Thursday, July 24, 2008

In appreciation of Shawshank Redemption – the movie


I’ve watched a hell of movies in all my 27 years of existence on earth – well…maybe after the days of the cradle. The way I’ve seen, there are three kinds of movies: bad movies, movies that you can enjoy and forget, and movies that you can enjoy and remember. Where do you think Shawshank Redemption (aka Shawshank) falls in to? Do I have to show a tree and tell it’s a tree?

Some three years back, there was this lousy movie on MTV (I’m talking about Maharaja Channel) on a darn Saturday night. It was about a guy who gets incarcerated for a crime which he apparently didn’t commit and some lengthy prison shit later on. I was cuddled up in the sofa thinking some hot sexy stuff would pop up sooner rather than later (No, I’m not fuckin gay, I mean before the prison crap). To my utter disappointment, the movie looked like a total jargon, especially owing to the very fact that there were no women in the movie, not even an old hag. To make things worse, there was this old black guy muttering some shit in the background since the start of the movie. So before long I was singing myself a lullaby and sound asleep while the TV was still on.

So that was the history. I even forgot the movie I watched that day was in fact Shawshank. Later, there was a movie festival at the fac, and this movie was on the list too. So I went there since the entrance was free (and so was the exit), and didn’t give much damn about what’s on the show, so long as a single penny in my pocket is left untouched. At the end of the movie, the whole audience was like gasped in awe. And well…that’s more of the history. Since then, I have watched Shawshank for seven times – yeah, seven fuckin times on my DVD. You think I have become a fan of Shawshank? Hell no, I’m a big fuckin devotee. Darabont (Director), King (Scriptwriter), Freeman (Protagonist), Robbins (Protagonist) would seem like a fine suite of gods on an altar set apart on a figment of my imagination. Shawshank is a genuine hallmark in cinema.

What the movie is about, who the actors are and how good their acting is just out of the scope – I’m not gonna jabber about it, it’s for you to try out. If you have watched it, watch it again – your time is never wasted (well…considering the bulk of shit you watch on soap these days). What I know is that Shawshank really made a huge jolt within me – the plotline, narration and the theme twisted the way I think, as I felt and touched the movie right on my veins the exact way Darabont and King would have anticipated it to be with every word and move. Shawshank is a magnificent portrait of the salvation of the human spirit. Hell, I even got a gigantic poster hangin on my wall – a picture of a bloke with open arms, embracing the radiance and monsoon. On top, it carries the slogan: Fear can hold you prisoner; Hope can set you free – a very thing which I myself believe in, about me…

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Trivia: Shawshank Redemption is IMDB’s most voted movie and second ranked movie in its list of top 250 movies of all-time.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111161/

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The end-of-the-world prophecy in 2012 - a day where science meets the myth?


Could the world that we nurtured among us - the world we’ve known since the our days of the cradle, the world that we live in, fight for and eventually die in, crumble upon us and take everything about it away like a dust in the wind? Could 21st December, 2012 seem like the doomsday - the end-of-the-world?

This is not the first instance of a day of reckoning or an end-of-the-world prediction. There have been an umpteen number of such set forth in the history and they somehow never came true; which obviously is the very reason why I’m sitting prettily in front of this crappy computer and banging the keyboard, and Puff Daddy is shagging Jennifer (if the rumors are true, that is).


All the predictions of a doomsday in the history were either solely mythical as foretold by the oracles like Nostradamus (sorry mate, in case I misspelled your name) or scientific, like a collision of a giant meteorite. Nevertheless, the single most eerie thing, which elevates the latest doomsday prediction above the rest, is the fact that this is the only case where the myth and science count down together to one unique day in the future.

Mayans - the enigmatic and elusive civilization that walked the earth thousands of years ago, were good at two things: mummifying and astrology. The calendars, which they used to predict the seasons and eclipses, were so staggeringly precise. One of the eclipses which happened in the 20th century was predicted by the Mayans using their calendars thousands of years ago, and they were out only by some fifty odd seconds! The Mayans predicted the earth’s current phase of life end on December 12, 2012; which, as they say is the day of the ultimate mayhem - the end-of-the-world.

So that’s Mahavansha - some age-old hocus pocus, which so called people-of-science would so welcomingly and ironically want to discard as old wife’s tales. However, the light which the science had to shed on this regard is the other side of the story. To cut down all scientific explanations (which I myself don’t want to understand), the sun, earth and the centre of our galaxy - the Milky Way come dead in line on the 11th minute past 11 AM on 21st December, 2012 - the exact date which Mayans predicted as the end-of-the-world, ages ago. According to science, this phenomenon could happen once in 25k year periodicity. What exactly can happen on such occurrence is yet being debated; however, the presently accepted theory is that a twist of the earth’s axis could happen within a matter of days, hours or even minutes, causing an unimaginable widespread havoc on the surface of the earth. Gigantic tsunamis, cyclones and major climatic changes would wipe away nearly half of the world’s population, if not all. Hell, as they say, the 2004 tsunami would be like a splash of water on the ass, as against the tsunamis that can occur with a polar shift. Small islands and all coastal cities like NYC or even our own goddam Colombo would be washed by the seas in its entirety, as if they never existed. The catastrophic climatic changes will haunt all corners of the planet for many hundreds of years. It will be one big fuckin system reset.

