Monday, December 29, 2014

New discovery at the Gallery Cafe

The challenge of being at the top of your game is that it is extremely difficult to better yourself. This was the situation I used to experience with the Gallery Cafe when it came to desserts. For the past ten years or more my top three all time favourite desserts have been from the Gallery cafe. The top title definitely belonged to their chocolate nemesis. However their was a constant battle for second and third place between the passion fruit meringue cheese cake and the double chocolate cheese cake.
But lo and behold when one thought things were never ever going to change they just did with the introduction of the all new Mocha Hazelnut cheese cake.
To say it is "heavenly" is an understatement. But the flavour is absolutely perfect and the texture on the tongue divine. I have had this dessert twice so far and both times my experience has been awesome. My only grouse is that the slices seem thinner than usually "not so generous" portions they serve. But as one could say good things come in small packages. And good things happen to those who wait... a long, long time.

Monday, December 8, 2014

"Turn left at the model"

It was way too early in the morning. And I had just travelled an hour to get to an opening ceremony at the factory of one of my clients.
These were the words which were said to me in order to direct me to the function area in the large factory premises.
As I was sitting and waiting for the dignitaries to arrive it dawned on me even though the phrase “turn left at the model” was a simple grammatical mistake it also outlined very clearly how people perceive  females today. Especially the pretty faced females, who are hired for functions to greet people, bring awards on stage or just wear revealing outfits and be eye candy making a boring event that much more interesting.
In my line of work I have to attend far too many events than I would like. One of the things I find distasteful about attending these events is how the "models" are treated. Of course I am sure I belong to a very minute minority.
For instance I was at one function where there was a game being conducted where a ball
had to be thrown to a target through the legs of two females who were standing with their legs apart. How demeaning is this?
How many times have I cringed when I see all the males and sometimes the females as well leering and drooling over the girls wearing revealing outfits?
Another particular function comes to mind where the event organizer was told by the client contact that  one of the directors of the company is offering 200 dollars for one of the models for the night.
The sad thing is that to many these models are lifeless things like mannequins in a shop window. They don’t see them as living human beings with feelings thoughts dreams and desires. To me it seems a crime that some of these ladies were born pretty. Their looks have turned out to be a curse instead of a blessing as it lures them into a world in which you make money in the short term with very dim prospects for the short term.
But to me the biggest crime of all on that day was that the words "turn left at the model" was uttered by another female.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow traffic in fast food outlet:

So after many months after its opening I finally decided to step into Subway. It was a rainy Sunday night there were less than ten people at the counter. Yet I had to wait an excruciatingly long time to place my order. The main reason being the person in front of me was taking her own cool time to order.Asking this and that from the staff behind the counter and in the process delaying everyone else. I had read about these delays before online. But I thought people would have realized by now how to order properly.
Sadly that was not the case. I think what Subway should do is to place some kind of guest relations officer to welcome everyone and help them to figure out what to choose at the entrance and this problem would have reduced dramatically. Hopefully the thought will dawn on someone in their management team soon.
Fortunately for me I don't think that I will have to experience this pain for a long time as I don't plan to step in through those doors ever again.
Why you might ask?
Because I found the product average and I think the sandwiches offered at HTC and Deli France are much better, tastier and fresher. Also greater value for money I might add. But the biggest advantage of all is not having to wait till the annoying fat lady in front of you takes her own cool time to decide what she and her kid wants.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happiness is…

...sometimes just being able to roll up your daughter’s shirt sleeves.
That’s what I discovered a few hours ago. When my thirteen year old who’s going on sixteen came to see if her old man thought if her outfit was cool? Of course I had to make a slight alteration and as she thrust her slender arms out for me to roll her sleeves up I thanked God for the close relationship I share with my two daughters. It is not a gift which every dad is blessed with. And I am grateful for it. Makes all the sacrifice and tough decisions I have to make absolutely worth it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Words and Pictures - a slow yet good movie

"You ice cold bitch"he said
"You drunken art wrecking bastard" she answered
They glared into each others eyes for what seemed like an eternity but it was just a few seconds.And then they laughed and kissed and became one once more.
Thus ended one of the nicer movies I have seen in the past few weeks. 
Sadly with an uninspiring title like "words and pictures" it will be passed over by most. The only reason I reached for it was because I like Juliette Binoche and there was nothing else to buy that day at the video store.
Its a slow movie -but then I like slow movies - about an alcoholic English teacher and an arthritic art teacher who end up in a little village college. And their battle to see if words or pictures are better. Hence the title.
I must declare it is not the most intriguing plot I have ever come across. But some of the scenes are beautifully shot; it has one or two absolutely lovely songs and you also happen to learn some interesting trivia regarding the English language. Like that good bye is actually a shorten form for God Bless you and that so long comes from salaam. Oh and it has some interesting paintings too. And it inspired me tap out this post in less than 20 minutes flat immediately after watching the movie and on my phone at that. Which is something I rarely do. Not bad for a movie which seems so uninspiring wouldn't you say? Below is one of the songs which really caught my attention

21 Actual anologies used by high school students...

This is too good not to share... this is the link if the pic is not big enough to read.

