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I was greatly saddened to hear about the death of Michael Crichton after a “courageous and private battle” with cancer.
I still remember the first time I read one of his books (three in fact, The Andromeda Strain, Congo and The Great Train Robbery in one volume), some ten years ago, and I absolutely loved it. Of course, I was a huge fan of Jurassic Park already, but I hadn’t read the book back then.
His writing, especially with works like Timeline and Prey (and of course Jurassic Park and its sequel) had enough of science in there that he had me believing I could actually see them come to life in my lifetime.
I ended up reading at least 9 of his books, and seeing the movie adaptations of 5 of them, the most recent being The First Great Train Robbery on Hulu last Sunday evening – some reminiscence of a great storyteller lost.
It would have been quite difficult to not know about the Cricket World Cup that just finished at Barbados.
Sure, we Sri Lankans were not the only ones looking forward to the Lions crushing the Aussies, but the Australian line-up was, without a doubt, strong and near-flawless. But one thing that I am confident about, is that the Sri Lankan Cricketers will receive a hero’s welcome – reaching the finals was no piece of cake, and they fought all the way even when the odds were stacked against them.
Which brings me to another point. The commentators, both on the live telecast and elsewhere, were so worried about how the Sri Lankans did not simply concede the game when the umpires offered the chance to stop the game due to bad light (which also implied that theoretically, the match should have been continued the next day). While it is true that there was no chance to win, and I do realize that playing was near impossible, it is preposterous to expect a team to just give up a game on the finals of the biggest event of the Cricketing calendar. Three hearty cheers to the team (and also to the Aussies, who did in the end oblige to play along) and the umpires for holding up the sport – not the victory celebration.
On a related note, and touching a topic I usually prefer to avoid, the LTTE terrorists chipped in with an aerial attack on the city, attempting to bomb the main oil refinery and a private LPG storage facility. The terrorist’s web site incidentally reported these as “oil storages that supply fuel to Sri Lanka Air Force” even though they supply for the whole of Sri Lanka (which is where they too steal from). By attacking civilian targets on a day when all of Sri Lanka, regardless of ethnicity and other shallow bounds, were united in wishing the team well, the terrorists once again proved that they are not ready for any compromise. It’s time the world takes note that the LTTE are terrorists; nothing more and certainly nothing less.
Much has happened since my last post in mid-February.
For one, I was at my College‘s annual Limited-over Cricket encounter with our brother school, St. Joseph‘s on the 10th of March, when I was informed around 5 that my Grandmother, who was living with us since 1987, had passed away earlier in the afternoon. Similar to my Grandfather, who passed away peacefully in 2001 with all of us around him, she too had passed away peacefully with my parents and my sister with her as she left us. The funeral was held on the 12th, at a cemetery nearby.
The next weekend I joined my team-mates on our annual 2-day outing, this time to Amaya Lake (formerly Culture Club). Had a lot of fun, played cricket after a break of a few years, and gorged myself at every meal (and broke my red-meat abstinence too).
In spite of my worries, I managed to do well in my TOEFL, scoring 115 out of 120 in the Internet Based Test. Lectures are also progressing well, and I am very close to the end of my 3rd teaching assignment, after which I plan to take a break from teaching. I have also started working on the latest project at work, working on the Framework for our Centura-to-DotNet port – a challenging, but very interesting project.
The Minor was also out of its body work repairs, but is still not completely done. The silencer needed some work, which I managed to get done last Saturday, but its lights etc. are not properly wired yet, and I’ll put it in for that work tomorrow. Seats and interior upholstery was also re-done, and we’re waiting for the front buffer to come from Chrome Plating.
I’ve completed 3 weeks of lectures with the brand new class I was assigned at IIT. It’s a first year, second semester introductory course on Database Systems. The students seem to be a reasonably decent bunch, and this time I’ve got slideshows again, since the course material is developed at Westminster.
Addressing the post title, I just finished the TOEFL iBT test today. I have a tendency to be indirect in my communication (there I go again…) and I had slight time overruns on the spoken section, but overall it was easy enough, even though I did no preparation beside the free sampler. I would however very strongly encourage any test-takers to at least go through that, to get a feel for what the exam’s going to be – it’s very easy to get lost in the screens in the middle of exam anxiety. My microphone test failed 3 times too, and finally worked only when I held it right over my mouth, and I hope the test responses were recorded well enough.
My passport has sadly been held up, and therefore I have so far been unable to register for the IELTS exam. Need to get that over with, as soon as possible too!
<sinister_plan>Next taget: getting #1</sinister_plan>
Searches for “rukmal fernando” or “rukmal blog” or “rukmal fernando blog” all point back to me on the first few links, so that’s not too bad. The last one incidentally has only a couple of links to me, probably because I haven’t used my full name (i.e.: “Rukmal Fernando”) in my blog.
Ah.. the joys of shameless self-exaltation!
p.s.: Ok, I admit it… while I’m not going overboard to fool PageRank (1|2) those links were placed there in the vain hope that it will bump up my rank just a tad little bit… now that’s not evil, is it? 🙂
After much contemplation, I realized that I simply had to have a real home page, and I tried my hand at GeoCities ending up with something like this. Not the best of formatting, but at least it was up.
Afterward, I somehow remembered about my WordPress blog, and came back here. Had to reset the password too, since I couldn’t remember my old one – it’s been that long 😦
When I tried WP’s page creation, I immediately loved it! Page editors were good, I could upload a lot of files (exactly how much, I haven’t figured out yet…), there’s no bandwidth cap like at GeoCities, and I like the clean, neat CSS I’m using now.