Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Superman Returns

Last year, "Superman" Dwight Howard won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, and one of his highlights was this.





This year, could it get any better?


Maybe.......






I love this game..

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Choose Your Illusion


Let me start off this post by apologising to any disgruntled Guns 'N' Roses fans that were misled by my blatant take on the iconic album "Use Your Illusion". Yes, all seven of you, I'm sorry. Now go cut your hair and grow up.


Just last week we all witnessed a part of history as the United States swore in their first African-American president. Sure, they sort of botched the whole oath taking bit, but the hard work of showing the world that any person irrespective of race or the colour of their skin can rise to any level in their society, even that of president, was done. Yes, in America, the land of opportunity, you can become anything. Surely, the world is becoming a better place.


You wish.


As much as we'd like to say that every person has equal rights and opportunities, unfortunately the truth of the matter is the world is just not built that way. You see, in this our new found utopia, appearances still do matter. How else can you explain Anna Kournikova's super stardom, despite her lack of playing talent? Or the fact that Danica Patrick was already famous and successful before she won her first race in three years last April, thanks mainly due to FHM and Sports Illustrated? Then there are the Jonas Brothers. I had the misfortune to see a live show of theirs on TV, and I can only assume the horde of screaming girls all had tiny headphones that were playing good music, because they certainly weren't getting it from the stage.


Yes, appearances matter. And really, is that such a bad thing?


Think about it for a moment. Anyone that has ever been on an air plane would have noticed that flight attendants are always tall, slim and generally good looking. This provides the perfect platform for the 'other' women to say "Hey! We fat people have rights too! How dare they only hire slim girls??" How dare they indeed! You go girl! Fight for your rights to flight!


But wait a minute. Are they really hiring them simply because their body types are appealing to men? Or is it because if you aren't slender, you wouldn't be able to manoeuvre yourself and the food cart up and down the aisle without rubbing up against the unsuspecting aisle passengers? Ooh, the short people are protesting too? Sure, let's see you put luggage in the overhead bins when you stand at a towering 5 foot zero!


The same goes for men as well. You don't seem me throwing a fit because I'm only 5 foot 9 inches and hence pretty much automatically disqualified from pursuing a career in basketball. But no, the protest people probably would raise the VERY valid point that they should have a league for vertically challenged basketball players too. It's only fair. I can just imagine the millions of self-respecting men that would want to sign up for this kiddies league. Boston Celtics? No - I'm a Boston Leprechaun!


Then of course there is the whole case of the media. Ah yes, the media. Whenever there is something wrong or evil or slightly bizarre happening in the world, chances are that in some way you can lay the blame on the media's door step. Yes, the treadmill adverts show only super fit models on them, but that's because they want to SELL them. If an overweight person sees an ad for a treadmill with another overweight person on it, they'll immediately realise how absolutely ludicrous they would look on it and never even think of exercise again! Yes, fashion models need to look pretty; their ultimate goal is to sell what they're wearing, which may be a bit hard if you look like a cross between Tina Turner's grandmother and Gollum. Yes, receptionists need to look pleasant to the eye because who wouldn't like to be received by a charming person with a good smile? It's not personal, it's just business.



At the end of the day, perhaps the biggest illusion is that we can be whatever we want to be. Sure, let's fight against racism, sexism and all other forms of cultural and religious biases. But let's not get lost along the way and try to elect a Muslim pope.





Friday, January 23, 2009

The Basketball Analogies


I love analogies. A good analogy is like a beautiful tour guide - even if you don't understand her properly, you still get the general idea; and if you don't, you still tell everyone how wonderful she was.


From the above statement, I guess it's pretty clear that while I may have a fascination for the art, I myself am no Van Gogh when it comes to.... oh hell, basically my analogies suck! But I make do with what my rather controlled imagination gives me.


I love basketball, with a passion. And just like every other person that is passionate about something, to me life is somewhat similar to basketball. So here are a few basketball analogies, just off the top of my head.


1. The Next Shot Is Going In

If you're a shooter, one of the biggest problems you can have in a game is if your shot is not falling. You get open looks, you find your spots on the floor, but no matter how hard you concentrate that ball just refuses to go in. Too long, too short, too much arc - suddenly you're thinking about things you never did while taking a shot. Should I get inside more? Am I jumping enough? Should I try the other side? In your desperation to try and get the shot in, you start reinventing your entire shooting motion in your head or on the fly, trying things that aren't helping you in any way.

So what do you do? If I may steal a line from 'Rocky Balboa' - "shooter's shoot". If you're a shooter, you have to believe the next shot is going in before it leaves your hand. You need to keep throwing that ball up, because the only way to break even after missing your first five shots is to make the next five.

How often in life do we find people that quit after one failure, one wrong decision, one 'air-ball'? Just because it doesn't work out for you now, or tomorrow, or the next week, doesn't mean you stop trying. Unfortunately we live in a world that is brought up on instant coffee, instant noodles, fast food and the the internet. Everything has to happen NOW. No one wants to wait it out.

Maybe we should learn to keep shooting.

