Archive for January, 2012


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.


A Mahara Almanac: Day 7


Take bread out of microwave, switch on microwave and heat up meat product, take butter out of fridge, put butter in microwave, pick up butter knife from drying rack thing, take butter out of microwave, butter bread, put butter back in fridge, wash and put butter knife back on drying rack thing, take out meat product, add sauce, eat.

Today’s quote

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

– Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


In this vein, I have convinced myself that I will throw myself face first at making something that will in turn create change. From the same book, “Those who don’t build must burn”. Currently two paths exist. “Work” work, as in the regular job, and whatever the hell my friends or I come up with.


A Mahara Almanac: Day 5

Day five just steamrolled past but I have miraculously managed to slide off the track, pull out a paintball gun and spray a “PWND” on the retreating metaphor.

I was at the supermarket again the other day, eyeing the processed meat section. I’ll have to switch to using some kind of chicken or fish soon. But not right now. I found a pack of Sam’s sausages(remember that midget mascot running around with a bunch of kids?), weighing like a ton, for a few hundred bucks. I may be exaggerating about the weight. But it had way more than an equivalently priced cargills pack.

Oh good God, I’m talking about food and cooking on ASOB, NQIM. Where are the axe wielding barbarians and kick-ass ninjas? Verily, the twenty twelve prophesy is coming true.

So yes, I decided to get a little imaginative and threw in a bunch of chopped up onions, chili and ginger. It was pleasing to the palate.

Looks like I might not meet with a grisly death at the hands of a sentient food processor sent on the rampage by my refusal to use it, after all.

In other news, there’s this quote I just can’t get over.

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know”, Alice answered. “Then”, said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”

– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


A Mahara Almanac: Day 2

Yesterday morning, as my mom was leaving for India again, she told me to “take care of your sister”. I was too sleepy to laugh and say she’s probably better equipped to survive than I am.

Went snooping around this “super market” thing. Lots of peculiar objects on the shelves. Bought things like bread(doesn’t grow on trees! lolwut?), sausages, cereal and cow juice to go with the cereal. I’m set-up for at least a few weeks. Days. A couple of days, at least.

Googled “super simple roti recipe” and found a blogpost by a kindred spirit, explaining how to make basic chapattis. Took at least fifteen minutes, I think. The ROI on this cooking thing is too small for my taste(see what I did there? Ba-dam-tssss).

Not dead yet, so I’m guessing the chapattis were alright. Should find a few test subjects to test future meals. Next week, perhaps chicken. At least, chicken that’s been cut up by the supermarket attendants. I have no desire to handle intestines and things.


Note: Must find way to breed chicken without intestines and other non-appealing parts. Some form of tree-grown chicken maybe?

Note 2: Any of you want free samples of (more or less) cooked chicken? Running trials to ascertain the minimum amount of cooking needed to avoid de-… to avoid addiction to delicious chicken.



I switched back to a Dialog connection in the middle of last year. Ever since I switched, I’ve been getting callers looking for a certain army captain. I even got a call from the ex-servicemen’s association asking if I was showing up for one of their dinners or something.

Over the new year, I got a bunch of texts wishing me(Captain [censored]), a happy new year, from (all kinds of people). There were even a message from some Major who was in the UK at the moment.

This still happens, occasionally. Someone calls, asks if I am not the esteemed captain, confirms my number, and hangs up after apologizing.

The story doesn’t quite end there, though. I also get calls for a “Mr. Jayasekera”. Or something. I once got three calls from the same number, a secretary, convinced that she had dialed the wrong number, kept calling and finding me on the other end. I politely told her “No, this isn’t he. Alright.”, “No, you just called me five seconds ago.” and “No. Yes. Me again. Sorry”. I could practically hear her blushing her way through it.

Then there are the calls from what sounds like a carpenter’s workshop. A voice asks for Mr. J, straining to be heard over the occasional burst of a power saw, timing sentences to make the hammer in the background fall into place where the silences would be.

I’d be interested in knowing how this number had such an illustrious journey through two owners. Maybe it’s some elaborate prank that someone’e pulling on me, the punchline of which is still being worked up to. Hmm.


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.



