Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sanctus Nocte




Ok, I didn't know what "Sanctus Nocte" means nor I could pronounce it properly. All I knew was there will be some music concert from the band "Salvage" which CC (a friend of a friend) will be taking part.

The event was held at "The Warehouse Project" at Maradana on 29th December 2010. The venue was an actual warehouse, but a really cool place. The music was more Christmassy than I thought but it was good :)

Salvage (CC and the crew)


A guitarist


I got to know the meaning of "Sanctus Nocte" only after the event and it turned out to be "Holy Night" *sigh*

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flash Diffuser


When you want to take pictures in a low light environment your camera's built in flash pops up and it provides more than enough light to take the photograph. And when you use the flash sometimes the results go terribly wrong!

Simply the flash brightens things too much and it adds lot of bright white areas in the photos spoiling the natural colors of them. There are other ways of avoiding flash and capturing more light; you can adjust the shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity, etc... but sometimes you can't reduce the shutter speed because you'll simply miss the shot. Since Shutter speed is high you have to put the aperture to the highest (e.g. f2.8) to capture more light as possible. And you won't be able to increase ISO too much because it could add noise to the image. So here is a trick I learnt; it's adding a "Flash Diffuser". You don't have to purchase one; you can just create one for you. Just see below article and see the results for yourself.
http://content.photojojo.com/diy/diy-film-container-flash-diffuser/

My camera has a built in flash and I wanted to try this trick on my camera. What was hard to find was the old white film container. No one uses old school cameras now; everyone is in the digital age. So I went to a studio and got some empty film containers for free. After coming home and checking my camera I realized that I need not to cut the film container but I can use it directly. Here is what I did; Just pop the flash and insert the flexible film container directly covering the flash and its mount. Cheap, very easy and works pretty well.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jingle with a Bang; rather not!


Well this Christmas eve we decided to head down to Blue Elephant hoping to have some good time. Yes there was a theme party there called "Jingle with a Bang" but it turned out to be pretty boring when we walked in.

Blue Elephant used to be one happening place a couple of years back but it was closed down for most of the time thereafter. I can’t even remember how I got to know about this particular party and to make things even uncomfortable I’ve never heard of the radio station that the party was sponsored of. We were thinking of going to Silk but for some wired reason we didn’t :(

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coco Citrine


Have seen a new restaurant opened up at Battaramulla for about two weeks but never had time to go there, and the rain made everything even worse. "Coco Citrine" looks amazing from the outside and today I went there and the inside is even better. The location is an old house which they have converted to a restaurant and it's stunning.

It's a decent place to hang out and the food is reasonably priced compared to Coffee Bean or Barista. However I didn't see lot of items on the menu, maybe because they started only a couple of weeks back. But you can surely eat something and chill out at "Coco Citrine".

Hot Chocolate and some cookies


Link(s): Coco Citrine

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

KIK Launch Party


Elephant House, a subsidiary of the John Keells Group has launched a new soft drink called "KIK" as a competitor for Coca Cola. The Official Launch Party was held at John Keells Head Office at 3.00pm on 1st December 2010.

Since I had no other work that day and because I was invited I thought of attending the event. Well I'm not really impressed about the drink but the launch party was good. We got free food, drinks, T-shirts and many more :)

Link(s): Get a KIK

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Michelangelo


You might be wondering whether I'm trying to write about the Italian artist Michelangelo; well I'm not! However I'm writing about something Italian. To be precise it's an Italian restaurant I'm writing about. Its name is Michelangelo, situated on the Nawala road Rajagiriya. This is not a very big place but the food is really good.

You'll have seen the fake Chinese and Mongolian restaurants which serves only local food but Michelangelo servers you authentic Italian food.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sebastian Vettel - 2010 Formula 1 champion!


Last year he couldn’t secure the title although he was way better than Button, and beginning of this season if I were to place a bet on Driver’s Title it would have been either Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel.

