Category Archives: Elephants

Elephant Bath

Elephant Bath
Elephant bath, it was where everybody who visits Kandy go to see elephant when it is not the Pereharas season. Botanical garden and Elephant bath were two landmarks of visit to the city.
Now no more thanks to development projects like Polgolla dam to divert water to the dry zone.
I must address an issue that this dam caused after its opening I must retell this story for the present engineers to understand the need to release water downstream regularly to avoid similar episodes.
The downstream water spilled over the dam was not enough to cover the river bed. Soon water pools begin to form and the mosquitoes started breading in them. For the first time we started detecting Malaria in Kandy. Any place under 45oo feet Malaria mosquito can breed.
Then water samples collected with mosquito larvae confirmed that Malaria mosquito was breeding in Kandy for the first time.
Now the remedy was to spray DDT on the river bed.
This was actually the consolidation phase of Malaria campaign and we prematurely relaxed spraying with the recommendation of the WHO.
Story circulating at that time was that the resident Malaria Campaign Officer who was  a foreigner, fearing his job would be axed if we successfully completed the campaign gave wrong signal to withdraw spraying prematurely.
In any case by the time of the opening of the Polgolla Dam in 1976, the malaria had spread all over and Kandy was relatively immune.
Now spraying the river bed was no feasible with people using it for bathing.
Our public officers gave the Mahaweli an order to intermittently release the water giving them correct instruction considering the life cycle of the Malaria larvae, so that the larvae get destroyed before they become mature mosquitoes.
This was a simple remedy but was very effective to arrest malaria spread in Kandy.
I do not think they still practice this simple remedy. One visit to Earl’s Reagent Hotel is enough to witness whether they are practicing common sense.
Now it was only yesterday I went to Kandy to buy something double sided sticker to stick the Telephone box to the wall. I was going from from one conner of the city to the other corner  find the same without any success.
At one point the cross road and the main were blocked and people were getting ready (some Bank organizing the thing) a procession.
Very young elephant with soaring sun beating down was covered with a decorated overcoat and was kept waiting till the men and the retinue got ready.
This poor animal while baking himself in the sun was trying to lift foot/feet in rotation, giving some respite to the burning feet (it was like the restless feet of old people who suffer from a similar burning but less distressful to the owner).
It was a pathetic sight to watch and mahout was nonetheless not bothered about the young animals welfare.
They are only exhibits without real life away from the jungle habitat.
Mind you, I am one is totally against domesticating these majestic creatures.
Ill treatment is totally unacceptable.
Not only they have lost a place for bathing they have lost all sense of wellbeing under human care in this Buddhist country.
These majestic animals love water and water is a sport for them and that is how they keep them cool under a thick skin.
With global warming and even in Kandy temperature going above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, they have no comfort zone.
It is criminal. Not only humans even animals need water for survival and that water has to be good for drinking.
Which is not true today.

Majestic Elephants

This is a country run with Mega Mania Memorabilia (3 Ms) but unable to look after our majestic elephants.

Three years ago one of the tuskers was dead due to negligence and dehydration after a so called majestic pageant that paraded the hill country.

Then recently a giant tusker was dead in captivity and the popular story circulating round is he was let to die to get the tusks for ornamentation in high office.

Then comes the floods in the East.

A young dead elephant is trapped in a tree. First of a kind of news item and quite relevant in context.

That tells the sorry story of our majestic heritage and how we care.

It is an eye opener for the world if not for this blessed country.

We had 90% forest cover at the beginning of the last century and had over 60,000 elephants.

By mid last century the estimate was 6000 in the wild.

I do not believe we have 600 left in the wild now and the the forest cover is less that 20% now not enough to sustain vegetation let alone elephants.

We are going to commission two mega coal power units in the near future.

The forest cover will be reduced to 10% within a decade of their operation due to acid rain and the environmentalist are hiding behind the saffron clothed M.P.s.

Very soon we won’t have a place in the jungle to meditate in quiet solitude.

Mega mania development will sacrifice the rest of the trees in the name of development efforts.

Very soon we have to import coconut timber with coconuts on top.

Last tsunami a few people survived by climbing on top of coconut trees.

