Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

With the scary part of June behind us, life must go on, I suppose.

 1. I anticipated my knees knocking in inexplicable fear or worse still losing my temper at stupid questions as I was forced to  share the knowledge of improving working procedures to a bunch of middle aged businessmen in a seminar. Turns out they weren't middle aged businessmen (but I was still younger than most of them anyway, based on the information we gathered while talking to them during the small breaks), and were not as intimidating or as irritating as I thought they'd be, except for a few whose sole purpose I suppose were to irritate. Well, if everything went smoothly, I'd probably think it was a dream and not real anyway.


2. After giving a tour of the factory to two interns who were there for their practical training, one of them said he had a stupid question. I braced myself for something work related, but received a baffling question about the inconsistent message my earrings were giving to an observer (I wear two pairs, usually. At that time, one pair was of a bright yellow star, and the other was of a skull and crossbones) Twenty-two year olds are so cute!

3. The fierce lady at the clinic I have been going to since I was 13 died of cancer recently. I find that terribly ironic because she would have had access to the best advice/medical care being in the field herself. I was at the clinic the other day, and her partner in crime was talking to another lady saying that while she always scolded patients for not taking care of their health enough, she had chosen to neglect her own. Her name was Rosie.


4. An appropriate song for a day like this...

Friday, June 18, 2010

For the First Time...

they actually got it right. After a long, long time, I'm finally catching a movie tonight, have  been planning for a weekend getaway somewhere in early July, and am planning on a going for a short vacation in the near future!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Conspiracy Theories

In a swanky office, decorated in white and black, and perhaps a smattering of green, a meeting between three people goes on amidst cups of coffee and cigarettes.

New Kid:   Listen here... I've got an idea to make our ISP more accessible
Bored Boss: Really? Like what? Promote it in malls? Roadshows? Been there, done that, kiddo.
Another Bored Boss: What we need is for the customer to love our service so much that they'll stick with us through thin
New Kid:  You mean through thick or thin?                       
(Ever the pedant)

Another Bored Boss:  Trust me, work here long enough... and you'll realise we only have it thin.
New Kid:  Ok. Then just let us make it inconvenient for them to terminate the account.

(Both the Bored Boss and Another Bored Boss turn and look at the New Kid with renewed interest)

Bored Boss:  Tell us more... we're listening
New Kid:  Well, we let them register anywhere possible... say during the roadshow and such even at MEPs which we seem to be underutilising at the moment. We make registration easy peasy, and people will take for granted that terminating the account will be easy as well. Or we make them believe so. But in reality... they can only terminate the accounts at selected centres, which don't open after office hours. How's that?
Bored Boss:    You little genius! Let's celebrate.
(all the three of them start laughing)
The box that holds the modem.

In view of a fairly recent event, I have come to the conclusion that as a consumer, you are almost always the loser in the end. *Just how big a loser you are depends on certain factors, such as the service involved, how greedy the corporation that provides the service is, how successful they are, and probably which country you live in and where the service comes from.

The other day, I had decided that it was time to say goodbye to the old ISP,  after having complied to their one year contract. While their service wasn't really that bad in the beginning, the past few months was a bit of a torture. No one wants to wait for 30 minutes for a 3 minute video to buffer, you see. I suspect that they had taken more customers who were eating into the bandwith than they could handle, especially after offering several cheap packages. But that's a different story...

Anyway, I walk into their centre on Monday evening, the very same one where I registered for their service over one disillusioned Sunday over a year ago, and tell the unfriendly staff my intentions. He gives one look at the box, and nonchalantly informs me that they cannot terminate accounts in their centre (they call it MEP according to the website, whatever that means) and I will need to go to a proper centre for such an evil intention.(The guy didn't exactly use the word proper, or even evil for that matter... he said something, which I understood the meaning of without really comprehending each word)

So it seems that they in the MEP centres are authorised to allow you to register for an account there, but the simple act of termination needs you to go out of your way and take leave (or waste your Saturday morning!) because it can only be done at certain centres which unfortunately open only at those times. What the hell?

