Archive Page 2

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/

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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.

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

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.

27
Jan
12

A Mahara Almanac: Day 7

Routine.

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.

25
Jan
12

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