Friday, September 30, 2011

Lie about the truth? Tell the truth about the lie?

One of my friends cum colleagues has also taken upon himself that he needs to serve the people and therefore has decided to contest in the local elections. I was waxing eloquent about how wonderful it would be to have someone with private sector thinking in power in the municipal councils to some of my colleagues when someone said something which was like dropping a bomb. Quite literally!
“If anyone knew how he conducts his business they would never vote for him”
How true it was. It was easy for me criticize politicians failing to see the evidence right before my eyes. It seems quite hypocritical now.
The truth is he ran his business in a terrible manner. Unorganized Unplanned Unprepared and Uninformed could be described as his management philosophy. To this date I am surprised how his company manages to make profits. If he can run a company so badly I would hate to imagine what he would do in the municipal council. Now I am supposed to go and canvass votes for him something I loathe to do because I know I will be lying. But then I really can’t go out in to the world and share the truth can I???

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Powerless's Pity Party

I have written about powerless before and how life has been absolutely cruel to her.
But on the other hand I feel she is quite happy to wallow in her discontent and not do anything about it. Other than complain continuously that it is “karma” and “I have lots of issues” etc. Sometimes I feel like giving her a good slap to shock her back into reality and say “wake up!” Sure things are bad for you. But it could have been a helluva lot worse. There are people with far greater problems than you have and they are managing to stand up. Sitting on your ass and feeling sorry for yourself is not going to get you anywhere. Be angry about the unfairness of it all and use that anger to be strong. To fight. To stand up against all this unfairness. Ultimately it is only you who can help yourself.
But so far I have restrained myself. I don't know why. I know it is the wrong thing to say. But gosh I am coming close to breaking point. Hmmmmm patience! Patience! Patience!

Great Quotes! Greater Truth!

1. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a
shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
-- John Adams

2. If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the
newspaper you are misinformed.
-- Mark Twain

3. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But
then I repeat myself.
-- Mark Twain

4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like
a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
-- Winston Churchill

5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the
support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw

6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt
he proposes to pay off with your money.
-- G. Gordon Liddy

7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on
what to have for dinner.
-- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in
rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys
to teenage boys.
-- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to
live at the expense of everybody else.
-- Frederic Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)

11. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short
phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it
stops moving, subsidize it.
-- Ronald Reagan (1986)

12. I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-- Will Rogers

13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it
costs when it's free!
-- P.J. O'Rourke

14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as
possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-- Voltaire (1764)

15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean
politics won't take an interest in you!
-- Pericles (430 B.C.)

16. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in
-- Mark Twain (1866)

17. Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.
-- Anonymous

18. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite
at one end and no responsibility at the other.
-- Ronald Reagan

19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings.
The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
-- Winston Churchill

20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the
taxidermist leaves the skin.
-- Mark Twain

21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

22. There is no distinctly Native American criminal Congress.
-- Mark Twain

23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-- Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong
enough to take everything you have.
-- Thomas Jefferson

25. We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
-- Aesop

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealth
out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for...another person must work
for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does
not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work,
because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other
half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is
going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any

Can you think of a reason for not sharing this?

Neither could I......

Monday, September 26, 2011

...of old flames and coincidences!

 What a way to start the week… I was turning into the gym this morning and had to make way for a lady who was driving out. I could not help but think how familiar that face behind the wheel was. And then it strikes me like a bolt of lightning she is someone I knew very well many, many years ago. Virtually from a different lifetime.
This was during the late 80s when Fresh by Kool and the Gang was a hit and Miami Sound Machine had made it big. I was young and single then but definitely a bad apple considered the black sheep of the family. The worst nightmare parents with daughters could dream of. Somehow we met and our lives became intertwined. And when our parents found out there was hell to pay. She was from a high society Jaffna Tamil family and me well I was a nobody with no one and no money to boot. The fact that I used to be a DJ, smoke like a chimney, drink like a fish, had no qualifications or any idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up did not help to endear me to her parents. And as the fury of the opposition increased the passion died and our relationship ended. I had not seen or heard of her since then.
Well until now that is.
Just to be doubly sure if this was the person who I thought it was I double checked at the reception. I was absolutely right. We had not seen each other in maybe 20 years but her face remained the same. From the way the staff were referring to her, she has been a member of the gym for some time just like me. It seems we have been missing each other by a few minutes every day as she comes early in the morning and leaves roughly half an hour before I walk in to the gym. It was an absolute coincidence that our paths had crossed today. She has arrived late thereby the delay in completing her work out. I on the other hand never go to the gym on Mondays due to a morning meeting which is part of my schedule on a permanent basis. However today it was canceled. Last week the scaled had tipped beyond 100 kg and I wanted to renew the war I was waging with my ever expanding waist line. Hence the move to squeeze in some additional time at the gym.
I wonder what made our paths cross after all these years. Was it mere coincidence or was it fate? I wonder if she recognized me as I did her. I did find her on FB and send her note saying “hello did you see me?” and I wonder if I will get a reply? Guess time will answer all these questions.