This song made me laugh first and then it made me cry…

I originally saw this as a shared video on facebook where it was billed as the Sinhalese version of “Hotel California”. First I thought it was quite funny. But then I started listening to the lyrics and realized there was nothing funny about the subject matter of this song. In fact it brought tears to my eyes. It was a painful cry of an old man forgotten in an old people’s home to his son saying how much he was looking forward to his visit. This is actually a mash up of two popular songs. One is “Sanda nawath Kamak ne” by Asanka Priyamantha. The second being Hotel California which we all know. I wonder if it was intentional or not but by bringing in the chorus of Hotel California the song has become far more powerful deep and ironic to me. Hats off to “ Sachintha Pulasthi” the artiste who put together this song. I wish I had thought of this.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Red wine and "Adultery" - the new novel by Paulo Coelho

To be honest when I had the wine I did not have the book and when I had the book I did not have the wine. But I sure wish I had this book Adultery by Paulo Coelho when I was lounging on that balcony in the little farm house in Carinthia which I wrote about sometime back whilst sipping on some cheap wine.
Adultery is the newest book by Paulo Coelho. It was not highly anticipated as the Manuscript of Accra which was hyped up quite a bit before it was launched. I do not know if it was due to the hype or not but the Manuscript of Accra did not meet up to expectations. In fact to me it was virtually another version of the “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran
This time they were more cautious. So it was an absolute surprise to me when I found out a new book was out and I immediately clicked buy.
Before I could read the reviews.
Which was a good thing. Because for some strange reason the reviews were scathing and I am sure I would not have made this purchase if I had read them before.
Personally I thought it was a great book. It had all the trademarks of a good Pualo Coelho novel which we are all familiar with and love. It was deep and insightful. It was philosophical yet simply written. Maybe it was not as spiritual but some of his other works – to be honest it was but the spirituality was not in your face - but still it was a damn good read.
“I have always loved him and always will – but our life together is verging on monotony. Love can withstand this, but for lust; its fatal” This quote summarizes the storyline in just a few words. To have everything (materially speaking)) and yet feel as if you have nothing is the underlying theme of this book which is something I can relate to very well.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this book even though it seems a majority of reviewers don’t agree with me.
Well they say don’t judge a book by its cover guess in this instance I say don’t judge a book by its reviews.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The tiny tip which can change your life.

I don’t know about you but my shoe laces come undone several times a day. This has become such an irritant that I always try to buy shoes which can be zipped up instead of being laced. Not only is it dangerous as you can trip and injure yourself but it is also frustrating. Especially when you are on a treadmill or doing some kind of sport in which you have to wear gloves. I did not realize it till I saw this video - believe it or not I found this on TED - but it seems that all these years I have been tying my shoe laces wrong. That is the reason they keep getting undone. Just by changing the direction of how I tie my shoe lace I have got rid of this problem forever. Just watch and learn. It can make a huge difference to your life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The amazing inspiring story of Arnel Pineda.

It was a rainy Monday morning and I was feeling lazy. So lazy that I had canceled my morning workout and quite literally dragged my ass to work. I turned on my comp and did a quick scan of Face Book as my emails loaded and came across a post which was share by Robin Sharma.
It was a rags to riches story about Arnel Pineda who was a young man from Philippines. He was dirt poor, homeless and had to beg to survive. But one thing he had in his favor was the ability to sing. A YouTube video of him performing at a talent show caught the eye of one of the band members of Journey - if you don’t know who they are they were a mega band during my era and are still considered rock legends - who was looking for a singer to front the band. Their lead singer Steve Perry had left ten years ago and they have not been able to find a suitable replacement during the past decade. And today young Arnel Pineda is the new lead singer of Journey.
Wow what a story. And you might think that after reading such a motivational piece I would have been galvanized into action and would have been buzzing working my ass off like a fly on speed. Sadly No. I still felt lazy and all I wanted to do was go home have a drink have lunch and get under the blankets and enjoy the rainy weather the best way possible: snoring under the blankets.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A little farm house in Carinthia