For Hamilton of course things didn’t go well in the start because McLaren was not the fastest car. It was RedBull by far but for Vettel, things never went his way from the start; he was very unfortunate, reckless and he had all sort of trouble. He never led the championship in this season but in my mind I knew he could do it somehow.

Vettel scored 10 amazing poles but he won only 5 races. He was trying way too hard; if he had more patients he could have secured more wins obviously. Theoretically in my mind Hamilton had better chances of winning the championship over the two RedBull drivers because he was stable in the beginning and during the mid-season. His luck faded away for the same reason as Vettel didn’t score more wins.

Interestingly Vettel had to wait till the very last race to become the champion. Vettel did no mistake in the last two races and he surely got the reward – The prestigious Formula 1 drivers’ championship title.

On a side note, I was never a fan of Ferrari and I never liked the attitude of Fernando Alonso. And Ferrari is only the third fastest car at the end of the 2010 Formula 1 season. McLaren showed that they have matched the pace of RedBull both during qualifying and during the race. It’s clearly a good sign for McLaren in the upcoming 2011 season.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

RedBull X-Fighters


RedBull has organized a stunt motorbike show at Galle Face green on the 6th November 2010. Myself and couple of my friends went there to see the show. RedBull has given a massive publicity to the event and there was a huge crowd in the ground. Despite that we were able to go to the front and watch the show.


A stunt performed by a biker


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Not Halloween


Yes, as the heading says it wasn’t Halloween for us. It was Saturday, 30th October 2010 (a day before Halloween) and there were many Halloween theme parties in Colombo and we were supposed to go to those. We met up at Commons and chatted till 10.30 or 11.00. It wasn’t my usual crowd but a bunch of my friends who were there at my childhood. So anyway I knew it’s gonna be different to how we celebrate Halloween. So we ended up at RnB and partied there and it was nothing like a Halloween party.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Commons


After higher studies, the old gang who was with me didn’t meet in a very long time, the reasons were everyone was working and we didn’t have many free days in common and of course some were not in the country as well.

Althaf was in UK for some time and he finally came back to SL, so we decided to meet up. The meeting place was Commons. It was a really nice feeling to meet the old gang. Of course everyone was not there but at least everyone on SL could get together.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Serenity



Located near Awissawella, Serenity is a love at first sight. The Natural Swimming pool is the main highlight of the place. Serenity is a good place for a day outing for a small group.

Back View


Natural Swimming pool


A small waterfall


A Hut

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Singapore


After visiting Malaysia myself, my mother and sister came to Singapore for short tour, we were in Singapore from 7th September 2010 to 10th September 2010. Compared to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore is not very beautiful as I hope it would be. The best memory during the visit was going to Sentosa Islands.

Dolphins at Sentosa


Merlion at Sentosa

Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur (KL) is a city which is not too big yet you can find most of the things there in it. I went to KL just for a holiday visit with my mother and sister. I was there from 3rd September 2010 to 7th September 2010 before leaving to Singapore. During the visit my main intention was to buy some good electronics, and of course have a nice time, so visit we visited many places in and around KL and of course Genting Highlands.

Cable cars to Genting Highlands


Petronas Twin Towers


KL Tower

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ira Handa Yata poster campaign


It has been a very busy month but can’t turn down a favor asked by a good friend. Udara’s new movie is due to start on 2nd September 2010 and it’s just a week more to go. It was the day they selected to put up the posters and banners in Colombo. Though I was very busy I joined the campaign and covered the entire greater Colombo area.

We started from the Technical Junction, Maradana. Soon as we got down there we noted that all the other posters were removed and walls and everything was very clear. Despite that we started our task, and then we came to the Maradana junction and started putting up posters, before we finished posting the last set of posters police encountered us and told us not to paste posters on Maradana because there is some city cleaning project. So we went to our next location; Fort. From there onwards we faced no trouble from anyone and the task was completed better than we expected.

Link(s): www.irahandayata.com

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Paintball Shooting


Since we wanted to plan a team outing we decided to go for paintball shooing. Paintball shooting is a little dangerous game, but it’s really good in team building. So we have made a reservation at Excel World for this team event. We had about 11 people but 3 of them got scared and didn’t participate at the end. So we were limited to 8 people.

