Friday, September 28, 2007

Ask a Stupid Question Day

Yes there is a day for it and today is it. So ask all the stupid questions you have and nobody will call you a dumbass. Just for today that is. They might call you a dumbass tomorrow but that’s a different story. Go on don’t be shy, ask away!!!

Ask a Stupid Question Day

On a more serious note, today (September 28th) is also “Freedom from Hunger” day. The first event was held in 2006 to increase awareness about global hunger and promote Freedom from Hunger's empowerment of women around the world.

The Freedom from Hunger organization was founded back in 1946, with the goal of fighting hunger with innovative self help programs. It’s a non profit, non governmental, non sectarian charitable organization operating in 17 countries around the world.

For more information, you can visit their site

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.
Jack London (1876 - 1916)


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Primordial Dwarfism

Dwarfism is defined as "… a condition characterized by short stature. Technically, that means an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under, according to the advocacy group Little People of America (LPA)." In most cases short stature is caused by skeletal or endocrine disorders. The most common type, which accounts for 70% of all cases of short stature, is called Achondroplasia. Currently there are more than 200 identified types of dwarfism in the world, and one of them is "Primordial Dwarfism".

This condition, primordial dwarfism is defined as, “…a diagnostic category including specific types of profoundly proportionate dwarfism, in which individuals are extremely small for their age, beginning from their conception.” It is a rare form of dwarfism, which results in a smaller body size in all stages of life, beginning from before birth. So this makes it possible to identify the condition even in when in the womb. There are only about 100 estimated individuals in the world with this particular type of disorder, which makes it one of the rarest forms of dwarfism. It’s is also unlikely that sufferers will live past the age of 30.

The first recorded case of primordial dwarfism was a girl named Caroline Crachami, who was born in 1815 in Palermo, Italy. Her measurements were published by a journalist named William Jordan, shortly before her death in 1824, aged nine. Her height was 19 ½ inches. That is just a few inches more than the height of your average computer casing. Length of her foot 3 1/8 inches and the length of her forefinger 1 7/8 inches. Her head circumference was 12 3/8 inches and waist 11 ¼ inches.

William Jordan described her as follows, "Only imagine a creature about half as large as a new-born infant; perfect in all its parts and lineaments, uttering words in a strange, unearthly voice, understanding what you say and replying to your questions. Imagine I say, this figure of about 19 ½ inches in height and 5 pounds in weight, and you will have some idea of this most extraordinary phenomenon."

I first came across this on an episode of the Tyra show. (Ok Ok so I watch the Tyra show when I get a chance, so sue me :P). All her guests were people suffering from primordial dwarfism and their families. The great things about all of them was that they hadn’t let there condition keep them from succeeding in life. One of them was a 25 year old named Kristin who is 42 inches tall and weighs 38 pounds. She works as a consultant while studying towards an associate degree. She even has a driver’s permit and a specially modified car with higher seats, a smaller steering wheel and pedal extensions.

The reason I wrote about this is that after watching how these people have succeeded in life overcoming their problems, you kinda wonder about your own life. Most of us are of sound mind (Although I seriously doubt that…) and health, but we take that for granted. Are we thankful for them? Oh no, all we do is bitch and moan about the things we don’t have. A little bit taller, little bit thinner, more fairer and many other things. It’s not just about your body, it’s about you life, your job, your relationship and whatever. We are never satisfied. I too am part of this group. I guess it’s a part of human nature and it’s a habit that is difficult to break.

There are many people in the world who are not as lucky as we are. Many people suffer from various disorders and disabilities that prevent them from leading a normal life. Do they complain about it? I don’t think so. No matter what the hardships, they have overcome them and succeeded in leading a full life. It seems to me that it is the people who have everything that is never happy with their lot and cry over what they don’t have. Differently able people put us to shame and we should admire the strength and courage they have.

For those who are interested, visit the following links


Primordial Dwarfism

Tyra show episode on Primordial Dwarfism

Kenadie Jourdin-Bromley's Official Site

Tyler White’s Website

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
Anais Nin (1903 - 1977), The Diary of Anais Nin, volume 3, 1939-1944


Monday, September 17, 2007

Blood Brothers

This is the story about two brothers, born as twins, but grew up separately. One in a poor family, one in a rich family. As time passes fate brings them together and they become the best of friends, without ever knowing what they are. So what does fate have in store for them?

Blood Brothers” is the story of the Johnstone twins and their lives, whose lyrics and music was done by Willy Russell. The first production went on boards in 1983, with the 1988 West End production still running after nearly 20 years, which makes it one of the longest running production up to date. It is an intriguing story, and unlike many other plays, does not have a happy ending.

