Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Have you paid back your scholarship/loan?

I wonder how much Petronas spent to get that half-page notice published on today's NST...

... but I know surely it must have been a mere figure compared to the total scholarship/loan payment that they are expecting from the 22 people, whose names ungracefully graced that particular half-page notice.

Yup, Petronas had learnt it from MARA - if you want those graduates to pay you back, their names has got to be published in the newspaper, that'll get their attention. Hence that half-page Notis Tuntutan Biasiswa/Pinjaman Pelajaran Petronas on page 7 of Wednesday, 31 March 2004's edition of New Straits Times.

By default I don't have any reason to be interested in this, but I could not help but scanned through the list anyway. I bet quite a number of NST readers succumbed to this activity as well.

Not that we're nosy, not that we're interested, we could not be bothered by it anyway... but hey, our eyes can see and that's what things in print do to you - they make your eyes sweep through it whether you like it or not cause it's there and it's legible.

Because it was legible and the font was big enough to capture my attention and bring comprehension, I noticed several anak Dato's and anak Doktors also made the list.

Since I was going through the copy of NST with several of my colleagues, discussion was inevitable. "It's usually the anak Dato's and anak orang kayas that tend to abscond," says one of them.

"Well they should have expected the strings they pulled earlier to get the scholarship to tug back!" joked another.

"Ooh... isn't this so ala kerajaan baru, since Petronas is doing a high-profile debt-clearing measure.." said another colleague, referring to another article - featured in NST not too long after the Kasitah Gaddam case - on a bunch of Datuks clearing up their taxes which amounted to millions of RM.

Me, I was thinking more along the lines of, did the Petronas department which handled the students loan had problems only with these 22 individuals?

And were these 22 people liat sangat in settling their debts that the local oil giant had to resort to publishing their names in bold 12 Arial font, along with their guarantors, in order to get payment out of them?

Or was it that these 22 dudes and dudettes never actually received a letter from Petronas saying that they were required to settle their debts already?

Friday, March 26, 2004

Health, lately

First it was my PC. Yep, I had to reformat it. It's a good thing I had been doing back ups quite frequently so Ijust needed to transfer all the zipped folders as second back up to a thumb drive and copy my contacts list. The photos, loads of them, were loaded into my Yahoo! Photo Album accounts, thank you very much.

But now I've contracted flu from one of the interns that was following me to the two assignments I had to cover yesterday. She's MC-ing today, smart girl! I wish I had gotten one myself.

On another note, I did yoga with Jenny B last night, we were spurred by Sue's persistence of attending her yoga classes. If last time I was shocked by the cellulite attack, this time I got smarter and wore a pair of long pants. Unfortunately there's more lessons to learnt.

First, never overestimate your fitness level - I thought I can do the yoga routine good enough if not well, but apparently I am faaarrrrr from fit. I was huffing and puffing right after the third "plank" routine.

Second, expect the unexpected - when you do yoga, you tend to move muscles you never know existed in your body. When these sleeping muscles move, there's a big chance other things in your body will move too ("every action has a reaction", no?), so what I didn't expect was... gas release! Yep, me and Jenny B were burping louder than the Cheras MP on his loudspeaker last night, all the way throughout the 45-minutes routine!

Well, anyway, today I woke up much earlier than usual and got to work on time! Isn't that something?

Virus attacks

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Poster war! Honk war!

The Election time is here. Posters - loads of them - are swaying on tree barks and branches, walls and fences, cars and tractors!

On top of that several markas has been erected near the stretch of eatery spot near my hole. Talks were held there, in various languages, with invited speakers lobbying for their party via a very effective loudspeaker.

I really don't mind the posters. And I can understand their need to blab into that mic to highlight their issues. But what's up with that motorbike posse, several of them in fact, carrying their party flags and banners going around the housing area and honking like mad at 11PM - 2AM everytime they pass their rival's port?

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Happy blogging to Cik Li and Rule..

More of my friends are blogging now - cool! I just found out Liza and Rule also have their own blog, which they had started quite a while back.

I shall not highlight their URLs here just yet, in case they wanna do a lot more before they go public. A couple of weeks back I thought of making mine public as well, but after a second consideration I think I'm happy enough as it is. Maybe when my writing and webbing skills are much better, I'll change the blog's status.

What's really cool about blogging is that you have the freedom to write and post whatever you want! Though some people say a good blog is one that's very well written and loaded with important message or useful information, I can only agree to a certain extent.

On top of everything else, a good blog is one that makes you feel good about yourself - it is supposed to be a channel for you to release some tension and chill out after all, isn't it? There's no real need to be creative or perfect, you're your own editor. As long as you're happy with how the page looks and what's written on it, the power to publish is yours!

While there's lots of reasons why people blog, I blog because I want to be brave. Brave enough to be myself in expressing my thoughts and write it down and deliver it with my own style (which, according to my Ed., is still something I have to work on!). I wanna be original.

I wish all my blogmates happy blogging - keep 'em coming!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Thanks Sue!

I got to this office late this morning and got an email asking me to check out my favourite URL and voila!

The Singled Out blog has once again been awarded with a facelift, courtesy of da very da creative Sue! Thanks for sparing some ideas and spending time to make this blog look cool.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Freakin mad!

The title's not good enough to describe how absolutely freakin mad I am. I'm so mad I can't even think of the next sentence to type!! I mean the sentence before this one took me almost a minute to come out of my fried brains.

I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo MAD.!!!

Alright, sure our office were attacked with virus that eats up all the jpg files in our server last week. But it was cleared up quickly. Plus I did all the screen captures after all that were done.

For the past three days those jpg files that I captured went missing a day after I did the recapture. If it is the virus then it should not be random files that are missing - the virus would have eaten all of it.