We have mega floods after 53 years in the East and there are no coconut (palms) trees grown for 6 years after the tsunami to climb onto.

But we have election after election to elect representative who ruin this country.

Mega Mania Memorabilia at its best!

The carnival goes on!

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    Linux Music Workflow switching form Max OS to Ubuntu with Kim Cascone 

    Visit his Website Noisepages


Your article is excellent and it is at a pretty high level of research.

I have no idea about music but write comments on Linux distributions except Ubunbtu unfortunately

There are many Linux distribution specialized in Music.

  1. Dynabolic
  2. Musix
  3. ArtistX
  4. XBMC is a game box like xbox and audio and video capabilities. I won’t recommend it for Music but for games and store your music and video.
    I am going to extract some for your article for promoting Linux.

    I have extracted first few pages an article on computer music by Kim Cascone which is an excellent article.

  5. Audio files and audio rendering (Free Software ) was pain in the neck 10 years ago. Now it has matured into hugely successful formats.
  6. All digital music at the end of the day has to be read by our analog ears which has very narrow range and decibels to enjoy. We do not have the perception of a rat, mouse, dog or even an elephant. Snakes including cobras cannot hear music but they are receptive to vibration and catch a mouse in flight at night. Some snakes have infrared sensors.
  7. Mind you elephants love music.
  8. Reason of reproduction is two folds.
  9. To promote Linux including Ubuntu
  10. To promote  Computer Music

Historical Evolution

I’ve been working with computers since the 1970s. Inspired by the work of composer David Behrman, I taught myself assembly language and programmed a simple digital sequencer on a KIM-1, single-board microcomputer, controlling an Aries modular synthesizer I had built. I discovered a then-new magazine called Computer Music Journal at the local computer shop and bought every copy I could get my hands on. (I still have them, too.) Later, I helped a friend’s father, an executive at IBM, unpack and set up the first personal computer IBM made. The manuals alone took up two or three feet of bookshelf space.

Fast-forward through a couple of decades of owning Commodore 64s, Apple computers, and PCs. In 1997, I purchased my first laptop: a woefully-underpowered Compaq Presario. It wasn’t fast enough for real-time audio, so I had to render sound files to hard disk using the audio programming language Csound. I created many of the sounds this way for my CD ‘blueCube’. But the capacity to work anywhere was enough for me to give up ever owning another desktop computer.

Frustrated with the ‘code-compile-listen’ process of working with Csound and wanting to work in real-time, I switched to the graphical multi-media programming language Max/MSP, which necessitated a move back to Apple hardware, so I bought a PowerBook. Having Max/MSP running on a laptop was the perfect environment for me. I could build the tools I needed whenever an idea presented itself. The computer functioned as both sound design studio and stage instrument. I worked this way for ten years, faithfully following the upgrade path set forth by Apple and the various developers of the software I used. Continually upgrading required a substantial financial commitment on my part.

When I’m on the road, I use my laptop as a music studio, performance instrument, and administration office. I don’t like surprises on the road. Having a computer fail means a loss of income, and makes for an embarrassing moment if the failure happens during a performance. If watching laptop music bores some people, watching a musician reboot is even worse. So to be safe, I stress-test all new hardware or software in my studio for at least a month before I take it on the road. Max/MSP patches run for hours, software is used for weeks, and hardware is left on for days at a time to help induce failure before I leave home. But as fate would have it, an iBook I was touring with died a few years ago. I brought the laptop into an Apple repair shop in Berlin, where a technician diagnosed the problem as a faulty logic board. The failure rate on logic boards was high for that model of iBook, and in response to public pressure, Apple instituted a logic board replacement program. Luckily, my laptop qualified and the logic board was replaced for free. But the failure and ongoing buggy behavior impacted my work schedule and added to the stress of touring.

I’ve now replaced logic boards on three computers; the other two I paid for out of pocket. The out-of-warranty cost of replacing a logic board on an Apple laptop is around six hundred dollars — cheaper than buying a brand new laptop, but still significant.

If you make your living with applications that run on OS X, there are no options if a laptop fails. You either repair expensive Apple hardware or buy new expensive Apple hardware. This is called ‘vendor lock-in.’