2. Taking One For The Team

'Driving the lane' is when a player aggressively attacks the basket by dribbling straight in towards the hoop, and is sometimes the most effective way of putting points on the board. See, if you are fouled in the act of shooting, and the shot goes in, you get to take a free throw which is worth another point. If you make the free throw, you end up scoring 3 points from one possession. So if you think about it, you could either take the chance of scoring three points by shooting the ball from the three-point line which is 23 feet away, or you could be brave, drive the lane, get banged up among the 'trees' (the taller players that are usually positioned around the rim) and take one for the team.

While there's nothing wrong in shooting a 3 pointer, when it comes down to the wire, sometimes it's best to take the route less travelled to ensure that no matter what, you either make the shot or you at least draw some contact to stop the clock and go to the free throw line to make some easy points. Win - win situation.

I have these phases in life where instead of manning up and getting my hands dirty, I rather sit away from the action and take the long-distance option. Sure, perhaps I can solve the problems that way too, but more often than not the only way to make sure things get done is to get inside and get hurt. As long as the 'ball' goes in.


3. The Last Shot

It's the fourth quarter. You're down by one point, and there's only seconds remaining in the game. Call a timeout, gather around the coach. There's time for just one shot. Coach looks at you. Your heart stops. He's going to draw up a play for you, you know it. You're going to be taking the shot. "Alright, draw this defender out, drive, and throw it out to X." He turns to your team mate - "X! Make this shot, boy! You can do it!"

When this happens, there are two trains of thought that can go through your head. One is, you can be relieved. Phew! No responsibility on you! All you got to do is get the ball safely to X, and he can make or break us. And if it doesn't go in, it's not your fault. The second is, you can be upset. Damn, so coach doesn't believe in me?? He thinks I can't make the shot?? Doesn't he trust me??

Both trains of thought are wrong. While I was playing ball in college, we had one guy on our team who basically carried us on his back with his amazing shooting ability. He had a great shot, made good decisions, and was the star of our team. To top it all off, he was my best friend. So did I get bummed when he was the go-to guy on the team? Sure. I wish I was the one making the game winning shots and being trusted with the ball when we were down, but the bottom line was that wasn't my role. We had a shooter, a good shooter, and his role was to take these kind of shots. As for being relieved at not being chosen, sure; but every now and then these plays break down, and suddenly you're the one with the ball in your hands thanks to good defence from the other team. And if that happens, pressure or no pressure, you need to be mentally ready to take that shot.


Often I've met people that have an attitude of "why him and not me??". I'm sure those of you that work will come across the over-enthusiastic co-worker that seems to get all the big incentives, big assignments, and the big accolades. The fact of the matter is that we all have our roles. In any team, be it on the court or in the office, the only thing that matters it that the team wins. If our pride and ego issues get trampled on the way, that is of lesser consequence.



In closing - check this video out. One of the greatest buzzer beaters ever!





Monday, January 12, 2009

Letting Go

The last time I posted a song, it seemed to do pretty well, even if it was only among the ladies (and even if some of those ladies accused me of fishing for compliments - shame on you!). Still, since in the blogosphere (just like in real life), women pretty much run everything, I see no harm in posting another vid. That and I'm not in the mood to write anything right now.


Yes I'm lazy. Sue me.


Here's another Jeremy Camp song, covered by yours truly. It's called "Letting Go".


Click here to download the song instead.

video



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Restored

Today I have been restored.


Those of you who know me personally will probably know what I'm talking about. If not, you will soon.


For those that don't, suffice to say that today I won a huge victory in my life. Years of fighting, struggling, despair and hopelessness - it is now finally over.


This song by Jeremy Camp says it all.







"Restored"

All this time I've wandered around searching for the things I'll never know
I've been searching for this answer that only will be found in your love
And I feel it
My heart is being mended by your touch
And I hear it
Your voice that's shown my purpose in this world

[Chorus]
You have restored me from my feeble and broken soul
You have restored me

I've only come to realize my strength will be made perfect at your throne
Laying all reflections down to see the precious beauty that you've shown
And I feel it
My heart is being mended by your touch
And I hear it
Your voice thats shown my purpose in this world.

[Chorus]

[Bridge]
Laying all these questions down youve answered what I need
Youve given more than I deserve your making me complete
You give me all these open doors I'm humbled at your feet
To show me what youve done for me.

[Chorus]

All this time I've wandered around searching for the things I'll never know.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Some People Just Want To Watch The World Burn

If I were to start blogging about serious things like politics, I would surely be shot down in a hail of virtual gunfire because my knowledge on the subject is microscopic at best. Meanwhile, in the real world, real people are being shot down by all too real gunfire, in broad daylight.


Recently I read an interesting article about how the attacks on the MTV studios was an act of patriotism. That term is being liberally tossed around with every passing day, as if the desire to see an end to the killing is in some way a measure of our love for the country.


How naive are we? The MTV studios are burned after they focussed on the suicide bombings in Colombo instead of the inroads the army had made in Kilinochchi. In the same way, Lasantha Wickramatunga, a vocal newspaper editor that has openly accused the government of corruption, is shot and killed while on his way to work.


