Friday, December 19, 2008

T minus 7hrs for the journey home

Listening to: Radio 1

So much for my "I'm a student and therefore too broke to buy presents"...
Mother: Can you get a gift for Aunty A? She always cooks for you when you come
Me: Ah yeah no prob
Mother: Aney darling better get something for Aunty B also no?
Me: Hmm ok
Mother: Ah one more thing, can you get something for Akki X as well? She likes those [blah blah blah] things
Me: Erm...I'll see if there's something small
Mother: Oh and another thing, so-and-so was saying [insert random ailment] remember those things at Boots? Aney bring some please
Me: Mother! I only have 20kg allowance...these things add up
Mother: Ah then ok...don't worry about it...I was just saying because she was finding it really difficult...but never mind
Me: *Sigh* Ok ok I'll try and bring it
Mother: No no don't worry if it's a hassle, you just come will you
Me: [pregnant pause] No I'll bring it
Mother: Aney thank you baba. I can't wait to see you!
Me: I can't wait to see you too, Ammi
Ugh my bag is so heavy. I should say here that the above dialogue wasn't an exercise in emotional blackmail by my mother. It's just me being unable to say no to her.

But enough of the grumbling. I'm so bloody excited (yes I think I've already mentioned that quite a bit). It's a bit weird 'cos while I'm really looking forward to seeing family and friends, the weather and the food...there's also stuff I'm gonna miss from here. Like the music - I have no clue what they play on Sri Lankan radio any more! I've become so addicted to Britpop and Brit Indie that I think I might die without them. And how am I supposed to live for a month without Chris Moyles, Sara Cox and Scott Mills?! Sigh.

And another thing. I don't know if I'll have time to blog from home. My parents are social butterflies and yours truly will probably be fluttering around with them most of the time. So here's wishing the entire blogosphere a very merry Christmas and festive season in general, and all the best for the coming year. See you in 2009!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Note to self

Listening to: 'That's Not My Name [Acoustic]' by The Ting Tings [We Started Nothing]

PseudoRandom it's 01:20. Go to sleep woman. Stop downloading insanely cheap (but awesome) albums off amazon mp3 (I mean, £3 for the Ting Tings album...insane!). Stop salivating at the thought of having fish curry with stringhoppers for dinner on Saturday. Stop grinning to yourself at the thought of seeing your parents at the airport. Stop making list after list of things you need to do, stuff you need to buy, people you need to call before you go. GO TO SLEEP!

They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That's not my name...

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Listening to: 'Listen' by Beyoncé [OST - Dreamgirls]

OK so I didn't see the X Factor final *shock shock horror horror*. I slept like a baby from 7pm until 11pm when I woke up feeling extremely hungry. I might watch it online later, but I've already youtubed the only bit I wanted to see - Alexandra's duet with Beyoncé. Ooooooh mama. X Factor should be renamed 'Goosebump Factor'. How could anyone compete with that combination?! I mean seriously, Westlife? Boyzone? HAHAHAHAHAHA you have got to be kidding me. Eoghan and JLS had no chance!

I'm not gonna embed the X Factor version here 'cos it's an edit, and I think the song should be experienced in its entirety. So maybe she's done some retarded songs too, but this, my friends, is pure diva gold.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I signed up for this, oh yes I...wait, I signed up for what?!

Listening to: 'Just a Little Bit' by Mutya Buena [Real Girl]

The time is 03:10. PseudoRandom is currently in the 13th hour of her 21 hour experiment. Oh yeah you read right. By the time I go home next, I would've been at work for 25 hours. Continuously? Well no, not really. There was the bit when I walked all the way to STA to collect my flight ticket, only to find that they close early on Fridays. D'oh! And then I went to get dinner from the Chinese takeaway. I'm surprised I haven't mentioned this place before, to be honest. The special fried rice is to die for. Although I was slightly perturbed to find that the price has gone up from £3.80 to £4.50. Yes I know that's only 70p, but there's something 'expensive-sounding' about it being over 4 quid. Shorty's heard this too many times, but I am going to dedicate my thesis (when it finally materialises in a legible format) to said Chinese takeaway. Many experiments would not have been completed had it not been for their special fried rice.

Today was the department Xmas lunch. Free food, yay! I borrowed a pound off a friend and bought a raffle ticket, and won myself a cute beaker (there were about 50 minor prizes going). And we kinda won the pub quiz (tied with two other groups), partly thanks to yours truly remembering that Thomas Woodward is more famously known as Tom Jones. Why the hell I know that is beyond me.

I'm so excited about going home! Not only am I going to see the parentals after two whole years but SS is gonna be there simply to see me! I will give the three of them the BIGGEST hugs I can manage. I'm also attending two weddings, and I've got a day trip to Kandy and a longer trip to Nuwara Eliya planned. I think the trips are what I'm most looking forward to (apart from seeing the family, of course). I know this is gonna sound really sad, but I've just spent the past 3 hours looking up photos on flickr that are tagged with 'nuwara eliya' for inspiration. Ugh there's so much to photograph and so little time! And I suspect my father's patience will start to wear thin after the first few "Thaththi can we stop here please? I want to take a photo". Thankfully I won't be the only happy snapper on the trip to Kandy. Oh and there'll also be a minor matter of hot butter cuttlefish ;-). Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

And (surprise surprise) I'm sick again. Cough this time. Man I hate this weather. I'm relying on my ayurvedic cough medicine and hoping that all ailments will disappear the moment I get home.

Right, I've spent time browsing flickr, I've trawled various blogs and broken my rule of not blogging from work, and I've read almost all the interesting news items on BBC. I think it's time to settle down with another peppermint tea and get back to reading 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' to the sounds of my library, while attending to my experiment when required, of course. I'm thinking pancakes for breakfast...but I don't know where I can get that as a takeaway. A muffin and coffee from Nero's will have to do. Sigh where's my bed when I need it most.

I just hope I can stay awake for this evening's X Factor final. Go Alexandra!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Coming Full Circle

Listening to: 'The Loving Kind' by Girls Aloud [Out of Control]

It's been two years since I last went home. In those two years (in chronological order)...
  • I experienced yet another episode of unrequited love
  • My parents were in an accident
  • My supervisor said I wasn't cut out for research, and told me he was kicking me out of university
  • My grandfather passed away
  • One of my best friends moved 7,000 miles away
  • I became depressed
  • Some very close friendships were tested
  • I tried to gain weight, and failed
...and...yeah I think that's it.

However (in response)...
  • I got over it
  • They escaped with minor injuries
  • I proved my supervisor wrong, and made it back onto the PhD
  • Anicca vata sankhara - uppada vaya dhammino ("Impermanent truly are compounded things, by nature arising and passing away.")
  • She's back
  • I'm only slightly depressed now
  • The friendships survived
  • I told the world to go screw itself and decided I was happy with my weight
In addition...
  • I had a wonderful trip to Austria and Italy
  • I got back in touch with some old friends (Hello Darwin! And thanks V :D)
  • I visited some beautiful parts of Scotland
  • I had the best time of my life in New York
  • I got upgraded on a transatlantic BA flight
  • I had an awesome 25th birthday in the Lake District with friends surrogate family
  • I saw Matchbox Twenty live
  • I saw John Mayer live
  • I saw Diana Krall live
  • I saw Black Kids and Ladyhawke live
  • I got a free trip to Brighton
So yeah. It's been an up-and-down sort of two years. But it feels like I've finally tied up most of the loose ends. I won't say I'm perfectly happy now, but I'm kinda back to where I was before, just stronger. The true test will be when I go home next week, and I have to deal with the inquisitiveness, pettiness and superficial nature of Colombo culture. Hopefully the past two years have toughened me up sufficiently.

Monday, December 08, 2008

New template

Listening to: nothing

Figured I'd try a three-column layout to minimise the scrolling down required. Might change it back at some point, might not. We'll see how it goes.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Run was written by Snow Patrol, and don't you ever forget it

Listening to: 'Run' by Leona Lewis [Spirit]

Yes, Leona Lewis of X Factor 2006 fame has made it to Numbero Uno again, this time with a cover of Snow Patrol's Run.

Don't get me wrong, I love the new version. When I heard it first, sung live as a feature on Jo Whiley's Live Lounge on Radio 1, I had shivers down my spine. Truly haunting. But then I fell in love with Run when I first heard it being performed by Snow Patrol. The song was already amazing.

It's annoying that Leona gets a #1 hit with Snow Patrol's song, when they haven't received the same honour yet. But seeing as Leona's a product of the Simon Cowell production line, it's hardly surprising.