I plucked a peach from a tree in the garden and bit into its fresh juicy succulence. It was the first time I have eaten a peach which was not from a tin. As the flavours tantalised my tongue I looked around and absorbed my surroundings. I am in a quaint farmhouse in Worthersee; an alpine Lake in Carinthia Austria. 
The name of the farm
The wooden structure
It is as if I have been transported into the pages of a story book. The weather is nice and cool. There are fruits growing everywhere. Grapes, pears, apricots all you need to do is reach out and pluck them. Beautiful flowers are sprouting all over the place. 
The flowers that bloom are amazing
...even from the trees
The Gardens of the farm 
Everything is spotlessly clean including the roads. The farmhouse is a beautiful wooden structure and my hosts have given me a comfortable apartment to use for the next three nights. As all apartments in this part of Europe its tiny and compact but has everything one needs. And wow what a magnificent view of the lake from its balcony.
The view from my Balcony
My Tiny Balcony but it was cute
 I couldn't wait to open a bottle of wine sit on the balcony and sip it whilst admiring the view and ruminating on how wonderful the title of this post would be as a title of a book. And of course thanking the lord above for showing me a little bit of heaven on earth.

What an enjoyable glass of wine it was...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Story of us – The only redeeming scene of Californication series 07

The longer a TV series runs the more diluted (and stale) it becomes. Truer words could not have been said of the series 07 of Californication which I finished watching recently. Somehow it has lost its edge. It was like seeing your beautiful sexy aunt who always appeared in your naughty dreams after many years. All faded and wrinkled up. A shadow of what she used to be. This time they even managed to do something which I thought would hear on the script of this program. Bring in a cheesy line “what happens at the dentists stays at the dentists”. I writhed in pain when I heard this line and wondered what happened to the ballsy lines such as “I wont go down in history but I will go down on your sister”? Fortunately this is the final season of which to me is a blessing in disguise.
Yet with all its flaws it was good to see good old Hank Moody once more. He still had charm though the plot did not. Generally I would have three or four “OMFG I wish I could write like this” scenes with every new series of Californication. But this time there was none worthy of mention except this.
This is how it goes though the last and the best line has been left out in the video which is real sad.
"I've been thinking about Us, the story of us. How the fuck do I sum it up? Has it been perfect? Hardly. Any story with me at the center of it will never be anything less than a big smiling mess. But here's what I know for sure—our time in the sun has been a thing of absolute fucking beauty. The nightmares, the hangovers, the fucking and the punching. The gorgeous shimmering insanity of the city of ours. Where for years I woke up, fucked up, said I was sorry, passed out and did it all over again. As a writer, I'm a sucker for happy endings. The guy gets the girl, she saves him from himself, fade to fucking black. As a guy who loves a girl, I realize there's no such thing. There's no sunset. There's just now, and there's just the two of us, which can be scary fucking ugly sometimes.
But if you close your eyes and listen for the whisper of your heart—if you simply keep trying and never ever give up, no matter how many times you get it wrong, until the beginning and the end blur into something called until we meet again -- and that's it. I didn't know how to finish it, because it's not over. It'll never be over, as longs as there's you, and there's me, and there's hope, and grace."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The mother of all auto correct messups

I have seen many text fail messages on the web but to me this one takes the cake or the grand trophy.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A new definition of BC and AC

"well if I don't know anything then I can always turn to google" this was the phrase which got me thinking. It was from a conversation I was having with my friend BP from the USA who had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy less than two weeks ago. We were talking about how tips and tricks of looking after children were passed down from mother to daughter in the Sri Lankan culture by the daughter staying with  with the mother at her house for the first three months after birth. Her bemused reaction got me thinking of how important google has become in our life. And actually we can divide time into two sectors. Before google and after google. Maybe it is time that it replaced Before Christ (BC) and After Christ (AC)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dawning of the truth through darkenss

The worst thing about being a dad is the pain of seeing your darling daughter shed tears because of the hurt caused by another male. That is exactly what happened to me last night and I am still trying to come to grips with how I feel. All her life I have done my best to protect her. Doing my best to shield her from the vagaries of life and keep her out of harm’s way. Sadly it seems that I could not put a shield around her heart. I feel impotent and angry because there is nothing I can do but just look on as she sobs her heart away. I wish I could be angry with the boy who caused those tears to fall down those cheeks. Punch him in the face maybe and kick him till he falls to the ground. But I can’t. It is really not his fault. It is just circumstance. I don’t think it was even young love but a little crush which might have blossomed into something more. So here I am paralyzed by not knowing what to do. Crushed by the dawning of the truth that as she grows older there will be certain voids which I cannot fill. Just hoping and praying to God that time will heal all wounds. And she will know that I will be always their for her when she needs me.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The momentous Ceylon Tea Moments!!!