In both cases, the government has 'appointed a committee to investigate'. Meanwhile, the US has released a statement saying that they "deplored the latest in a series of criminal attacks on the independent media in Sri Lanka and stressed that a free press that is not subjected to intimidation or violence was an essential component of any democracy". Why is it that the outside world seems to show more emotion and outrage at this than our own people?



This is the part where some smart-ass is going to question my patriotism. Screw you. I love my country. I may complain about the blatant corruption, the disorganisation, the lack of planning, the lawlessness, but I love this country. It is my home. I spent more than 5 years in India, and despite the fact that they are light years ahead of us in almost every avenue, they can never be us. There is a unique quality that I have seen only in Sri Lankan's, and despite the chaos that our nation seems to be descending into, that will never go away.


I hope.


Meanwhile, in the words of Collective Soul -


"The World I Know"

Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on.
I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don't know why.

Are we listening?
Hymns of offering.
Have we eyes to see?
Love is gathering.
All the words that I've been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one.

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down.
'Cause it's the world I know.
It's the world I know.


We are winning the war, but are we losing our soul......?


Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 And Counting!


And so the year 2009 has arrived, amid much pomp and splendour. After waiting a few days to make sure that the world didn't somehow unravel due to the hitherto unknown Y2K9 bug, I set about writing this, my first post for the new year, with a slight shrug of the shoulders and a muted "Hmmph".


I don't come from a superstitious family, and yet I suppose every family has some family member that is at least slightly inclined to the science of coincidence. For me it's my mom, who despite her fervent denouncement of all things to do with superstition, still has one or two little beliefs that she prefers not to put to the test. If I remember right, when your left eye lid flutters it means that you're going to meet an old friend, and if your right eye lid flutters then there's a half price clearance sale within a 2km radius. Or is it that the price of gas is coming down? Rubbish really, but then again, my right eyelid has been fluttering sporadically for a while now.


However, I'm sure it is a common belief that with the dawn of the new year, it is best to start it on the right foot. Many people start the year going to various places of worship, others decide to put their resolutions into immediate effect, and for a few days the world is - a better place. The same can be said for the blogosphere - I have yet to read a depressing post on kottu, and it's been four whole days! So as I type this post, I feel somewhat compelled to write a literary masterpiece that will blow your socks off as you read it, and leave you in tears of joy and awestruck wonder, followed by a solemn slow-clap to the sound of violins and harps.


Instead, I am going to make a list. Yes, a list. Seeing as the month of December is well behind us now, I think it's safe to post this - the top 5 annoying things about the Christmas season.


5. Christmas movies

Seriously, can anyone tell me a good Christmas movie? Why is that every year we have to be exposed to these ridiculous movies that either show how a some small poor family go through hardship and suddenly have a happy ending (Home Alone, anyone?) or there's some extremely cynical old man who is shown the error of his ways and becomes a modern day Mother Teresa just in time for Christmas. Then there are Christmas slasher movies. Gotta love them.


4. We don't know what a 'White Christmas' is!


I understand that you can't really make country specific greeting cards, perhaps due to financial reasons that are beyond me. But am I the only one who feels a little ridiculous buying Christmas cards dripping with pictures of snow and snowmen and then writing "Sri Lanka" on the envelope?! I mean, this is a tropical country, and though I don't expect people to make Christmas cards adorned with bikini clad surfers, you don't exactly see me roasting chestnuts over an open fire or stepping outside in my muffler and whatnot either.


3. Better late than never? Not always...


The whole point of sending a greeting card is to say "Hi. It's all warm and fuzzy out here, and we remember you and wish you the best of the season." Yet, in these times of financial depravity and penny counting, we seemed to have developed a rather ridiculous habit of 'greet-on-receipt'. Just after Christmas we received a large number of cards from people that we had sent cards to earlier. Obviously, by observing the date of the post mark, they have sent these cards to us only after they received ours. Let's just say it kills the whole 'Christmas spirit'. Scrooge.


2. I can live without the X, thank you very much!


I know that we live in the age of text-speak, and short forms have taken on hideous new forms that are as legible as a doctor's prescription written backwards (Shilpa, you take top honours here...!). Yet I fail to understand the need to 'shorten' the word 'Christmas'. Let me analyse this a bit: apparently, by calling it 'Xmas' we are cutting off one syllable and replacing it with one syllable, thus making it just as long as the original. And this helps us how?! Sure, perhaps while hurriedly typing out a Christmas mail you find the need to shorten out the word but in a Christmas card??? I wonder what's next - "X-tian Dior"??

1. Santa does NOT attend church


Firstly, I have nothing against Santa. I'm not one of those people who say "ooh Santa is actually SATAN spelt wrong!" But I fail to understand how you can incorporate Santa into a church service. We Christians celebrate the season because of the birth of Jesus, and every year we are reminded that the whole act of gift giving is only secondary to this. So I find it a little bizarre when after the Christmas service, we send the kiddies off to meet Santa. I won't be surprised if next year I hear this from the pulpit - "Amen. And now, let us end this service by singing 'Jingle Bells'. Please put on your little red hats now."


Ah. It feels good to vent, especially since according to some of my readers I've become all 'mushy' all of a sudden. Feel free to add to the list if you like, and have a fantastic 2009!



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