Sri Lankan theater goers can now enjoy this superb play thanks to the hard work of Jerome L De Silva and the Workshop Players. I caught the last night show and what a show it was. Another excellent Workshop Production. Ok I’m not a critic, and I maybe biased coz I have friends in Workshop, but no matter what, it was a superb performance. The acting as usual was great, on par with any Broadway Production. Kisholi De Mel gave a powerful and emotional performance as Mrs. Johnstone, the mother of the twins and a pivotal character in the play, so hats off to her. (The role is played by three actors on different days, so my apologies to the other two coz I only saw one show. I’m sure all of you are great :D. The same goes for the other roles as well). The character of Mickey was also superbly portrayed by Mario De Soysa. All in all I give 5 out of 5 stars to the whole production.

Well I’m not going into detail, because it’s a play that you must watch, and I urge all to go. It’s on for another 7 days, till the 23rd Sunday at the Lionel Wendt from 7.30 pm onwards. Parking is available at Maitland Crescent car park (near Clancy’s), and they have arranged for a shuttle service to take you from the car park to the theater and back again. So you don’t have to worry about that.


Hats off to Jerome and all the guys and gals of the Workshop Players on putting out another excellent, two thumbs up production. Your hard work has paid off. Cant’ wait for the next one.

Cheers to you all!!!




(Wiily Russell – Blood Brothers)

Article on Sunday Times

Poster on Shehals Kanabona blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thotupola Adventure

The people from my previous office which went bust decided to have a small get together, mainly as a treat for the individuals who worked to get the settlement, and to keep old friendships alive. So on the 8th of September we all got together at the Thotupola in Piliyandala for the bash.

After a democratic voting process a date and venue was chosen. Unfortunately the place chosen initially was fully booked on the 8th so we had to settle for the second option, which was Thotupola. Our friend who organized the event had earlier talked with them on the phone and was informed that the price for the buffet only was LKR 750.00 per person. All additional activities, including the use of the swimming pool was at a charge of LKR 350.00 per person. This seemed reasonable since most of us were going there for the buffet so we decided on this spot. Even if anyone wanted to do activities they could pay separately and do it.

So we all met up on Saturday for a day of fun. Some of the guys decided to do some of the activities like canoeing in the lake, while some spent the day doing much more important things like getting drunk. You can guess as to which group I belonged to.

Anyway, by the end of the day everyone enjoyed themselves and all were happy and it was time to go. That’s when the real fun began. They had gone and charged us at a higher rate, as opposed to the rate quoted earlier to us for the buffet, and I think they tried to charge more for the activities as well.

Well anyway, this is what happened as told by our organizer CB


Please broadcast this message to as many people as you possibly can, and help make more people be aware, about bogus charges and artificially inflated bills at the Thotupola Retreat in Delthara, Piliyandala, yes it is the same place that often carry a full page ad in the Hit Ad section of the Sunday Times.

The practice is to lure in clients by lying about their prices, when you are looking to get a quote over the phone, which, the girl who answers the phone (to me it was somebody by the name Nadeeka) mentions as RS 750 for the buffet and RS 350 each if you want to engage in any other activities on offer.

Since it was just a gathering of friends, who were actually more interested in spending some time together and have the buffet after, than engaging in any of the other activities, tempted by what seem to be a reasonable price, I booked this place initially for 20 people and said to Nadeeka that it was just a ball park figure but more people would come at the time of the event, and as said, the number grew until it was 32 people.

After enjoying the outing, when it was time for us to pay the bill, we were amazed, when we were asked to pay RS 1325 each, for the same buffet I was told costs only RS 750 at the time of making the reservation. When inquired why the inflated price, the answer we got was there is no such thing as buffet only but we have to pay for the entire package including all the activities, which was never mentioned to me before.

We were also charged RS 100 for a welcome drink that was never even served to us in the first place! Plus though we never requested for one, we were given a room under the pretence it was for free since we were a large crowed, as this is normal practice with any hotel, some used the room to get a change of clothes before going home, only because it was thrust upon us. And at the time of settling the bill we were asked to pay for a room that we never even asked to be kept reserved for us!

When we refused to pay for these bogus charges added to our bill, the manager rushed his security guys to lock the gates, thinking we are trying to escape without settling the dues! The manager feeling secure with the presence of his security guys beside him, suddenly turned arrogant and started arguing and threatening us, trying to force us pay this bogus bill. Since there were many ladies amongst us, it was getting dark out side and everybody was tired and needed to go home ASAP, in the end, we agreed to pay for a room that was supposedly given to us for free and RS100 each for a drink that was never served. Since we at least agreed to do that, the manager said it was due to some miscommunication between the head office and him that we were asked to pay more than the previously agreed RS 750 for the buffet, and now we don’t have to pay the difference of RS 575 each that was charged as the activity fee though we never engaged in non!!

As you can see, this place is run buy a bunch of thugs who inflate the bills of their guests with bogus charges, these guys will even go to the extent of holding their guests hostage till they are willing to pay at least part of it, simply because they just want to get out of the premises! Avoid going to Thotopola and avoid getting robbed by a bunch of thugs.