* after all, this post is all about theories...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

While I was sleeping

When I was in school, I wrote a lot of essays which ended with "Thank goodness it was just a dream" or "I woke up, relieved. It was just a dream" To prevent such lame endings to my post, I'll state here right now that what you're about to read (if you choose to) is a dream. Nothing else.

So, I was sitting in Ketsbaia waiting for the light to turn green, when suddenly, an old beat up car, it's side view mirror precariously hanging on to it's life came from the across the road and tried to squeeze in on my left, on it's way to goodness knows where (it was on the wrong side of the road, so it took me by surprise) The driver naturally misjudged  the available gap and there was a loud screechy noise, a bang and I could see the slow, unrehearsed moves of the driver, an indication of someone who had just braked with all their might. I knew I had been hit. The driver of the other car panicked and backed up. Another loud screechy noise ensued.

Shaking like a leaf I got out of Ketsbaia, inspecting the damage. So did the other driver, a harassed looking lady in a floral blouse and brown skirt. There were dents on my car, and a part of him seems to have been torn off. I walked towards the lady asking her for her insurance information. She kept quiet. I asked her for her name instead, and she was still quiet. I didn't know what to do. Suddenly she walked up to me with a piece of paper, put it in my hand and left.

On it was written the recipe to repair dents without going to the workshop. Apparently, all you need to do is to crush some of the mini peanut puffs (see picture), and add them to  some materials we use to make car paint. (I work in an automotive paint factory, so I know the ingredients when I see them) and voila, you've got material durable enough to fix your dents and patch up broken bits.

Yeah, looks like I am married to my job!

Monday, June 07, 2010

I Take Tests For Fun

A few years ago, I answered 6 questions and was told that the book that best describes my life was Catch-22. It was interesting and yet odd at the same time, because yes, the situation of my life back then was one where I could never win any way I tried to look at it. At the same time, while Joseph Heller makes me laugh all the time, the book's repetitiveness was a little painful to bear at times.

I just took another quiz because it's a bit too late for a full fledged post at this time of the day, and well, this week is going to be a pretty busy one, so posting 'proper and well thought out posts may be a bit out of the question...My comments on the result are in Italics.


Your result for The Which book are you? Test...
1984
You are 53% Great Book
One of the best known and well crafted works of modern literature, you are a political novel written with the purpose of warning readers in the West of the dangers of totalitarian government. You are 1984.

(Twenty questions and this is what I'm told. I did think that 1984 was a good book, one that made you think, one that made you wonder if your own country was moving towards totalitarianism. Unfortunately, I was reading it at a time when my emotions escalated from crazy high to deep down low, so I don't particularly love it. In fact, it made me a wee bit depressed!)

You are well thought out, and intelligent, as well as balanced in your intentions. You can, however, be rather crude and even blunt. You have a general distaste for those who ignore the truth, especially when they willfully blind themselves to the dangers of their own behaviour. You do your best to try and snap people out of it, and as a rule you are leaned toward helping others. You do, however, often find yourself becoming critical and even harsh in your analysis, usually because you feel people are not accepting the truth and need to be shown the foolishness of their position.

(Yes, that's probably true. I can be brutally honest, with the emphasis on brutal as I told someone the other day. But it all depends on how I'm feeling at that moment as well. This portion is quite true, except that I never force my opinions on people... If they're willing to accept it, all is good, but if they don't then I'll let them be)

1984 is, at times, a truly chilling book. Orwell was something of a master when it came to bringing people's fears into the world, animating the worst possible scenarios with a genuine flesh of realism. This book creates a world in which people are controlled by a totalitarian government, and have lost their god given free will. If you like a scary but not overly far-fetched read, try 1984.

