Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Open Letter to 2009

Dear 2009,

Hey there, I believe we haven't met just yet, though we most probably will in a few hours.

To be honest, this is the very first time I'm writing a letter to a year. I suppose you should know that I along with a few others have not made any resolutions to celebrate your arrival, but that's beside the point.

The thing is, I was kind of hoping to catch you before you descended upon us. It's just hours away where people will be ushering you in with fireworks, countdowns and laughter induced by champagne bubbles... So before anything happens, I'd like to request just one thing. Be nice. Just that. I'm not hoping for anything spectacular, but it would be nice if 2009 (that is you, if you've forgotten) could leave out unnecessary pain from your list of things to do. So many people have a lot of hopes on you, you know.

I'm sure that at the end, you don't want to be rated the same as 2008 - unpredictable and only getting a five out of ten... (and just so you know this is not a threat)

Well I guess that's it. You're most probably busy preparing for your big moment, and it's totally pointless dragging this forever.

thanks and regards,
TerraShield

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Curtain Falls

For 2008, that is.

This is an attempt at an annual review of the year that was. I just checked back my older stuff and was reading through years 2006 and 2007.

It came, it saw it conquered. That was 2008. And now, it's almost over, a bit like a bad movie that you're forced to watch because your eyes have been taped open.

On the personal front I'd say that 2008 was the year of the unexpected. You'd be moving along one path (not so comfortably, mind you) and the next thing you know, there's a sharp corner which you have to take, and one small wrong step will leave you, well... you know. There were so many changes that were thrown my way, that I can't even remember what changed, and when. Everything is just a blur as though I had been blindfolded and put in the middle of a non stop carousel which kept spinning and spinning and taking me along with it. When there are no resolutions to speak of there are none to break, so I took the easy move and did not make or break any resolutions just like what I've done for many of the previous years. With all the challenges and curveballs life hurls at you, the last thing you need is a broken resolution haunting you throughout the year. Or the year after.

Some things I learnt this year...

1. There are times when the more busy you are, the more time you have.
2. I had forgotten EVERYTHING I knew about playing the guitar.
3. Treat your ipod with care and it will treat you the same
4. Technology and Terra does not make a good mix
5. Windows Vista still sucks, but I still use it. Does that make me a sucker?
6. Working on Sunday evenings - no comments
7. Going into the jungle is fun
8. Wading through a river that is chest high with a strong current is not much fun
9. There are times when it still sends shudders down my spine
10. It's confirmed, my personality type is "Now you see her, now you don't"
11. Paper gives you paper cut, steel plates give you? (I didn't learn anything here)
12. Going to the same place to get a haircut does not really mean your hair will be ruined forever, just make sure it's not the same person who cuts your hair!
13. I'm jinxed (Coincidentally I ended up listing that in number 13, although I personally don't believe in 13 being unlucky) What am I saying?
14. There are people who think I'm cool
15. But deep down inside, I'm still geeky
16. I can ride a bicycle without falling off only if I go in a straight line. Corners are tricky.
17. I'm still addicted to coffee.
18. If my so called insomnia gets any worse, I'd have to borrow a gun from someone to shoot myself
19. Good news is there were NO grey hairs at all. I'm safe!

I can't say for sure if 2008 was a good or a bad year for me... no doubt I have been miserable for the most part of it, had a few breakdowns here and there (Of course I didn't blog about all of them), and there was the inception of the bloody project, a non-existent social life, no holidays at all and the memories of Bali 2006 have faded into whispers. It was the kind of year where you wonder if you're stuck in the wrong place, though not necessarily at the wrong time. It was a year of interesting friendships, good books and quite good music considering that I had suddenly found myself being more open to different styles. It was a pathetic year for movies (because I didn't watch that many to begin with) One good thing I did for a fact was to join the gym and actually stick to a regular regime (almost!), and although it leaves me very tired at the end of the day, I'm happy that I'm spending my time doing something that will benefit me in 20 years down the road. Yeah, I think that far!

For me, I'd give 2008 a 5 out of 10. Like I said, it wasn't too good, and neither was it too bad. Hey, the fact that I still live and be able to blog about it is enough proof. How was your 2008?

PS: At the time of publishing, I had tentatively decided that this is going to be the final post for 2008 (that's the only way this post will have any effect) and as much as I find solace in blogging, I feel the need to break away for a bit and look at the world in a different perspective. I might still be around lurking, though... reading. That said, I'd like to wish all blog friends and random visitors a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

PS2: For the sake of all fellow sufferers of 2008, here's hoping for a wonderful 2009.

PS3: I started on this post on the 16th, the bloggers block is still there, it seems

Bed Bugs Don't Bite

In the past 80 hours or so, I have clocked a cumulative of only 10 hours of sleep. The rest were spent awake (either working, walking, sitting, being on the net, and lying on the bed worrying about nothing in particular)

Although I feel fine now, I was sleepy by 10 pm last night. No doubt I slept only to be suddenly wide awake at 2:30 right until I had to wake up at 6:30 am. Will this never ever end, I wonder....

I do hope that I don't end up like the machinist. That would be just sad.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A very short review of The Fountain and thoughts on Death


First of all, Hugh Jackman has got to be one of the most gorgeous people on this planet. Now that we have set that straight, life can go on as it normally does.

With themes we are all familiar with, such as love, the search for an answer to life's mysteries, and death, this movie captures you from the very beginning with it's amazing cinematography. A tree, mostly almost dead stands alone, and a bald (but still good looking) Hugh Jackman sits crossed legged, and then there's all these memories flashing back and forth as the story moves from the inter-related lives of the characters that had spanned over centuries, from the days when Spain had a Queen, to the modern world we live in , right up to the futuristic view of life.

What's captivating about the movie is the fact that it incorporates Mayan folklore, and discusses the existence of the tree of life and how it is death that creates life (a suggestion by Rachel Weisz character, Izzi) Despite the movie being 'slow'- not much action except for the part where Tommy/Thomas (Hugh Jackman) strangles the doctor when he tells him that his wife (Izzi) was dead, it was very intriguing and beautiful in it's own way.

For me, the most interesting part of the movie is where Tommy says that "Death is a disease. It's like any other. And there's a cure" which gave me the impression that he needed/wanted to find a cure for death, and that people shouldn't be dying off just like that (I can't really blame him for thinking that way because Izzi was young when she died of a brain tumour)

Somehow, that got me thinking about death on it's own, and how I think it effects people. I think most of the time, someone's death mostly affects other people and not the person who dies. I mean, people like partners, parents, or children or even friends would think that they should not have gone so soon, and how they have so much to offer and how things would be different if they were alive which is all well and true, but I think that I were to find out that I was going to die, I'd accept it quite well and not fret too much. I mean, I'm sure I'd think of the few things I've always wanted to do but never got to do, but then again, perhaps when you're dead it doesn't matter anymore.

Picture borrowed from cinematic.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Art, a Quiz, and Lost Ideas

Yeah, so here you have a person who envisioned pushing down her form two art teacher down the steps taking a quiz on (drum rolls please) art. It's all HelloQuizzy's fault. They have so many quizzes and they're all fun, and especially good when you have nothing profound to say but want to blog anyway (Well, there usually isn't anything profound that I would say but... )

And besides, the blog needed some colour.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Extroverted, Progressive, and Intelligent

5 Cubist, -5 Islamic, -5 Ukiyo-e, 3 Impressionist, 2 Abstract and -19 Renaissance!

Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. It revolutionized European art and inspired changes in music and literature. The first branch of cubism, known as Analytic Cubism. It was both radical and influential as a short but highly significant art movement between 1908 and 1911 mainly in France. In its second phase, Synthetic Cubism, (using synthetic materials in the art) the movement spread and remained vital until around 1919.

People that chose Cubist paintings as their favorite art form tend to be very individualized people. They are more extroverted and less afraid of speaking their opinions then other people. They tend to be progressive and are very forward thinking. As the cubist painting is like looking into a shattered mirror where you can see different angles of the images, the people that prefer these paintings like looking at all angles of a problem. These people are intelligent and they are the transformers of our generation. They look beyond what is seen into what things could become. They are ready to leave the ideas of the past behind and look at what the future has to offer.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test
at HelloQuizzy


Hmm... very interesting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vietnamese Spam

No... I'm not talking about spam in the tin.