I’m running out of titles

Seriously. How do you guys keep pushing out post after post topped with such great hits such as “Abans Massage Chair: A Review” and ” “(you know who you are)?

Just got back from Retractive, a concert of retro music(allegedly) at the Warehouse Project in Maradana. The warehouse project seems pretty interesting – Copy sounds very hipster-ish but they seem to be doing some good work with the local kids. LEARN, a project to teach the local kids english and things is also run out of the warehouse, you can contact Ruwan from Beyondborders for more info or to volunteer. Or Mel from the warehouse project. I think.

But anyway,

The music was meh-ish. The artists were just… alright. I can’t complain since my musical abilities only extend as far as awkwardly tapping my feet in tune(hopefully) to the beat. It wasn’t particularly retro either, but again, I’m not complaining since it was the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls and Sting. If that’s retro, then I’m far older than I consider myself to be.

We left the premises around 9:30, meandered for a while and ended up playing foosball. An hour later I was in Pettah waiting for a bus again. Time was about 11pm, on a Saturday. Prime time for drunk dudes to do the four-legged walk home. After getting off the bus that brought me there, I passed behind a pair of old men sitting on the curb, wearing their sarongs in what I shall just call a “screw decency, and anyone who happens to walk in front of us” fashion. They were debating the pros and cons of walking home to where they live in Maharagama. I did not inquire about public transport and availability.

Past the CTB stand, and into the whatchamacallit road to see if there were any buses in there. The one leading to the Gunasinghepura stand and the gas works. I’ve never actually seen anything like a gas works in that area, though. Granted, in my mind a gas-works would be a giant steam-punk-esque structure billowing steam from various tubes and crevices.

Near the public toilets, off in the shadows I saw a bunch of young gentlemen who I can describe only as brown skin-heads. Nose rings, large tattoos, bugger-off face, sleeveless tshirts, shiny denims and more cigarettes than you can shake an excise duty officer at. A little past the brain trust, a young lady sidles up to me and asks “ayye, kohomada?” (or “how you doin’?”). I say “uh, hondai” (or, “eiiiiieeeeeiiiiii”), freeze for a bit and walk faster towards the buses, staring straight ahead.

Finally I spot a bus just pulling out of the gas-works area, a 1. Bus route no. 1 is the Colombo-Kandy bus, a matter of great pride to anyone living along the Kandy road. We have the number one bus! Probably the first bus route to exist! Take that, Highlevel road. We had buses when you were still whipping cows along the cobbled mess you called a highway. Probably.

So I get in and sit down. Eventually all the seats are taken, and the bus sets off. A dude starts singing some sinhalese song. I don’t know what. Sue me. Something about fair skin and “meeting you, my dear, where the flowers bloom”. Definite Retroactive material.  I get off the bus a few stops before my house, to grab dinner. Afterwards I look around for a three wheeler, see one parked nearby and head towards it. I ask the dude if he’s up for a fare. A voice from the back says, sleepily, “and who the hell are you?”. This is when I notice that there is someone sitting, or lying, in the back seat. The driver tells him to bugger off, shoos him away and tells me he’s sorry for the degenerates.

The starter handle hasn’t even dropped yet and the driver starts telling me about how drug addicts, like the one who was occupying his back seat earlier, are a terrible drain on society. He says they consume narcotics all day and wander around at night, demanding free transport. Apparently the few police officers he’s mentioned it to don’t do anything. “What families, children for those fellows”, says he, “all they do is steal anything they can get and buy more drugs. Am I supposed to do a 200 rupee fare for free? They are trying to dress us(or, ung apiwa andanda hadanawa)”. I go “huh” at the appropriate breaks in the speech. I hazarded a “yeah, totally” at one point but then he went “ah? ahhhh?” and I just went “uh, yeah”, and he continued with the local crime report.

Four minutes later I was unlocking the front door.

It’s just. Interesting living here.

I’ve gotten very self-conscious of what I put up here, all of a sudden. I feel like I’m being compared with all the bloggers who write well, and can’t help but feel a slight tinge of guilt, since I’m likely to feel like a slap to the face with a gym sock after reading some of the content out there, locally.