(Free will, or the ability to make decisions based on information that is available and then using your brains and thinking, I must admit is one of the most important things a person can ever have. And yes, I've read the book. Will probably read it again sometime in the future)

In 1984, Orwell portrays the perfect totalitarian society, the most extreme realization imaginable of a modern-day government with absolute power. There are telescreens to monitor behavior—everywhere they go, citizens are continuously reminded, especially by means of the omnipresent signs reading “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU,” that the authorities are scrutinizing them. The title of the novel was meant to indicate to its readers in 1949 that the story represented a real possibility for the near future: if totalitarianism were not opposed, the title suggested, some variation of the world described in the novel could become a reality in only thirty-five years.

(Sometimes I do feel that certain aspects of my life are veering towards 1984. For instance the spots assigned to us to stand during assembly earlier this year, when just about a year ago, you could stand where you wished, as long as it was in the general assembly area. Or the fact that you have to be careful with what you write on your blogs so that your computers are not confiscated by the government multimedia police if they think you're writing something way out of line even if it's satirical in nature. It's kinda scary)

Take The Which book are you? Test at OkCupid

Friday, June 04, 2010

Failed Holidays

As my fingers move in a less than graceful manner over the keyboard, typing out replies to the *gang over some future plans, I ** imagine having my fingers crossed that this year's plans will actually be successful and pan out as we hope. So yeah, if you're reading this... please cross your fingers on my behalf too... after all, April  2006 (when we had our last vacation together) seems like such a long time ago, boasting changed faces, different hairdos, lost baby fat and new wardrobe over the years and a plea for us to update our photo albums.

Anyway, this act of replying e-mails made  me take a peek at my sent folder and I had gone down history lane as far as 2007, before I realised that the bunch of us had so many incidences where we had taken fully baked plans and some 3/4 baked ones and poured cold water over them - unintentionally of course, due to leave issues, epidemics and other such crazy stuff life decided to throw at our faces. The plans over the years are as follows.

2007:
Boracay. The plan was too near Christmas and ticket prices were an issue. The e-mail exchange lasted for only about a week before we dropped the subject to focus on a friend's wedding around the same time as our plans.

2008:
Trip to Egypt. RTG was working there and had enticed us with plans that included a trip down the Nile river. Turns out, a few weeks into our discussion and planning, she finds out that she's being relocated out of Egypt in a e-mail titled: Transferred! - Don't Kill me (as if we would). So we wept imaginary tears for the Nile and the excitement we had to miss.

This was taken during a 'successful' road trip with the sister and cousins
2009:
Cambodia. If there was a master of all plans, this one had to be it. Unfortunately, we started planning in March for a holiday that was far away in November. E-mails stretched into pages with research. It was meant to be a week long break, after all... and being us, we were very thorough in our research. We wanted to explore Angkor Wat, and get a glimpse of a particular lake that was famous in our school geography exams among others. Our plans came crashing down the moment H1N1 came into the picture, robbing us of our vacation as a group. And then it turned out that November was also not a very convenient month for at least two of us.

2010: 
a) Climbing Mt Kinabalu. Actually, only RTG and I wanted to do this with ES cheering from afar.  AW had conquered Mt Kinabalu while still in her twenties. Unfortunately, falling sick a few times in the last few months had made my gym sessions inconsistent and I'm afraid I'm not strong enough to pull it off. Well, we had some booking problems as well, it seems.
b) Morocco: Probably in 2011.
c) Beijing: Was discussed and contemplated on, but you need a few extra days there. Visiting the Great Wall would have been excellent, but one of the gang doesn't have enough of vacation leave left to pull it off.
d) Plan under discussion: The one we're currently working on. Ok, this one better work out!

* we are a small faction of the older, larger gang - around 10 people, who mostly have either married or whose favourite topic of discussion would be how to raise your kids right. It is a sad state we're in at the moment though, because I'm here, in Malaysia, ES is in Singapore, RTG in Mexico, and AW (who is actually married - but whose other half is stuck in China) is currently globe-trotting before having to finally settle in Singapore as well. I've not seen these people for over a year, as the last time they were all here together was while I was away in Japan.

** I was typing, you see. So I couldn't really cross my fingers physically.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Oh June! Tis Frightening to Think of Ya!

Yes, very frightening indeed. Can I just hide in some corner and let the whole month fade into non-existence?