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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekends And Women's Loos

Ladies and gentlemen, it has just dawned on me that I am in fact, living the dream. All you lesser mortals have been toiling away through the week, shouldering the burdens laid on you by insensitive bosses and unfair work conditions while throwing up desperate prayers to the heavens pleading for God to bring about the weekend sooner. Meanwhile, I can honestly claim that to me every day IS like the weekend. Mainly because my weekends are as dull and monotonous as the other five days.

Yes, I am bored, lonely, bummed out (or as Sabby put it, "jobless, money-less, lifeless"), and did I mention bored?

So in an attempt to spruce up my meaningless existence, I enrolled myself in a 6 month weekend course in HR and Organisational Behaviour. Despite my aversion to studies at the moment, I really couldn't see the sense in NOT joining this course, because at worst I'd slog for 6 months and scrape a pass, which means at least I'll have an extra line to add to my rather malnourished CV. Who knows, perhaps I'd make a couple of friends? Maybe feast on some eye candy? Join the institutes basketball team...? Alright, never mind.

Last Saturday was the first class, so I turned up all bright, early and clean-shaven. Our lecturer seemed like an interesting enough fellow, and I'm not saying that just because his name happened to be that of Spanish NBA player from the Portland Trailblazers ('Rudy Fernandez'? What are the odds?!). Not only did he present well, he also happened to be an engineer that diversified into the management field later on in life by pursuing an MBA. Inspiration indeed; I sat up a little straighter in class.

Twelve minutes later I was slouched again though. Sure, the material was interesting, (well, it wasn't snooze-inducing at least) but as predicted, the other 3 students said next to nothing in class. Yes, just three other students - lively student environment indeed, which meant that the first one hour went in the usual coaxing that lecturers tend to do with a new class. "Please, don't be embarrassed! Speak up! Even if you are wrong, it's ok, we're ALL learning!". Yeah, good luck with that.

Everything was going along quite boringly until the break, when while I was in the corridor I happened to see the guy from my class coming out of the ladies washroom. Before I could burst out laughing though, one of the ladies from the institute saw this and kindly pointed out that the men's toilet was down the hall. The poor kid couldn't have looked more embarrassed if he had been forced to take part in a wet t-shirt competition. He literally stammered something and ran away!

After witnessing that, I sort of mentally resigned myself to the fact that it was going to be a dull 6 months, where I was probably going to be the only one answering questions in class and possibly the only one understanding anything that was going on as well. I looked over at my three classmates and shook my head in disappointment.

However, I had underestimated the teaching abilities of my Spanish NBA players namesake ("ROO-DEE!" in arena-esque PA system voice). In an attempt to mix things up, he decided to ask less specific questions and make us write down all the possible answers, comparing notes after we were done. Surprise, surprise - it seems that while my classmates are severely lacking in the oral department (and perhaps in the 'reading large pictorial signs' department), they are more than capable of writing up a good answer. 'Rudy' wasn't the only person I had underestimated.

It seems to be a new fad these days to be a 'good judge of character'. We like to take pride in the fact that we can sum up a person after a few minutes simply by reading his/her body language and interpreting his/her line of thinking through the way they speak. We boast of a 'sixth sense' that tells us if they are 'good' people or 'bad' people, people we can be friends with or just acquaintances. Even a person's taste in music or movies suddenly becomes indicative of their personality and even their soul.

Are we really that easy to figure out? I'm sure we're not, and yet making a snap judgement about someone is almost a sign of your intellectual superiority, so we do it with reckless abandon. I wouldn't like to think that someone could 'figure me out' simply because of what I wear or what I listen to. Why should I assume that of other people? How many people have I simply discarded or ignored because they 'went to the wrong loo'?