We were given paintball guns each loaded with 125 paintballs, a mask and a jacket. Soon after we put on the safety gear we were given instructions on the game. We could play 3 games in the given time and after each game we have to switch sides and blah blah… But the most important part was the handling of the gun. It’s operated by compressed air and a can of compressed air was fitted to each gun together with the container for paintballs. There is a safety button and a puller if the gun got jammed.

Four of us in my team went to our side as instructed and as the instructor blew the whistle we started the first game. We made an impressive start but I got shot in the mask and the game was over for me. Then there was a break for about 5 minutes and the game 2 started, we defended most of the time till the opponents ran out of ammo. Soon as I figured they were out of ammo I ran into their territory and got them surrendered. Then we quickly collected the paintballs which were on the ground and prepared for the third game. Since we knew everyone was running low on paintballs we saved the paintballs and fired fake shots. One of our team members got shot and luckily he left behind his gun. I grabbed that gun as well. And I started a little Rambo action with 2 guns in my hands and it went terribly wrong. I got shot just like in a movie, a guy comes breaking in with 2 guns shooting like crazy and gets shot :P. It was game over for me.

A paintball

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Formula McLaren racing at Pannala


In Sri Lanka we don’t have Formula 1 cars or GP2 cars. The best we have also cannot be compared with any of the cars mentioned above. There are couple of types of Formula cars in Sri Lanka, namely Formula Ford and Formula McLarens (LGB). Formula McLarens are powered by a 1300cc engines whereas the Formula Fords has a little more power.

The car i drove at Pannala

I got to know about a Formula training program conducting in Sri Lanka, this is the first time I have heard of such a training program conducted in Sri Lanka. The Asian Motor Racing Association (AMRC) has brought down an ex Formula 1 license holder Akbar Ebrahim to get the training done. I signed up for the program after doing some research on the trainer. The practice session was scheduled on 12th and 13th of June 2010 from 10.00am to 6.00pm on both days at the Pannala racing track. The AMRC provided us transport from SpeedRome to Pannala and the way back on both days.

Giving advice to the drivers

We the drivers got in to the bus and went to Pannala race track. It’s my first time at Pannala; most of the other drivers had previous experience at Pannala track. We arrived at Pannala late due to traffic and had couple of rain showers on the way. Luckily it wasn’t raining at Pannala but it was a cloudy day and the track was wet. As we arrived we were briefed by Mr. Akbar and the drivers were divided in to three groups because we only had 9 cars. Then the lessons started both theory and more practical. Mr. Akbar been a professional trainer gave us very useful advice. Since the Formula cars are build with the least complicated parts without the theory no one would have survived. The very first theory lesson included driving techniques like Blip to get the maximum traction from the rear wheels at corners, late breaking, in-slow out-fast and lot more. Once we were sent to the track we had to follow the safety car in the first few laps. That gave me an idea on the track. Pannala track is only 1.4 kilometers long, but it had all sort of corners, straights and so on. After the safety car went in to the pits the real practice started. I spun several times at the last corner and during the last practice on Saturday I crashed the car but myself and the car was not damaged. Saturday there were many incidents, but according to Mr. Akbar the incidents were nothing big. Sunday was the qualifying and our lap timing was taken in to account. During qualifying a somewhat serious incident happened to one of the cars. That happened at the same place where I crashed on previous day. During Qualifying 1 it was yellow flagged for 2 laps out of 5 laps for the batch I was racing. Despite that out of all 27 drivers (from all 3 batches) I was rated 7th from the lap timing on Qualifying 1. However the Qualifying 2 was a disaster for me, I again spun at the last corner and lost lot of time and couldn’t carry the pace for the next lap as well so my timing in Q2 was worse than in Q1.