I got this in my mobile phone message inbox the other day, and figured why not have some fun with it. And just to make it clear on why I'm calling it spam... it's because this is the second message I received from the same number.

"Em quen roi! the ah gap luc nao ah noi cho em mot vai thi du de em de nho ra hon co dc kg ah?"

The strangest part of all is that it was sent via a local number, and it actually got me thinking if there are any foreign workers of Vietnamese origin hereabouts. Or could it be a distressed Vietnamese bride seeking help?

I mean what are the odds of you receiving a message from a foreigner (whom I'm assuming to be Vietnamese but I could be wrong!) And yeah, sympathies to the sender, a question was asked but there was no reply.

Translations, anyone?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Revenge?

It's funny. I used to use blogging as a form of distraction from the idiocity of daily life, and suddenly I find myself being distracted from blogging by the idiocity of daily life.

Oh well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The 4th Dimension


Between the hours spent being awake, either forced or voluntarily and a very skewed definition of the word "rest" in the last few years or so, I have managed to make myself very, very tired. And somehow, during those lost hours, something I used to rely on very heavily to make things better seemed to have disappeared from my vocabulary: The afternoon nap.

I remember hating those afternoon naps as a child. I'd always want to run around, play, or just do something, but I had to succumb to the pressure in the end. In recent times however, as soon as I attempted taking a nap, I'd be wide awake, just like that. Even the most boring, long winded 18th century literature could never put Terra back to sleep again.

What's worse is the condition seems to have detriorated as time goes by. Earlier this week, I had an extended weekend, which instead of leaving me refreshed, made me even more tired than usual, although I did try my best to sleep well. Anyway, yesterday was another holiday (The Sultan's Birthday) And yes, I'm loving December with my whole heart!! With the combination of a splendid weather and a shower in the afternoon, my eyes were closing as I was trying to read one of the books I recently got myself. You know how it feels when you're reading the same lines over and over again and everything stops making sense, and you decide that it's time to call it a day? Well, I called it an afternoon and slept like a proverbial baby for awhile.

After what seemed like hours (my room is very dark even during the day, so I actually thought it was late), I saw my sister enter the room. She said hi, and I was surprised to see her there because she was not supposed to be there, and a bit worried that she was going to disturb my precious sleep. She said that our dad picked her up and there she was, and she proceeded to jump on me (sister like bullying) and I tried pushing her away with my legs. She vanished, but then I found myself unable to move. Something was holding my hands down and I could feel their fingers holding tighter as I attempted to dig my fingernails into their hands. And I couldn't even scream out.

I've faced this before several times, where you're paralysed in a state of between being awake and sleeping, something's holding you down or pinning themselves against you and you can't scream. And you have to muster all your energy to push it off, whatever it may be. I've heard from a friend that this situation arises when you're too tired (which corroborates pretty well with my actual situation), but some others insist that it may be from those we can't see with our eyes. Whatever it was, my going to sleep, having the dream and waking up with a muffled scream all happened within 1 hour. I must say I was disappointed that I had only slept for an hour, but surprisingly, the tiredness seems to have disappeared for the time being.


And tonight, I'm going to scare my sister with the story.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Charger That Went AWOL

A few of us had a distressing few weeks when we realised with horror that the charger we use to recharge the batteries of the video camera which is practically the lifeline of the 10 year project had disappeared without a trace. All accusing eyes turned to B, the last person believed to have used the video camera. A thorough search in all possible locations proved to be a futile effort. It seemed as though the charger might have developed a few legs and ran off in the middle of the night. The owner of the video camera (Our sales department) wasn't very happy with the knowledge, and it was finally decided that all the members involved in the using of the said camera would pool in some money to get a new charger.

So, last week B went to the shops with the video camera to get a replacement charger. And much to his dismay (and ours later), none of the shops had the type of charger we needed. In fact, they had no replacement units at all, but gave B an unconvincing promise of attempting to locate one via Sony.

The thing is while B was busy at the shops, T and I were doing our own investigation and this is what we discovered:

According to T, he used the charger at AP's place because all his extension sockets were occupied. Another thing we realised is that AP had moved to the empty table near mine, but did not take his extension socket along with him (He's leaching power from my the unoccupied sockets of my extension) Also, soon after AP moved from his original place, PT who recently became pregnant had moved to our office because her original work station is quite exposed to the solvents from the factory. The IT expert at our place had helped her install her computer at her new place. A call to the IT expert confirmed that he had indeed removed a charger from the place where PT sits and he had given the charger to PT herself. So both T and I asked PT if she had been given a charger to which she said yes (she wasn't aware of us looking for the charger because she is a naturally clueless person, and is not directly involved in the project and therefore we never imagined her to be the possible culprit) Nevertheless, it wasn't at her table or drawer and she said that it's most probably either in her car or at her house.

A few days later, she brings the charger back to work. While we were busy worrying, the charger had happily been in hiding in one of the most unlikely locations in the world. Unbelieavable! One worry down.... 9 and a half years of worry to go :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Rhetorical Question


It is a known fact that a certain number of babies are born every minute somewhere in this world, and there are also a certain number of people who kick the bucket every other minute, so there is supposed to be a certain balance, right? However, it feels as though the world is suddenly very very crowded for no apparent reason.

I have a question to ask... if someone (a friend for instance) asks you how you are after a long time of not meeting each other, and your meeting is a brief one, an encounter at the bank or something. What do you say? Do you assume the question to be a rhetorical one, give a smile and say you're fine and ask them how they are, although deep down inside you feel like wielding a sword on a high speed horse and take the heads off ever person that gets in your way?

I can't say why, but when I get this question, I automatically say everything's allright although a part of me wants to say, "No, I'm not allright. Can I cry on your shoulder, please?"

I had a one on one meeting with the Asst Mgr end of last week during the end of the year appraisal, and she being a friend as well (she was an engineer as well until somewhere in the middle of the year where she got promoted) told me something about me that was so true which is about me keeping problems to myself and taking all the burden, hence the continuous feeling of being overwhelmed over everything that happens. And then, there's also these bits and pieces of interesting conversations I've had with *the most open person in the world, which sort of made me realise that it's ok to tell things to people. Not much of a connection, I guess... and so

And yeah, although no one's asked, I feel like crap right now. I wish I could go through every single thing right now to ascertain the origin of the crappiness, but it's cleverly evading me like a fugitive evading his captor. The fact is I've been feeling crappy on and off ever since the short break I had. And surprisingly, all I want to do is break something. Or go somewhere really really quiet without me having to resort to threats of pulling someone's hair out. I don't know... I'm a bit miserable and I really don't know what to do. One thing's for sure is that it has nothing to do with work. Surprise, surprise...

Oh, well... after the long weekend, I'm finally back at work. It's a bit quiet today, which for me is a very good thing. Hopefully there are no problems we can't solve today. Anyway here are a few things
1. Many people at work actually had a haircut through the long weekend, which can give the conclusion that long weekends are used to get haircuts?
2. Could your car possibly hate you because you didn't wash it in like say over a few weeks? Yes, I believe so...
3. I should have been born a nocturnal creature - like a bat. I'm half blind, and I'd like to fly. Fits me to a tee.
4. And yet another post is born. Will December break the record?

* to my knowledge

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hillside Mess

You'd think that people would learn good lessons from tragedies past and attempt to prevent them from recurring and causing pain and injury all over again. Based on what's going on though, that seems to be not the case at all.

About two days ago, a landslide happened near a commercial area near Damansara Heights, where the roads were closed and the buildings evacuated. And even before the shock of that incident had blown over, another landslide happened in the hillside residential area of Bukit Antarabangsa near Ulu Klang in the middle of the night, killing four, injuring several others and destroying houses in the process. So far, about 3000 to 4000 people have been asked to evacuate the area.

Back in 1993, a tower block of this place called Highland Towers, another hillside residential area around the same area of Ulu Klang collapsed leading to the deaths of 48 people, and the formation of SMART (Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team), because we never had the need for one before. A study was conducted in the area, and it was decided that the land structure had weakened due to water that had seeped into the land from a source that was previously blocked.

