fps and having no AA. No AA? I didn’t blow half my month’s pay on computer components to play games that look like high-res Mappy.

Anyway,

The premise is that you’re racing across America to save your paraplegic girlfriend from being thrown in a ball pit. Or something. It’s not really that interesting. All you need to know is that, as usual, the women are rendered to the tastes of drooling 13 year olds across the globe. The Frostbite graphics engine is used to good effect in that regard at least.

When I said “race across America”, did you have thoughts of hitting the open road, overtaking the other 250 odd competitors in one burst of NOS? Well tough. It’s just a series of short to long-ish races with just 1-8 other racers. Just like the other games.

Gameplay sucks. The cops are retarded. Eraser eating, petrol fume sniffing mouth breathers. For example, when setting up a “road-block” to stop a car, they always leave an SUV-sized gap in their formation that’s protected by a barrier seemingly made of toothpicks, smack in the middle of the road. It’s like they think we have cataracts in our eyes preventing us from seeing the gaping hole in their cunning plan of entrapment.

"He'll never get past this!"

Hilariously, each time I avoid the road-blocks, they’re all surprised, chattering excitedly on the radio like I drove through on on Godzilla shooting lasers out of his eyes or something. Although, this stopped being hilarious around the millionth time it happened.

30
Jan
12

Local Businesses on Twitter: A Comparison

"EEEEEeee! Someone snuck some CAT-5 into the tour bus!"

In my wanderings on twitter, I’ve come across a few local businesses on twitter. Being an expert on everything, I’ve decided to jot down my impressions here.

Dialog: Our premier telco appears to have hired a coven full of people to tweet things out at us citizens, and is quite successful at plastering the local twitter landscape with their propaganda. They’ve even gotten a “verified” account and all. Shuh. Usual corporate announcements and occasional memes and crowd pleasers. You have to put up with the occasional cringe-fest, for example “Are you ready to win 5 mil worth of Au?”, but it’s usually pretty okay. It’s pretty much like sitting in a dialog arcade(acid-trip colours with people in suits), except the employees are a bit more entertaining.

Coco Veranda: Coco V got off to a good start, luring plenty of people over to have coffee at their establishment. Personally, I do not see the appeal. This probably has something to do with the fact that an evening at the place makes my wallet lighter by an amount that should feed a rural family for a week, but I digress. The twitter account was quite nice. Engaging, helpful and just overall… normal. Was. Now it appears to have been taken over by a thirteen year old with a punctuation fetish.

Chinadoll LK - This is a restaurant. It appears to have decent food. Nice site and all. This account seems to be run by an actual person, instead of a corporate drone or hapless Hannah Montana groupie. I’m not actually following this account, but I keep seeing RT’s of it. Unfortunately, for all the genuinely like-able tweets, I don’t really see anyone going “hey all, let’s meet up at chinadoll for that feminist meeting”, or “let’s order the food from chinadoll for our event that furthers the feminist agenda”.* The only fault I can find with this is that it sounds like a regular person’s account instead of a business. That, and… and… uh… there are three adjacent L’s in the twitter handle.

Perera & Sons – These guys got on twitter in a big way, with foursquare promotions and all. There was some massive ruckus with them having reneged on an offer of free cake or something. Cake is serious business. I don’t see them around much now, and my impression while they were around was complete mediocrity. It felt like the textual form of a radio promotion. It wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t good either. It was just… there.

KIK Cola – I’ve only had second hand impressions of this account, with the occasional quote and customer testimonial. In my usual fashion of making sweeping generalizations, I’m going to assume this account sort of sucks because when I googled kik cola to see if “kik” had one I or two, the description of their website had three exclamation marks in it. Three exclamation marks are for people having epileptic fits on their keyboards, brah. And coco verandah, apparently.

 

 

*Clearly I follow too many feminists.

13
Jan
12

In the future there will be batteries

Welcome to my humble abode, sir-ji’s and madam-ji’s.

You know what’s ridiculous? Batteries. Why batteries, you ask? Batteries never did anything ridiculous, you maintain.

I maintain that the release dates of major gaming titles should be religious holidays but that doesn’t make it happen, does it? Batteries are evil. Each and every one of them.