How many have you?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Century: Looking Back

In commemoration of my 100th post, I thought I'd put up what is probably my first ever attempt at writing an article. I stumbled across it a few days ago and it seemed an apt way to bring up the century. Back in 2005 I was in college, and a friend of mine from the journalism college asked me if I'd like to write an article for the guest column of their bi-monthly newspaper. The paper was circulated within the university campus and was used as a training exercise for the post-graduate students of the college. Now, I've never been asked to write an article before, and I was naturally elated at the idea. So after a lot of draft posts and many complaints about me spending too much time on it instead of my studies, this was the end result.

So here I am, returning to hostel after a hectic and furnace-like day. I live on the second floor in the farthest corner of the building. On my roomward journey, I am struck by the familiar cacophony of music, sound and expletives. By the time I reach for my keys, I have already absorbed all forms of verbal abuse in at least 10 languages, a host of musical styles ranging from Boyzone to Black Sabbath, and some cheering from the TV room. As I sit on my bed, my first reaction is to reach for the remote control of my stereo and press the magical button marked 'play'. It seems ironic that after putting my auditory faculties through such a strain, I choose to flush my system with my own form of audio abuse. It was then that I got to thinking - why does music play such a big part in our lives?

No matter what age, race, class or sex, people are exposed to music from a tender age. Be it our parents singing lullabies or some dumb toy that plays a nursery rhyme when you wind it, music is one of our earliest sensory experiences. Growing up, we may choose to take interest in music, in artists, styles etc. By the time we hit our teens, each of us has distinguished some corner of the musical world that we identify with. It is quite common to find teens sharing music, ideas and opinions with each other, and now with the help of television and radio, a person has a world of musical knowledge at his fingertips.

But my question is, what is the big deal? What is it about music that can drive us to listen and sing along with it over and over again? Is it simply for pleasure, or is there some other more subtle appeal to it? Is our musical preference based simply on public opinion, or how 'cool' a group/singer is? Possibly. Perhaps we all need some place to start from. But where do we go from there?

Now don't get me wrong. I am not trying to be philosophical about this! But no one can deny that we do sometimes use music to either express or reflect our own emotions or our own character. Be it heartache or happiness or a plain "I hate you!", I am sure you can find some song, some tune, some chorus or some line that mirrors that emotion. Not only is music a vehicle for us to express our emotions, it also has the power to induce them. Simply put, sad songs make us sad and happy songs make us happy. We all have our own anthems, however small or insignificant they are. For example, how do students in MIT face sessionals month after month, with close to no preparation at all? Simple, for as their anthem screams, "In the end, it doesn't really matter!".

Well, maybe I'm going out on a limb with my last example, but it conveys the meaning that I am trying to impress. Music has a deep control over our innermost thoughts and emotions, processes that many learned men before us, and possibly many men after us, will never fully understand or decipher. And perhaps, that is its strongest appeal. Man has always been fond of mysteries, and surely there is nothing more strange and amazing than the mysterious way in which music speaks to our souls, soothing and stumulating at the same time.

To all you readers, thank you for your comments and opinions - they are all greatly appreciated!



Monday, March 23, 2009

Cry Me A River

As you can probably tell, I've become a bit lazy with regards to posting these days. For those that actually look forward to them, I apologise. It has been an 'interesting' time at home and I fear it affects my writing, and I'm sure you all know about my stance on cribbing online.

Don't worry, I have some of my usual random observations in the pipeline; it's just a case of getting them out on (paper?).

Till then, here is another cover which I worked on for a bit. I feel it could sound a lot better with some added instruments perhaps, as it is a bit of an experiment to say the least. Still, I hope you enjoy it.

Click here to download the song instead.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Refuse

I'm sure most people will remember this dialogue from the movie 'Gladiator'. A true good vs. evil situation, where the 'hero' gets to stare down his nemesis and show him that "it ain't over till it's over".

I wish life was that easy. I wish I could personify all the wrong things that have happened to me - and are happening to me - into a single individual. Especially right now. In my mind, my imaginary 'arch nemesis' would be a few inches taller than me, slightly bigger, exuding confidence behind his line of henchmen. Strong yet beatable, at least in my mind's eye. He has the numbers, all the right cards, and he smiles in victory.