But, seriously, could this shit really happen in just four goddam years? Across the window, towards horizon, in my 9th floor office, will I ever see the gigantic, rumbling waves of roaring sea galloping at my face? It sounds too horrifying to be real. But then again, there's this feeling that something uncanny is happening to our earth since decades. Hurricane Katrina, South East Asia tsunami, Myanmar cyclone, China earthquake: these all happened in a too minute span of time in the recent history. On the other hand, there is the red alert on global warming. Could they all be just coincidental or isolated incidents that happened to occur by chance, or could this be the setting up for one big crescendo - one whopping climax in the near future - a cataclysmic doomsday?

Frankly, I myself don’t give much damn about a doomsday, but I’m inquisitive of a day where the world would reborn - a rise out of the ashes and fire, just like a new-born kid. I very much keen to see an earthly day where there would be no more nations fighting and killing each other over the lands; no more children dying of hunger; no more wives weeping over their dead soldier-husbands: a world of peace and justice.

Would these all be just figments of imagination or would it actually be real? Before long, we will know it folks. The only wish I have is at least I’d be married by the winter 2012, simply because it sucks to have the history read as I died single!


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If you wish to read more on 2012 doomsday, click on below links. Read and learn, at least you’d know what burned your ass down, if this doomsday really happens. There are many references if you do a Google or search for videos on Youtube. Hell, there are even a PC games and Hollywood movies on ‘2012 doomsday’.

http://www.greatdreams.com/2012.htm
http://www.viewzone.com/endtime.html


-aSANKa

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New chat/sms acronym – BS = Budu Saranai…

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with this chick, and when we were about to part off, I said ‘bye and good night’. She replied with ‘gn & bs’. Even a rukee chatter knows ‘gn’ stands for ‘good night’, but this ‘bs’ thing was new for me. I was chatting online for like 8 years now, but this is the first time I’ve heard of such chat acronym. Well…usually ‘bs’ stands for bullshit, but since it was obviously improbable that she meant it in that context, I asked what ‘bs’ stands for. Her reply was that it is for ‘budu saranai’. I was literally stunned. ‘Good night’ is such a cliché in Instant Messaging or even general context, which anyone would say, though more often than not they really don’t wish so. But in my opinion, the wishing-budu saranai belies a truly heartiest blessing, unlike that hackneyed ‘good night’ crap. Wishing ‘budu saranai’ is really good, but westernizing, fashionizing and abbreviating it with ‘bs’ shit is an insult to the Buddhism and also for the person who’s being wished. Should one require making a genuine wish, he/she may say so in full without degrading the fathomless, inestimable value of it, but fuckin abbreviating is so damn lame.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

To the Young bloggers from Horizon Lanka – The best, fun and easy way to learn English…


To the Young bloggers from Horizon Lanka –
The best, fun and easy way to learn English…

It’s been a while since I’ve heard the revolution, which took place in Mahavilachchiya - an area ravaged by war. I was always fascinated by the story of the courageous people guided by Vanni at the fore end. Together, they showed how to beat the obstacles and conquer their path without dwelling in the past and cursing the society they live in.

Recently I have noticed a growing trend of young bloggers from Mahavilachchiya. They have put up really attractive blog pages. Sometimes it renders me speechless reading their genuine ideas and experiences. Seeing their sincere desire to learn English and IT and excel in the world they deserve to be, like the most, I want to extend my helping hand. So I have a few things to tell them, some with my knowledge and some with my experience. Hope that’d be of some help to make their journey a safer one. To start off, I’ll switch to a lower gear and make my language lighter, to make myself more comprehensible.

“So let’s talk a bit about learning English. First thing I want to tell you is, English classes won’t teach you real English. It’s only the practice and self-desire to learn it can teach you English. When I was studying at the University, I met a lot of friends from remote areas who could not even express simple things in English. But with practice, they learned English and became skilled with the language. I never went to English classes and in my family, we didn’t speak English among ourselves. I learned English by myself and from the outside. Trust me brothers and sisters, learning English is fun and easy…

