Sunday, January 31, 2010

Whistling loudly under the stars

Listening to: Radio 1

Another music post! This time I'm gonna focus on electronic pop. I'm currently loving Ellie Goulding. She's 23, from London, and she recently topped the BBC's Sound of 2010. Why does that matter? Well have a look at the past nominees - I'd say she's in good company. She's also just won the Critics' Choice award at the Brits. Her first single Under the Sheets was great, but I'm loving Starry Eyed even more...

Next up is Example. According to Wikipedia he's been around for a while, but I've only just discovered him. I've heard one other song of his that I wasn't that impressed by, but this one is a definite 'night out' tune...woo!

And to finish it off, 3OH!3. Their debut single Don't Trust Me was good, but this new one with Katy Perry is ace, for two reasons. First? Well it's a good song. But second, and most's the reason I can now whistle! Yeah I've never been able to whistle. I do everything right and just end up making a fool of myself. But no more! I was happily singing along a few days ago and suddenly realised I was actually getting the whistles properly! Ah so happy.

So yeah, three tracks I'm really liking at the moment. I have a feeling the next genre I cover is gonna be folk. Stay tuned.

P.S.- Sorry about the title :P

Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy birthday bestie!

Listening to: 'Why Don't You' by Gramophonedzie [Swingin With The Fishes]

Just a quickie 'cos I'm currently up to my eyeballs in an essay about teaching techniques...but today marks 4 years since I started blogging. So happy birthday, my darling blog. You are one of my bestest friends :-).

To celebrate, here's an absolutely awesome track currently playing on the radio. Swing house FTW!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Listening to: 'Starry Eyed' by Ellie Goulding [-]

My brain is about to explode. There's a lot I want to blog about - not necessarily related to the election results (though I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't feature at some point) - but I've got no time. What with the teaching, the essays for my course, the thesis that's supposed to be on its way to being finished (but is nowhere close), the performance in one and a half weeks' time (that I couldn't be less prepared for if I tried), and the complete and utter joy that is Glee (currently my only source of eye candy, can you believe it?!)...I've no time for contemplation. At all. Sucks, don't it?

And you know what else sucks? Thinking back on your trip home...thinking about your family, friends and the island life and being thankful that you were there...and then thinking about all the other stuff you encountered, and being thankful that you left. I'm not ashamed about how I feel (I promised myself last year that I would accept every part of me) but I am sad. Sad that those ugly social elements exist, sad that I'm old enough to notice them but not mature enough to remain unaffected, and most of all, sad that I've been away long enough to know that I don't belong. An unconditional love for Mother Lanka runs through my veins but at this time in my life, there is an aspect of her culture that's not a part of who I am.

My words will probably come across as self-righteous to those of you who live in SL; don't get me wrong - there's a part of me that wishes I hadn't left home at 19, just so I'd be less traumatised by what I've that effect my mother says that living in Britain has made me soft, and she's probably right. But then at the same time, another part of me is thankful that I escaped the well, 'cos the bird's eye view has taught me a lot more about the world and myself than the frog's eye view ever could've.

I've blogged about feeling disenfranchised before, and by and large it's only elicited flippant remarks that only serve to cement my opinion. And as I enter my late twenties, with the need for security and stability, and the desire to 'belong' as strong as ever, this disconnected state does not bode well for my future contentment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In your hands

Listening to: Radio 1

As I type this little post up, millions of people in the Motherland are enjoying a half-day off at home after placing their votes. I witnessed a lot of election-related madness during my trip home, from the larger-than-life cut-outs of MR (someone's got serious ego issues, man!) to the baseless, irrelevant personal attacks on him from supposed SF supporters (does it really matter that he's not smiling in that video? It's an election campaign, not a L'Oreal ad!). But all that is pointless now.

In a way, I don't really get what the fuss is about. The election's been hyped as one of epic proportions, but is it really? Is this as big as Mrs. B vs JR? Chandrika vs Gamini's widow (after everyone else had been bumped off by the LTTE)? I don't know. But then again, maybe this is the first time during an election that I've been part of the 'political activism' generation. Maybe this is the first time during an election that social networking and the internet have been employed. Maybe we'll only know how 'epic' it was once it's over. I don't know.

What I do know is that for every corrupt official, there is a 'civilian' that corrupts him/her...the politicians we've seen so far may be monsters, but they are, in part, the monsters we have created. Every human being is corruptible, and corruption is as much the fault of the 'corruptor' as it is that of the 'corruptee'.

What I also know is that our success as human beings, a nation, a determined not by what happens to us, but by how we deal with all that happens. So this is a message to those of you in Sri Lanka who are eligible to vote (seeing that as an ex-pat, I have effectively relinquished my birthright) - know that today you have played a part in the future of our country, and know that you will play a part in the future of our country tomorrow; your responsibility to the Motherland does not end with the cross on the ballot paper...indeed, the future of our country is in your hands - not just today or tomorrow, but every day.