Car crashes - Left: my car, Right: some other car

Then there was a simulation of a race and simulation of safety car deployment, after that each batch started the race. I started from the 4th position due to my Q2 timing. Formation lap started and I warmed up my tyres for the race, came to the grid and as the green flag waved I started my race. I had a really good start placing myself just behind the car in the 3rd position. It was a generally slow car and I managed to pass that in the first lap itself. After a couple of laps I passed the car in the 2nd position too but soon later I did a mistake and lost a position. In lap before the final lap the car in the 2nd position did a mistake and I took the maximum advantage of it. I saw the chequered flag just after the guy in 1st position. I really wished I had few more laps, at that time I was closing in on the car in the 1st position continuously.

My car before the Qualifying

We all had a good session and I’m so glad I came 2nd in my race, and I’m evermore happy with the rating I got during the Qualifying. There were some well experienced drivers as well as rookie formula drivers so overall I’m very happy with the session and specially the advices from Mr. Akbar. My body was hurting from the first day but after the 2nd day we all were exhausted. But the fun and the experience were well worth it.

Captions from the race


Race start

Sunday, May 30, 2010

McLaren wins the Bull fight


Just finished watching the Turkish Gran Prix and what a disaster for the RedBulls. RedBulls were pretty much settled as one-two either Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel getting the victory, but what a disaster for them when Vettel tried to overtake Webber. Vettel was constantly closing on Webber and he knew when to overtake; but did his team mate give him room? Unfortunately no and not only that, they collided and it was race over for Vettel while leaving Webber with a damaged front wing. Both McLarens passed the damaged Webber and passed the chequered flag after few laps giving a much deserved victory for Lewis Hamilton.

During qualifying both McLarens matched the pace of the RedBulls giving 2nd position for Lewis Hamilton and 4th for Jenson Button. And during the race Hamilton was keeping very closely with Webber till the first pit stop where he really shouldn’t have pitted. The pit release gave Vettel the advantage over Hamilton and his trouble was doubled. Somehow Vettel and Webber had a little dance while overtaking and gave upper hand for both McLarens. McLaren’s F-duct worked very well to keep up with the Bulls. While the RedBull’s and McLaren’s were only a second or two from each other the rest of the cars were nowhere to be found.

McLaren’s traditional rival Ferrari is lacking pace a lot and their car is not in a good shape howsoever. Meanwhile Renault has improved a lot during the past few races. But none of these teams could keep up with the RedBull’s or the McLaren’s.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rationalist Day 2010


I was quite surprised when I heard there is a group called "Rationalist Association" existed in Sri Lanka. After that one member from our group “Secular Sri Lanka” has contacted the president of the Rationalist Association and he was told that their association is organizing a day called Rationalist Day 2010.

We at Secular Sri Lanka thought of attending the event for the purpose of introducing our web site Secular Sri Lanka among the members of Rationalist Association. So I borrowed a good quality camera and a tripod from a friend to cover the event. And we have given a good publicity about this event from our website as well.

Rationalist Day - 2010


Finally the day arrived - 18th May 2010; we went to this place called “Punchi Theater” at Borella with our equipment to get the video and to present our site. I also printed some handbills to distribute among the members of the Rationalist Association. The President of the Rationalist Association in his welcome speech itself gave an extensive introduction to our website and the group. It was something I didn’t expect. Then just after the keynote speech from Professor Carlo Fonseka a member from our group introduced our group and the website to the audience. I must say the audience was very excited about the effort we have put so far. After that the Rationalist Day was pretty much in our hands, there was a time allocated for a discussion and throughout the discussion the topic discussed was a Secular Sri Lanka. This is by far the best discussion I have ever had with a bunch of professors. Long story short, we rocked Rationalist Day 2010.

Link(s): Secular Sri Lanka, Secular Sri Lanka - Alternative Link

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Karting with Rookies


We were planning to do this Go-Kart session for over a month, due to many reasons it got postponed. Finally we made it to the Speed Drome Go-Kart track on Sunday, 9th May 2010 around 10.30 am. It was the first time I’ve been to Speed Drome in a morning. The place was very quiet; no one else was there apart from the bunch of us.

