Saturday, July 31, 2010

Well, um, I wouldn't say no...Part er...

Listening to: 'Clair de Lune' by Philadelphia Orchestra [OST - Ocean's Eleven]

...three. Yes, I'm still going (here's one and two, in case you missed them).

"I bothered to listen at school; why didn’t the rest of you?"

David Mitchell is not my idea of good looking. Also, he's
David Mitchell (L) with his comedy partner
Robert Webb
snobbish, pedantic, and he whinges. A lot. But oh my, he's bloody hilarious. And I don't mean just on Peep Show, That Mitchell and Webb Look, or any of the other shows he's on. Even his interviews are hilarious (not sure if that's visible outside the UK - soz!). There's just something about him that makes me happy. Maybe it's that pathetic smile. Can I become a groupie? Do comedians even have groupies? I dunno. Anyway, yeah. ♥ David Mitchell. Maybe it's 'cos he's from Cambridge? Hmm.

"I came here to drink milk and kick ass…and I’ve just finished my milk."

Richard Ayoade. Well, specifically his character
L-R: Moss, Jen and Roy are The IT Crowd
Moss in The IT Crowd. How adorable is Moss?! I'm watching Series 4 at the moment (really really good so far) and I just grin like a jackass every time Moss is on screen. He's just And loveable. Aww. Maybe it's 'cos he's from Cambridge? Hmm.

"If we don't get served, I will be humiliated in front of the girl I've lusted after since she was eight."

Aww...sweet, pathetic Simon Cooper, off of
Simon in Series 1
The Inbetweeners, played by Joe Thomas. I ♥ Simon. So yes he's obsessed with that useless Carli, and yes he did puke all over her little brother, but he's so unbelievably nice to Will. Even when Will's being a complete 'briefcase wanker'. And he's so cute! In an 'I-have-way-too-much-gel-in-my-hair teenager' kinda way. He makes me laugh so much. Maybe it's 'cos he's from Cambridge? Hmm.

Actually, no. Cambridge has nothing to do with it (although I am very chuffed that I have some distant connection to these guys). It's just a coincidence that all three are alumni (the first two are past-presidents) of Cambridge Footlights, that well-known hit factory. If you think you don't know any other Footlights the names Douglas Adams, Emma Thompson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry ring any bells?

Anyway, this wasn't supposed to be a totally Cambridge-related post. I've recently (as of a few days ago) developed an obsession with yet another TV character. You know how I said the BBC worked some kind of magic with Mr Darcy and Mr Knightley, and somehow turned decidedly average men into absolute sexpots? Yeah well they've done it again.

"Because you're an idiot. No no no don't be like that, practically everyone is."

No I don't think he's good looking. But in his role as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC's absolutely brilliant Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch is pushing a lot of my buttons. Here's the trailer.

He's just so interesting. The arrogance with patches of concern, the extreme intelligence, the voice, the way his shirt fits just perfectly...I can totally relate to Molly Hooper. *sigh*

I've seen him in other movies (most recently, the equally brilliant BBC adaptation of Small Island) and there was nothing. And I enjoyed Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, but I didn't fancy Sherlock in that (despite how adorable RDJr is). So I dunno what it is. But who cares, I've got another two episodes (why only two?!) of this series, so I'm just gonna sit and enjoy him it.

Oh and is 'Benedict Cumberbatch' the most awesome name ever or what?!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Aberdeen Chronicles pt.2

I wrote this in my notebook on Sunday...(continued from here)

Listening to: 'Mardy Bum' by Arctic Monkeys [Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not]

1.50pm. I'm sitting on the train - the 13:50 East Coast rail service from Aberdeen to London King's Cross. I'll be reaching Stevenage at 20:53 (assuming there are no delays) and then on to Cambridge - I should be home by about 10pm.

