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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 05

I feel rather strange doing this silly challenge right now when the interwebs are a-buzzing with the Royal Wedding that is going on at this very moment. So, in spirit of this momentous occassion, let me take two lines to say 'Congrats!'. I give them about 7 years before the fairy dust wears off and Kate Middleton realises she's married Gollum's taller brother.

Onwards! Day 05 - a movie that reminds you of someone

This is rather easy. When I was in college, I was one of the few people who used to watch a lot of movies, at least among my circle of friends from med school. Unfortunately, I hadn't learned at the time the subtle art of movie recommendations. See, sometimes people have very different tastes when it comes to movies, and no matter how much you try to convince them that The Godfather is a work of art, they'll always come back with "but I don't understand why he has to talk so funny...!"

Anyway, one day a girl from my church asked me to recommend a good movie. Now, my friends had just finished watching this and they told me it was a great movie. I myself hadn't watched it, and I didn't even know what it was about, but my friends generally have great taste, so I suggested it to her. She said thanks, and headed out to rent it.

A few days later, I met her and asked her how the movie was. Big mistake. Apparently, the movie was very graphic in nature, and was about someone who was abused as a child. Not the kind of movie you recommend to someone of her disposition. I had unintentionally traumatised her, and caused her many nights of insomnia.

I never recommended a movie to her again, and she never let me forget it! In fact, to this day, I still haven't seen it.

The winner is - Cold Creek Manor (2003)

Runners up:
Signs (2002) [Haha wow, I wonder if you'll read this and remember]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Say It

What a strange evening it has been for me today. I got back from work around 530pm, just as the rain came down. The noise of it would have drowned out the sound of voices, had there been anyone speaking. No, today was one of those days I was alone, and I was fine with that. 

I am always surprised at my alternating dependence and indifference to company. Normally my evenings are spent talking with friends, listening to music, relaxing, planning dinner, even grocery shopping with them. I am not always good company, but I like to think that my presence is not a negative in a group. 

And then there are nights like tonight, spent without speaking to anyone, just music, movies, books and my thoughts. 

If I'm honest, I must admit I am rarely honest with myself. At times, it can be good, because reality is a brutal truth that sometimes is hard to digest. At times, however, it's good to know your weaknesses. And, if I'm being honest with myself right now, I must admit that one of my many weaknesses is my inability communicate effectively. It has been the bane of my life. I wonder if I will ever get over it, wonder if this will come back to haunt me with serious repercussions in the future. 

Or, like tonight, I wonder if I can not need it. Maybe, I can survive without having to explain myself to everyone, without having to make sure everyone understood my motives and my intentions for all my actions. 

Tonight, as I sit alone with my earphones and my laptop, I realise I am surprisingly content with being by myself. Not happy, not thrilled; but content.

In the words of the song, maybe, just maybe, 'all I need is the air I breathe and a place to rest my head'.

Time will tell.

How Not To Swear In The Workplace

Stumbled onto this online, and just had to share it. I can think of a few people who could really use a list like this either pasted on their desk or permanently glued to their arm.

This may be the only time I will ever say: well done HR!



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Twenty Minute Posting: IV

This one is going to be all over the place; don't say I didn't warn you.

Some people say that it's easier to get words on paper than it is to say them. Some say writing helps to arrange your thoughts and get things in order upstairs. Some people are wrong.

I for one can't seem to get my figurative 'pen' to figurative 'paper' at all, and it's not for a lack of thoughts in my head; trust me, it's a-buzzing like a hornets nest right now.

("Hornets nest"?? Really??)

It's just too damn hard. I would much rather Google devise some elaborate machine or app that could extract my mind's thoughts and display them in HD on my browser. Surely, that isn't too much to ask from the people that gave us Google Goggles and, well, Google anything.

(I just spent 8 minutes of the allotted 20 minutes for this post 'thinking'.)

I watched a shit movie called "Love and Other Drugs", where Jake Gyllenhall plays a messed up but good looking guy and Anne Hathaway plays a messed up but good looking girl. They fall in love, and they 'fix' each other. Idiots.

Love doesn't work that way. Relationships don't 'fix' things. You don't discover some miraculous epiphany thanks to the person you are together with. You don't learn some inner truth while you're naked in bed and staring into each others eyes.

Sometimes I think we need relationships, only so that we can be understood. That's all. Not to be fixed, healed, 'completed'. If you're broken, screwed up, and have self-esteem issues, a girlfriend or boyfriend is not going to help you. Perhaps this whole waiting till you meet "the one" nonsense is more about you giving yourself time to realise what a jackass you are, and doing something about it first before burdening someone else with your garbage.