Which is better? I don't know. It's like they're two different songs to me. Snow Patrol's version sounds more raw and melancholy...something which Snow Patrol do perfectly. Leona's version is a ballad being sung by a diva. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm just sayin'.

So congratulations to Leona, but I think it has to be said that if you have an ounce of talent (which she definitely does have) you can't really go wrong with something as flawless as Snow Patrol's Run.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

'My curious bodyclock' and other (extremely) short stories

Listening to: 'Beat Control' by Tilly and the Wall [Beat Control]

So I don't seem to be able to sleep early these days. It's been past 1am every night this week. No I'm not an insomniac...when my head hits the pillow I'm off like a light. It's the transition between "hmm I should get to bed soon" and "zzzz..." that takes ages. And I need eight hours of sleep every night. It is physically impossible for me to wake up for the alarm until I've had 8hrs of sleep. Curiously enough, this didn't happen in Brighton - I managed to wake up with just 5hrs with no problem - I suppose it was the unfamiliar surroundings that did the trick. But yeah...I'm not sure how to fix this problem. And no, multiple alarms/really loud alarms etc. will not work. You're talking to someone who has slept through everything but a bomb (I woke up when the LTTE blew up a transformer down our road in the middle of the night - exciting stuff).

From bodyclock to bioclock. My hormones are usually very well behaved. Why not now? Me is confused.

Shades of Jade was questioning patriotism recently. Today at my lab group xmas party, one of my old PostDocs was going on about his visit to Bentota a couple of years back, and how Sri Lanka has the most beautiful beaches he's ever seen, along with the tastiest food he's ever eaten and the nicest people he's ever met (admittedly he was after more than a few glasses of red by then, but still...). If I were to give patriotism a face, it would be the absolutely massive grin I had on mine while listening to him. If I were to give patriotism a beat, it would be that of my heart thumping with pride that someone would have such nice things to say about my darling country.

Why do I have so many clothes that can't go in the washing machine? I did not come to university to spend most of my time handwashing! I need to take some of these back home though, so I should probably do some washing over the next few days.

I think DeeCee and LD were right - the second practice was far more successful (on a personal level) than the first. And damn we sound good, if I may say so myself :D

I'm cooking for some colleagues tomorrow. 12 in total. Never cooked for so many. And even in small quantities, my cooking is in a word - mediocre. But they're insisting on being introduced to Sri Lankan cuisine. Thankfully since they don't know what it's supposed to taste like, they won't have anything to compare it with ;-).

Hmm 5 extra short stories. Enough no? I think the inertia has finally lifted and I'm off to bed. I'll leave you with 'Dog Days Are Over' by Florence and the Machine. I just love the drum beat :-).

Oh bugger, it's past 1am again. D'oh!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The fugly friend

Listening to: 'Love Is Stronger Than Pride' by Sade [The Best of Sade] moi. You know, the one who always hangs around her pretty friends, always getting in the way. The one who sees through all the guys' attempts to get with her friends, and doesn't offer to put in a good word for them, unless she thinks the friend is gonna respond positively. A female cockblocker, as it were.

This is so frikkin' retarded.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

Listening to: 'I Wish You Love' by Lisa Ono [Pretty World]
Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll upon the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play: "Tiddely-om-pom-pom!"
So just let me be beside the seaside
I'll be beside myself with glee
For there's lots of girls besides,
I should like to be beside
Beside the seaside!
Beside the sea!
Written and composed by John A. Glover-Kind (1907)
Performed by many, including Basil Rathbone (1939)
No I'm not talking about the golden beaches of Mother Lanka (not this time, anyway). Instead, I'm talking about the shingle shores of Brighton. Eh? I hear you say. Well Brighton is famous in these parts - it is one of England's most popular beaches, home to annual conferences for many political parties, and home to Brighton Pride. It is also where Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo. How's that, fact fans?!

But yeah, I went there for an entirely difference reason - *drum roll please* PseudoRandom attended a conference! OK so it wasn't as glamorous as Darwin's excursion, but considering this was a UK-based conference, I don't think I could've asked for a nicer place (apart from Cornwall, perhaps). The conference was pretty cool. It was an industrial conference, so while all the talks seemed like sales pitches, they did give me an excellent insight into who is doing what in the UK bioprocessing industry. I'm not sure if I made as much use of the networking opportunity as I would have had I been actively seeking a job, but I did make some contacts, which was good.

To be honest though, the best part of the conference was the travel-and-accommodation-paid two day stay in Brighton! I stayed in a proper hotel, which was a huge change from the hostels I've become accustomed to in Europe, and my room overlooked the sea (well, sort of)! I really liked Brighton. If I had to pick one word to describe the vibe, it would be 'quirky'. I can't wait to go again. I only had time to look at the Palace Pier and the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. Oh and the conference dinner was at the Brighton Dome, which is where the '74 Eurovision was held. But there's some more I want to see. I think that'll have to wait until the weather improves, though.

Nonetheless, I managed to take some pretty neat pics, which will no doubt be on flickr soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ah yes, so this is how it's supposed to feel (is it?)

Listening to: 'Ran Kurahan Mal' by Bathiya & Santhush [Tharunyaye]

So I'm practising again. There's something exhilarating about being surrounded by instruments and just jamming. Trying out harmonies, switching parts around, trying to keep up with the pianist when (s)he decides to change key on a whim...words cannot describe how it makes me feel. If I could sing and teach for the rest of my life, I'd be on top of the world.

But today's session also came with a realisation. Not only am I missing my old voice, I am missing my old ear, and I am missing my youth. I used to be able to catch a harmony on the 1st or 2nd I have to rely on the pianist to guide me into my part. Maybe I'm just rusty, but it was embarrassing. I know I know, it happens to everyone...but I'm the oldest in the ensemble, by a margin of around 6 years, and I feel (rightly or wrongly) like I have a point to prove. And I did not prove that point today. These kids are fresh out of school, they've already found musical extra-curricular activities, and anyway they're far more talented than I ever was. I, on the other hand, left my talent at home when I came to university.

I feel so out of place.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Label cloud, you say?

Listening to: Radio 1

I've been asked how I got the awesome label cloud that you see in my sidebar. I thought I might as well give the link as a separate post, in case anyone else was wondering :-)

So, here it is! --> Blogumus

I might try and figure out how to put the link in the sidebar too. Watch this space! (Well the space on the right, anyway)

UPDATE: Well that was simple enough! Link to the instructions are below the cloud.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ranaviru Upahara

Listening to: 'I'm Yours' by Jason Mraz [We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.]

This week has been declared 'a week of tribute to the victorious military personnel' who were involved in the Pooneryn mission. As I sit at my computer in my cosy room, I think of the soldiers who are lying in muddy trenches, fully exposed to Mother Nature's fury, with only their weapons for comfort. As I contemplate which outfit to buy for Saturday's party, I think of the soldiers who are wearing the same blood-stained fatigues they've been wearing for the past month (if they're lucky). As I get all excited about seeing my parents next month, I think of the soldiers who don't know if they'll ever see their family again. As the Facebook invites for 31st night parties start rolling in, I feel sick as I think of the soldiers who will be laying their lives on the line throughout that night so that we can be merry. Sick...and proud. Oh so proud of our brave servicemen and women who continue to give their lives for my Mother Lanka. Our Mother Lanka.

I hope this war ends soon so that our countrymen can move beyond the past and set about enjoying the future, together, in a united Sri Lanka. Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with those who work towards making that future a reality.
Image courtesy Ministry of Defence

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Listening to: 'Let's Forget About It' by Lisa Loeb [Firecracker]

So anyone who has spent enough time procrastinating on my blog would've noticed that I occasionally dabble in amateur photography. I'm not skilled with all the various variables, and it's a miracle if I manage to take a non-blurry picture without the flash, but I like to think I have an eye for composition. I spot photo opportunities everywhere. Light creeping through bunches of leaves, reflections on rivers and puddles, shadows on walls...the thought "ooh that would make a good photo" crosses my mind frequently.

I also like taking photos of my friends. Of me with my friends. Of us acting silly, of us celebrating birthdays. Of us dancing in a club. My 'people pics' tend to be far less about the capture and much more about the memories they'll bring back when I look at them in a few years' time (and I do look at old photos).