Somehow this was what I was listening to as I typed this post.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Brilliant Joke!!!

I generally don't put up jokes but the following are so good I cant help but share them. 

A woman was enjoying a good game of golf with her girlfriends. "Oh, no!" she suddenly exclaimed. "Look at the time! I have to rush home and fix dinner for my husband! He'll be so annoyed if it's not ready on time."

When she got home, she discovered all she had in the fridge was a wilted lettuce leaf, an egg, and a can of cat food.. With no time to go to the supermarket, she opened the can of cat food, stirred in the egg, and garnished it with the lettuce leaf.
She greeted her husband warmly when he came home, and then watched in horror as he sat down to his dinner. To her surprise, he seemed to be enjoying it.

"Darling, this is the best dinner you've made me in 40 years of marriage! You can make this for me any day?"

Needless to say, every golf day from then on, the woman made her husband the same dish. She told her golf partners about it, and they were all horrified. "You're going to kill him!" they exclaimed!?

Two months later, her husband died. The women were sitting around the clubhouse, and one of them said, "You killed him! We told you that feeding him that cat food every week would do him in! How can you just sit there so calmly knowing you murdered your husband?"

The wife stoically replied, "I didn't kill him. He fell off the windowsill while he was licking his arse."

Parliamentarians English Exam (PEE)

I don't think is true but then you couldn't expect more from the donkeys in
parliament today. Click on picture to read. It is hilarious.

In Mexico ONLY....

(These are actual grave stones..English translation provided on the right!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hook Line and (you) Stinker!!!!

What’s worse than sharing a racist joke with someone - a very bad racist joke at that – and have that person tell you quite seriously that her blood line from her mom’s side includes the race you were slurring?
Realizing that she was pulling your leg! And that the joke was on you.
What makes it worse?
Spending a fair amount of time trying to cover up that “Oh Shit!” moment. To realize it has all been in vain.
I will get you next time my friend. You know who you are.
Evil smile!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learnings from buying an ipod?

“An i-phone!”
“Or I pad!”
“Or I pod Touch”
“That’s what I need for my Birthday!”
Steve jobs would have had a tear in his eye and a smug smile on his face if he heard my daughter give me the multiple options of what she wanted for her birthday. Well since the phone and pad were definitely out of the question I had no option but to settle on the i-pod. Now some time back over work related matters I had met up with the agents for apple products in Sri Lanka which was a company called Future world. Not BT Options which is generally associated with Apple in Sri Lanka. Anyway when they were making their sales pitch what they were telling me was that their prices would be cheaper than any other supplier since they were the main agents in Sri Lanka after all. This information made so much sense I accepted it unquestioningly. So much so I went and bought her ipod from future world without even checking the prices of other suppliers.
“Never believe a sales guy completely” these were the first words which went through my mind as I realized that the price of the same model was a couple of thousand bucks cheaper at BT options. And what more they fill the ipod you buy with over a 1000 songs a couple of applications and movies absolutely free. A service which I had to pay 5000/- for since I had not been wise enough to compare the prices before and buy it from them. But what I really appreciate is they were really nice to me. I expected them handle me with a bit of surliness as I had not bought the equipment from them. But that was not the case. The sales lady who served me would have spent a good three hours loading the ipod with all the songs and stuff but she cheerfully told me that if my daughter did not like the music on it she would gladly sit with her once more and go through their database of 50,000 songs and reload it without any additional charge. I must confess this floored me. Naturally I couldn’t ask my daughter what she liked cos this was a kind of surprise and I was willing to pay again if necessary if I had to change the collection. Somehow I had thought BT Options were extremely expensive and quite uppity but my experience completely changed my opinion of them.  I was touched by how nice they were to me. So much so it will be to BT options I will be running when I have to make another purchase which is going to happening quite soon. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A salute to the staff of the lagoon