Even the government agreed then that hillsides may not be the best area to build houses and decided on a rule to reduce housing areas at hillsides unless the land is proven to be safe, but even till today, you see all sorts of development of housing estates at hillsides, and you wonder if they're actually safe. I'm not sure if the houses at Bukit Antarabangsa were built before or after the Highland Towers tragedy because there seems to be no information available, but if it was built after the tragedy, then it's a bad case of not using history as a guide.

There is no doubt that hillside houses have a great view, and are always cooler (temperature wise, not hipper) than houses on low lying areas. Nevertheless, heavy rainfall at these former water catchment areas seem to seep in and when it is too much to handle, the land gives way and slides causing all these massive damage. And we all know how damaging water can be if look closely at the effects of floods, tsunamis, or even the slow effects over time that water causes in caves.

Now there is a talk about about reintroducing extra safety measures into housing at hillsides, including a proposed masterplan (after all, there is always a demand for houses at hillsides) Only time can tell if this is the best solution.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Of Genetics and Pain


Of all the things that I could have inherited from my dad, I inherited his eyebrows. Now because there is a policy of these pages here being under strict rules of semi-anonymity, I cannot provide any pictorial evidence, nevertheless, suffice to say that they look almost similar to Bert's eyebrows. You know, Bert, the yellow dude from Sesame Street (Fine, it's not uni-browed like Bert's but still) It would have been much nicer if I did inherit some of the tall genes. I could do well with at least two extra inches, mostly for getting stuff off the higher places without looking for a stool each time.

If I had been born a boy, this will be a non-issue. In fact, I wouldn't even be mentioning it here (or even have a blog in the first place for that matter. I don't know why, but I always think that if I were a guy, I'd be a very different person from what I am now) Being a girl though, it is a big issue, because eyebrows (on a girl) should be neat, and thin and shaped well. Like my mom's. In fact, because of this I find myself reluctantly dragging myself to this place called Bobby's where they put you on a chair that very closely resembles that of a dentist, get you to stretch the skin between your forehead and your eyelid, and they loop this thread with their fingers and create a crazy work of magic.

While seeing them do this procedure we call threading on other people is something very nice to look at (almost artistic, if I may say so myself), the person under the knife (or thread) suffers from a million little pricks as the eyebrow hair is firmly tugged out at high speed leaving the skin a little tender and red, and painful for at least the next few hours. Thankfully the whole process usually ends within ten minutes.

What's strange is that my sister and I were discussing about how each time we undergo the procedure, we say to ourselves how not worth it it is, but when you look in the mirror about a month or two later and you see all the mess genetics has bestowed upon us (and how the pain is as quickly forgotten), we end up going through the process again, only to think of never doing it again, and yet about a month later, there we are grimacing under the pain. It's a neverending cycle!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A reason to keep it small

It might have started somewhere in June if my memory of things like this can be trusted to any extent. Vehicle owners were requested to fix seatbelts at the rear seats by August and could be fined if the belts weren't there in case any law enforcement personnel decided to take a peek at your backseat.

The ruling to actually use the seatbelt at the back seats is supposed to begin come January 1st 2009, which is much nearer to us than anybody may think it is. Hearing all this, I'm beginning to wonder if this new ruling will ever see people at back seat sitting straight and properly instead of placing themselves in the middle. Even now with the front seat rule fully enforced (since eons ago), there are still people who pointedly refuse to use their belt until they see a cop and then panic and start frantically looking for the belt while hoping the cop didn't notice!

Anyway, I heard the news this morning, and this topic was discussed... most normal cars are 5 seaters, meaning that 2 people sit in front and three at the back. Apparently, the extra person/people in the car will not be fined for flouting the seatbelt rule, instead they (the poor driver) will be fined for (drum rolls, please) overloading.

Now I understand how dangerous and uncomfortable overloading can be especially when you try to fit 7 into a 4 seater regardless of how small some people can be. Thankfully none of us got badly smashed in the four minute squeeze! But I digress... The news got me wondering about families who say had 4 kids (all of them still underaged to drive), and what were they going to do if they ever decided to go on a roadtrip. Would each parent need to drive a separate car with 2 kids each? So will people start stopping at three kids to comfortably fit their family (I have not been successful at determining the latest average family size in Malaysia, though), but I know a few people with more than three kids.

Oh well, there's always the MPV!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Moon Smiles


Seen from the outside stairs that led to the almost deserted carpark, the crescent of the moon looked like a small mouth smiling in the distance. Upon a closer look, two brightly shining objects, looking like stars stared out from above the moon like a pair of eyes twinkling on a face.

I read on Saturday about the phenomenon that was supposed to occur on Monday night, where the moon, Venus and Jupiter could be seen in a cluster and thought to myself how none of these things can be seen from the Malaysian sky (like a countless number of eclipses) or how it could be another hoax that even haunted my dreams a few years ago and with everything that happens on a daily basis I completely forgot about it... that is until I saw it, thanks to a largely cloudless sky. It was so simple, yet so cool.

Being enthusiastic about phenomena like this, I went for my camera as soon as doing so was possible. Nevertheless, clouds had begun to gather and the twinkling planets were slightly unclear, and just as luck would have it, my camera could not capture the picture at all. The dark blue sky with a slightly reddish hint turned out black in the photo. Sigh...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Baby, When the Lights Go Out

November ended with a local blackout. Really...

I had just finished ironing my clothes for the work week and sat down with the laptop on the floor, a cushion on my lap and was contemplating on putting up yet another complaint post, throw a couple of comments here and there but even before anything could happen, the lights went off with a bang. It was about 7:15 pm and it was already dark. Using the light from my laptop which was running on battery, I looked for my mobile phone as a temporary torchlight until I found a real one (by the way, mobile phone lights are lousy for situations like this)

The first torchlight that I picked did not work and neither did the second one... so I traipsed into the kitchen and found matches, but no candles. A few phone calls later, I found a torchlight after rummaging in the dark, and also found some candles. I took a tin, the candles and the matches to the hall and lit it. Then I turned off the laptop.

Since there was nothing else to do, I decided to eat dinner. A candlelight dinner all by myself with the flame dancing in the windless hall. It was really weird and not romantic at all. The surroundings were also a bit too quiet save for the occasional car moving in the street or a bike, or a bunch of kids taking a walk to escape the stifling heat of their houses. After doing the dishes in the dark, I went back to where the candle was and sat down with my mp3 player. For a multitasker, the solitude and the inactivity nearly killed me.

Taking a candlelit shower is even more surreal. Every shadow is a ghost waiting to scare you, and every flicker makes you wonder if you're not alone in there (thanks to all the haunted bathrooms in schools - the fear never leaves you!) Thankfully I wasn't caught by any ghost or you wouldn't be reading this.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Open Letter To Mr. Time

Dear Mr. Time (or whatever else you may be called),

I hope you can read, because this is a desperate plea for more time, please. I just cannot stand spending as much time as I currently do in front of the computer with a mix of processes in mind, a big file, and highlighted segments in numerous excel files that leave me very very confused anymore. It is so annoying to be not able to do anything else (which I'd rather be obviously doing). So yeah, if you're reading this... try to do something. Stop time, or make everyone freeze or something. I don't care!

yours truly,
Terra.S.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Car pooling and the city

The place where we trained. The pink actually matches the blog. Ha! Ha! Not one of the best looking buildings around, though.

I spent two days of the previous week right in the middle of the city, in KL, where the buildings reach dizzying heights, and the unseen boundary between land and where it supposedly ends is practically non-existent. It was for a two day training stint which we were sent for so that when we get back, we will be able to tackle more work related to that training and therefore lead more meaningless daily existence.

Of course, it being the city and all, we went there together in one car. From our workplace, the journey took us about an hour plus. Although I do go to KL at times when meeting up with friends, I usually take the train and only end up seeing what can be seen from the railway tracks... nevertheless, when you actually drive into the city using the normal streets that are usually famous for their bumper to bumper traffic jams, you actually get to see so many buildings close up, and can't help but marvel at how beautiful those buildings are. KL is indeed a beautiful city!