I wanted to write another update from Aberdeen, but frankly I was having too much fun. I've had a wonderful weekend, full of exploration and matrimonial joy (not mine)...oh and babies (also not mine). Between the time I left Cambridge on Friday morning and the time I went to sleep last night, I'd taken 275 photos. They'll probably be whittled down to about 10 that are worth flickring, but still, it's been an excellent trip.

My verdict on Aberdeen can be summed up in three words:
  1. grey
  2. fishy
  3. seagully (yes, I know it's not a real word)
Oh and one more word:
 4.  omgtherearesomanygoodlookingmenhere!!! (what?! that's not a word either? bollocks)
I did a lot of walking around on Friday - about 5 hrs in total. My 'room' at the SYHA hostel was in fact a dorm with two bunk beds, and when I got to my room, the top two bunks were already occupied. I attempted to make small talk but my roomies were a tad unresponsive - they were pleasant enough I suppose, but the subtle-but-not-so-subtle-really rolling of the eyes when I told them I was from Cambridge was a bit of a giveaway. I txtd Shorty and we had a little laugh about it, and then I went to sleep.

Saturday was also fun but tiring, albeit in a completely different way. I hurriedly straightened my hair and painted my nails (which looked disastrous, but *meh*) and found my way to my friend's place. I got dressed while he went off to buy a new shirt (easier than ironing the ones he had, apparently) and once I was dolled up and ready, we made the 45 min taxi journey up to Crathes Castle for the wedding ceremony.

I love Sri Lankan weddings (except when I get pimped to all and sundry) but I must say, British weddings are growing on me. There were less than 50 people at the ceremony, which was in a quaint garden at the castle. The ceremony itself was simple and intimate, and the couple looked relaxed and happy. We spent a few hours at the castle - most of the guests sipping champagne, and me broodily gazing at one of the bride's colleague's one year-old baby.

After the couple had been sufficiently papped, we moved on to a nearby hotel for the 'wedding breakfast' and reception. The food was exquisite. The atmosphere, once again, was relaxed and happy. There was a quiz about the couple and their favourite songs, places etc...our table annihilated the competition and won some yummy chocolates for our troubles - I really think 'pub quiz person' is my new calling.

The reception was a good laugh. About 50 more people turned up, and there was a lot of merry making at the bar (or chatting/gurgling with the bridesmaid's 8 week-old baby, if you were me). The band was excellent - I've never seen a band that can perform Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Clash, Bryan Adams and a host of Scottish ceilidh dances with such ease and perfection...and I've never seen a man (the lead singer/keyboardist/accordian player) looking so incredibly sexy in a kilt! I watched the ceilidhs from afar, partly because I didn't want to lose my footing on the slippery floor, and partly 'cos I was worried about any possible wardrobe malfunctions. You'll be pleased to know there were no accidents.

So yeah, that was my weekend. Photos will follow. I'm not sure where I am at the moment, but I know we're somewhere between Dundee and Edinburgh - 1 1/2 hrs gone, 6 1/2 to go!

To be continued...

The Aberdeen Chronicles

I wrote this in my notebook on Friday...

Listening to: 'Like the Sea' by Alicia Keys [The Element of Freedom]

10.05am. 3 1/2 hrs done, 4 1/2 to go. I'm on the train, somewhere between York and Darlington. A few things are running through my mind:
  1. I love train travel in the UK. Especially when I have a window seat that's facing the back of the train. I dunno, there's something about relative motion that excites me.
  2. Man did I choose some awesome music for this weekend! So far I've had Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz, John Mayer, Alicia Keys and Florence. And Tinie Tempah. And I know there's some Plan B and Girls Aloud on the way at some point.
  3. Wow this train is packed. It's the East Coast service from London to Edinburgh, and I can't see a single non-reserved seat in this coach.
  4. I really need the loo, but the middle-aged gentleman next to me is busy checking facebook on his laptop and I don't wanna disturb him.