What would I say......?

You know, it's funny. I have often wanted to quit. When you made me an outcast and a nobody, I wanted to quit. When you took me away from my home and burdened me beyond my abilities, I wanted to quit. When I failed, again and again and again until I lost count of the number, I wanted to quit. When you took away my friends and my brothers, I wanted to quit. When I was living alone among a thousand strangers, screaming at the walls and fighting madness, I wanted to quit. My parents told me to quit. You brought love into my life and tore it away from me. You pushed me to the brink, and just when I thought this was it, you'd find a way to drive me deeper still.

But I didn't quit. It was not a show of strength, rather of ignorance, for I didn't know how to quit. And when I weathered that nightmare of a storm, when through grace I survived all that and came out broken yet intact, you attacked me personally by taking away the sun. Then you attacked my family. You invaded my home, my sanctuary, and made it a house of lies, deceit, anguish and tears. You broke my family. But you will not break me.

I refuse.

I have bled too much, come too far, to give you the satisfaction of my surrender. All these wounds, all these scars, they'd all be for nothing then. Nothing!

So keep doing what you're doing. Take more people out of my life, till there is no one left. Break every pillar that I set for myself to rest on. Bring me to my knees and drive me into the dirt. I will not die.

Bring it.

If only it were that simple.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Watch Over You (Re-Post)

*Apparently blogger was being a bit of a pain yesterday and somehow managed to 'lose' my video, so I've uploaded it again. It should be fine now, thanks for letting me know about the problem.

When doing covers, it is inevitable that you be compared to the original. Which is why it's important to either put your own twist on it or be as good as the original.

Sadly neither has been accomplished here.

Still, I decided to put this up because this is one of my favourite songs, I really loved working it out and it's got very meaningful lyrics that seemed apt for me at one point in my life; so much so that I put them up as a post over here.

I strongly suggest you click here for the original and check out the band. Myles Kennedy is just a freak on vocals!

This is called "Watch Over You", by Alter Bridge.


Click here to download the audio if the video doesn't work for some reason.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

To Everyone That Hates Their Job

.... be more careful when you try to 'help' your boss.

Click here.



Friday, March 13, 2009

Dear RD

Apparently, three years ago today marked the beginning of the timeless and erstwhile ageless blog, "London, Lanka and Drums".

So to you, Rhythmic Diaspora, happy blogoversary!

Though I am a relative newcomer to the blogosphere, RD has been around since what seems like the beginning of time. From humble beginnings, he now pretends not to boast of his burgeoning readership and semi-celebrity status (only Soixante Neuf can claim that tag - and perhaps The Maharajah), while at the same time showing us all that you can be middle aged and still talk about farts.

It seems RD is currently in Singapore, and now finds himself in the strange predicament of being closer to home and yet further away from the internet. Yes, only RD could manage something like that.

Here's wishing you many happy years of blogging ahead.

And also, here's hoping your daughter K stumbles upon your blog through some fateful chance; I can only imagine the carnage she would create for you, and the utter glee in which your faithful readers would swallow up the resulting blog posts!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Australia Taught Me

So in an effort to break from the rather mundane routine that my life has now become, my parents suggested I go check out the Australian Education Fair at the Queens Hotel. Despite my focus being on getting a job at the moment, I thought it couldn't hurt to find out where I stood in terms of applying for a master's programme which is somewhere quite high on my list of goals to achieve before Armageddon.

And boy, it was 'educational'.

Here is what I learnt, in no particular order.

1. The one day you need to get to the Queens, there will be a exposition of The Tooth at the Maligawa right next door.

Seriously, not only did they park buses across all the roads that provided access to that area, but the collective stench of body odour emanating from close to 3000 pious and sweaty pilgrims would have been enough to drive any potential terror threat back to the Vanni.

2. You may have unintentionally worn your killer red and black sunglasses along with a red Billabong t-shirt, but it still makes you look like your trying too hard.