Anyway, on our journey back and forth (there were 4 of us), and we get along pretty fine despite being in different departments, we get into conversations ranging from work to interesting happenings around us and to ribbing one of the guys (lets call him M, who at 25 is the youngest among us, and becomes the 'victim' because he is such a sport about it) Actually, we spent most of journey talking that I could probably write something of novel length here if I brought up all the topics we talked about, but at the moment I'm typing this, I can't seem to recall much. It's amazing the things you can know about people when you travel together and chat about stuff.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Workaholics Bowl


Every year without fail, the place I work organises a bowling event for the workaholics who spend most of their lives working. Every year without fail, I do not submit my name. It wasn't any different this year... I did not submit my name but someone else did.

So when the group list came out the other day, I was a bit surprised to see my name there, listed in Group 19 with 4 other people from various other departments. My initial thought was, should I go? If I did, I might make my team lose. Yes, I have a very unfortunate condition called drainitis (or kelongkangan as I usually call it in our local lingo), where the balls I throw will somehow manage to enter the drains at either side of the alley. Nevertheless, I also found out that if members did not go for the competition, the whole team will be disqualified, and me being the person that I am, dragged myself out of bed at an unearthly hour to get to the bowling place in time so that my team does not get disqualified (but it's ok if we lose)

Right, so there I was, in line, got myself registered at the desk, found out that none of the team mates were there yet, and hung out with a few other friends while waiting for the lanes to be opened. When things finally got started, I was dismayed to find out that NONE of my team mates were there. None of them... what the hell? So, I went despite not wanting to, and all my team mates are not there so we end up being disqualified in the end. Is that a strange irony or what?

So there I was, the lone player in lane 19 (Lane 20 was almost equally as bad as only two members were there), and I played, and played despite the fact that the right side of my ribcage protested like hell. My score was miserable, and I somehow managed to hurt my knee by twisting it into a weird position. And everyone else from the other teams came by my lane and expressed sympathy at my playing bowling all by myself! Even when they took group photos in the end, I had to be alone with the Group 19 banner accompanied by a hot pink bowling ball.

Nevertheless, despite the setbacks, I did have a lot of fun watching other friends play in their teams (I think about 7 or 8 teams were disqualified due to not having enough members), and talking to people in general, shook hands with a couple of friend's kids, and cheered for some of the others... It was generally a good day!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Curiosity Killed the Cat

There's like a million things swimming in my head right now, ready to burst out, but I have such limited time to sit down and properly compose something that is worth reading, what with the atrocious spelling that sometimes accompanies my post and weird sentences that seem to hang midway without any purpose.... but... I shall go through one topic at a time. So what if I'm a few days late and there is no relevence to what I post (am I making any sense here? - Oh, i don't know) by the time it gets up.

Well, first things first... I recently submitted my blog for a review at World Blog Council and was worried because, well, you know how things can get when you decide to have it reviewed and all. Allow me to explain.... it was one of those in between hours of Friday night and Saturday morning, and I was reading Lizza's blog because I didn't want to sleep just yet. She had posted her blogworld Saturday, and I was clicking on the links and I ended up there. As I said, it was one of those in between hours - 2 am perhaps, and without me realising I had gone and submitted this old blog for a rewiew.

When I checked out the site today, I noticed that they had viewed and reviewed this blog, and guess what, there's a stamp of approval! Phew. And I like what they wrote... so I'm writing about them here. Anyway, if you want to know what they had to say... just click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To irritate or to not irritate

This is old news, first I heard it on the radio (by the way, my two most favourite DJs are back with a vengeance, and loads of my type of music), and then I saw it on Tazeens blog, and because I'm tired of complaining about how tired I am from all the long hours at a certain place, but am still irritated, I give you this, and as usual my own (addled) thoughts in parentheticals.


The top ten most irritating phrases:
1 - At the end of the day (Yes, every day ends at some point... but do we need to stress on it?)
2 - Fairly unique (Surprisingly, this is the first time I'm hearing this one!)
3 - I personally (Reverse that to Personally, I ...)
4 - At this moment in time (Lol! Very dramatic. At this moment it time, I feel like I'm dying, but I just can't drop dead)
5 - With all due respect (Sure...)
6 - Absolutely (Why not? Short and precise)
7 - It's a nightmare (Yes, everything is... )
8 - Shouldn't of (No comment, sorry)
9 - 24/7 (Yeah, more drama, but short and sweet, and precise, and cool)
10 - It's not rocket science (Everybody knows that... ;)

Reading the list, I don't feel the slightest irritation. Perhaps it's just that I seldom ever hear the phrases being overused. Or, maybe I've just been living in my own world all this time...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Because I'm Lifeless

I'm at a point where I could fall asleep standing, and yet I'm reluctant to hit the sack seeing that it's only 10: 22 pm at the moment I'm typing this out because it means that I'm acknowledging that whatever is left off the weekend is finally over.

There's something I noticed... November is not fond of me at all. From the very beginning, November has been an intense month. I was getting some documents stamped with something that makes it valid, and I got into conversation with the person who is in charge of ensuring that it is really valid, and she seconded my notion that this November has indeed been cruel! The weird thing is, it has been so the past few years since 2005 with the exception of 2007 (because there's no evidence of me proclaiming it to be a terrible month like I usually do)

So, I shall sit here and ponder about what I'm gonna do in the next hour and a half before it's officially Monday. Hmmm...

Terra Complains (Again!)

It's Sunday evening, and I'm still at work. This has been the longest week ever, career wise (If you can call it that.. Ha! Ha!) Just finished a report about half an hour ago, and was about to head back until I saw the condition outside. It's pouring. Like there is no tomorrow. So here I am, waiting for the sky to clear up a bit as I highly doubt it's possible to drive back in that. Sigh...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Tale of Two ISPs and A Dilemma


As strange as life can be, nothing beats technology. And above that, nothing I know beats the hell technology puts me through. In September, I highlighted an issue regarding something that allows me to put my thoughts up here, that is the internet and my ISP (not an ex yet) which is hell bent on putting me through a series of miserable days that eventually turned into weeks and now into months.

Although I had gone ahead and subscribed to a new ISP which provided a spiffy new modem which can fit into my palm (It is very cute, I tell ya), I regret to admit that it's service has been less than satisfactory. I can't download anything - especially my i-tunes upgrade, games, and listening to songs on the online radio station is a mission impossible. The following was a comment by an anonymous reader in the earlier post where I expressed intentions in changing ISPs :

" You think Telekom's bad....try Maxis...same piece of shit with the luxury of extra price. I even had technicians who even asked me to ping 127.0.0.1 to test why my connection to msn messenger failed (for those who are slow 127.0.0.1 is localhost...basically pinging yourself like a retard!). I even had technicians who asked me to "clear my cookies" to resolve my speed problems where I wasn't receiving HSDPA but EDGE instead...apparently clearing cookies can help your modem receive full 3G coverage....such intelligence!
Almost all ISPs here are scumbags...PERIOD!"

I had this heads up, and another good review from the sister's friend. I really should have asked for a third opinion, come to think of it. In spite of not having to ping 127 like the person above, the 3.6 Mbps promised is a far cry from what I get in real life. To get a clearer picture, if I want to watch a four minute video on youtube, I can play it on one tab, open up another tab and compose an e-mail or even a blog post of medium length, and when I get back, the video will still be buffering. So much for high speed access. Argh...

On the other hand, my battle with the older ISP has seen me making countless number of phonecalls to incompetent gits who are out there to make my life more miserable than it already is as well as useless journeys to their respective offices.

The evidence I needed from my bank met with a dead end when the person on the line (a customer service moron) coolly informed me that I needed to provide them with the exact dates I made my payment so that they can lodge a complaint on my behalf. Incredibly unbelievable! If I knew the exact dates I wouldn't be asking for their help now, would I? And then there's the ISP people themselves, who say they can't help me, and my printed evidence cannot be used as evidence. Now my case is still pending and I still get charged every month although I'm not given access.