Since mid-2005, my Canon PowerShot A75 has served both these purposes equally well. It has been an absolute gem. But since of late, I'm noticing some circuitry issues, and my baby's internals tend to go crazy just when I'm taking a photo. I find myself coaxing it back to normalcy, by which time the photo opportunity is long gone. It appears that the end is nigh for my first digital camera, and a replacement must be found.

My baby

And this is where it gets complicated. Let us, for a moment, assume that money isn't a problem (ha ha). I would love, and I mean really love, to have an SLR, and play ball with the big guys. I mean those babies are real beauts! And the way people look at you when you've got an SLR slung around your neck...instant respect! :D But seriously, SLRs give the photographer so much freedom to experiment. And omg they look so cool :D

The only negative (again, cost not considered) is that I can't really shove it in my handbag when I'm going clubbing. So I've been looking at bridge cameras and a few compact ones...but I still haven't one that comes close to my baby in terms of balancing arty farty features and fun pic capability. Hmm.

And then there's the money. How much can I realistically afford? I will potentially earn enough money from teaching this term to be able to afford a bridge camera, but I had previously hoped to put that money into driving lessons. I can't ask my parents for money - they've already agreed to help out with the driving - so this either has to come out of my earnings or my savings. Sigh...decisions, decisions.

Is it worth it?

In other news, I'm such a klutz. Heated the last two pieces of chicken curry in the microwave. Took tupperware out of microwave. Dropped now-oily tupperware on the floor. Stood shell-shocked as I watched the larger of the two chicken pieces roll onto the not-so-clean kitchen floor. Floor too dirty (and me too stunned) to invoke 5 second rule (hey I thought it was 10? Oh well.). Waaaaaaaaaah.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A rose by any other name

Listening to: 'Set The Fire To The Third Bar' by Snow Patrol ft. Martha Wainwright [Eyes Open]

Procrastination session II, as promised (well, sort of). I was just thinking...I've now lived in the UK longer than I've lived in Sri Lanka. And that fact is reflected in many aspects of my life - my addiction to X Factor and my love for Team GB, to name but two. But in certain ways I just can't bring myself to become a 'British Asian'.

For starters, I categorically refuse to say 'cheers' when I want to say 'thanks'. It just will not happen. 'Cheers' makes my skin crawl. Possibly weirder than my aversion to 'cheers' is my aversion to the terms Mum and Dad. I did not speak to my Mum and Dad today. I spoke to my mother and father. Or my Ammi and Thaththi - but not my Mum and Dad. I just can't do it! Even when I'm talking about them with my friends (and I tend to do that a lot), I just can't say "My Dad said blah" or "My Mum asked blah" feels so weird! It's like I'm talking about someone else. Yes I know I'm strange.

...oh god I miss them so much. I'll be home in 34 days'...why so long?!?!?! Sigh.

OK sleepy time now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I am

Listening to: 'The Finish Line' by Snow Patrol [Eyes Open]

...borrrrrrrrrred. I should be working on my conference poster. I should have my dinner (goodness knows I'm starving). I should have a bath. I should get some laundry done. I should wash the coffee mug sitting next to me. I should vacuum my carpet. I should clean the toilet.

But I am a lethargic slob who would rather sit at her computer and blog about all the things she should be doing but can't be arsed enough to.

Hmm ok me go have dinner. And then I'll probably procrastinate some more. Whyyyyyyyyyyy? Need motivation. Motivate me, someone. Anyone? Sigh.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happiness is...

Listening to: nothing

An excellent dinner, followed by fun in the college bar, and free entry to a club with damn good music. And all this with a handful of friends who mean so much to me, I might as well call them siblings.

I am a lucky human being.


Oh and I saw Lily Cole in the bar...she ain't hot.


OK I should go to sleep now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Take it or leave it

Listening to: 'Crack The Shutters' by Snow Patrol [A Hundred Million Suns]

So the story: A 13 yr old girl has won the right to refuse a heart transplant. She has been taking medication for leukaemia since she was 5, and as a result of this medication, she has developed a hole in her heart. She was offered a heart transplant in July 2007 but she refused it on the grounds that it might not work, and even if it did, she'd have to take medicine for the rest of her life. Her Primary Care Trust (i.e. the NHS Trust that manages the hospitals in her area) tried to take her family to court, saying they would remove the girl from their register if she wasn't brought in for surgery (the reason presumably being that she is below the age of consent, and therefore her opinion cannot be taken into consideration). They have now dropped their case, after a child protection officer said that the girl was adamant that she didn't want surgery, and she wanted to die at home with dignity.

I see three (maybe four) potential points for discussion.
  1. She is 13 - can she make an informed decision?
    Well according to UK laws, if she understands the issues and the consequences, she can be considered legally competent. So presumably the answer would be yes. There are plenty of over-18s whose competence is questionable, so I think it's fair to treat these situations on a case-by-case basis.

  2. Should the PCT have gone to court?
    This is where I add my 2c. I would say 'no', and the title of this post should tell you what my view is on the matter. There are millions of people in this country who are not receiving the medical care they require because of the financial and physical strain on the NHS. There are millions of people who want to be treated, who want to be given the slightest chance to improve their quality of life. There are millions of people who are willing to take the risk of surgery because the prospect of being cured is so attractive and they've got nothing to lose. So why should the NHS waste money and resources on someone who doesn't want to be treated? A heart transplant is a huge financial undertaking for the NHS. If the patient in question doesn't want to make use of the services available, so be it! Someone else who actually wants to live can make use of that opportunity. I know it's the doctor's responsibility to have the patient's best interests at heart, but if the patient doesn't care, I don't see why the doctor should.

  3. Her reasons for refusing surgery
    • 'Cos it might not work - Well using that logic, cancer patients (herself included) shouldn't be treated, because none of the medical methods have a 100% success rate. I shouldn't fly home next month, 'cos the plane might crash, or Colombo might get bombed, or someone might ask me about my love life etc. etc. I shouldn't have had my spine surgery 'cos there was a chance of me ending up paralysed. I shouldn't wake up in the morning 'cos I might have a bad day. What bollocks.
    • If it does work, she'll have to take medicine for the rest of her life - OMG this is where I completely lose it! How many people on this planet take medicine every day? I know insulin-dependent diabetics who have been taking daily insulin injections since they were 13. There are soldiers who have been wounded in battle, who wear their prosthetic arms and legs every morning. There are people in developing countries who walk miles every day just to fill up a jug of water...and she's complaining about some tablets? What makes her so special? What a spoilt brat.

  4. Die with 'dignity'?
    Eh? I watched my grandmother pass away due to old age and nothing else (I don't mean figuratively - I was chanting pirith at her bedside when she died) and she couldn't have asked for a more peaceful way to go (unless she was asleep). Let me tell you - there is nothing dignified about death. This dignity business is a fabrication of the media for the purpose of the euthanasia debate, which is irrelevant here. I can understand the girl not wanting to die with a million and one tubes inside her, but the chances of that happening are in no way decreased by her refusing surgery. The use of such a buzzword in this context only weakens her argument in my eyes.
I understand that she has a medical condition that makes her life very difficult, but her reasons for preferring to wither and die make me sad. At the end of the day though, it is her decision and no one can force her, so I respect that. Let me put it this way: I respect her right to choose, but I don't respect her choice. I can do that, can't I?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Read at your own peril

Listening to: my sobs

I indicated. I waited for a lull in the traffic and I fucking indicated, dammit! And I had lights and everything...can't you see a flashing red light moving across the road?! I can't help it if you're as blind as a bat. Scrap that, bats have radar, they would've sensed that there's someone trying to change lanes and they would've slowed down instead of speeding ahead and then tooting the horn as if it was my bloody fault. You're supposed to keep your eyes on the road, dimwit. Not stop in the middle of the road and ask me what I was doing. Asshole. What the hell were you doing? Scratching your balls, probably. Goodness knows they're bigger than your brain. Thank goodness I saw the reflection of your headlights on the road and I slowed down. Else I probably wouldn't be typing this post now. I can't believe you had the fucking audacity to blame me. I don't know whose right of way it was, and frankly I don't care. Having the right of way doesn't give you the right to run me over. You weren't remotely nearby when I signalled and attempted to change lanes the way everyone does.

You hate students on bikes? Well I hate you too, so we're even. If I wasn't afraid of the repercussions I would've done something to show you how scared you made me. Bloody hell 10 mins later and I'm still shaking. I hope you have as miserable an evening as I will now have because of you.