The Karts


So I briefed my rookie friends Lahiru, Rajeev and Jo for the race. We went to the pit lane and geared up for Karting. Normally when I race with others it’s impossible to overtake because they are real pros, but the rookies have got it all wrong. They were way too wide on every corner and overtaking was just a piece of cake. I remember myself karting for the first time in the same track couple of months ago but I pushed the kart hard enough and gave a real hard time for the experienced fellows on the track. After the 10 minute session we pitted and got the timesheets, it was a complete disaster for me. My lap time was not good enough. Of course all the slow carts on the track had something to do with it but the main factor was the track temperature. The tarmac had some vapor even though it was 10.30 am. It was a cloudy day and there were no direct sun light to heat up the tarmac. However this karting session was not a competition. I was just showing the fun side of karting to my friends.

Karting at Speed Drome


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Coral Sands - Hikkaduwa


Corel Sands Hotel at Hikkaduwa is not a very luxurious hotel but a decent location for an outing. Below are few pictures from an outing from 1st to 2nd May 2010.

Sea View


Hotel View


Outdoor Restaurant View


Dinner Table(s)



Sunday, April 18, 2010

McLaren’s have come out strong once again


Having topped both Practice 1 and 2, McLaren looked strong in Friday’s practice sessions. During the Practice 3 the McLarens were placed 2nd and 4th by the RedBulls getting 1st and 3rd position. We only saw little action from Ferrari’s and the Mercedes. During the Qualifying having topped both Q1 and Q2, Lewis Hamilton impressed his fans. However the Top 10 shootout didn’t work for Hamilton that well. RedBull’s secured the Pole Position for the 4th consecutive time at Chinese Grand Prix giving Sebastian Vettel the Pole position.

It was a dramatic Grand Prix race indeed. Fernando Alonso’s “Jump Start” came out as a surprise for the well experienced driver. He was given a drive through penalty for that. Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Robert Kubica had the advantage on tyres and were virtually ahead of others by a very far. McLaren’s tyre strategy was again different for Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton made 4 pit stops altogether while his team mate did only two. Nico Rosberb was leading in the early part of the race gave the track position to Button because of a mistake he made. Hamilton having to battle the RedBulls, Renaults and seeing the big red Ferrari’s in his rear mirrors managed to pass the Russian newcomer Vitaly Petrov with the massive Top Speed of the powerful McLaren. He subsequently passed Kubica and Rosberg and climbed up to the second position behind team mate Button. Hamilton was catching Button but then lost time and Rosberg was catching Hamilton. Hamilton however responded with the superb last few laps and was only a second behind Button when they saw the Chequered Flag.

It was a much needed McLaren one-two win at the end. McLaren are now leading the Constructor’s championship ahead of their traditional rivals Ferrari. Jenson Button is the current driver’s championship leader. Sabastian Vettel is indeed the man to watch. But there is an interesting fact. Nico Rosberb again both out-qualifying and out-racing his team mate Michael Schumacher is currently in the 2nd place of the driver’s championship. Nothing can be predicted because it’s only the start of the season. Lot more action can be expected when the races moves to Europe.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Start of the 2010 Formula 1 season


Have seen two interesting races; Bahrain and the Australian Grand Prix. In both Sebastian Vettel took the pole position with flying laps at the qualifying. But unfortunately for Vettel he couldn’t win any races even though he did amazingly well in the start of each race. Those Television commentators always talks about the reliability issues with new cars on the track but what about the RedBull car? In both races Vettel was forced to give up because of problems with his car. However his colleague’s car didn’t face any technical issues in either race.

According to the reviews there are 4 very powerful teams in this season namely Ferrari, RedBull, McLaren and Mercedes. In a media interview Lewis Hamilton has said that his car McLaren MP4-25 hasn’t got enough pace as the rival RedBulls. However having technical difficulties in the Vettel’s car McLaren did gain more points in both races.

There is another special highlight of today’s race despite for his poor qualifying result, Hamilton was chasing Robert Kubica for the 2nd position and at one moment he almost got through, but the surprisingly Hamilton came in to the Pit Lane and pushed back to fifth :( He was behind the two Ferraris for many laps and at the very last moment made contact with Mark Webber and lost another position.