The other day, I received a phone call from the older ISP and they asked me why I didn't use their service. (apperently they have seen that I have used 0 hours since October) And so I told the lady on the line my sob story and asked her if she could help me. She said that she couldn't but informed me that my connection has been restored. (Oh, really?) A check slightly later revealed that it has indeed been restored, and honestly browsing using that particular service was so fast I had a hard time believing it, which brings me to my dilemma. Should I send the spiffy looking but slow service out the door, and make peace with the old one? I'm very tempted to do so. As for making payments, perhaps I shall have to endure lining up in the post office during my lunch break once a month to ensure that nothing disappears into thin air.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Cough

A strange sound echoes through the night,
Through the morning, and right up to the evening
It's a now common plight,
That leaves her complaining

For a fortnight it has hung out,
Relentless in it's aim
It's something to talk about,
Or so that's the claim

There's a pain in the gut,
Due to shaken ribcages,
She feels like she's stuck in a hut,
Where there's a table full of pages!

The cough, it comes and goes,
It stays, enough to torture,
Even if she stands on her toes,
The cough, it's there to endure.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chasing 50,000 words


I'm feeling sort of loser-ish at the moment, a suspected root cause is most possibly a stress inducing competition that I had brainlessly signed up for because I apparently am not under enough stress as it is. The past week saw me staring at my word document. I'd type something that seems interesting only to delete it all a little while later. It's hard to say it, but I think I'm going to cave in to the urge to hide my pen under the carpet and never look at it again for sometime.

Nevertheless, this less than anticipated outcome has made me learn a few things about me attempting to write in general, and they are:

1. If you are female and your name is not Sue Townsend, do not attempt to make your 'ahem' protagonist a male, because it will only end in disaster. Or worse, he will be effeminate and be the laughing stock of all your other characters
2. As much as JD Salinger made it work with Holden Caulfield and his first person narrative in Catcher in the Rye, do not be tempted to pull something similar, because it may just not work.
3. Do not attempt to write something that could happen in real life. A wild imagination is the key in getting 50K words in 30 days.
4. Stick to short stories, because they are more controllable, which means that you have to give this particular competition a pass.

Anyway, on a different note.... I saw this website that can apparently identify your gender based on your writing. It might be a fun site to procrastinate with. A check on this blog says that it's gender neutral (but with a slight preference for female)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remember those Numbers

It was after 9 p.m. and a woman walking alone was abducted by four men with less than honourable intentions. They took her for a joyride which only they enjoyed, and had confiscated her mobile phone. What they didn't know was that she had two mobile phones, so one still remained in her pocket. Finally after hearing her pleads, they allowed her to get off into the bathroom of a petrol station to do her thing. The smart chick locked the door and immediately called the police. They arrived, and the four men drove away. So one woman was saved from being another number in the papers.

The thing is after reading the article, we kind of discussed what the emergency numbers are. I think the general number is 991, and they connect you with the relevent authorities to help you out. However, an even older incident from the news comes to mind, where the number 991 was used from a mobile phone and it didn't work. Apparently 991 is only accesible from land lines. But in the case of an emergency, how on earth are we supposed to get hold of a land line phone? Reading about this incident just shows how important it is for us to know what the emergency numbers are, be it from the landline or from a mobile phone. And having an extra phone doesn't seem like such a bad idea after all!

Edit: This is what you get with haphazard publishing of posts and "too lazy to do thorough research" bloggers. The latest info from wikipedia states that the emergency number 112 can be accessed via GSM phones. As for the local emergency numbers for each country, there are several nice tables segregated based on continent (with flags!) that you can refer to on this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_telephone_number

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Take a Picture

Technology comes and goes whether you like it or not. From the bulky, heavy types, now you have cameras so slim they fit comfortably in a woman's clutch purse. Back in December 2005, after getting a good review for one particular brand which not many people use because the brand name is better connected with film than with cameras (in this part of the world, anyways) I went in search for it.

Coincidentally, at that time, an obscure little shop in an equally obscure mall was having sales and I went and got it. The camera is pretty cool, a 4MP with the normal functions you get on other cameras. It has served rather well all these years, even falling onto a rock near a shallow pool while I was once attempting to get a photo in the jungle. The camera fortunately did not break although I was afraid that it was the end of its life span because it turned crazy for a bit by eating up several pictures I took..

Anyway, other than a permanent scar, it is fine. Quite a number of people I know have changed cameras several times throughout, going for higher megapixels (but why?), but I don't have the heart to do so until the camera totally decides to cave in to old age. I blame it on my weirdly strong connection with inanimate objects. So while everyone else around me seems to be carrying something which is just out of the market, I still carry one of those sort of bulky fellas that don't fit into a clutch. Besides, I'm not very big on clutches.

The other day about two weeks back, my cousins and I hung out, the click happy ones taking pictures like there was no tomorrow, including candid shots of people's nostrils at strange angles. One of my cousins was checking out my almost 3 year old camera and said that it is "Da bomb". Imagine this coming from someone who uses a new Sony Cybershot. Apparently, the image on my viewfinder is clearer than any image she has seen elsewhere. Oh wow! ;)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Because Updates are Necessary Sometimes

It's hard to leave something unattended for a bit too long especially after it's been given a new set of clothes, so blogger's block or not, here goes...

1. Yeah, it's still there. In fact it questioned my appearance here.
2. How is it possible to lose both earrings from one ear, and that they are nowhere to be seen? I feel like a pirate with only 1 ear with earrings. Soon, each hole is going to sport lone designs as a homage to their lost partners.
3. I don't feel it yet, but I'm going to miss the smiley earring.
4. My NaNoWriMo story this year sucks. If it were in paper, I'd send it for recycling. I also have a NaNo block
5. The French word for water is 'eau'. I had a tough time recalling it last Friday during a conversation. Just so I don't forget, it's 'mizu' in Japanese.
6. That proves the point of how lousy I am at languages
7. You learn a lot of things about your colleagues during a fire drill.
8. If it was a real fire you might just learn how they/you look dead.
9. The ribcage hurts because of all the coughing
10.Sometimes 2 packets of Fisherman's Friend will still not help send your cough back to where it came from.
11.Then you get to your third pack and promise yourself it's the last
12.Sadly, most of the time, even the doctors can't help much.
13.The positive news is that everyone near you seems to be displaying the same symptoms.
14.Which means that you're not dying yet
15.But it also could mean that all the chemicals that are swirling around you have finally got to you and your friends
16.Deadlines are creepy. Dead lines mean nothing
17.I use the laptop on the floor (cause it is too hot for the lap), so when I stand near it, I can't hear my music well, but I can hear the music from another room!
18.I'm a bit bummed that the team I was rooting for in The Amazing Race Asia got eliminated last week.
19.No Woman No Cry....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sugarcanes and Watermelons

What I'm about to share is creepy enough that I'm only brave to type this out in the broad daylight. This story was told by a friend of my sister's, and apparently happened in a location not too far away from where I live (and the sister was under the impression that I used that route to work and told this story so I'd be careful - but how, I don't know)

The place in question was once an oil-palm estate. Today, oil palm trees still sway in the wind in a patch of land which goes almost as far as your eyes can see, but most of the area is now littered with medium sized industries, a road leading to/from the highway, the local Road Transport Department building and some small stalls, a mechanic's repair area and trees. It looks like the most normal area there ever was.

At night, the family members of my sister's friend set up a stall in that area, and one day (in the early am) which was as normal as any other day, one of the family members saw something from a distance carrying a sugarcane and walking towards the highway while they themselves were getting ready to pack up for the night. She stared at it, wondering why was anyone walking around that area at that time - unless they needed help of some sort. Apparently it noticed her as well, and turned to look at her, and immediately she felt as though she was pinned to the ground, while experiencing the creepiest feeling ever. She knew it was not human. It changed it's direction and started walking towards their crowd in what she described as an intimidating manner.

She somehow managed to point out what she saw and the whole family panicked as they hurriedly packed their stuff into their van. The thing was getting nearer to them as they worked. Finally they got into the van, and drove off. Nevertheless, the creature was still trailing them from afar, and the person who was driving the van (the mother, if I'm not mistaken) almost rammed the van into something on the road, which she couldn't see, but the others in the van saw. If it weren't for one of the kids who pulled the wheel aside, they would have all been injured. Speeding off, they finally managed to leave the thing behind.

Some time later, they got to know that the particular area has this resident "haunting" which we locally refer to as a 'penunggu". Apparently this one walks araound with either a sugarcane or a watermelon which signifies what it wants from the victims. Either death or injury. Although I do not use the road on a daily basis, it is near enough to give me the creeps.