I've spent the past 3 hrs or so talking to Shorty, reading some journal articles (yes, I brought work) and playing with my camera. Oh and people watching (the lady in front of me is wearing gorgeous nail polish - I WANT!).
The 'almost-exact' route
(colour change = train change)

It's a beautiful day outside the train - blue skies with plenty of white fluffy clouds, and plenty of sunshine. I hope it's the same in Aberdeen, though I doubt it. Yes, that's where I'm headed. A batchmate from my undergrad days is getting married tomorrow, so I'm using the weekend to explore Aberdeen. It's the first solo touristy jaunt I'm doing since NYC, so I'm quite excited. There's something liberating about travelling and exploring alone.

OK I'm gonna stop now...another update from Aberdeen, perhaps. But what's this? miniha nidi ne! (the man's asleep!) How am I supposed to go to the loo now? Haiyo!

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why can't my body just behave?!

Listening to: 'Squealing Pigs' by Admiral Fallow [Boots Met My Face]

Blood tests and ECG tomorrow. I'm not worried...needles don't really bother me. And the ECG...well it's been about 15 years since I last had an ECG, and all I can remember is stickiness. Or was that an Echo? Meh. I'm rather desensitised to these medical thingies anyway. I just hope the tests are conclusive. In a weird way, I'd rather be told that there's something (minor, and treatable) wrong with me, than be told that I just have to 'live with it'. It's not that I have some unrealistic expectation of the scope of modern medicine, or a repressed death wish...but I'm fed up of inexplicable phenomena...I have enough of that in my own research, dammit!

And let's face it, I haven't really been doing a good job of 'living with it' so far. I can wear three pairs of socks and my feet will still be (literally) icy cold in winter...and I can wave them in front of a fan and sprinkle water on them and they'll still be red hot and swollen during summer. I can wear two pairs of thermal gloves and my fingertips will still go blue and hurt like hell in winter. And I can sit peacefully and sip water and do nothing else all day and I can still get palpitations. Hello, I'm 27...I'm not supposed to be getting 'old people' ailments. Gah.

Anyway, time for bed. I won't see my Dr till next week to discuss the results, and unlike in SL, the nurse is unlikely to let me bring the reports I'll just have to continue 'living with it' (or not) until then. Ugh.

P.S. For the initiated amongst you, yes I am a suspected Reynaud's case, but my Dr said there's no point doing all the tests 'cos the 'treatment' is just treatment of the symptoms. Joy.

I ♥ Admiral Fallow!

Listening to: 'Taste the Coast' by Admiral Fallow [Boots Met My Face]

I heard these guys on the radio during the T in the Park coverage, and today on the insanely cool Fearne Cotton's mid-morning show. I am in love with these songs!

I know I've been rubbish at regular blogging...will try and find something to blog about soon.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Well, um, I wouldn't say no...Part DEUX!!!

Listening to: 'Dangerous Animals' by Arctic Monkeys [Humbug]

Ha! And you thought I was done with my list of weird celeb crushes. Hell no. Let's pay another visit to the somewhat disturbed mind of your favourite evil babushka.

The 'Special' One

Liking the pensive look, José!
Yes I know he talks nonsense and I know he's old but...oh I dunno. What I do know is that he looks damn good in a suit. And I'm seeing shades of Jude Law. Maybe that's it.

Coach of the year

From manager to coach. Except this one's not really a coach. In fact, he's not even real. But the actor who plays him? Definitely real. There's something about James Corden that's just so...cuddly.
I'm not usually into 'cuddly' guys, but I see James Corden and I just go 'awwwwww'. Though not when watching the BBC Sports Personality of the Year sketch he did for Sport Relief. Then I was properly ROFLing. You need to check it out. It features a lot of my more conventional crushes - Jenson Button, David Beckham, Freddie Flintoff, *ahem* Gary Lineker and Tom Daley...

But yeah, a cuddly man who's hilarious...who can resist?

If you believe, you can achieve...innit?