Gah I hate it when my Buddhist principles go on holiday.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Listening to: 'If There's A Rocket Tie Me To It' by Snow Patrol [A Hundred Million Suns]

So I'm listening to the new SP album nonstop these days. So good! It's like everything good from the previous two albums combined. Me happy. And with every song, I just picture what it would be like live. With the crowd singing along, the lights on stage...magic! But I digress.

I've had a good weekend. Shorty was over and we engaged in idle chit chat (and not a lot else). It seems like everyone we know is getting married these days. I mean what the hell?! Is there some kind of 'marriage virus' going around, making everyone want to tie the knot? What's the rush?

I'm way, way, waaaay behind everyone else on the relationship 'snakes and ladders' board. I mean is it even possible to slide down a snake before you've had your first turn? If it is, I'm there. So as disappointing as it is, I'm kinda resigned to the fact that I'm not going to make any advances in this game. I have no chance in hell of getting a guy to like me, so there's no point even trying.

Now it's easy enough to accept this and move on when I'm the only person concerned. However, it's a completely different story when other people get involved. And that's what I'm scared about. I'm going home in a month's time, after a long hiatus...and I'm sure (just like the last time) every one will expect me to be half way up the aisle. "Is there anyone special we should know about, PR?", "So how's the love life men? Any gossip? *wink wink*", "What?! You still haven't got a boyfriend? What are you waiting for child?", "So you'll be graduating soon no? Time to get married and settle down!"...sigh I could go on for hours.

All these years (I mean this isn't a new occurrence by any means) I've been able to fend off the interrogations with "Oh but I'm only [insert age here]!" or "Too busy to think about boys, Aunty!"...but I don't know if these will work any more, especially with most of my friends getting hitched. I'm out of practice on the whole 'making excuses for my existence' front. And it's making me dread the trip home.

So what can I do? I'm tempted to tell anyone who asks that I'm actually a lesbian and my girlfriend is a stripper at a lap-dancing club here. That should shut them up. But woe betide if they actually believe poor parents! I could retort with the "well find me someone then!" line, but then they actually might, and that's a recipe for disaster. After that I'm all out of ideas.

Sigh, combine this and my weight issue and I've got enough dread to make me not want to go home at all. AAAARGH.

Friday, November 07, 2008

OMG I'm so excited!

Listening to: Radio 1

I said I wouldn't miss it and I didn't:
PseudoRandom is going to see Snow Patrol at the O2 in March.

OK I'm going to go get on with the rest of my life now. Breathe, PR, breathe :-).

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Listening to: 'True Colours' by Eva Cassidy [American Tune]

I was around 6 years old when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. I knew things were changing in South Africa, but that was about it. And then the Berlin Wall came down. Again, I realised something big was happening, but nothing more. Same goes for the fall of the USSR, a year or so later.

I was 14 when Hong Kong was handed back to China. I was now old enough to realise what was happening, but not necessarily old enough to understand what it would mean for the people of Hong Kong.

There are many more defining historical moments that each of us will remember to varying degrees. Does Barack Obama's election count as one of those moments? I would say yes. All you have to do is take a brief look at the history of African Americans to know that these people have been waiting a long time for this. The election of someone who is not a white male into the White House is a massive step forward for the US.

But surely the whole world isn't having Obama fever just because he's black?! One the contrary, I don't think that has anything to do with it. The way I see it, there are two main reasons why people are so excited:
  1. He's not Bush.
    The Bush administration managed to cement the view of the US as cowboy country. It's all about shootin' them Injuns, y'all! Or Islamic extremists and non-existent WMDs, in this case. The world is sick of it.

  2. He's a thinker (and a talker).
    Now why is that such a great thing? Well think of the presidential memorials at (and near) the National Mall in DC. Ab Lincoln's memorial has the Gettysburg Address and the 2nd Inauguration Address on its walls. Jefferson's Memorial has quotations from his writings, including the Declaration of Independence and the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom. At JFK's grave at Arlington Cemetery, there's an engraving of his famous "And so my fellow Americans..." quote. Barack Obama has already made at least two speeches with quotations that have the potential to outlive him. There has always been a place for inspirational orators in US history. And Obama fits right in.
Personally, I wouldn't say I have Obama fever, but I am happy he won. Now I just hope he delivers.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Skinny people have issues too

Listening to: Radio 1

I called a relative back home today - they had lost a loved one a few weeks ago and my texts hadn't got through, so I called to sympathise in person. They've known me since I was waddling around in a nappy, so it was nice to talk to them. Until, of course, they asked the dreaded question.
So, have you put on any weight?
I mean what the...?!?!?! Why is everyone on this planet obsessed with my weight? I'm not dead or dying, isn't that good enough for you?!?!?!?

It's taken me long enough to get rid of my weight complex without having people making me feel guilty for not being curvy.

OK, rant over.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

So many thoughts, so little energy

Listening to: nothing

Ugh. Just as I recover from freshers' flu (well not totally, 'cos I've been sniffling steadily for the past few weeks), I manage to catch the bug that's doing the rounds in the department. Two and a half days of moderately high temperature followed by a stomach that can't digest anything. Why is my immune system so absolutely - for lack of a better word - shit? Sigh. Maybe I need to start taking my vitamins again.

I'm going to try and pen down the things on my mind, just so that I don't feel completely useless (in reality, I just want to curl up in bed).

So first of all, the Black Kids concert. Oh wow, what an experience. They were excellent (as was Ladyhawke, who was supporting - she's so shy!). The crowd, on the other hand, was nothing like I'd ever experienced before. Now I've been for a grand total of 4 concerts (including this one) so I'm not the most experienced out there, so please excuse my ignorance...but moshing? crowd surfing? I thought these were the stuff of legends? Apparently not. And worst of all, the partakers were all under the age of 16. Yes, sixteen. I felt so out of place. There were some others who looked like they remembered the 80s, but not many. The funniest part (in a tragic sorta way) for me was during the changeover, when they had music playing in the background. All the kiddies were singing along to the Mystery Jets' "Two Doors Down"...but when that was followed by INXS' "Need You Tonight", it was the senior citizens' time to shine. And yours truly knew the words to both songs. Talk about being in limbo! But yes, the concert was fab, and I even splashed out on a fancy Black Kids t-shirt!

Next up is the Brand/Ross phone call fiasco. I'm not gonna explain the whole thing but the link gives a time line that should explain everything. Personally, I can't stand Russell Brand. I don't think he's funny. And I definitely don't see anything attractive about him, so I just don't understand the hype. Jonathan Ross, I dislike to a lesser degree. I've seen his chat show a few times, and while I don't find it as entertaining as Jay Leno, it's not unbearable. Does he deserve the rumoured £6mil salary? Probably not. But then I don't pay the license fee that contributes to that salary, so it doesn't overly concern me. What does concern me though, is the furore that this prank call thing has caused. As many people have commented before me, aren't there bigger things to be worrying about right now? The UK economy has shrunk over the past 3 months and if it continues to do so over the next 3 months, we'll officially be in a recession. In 3 days' time, the citizens of the USA are going to poke around in the future of the Western World. The UK apparently has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe. Aren't these the things people should be worrying about, rather than whether some overpaid DJ should get the sack for talking about his sexual escapades on the radio? Sigh I don't get it.

Third, is Quantum of Solace. Yay I saw it yesterday! Spent the entire afternoon trying to get my fever down so I could go. It was worth it :-). I guess I kinda miss the cheesy Bond, but in a way I think he's best where he is - in the past. The new Bond is more mysterious, more uncontrollable, and definitely more believable. Daniel Craig doesn't really push my buttons, but he's excellent as an enigmatic 007. And there's something about Olga Kurylenko that's quite cute. So yes, thoroughly enjoyable.

Hmm what else. Oh Snow Patrol tickets are out next week. I can't wait! And I have so much X Factor to catch up on, it's beyond funny.

OK now I'm pooped. Time for my soup :-(.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Listening to: nothing

So I'm just wondering (as I do when I'm rather bored) I missing out? Am I going to die an incomplete human being, simply for the lack of this experience? What's so great about it? I suppose it looks fun (and also a bit grotesque, to be perfectly honest). Is it something everyone enjoys? Or is it like Marmite (i.e. either you love it or you hate it)? But then apparently it's not as good as chocolate, so maybe I'm not missing much?

It's useless talking about this stuff with friends. Friends are programmed to lie whenever they think you're depressed. It's sweet of them and I love them for it, but it doesn't really help the situation. And I can't be bothered with the whole "some day my prince will come" nonsense. I mean who still believes in that Disney bollocks anyway?