I have already witnessed at least a couple of posts about this place already. And I doubt you will find anything new and useful in this post but other than the fact that I am screaming out that “I AGREE!!!” with all the good things which people keep on saying about Ceylon Tea Moments at the Race Course. Firstly the food as well as the ambiance is great. Secondly it is amazingly reasonably priced. In fact I think the tea is far more expensive than the food. Anyway I have been there a couple of times already and thought I will share what I ate and what I thought of the food. 
The Crab Roti if you are visiting for the first time then this is a must have.
and its virtually over flowing with crab

Stir fried lamb and vegetables was the most expensive at 1100/-

This dessert was ok

The ice cream was nothing much
However this Yara they made with condensed milk is amazing
This vegetable salad is tasty and serves two easily and comes with four bread buns for 400/-
This beef burger was delicious
The breakfast deal is amazing it starts with kola kenda

choice of spicy omelette 

or Kiribath, pol roti or chick peas

followed by curd and honey, fruit or lavariya all for 550/-
 Just in case you did not know it this place is done by Sri Lankan catering the same people who do Semondu. That is the reason the food is so reasonably priced and so good. Firstly because they can buy their supplies at the same discounts they get for the Sri Lankan catering operation and they have access to the same great chefs. Also since it is a duty free operation they don't charge any of the taxes. Which is great news for you and me though I cannot say is the same for their competition.

A sick way to treat the sick…

Recently I had the misfortune of taking a patient to see a neurosurgeon at a centrally located private hospital. Sadly I cannot mention the name due to personal reasons. However it is considered one of the most modern and leading hospitals in Sri Lanka. The appointment was at six. Since generally this doctor see patients on time we arrived at the location at 5.30. When we went to his usual consulting room on the 03rd floor there was a sign on the door wanting us to go to the fifth floor. We realized that the 5th floor is where the Operating Theatre and the ICU are located. Apparently the doctor was seeing his patients’ in between carrying out Surgeries. Or vice versa. However the sad thing is that this floor has been designed to ensure minimal access to outsiders. It had none of the facilities for outpatients who visit the hospitals to see their doctors. Facilities like comfortable chairs; toilets or air conditioning. Over 60 of us were packed like sardines into an access passage connecting the floor to the stairway. There was only one measly fan turning slowly and hardly any ventilation. Since this was neurosurgeon most of the people who were there were seniors or small babies and some mentally unstable people on wheel chairs. It was absolutely hell for them. To add insult to injury the doctor had to carry out an urgent surgery and slipped into the surgery whilst all of us were waiting outside. We waited and waited and waited for nearly three hours along with our fellow sufferers. These nerve operations not only are they costly but they are extremely long. By the time the patient I was with had been attended too it was 9.45 in the night meaning we had been in this hospital for over 4 hours.
You know what the most amazing thing was though? No one complained. No one raised their voices in frustration. They just waited quietly… quietly suffering.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cheese Wadai aka cheese cake or cheese tikka

Talk about food inventions. This is a delicious snack I found at “The Manchester” an English Pub attached at the hip to Agra the Indian restaurant down Independence Avenue. And I guess the only English pub in the world which serves chicken tikka and other Indian food as part of its menu. I was having a drink with HF when he ordered this dish. I was quite perplexed when I heard him order cheese cake for a bite. Noticing the weird look I was giving him he said wait and see knowingly. What came to the table looked like a wadey and felt like a wadey. But when you bit into it thick melted cheese oozed out mixed with Indian flavors as they had added some of the ingredients which they put into wadey adding spicy highlight to the creaminess of the cheese. It was quite literally like magic on my tongue. And at this point I have run out of words to describe how lovely it felt even though I would have liked to wax eloquent about it for a couple more pages. Well if you have not tried it yet all I can say is go do it. It is well worth a visit. That’s all I can say.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gymnastys – the battle of the fits.