Next up is one of James Corden's buddies. No, not his comedy partner Matt Horne, but the collaborator on his #1 hit single, Shout. Yup that's right, Mr Dizzee Rascal himself. I wasn't a 'fan' as such initially, though I thought Old Skool, Flex and Fix Up, Look Sharp were pretty cool. And then Obama became president. And Paxman decided to interview the 'coolest' black person he could find in Britain. And since then, I've been chanting "Dizzee for Prime Minister!" with the rest of them.

I don't really find him that good looking, but he exudes this fun-loving positive energy that just makes me feel good when I see him. And in case it wasn't obvious before, I am a sucker for boyish charm.

I'm Pro, I'm no intermediate!

And now, one of Dizzee's contemporaries. I'm really really not into tattoos, let alone tattoos on a person's neck...but I seem to be able to ignore them in this case. Again, he's not that good looking. And again, I have no idea why I fancy him, but I do. I'm currently loving this remake he and Lily Allen have done of Beats Internationals' Dub Be Good To Me. Lily Allen's a bit trashy, but she looks pretty with make up on, and I love her short hair in this video! And the scenes of them together...maybe it's the perfect height difference or the lighting or something, but I'm sensing some serious chemistry.

Random thought: he probably has the best dentist in the world. I mean check out this video...maaajor dental work alert!. I probably wouldn't have fancied him had I see him like this first. Good song though. Perfect reworking of Brahms' Hungarian Dance #5, and nice use of the meter from Forgot About Dre.

Alright, Treacle?

Ah...the love of my life, Scott Mills. Scott presents the drive time show on Radio 1, and to be honest, if it wasn't for Radio 1, I probably wouldn't have got so attached to any of these celebrities in the first place. But I digress. Scott's voice and his on-air personality are simply adorable (as is his face), and I find myself using his catchphrases in everyday life. I am obsessed. Which would be fine, except for the fact that crushing on a gay guy is a bit of a waste of time, no? *sigh*

So there we have it. Five more bizarre celebrity crushes. Will there be more? Only time will tell.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Listening to: Radio 1

I just finished watching an almost clinical (well, save a few unnecessary unforced errors and 2nd serves) Wimbledon Final performance by Rafael Nadal. Rafa is my absolute favourite and I'm thrilled that it was so easy for him, but I had kinda hoped that Tomas Berdych (who is actually quite cute, btw) would rise to the occasion. He did against Federer and Djokovic, but not today. He's got potential though, and as with most of the players on the tour, he just needs to work more on his mental game.

While I was screaming words of encouragement at the monitor, my mind went back to a time when I wasn't into tennis. Yes folks, believe it or not, there was a time when I couldn't stand the stuff. Or cricket, for that matter. Oh how things have changed.

I used to be really into my Premier League football. I was a steady Spurs supporter (two words: 'Gary Lineker'). Tennis, in my opinion (if you can count the opinion of a 9 yr-old, that is), took far too long. Realistically though, there was a deeper reason. My father worked long hours, and I cherished the time he was at home...but with Wimbledon on TV, he might as well have been at work. I still remember that famous '92 Wimbledon final between Agassi and Ivanisevic. I was in the middle of a very tough 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and I wanted Thaththi's help. But nooooo, he and Ammi were screaming words of encouragement at the TV (sound familiar?). Hmph. I can't remember why I went and sat next to them, but I did. And I followed the ball, and the cheers. And the scoreboard. Before long, I had grasped the basics of the game. And you know what? It wasn't that bad. In fact, it was actually quite enjoyable. Maybe I would learn to like this tennis malarkey after all.

Or maybe not. We moved back to SL in '93, and had no contact with tennis for a while (except through the papers). But then somehow, we managed to catch the 1996 US Open. I saw Pete Sampras play, and I was hooked. For a while at least...I briefly lost interest when Sampras retired, and it took the first of the Federer/Nadal encounters to reel me back in. Their rivalry, combined with the excellent BBC tennis coverage, has turned me into an addict.