May the Noble Triple Gem bless our country and all those who love her.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Narcissism 101

Listening to: 'Kings and Queens' by 30 Seconds to Mars [This Is War]

Those of you who know me might recall that I flew into the UK two weeks ago. You might also be aware that I spent the first two nights in London, before making the dreaded trip back to Cambridge. So what did I do on the Sunday I was there? Sleep? No. Sightsee? No. Shop? No. Gossip? Well, yes I suppose, but that's not the answer I was looking for. Let me tell you.

It all started with an email from Shorty back in November. Something about a free photoshoot she had signed up for, and whether I'd go with her. The minute I saw her email, I thought "ooh like the one Scrumpy did ages ago!" but I couldn't remember the details (in retrospect, I probably should've dug up her blog post at that point...oh well, you live and learn). Now I was interested, but finding a date that we were both free was tricky, and the only date we could find was...yes, you guessed it - the day after I was due to land.

Fast forward to the weekend in question. My flight from Colombo was delayed by over 3 hours due to bad weather in London, so by the time I landed at Heathrow it was 10.45pm on Saturday. Did you know that Heathrow is completely empty at that time of night? There were three very sleepy Immigration Officers on duty, but there was hardly anyone else around. The baggage reclaim hall was in complete darkness, except for the area near the belt carrying our bags. It was kinda spooky! Anyway it was about 2am by the time I got to Shorty's, had a chat, had a shower and got into bed, and I was shattered. Still (and this is probably a good thing), the jetlag had me up pretty early the next much so that I had to force myself back to sleep about three times! When it was finally time to get ready, I managed to create three 'outfits' from the contents of my suitcase, and we set off through snowy London to the studio.

The first thing I noticed was that there were no South Asians on the staff, and that worried me. No, it's not a racial thing, but Westerners are notoriously bad at matching make-up for South Asian skin tones, and I didn't really wanna end up looking like a circus freak! Oh well, too late now! After many forms and a free hot chocolate later, I was introduced to my make-up artist. I found myself observing how she had done her own make-up, and I was relieved. You can get a good idea of a beautician's style by the way they groom themselves, and her make-up was very subtle, and accentuated the features she already had...a good sign. She took me to her fancy workstation and we discussed what kinda 'look' I was hoping for. And then she tilted my chair back in order to get to work! After a brief panic about not being able to see what she was doing until it was too late, I told myself to let the expert do her job.

And what a job she did! I had to convince myself that it was still me I was looking at. She had used hot rollers on my hair - something I've never done, and damn it looked good. And the I have really bad skin, but I couldn't see any of it! That's not to say she had caked it on (seriously, mac foundation is absoflippinlutely amazing), but you couldn't see any of the scars. It was incredible! I felt beautiful.

So then I met up with Shorty again (whose 'expert' had done the most gorgeous hair and eyes for her), and we waited to be summoned by our photographers. Man, now I know how a model feels. I lost track of how many times the phrases "beautiful!", "gorgeous!", "give us a smile...there, I knew you could do it!" were directed at me. I had to do all sorts of bizarre poses, and I didn't feel daft at all! I'm usually quite conscious about how my arms look and which side of my face is showing and stuff but everything just felt so natural! Which is really odd, considering I was posing...but still. Chatting with Shorty after the photo session, I realised it wasn't just me.

What we also realised was that we don't actually know many 'girly girls' in the UK. We were asked to recommend the service to our friends, and between us we could only think of a handful of names. And even with those names, quite a few were put down simply 'cos they're girls...not 'cos they'd ever imagine doing anything like this. Sigh. That's what you get for being an engineer, I guess.

The final leg of this adventure was actually seeing the photos they had produced. OH. MY. GOD. We looked awesome. I mean yeah there were a few photos where my right arm looked more like the leg of a frog, but overall the smiles looked genuine and the poses looked natural. And of course a little bit of airbrushing helped with the complexion ;-).

And then came the 'sales pitch'. I felt my heart plummet through my ribcage while I listened to the lady explaining the easy payment scheme...yes, it was expensive enough to warrant paying by installment. I fought hard with my conscience and ended up going for the cheapest option that would still be good-ish value for money. The saleswoman clearly felt sorry for us, 'cos she threw in a few extras at no cost. I've just received the photos and I must say, it's worth it. It's a once in a lifetime thing and the only time I'm gonna look that good...and my parents love the pics. I don't think I'll be buying any clothes for the rest of the year, but at least I'll have these photos!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bad hair and deadly fungi

Listening to: Radio 1

Last night was the National Television Awards show on ITV. I didn't see it, due to the minor issue of not having a TV. But I did manage to catch the most important part of the whole night (after Cheryl Cole's outfit, of course) on youtube this morning. And of course I simply had to share it!