Then, during my 2009 spring tour, my PowerBook G4 exhibited signs of age, with missing keystrokes, intermittent backlighting, the failure of a RAM slot, and reduced performance. As an alternative to repairing the PowerBook, I investigated what a new MacBook Pro and upgrades for all my software would cost. A quick back-of-a-napkin estimate came to approximately $3,000, not including the time it would take tweaking and testing to make it work for the tour. If the netbook revolution hadn’t come along and spawn a price-wars on laptops, I might have proceeded to increase my credit card debt. But as a wise uncle once advised, “you invest either your time or your money; never both.”

Meeting Ubuntu

I had tried Linux in 2005 on PowerPC-based Mac laptops, though at the time I couldn’t get audio working, even after extensive tweaking. But I had kept an eye on Ubuntu ever since. After considering MacBook Pro prices, I checked out the new netbooks coming to market and picked up a refurbished Dell Inspiron Mini 9 with Ubuntu pre-installed.

I loaded up my Dell with all a selection of Linux audio applications and brought it with me on tour as an emergency backup to my tottering PowerBook. The Mini 9 could play back four tracks of 24-bit/96 kHz audio with effects – not bad for a netbook. The solution to my financial constraint became clear, and I bought a refurbished Dell Studio 15, installed Ubuntu on it, and set it up for sound production and business administration. The total cost was around $600 for the laptop plus a donation to a software developer — a far cry from the $3000.00 price tag and weeks of my time it would have cost me to stay locked-in to Apple. After a couple of months of solid use, I have had no problems with my laptop or Ubuntu. Both have performed flawlessly, remaining stable and reliable.

Getting Past Ubuntu Audio Complexities

There are a few differences between how audio works on Mac OS X and how it works on Ubuntu Linux. OS X uses the Core Audio and Core MIDI frameworks for audio and MIDI services, respectively. All applications requiring audio services on OS X talk to Core Audio, which mixes and routes multiple audio streams to the desired locations. Core Audio is simple, monolithic, and easy to set up, and all the end-user controls are accessible from one panel. You can even create a single aggregate device from multiple sound cards if you need more inputs or outputs than one sound card can supply. To Apple’s credit, Core Audio and the applications that make use of it are the reason why you see so many laptop musicians seated behind glowing Apple logos on stage.

On Ubuntu, audio is a rather different story. Apple’s slogan ‘Think Different’ would be good advice for musicians encountering Ubuntu’s audio setup for the first time. Audio in Ubuntu can appear at first to be a confusing jumble of servers, layers, services, and terminology. Go to System->Preferences->Sound, click on the Devices tab, and check out the pull down menu next to ‘Sound Events’ at the top of the panel. You will see various acronyms, possibly including cryptic-looking technologies like OSS, ESD, ALSA, JACK, and Pulse Audio. These acronyms represent a byzantine tangle of conflicting technologies that over time, and due to political reasons or backwards compatibility, have ended up cohabiting with one another.

‘Frankenstein’ might be an accurate metaphor here.

Thankfully, there is a simpler way, which is the combination of ALSA [a high-performance, kernel-level audio and MIDI system] and JACK [a system for creating low-latency audio, MIDI, and sync connections between applications and computers]. The battle-scarred among us have learned to ignore all the other audio cruft bolted on to Ubuntu and just use ALSA and JACK. One can think of the ALSA/JACK stack, the heart of most pro Linux studios, as the Core Audio of Linux and in my opinion Jack should be the first thing installed on any musicians laptop. I’d go so far as to suggest placing it in the Startup Applications so it’s always running.

Making an Elephant Laugh

Making an elephant laugh is no easy task but this is a tiny attempt with the help of a tiny animal.

This sketch is overdue and is to record the 1st death anniversary of an unfortunate (first in the history of Esala Perahera) Majestic Pachyderm at the hands of the all too important Diyawadana Nilame.

Before that I must (this is also in the same spirit) rectify some of my own lapses and some incisive comments on an attempt by local Microsoft cronies and goonies to vandalize our emails (I have many emails but intrusion to my privacy is violation of Fundamental Right of any living and dead soul.