This isn't a grumble about me being perpetually single (for once!). If there isn't a guy on this planet who sees how awesome I am, well that's my fault for being just too damn awesome :P. And I'm not about to become less awesome for it. No, this is just me thinking out loud. This is just me wondering if I would be the same person I am today, had I experienced more of what people in my age group generally experience - what you lot probably take for granted as part of growing up. I guess I'll never know.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

80's Poptastica* on my doorstep

Listening to: 'Paris Is Burning' by Ladyhawke [Ladyhawke]

I'M GOING TO SEE BLACK KIDS IN CAMBRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now where are my leg warmers?!

*OK so I know 'poptastica' isn't a word. But you know what I mean!

Jorge Cham is psychic

Listening to: 'Miniature Disasters' by KT Tunstall [Eye To The Telescope]

So I've previously alluded to the whole purpose of me doing a PhD. And I've also waxed lyrical about PhD Comics (if you don't know what it is by now, well shame on you). I thought I had become accustomed to Dr Cham reading my mind, but I have to say, his latest entry floored me.

Reasons for TA'ing
This comic is a continuation of a set starting with this comic

I mean how spooky is it that he uploaded this comic days after I decided that this is exactly why I want to teach? The proverbial light bulb switching on above a student's head is, for me, the most rewarding part of my PhD experience thus far. Successful experiments come a close second, but those are so few and far between that I've almost given up on the idea that I have anything to do with it! When one of my former supervisees told me that I was one of the best supervisors he'd ever had, I wanted to cry tears of joy (the fact was probably evident by my ear-to-ear grin).

Everyone has their own drug. Mine is seeing others improve their understanding, and knowing that I had something to do with it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We learn something new every day

Listening to: nothing

I was lucky today...I learnt not one, but two things! Firstly - don't eat peppery kotthu when you have a blocked nose, unless you want your nose to become extremely unblocked. I suppose the upside is that my nose isn't that blocked any more! Sigh.

The second is less of a life lesson. I was reading a random BBC article when I came across a term I didn't recognise - eugenics. So I did what I always do when my curiosity is aroused...I looked it up. How had I not come across this before? Crazyness. After reading most of the Wikipedia page, I decided that this is not something I could form an opinion on by reading someone's interpretation of the original text. Thankfully Cambridge is a fountain of knowledge, and there are plenty of copies of Sir Francis Galton's Hereditary Genius in the University Library, so I intend to borrow one at some point. Incidentally, I also checked the library catalogue for copies of Darwin's Origin of Species, only to find that one of the original copies has been missing since 1891...I found it quite amusing that the library has records from over a century ago :-).

So today has been all about discovering: discovering how much I don't know. Wow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Listening to: 'Stop This Train' by John Mayer [Continuum]

Stupid bloody freshers' flu. Aaaachchoooooooooooooooo! Nuff said.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sorting my life out

Listening to: 'Belief' by John Mayer [Continuum]

So this week has been all about sorting my life out. A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and suddenly I'm skipping (purely figuratively, I hope) down the road and smiling like a jackass. Blue skies do help, but the fact that I'm also sleeping better means than life is currently...good. As a friend said's about time :-).

So yeah. Firstly, OMFG how on earth can I afford to learn how to drive?!?!?!?! It's soooo bloody expensive. It must be done though; I feel a 'Daddy Dearest' call coming on.

I tried smoky eyes today. While I'm not sure if it was a success, I don't think it was complete failure either. I wasn't entirely convinced that smoky eyes would work on South Asian skin, but I think with a little practice, I can pull it off. Either that, or it'll be really effective Halloween make up!

I just got back from watching Brideshead Revisited. Don't you just love the cinematography in BBC films?! They manage to make England look so pretty! The same could be said for Matthew Goode's bum, I suppose ;-).

Hmm there are so many things to blog about! Nothing interesting, all just ramblings...but still. I read BBC News a lot while waiting for experiments to finish, and I recently realised that I've never really penned my thoughts on current affairs here, other than when specific incidents demand my attention. Which is a bit odd, considering that I do have an opinion on politics, religion and the like. I suppose that will have to join the increasingly long list of 'things to do'.

Oh and I've decided I need to find a man who can play electric guitar. I mean properly..not like a one trick pony. It's so sexy! I feel dreamy every time I listen to John Mayer's 'Gravity'. I know I'm kinda severely limiting my options here by specifying prerequisites for potential suitors, but hey, what have I got to lose? It's not like I'm fending off the masses right now :P

Oh well, enough for now. I think I shall go back to daydreaming along to John Mayer. Or maybe I should tidy my room. Hmm...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An ode to second chances

Listening to: 'The Heart of Life' by John Mayer [Continuum]
Find it in your heart take a risk
To have faith in those who have failed you those who need more time
In those who have lost their way those who know they can do better.

Find it in your heart give them a second chance
They might not be worth it
      ...but then again, they might.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Life's a bitch and then you die

Listening to: 'Long Hot Summer' by Girls Aloud [The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits]

So let's count. One weekend in June to see Shorty, and another day for a visit to the High Commission. One weekend in July for my cousin's b'day. One day in August for a concert in London. And that one day I took off recently. At the most, I've forgotten 2 days. So that's...7-9 days (including weekends) off in the last 4 months (I mean we're practically in October now). And you know what that means? For the remaining ~114 days, I have been in the lab.

Should it really take 114 days to set up an experiment? I don't know, but it has. And now finally, it seems like I've solved all the problems...except one: me. I put all my time and energy into getting my rig to work, and now I don't have any energy left (and not much time either) to actually use it. I'm spent.

If all goes well this week, I'll hopefully have the guts to tell my supervisor that I'm taking the weekend off and that he'll get the rest of the results next week. In reality I probably need a week to get back to normal, but no such luck. I just hope I can survive this week. Judging by my panic attack this morning, I'm not so sure.

All this for three letters at the end of my name. What a pathetic joke.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

These boots were made for walking...

Listening to: 'Something Kinda Ooooh' by Girls Aloud [The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits]

...and I mean these boots specifically:

Aren't they to die for?! And they're mine! Muahahahahahaha!

Sorry, I'm just really really happy with my purchase and I'm finding it hard to contain my happiness. For ages I've been looking for a pair of decently priced tan slouch boots that don't make me look like a 5-yr old trying to wear mummy's heels, and now I've found one. And I'm still (barely) within my budget. Score!

Friday, September 19, 2008

How Bored Thou Art!

Listening to: 'The Promise' by Girls Aloud [-]

Yes, still listening to GA...but it's no longer the dog's bollocks in my book. My newest addiction is...BeckyCam.

Let me explain. So the absolutely adorable Scott Mills hosts Radio 1's drive time show, with a team comprising himself, Chappers, Becky and 'The One That Doesn't Speak'. Scott's been recently obsessed with Pandacam, and decided that, well if people can spend ages watching giant pandas do nothing, they can surely spend ages watching a desk in the Radio 1 office. So a webcam was installed on Becky's desk, and it runs live from 6am - 7pm every day, and will do so until the end of next week. And there's a dedicated email address for people to get in touch with whoever's sitting at the desk at that time.

I haven't laughed so much in ages. DJs and various other employees of Radio 1 take turns to sit at the desk and scribble 'hello' messages (and other random comments, such as "yes I do need a haircut") on a whiteboard to whoever emails in. From a marketing point of view, it's an amazing ad-machine, with all the DJs making use of the whiteboard to plug their respective shows. Also, the webcam's only been running for 3 days and we've already had the Pussycat Dolls, Dita von Teese and James Morrison doing 'BeckyCam' sessions. Pamela Anderson was a right royal cow and refused.

Some people have commented that it's similar to the 24/7 broadcast of Big Brother, but I don't find Big Brother addictive at fact I find it repulsive. BeckyCam, on the other hand, is A-MA-ZING. I've emailed in a few times now, and it's quite exciting when you can see somewhat famous radio personalities responding to your email. Yes I know, I'm easily pleased.

Anyway you can catch BeckyCam here. As far as I'm aware, the live stream is only accessible within the UK, but the highlights are accessible from anywhere.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh dear.

Listening to: 'The Promise' by Girls Aloud [-]

OK so I'm one of the few that doesn't hear the likeness to the theme song for Blankety Blank. But never mind that...I can't get it out of my head. What is it with me and Girls Aloud songs?!?!?! Sooooo infectious. The credibility of my taste in music has long been flushed down the loo, but this is worrying. That said, GA have shown an impressive versatility uncommon in 'processed-pop' groups. And they're not devoid of talent. And they've managed to get five decent studio albums out, so we know they have staying power. OK I give in. Here's 'The Promise' by Girls Aloud.