Sigh. I've blogged about JEdward before (here and here), but this is taking it to the next (unbelievable) level. I feel sorry for Joe that he had to share a stage with these guys, but then they were performing with Vanilla Ice. ROFL. ROFL. ROFL (yes I'm still laughing). The funniest part is, JEdward weren't even born when Ice Ice Baby was originally released!

Anyway, I was listening to the song, and I actually listened to the words.
All right stop, collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Flow like a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop? Yo! I don't know
Turn off the lights and I'll glow
To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal
Light up a stage and watch me jump like a candle.
It gets better...
Dance, go rush the speaker that booms
I'm killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom
Deadly, when I play a dope melody
Anything less than the best is a felony
Love it or leave it, You better gain way
You better hit bull's eye, The kid don't play
If there was a problem, Yo, I'll solve it
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it
I'm sorry, "I'm killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom"?!?!?! Is this dude for real?!

Anyway this is a bit of a nonsensical post, I know. I haven't had time to sit down and blog about my trip...hell I'm still lagging behind on my emails! And don't get me started on the photos. All will be sorted soon, hopefully. Until then, you're gonna have to put up with random observations like this. Lucky you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gleeking Out

Listening to: 'Don't Stop Believing' by 'Glee' Cast [-]

Um yeah. So Glee fever has come to the UK. We're a season behind the US or something, but who cares. I was warned that it was cheesy and OTT, but seeing as Fearne Cotton and Scott Mills haven't been able to talk about anything else for the past week, I had no choice but to watch whatever I could find on 4od.

And now I'm hooked. Yes some of the characters are quirky and incredibly OTT, but the music is absoflippinlutely amazing and Cory Monteith who stars as the jock-turned-niceguy Finn bears an uncanny resemblance to a really cute supervisor I had as an undergrad (what? you never fancied any of your teachers? Riiiight). And it's so lovely to see Gina...I mean Jessalyn Gilsig as Terri. I loved her in Nip/Tuck, and she doesn't disappoint here. Also, anyone else think that Mr Schuester (Matthew Morrison) looks like a hybrid of Justin Timberlake and Neil Patrick Harris? No? Just me? OK then.

But yeah, eye candy aside, I think what's really drawn me to Glee is nostalgia. Most...nay, all my fondest memories of school are somehow related to the school choir. The early morning practices, the funny vocal exercises, the weird throat-soothing concoctions (warm honey with garlic? seriously?), the complicated harmonies, the retarded costumes...they were all worth it when we sounded good. And oh boy did we sound good.

Unlike the Glee club in the show, we weren't 'misfits' (well I was, but the others weren't). The choir was, in effect, a clique. The clique that sang English songs with boys *shock horror*...ah the joys of going to an all girls' government school! And we didn't always sing just what we were supposed to. While waiting for practice to start, we'd harmonise to anything that came into our heads - show tunes, pop, name it, we'd harmonise it. For me, singing is the ultimate form of expression, and choir was the perfect outlet.

I did join the chapel choir when I came to university, but somehow it wasn't the same. Learning hymns for a service was too short-term for me. I wanted something I could sink my teeth into, something I could feel passionate about. Something I could connect with, and feel good about when it came right. Chapel choir didn't provide that. There were societies and groups that did, but the time commitment required was more than I was willing to put in, and after two failed auditions, the dream died. I suppose singing on the blog is my way of regaining some of that passion, but it seems rather inadequate at times.

Anyway if you don't know what all this Glee stuff is about, this clip should be a taster.

Oh to be a part of something like that again. Sigh.

P.S.- Finn from Glee and Simon from The Inbetweeners...what is with me and guys playing school kids on tv? Chee what a paedo.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Touching base

Listening to: 'Mr. Man' by Alicia Keys with Jimmy Cozier [Songs in A Minor]

I'm back. My first thought was BUDU AMMO SEETHALAIIIIIIIII!!! ("omg it's so frikkin' cold!!!") but I guess I probably should've expected that, considering how these 'Arctic conditions' have made it into the news. I'm gonna have to revisit the central heating settings in the flat...this 'wearing leg warmers on my forearms' thing isn't something I think I can maintain.

But yeah, on with the post. I hope you all had a drama-free beginning to 2010. For what it's worth, I'm gonna call it 'twenty ten'...yeah I'm cool like that. I just noticed I've been saying "yeah I'm cool like that" a lot. I wonder where I got it from. Hmm. Anyway, as I was saying (or not), my holiday was...a mixed bag really. An emotional rollercoaster; but then could I expect anything less from a trip home? I'm too tired to elaborate right now, but expect the next few posts to focus on various observations from my time in the Small Miracle. This post was only ever supposed to be a way to stave off the jet lag while the pasta boiled, and now that that's done, so am I.

But be warned: the evil babushka is back.