Now I know how women feel when they're in a room full of drunk men. I felt like a piece of meat when I walked into that hall. Honestly, I just threw this together....

3. In an event that involves foreigners, the local liaisons suddenly develop a myriad of different accents that confuse said foreigners even more.

Honestly, the Australians sounded less Ozzy than some of ladies I spoke to. Why do we assume that the only way foreigners can understand us is if we sound like them? If English isn't their first language, so what? Why are they leaving their country if they don't know the international language? (No, I'm not talking about 'love' - go hug a tree you hippy) And for pete's sake, these were Australians. They DO know English! If they can't understand your attempts at communication, trust me, adopting their accent isn't going to help either.

4. Despite the number of smiles and quick glances you get from the cute girl at the stall your waiting in line in, she will find some excuse to leave 24 seconds before it's your turn.

The balding Australian man I spoke to must have thought I was the least enthusiastic applicant in the history of education.

5. Even though this is not an airplane, Sri Lankan aunties will still try to steal random fliers, pamphlets and brochures as if it is their right.

The brazen audacity some of these ladies had was just shocking. While the representative was talking to me, this one aunty quietly swooped in and tried to steal a few brochures from right under his nose! When he looked up with an amused smile, she gave our patented Lankan get-away-with-murder grin. Luckily, the local liaison intervened and spoke to her on the side, after which I think she gave her 'one'. I'm surprised she didn't try to steal the table cloths or the interior decor.

6. The slight pride you get when a representative of a foreign university commends your English quickly fades when he gives you a look of disappointment after hearing your degree percentage.

What? Engineering is tough ok?!

7. Studying in Australia is expensive!

Studying in Australia is expensive.

And there you have it - more words of wisdom from the Darkside.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Men's Intuition

First of all, a belated Happy Women's Day to all the ladies out there. Yes, you too Jerry.

Yesterday we celebrated the 'female nation', and acknowledged, at least for a day, what they have known since the beginning of time - that they are better than us.

Women have made astounding strides in the last few decades, accompanied by the steady staccato beat of their high heels. We have women's rights, equal pay for women, even their own little section in the subway, much to the annoyance of Sachintha. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see women CEO's or even women working in manual labour type jobs. The world is evolving, and I for one am in full approval.

However, there is one privilege that women have had for centuries, something that they have laid claim to with little or no resistance from men. It is a mysterious 'gift' that is passed on from mother to daughter, and has been so since the dawn of time. Yes, I'm talking about the phenomenon known as "Women's Intuition".

This mystical blessing grants the user the uncanny ability to sneak a glimpse into the immediate future, predict the outcome of relationships, marriages or dates, detect when their man is lying, cheating or covering up, it allows them to detect hidden currents or attractions between friends; in some extreme cases (usually following a bit too much vodka) it even predicts the turn of the stock market. Many a times we men have struggled to comprehend this annoying act of clairvoyance from our female counterparts, and are further exasperated when our cries of "HOW THE (ahem) DID YOU KNOW THAT?!" are only met with a slight shrug and a 'knowing' nod.

Yes ladies, smirk all you want. I'm about to burst your little bubble.

You see, it is a little known fact that women aren't the only ones blessed with this superpower. No, we men have our own male version of this gift, albeit a more restricted version but way more cooler (obviously!). However, it is such a well kept secret that this may come as a startling revelation even to some men out there.

Guys, remember that time when you were going to buy your girlfriend that expensive necklace, and then suddenly you saw the new Grand Theft Auto and decided to buy that for yourself instead? And remember how three days later you caught her sucking face with the 'platonic' friend? Yeah, that was your Men's Intuition kicking in, foreseeing the eventual heart break and hooking you up with a brilliant video game that allows you to vent your frustration by mindlessly assaulting pedestrians with an assault rifle.