Long live Britpop!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lady of leisure

Listening to: 'Miss Independent' by Ne-Yo [Year of the Gentleman]

An amazing thing happened today: I took the day off! Yessir, I stayed at home! Did 'normal' things like laundry, trimming my nails and tidying my desk. Despite the work-related stress I'm experiencing, I feel extremely calm today. Looking after myself has a soothing effect, I think.

Apart from household chores and personal grooming, I also had a look at a few Sri Lankan blogs. I'm not one of those who spends hours on the internet reading blogs, but it was quite interesting to see what other people are saying and doing. It also made me feel a little closer to Sri Lanka - I feel strangely removed from that place I call home (but I'll leave that discussion for another time). It seems that SN has caused quite a commotion in the Lankan blogosphere, and suddenly people all over the place are questioning their attitudes towards carnal desire. The reactions are quite amusing, to be honest.

I've also been looking at clothes. I mentioned recently that I've started to enjoy shopping, and it doesn't seem to be a passing phase. My wallet should be worried, but so far I think it's under control. My relatively non-existent wardrobe sense seems to have hit a stumbling block though: what does one wear in Autumn? I'm not talking of the picturesque Autumn where leaves of amber and red pave the streets, but a British Autumn, in which the streets are adorned with mud, puddles and, well, more mud. Grey is the only colour in abundance, which is depressing, to say the least.

I think I'm also at risk of being far too imaginative with my wardrobe, and overdressing for day in day out in the lab. I guess that's what you get when you look to Glamour magazine for inspiration! Cambridge, in fashion terms, is, well...frumpy. It's a student town, and student chic is typically skinny jeans, t-shirt, paisley-print scarf and ballet pumps, which isn't really my thing. To be honest, I don't know what my 'thing' is. I don't have a particular my outfits tend to be neither here nor there on the style scale. It's not helped by the fact that I have difficulty finding things that suit my non-existent figure. Honestly, a plank of wood has more curves! Sigh.

Anyway yes, I'm becoming far more feminine in my attitude towards fashion. I'm treating it as a hobby, along with blogging. An expensive hobby, I have to admit...but we'll see if that becomes a problem.

I'll leave you with the video for 'Handlebars' by Flobots. I think the video is awesome, and I am loving the trumpet!

OK me go sleep now...back to the lab tomorrow :-(.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Listening to: 'Honeycomb Child' by Natalie Imbruglia [Counting Down The Days]

DISCLAIMER: I am very tired and stressed and my head is all in a muddle, so this virtually unedited post might not make much sense. It is what it is: a braindump. I'm hoping it'll help me get some sleep. You have been warned.

Sleep. Where has it gone? I used to be able to fall asleep in 5mins flat and the next thing I know, it's morning (and way past the time I'm supposed to wake up). No such luck any more. Toss, turn, flip, curse, over and over again until the alarm goes off, and then I'm so tired I can't get out of bed. I do get some sleep, just not as much as I need.

Why did Rafa lose? Waaaaaaah. And I couldn't even watch. Stupid bloody PhD (more on that later). At least it was Andy Murray. Only Federer and British players (and Sri Lankan of course, but let's not kid ourselves here) should be allowed to beat Rafa, if at all.

I'm sick of Sainsburys microwaveable meals. I want a nice steak with chips and peas. Or maybe mash instead of chips. And it should be on a plate. Not in a stupid floppy plastic container which looks too much like a bedpan.

Who was the bright spark who decided that some girls should feel the fires of hell in their lower abdomen every month? Must be a man. And why the hell can't other girls understand? Aren't women supposed to be beacons of empathy? What nonsense. You asked me how I was feeling, woman...don't roll your eyes when you don't like the answer. Grrr.

Why aren't the computers in my lab connected to the internet? Is our IT officer that scared of chemicals? They won't bite, you know. They might burn, asphyxiate, and maybe with careless usage, kill you, but they won't bite. Yet.

Pumps. I hate pumps. Actually scrap that. I love pumps. Especially HPLC pumps and peristaltic pumps. They might just save my life. Or they might not. How many weeks of work have I lost because of this stupid HPLC pump? It's a stupid piston pump, how complicated can it be? Very, by the looks of it, and very expensive! So whatever you do, PR, don't break it! Erm....too late.

What I definitely hate, is PVC. It's absolutely useless! What relevant experiment could I possibly do at room temperature? Oh and silicone tubes aren't designed to withstand any pressure...says the manufacturer. Um dude, if a tube can't withstand pressure, it can't be used. Ah right...that explains why my experiment wouldn't work.

And my supervisor. My glorious supervisor. Actually he's being a gem so I won't diss him. But my supervisor meetings could easily be uploaded on youtube with the following subtitles:
"There's a fault in my rig, dear Supervisor, dear Supervisor
There's a fault in my rig, dear Supervisor, a fault.
So fix it, dear PR, dear PR
So fix it, dear PR, fix it."
AAAARGH yes I know it needs to be fixed, but I was kinda hoping you'd help me figure out how!

And who is the annoying, selfish, ignorant housemate of mine who's been raping our bandwidth so much that the ISP has decided to throttle our connection to silly slow speeds until 11pm every day? I can't believe I have to wait till I'm supposed to be going to sleep to catch up on X Factor.

I am bloody sick of that new Verve song. I wish they'd stop playing it on the radio. And what is with Katy Perry's faux lesbianism/let-me-turn-every-guy-on-with-a-stupid-song-about-snogging-another-girl? It's the same processed bubblegum pop that got Britney into the limelight. Big deal. But omg live lounge tour. Can't wait to hear Snow Patrol. And Girls Aloud, seeing as I'm Cheryl Cole's newest biggest fan. Oh and the new-ish Black Kids song...what's it called...something like "look at me when I rock witchoo". So American Apparel, it's ace! And I'm liking MGMT too.

Oh and I wish Sarah Palin would shut up. "I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country." Yeah whatever, anyone outside the US believes that. The same way no one outside the US believes that you were not made VP candidate in an attempt to steer Hillary groupies away from Obama. I can't believe these people are some of the most influential people on this planet.

And apparently the world will end tomorrow with the LHC experiment. I can think of plenty of reason why that would be a good thing. Why are people so scared? We're all gonna die at some point. If we all die, then no problem no? No war, no famine, no AIDS, no need to fix my experiment...see, all good!

I'm tired. And no I'm not PMSing. I'm just stressed. Work is consuming my very being. I don't feel sociable. This is my only outlet. I just want to crawl under a rock until I've figured out how to fix my experiment. I'm scared to try out my ideas 'cos I'm scared they won't work and I'll be disappointed. And I've got a cold. Hopefully not flu. I don't think I could deal with falling sick right now.

Oh wow this is a long ramble. I'm gonna go try and sleep now. But now I'm hungry again. I wanna cry. I want my mummy.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The fun just never stops

Listening to: 'Take Back The City' by Snow Patrol [A Hundred Million Suns]

Oh yeah. They're back. While I missed the world exclusive first play on Zane's show last night (I was stuck in the lab sans my radio, trying to glue together a polypropylene syringe and a PVC tube...don't ask), I've been fortunate enough to hear it thrice on the radio since then. The new Snow Patrol single will be available for download on the 13th of October, and the album will be released on the 24th (I think). The website has a audio snippet which I'm playing on loop at the moment...and I love it more with every listen.

Not satisfied with joining the Snow Patrol mailing list and subscribing to the website RSS feed, I'm checking the website every day for news of tour dates. I was too lazy to get Coldplay tickets, I am not missing Snow Patrol!

BTW n, this is all your fault :P

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Prejudice is nothing to be proud of

Listening to: 'The Combine Harvester' by The Wurzels [Adge Cutler & The Wurzels]

You may remember I mentioned a while back that I was digging deep into my personality and doing a bit of springcleaning. I imagine if you've read more than a handful of my posts, this fact will probably be obvious to you, but I've found that one of my major peeves is being judged. So in the spirit of chucking out bits that I don't like about myself, and not doing unto others what I would not have done unto myself, I'm trying to rid my personality of prejudice.

I suppose I should clarify what I mean by getting rid of prejudice. I don't mean not having personal preference. I don't mean not having an opinion. The prejudice I'm talking about has its roots in intolerance and insecurity. There's nothing wholesome about it, and that's why it's gotta go.