“Don’t ever be shy to express your ideas in English. Just let your ideas flow in. Don’t worry much about mistakes that you make. We’re Sri Lankans, not English people. Try to write in simple, short sentences. If you can use the MS Word spellchecker, you can correct most of the spelling mistakes. Try to remember the correct word after the spellchecker has corrected it. Next thing is about the grammar. Do not rely on MS-Word to correct your grammar. So what you can do is, once you have written down your essay or paragraph, show it to someone who knows better than you. Maybe he or she won’t know a lot, but little things he or she may know can be of help to improve your English. Keep a dictionary. It’s great if you can use an English-English dictionary, because it gives the explanations of words in English. Some dictionaries, for example the Oxford dictionary gives the usage of most of the words by putting it in a sentence. That is a real good way to understand about the usage of English words. You can even download the pocket version of this dictionary to your computer. Try searching on Google for “Pocket Oxford Dictionary”. Keep blogging on the Internet. Never worry if people actually are reading them or not, just write them. Tell your friends and teachers to read what you’ve written in your blogs and ask for their ideas. Sometimes you may even get comments from idiots about your blogs. Don’t listen to them; they are just trying to discourage you. Get the daily or weekly English newspaper. Don’t try to read all things. Start with the last page – the Sports page. Start with your favorite sport – Cricket. Read carefully how they have reported yesterday’s match – the team who won the match, how much they scored, who took most wickets etc. It’s got to be fun. Another page you can try reading is the Kids’ page. It has lots of cartoons, essays and jokes that you can read and enjoy. Meanwhile, try to get some simple English storybooks and read them by yourself. If you find a difficult word, note it down and keep on reading. Later, refer to a dictionary and learn the meaning of the word. Often visit websites about things that you like. For example, nature, animals etc. Read them often and look at the way they have written in English. Get a simple English grammar book, or share it with your friends and learn the patterns of writing…

“Listen to English radio channels. Try to listen to a few channels and select what type of music you can enjoy. At the beginning you may not like English songs. But when you catch up, you will get to like English songs. Don’t watch Hindi movies or listen to Hindi songs. They don’t have a real core, and there’s nothing you can learn from it. If you’re not sure what to listen to, try to find some English pop songs. You can find mp3 songs from local shops where you can play them on your computer. You can easily find songs from artists like Westlife, Boyzone, Backstreet Boys. When you listen to the songs, go to the Google search and search for the song’s lyrics and copy them to your computer. So when the song is playing, you can read the lyrics along with the singer. Maybe you can sing it with them. You can even listen to radio channels over the Internet. When you watch cricket matches, turn the volume up and listen carefully how they express the happenings on the cricket match. Pay attention how they describe when a batsman hit a six, when he gets out etc. If you hear a word that you don’t know the meaning of, always refer the dictionary and learn the word...

Watch English movies. It’s the most fun and enjoyable way to learn English. Try to look for movies for children. Few good movies I can remember are: IT, 101 Dalmations, Home Alone, Space Jam, Harry Potter etc. Even cartoons are good. These movies have a lighter language that is easier to understand. Go to Google and search for children’s movies. Always ask someone before getting the movie and make sure it’s good enough to watch and that it would suit you. After watching the movie, go to the Internet, search for it, and read what other people have said about it. You can even read how the movie is created, and similar movies like the one you watched. http://www.imdb.com/ is the best site for movies at present. If there is a specific phrase you liked, maybe a joke, try to write it down on a book or copy the text to computer. Download wallpapers of your favorite movies. If you liked a special actor or an actress, try to search for other movies in which she or he acts...

“Talk in English with your friends. There’s nothing to be shy of, because everyone is in the same level, and after all, they are your friends. You can even try to speak in English with yourself when nobody is around. This way you will get use to pronounce English. Read aloud storybooks and English lessons that you find in schoolbooks. If you can, have someone with you who can correct some mistakes that you make when reading aloud. If you can’t find how to pronounce a word, get a Sinhala-English dictionary. They usually have written in Sinhala, how to pronounce the word…

“If you’re using the Internet, there is a great way to improve your English, which is chatting. I do not recommend this to young people like you, because if you don’t be careful enough, you can easily fall in to trouble. Voice enabled chatting can vastly improve your English. The biggest advantage is that aince you don’t see the face of the person with whom you’re chatting, there is little embarrassment. You don’t have to worry about making mistakes because you don’t know that person. But once again, I do not recommend chatting, because the people are not always nice. However, if you go on to chatting, make sure you don’t reveal your identity…

“There is one golden rule to learning English. Always have a guide with you who or that will correct your mistakes. That way you will know when you make mistakes and how to correct. Otherwise you will keep repeating the mistakes without improving yourself. Don’t rush with things. Sometimes you may hear people talk in English so speedily, where others can’t easily understand. By talking fast some people can hide their mistakes. So remember to talk slow and learn the best practices of English, and always be clear of what you say or write...

So those are some tips from me for you guys. If you need more clarification or help, you can email me or call me. I will try to answer whenever I can, when I’m not busy. Keep it up and good luck. The nation is proud of you all…