That said, I've always been frightened of Asian horror... I remember watching this one episode of the Chinese X-files (the female investigator even had a similar hairdo as Scully, except that it was in black), and the images haunted me for weeks whenever I went to the bathroom alone at night. Well, you can't really drag anyone else with you into the bathroom, but I used to get my sister to sing some happy songs outside the door when we were younger, but she sometimes would let out a howl and run away and leave me doubly frightened. Thai horror is the creepiest of the lot, but very realistic - which is why it is so scary!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Terra Turns Pink

She can't say why. Her sister thinks it's so unlike her. And after about an hour and a half of copying, saving and deleting and republishing, she still asks herself why. Pink is good, she thinks, and the yellow/orange/white combo has served her well. Maybe for a tad bit too long, she thinks. Besides, we can't live without shoes, and ahem! nice legs...

Her only regret is she can't change the font to Arial unless she goes back to each and every post (about 298 or so) and republish them one by one. Not a very appealing idea she thinks. She's a bit crazy but not that crazy. And then there's the time factor as well. Hehehe... And then there's the issue of not having the dashboard at her disposal... Nevertheless it's not such a big problem, she says to herself... Nothing she can't solve, anyway.

A bit of tweaking needs to be done, she admits, and if she doesn't like it in a few days/weeks/months/years (ha! ha!), she can always revert to the old one. She remembered to save it in case this one became a failure.

The template loads just fine on her laptop. She's not sure how it will look elsewhere. So, to all those who drop by here, do tell her what you think. Thanks :)

Ugh

It must have all begun with the strange weather we've been having lately. Rain, either in the form of sheets so thick you can hardly see 10 meters in front of you, or in droplets that somehow manage to wet you even if you're exposed to it just a bit, extra cold temperatures from the air conditioning units, as well as too much talking led to a scratchy throat, and perhaps an overdose of Fisherman's Friends, and eventually the infamous influenza, which sort of hovered for only a day or so.

I was supposed to get back to work today after a short break earlier in the week, but I was a bit weakened from the fact that I had not eaten any solid food from the night before due to a situation whereby eating/drinking anything would have led to worse consequences. A visit to the doctor confirmed one particular suspicion of food poisoning (I beg to differ, though), but how, where and why remains unanswered. Others who have been eating the same meals as me seem to be in the pink of health. How unfair is that?

Ah well, I still haven't started on solid food at the moment, but I'm feeling much better than I was last night. Besides, one day extra for a break is not going to do any harm, right?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I am a Jackie...

Quiz borrowed from Aunty and Lizza

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Jackie!

mm.jackie_.jpg



You are a Jackie. "I do everything the right way."

Jackies are realistic, conscientious, and principled. They strive to live up to their high ideals.


How to Get Along with Me
* Take your share of the responsibility so I don't end up with all the work.
* Acknowledge my achievements.
* I'm hard on myself. Reassure me that I'm fine the way I am.
* Tell me that you value my advice.
* Be fair and considerate, as I am.
* Apologize if you have been unthoughtful. It will help me to forgive.
* Gently encourage me to lighten up and to laugh at myself when I get uptight, but hear my worries first.

What I Like About Being a Jackie
* Being self-disciplined and able to accomplish a great deal
* Working hard to make the world a better place
* Having high standards and ethics; not compromising myself
* Being reasonable, responsible, and dedicated in everything I do
* Being able to put facts together, coming to good understandings, and figuring out wise solutions
* Being the best I can be and bringing out the best in other people

What's Hard About Being a Jackie
* Being disappointed with myself or others when my expectations are not met
* Feeling burdened by too much responsibility
* Thinking that what I do is never good enough
* Not being appreciated for what I do for people
* Being upset because others aren't trying as hard as I am
* Obsessing about what I did or what I should do
* Being tense, anxious, and taking things too seriously

Jackies as Children Often
* Criticize themselves in anticipation of criticism from others
* Refrain from doing things that they think might not come out perfect
* Focus on living up to the expectations of their parents and teachers
* Are very responsible; may assume the role of parent
* Hold back negative emotions ("good children aren't angry")

Jackies as Parents
* Teach their children responsibility and strong moral values
* Are consistent and fair
* Discipline firmly
Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time to get out the Light sabres, yo!

Ah, what a wonderfully festive October we have here. Barely two weeks after one major festival (Eid), we are once again greeted by another (Diwali/Deepavali) which will arrive without much aplomb, I'm afraid on the 27th, which is totally awesome because festivals translate to public holidays, which I always look forward to every time. Just checked the calendar and regrettably there are no public holidays listed for November.

For the uninitiated, Diwali is the festival of lights, about the forces of good winning over the evil and mankind rejoicing because of that win, though seeing the world as it is today, I think the good never won at all. They were just in denial over their losing the battle and the evil forces for once left it at that and chose to remain silent. And it is almost always commemorated with the lighting of oil lamps all around the front porch at night, and visits to family and friends houses, as well as eating (yes, even people who claim that they are on a diet forgo all plans on dieting during festivals because the food is just too good - and as I might have mentioned in passing over the entries of the blog, food and Malaysians are inseparable. In fact, most people set their diet plans for after Christmas and New Years, and some even after the Lunar New Year!)

Growing up, festivals were always cool. New clothes seemed an exciting prospect, and receiving money from older people was something to look forward to despite the fact that it was all collected and put into the bank once all was over, and there was always fire works at night that you could play with and lots of smoke hanging in the air that you could inhale once the colours faded. Even the morning cartoons were tonnes of fun. These days, it's mostly about the food and the opportunity to take a rest as we would on any other holiday, and the day is no different from any other rest day because (I don't know if it is just me, or is it how it is these days) the shows on the television are either for the very young children, or the older adults. Thank goodness there is the internet! Even as a small quantity of excitement builds up during the preparation - nothing lifts your spirits more that the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through the house, the excitement quickly dissipates into thoughts of the things that need to be done once it is all over.

I don't think we do the lamps much, either seeing how windy it can get and of course fire hazards and such. I wonder if it's too late to go and get a light sabre?

PS: Happy Diwali, people!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ahem! or Lost in Translation

It's been 6 days since I last blogged, and it feels like I'm starting blogging from scratch all over again. In fact, my very first post over 3 years ago seemed to have come off much more easily. Otherwise, I would have never stuck to it for this long. Anyway, it has been a long week. Longer than usual, and longer than I expected. A combined total of about 9 hours of talking about an important topic in two days has left me with a scratchy throat, which I believe may leave me voiceless over the next few days.

Scratchy throats aside, I have a story to share. It seemed funny at that time, and hopefully by the time I'm done, it will still be funny. This story relates to one of the three day sessions with our foreign advisers on the unavoidable 10 year project the other day.

Bearing in mind the need to be punctual when dealing with these foreign people who shake their heads (contemptuously - if I may say so myself) at our so called "Malaysian time", I practically ran downstairs with a file that weighed almost 2 kgs and an assortment of other things. As I entered the discussion room, I noticed that everyone else except for me and another person was there. I put down my file, walkie-talkie, and diary on the table and sat, and the person on my left handed me a box (of what seemed like to be a box of cookies with a foreign label) and a marker pen and requested me to sign it.

I took it and signed it without much ado although I thought it was weird and handed the box to the adviser who looked at our little signatures on the box. He caught the attention of the translator, and said something to her a tad bit too quickly for me to understand. She then stood up and caught our attention by saying "Ladies and gentlemen" in her highly pitched voice and informed us that we were not meant to sign on the box, instead he had told her to look at the box and check out the ingredients and see if we could eat it (some of the members of our 10 year project are from a certain religion that prohibits the ingestion of certain types of food and the checking of the label was for their benefit) and she had mistakenly given the instructions to us in the first place.

Of course everyone laughed at this silly mistake of hers, but what amazes me is the fact that we all just quietly signed the box without asking any questions although it seemed weird.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Economically Unsound


Markets everywhere are tumbling just like sandcastles crumbling after a rogue wave. And yet, the finance portfolio holder says everything is just fine and dandy, and we shall all be happy and continue with what we've doing all this while. Oh, what a pretty picture!