I love dining at the lagoon. In fact I guess it has become my favourite restaurant. Not only because the food is outstanding but also because the service is as good. I was there the other day and once again was delighted to see that the service levels have not deteriorated. I am a firm believer that it is the little things which make a big difference. And even in this instance it were those tiny insignificant acts which made our experience so memorable and worthy of a post in me blog. Also it reiterated the fact that we had made the right choice when deciding on this location.
Initially we were seated outside and I ordered a pack of ciggerrets since I had left mine in the vehicle. However it started raining the moment the fags arrived and we had to move inside into an area which was non smoking. I asked them "IF" I could return them since I didn't need them anymore. And of course they obliged without a fuss. I am sure it would have been an ordeal to get the item removed from the bill with their electronic systems that's why I appreciate this gesture very much. Even when we wanted to move to a table in a quieter area which was reserved once again they were happy to accomodate our request. And then came the final act of kindness which was the icing on the cake. I was dining with a friend whose wife was kind of stressed out because he was spending too much time working. So he asked if he could have some of those complimentary mint chocolates which they bring to the table to take home for her cos she loves them. The waiter actually gave him an enitre little tub the size of a yoghurt container filled to the brim with these chocolates. Now you might think a little tub was not that many but it was much more than we were expecting and it was done so spontaneously we were both overjoyed. It was the perfect ending to a delicious meal. Yes the food was amazing specially the fried calamari with tamarind sauce. So here I am ending my post by tipping my hat (with words) to the staff of the lagoon "thank you my friends for all your kindness keep the good work up"! Because I will be back sooner than later to experience your generosity once more.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Cute little "unpretentious" coffee shop I discovered.

In the era of coffee shops sprouting all over Colombo like a bad disease with ridiculous prices and even more ridiculous names I consider it a gem of a find to discover this unassuming little shop down Fife Road Colombo 5.

While the digs were humble and down to earth, there was nothing humble about the pedigree of the product they serve. In fact one could describe it as legendary. What we don't realize is this is the same coffee we drink at some of the finer restaurants. And to my unrefined tongue it tastes as good as the more expensive international brands here in the market. Like Lavazza and illy or I might even venture to say even better because it is fresher.
I am sure to have heard of Hansa coffee? The place I am talking about is a tiny little shop which they have opened as a sales outlet. I believe subsequently someone would have realized the best way to sell the coffee is to get people to taste it and the location evolved into a coffee shop. It does not have the glitz and shine of a barista or any of the other unpronounceables. But the moment you step in you can't help but fall in love with the homely atmosphere of the place. You might think you stepped into a quaint little cottage in Nuwara Eliaya or Haggala maintained by sweet nuns. Coming to think of it the nun metaphor is quite apt because the iced coffee shake I had was absolutely heavenly and a large take away cup set me back by only 150 bucks. And when I checked the menu out I realized all the items were highly reasonable in price though the variety was not much when it came to things to eat. I think they are still going through a learning curve the service was not too great either. I had to wait a good five minutes before I was served and then they wanted 10 minutes for a cappuccino hence having to decide on the milk coffee shake. Worse of all the boy who served me was wearing rubber slippers which brought down the charm of the place a tad. But then ultimately the coffee was excellent and that is all that matters in the
end isn't it? Specially for chaps like me who can't stomach superficial pretentious crap.
I thought this was cute they were trying to make an extra buck by trying to rent a measly selection of DVDs but even in this case at 20 bucks to rent a movie for two days the price once again was really really attractive.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rediscovering Reading

In the good old days I was an avid reader. Devouring a couple of books a week. Some people drink coco to sleep but in my case I needed a couple of pages of a book to sleep. I can remember once I was stranded without anything to read in Tissamaharama and was up all night. Till I found a detail leaflet which generally accompany medicine and started reading it like a drug addict finally getting his hands on his fix. But sadly during the past few months this reading habit had to be put on the back burner so to speak due to a lack of light. Yes as unbelievable as it might seem it is true. You see I use a little reading lamp which was homemade which throughout a shabby pool of dim light to read without waking my wife up. But as the years passed and I grew wiser it had a completely opposite effect on my sight. Nowadays the light was not sufficient to make the lettering visible.

But it all changed a couple of days ago when I spied a set of reading lamps in a shop window on my way to office from a meeting. Now all this time I have been looking for decent reading lamps. One for my study and one for the bed room but everyone which came across my path were either too expensive or just too shabby. Anyway these lamps were neither great looking nor extremely expensive which was perfect for me.