When people have relationship problems, especially people in my age group i.e. 26 and lower, it's not because there's a problem with the relationship or the other person. The problem isn't even 'you'.

The problem is that you don't know that it's you.

If anyone gets something out of this word vomit, I salute you. Otherwise, let this just be another rambling lost to cyberspace, a page of pondering destined to be 'misunderstood'.

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 4

So on to Day 04 of this miserable challenge. Yes, 'miserable', because I just realised that I have 26 days left to go!

Day 04: a movie that makes you sad.

I think movies have to try really hard these days to 'make me sad', simply because so many lack the depth of movies I used to watch years ago. While many of Hollywood's 'drama' offerings these days obsess on trying to get you to connect with the characters, I find that I'm generally apathetic, and even sometimes bored, by the proceedings. Personally, when it comes to serious movies, simplicity is key.

However, there are some strong candidates for this movie, and most of them are from at least 8-10 years ago. Can anyone say that they didn't feel a punch in the gut at the graveyard scene in "Saving Private Ryan"? Or what about the utter hopelessness that Brad Pitt's "Se7en" potrayed? Russel Crowe's heroic death in "Gladiator"? Hillary Swank's journey for relevance in "Million Dollary Baby"? Liam Neeson's amazing performance as Oskar Schindler, sobbing and saying "I could have got one more, one more!" in "Schindler's List"? And then there was "Green Mile" - need I say more?

But, in the end there can be only one, so without further ado, the winner is : Requiem For A Dream (2000)

Is there any doubt that this was the most rivetting movie of it's time? I still remember the hushed silence that fell over our room when my college friends and I first watched this in someones room. What starts off as a fun, trippy movie about a few individuals that like to get high, turns into the most darkest, gripping movie I can remember seeing. I cannot remember who I felt pity for more in this epic story, and even now, just the thought of it fills me with an uneasy feeling.

But it's not just the story; it's the ambience, which reaches a climax with a brilliant ending, accompanied by the tune of Clint Mansell's ever famous "Requiem" (the actual name apparently is "Lux Aeterna"), a tune that could make someone watching cartoons and eating candy to burst into tears.

This, is how movies should be made.

Runners up:
Buried (2010)
Million Dollay Baby (2004)

Monday, April 25, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 2 & 3

Not even one day into my own self-imposed challenge and I find myself slacking. It's been a busy weekend, and I haven't felt much like writing. But no excuses; onwards to day 2 and 3.

Day 02: Least Favourite Movie.

Now this is also open to a few interpretations: do I post the movie I dislike the most, or one of my favourites that I'm not too crazy about? I'm sticking with the former, and after careful consideration, the winner is: Batman & Robin (1997)

Wow. Where do I even begin. You probably know that I'm a huge Batman fan (hence the profile avatar), so perhaps this is a bit of a surprise. But then, how many of you have actually seen this movie? This was the big dagger that almost completely sank the franchise, before Nolan resurrected it with "Batman Begins". Headed by Joel Schumacher, who also directed the much better "Batman Forever" in 1995, this was supposed to be a more comic book take on the caped crusader. Little did we know, he was talking about colouring books, not graphic novels.

So, what did they do, after making three succesful Batman movies? They roped in George Clooney for Batman / Bruce Wayne, got Chris O'Donnel to reprise his role as Robin, and wrote in not one, but two villains into the script, along with a third addition to the cast - Batgirl.

On paper, this sounds fantastic. George Clooney? Even guys like George Clooney. Plus Arnold as Mr.Freeze? Who else could play an almost robotic super-character with so much skill and prior experience?

And then you add these four ladies into your movie:

 Seriously. How could you screw this up?

Well, apparently you can.

What followed was a bizarre story involving Poison Ivy as a mental Uma Thurman, a disengaged George Clooney who seemed to have confused Bruce Wayne's character and George Clooney's real life, as well as an utterly useless Batgirl in Alicia Silverstone.

And then there were the costumes:

 Are you kidding me?

I could go on and on about how Batman and Robin escape a plan by 'surfing' to the ground, or how Batman tries to woo Poison Ivy with his Bat-credit-card ("never leave the batcave without it"), but I think this trailer will make my point.

Runners up:
The Notebook
Every single one of those spoof movies ("Disaster Movie", "Epic Movie", "Scary Movie 1-infinity")

Day 03: A movie that makes you happy.

Pretty easy pick for me. Since I first saw this movie, I've been raving about how this is what I consider the best romantic comedy in the last few years. Forget the non-existent chemistry between almost all leading men and women in the genre these days (in "Twilight", Kirsten Stewart looks as interested in Robert Pattinson as Lady Gaga does in regular clothing), this is how it's done. I've always had a crush on Rachel McAdams, but she was her best in this movie. Great chemistry with Owen Wilson, and the comic timing of Vaughn, Wilson and Christopher Walken makes this a simply must see. Love watching this movie, always brings a smile to my face.