Admittedly, my knowledge on economics is almost non-existent thanks to the education system I grew up in. If you're a science stream person, you stick with chemistry, physics, Biology and Additional Mathematics, and put your nose far away from the Social Sciences, arts and economics classes. No school (except maybe private schools, but I'm not sure) gave the option for you to take up a selection of subjects that you dig. I guess, inadvertently, it may have been some evil ploy to keep us only knowledgeable in certain areas so that we don't end up being too smart and start asking dangerous questions... hehehe. And due to that, most of the stuff I 'learned' about the economy is from a fellow blogger Zewt - who paints the picture in a terribly worrying way.

When you hear of banks folding, and big companies laying people off, you can't help but worry. I can't remember the 1984 economic slump (I was a bit too young to understand anything back then) but I remember the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, and it is due to that I ended up doing what I do now. Well, not only me, but most of them born in around the same year as me had to re-evaluate our dreams and go with the flow... take whatever opportunity that comes, so to speak.

I read somewhere that the Malaysian Indices didn't drop as far as it should have because all the investors took off after the political tsunami in March (I'm sorry I can't specify the source of this info because I read too many things, and remembering where I read them is usually the last thing on my mind) A few months ago, I actually invested a bit in Public Mutual. I'm not sure if it is time to worry yet or not.

Nevertheless, people don't seem to be worrying as much as you'd think they should be. Being in the automotive industry, I can see that cars are still in demand (which is good for us, because cars can't go out without a good coat of shiny paint!) although the interest rates for loans have skyrocketed like crazy. People still throng the shopping malls at all times, which shows that they still have the buying power, and yet, deep down inside (and mostly after reading Zewt's stuff) I can't help being worried.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Start Me Up

I have a thing for:

a) Numbers (Not the tv show although I think the main character is kinda cute!) And it's pretty cool to have hit post number 100 for the year... especially after the slump in blogging for 2007

b) A lot of other things which I can't seem to remember because I thought of this post before sleeping last night and I've forgotten everything right now. I sure will most probably win an award for most forgetful blogger if there ever was such a thing!

c) Music, which brings forth this meme I pilfered off Woozie's blog because I think it's awesome, and yes, I have a thing for memes :D

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
4. Tag your friends who might enjoy doing the game as well as the person you got the meme from.

IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY?
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
So Much To Say - Dave Matthew's BAnd

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Hold On - Wilson Philips

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Starry Eyed Surprise - Paul Oakenfold

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
Curse of The Tollund Man - The Darkness

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
I'm in Love with my Car - Queen

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Alive - Pearl Jam

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
The Scientist - Coldplay

WHAT IS 2+2?
Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor - Juanes

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Come To My Window - Melissa Etheridge

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Walking Away - Craig David

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Handbags and Gladrags -Stereophonics

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Teenage Dirtbag - Wheatus

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Love is All Around - Wet wet wet

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Januari -Glenn Fredly

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out- U2

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Ana's Song - Silverchair

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Somewhere only we know - Keane

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
This Love - Maroon 5

WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Is it Just Me - The Darkness

HOW WILL YOU DIE?
Square One - Coldplay

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Promiscuous Girl - Nelly Furtado

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Song 2 - Blur

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
Seaside Rendezvous - Queen

WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
Paper Bag - Fiona Apple

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
Bigger Than My Body - John Mayer

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
Freedom - Rage Against the Machine

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
The Loser in the End - Queen

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Something Stupid - Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Start Me Up - Rolling Stones

To tag or to not tag.... I guess once again I'll leave it to any of you who might want to use this. It was fun! And the results are hilarious. Imagine Stuck in a moment you can't get out of for a funeral... how appropriate, seeing that once you're dead there's no getting out unless yo're a zombie! Even funnier, is that I never knew that I even had some of the songs listed above for instance Januari or even So Much to Say for that matter.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bursting Banks

To get to work, I have to cross the same river in two places using an old motorboat that lost it's motor a couple of years ago. Ok, that was a joke, a bit bad in taste perhaps seeing that some people still need to cross rivers that way...

Naturally, with rivers, the water occasionally decides to seek higher ground especially when their friends from the sky visit, and then there's also the fact that my glaring at people who indiscriminately throw rubbish on the roads, floor or everywhere else but the bin (and only god knows what monstrosities are thrown into the rivers... so sad!) seems to not have any effect whatsoever, which most probably leads to this crazy flooding after a few hours of rain which seems to happen oh so frequently these days. The road that I usually take was partly submerged in water in one small stretch and a double lane was reduced to a single lane. Even last Friday, I ended up staying back in work until almost 9pm because I heard about the road conditions from some other who got stuck.

For the same reason, I was late to work this morning (thank goodness my boss who uses the same route as me called and asked me to take another route through town, which saved me from being stuck for a few hours on the road) For a clearer picture, I give you this: Colleague A (almost same route as me but a little further) leaves the house at 6:40 am and reaches work about 7:15 am.Today she reached work at 8:10 am. I usually leave about 7:20 am and reach about 7:40 am, but at 7:35 today, I get the info about the massive jam, switch routes before I'm stuck there for good and finally reach work at 8:15 am.

This brings forth an important question... who or what do we blame for these recent occurences? (I've been using the same route for the past 4 years and this is the first year where such a thing has happened - 3 times in 4 months! Scary...) The people who haphazardly throw everthing into the rivers because they are too miserly to pay for proper disposal? The increased number of cars on the road? Unplanned development that is too fast and unhealthy? Does this mean that global warming is finally showing it's true colours (a murky brown...)?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Static Electricity and a Revelation


Firstly, I should make it clear that in the actual process of conducting the activities listed below, no one's hair stood on ends, no one suffered from static electricity shock per se, and the best part of all, it was not necessary to get any firemen involved (although I personally am of the opinion that they have one hell of a cool job despite the heat they have to face) Now that all wild ideas have been put aside, we shall continue.

A couple of days ago, I found myself in front of an audience of about twenty per session (we had to split it into three sessions) which makes it about 60 guys where I attempted to make them understand the shaky concepts behind static electricity, why we give such a damn about it and what we can all do to reduce the effects of static electricity even though I was completely unprepared for it (mentally, that is... because we're supposed to kick off these marathon training sessions, and this topic was selected to be the first and so there I was - doing some last minute mental preparation, as well as gathering some last minute material. As a measure to keep things interesting, I printed out copies of this document that would later become a pop quiz)

Now, I haven't done this (speaking in front of so many people in the name of training them as they sit at their seats taking in the information you're giving them while they silently appraise you) in a long time, and I was worried that I would be nervous and my overly active imagination worked overtime by conjuring up several unnecessary disasters that could most likely happen.

Surprisingly, despite all the insecurities that come with something you don't do on a daily basis, I somehow managed to maintain a cool disposition and was saved from any long term embarrassment. I have a strong feeling that the guys were able to comprehend what I was saying (I speak a bit too quickly sometimes - wish I could have such speeds when I'm typing, but I believe that it shall remain as wishful thinking till the end of time!) as they asked very good questions when I opened the floor to them, and most of them aced the pop quiz I gave them.

Strangely enough, while I was at it, I thought the training process was kind of fun.... weird!

Monday, October 13, 2008

When Nothing Else Works

Stupid blogger's block
You are nothing but a pain
And a great big joke

There's nothing like a haiku to save the day, and then there's only this... (although there is no connection, whatsoever)

Friday, October 10, 2008

THE CHILLS

It's cold. It's been cold for the past few days and it's an odd feeling saying how cold it is seeing that I'm here, in a country that is 'hot and humid' according to geography lessons from the yesteryears. Nevertheless it is still cold, and my fingers really, really don't like it.

Anyway, it was last Friday I think when I noticed an increased occurence of goose bumps caused by involuntary shivering. And it takes a few minutes of heating my hands together so that they're warm enough to put the bumps back where they belong. I was in an air-conditioned place when it first started, so I thought it was because it was cold, but it didn't stop there. Throughout the week, I'd be doing something I normally do, and the next thing I know I'm all in shivers even when everyone else is not.

My mom thought I might be having some sort of internal fever and told me to see a doctor. But then again, how do you tell a doctor that you think you might be having a fever but are devoid of any symptoms save the occasional shivering and a bad case of goose bumps when you sort of feel fine... the only question here being is getting the chills every now and then a sign of you being fine or not?