Now both these lamps are happily installed in my humble abode and I am delighted to say I am enjoying the pleasure of reading quite contentedly once more. Of course every silver cloud has a dark lining as it seems because now my problem is not getting enough sleep and it is a very sleepy me who is tapping away at this post right now. Yawwwwwn.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another reason why you should strike while the iron is hot

In 1975, Kodak invented the digital camera—then stuck it in a safe lest it destroy its lucrative film business. By the time Kodak was ready to unleash its digital prowess, everyone from Canon to Sony was selling their own digital cameras. What a shame. What a crying shame and today Kodak is struggling because of the very thing they invented.

Necto and hair gel? The new high

In their constant search for happiness and Nirvana of any kind we Sri Lankans are quite ingenious in finding new ways to get high. I can remember when I was young it was coke and disprin. Then there was corexd and portello. I know some people who open the petrol tank of their Bikes and take a good deep breath of the fumes. Yesterday I heard that the latest combination to hit the streets of Colombo is to combine a small sachet of hair gel with necto. Apparently it only works with Necto and not with any other carbonated beverage. Makes me wonder if Gel and red bull might work too. I wonder if this is the brain child of some great marketing genius to help sales grow? Hmmm what will they think of next?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Insulting through compliments

What a great example of reverse psychology by Iraj. I found this completely by accident when someone posted it on my facebook wall. If you look closely you will see what a scathing criticism it is of the terrible state our country’s police force is in. Yet so cleverly done that the authorities can’t complain.

What I found more interesting was how people on youtube had hijacked this song and done their own versions of it. Making it a great example of a 100% local viral campaign.

The sad thing is apparently the TV channels in Sri Lanka are scared to run this other than Derana. But my hats off to Iraj for his bold stand. Will he become the Eminem of Sri Lanka I wonder????

And the peoples version is below.

The oxymoronic definition of “Alms Giving”

An eating experience where you enjoy great local food whilst putting on a sad face.

I am not ashamed to say that’s what I did this Sunday when I went for a good old “dhane”. I did try hard to refrain from moaning (too) ecstatically as I stuffed myself with some of my perennial favourite dishes like polos curry, capsicum stuffed, brinjal Pahi and accharu which was absolutely awesome. The spread was lavish and had been catered for approximately Rs 150 per person. The cost did not include dessert or fish or meats which was prepared at home. But still isn’t that a great bargain. However in the evening I was suffering and feeling bloated and then I realized the food was heavily laced with MSG. No wonder if was so tasty. But downing a couple of bottles of water I live to tell the tale and still consider it a worthwhile experience MSG or not.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The good the bad and the ugly side of Maalu Maalu

I should have been singing "Maalu Maalu Maalu den hadapu Maalu"

Instead "Cramped" was the first word which came into my mind as I drove into this much hyped up boutique hotel after seven hours on the road. Yes there was no proper place to park. The next few experiences I went through only helped to strengthen this assumption further. The reception area was quite small and so was the dining area. Especially the little nook where you had to serve food. If 6 people went in it was crowded and you were falling over one another. Even the cabanas themselves were tightly placed against one another on a narrow deep strip of land.

Even though I started on a negative let me assure you that this is a beautiful place. That is if you turn a bline eye to the narrowness. The cadjan theme is beautifully executed. The infinity pool looks beautiful and the beach is heavenly. Of course the sun is burning hot and its best to hit the waters during the coolness of the morning or evening. Even our lodgings were pretty comfortable. Since there were four of us including my kids I had splurged on a suite and the kids loved it. They had their own beds in a separate upper floor attic and it was cute. The bathroom was amazing. It was actually more spacious than the room itself and had its own Jacuzzi. Which was great fun. But I must confess the lodgings fell a little short of the amenities which were advertised on the website. For instance it boasted of a private plunge pool and deck. As well as a 24 hour butler service. The plunge pool was actually shared by four suites and the deck too was shared. There was nothing private about it. And there was no sign of the 24 hour butler. In fact when I walked in there was remnants of a tea service neatly placed under the stairs. And sometimes our room service dishes were cleared only the next day. What I was made to understand was that this hotel has been at 85% occupancy since inception. This means they have not been able to attend to the little details. For instance there are no bottle openers in the room. So every time you want to open a bottle from the mini bar you got to call the restaurant and they send you a bottle opener which they take back. Also there is no room directory, room service menu or entertainment guide. Due to the unbearable heat I spent a lot of time indoors. Reading and watching TV. Believe me watching TV is a luxury for me. Though they had Dialog sat connections only HBO, Nat geo and some of the news channels could be accessed. Even the remote of the desktop box did not work. Also there were no hair dryers in the room which is one of the standard facilities in this class of hotel.