When I was a kid, I used to go through a lot of Eveready batteries. Now these are just like any other battery, except their hearts are full of hatred. Most toys needed at least two of the suckers. One day I got  a new toy monster truck(BADASS, yes), and hurriedly popped over to the shop across the road to get six batteries with some money I managed to whine out of my mother. Six shiny new Eveready batteries with the jumping cat thing on them. Boundless energy, it whispered to my young mind.

About four minutes later I was urging it, complete with angered scowl on my face, to start moving again. On flat ground. It moved if I gave it a little nudge from behind, but then that stopped too.

Remember folks, Eveready feeds on the tears of children. They’re good for TV remotes. I tried it much later on a digital camera, and the thing took three pictures, then died without even pulling the lens back in.

Energizer, whenever it was available due to it being more expensive, got about an hour or so of driving around the back yard. An hour is a terribly short time for a kid when he’s having fun. Especially when it involves running over your sister’s dolls with a monster truck.  This was madness. This was devastating.

So started my blood feud with battery technology.

Briefly, there was hope when my father took a set of rechargeable batteries from an ancient cellphone and stuck them on the back of the truck, but that only worked for the monster truck. The other cars eyed it enviously.

Today, a good thirty or so years after batteries got really popular, we’re still checking battery life on phones. Wireless technologies consume a lot of power. With current battery tech, Wifi might as well have us flinging 1.5v cells at the router. What is up with this? I recently read an article on improving battery endurance by ten times or something like that. I’m assuming a usable product might show up in a hundred years or so.

This, as you know, is unacceptable. I want my devices to last forever dammit. I don’t care if it lets me videocall people on the other side of the planet, or if it tells me near instantly when someone sends me a tweet. Networks, bitches. They’ve existed for decades, get over it. They could hook you up to someone on the Moon if they wanted to.

Why can’t someone invent boxer shorts that generate electricity, or heat pads that convert body heat to usable energy? Hell, I don’t care if I have to get a USB port on my neck if it means not having to charge a blasted battery again.

 


16
Oct
11

Teenyboppers

Recently there’s been a spate of old codgers crawling  out of the woodwork of kottu, to nag about “teenyboppers”. Teenyboppers are a strange phenomenon. They’re the little humans who’ve just gone through a decade of wishing with all their fist clenched might to grow up faster, and are now on the cusp of actually going through with it. They are yet to figure out that once you do cross that line, all you ever want to do is stop growing older.

Generally, the term is applied to the more obnoxious bunch from that age group. The ones who write about rebellion on their iPads. I’m sorry, but you can’t moan about how much your life sucks if your biggest problem is that there aren’t any starbucks outlets here.

Every generation has teenagers. We all were teenagers. We all did things all the older people looked at and gossiped about. If they had blogs back then, they’d make mediocre blog-posts about it too. Complaining about it is the same as your parents complaining about you doing something they didn’t like. Playing the music too loud, going out with someone, skipping class. Whatever.

Being all high and mighty about it is just as pretentious as those kids who wear Che t-shirts they bought at Odel. “We were such good kids, with such good taste in music.” Bull-n’syncing-shit. None of us can claim to have been the picture of obedience, sitting at home like a nice little sacrificial virgin listening to our Cliff Richard cassettes.

We listened to obnoxious music. Every generation has music the next thinks is obnoxious; and if you think your taste in music was “better” than everyone else’s back then, well congratulations bub, you were one of these “rebellious teenyboppers” you claim to detest. You were just mediocre enough to want to differentiate yourself by listening to crappy progressive metal. What all you closet conservative grandmas can’t seem to understand is that this happens to every generation. You’re just playing your part by being the set of grownups who always nag the kids about things from what they’re wearing to how they make cereal.

Let them go to jazz sunday, let em wear hair that looks like dead cats. Heck, doesn’t it make sense to keep them all at jazz while we go do stuff that’s not eyeball gouging-ly boring without all these damn preteens around, messing up our mojo?

 

P.S – And yes, I’m allowed to act all grown-up now that I just turned 22 last Friday.






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