Yes, I'm talking about: Wedding Crashers (2005)

Runners up:
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse of The Black Pearl (2003)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The 30 Day MOVIE Challenge

Yes, I have succumbed to this accursed '30 day challenge' nonsense that has been going around Facebook and some blogs. However, since everyone seems to be doing the song challenge, I'm going to take a cue from 'who else but me' and modify it into my own '30 day movie challenge'.

The rules are simple, and here they are, based on the original 30 day song challenge rules:

day 01 - your favorite movie
day 02 - your least favorite movie
day 03 - a movie that makes you happy
day 04 - a movie that makes you sad
day 05 - a movie that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a movie that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a movie that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a movie that you know all the lines to (at least the famous ones)
day 09 - a movie that you can dance to
day 10 - a movie that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a movie with your favourite actor/actress
day 12 - a movie with an actor/actress you hate
day 13 - a movie that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a movie that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a movie that you relate to
day 16 - a movie that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a movie that you see often on TV
day 18 - a movie that you wish they showed on TV
day 19 - a movie from your favorite director
day 20 - a movie that you watch when you’re angry
day 21 - a movie that you watch when you’re happy
day 22 - a movie that you watch when you’re sad
day 23 - a movie that makes you think of weddings and/or getting married
day 24 - a movie that makes you think of funerals and/or your death
day 25 - a movie that makes you laugh
day 26 - a movie that with your favourite soundtrack
day 27 - a movie that made you wish you could act
day 28 - a movie that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a movie from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite movie at this time last year

SO, let's start with day 01: favourite movie.

Now, unlike everyone else who dodged this question while doing the song challenge, I'm not going to dance around and say "oh I have so many favourites" and change it to "favourite song/movie right now" (by the way, favourite song, all time, Foo Fighters - Best Of You, hands down, no doubt, next question please!). Favourite movie is favourite movie, all time, regardless.

And that has to be: Remember The Titans (2000)

Now this isn't the greatest movie of all time, and it isn't the movie I think is the best I've seen. However, there is something about this movie that makes me watch it over, and over, and over again. The story grips me all the time, right from the opening scene when Denzel leads the sombre looking football team in the graveyard, as the title "Remember The Titans" gently fades into the screen. Denzel has made better movies, there have been more gripping sports stories (Coach Carter), but when Coach Yoast (Will Patton) tells his team in the deciding minutes of the championship game "You make sure, they remember, forever, the night they played the Titans", I get goosebumps everytime.

There are other great moments in the movie, and all around I thought it was made really well. An easy movie on the brain, but it still brings so much.

Batman Begins (2005)
Gladiator (2000)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sick Sad Little World

Recently I've been rather shocked at the stories I've heard. Just this morning I was reading about this site that allows teenage kids to post videos of themselves and become "e-famous" by being controversial, racy, explicit and even nude. A site monitored by a 31 year-old man who used to work in the porn industry, and who regularly incites his members against each other into trolling and making teens attack each other in public, video forums. Last year there was a video that went viral of 11 year old Jessi Slaughter (not her real name, obviously). She had grown rather infamous among her teen followers for her trolling, explicit videos and personal attacks. It got so bad (she attacked her 'haters' by saying "If you can't stop hating, you know what? I'll pop a glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy.") that somehow, people got hold of her personal information, real name and address, and started harrassing her, which led to a tear-filled video that went viral of her imploring her followers to leave her alone, while her parents raged in the background, and her father made loud, angry and ultimately desperate threats against this anonymous enemy.

Eleven years old.

Today the latest teen e-celebrity is 18 year old Kiki Kannibal, who has been an online presence since she was 13, with a MySpace profile. She posted suggestive and inappropriate (for her age) pictures of herself, and was soon famous on the Interwebs. She amassed friends, enemies, and death threats, before dating an older teen whom she met online. The teen allegedly raped her, and when the police sought to arrest him, he fell off a parking garage and died. Kiki and her traumatized family changed addresses, but she refused to leave her online persona behind. Now, she's 18, with two websites, a Youtube channel, twitter and tumblr account where she keeps in touch with her legion of rabid 'fans', still parading in outrageous outfits, still a 'celebrity'.

Eighteen years old.

A teenage girl we knew ran away with an older man, leaving behind a crushed single mother and a sibling. She lived under his roof for two years, bore him a child, was physically abused by him when he was drunk, and then died in the hospital due to injuries caused by a local 'doctor' who was performing an abortion on her with a sticks and tubes.

I'm told her mother didn't shed a tear at the funeral.