I was also made to understand part of the reason for this is that the management’s primary motive is profit. And therefore they have staffed it with a lot of inexperienced people who are not properly qualified to do their job. Later on someone from Dialog told me the reason for the lack of channels was also due to cost limitations.

However I must compliment them on the food. It was good. There was a decent selection of seafood - I wished I had not spotted the Sigapore Chilli Crab station AFTER I had finished dinner - and even the Western food was palatable. I must not fail to mention that the best "pol sambol" I had ever eaten in this type of hotel was at maalu Maalu.

What I found absolutely lovely were the genuine smiles especially from the staff who were from the area. It was absolutely delightful to experience and one could easily overlook the minor short comings when you looked into their deep smiling eyes. Sadly only about 60% of the staff are from the area. I was talking to the manager of the hotel who says the locals are still trying to get used to a modern work ethic and needs to be handled with a lot of patience. Apparently they easily get upset and are quick to complain to the police for anything. He was telling me just that day one boy had not turned up because someone had held him by his arm a little too roughly. Also they are still trying to get over the war culture some of them are still scared to go home after six in the night.

There was something really bad which the management of the hotel was doing. This was selling water at 200 bucks a bottle during meal times. Ideally they should have offered the clients a choice of normal or bottled drinking water. I don't think any decent hotel should resort to this kind of low down practices. After all they were charging quite a high price for the rooms. Even the room service was a tad expensive 600 bucks for a plate of chips and 200 for a coke.

What I really found irritating was the sounds of the neighbors infiltrating into my rooms. Especially little kids screaming mommy this and mommy that. I couldn't help but go back to my recent visit to the Yala Mahaseelawa bungalow where I enjoyed a beach as nice and listened to the sounds of waves crashing in absolute silence. Now that was luxury.

The Deelightful Stranger I knew so well.

It was like seeing a glittering diamond amongst a pile of coals when I walked into my clients office. That's how I felt when I spotted this beautiful graceful young lady for the first time many weeks ago. Roughly about two months back I think. Her head bent down intensely working on...... sending out some text messages. I asked my colleague "who’s that?" She told me "it is a new girl who has joined to work on the in-house magazine". "Makes me wish I was 20 years younger" I whispered back to her (partly) in jest.

And every time I went for meetings I used to notice her working quietly and intensely rarely looking up from her screen. I was intrigued by this strange creature. Not only did she remind me so much of my first crush a long long time ago but also (one out of two) of my favourite nieces. In my mind I had nicknamed her "lil miss innocence"

Cut to last week:

Me and my colleague was having a general chit chat with the clients team when I realized that "lil miss innocence" was walking towards us. I go up to her shove my hand out and say "hi I am cj"

We shake hands and she looks at me and says "you blog right?" For a moment I did not know what she meant. I tend to keep my offline life and online life in two separate compartments "I know you she said I am Dee"

I am generally a confident type who remains unfazed by surprises life throws at me. However at this moment I didn't know what hit me. I just turned into a big ball of blubber.

Not many people know about my blog and I had thought no one would ever connect the dots to me in real life. Of course I was being naive. There were at least five people who have done so in the past. As you know a few of the posts in here are quite personal and I really didn't want my clients and colleagues getting a peek into my inner turmoil so to speak. Fortunately none of the people who were there caught onto what we were talking about and no embarrassing questions like "oh what's your blog called" were asked. Of course I quickly said my goodbyes and escaped.

Later on I realized what an rude odd ball Dee would have thought I was for rushing away in that manner. And her post a few minutes later confirmed my hunch. Of course I immediately wrote a long note to her apologizing profusely and explaining my position. Am glad to say all is forgiven and I count on Dee as a friend now.

However words cannot express how overjoyed I was to get to know her. I have been a great fan of her blog reading it regularly. An ardent admirer of her art skills as well as an appreciative listener of her play list. There have been many a time I just log onto her page and keep the music running as I find it out of this world. Makes me wish she was a radio DJ.

Of course if she had not introduced herself I would have never made the connection. The deecee in the picture I had created in my mind was quite different, not so graceful and feminine and far more tomboyish.

I am thankful to fate for intervening and introducing her to me. If I had the choice of not getting to know Dee and not having my virtual life revealed I still would have chosen the alternate. Dee it was my absolute pleasure to meet you and I am glad I can now call you "my friend" my friend. But for the life of me I can't fathom what ever made you think that I have a handle bar moustache.