I have already rectified one lapse by switching to Linux completely.

I have dedicated this year for Linux and have already accomplished all what I wanted, well in advance (thought it might drag on till December holidays) and have enough time for my resumes, now.

Second lapse that I rectify now is that the finding a name (word) for (see Katha on Kadde) Kadde.

The boy who raised this question is now growing up fast physically and in English.

This is long overdue, may be by over three years. because of the vandalization attempt by some living paranoid soul breathing air I exhale.

I started looking at some of my old writing to see whether any one has been defamed or deframed and suddenly found one not edited on time with new / old discovery.

This I give credit to a Burger Gentleman with Irish descent who inherited it from his mother. ( Edited today-He is now no more with us in Kandy and has gone back to his base to look after his aging mum giving up his job in Kandy)

The word is Pingo Man.

I make it Ping Pong Man since when he walks with Pingo on his shoulder, he reminds me of a dancing Ping Pong ball.

The Pingo part may have come from either Vietnam or China, this a traditional way of carrying things on shoulder in South Wast Asia. In any case it sounds Chinese to me, and with the ascent of the Chinese Tiger in the East due credit should go to China if it has any connection to the birth of this word like Ying and Yang.

Coming back to the pachyderm, the treatment it gets from the mahout and the tourists, local and foreign is less than desirable, to say the least.

I can remember once I had a not so healthy argument with a Lady Doctor from UK who was voicing the concern I raised now 25 years ago.

She said that it is a violation of Animal Rights and using them for long hours without due concern is inhuman which I fully endorse without reservation, now.

These animals are ill treated during Perehara time to please tourists!

I still have picture of this lady on an Elephant at Elephant Bath (now non existent) and I have never climbed an elephant in my life.
There was another dispute I had with this lady some days later.

I said, I admire this majestic animal so much that I cannot think (not fear) of climbing on one of them and pretend that I (the man) am big or bigger than my size (she of course did not have an answer to my unexpected impromptu) but she of course enjoyed the ride thoroughly.

Coming back to making an elephant laugh none in the list below can do that.

1. Diyawadana Nilame is out on the first count.
He goes on to record (in history) for the first death of an elephant who participated in this annual event.

2. President Rajapaksa cannot achieve this because he is making the elephants (two legged) under his fold crying for posts (latest is Mr. Milinda Moragoda).

3. Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe cannot achieve this because he is making all elephants (past and present) cry in vain.

4. I cannot do that since when I go near any one of them garbed with surgical gear even a tame animal gets angry (All Sri-Lankan Doctors are a very arrogant species).

5. A gecko cannot.

6. A chameleon cannot.

7. So who can do that?

I have found one by accident.

This was an ant.

He happened to be on my cup of tea. I asked the fellow what on earth you are doing in my cup of tea.

He looked at me and said, look guy I may be small but I have made an elephant laugh.

That made me to open my eyes wide.

I’ll give you a Palawatta Sugar Grain for the information you give, please tell me the secret.

He took a meditative breath and with a smiling face told me.

It is easy.

I did that to the Majestic Elephant who died a year ago during Perehara.

My gray matter started working with new gush of pure blood not polluted by Americans and their Autos.

How come?

He said when the Kandy Veterinary Surgeon was attending to him, he hid inside the nose (with his poking the elephant was crying) and when he was gone came out from his hiding (in the night) place to inquire why he was crying.

He said to the ant in his slumber, these guys (doctors) even do not let  me sleep my last nap (sleep) with poking and probing.

Suddenly the ant realized, he is having his last conversation with this majestic guy.

He (ant) whispered to the elephant, buck up you guy, if they take you to the Intensive Care Unit, I’ll give all my blood and save you, OK.

To this the elephant could not stop laughing.

He took his last breath laughing and ended up in heaven.

The moral of this story is when one is dying only the little ones are near you.

Little things can make one happy but not doctors (plenty in white garb) without humour.

For the two legged elephants, the little ones (grass root citizens and not those who are at Diyawaanawa) are the ones that matter most.

Not foreign tours.

Small is beautiful!

The real reason for the Elephant’s death was dehydration (negligence) and poor care and not old age as stated by those who were in authority.

22th July, 2009