Based on how I'm feeling at this moment, I'd say... maybe not so fine after all. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

EXPRESS NOVEL

People say the third time's a charm, but I'm fervently crossing my fingers and hoping that the second time can be a charm as well, because I don't know if I could attempt it the third time (not that I'm giving up so easily even before the attempt, but just because you never know what may happen)

So, I've gone and signed up to torture myself for 1 whole month with the yearly writing frenzy that is best known as NaNoWriMo after not doing so last year because I knew beforehand that I was to be away for about a week in November, unlike the previous year where I went on with it despite having a major exam, but gave up somewhere in the final week of November when I realised that I had to pass the exam by hook or by crook. That sucked big time, and till today that old story still remains at 34,000+ words and unfinished.

Enough with the old stuff... So far, I don't see anything impeding my progress in getting those 50,000 words this year besides myself, sudden bouts of laziness that may occur, writer's block, limited vocabulary and the fact that I haven't the slightest clue what the story is going to be about! I still have 3 weeks to come up with something, though. However, I'm going to go with the flow, plunge the fork in the cake and write like there's no next month. (there really isn't)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Burning Bridges

It has been quite awhile since I ever acknowledged to having a best friend. Growing up, I had a small belief in best friends, those you share your deepest darkest secrets with, from silly crushes to favourite tv shows and books and secret desires to push annoying people down the stairs because I had read about such things and lived mostly in the world of make belief due to lack of entertainment.

I've always been surrounded by people, so called kindred spirits but rarely had anyone particularly close whom I could call my best friend. The closest friend I ever had was when I was in my early teens, where we rode the school bus together, joined the band in school (although only for 1 year) and spoke in F language about everything under the sun (much to the annoyance of some others who didn't know the 'language'). And then one day, without any warning, we just drifted apart (where she got chummy with some other kid whom I thought was the most boring person ever) none of us able to figure out why. They later on ceased being buddies as well. Today, I still hang out with this friend occasionally, and although we stopped speaking F language mainly because we are too old for such childish things and there's no need to keep our current conversation matters a secret.

Anyway, I met this friend last night, and we remembered an incident where another 'friend' of ours went ballistic because none of us (3 people) could make it to her wedding dinner, due to various reasons. She sent us a terrible e-mail which I almost wanted to reproduce here because I never imagined anyone who could be so mean (I'm sort of non-confrontational, so the e-mail came as a surprise) but I didn't because by the time I wanted to do so I wasn't so annoyed anymore. A discussion with victim no 3 of her e-mail reached the conclusion of allowing the matter cool down on it's own. About a year later, the ballistic friend starts communicating again, even though it's only through facebook.

About a week ago, she (ballistic friend) celebrated her birthday, and according to the friend I met yesterday, she was invited to a 'small birthday party' at the last minute. She couldn't go because of the last minuteness of the invitation (and I just realised that I wasn't invited! Tsk tsk) and now our ballistic friend is giving her the cold shoulder. So, I guess my friend will only be hearing from her in the following year?

Some of the friends I'm closest with (those who did Chem Eng with me) are the most understanding bunch ever. Invitations are sent out much earlier, and e-mails are circulated so you can plan, and even if you can't make it, no one is offended. Especially not to the extent of snubbing you for a year!

On a different note, I'm a bit perplexed by certain friends who suddenly decide to cut you off for no apparent reason - deliberately not replying messages/e-mails/yahoo messenger messages although they previously did so quite regularly. I've had two cases happen within the last year (2007) and can't seem to find any reason for such an action. Like I said, I don't go around picking fights and arguments with people. I'm thinking if it's time to start burning bridges on my own.... you know... clear up that cluttered phone book and e-mail addresses book.

PS: Edit on 6/10/08 - The two friends who cut themselves away were actually quite good friends of mine and also knew each other quite well. I was handpicked as a proofreader (of a play) for one of them and even contributed a haiku for the play. The other one I would consider a lost twin due to our similar interests (except for reading) which is why I think it's weird of them to do so, but then I also think I need to add that both of them have done this cutting off people thing once before (that I know of, anyway) That said, after giving it a bit of thought I've decided against burning the bridges with these two after all... (because they did it already) :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Stuff about Food

There has been an argument since the time people ceased having to hunt down game bigger than them, club it to death or spear it (to death as well) and drag it home to their caves so that the whole group could sit down to a decent meal of uncooked meat torn off with crude cutlery, or worry about when they themselves would be food for someone else or some other creature. The argument is, do we live to eat, or do we eat to live?

I was watching the local news this morning, something which I don't usually do due to the holier than thou approach they use in addressing issues and their reporting which quite a lot of people agree is slightly biased. So much for clear and transparent reporting. Nevertheless, once the local news segment was over and done with, they ventured to the world news, one of it being an International Hamburger eating competition in which the contestants are required to wolf down as many hamburgers they can in 8 minutes.

Now, no offense against the competitors who must have practiced really hard in order to eat all those hamburgers, not to mention the damage that their digestive tracts could face regardless if they allowed everything to get digested or if they had to throw it all up later. The thing is, it is quite pointless (in my opinion) for such a competition when there are so many kids starving out there... those who can't even get their hands on half a hamburger. I also have similar sentiments towards some of the so called records broken in the Malaysia book of records which I think were not necessary at all such as the 14 metre layer cake

Sorry about the grumpy post

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Revisiting Sherlock Holmes


The other day, when I blogged about what I've been doing with my life for the past 4 years, Aunty Helpful Dictator's mind went straight to Sherlock Holmes. And another evidence about how everything is interconnected, my sister happened to mention Sherlock Holmes in one of our many conversations about a few weeks before that. The thing is, for the past few weeks, I have also been reading Sherlock Holmes and his adventures in solving crimes.

I first got to know the amazing detective (yes, I know he is fictional, but...) at the age of 13 during Literature class (my teacher at that time seemed to be a big fan!) have become a fan myself ever since. At that time, however, our books were abridged versions with a controlled vocabulary of (I can't remember how many) words, which the English Language Department thought was the appropriate number of words any 13 year old should know... (after all, English is only thought as a second language here)

I've always been fascinated by crime solving characters. It started with Enid Blyton's Secret Seven and Famous Five to the Five Find Outers, to Alfred Hitchcock's Three Investi, gators, and Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys and finally followed by the abridged versions of Sherlock Holmes . It reached a point where one of my ambitions included being a private investigator, but was kept aside after a sudden realisation that it could never materialise no thanks to the career advisor at school.

I recently came across a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories (unabridged and with the original illustrations, or so they say), and discovered that they are still as fascinating as ever. I guess crime novels never run out of fashion even when you're spoiled with all the modern technology available in the CSI series. The best part of all is after all these years, I also finally found out how he and Dr. Watson became crime solving buddies.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

RESIDENT EVIL

They say there are unseen being lurking around us, trapped in a place where no one wants them to be and yet, when they show their existence even for a mere second, people run helter-skelter, sometimes swearing to never return to that place.

There are rumours going around that the place where we work has it's own group of unwanted guests. One of our guards had seen a headless creature after midnight once and was sick for a week. Some have seen a short 'person' with brush like hair, and there's also one tall one with long flowing hair.

There are some unseen ones who choose to make noise when you're all alone. Right above the office building, there's an utility room where the compressors and pumps are, and as far as we are aware, people don't work there at night, but sometimes, when you're sitting all alone, unaware that you're the last one sitting there finishing a stubborn report, you hear sounds of things being moved around in the utility room. Sometimes you can ignore them, but at times, it just gets a bit too creepy.

I had a dream last night about the work place. Now, when you're at the factory floor, you can clearly look into the office which is especially helpful if you want to look for somebody. I don't recall what I was doing there, but as I looked into the office at the area where I sit, I saw the creepiest apparition ever, 2 dark black figures with shocking green hair, and glinting green eyes. They seemed to be standing there, and one of them touched the shoulder of the guy that sits behind me, and he was totally oblivious to it. The other one stood near my table and looked around.

This image creeped me out so much I think I woke up in horror after that and had some difficulty sleeping again!