Granted, the above illustration could be disregarded as fiction, but I find that the most obvious sign of Men's Intuition is when it comes to the other guys and your gal-pals. To me, nothing is more annoying than when girls don't see that a guy is making a play at them. I mean, all the signs are there - the extra displays of affection, the random texts and phone calls, the pointless invitations to go grocery shopping with them. Perhaps it's not even these, but being men we somehow GET the signs and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that within the next couple of days, he is going to ask her out. But NO! Our lady friends dismiss us with a laugh and that you-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about-because-the-testosterone-is-affecting-your-brainwaves look (yes ladies, you do have one of those). The next day, you call us and needle us even more, telling us what a great guy he is, and how he's so friendly and cool and not at all hitting on you and that we were just being jealous possessive idiots for even thinking that he was into you. The next day it gets even better; you tell us that he has a girlfriend, and hence nothing could possibly happen with him and you.

Wait for it.

Wait for it..


THEN you call us and tell us how he tried to skip to second base when he was reaching over for the lettuce in the grocery today.

So ladies, we may be primal, simple, and not 'get' your emotional needs, but when your guy friend offers an opinion about some new man in your life, perhaps it would be best to listen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ghost Of You

Another performance post, so to speak. This was a tough cover to play, but I love the original version a lot and so after a few minutes of self-debating (I won) I decided to post it anyway. If you want to see the original version (I strongly suggest you do, because my version is way too watered down) then click here.

This is by My Chemical Romance, and it's called "Ghost Of You". Click here to download the audio if you can't watch the video.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blogging Relationships

Not long ago they used to air a show on TV called "Six Degrees", which lasted only 14 episodes. Still, I saw parts of it here and there, though that was mainly because of Shiri Appleby. The premise of the show was interesting - it showcased six individuals living in New York that have no apparent connection with each other, but impact each other's lives and situations through different chains of events. I'm rather surprised it didn't last longer than it did, but that's besides the point.

Looking at the lankan blogosphere I am somewhat surprised to find out that we're not as alien or anonymous as we'd like to think or portray. I've only been around kottu for 6 months now, making me a relative newcomer compared to the great 'legends' out there. Yet, I have since discovered a interwoven web of connectivity between several bloggers. When I first discovered this thread I assumed it was just among a few select bloggers, but as I sat about unravelling it I soon realised that it was attached to several bloggers, some directly and some through just the faintest touch.

If I were to sit down and draw a diagram, I'd probably end up confused and also somewhat embarrassed at my sheer joblessness. Glancing at my blogroll, I realise that almost every single one of the writers on it are connected to each other. Some work together, some know each other personally, some dated, some are friends of a friend, some are internet buddies - it truly is fascinating! I used to think that perhaps only Gypsy, Scrumpy and Pseudorandom were truly anonymous, but I see that Gypsy has come out of her shadow of anonymity and connected with The Missing Sandwich, while Pseudorandom isn't on Kottu so technically she doesn't count. Scrumpy has met a blogger and apparently exchanged phone numbers with another too, so she's out (happy birthday by the way!).

It was suggested not too long ago that there should be a kottu meet-up somewhere. There was a lot of resistance towards it at that time, but I wonder if such an idea is just pointless seeing as we'd probably bump into our own circle of friends there and the meet-up would end up rather anti-climatic. Who knows, maybe your own friends are some celebrated blogger on the blogosphere! I can imagine the scene right now as you feed your pals a fake excuse to go to the kottu meet, only to bump into them there and find out that they were [insert ridiculous pseudonym here] all this time!

However, I am convinced that I am at the moment the sole blogger from the hills of Kandy, so I'm sure that to any blogger from Colombo, meeting me would be like running into some form of urban legend, if I do say so myself. At least, that's the impression Jerry has given me. Yes, I'd love to meet Jerry. Just to tell him in person that yes, we DO have electricity up here, and then politely smile at him as I piledrive him through a table.

But that does make me wonder - how is it possible that such a diverse crowd as that found on kottu be from such a small circle of people? Are the literary types part of a minority that is so tiny in its size? And how can I be the only blogger from Kandy?! [Insert Jerry-esque joke about hamsters, farm animals and medieval methods of generating power here]

Or is the world really that small.....?

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