Walk down the main street in your town at around noon on a Saturday. Look at everyone around you. Try to avoid forming an opinion about any of them. Maybe it's just me (although I highly doubt it), but it's a lot more difficult for me than it sounds. A myriad of thoughts can enter our minds, including the following - "OMG WHAT is she wearing?!", "Oh wow, he's massive!", "Hey she's skinnier than I am, awesome!" (or 'fatter', depending on whether you're trying to gain/lose weight), "Ooh he's fit, but look at the minger he's with!", "Oh god she looks like a right cow", "Ugh...people, get a room!" - and so on, so forth.

Would we say any of these things out loud to the people concerned? I know I wouldn't. So what's the point in thinking them? Are we subconsciously trying to make ourselves feel better by looking down on others? Do we actually think that we're so absolutely perfect in every way that we can afford to criticise other people for such superficial things as looks and fashion sense?

I've come to think that a lot of people make choices in their lives, and then look down on everyone that doesn't follow suit. If someone likes a genre of music that we dislike, we say they have bad/weird/some-other-suitably-negative-adjective taste. If someone's wearing something that we wouldn't like to wear ourselves, we say they have bad fashion sense. We label high street shops by the clientèle they cater to, using the words 'preppy', 'chavvy', 'mumsy'...none of which are meant in an affectionate manner. Why is it that if it's different, it's worse? If it's different, why can't it be just that...different?

I stress that I'm not criticising anyone who finds themselves unintentionally described in this post. I'm not trying to climb to some moral highground where I can preach about the virtues of not having prejudice. I have indulged in all of the above and more, so if at all, I'm criticising myself. It's just that since actually looking at the situation, I can't see any purpose. And if there's no purpose, then I might as well throw it out.

So that's what I'm doing. Every time something judgemental comes to my mind, I say "oooh being judgemental, are we?" to myself (not out loud, of course), and move on. It'll take some time, but hopefully I'll be able to condition myself so that I don't judge people on their appearance, the same way I wouldn't want them to judge me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm turning British, I think I'm turning British, I really think so

Listening to: 'Those Sweet Words' by Norah Jones [Feels Like Home]

I know, I know, it doesn't work as well without 'Japanese'...ah well.

So yeah. I'm feeling strangely patriotic towards Old Blighty. I realised it on Friday when talking to someone at work about Team GB's amazing performance in Beijing. I recall saying...
"Yeah I heard the 11.30 news and [...pause...] Britain's gold medal tally has gone up to 12!"
Why the pause? Well I was going to say "our"...but it felt weird. So I had to say "Britain's"...but that felt weird too. Nothing like it should've felt, because I am truly proud of Team GB. Not just happy for Britain like I'm happy for Jamaica that Usain Bolt is superhuman, but proud, complete with the warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.

It's been a weird Olympics for me. The Olympics just don't feel the same without my grandfather around...he used to be glued to the tv from start to finish (understandable, considering he was at the Munich Games in '72), with me by his side. So I wasn't expecting to be all that keen on this one. But then I read about Blake Aldridge's disgraceful post-dive comments, and I felt a pang of sympathy for Tom Daley. But then I thought maybe that's just 'cos he's a cute kid. But then the medals started coming in thick and fast, and I found myself grinning at my computer screen while reading the news (yeah, don't ask). Maybe it's because I think the UK lets itself down when it comes to sport. Maybe it's because I think the UK is too quick to criticise her sportsmen and women. Maybe it's just glory supporting. Or maybe it's because I'm starting to really think like a Briton.

I think Radio 1 has also had a lot to do with it. Listening to the radio every morning provides a brilliant insight into the life of the average British adult. The obsession with BB and X Factor, summer festivals and the weather...all part of British life, and I've come to appreciate it. I don't think I can ever bring myself to say 'cheers' when I want to say 'thank you', and you won't see me downing pints any time soon, but the rest, I can manage :-).

I think too many international students pass through the UK without being able to appreciate the life here...especially in Cambridge, where you can go for days without seeing someone who qualifies as being 'British'.

Six years is a long time to settle into a place, but I think I've finally settled in enough to call Britain 'home'. And no, don't worry...I'm as Sri Lankan as I always have been, and nothing will change that. But I am feeling a lot of love for Great Britain right now. I could end with Hugh Grant's monologue from Love Actually, but that might be a bit too cheesy :-).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Any Dream Will Do (will it really?)

Listening to: Radio 1

So, the fifth series of X Factor has begun. I've always paid minimal attention to X Factor, catching up on youtube, reading the related articles on the beeb, and so on. This time though, I'm keen to follow it properly. There's something exciting about watching raw talent and realising that one of these people might be the next Leona Lewis (the first UK female solo artist to enter at #1 on the US charts).

But then, it's not always 'raw talent'...sometimes it's just raw pain. There's only been one episode and we've already seen some truly tragic performances (if you can dare to call them that). I admire these people for their guts, but who on earth told them they could sing?!?! Surely they've seen previous episodes of X Factor - did they actually think that they were as good, if not better, than previous contestants?

One of the auditions is being played to death on the radio, purely for its comedy value. Thanks to Annie Mac and Chris Moyles, I won't be able to get this deluded boy's 'rap' out of my head for the rest of the week! And so I figured, why should I suffer alone? Here are Ant and Seb, for your viewing and listening (dis)pleasure.


Can I also just say that Cheryl Cole looks lovely and she makes Dannii Minogue (the fourth judge, not in that video) look old and washed out.

I'm sure that Ant and Seb are not going to be the worst audition that we see this year. That said, the best, is also (thankfully) yet to come.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I have a thing for billionaire superheros...

Listening to: nothing

...'cos they are so. damn. fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

OK so I know I'm a little late in checking out The Dark Knight, but better late than never. The movie finished 25 mins ago and I'm still catching my breath. I think that has got to be the most engaging movie I have seen in a long time, if not ever. Call me psychopathic, but I found Heath Ledger's Joker scary, unpredictable, intriguing, and somewhat endearing. An amazing performance, to say the least. This film definitely lives up to the hype.

I'm not gonna mention any spoilers, but if you haven't seen it already, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?!?!?

I used to be a spidey-girl. I didn't like Batman 'cos he didn't have superhuman powers...he was just a regular guy with lotsa gadgets. But there's something about Christopher Nolan's Batman that I'm starting to like. Same with Iron Man, really...although that's a completely different type of movie to this.

Sigh, but at the end of the day, I think we all know why The Dark Knight scores high in my books...

Tony Stark, say hello to Mr Bruce Wayne. Yummmmmmmmm.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Introspection is a bitch...

Listening to: 'Come Dance With Me' by Diana Krall [From This Moment On]

I am 25, and I have been for over two months now. Usually, I get the pre-birthday blues and rant about it (see here and here). I thought it would be the same this year (there's something inauspicious about breaking with tradition, wouldn't you say?)...but surprisingly, I didn't have anything to say. Maybe it's because I was preoccupied with a well-timed weekend getaway to the Lake District (which was fantastic), or maybe it's because I had a lot on my mind that wasn't related to my birthday. Or maybe it was just the fact that there was nothing planned in terms of celebrations. I dunno. Doesn't really matter, I suppose.

What does matter, in my eyes, is the introspection that's begun since my birthday. I'm not sure if one of my previous posts was an adequate indication, but I've been thinking a lot. About myself. And I'm not sure if I necessarily like what I've found. It's not something I'm eloquent enough to explain...but I think anyone who looks deep enough into themselves will probably find bits they want to chuck out or change.

That said, introspection is a bitch, but then you grow. And hopefully, that's what I'm doing now. I'm spring-cleaning my personality: chucking out the rubbish bits, changing the bits I can, and learning to love the bits that are here to stay. There's something to be said for respect and acceptance - you can't expect to get it from others if you don't get it from yourself. That's not to say that it's ok for others to treat you like shit because they don't matter. And it's not a case of 'if you believe you are great, everyone else will believe it too', which seems to be in line with most of the advice I get. Instead, I think it's a case of realising that you're worthy of respect and acceptance even when they don't seem to be coming from those around you. It's realising that if someone you care about isn't nice to you, it's not your fault; that the fact that they don't appreciate you doesn't mean that you're not worthy of appreciation. It's realising that you are no more fallible, and no less worthy, than anyone and everyone around you.