Plus, when I used the IrfanView software, I immediately "save as" it in the current folder - I happened to forgot to change the storage destination so it all went to our previous issue's folder instead of the current on we were working on. When I found out I copied the jpg files and saved them into the current folder.

So when they all went missing for the first time, I went back to the previous folder and cut those jpgs that I copied the other day (which I did not delete) and repaste them into the current folder.

Then they went missing for the second time - this time not all but one jpg file was left for each slug (article). You see I usually name the graphic files that I captured to accompany a certain article with the same name so that the sub-editor and creative dudes can find them easily, for example if the slug was named "rat.doc" then the jpg files would be named "rat1.jpg", "rat2.jpg" and so on.

Systematic, no? Well, systematic enough for other people to take advantage by deleting what they thought was oversupplying of graphics! It's not that I really want to have lots of graphics per article - but the nature of the article that calls for it. So if it is needed, it is supplied - I know I'm using the space in our servers appropriately!

Anyway, I had to re-do the screen capturing again, and boy did it took me a long time to finish cause by noon our connection is a bit slow.

Then they went missing for the third time. Again, not all files were missing, but one was left for each corresponding slug. So again I re-do the screen capturing, but this time since I did it in the morning it was quite tolerable.

Today they went missing yet again!!! And the pattern stays - one jpg was left for each slug!!! And when I checked back the one that gets to stay are graphics of products from our advertisers or leading brand or simply the coolest looking gadget among the bunch of products that I earlier captured.

It was clear that it was not the virus that's eating them jpgs. It was someone who knows what our publishing style is about.

I suspect it is one of them dirtybag/kissass sub-editors - they are the ones who does the layout of articles on each page we print, and they modify the edited articles to fit the page (but they say that process is actually about modifying our language usage, as if the writers and editors aren't good enough in English!)

These dirtybag/kissass sub-eds know that it is our publication's style to have one photo/graphic to accompany article (in order not to make it too boring, and in order to prove that our publication did send a representative to cover certain event - it's a we-were-there kind of thing).

These dirtybag/kissass sub-eds also know that if we have the opportunity, we should give priority to products sold by our advertisers (it's a publication's way to butter up those companies so that they will continue to advertise with us, since we've shown our support and given them the extra exposure). Hence that's why all the jpgs that were left to accompany my articles were associated with our advertisers.

I feel like shouting at someone!

After I discovered "the missing again" this morning, I quickly stood up from my chair and grunted loud enough for someone to ask what's up? (It was one of the Assistant Editorial Managers who asked me what's with the grunt?)

I told her what happened. She referred to the virus situation, but I told her about the pattern on the missing-all-but-one-jpg-for-one-slug thing and she too agreed that it is a person who's doing it.

So I paced around the office, walked barefoot in fact, to cool myself down. In my moment of temporary insanity I thought should my feet touch the coolness of the cement it would seep into my body and dissipate the heat of my boiling blood.

So maybe at that time I forgot the office is fully carpeted.

Anyway I talked to our dedicated sub-editor, whom I know would be freakin mad as well cause she needs those jpgs as well, and asked loudly (hoping that the other dirtybag/kissass sub-editors would hear) who could be deleting my files? She told me she'll check with the iSD people and see if those jpgs can be retrieved.

I'm waiting right now - if the files were retrieved, it will confirmed my suspicion that it is actually a person who's deleting my jpgs, not a virus. If the person who deleted them is already using our new system, I can even request to find out who it is.

Once I found out who, I'll be sure to confront the person and tell him or her not to mess around with the current files. I'll tell the person that my time has been wasted these past few days and the person will have to pay for it somehow.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Dated June 11, 2003

Remember that pile of old newspaper I blogged about not too long ago? Well today I finally sent that leaning tower of newspapers to rest in peace.

Or maybe I sent it to hell, considering its final destination will be the recycle centre.

I didn't sent it away because it was getting too tall, too leaning, too obstructing.

I didn't sent it away because it wasn't working with my office feng-shui either (then again I wouldn't know for sure since my former deskmate who's into all these fengshui stuff never got around to giving me a read since the pile started).

And I didn't sent it away because a number of people had started to notice (some impressed, some thought I was just too lazy to clear em up, some thought it might got something to do with battling against RSI).

I sent it away because I needed more space to roll my chair away from my current deskmate.

Last month we went into cold war mode when she sabotaged my working schedule by piling up her assignments to my care. I ignored her successfully, giving single-word replies when it was truly necessary.

Then last Friday I wanted to escape early from work and since no one else was around I had to talk to her. I bet that must have been the turning point - she must have thought everything was all alright again but no way Popo!

(FYI I call her "Popo" since the day I found out that this BackStreet Boys/Sugar Ray fan is actually several years away from her retirement yet working very hard to keep her age a secret.)

This week on Monday she was all sugary again and even tried to gossip with me. I actually flinched backwards (twas reflex! honest!) when she dragged her chair closer to mine.

That was the moment I found out that with the wall behind me plus the table and the hoard of review gadgets piled in front of me, doing away with my beloved pile of old newspaper is the sacrifice I have to make in order to enable a quick escape.

Today she was in only for half of the day - I seize the chance to say farewell to my sturdy protector against the office's Ah Beng and literally loudmouthed colleague Loudspeaker, the one that lets me sit on it and sway while I find that elusive first line for that article I was working on, my dilapidated side table, my pile of old newspaper.

Then in five trips to the cleaner's area, I sent the pile away. Lying on the bottom of the pile was a supplement dated on June 11, 2003. Now the area on my left seems so barren.

Man, I'm going to miss it.