Lot of changes has happened so far and I’m expecting lot of action from all the teams in the rest of the season :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Speed Drome


Speed Drome


There is an outdoor Go-Kart track located near the parliament grounds. I’ve seen it many times but have never been there. I had no plans and I called Udara to check what he was doing. He said he is near Speed Drome with Dinendre. Then I asked them to wait there till I come so we can do some karting, he called back and said you need to wear shoes and he is coming home to get his pair of shoes. I asked my sister whether she is interested to come and she said ok. Went to Udara’s place and picked up Udara and his sister Bagya. Dinendre has done some karting and he gave us basic instructions when we arrived at Speed Drome.

The ticket cost was Rs. 750 for 10 minutes, so all 5 of us got the tickets. While we were waiting we saw another group racing karts. It was faster than I expected. And they were really good at drifting at the corners. Finally it was our turn and we went to the pit lane. Soon as we walked in we were given a paper which has the set of rules that to be obeyed. Then we were given helmets and a pair of gloves for each. Then we got in to these tiny Go-Karts and some guy came and stared my Go-Kart, I was racing from the very first second. Too bad I spun while taking turns few times. Then some instructor came and told me that I need to slow down at the bends and blah blah blah...

10 minutes was way too short, I really wished I could do few more laps. This is good for a change and trust me the moment I got out of the kart I was so exhausted. Karting is fun, should do it more often :)

video

Karting at Speed Drome


Link(s): http://www.speedrome.lk

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Box-O-Noodles


Today no food at home so I decided to go out and have something for dinner. Didn’t feel like driving so I walked towards the Coffee Bean. Just before the Coffee Bean I’ve noticed this wired place couple of times but today since I was walking I managed to see it clearly, guess what I discovered... 'Box-O-Noodles'. I've heard about 'Box-O-Noodles' but didn't know where it was or what it really is; obviously it’s some to do with noodles :D.

Went inside and had a look at the menu.. funny names from top to bottom in the menu, whatever those are I decided to go with this 'Black Ninja' thing. Took about 5 minutes to prepare the food and I got it BOXED. So that’s why they call it 'Box-O-Noodles'

Box-O-Noodles


Links: Box-O-Noodles

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wadduwa


So Dinuka was asking me about a hotel for him and his friends to stay not too far away from Colombo. I managed to get him a deal from a hotel at Negombo but for some reason they didn’t take it. They’ve somehow booked a hotel at Wadduwa and asked me whether I would like to join them. I initially said no because I had something planned during the last weekend of January.

The plan I had in my mind didn’t work out so I joined with Dinuka and his friends on the Wadduwa trip. We started the journey at round 10 am Saturday 30th January 2010 and straightaway went to the hotel called ‘Shalimar’. Well it’s honestly not a good place, rooms are not good and the pool was not clean. But it wasn’t a big problem for us guys. There were couple of funny things happened during the trip. The first was the welcome drink, Oh my god it was way too sweet, then the Lunch. As I know for the people who are in a Full Board package any hotel allows the guests to take the lunch buffet, but not in this hotel *sigh

The only good thing happened was the Guitar Jam. Unlike the other hotels the housekeeping didn’t bother us for the noise we made. The Guitar Jam went till early morning and it was truly awesome.

The Guitar Jam


Monday, January 4, 2010

Poker


No; that's not how I celebrated the New Year. This is the card game 'Poker'. I know a friend who lost big time while playing Poker. I have never played Poker before but I was invited a couple of times to play it, finally I thought I’ll give it a shot.

Lahiru and I met over a friends place and he popped the idea on this. Then I said that I’ll be free on Sunday and the next day he called me up saying come to Rajeev's place to play Poker. First Lahiru gave me a crash course on rules and stuff. Then we started playing it. It’s mostly about guessing and you don’t really need much of a brain to play that. I'm not saying it’s not much fun but it surely is a waste of lot of time, for those who plays it for money then it’s a waste of money: P