Sometimes a plain piece of paper can set off a revolt. That is exactly what happened at the gym I have been frequenting for the past eight years. This piece of paper I am referring to took the form of a letter which was given to all the trainers who were working there. It said that effect from the following Monday all PT (Personal Training) would be canceled.
This action was a result of a problem which has been brewing for a long time. Of course the culprit was none other than PT itself.
You see all the trainers who worked at the gym were allowed to carry out PT sessions during their off times. With each hours session costing about a thousand rupees PT became the main mode of income of these trainers.
And therein lay the problem.
It was more profitable for the trainers to steer clients towards Personal Training instead of helping them to work out on their own with the assistance of the trainers that were on duty. It was a vicious cycle. If the trainers on duty did their job well then they would lose the larger income they made from Personal Training. The reality of life is that no one wanted to loose money. So most of the time people who came to the gym to work out on their own steam and did not have the luxury of a personal trainer found themselves left high and dry without anyone to show them the ropes or help them. This meant that they felt unhappy and marginalized. To add to the misery clients who used the trainers for lessons during their off times encouraged them to carry out Personal Training even when they were on duty.
Very soon the gym got a reputation as a place suitable only for those who can afford personal training.
The reality was that most members resorted to Personal Training as they had no alternative. I know this first hand because I too was one such member. The costs of fees add up to a significant amount over time and I know a lot of people who consider this expense grudgingly.
One would have expected most of the members to welcome the cancelling of PT with open arms.
But that was not what happened.
The news that PT was cancelled spread like wild fire. Since there had been no official announcement or dialogue between the members and the management - and with the interested parties adding fuel to the fire - everyone was outraged. They felt that their rights had been violated.
No one realized that this new rule would be beneficial to them in the long run.
The members were so outraged that they called the owner of the gym and complained. This resulted in the decision of the Management of the gym to cancel PT being over ruled by the owner.
Creating a huge embarrassment for the management. As well as a lot of unnecessary expenditure for the members.
I can’t help but think the outcome would have been different if this situation had been handled with a little more tact and more open communication between the management the staff and the members. Instead all that has happened is that have arrived at yet another new turn of the vicious cycle.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Texts from a dog...

You have to own a dog to truly appreciate how accurate these text from a dog are. I found these on the internet and HAD to post these on here so I could access them whenever I wanted to for a quick lift me up. I lift my hat up to whoever who had the creative wisdom to come up with such a unique thought.
There is also an interesting interview here with Dog the main character featured in these text messages. He has his own Tumblr page too.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Faulty towers dining experience… well worth the experience though not the dining experience.

Well this was a post which was dying due to procrastination.
This event happened a long time ago and I never got down to writing anything about it just because I could not be bothered. Very soon it was way too late to write about it as it had lost its relevance.
But I heard that Mount Lavinia Hotel was bringing the Australian Theater company down once more to host the Faulty Towers Dining experience from the 05th to the 08th June. Hence the resurrection of this post nearly a month after Easter.
That was my first reaction when I saw a poster that a bunch of Aussies were trying to reenact the famous British Comedy “Fawlty Towers” in Colombo. How on earth would they manage the British accent was the first question which ran through my mind. Even though seeing an iconic British comedy done in an Australian accent does seem kind of funny – specially after a couple of drinks – it was not my cup of tea.
One should not judge a book by its cover. Or rather a theater production from the country of origin as is the case maybe in this instance.
This was the lesson I learnt when news started filtering in from various people what a wonderful time they had at this event. In fact they had two extra matinee shows as well. Which were all sold out by the time I rushed to the MLH to get my tickets. Fortunately for me TE managed to use her contacts and get two tickets for me.
All I can say is thank goodness that I did not miss it. It was absolutely wonderful and the spouse and myself had a lovely time.
Firstly it is not your conventional theater experience. There is no stage or set or lights. You just walk into a dining area where tables and chairs are set up. In fact at first we thought we were in the wrong place. You take your seats and the waiters come and start serving you various little snacks and drinks. Suddenly you see a familiar figure hobbling along. And you realize it is Manuel the waiter from the TV series. It is only then that it dawns on you the show has begun. Very soon Mr and Mrs Fawlty walk in and your are transported into a different world. To a different dining room to be honest. The dining room of the original Fawlty Towers to be precise. Here you will be served a meal by Mr and Mrs Fawlty and Manuel of course you get to experience all the accompanying drama just like the people in the TV Show.
After a few minutes you can’t help but believe you are in the real TV show. The Characters are amazingly realistic. There accents are pure British. And the cast interact with everyone in the audience and you are writhing in laughter at their antics. Only about one third of the show is scripted so the actors make things up on the way which makes everything absolutely unpredictable and an enormous amount of fun.
The reason why I am writing this review so late is that you might make the same assumptions I did when hearing of this event and miss it. It is well worth the money you spend. The only fly in the ointment? The food- which was absolutely pathetic.