Like I said earlier, tennis isn't the only sport that I learnt to love. Considering that I thought tennis took too long, you can imagine why I didn't like cricket! Again, the Ashes would steal my father from me, and it irritated me that he would rather sit and watch some weird moustached man (Graham Gooch) instead of playing Scrabble with me. Double hmph.

Fast forward to January 1996. I was in hospital after my surgery, and utterly bored in my room. As luck would have it, the TV in the room would only show one channel. The same channel that was showing Sri Lanka's infamous tour of Australia. I had two choices: try and follow the cricket, or die of boredom. And so I followed. I listened to the commentary, and tried to figure out what the hell was going on. I filled in the gaps by quizzing my father during visiting hours. And then I was discharged, just in time for the World Cup. The rest, as they say, is history.

So yeah, what started out as a way to have some quality time with my father, or to relieve my boredom, resulted in a lifelong love affair. And now I couldn't care less about the Premiership. Funny how things work out, no?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

It's all about the bird shit

Listening to: 'Self Machine' by I Blame Coco [The Constant]

So I was in London last weekend, and Shorty suggested that we try for Wimbledon tickets. For what I believe was the first time, Wimbledon was releasing a small number of show court tickets online every night, so we thought we'd give it a shot. Unsurprisingly, we missed out. We weren't willing to queue up at 4am, so we decided to drop by in the afternoon and have a snoop around, in case there were any return tickets. If there was nothing available, at least we could wander over to Wimbledon Common and lounge around in the sunshine.

We got to Wimbledon station just after 3pm, and decided to walk to the grounds. Along the way, we saw 2 Ferraris and at least 4 Bentleys! And OMG the houses! They were enormous! We were on proper 'rich people' road. No litter, no chavs, no nothing. Oh except for some incontinent birds, that is. We were happily walking down the road when suddenly one of my friends said "ha ha PR you just got shat on" and then almost collapsed in a heap of laughter :-|. Thankfully Shorty was far more sympathetic, and one wet wipe later, she had removed all traces of the poop from my head. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is what best friends are for - to wipe shit off your head.

So anyway, we carried on towards the All-England Club, chatting about how birds shitting on one's head was supposed to be lucky or something. Well, turns was! After walking for what felt like an eternity (actually only about an hour), we got to the starting point for the queue to get ground passes. The extremely helpful stewards told us that the wait would be about an hour, so we figured we might as well try our luck. We got our queue cards (I was the 12,745th person to join the queue that day) and hung about until the gates opened. When they did, we moved pretty swiftly - past the surprisingly clean 'toilet trailer' (the flush worked and everything!), through the airport-like security and on to the turnstiles. I think Shorty and I each gave a little squeal when we got our tickets...Wimbledon, baby! w00t! Dare I say I love having bird shit on my head? Hmm.

Since ground passes only provide access to courts 5-19, we missed Rafa, Andy Murray, Soderling and Sharapova. And the Williams sisters' doubles match. We did, however, manage to get up close and personal with a lot of other doubles matches. In fact we had pretty awesome seats for the first set of Sania Mirza/Caroline Wozniacki v Daniela Hantuchová/Cara Black. Mrs Malik and C-Woz played pretty well, but it was obvious that they were no match for Cara Black. The woman was amazing. Hantuchová just had to stand there and look pretty! Which she does anyway, to be fair.
[L-R] Caroline Wozniacki and Daniela Hantuchová: check out the different serving stances!
(click on image for corresponding fluidr page)
But back to 'my' experience of Wimbledon. We had a wander around the grounds - near the show courts (where we saw Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara), up onto Henman Hill/Murray Mound, and of course the now legendary Court 18. It's been a pretty special Wimbledon this year, hasn't it? Federer pushed for 5 sets by a random Colombian, Rafa pushed to 5 sets by a random Dutchman, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut mistaking tennis for test cricket...and that was just Week 1! Week 2 has brought its own surprises - Henin and Roddick out in the 4th round, Clijsters, Venus and Federer out in the QFs - and in almost all cases, the upsets have been caused by total nobodies. Unlike previous years where unseeded players would tremble at the sight of a big name, this year there seems to be this confidence, this belief that winning is an option. It's fascinating to see.