Thank you


This type of behavior is very unprofessional, especially for an establishment in the hospitality industry. Companies can’t expect clients to pay for their mistakes. They finally claimed it was a miscommunication between offices, but that is not the fault of the client is it? That is their internal problem.

You can find another instance of their unprofessional behavior here. Check the second comment .

The best way to avoid this type of situation is to always get a written quotation. Then you have some kind of proof if there are any problems later. That's my advice to anyone who is planning to go there.

Anyway it was good to see the guys again and we did have a lot of fun no matter what :D. A big thank you to the organizer CB.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Send Your Robot to Work

Got this in an email today, and I’m ordering one right now. It’s a solution for all our telecommuting woes…


Man telecommutes by sending in a robot replacement

We've been warning of humankind's eventual obsolescence at the hands of our robot overlords as long as we can remember, so it's basically horrifying to see someone not only fail to heed our advice, but actively hasten our eventual extinction by replacing himself with a robot. Programmer Ivan Bowman works from home, but still maintains his presence in the office through the use of a bot he calls IvanAnywhere -- a clever play on his name and the name of his employer, iAnywhere. Basically a webcam-on-wheels, IvanAnywhere motors around the office, takes meetings, and even gives presentations, all while the real Ivan remains safely pantless in his home office. Actually, that sounds pretty smart -- anyone got a spare webcam?


This is great idea for those who want to work from, but still need that office feeling and office colleagues around. You stay home and send in the robot to office, go to meetings and when you get bored chat up with friends, and you don’t have to deal with annoying bosses. As an additional plus point you can get a second job at office as the night watchmen. Send robo buddy to do the rounds at night while you lay in your bed. :D


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Weird Beards

Every little boy eagerly awaits till his adolescent age comes, and the first whiskers sprout from his face, either to boast about it or to start shaving. Now there’s a good reason for them to stop shaving. The World Beard and Moustache Championships. Yes, you heard me right, there is a world championship for this. The only qualification you need is a very long and bushy beard or a moustache.

This event is held every two years, and this year it was in Brighton, England on the 1st of September. The competition is carried out according to three different categories, moustache, partial beard, and full beard, with several classes under them as well. The judging is pretty tough too.

This year the top honors were taken by Beard Team USA, who took away four titles. Phil Olsen of California is the founder and captain of Team USA and according to his blog profile, his mission is to “make the United States a power in international beard and moustache competitions”. I say the best of luck to him.

The first event of this kind was held in 1990, in Höfen/Enz, Germany, organized by the First Höfener Beard Club. The next event was in 1995, and after that an event was held every two years, organized by one of the many Beard Clubs around the world.

After seeing some of the pictures of the contestants I must say that these guys put a lot of effort into the grooming of their facial hair. Most of these are unbelievable. I guess most of them have never seen a razor in their lifetime. These guys can be admired for their dedication and consistency to it. I don’t know about others, but I get pretty annoyed with it if I don’t shave for a week or so. Shaving is a drag but it’s better than having to clean and groom a waist long beard every day.

For those who are interested, check out the following links. Who knows, someone might start a beard club in good ole SL too.

World Beard Championships Official Site
Pictures of contestants
Beard Team USA Blog
Phil Olsen Blog Profile

Bearded Dudes from here

Monday, September 03, 2007

Who wants to buy a US$100 million skull?

Wondering what to do with that spare US$100 million in your account, well why don’t you get yourself a diamond encrusted human skull to keep by your bedside.

This is the latest piece of art by the artist Damien Hirst and is considered to be the highest valued work of contemporary art by a living artist. The piece, called the “For the Love of God” is an actual human skull that is covered entirely with 8,601 jewels and with a pear shaped pink diamond as the centre piece.

The skull is believed to be of a 35-year-old European man who had lived between 1720 and 1810. Where ever that guy might be I am guessing that he’s a very happy ghost these days. Hey how many guys can boast that his head is stuffed with diamonds and worth the GDP of a small country? He probably couldn’t sell it off for a few cents in those days. Either that or he’s really pissed. Hope that who ever buys it doesn’t get nightly visits from a headless spook wanting his head back.

Prices of artwork like this are skyrocketing because many consider them good investments. In an earlier post I mentioned about the highest valued painting, a Jackson Pollock worth a cool US$140 million.

Personally I find the whole thing a bit ghastly, not the skull, but the prices some people are wiling to pay for these artworks. It’s not like the artist is even getting a cut, mainly because they are dead now. I too appreciate a good piece of art, but I just think they should be left in museums for all to enjoy. The truth is that these are unique masterpieces born out of the imagination of genius minds and something like that would never be recreated again. However I just don’t get how people can spend these amounts on such frivolous things knowing that somewhere in the world people are dying because they don’t even have the basic necessities to survive. It’s a sad situation, but that’s the reality of things. The rich keeps getting richer and the poor keeps getting poorer.