It'll take time, I know. I've already slipped many times in the past two months. But I'm trying. Better late than never, I suppose.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

(Un)Rul e (y) Brittania

Listening to: 'Ai No Corrida' by Rhythms Del Mundo [Rhythms Del Mundo, Cuba]

I just saw this article about two drunk British women who had tried to open a cabin door mid-flight on BBC. Wow, they're sure helping to cement the reputation Britain has for being a nation of alco hooligans. What I don't get is, why? Why does Britain have this reputation? Why is the country full of knife-wielding teenage chavs who spend their days and nights getting drunk on Tesco value vodka? Why does the UK supposedly have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe? Surely issues like juvenile delinquency and poor sexual health should be more common in less developed countries? Why is it that with so much opportunity for success in this country, a considerable number are pissing about at home and fudging benefit claims so they can drink the Treasury dry?

Why am I more bothered about this than the British themselves?

Monday, July 14, 2008

How do you like your tea?

Listening to: '4 Minutes' by Madonna, ft. Timbaland and Justin Timberlake [Hard Candy]

I take mine with two sugars, no cousin takes hers with milk, no sugar. To each her own. Some guys like good ol' fashioned missionary-style...Max Mosley likes BDSM. To each his own. Or not, as the present case may be.

The News of the World (I refuse to provide links to trash, Google it if you must) got footage of the FIA boss engaging in a role-playing S&M encounter with five prostitutes, and decided it was their duty to expose it as a 'sick Nazi-style orgy'. Judging by the descriptions I've read, there's no dead give-away that the role-play was Nazi-esque (they spoke in German, yes, and Mosley was a 'prisoner'...but there was no reference to Jews, and no Nazi symbols). Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't...but I don't think anyone can say without a doubt that it was. I believe in 'innocent until proven guilty', so I'll assume that it wasn't.

There are two things about this media exposé that bother me. The first, is invasion of privacy. Yes, Max Mosley is famous. Yes, he is in a position of responsibility. Are his extra-marital activities anyone's business but his and his wife's? No. Should we be concerned that he's getting cosy with prostitutes? I don't think so. I don't condone the behaviour, but it's his private life. As long as it doesn't affect his performance as FIA president, I don't think it affects the general public. There are plenty of men who've engaged in extra-marital activities while being in public office...have we persecuted them? No. So why Mosley?

This brings me to my second point, which ties into the intro to this post (yes, there was a purpose to the 'tea' analogy). BDSM may not be my cup of tea (hehe), but it's not my place to judge those who do enjoy it. What gives the NotW the right to call the incident 'sick'? Who are we to judge other people's likes and dislikes? As long as all parties involved are consenting adults, they shouldn't be judged.

Personally, I think the NotW's reason for bringing in the Nazi angle has more to do with Mosley's father (fascist union founder Sir Oswald Mosley), than anything else. The real issue (as I see it) is the tabloid portrayal of the BDSM scene as something deplorable, disgusting and unbecoming of a respectable official. It shows a level of ignorance and prejudice that one wouldn't expect in this day and age. It shows a lack of respect to those who choose to engage in BDSM, and a 'la-la land' view that all officials are examples of 'model' human beings.

Mosley is suing the pants off the NotW for invasion of privacy, and I think quite rightly so. Some would say that a man who's been cheating on his wife with prostitutes shouldn't be allowed to sue the people who found him out, but I think his fate regarding his infidelity should be up to his wife to decide (hint: she should divorce him and ask for whatever he gets from the payout ;-) ). Anyway, we shall see.

Mojo? What's that?

Listening to: 'Let's Dance To Joy Division' by The Wombats [The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation]

Scene I: Buying a doughnut at the Krispy Kreme outlet at Victoria station -
Him: "Hello, how are you today?"
Me: "Fine thanks, and you?"
Him: "Oh I'm fine, better now that you're here!" (...CRINGE!!!)
Me: " how much is a doughnut?"
Him: "That'll be £1.20 and a smile, please"
Me: [smiling on the outside, cracking up on the inside]
Scene II: Checking out clothes (yeah right...) at the Abercrombie & Fitch store -
Him: "Hi, how are you doing?"
Me: "I'm fine, thanks" [smiling on the outside, drooling on the inside]
I am such a muppet. A smart girl would've told the Krispy Kreme guy that she'd give him a smile if he gave her a free doughnut. What did I do? I paid him £1.20 and gave him a smile (because I couldn't keep a straight face). A smart girl would've told the very friendly (and drop-dead gorgeous) A&F shop assistant that she was looking for a pair of jeans and needed some help with the various styles. What did I do? I grinned like a complete jackass and giggled my way out of the store. A smart girl would've thought nothing of these two incidents. But in my case, the following thoughts were running through my mind -
"OMG did I just get hit on?!?!"
"OMG he's gorgeous. Turn away so he can't see your face!"
What is wrong with me? Why can I not muster up the courage to talk to fit guys? Sigh. I'm not just a muppet; I am a mojo-less muppet. Sigh and yes, I do go to the A&F store when I'm in London, just to check out the guys. There, I said it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Vamos Rafa!

Listening to: nothing

Undeniably the best tennis match I have ever seen. Arguably one of the best tennis matches the world has ever seen. Undeniably two of the best tennis players I have ever seen. Arguably two of the best tennis players the world has ever seen. And thankfully, at least one of my hopes was realised.

Wimbledon would not be Wimbledon without rain delays, and well there'd clearly been far too much sunshine this year, so the gentlemen's final had to have not one, not two, but three rain delays.

Roger Federer is possibly one of the greatest tennis players ever, and for someone who hadn't dropped a single set all the way up to the final, losing in straight sets just wasn't an option now, was it? And so we had the third set tie-break. And the fourth set tie-break. And thanks to Rafa missing his first two Championship Points, a fifth set. But it was Rafa's day, and he managed to turn the fifth set into a contest of 'who could hold serve the longest'. The winner was Rafael Nadal.

6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-7(8-10), 9-7. What an epic. I had my fingers and toes crossed for pretty much the entire match. I am knackered, but extremely happy. Commiserations to Roger Federer, who I think is still the best player in the world. Congratulations to Rafael Nadal, who has shown that he is a winner not just on clay, and that he is improving his grass court performance with every match he plays. And hats off to them both, for providing us with such an entertaining final, and for being such great sportsmen, both on and off the court.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The lady doth shop too much, methinks.

Listening to: Radio 1

Two pairs of shoes and a pair of cropped jeans. In one afternoon. Now that might seem like nothing for a 25 year old girl. But this is someone whose wardrobe consists of 90% hand-me-downs, 5% gifts and 5% sale purchases. I think over the past 3 months, I've spent more on clothes and accessories that I had spent in the preceding 3 years. And it's not like I have the space for any of it either!

This. must. stop. Or at least slow down. I need to save, not spend!

That said...I am quite pleased with my stash :-)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I've got Wimble Fever, and there ain't no cure

Listening to: 'Back To Black' by Amy Winehouse [Back To Black]

And so here we are: the final four days of Wimbledon. The most glorious Grand Slam of them all. And apart from yesterday, the weather's been perfect for tennis (apart from the wind, perhaps). This is so unlike Wimbledon! Still, who am I to complain?

The gentlemen's singles have gone pretty much to plan, apart from bad boy Safin beating the crap out of Djokovic. To be honest, it'd be foolish to assume that Federer's gonna walk all over Safin in the Semi...but then we are talking about Roger Federer, the greatest player of this decade, possibly longer. Attitude-wise, it's gonna be like McEnroe v Borg all over again (or so I've heard). I'm hoping for another Federer v Nadal final, and this time I'm going to be rooting for Rafa. Yesterday's annihilation of Andy Murray was so clinical, it was unbelievable. If anyone can challenge The Fed, it has to be Nadal. Vamos Rafa!!!

The ladies' singles, on the other hand, have been turned on their head. Maybe the Beeb spoke to soon with this article about Serb dominance of the circuit, but now we're left with the Williams sisters (unsurprising really), Elena Dementieva, and the proverbial giant-slayer, Zheng Jie. I really don't want to see another Williams v Williams final. I mean all credit to them, they play well...but it's like watching a men's final! The women's game used to be more graceful than the men's, and I was grateful for that. The Williams girls are anything but graceful. However, the only way I see any chance of a more interesting final is if the wildcard can continue her amazing run. Beating Serena Williams will not be easy, but I think Zheng Jie has more of a chance than people would care to admit. C'mon Zheng Jie!!! (I guess I don't need to say that I think Venus is gonna tear Dementieva to shreds)

So there we have it. Rafael Nadal and Zheng Jie - my hopes for Wimbledon 2008. And if that doesn't work, Roger Federer (which wouldn't be so bad) and probably one of the Williams sisters...*groan*.