That said, some have crumbled. Like Tsvetana Pironkova against Vera Zvonareva, and Petra Kvitová against the mighty Serena Williams. And it's not just the inexperienced that freeze when playing 'the greats'. I think that's what happened yesterday with Andy Murray. He had definitely brought his A game, but so had Rafa...and anything less than a gutsy A+ is not enough to beat Señor Nadal on a good day. But what struck me as peculiar was Rafa's post-match interview. When being asked about Murray, Rafa praised his opponent and said he deserves to win a Grand Slam...the interviewer pounced on this and asked "so you think he can win a Grand Slam?". It's like he was seeking reassurance from the world #1. Why? We don't need reassurance from anyone that Andy can win a Grand Slam. We know he can...if only he believes it himself! It's an affliction of British sport - this lack of self belief. The influx of South Africans seems to have brought about that confidence in the cricket team, and they're doing well. But in almost every other sport - be it tennis, football or rugby, it's a big problem. All the talent in the world is insufficient if we're not convinced that we're good enough.

So yes, Andy Murray has to wait another year to aim for that coveted Wimbledon Final spot. And even if he does manage to work on that self belief, he'll need a lot of luck with the draw. Maybe some bird shit would do?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Take a picture (or 365?)

Listening to: 'Bang Bang Bang' by Mark Ronson & The Business Intl [Record Collection]

It is the 1st of July, and I am jumping on the 'Project 365' bandwagon. The coming twelve months are likely to be the most unpredictable I've had in a while, so why not, eh? Also, I feel like I've been neglecting my photography since of late. Not good.

Now I thought rather than just having a bog standard Project 365, I'd spice it up a bit - else I'd end up with 365 images of Cambridge colleges, no doubt. So I decided on some categories - one for each day of the week. And because I'm procrastinating, I've named them all using song titles. Behold!
  • Your Body is a Wonderland
    Well no, not yours...mine. Basically, a fancy way of saying 'self-portrait'. But not quite. The only condition is that some part of my body should be in the photo. It doesn't even need to be in focus - it just needs to be there. As someone with a very negative body image, it's gonna be an interesting challenge to depict my body artistically. But I guess if I can use this sack of bones to create art, it can't be that bad eh? :-)
  • A, B, C
    I got this one from here. Once a week, I have to find a letter of the alphabet in the world around me...but it shouldn't be a letter (that'd be way too easy). So shadows, clouds, trees, traffic jam get the picture. The idea is that after 26 weeks, I'll have an entire alphabet in photos. And then I can start again! lol
  • True Colours
    This one's easy; there just has to be a colour scheme - either one of the VIBGYOR colours, or B&W. And I'll repeat the colour schemes every eight weeks.
  • It's My Life
    Another easy one. This is possibly more along the lines of the 365 that most people do - documenting their 'day' for a year. This category might include my lab, my flat, stuff I'm cooking, my clothes...that sorta thing.
  • Earth Song
    Yeah they're getting a lot easier and more predictable, I know. Anything natural (and non-human) qualifies.
  • Mad World
    Why did I say 'non-human' in the previous item? Well, 'cos it comes in here. This one's anything to do with civilisation - people, buildings, machines etc.
  • Freedom
    And on the seventh day, I'll be slave to my mood and take whatever I want to take...or whatever YOU want me to take. Yup, if you've got any ideas, you can leave a comment either on this post or on the dedicated page, and I'll see what I can do.
So yeah, there we have it! I'll try and update my flickr every day, and the photo should appear on this blog too.

I dunno if this will be a really cool project or if I'll get bored, but either way, it's ok. The last time I had the same attitude to a 'project' was when I started blogging...and that was almost 4 1/2 years ago. So we'll see how things go.