As we read these stories - and I'm sure this is nothing compared to what you may have stumbled across on the net - are you not alarmed at how quick we are to dismiss this? With a simple shrug and a 'tut-tut', we are able to move on without a second thought to what we have just read. Today, no one even remembers the name of the Austrian lady that was kidnapped and imprisoned in a basement by her father, who raped her for twenty years, fathering seven children by his own daughter, three of which would never see the sun till they were freed decades later.

Or even worse, we rationalise. It's not the child's fault, it's the parents. It's the internet. It's the websites. It's no ones fault, it's freedom of expression. It's not a crime, he/she wants the attention. They deserve the hate, the trauma. Who allowed her to buy those outfits? What kind of music was she listening to? What kind of movies was she watching?

Isn't this all besides the point?

The truth is, it's too late. As you read this, your brain is already filing this under 'yesterdays news', because sadly, we've become so numb to anyone's pain except our own. Right now, even if we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone we knew was going through something similar to what I've posted above, there's a good chance not one of us would go that extra mile to try and help that person. Not one.

Myself included.

And perhaps that is the saddest thing of all.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Twenty Minute Posting: III

First of all, let me wish everyone a very happy and prosperous Sinhala and Tamil new year!

Just like me, I am sure most of you readers in Sri Lanka have enjoyed a week of holidays, filled with festivities, fun and food. Just like me, I'm sure you are sad to see it end. 

I'm not sure about you, but this break couldn't have come at a better time for me. I was dying for a break from it all, just to sit back and relax and not let my mind shift into any gear higher than "medium-slow". So as soon as I swiped my card at 530pm on Friday last week, I was in holiday mode; no waking up early, no work worries, no cooking, no shaving. Yes, I said it; no shaving.

While I'm sure all of you took trips all over the country, and some even out of the country, I was content to hibernate at home, gaming and downloading shows and movies at a mad rate. Of course, as per custom, the universe would naturally conspire against my meager attempts at happiness, so on Wednesday it sent a lightning bolt to fry the motherboard on my PC. Thanks, universe. Thanks.

Luckily I had my laptop, and with a few adjustments (switching to battery power at the slightest sign of rain) I managed to salvage some of my computer related 'goals' for the holidays. Then of course there was the food; Mom completely outdid herself in preparing some fine, fine cuisine on every single day for every single meal. From roast chicken to grilled fish to pizza to traditional Indian to - my mouth waters at the thought of it all, it was simply sublime.

Sadly, all good things come to an end, and as I shave off my glorious one week old beard, I'm just counting the hours before I must once again swipe in at work. In fact, as I look at the time now, I realise in exactly 12 hours I'll be at work. The sadness of it all.

Either way, my time is running out, and I hope all of you had a fantastic week. I'm sure Monday will bring around an extra bad case of Monday blues, so we'll all suffer through it together. Thank God I'll be off on Good Friday, so at least I'm being eased back into the 5 day work routine somewhat slowly.

Cheers all, and here's to a not-so-gloomy return to work tomorrow!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Twenty Minute Posting: II

So, this is my second edition of the "twenty minute posting" routine I started a couple of weeks back. As you can tell, I've already slipped and missed last week's posting, but that's mainly because I had the busiest week and weekend in a long, long time. To cut a long story short, I agreed to play keyboards and sing for a friends band at a small function that he was a part of. However, as a result of some 'connections', what was supposed to be a one night gig turned into two additional shows at the Hilton and Galadari, on the same night!

As you can imagine, I'm pretty tired, with a total of 12 hours of sleep under my belt in the last 4 days. Do the math: I'm exhausted! But boy was it fun.

Which is why I'm really looking forward to the avurudhu (Sinhala/Tamil New Year) holidays next week. Counting weekends, it's a total 9 days to just relax and NOT have to travel anywhere by bus, car or meter trishaw. Home cooked food, TV, movies, gaming, never-ending trips to the fridge to steal some dessert. 

Only, after calling my parents today, it seems that's NOT what they have in mind. No, my mom is planning on - you guessed it - going on a trip. "Can't be sitting at home and cooking for all of you only during those days no?", she says. Which sort of makes sense; she's probably as sick of cooking and household chores as I am of work, travelling and living out of a travel bag. 

The frustration. On top of that, the parents want me to suggest a destination for our little excursion. How do I tell them that the only trek I want to take in the next week is the journey from my basement bedroom to the kitchen and back?

Wish me luck, dear readers.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oh, These Times Are Hard..

It's 430am right now, and I've had a great night out.

I'm sleepy, and I've been awake for roughly 22 hours.

I wanted to write an 'observation' on the Colombo night life, or night life in general.

Instead, I'm just going to share this.

Because. somehow, there is a special kind of beauty in this song.



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