Scratch Post

02 March 2012

[Self] Dumbing Down on TV

There's really too much reality TV crap about models trying to be Tyra's pick of the season, or a guy trying to find "true love" by dating 16 women (go figure).

So, I think I'd better switch to some other channel that has some level of intelligent content instead, say the Kardashians or American Chopper....

23 August 2011

[Work] Weird Stats For PaidTV

Working on a damn gila messy but interesting project related to Paid TV.

An engineer from US was telling me that dirty reels in US costed easily 14.95 USD per pop. And it was the pay-per view type meaning it was time bound (eg: lasts for x time period).

And he also told me that from industrial stats, the average view time of those who bought the dirty reels was 3 minutes only.

"Whoa!", I exclaimed .... "That really is per pop!!"

15 July 2010

[Work] ReOrg烦恼中


算了吧,再次期待吧。。。。 现在转向祖国为下个目标,可以去北京都还不错!只要不是被逼扣留@KL 可以了!!

22 June 2010

[Work] 25% QoS "IF" Lucky

Hot, sweaty, and tired. Cutover is not going as well as planned. Crapball this is. And am just sitting at customer site doing 'marketing' and providing moral support. There is a degree of eunuch-ism here which is getting to me.... *&^%$#@! .. the real work is happenin offsite 20km away from where I am. Long story but ain't gonna be told here today.

Back to guys doing offsite marketing purely for customer relations .... On my left is a dude who is monitoring the network realtime, and ELS dude who is cool is sitting opposite me involved in some troubleshooting. Crazy PLM folks suka-suka release Emergency Patches that seem to create more freaking emergencies than solve them!!! If I am lucky, we get to rollout 50% of the planned QoS features. Which is actually 25% of the features from a 2x2 architecture perspective.

Have the Windows Media Player set on low volume, was listening a while back to Foo Fighters' "Walking After You" which I remember hearing in 1998 (I think) which was featured in an MTV that came along some taped episodes of South Park from USA in VHS (yeah VHS) format - it was still not known in Msia yet but only geeks like me and Kth knew about it.

Now I have Franz Ferdinand on, the guy who was assassinated leading to the breakout of WW1. Find me a matinee indeed!!!

15 June 2010

[Self] Worst Massage Ever vs Weirdest Massage Ever

I trace my fondness for massage from the time I worked in this CRM company that sent me to Thailand for some months, where having a massage is as normal as yamcha. Since then, I enjoy a massage where ever I go to, and you tend to notice the differences based on the culture / philosophy of massage based on the country you go to.

For example - massage in Thailand is focused more on soothing the muscles and relaxation thru kneading; while massage by mainlanders are focused on the 'kin' (nerves) and they don't hesitate to dispense a dose (or two) of pain as they plough through the toxins and clear up your 'chi' in the nerves.

Usually a good session allows you to leave invigorated and you wash away the weariness of the day. But you also get the bad ones. Of which, there have been 2 noteworthy.

Let's start with the weirdest massage ever: The Saudi Massage by a Filipino Dude.

Working in Saudi was stressful in very different ways and for a variety of reasons. With ultratight shoulders and being dead tired, I one day stumbled into a gym near the E/// MUKSA office that offered massages. So I go in there, a guy (from Morocco) talks to me in a mixture of Arabic and English and through sign language and rapid hand gestures mainly I know I am supposed to go into some room.

And I open the door and lie down on some platform thing. Then, a Filipino dude comes up. He speaks English. I feel relieved at least someone does speak the same language. Filipino dude instructs me to lie on my stomach, and I do so. Then, he takes a glove from this box, and begins the massage. At first I go ... "huh a glove??", and wonder what the hell is going on. And as the latex makes contact with my back it just felt so weird I was paralyzed with surprise (or maybe some latex allergy reaction). The paralysis gave way to some pathetic rationalization - Ah well I am in Saudi after all so maybe that’s the standard here … but still it felt damn weird after 50 mins.

So imagine this weird layer of latex, being consistently applied to your body in a weird motion (the massage was bad by the way), and the occasional massage oil is clumsily rubbed over the body. …. I guess the closest analogy I can give is I now know what it feels like being "Hong Kong - Chee Cheong Fun" (this is that flat noodle thing that is steamed and the hawker uses some paintbrush to dab some oil on it, and then uses some metallic piece to scrap the flat noodle off a cloth).

For having 5 fingers wrapped in latex rubbed on me once in a while, it cost me 80 Riyals (approx 80 Ringgit) and was totally not worth it! Weird, damn damn damn weird and not worth it!! This experience alone gave me massage phobia in Saudi for the rest of my duration of stay there for many many months.

And now, for the Worst Massage Ever: 1 Month ago in Jakarta @Jalan Mahakam

Massage in Indo (Jakarta) is overall OK and cheaper than KL. There’s this weird thing about using deck chairs but it is still decent.

So far it has been good, but I do regret ever having this instance of massage one “fine” day when I returned from work feeling exhausted, so I decided to try out this place barely 100m from the hotel.

It’s a weird place that combines a bakery, a Japanese restaurant and a massage place in the same building. Anyway, over here in Jakarta you are clothed, and the masseur dude will start with the legs. The leg was decent and took the longest time I guess it’s a good way to run the clock down.

Then came the back massage. It started with the dude standing on his legs but he has to bend as he exerts pressure from the neck down thru the spine and down to the bottom à that’s still OK no issue.

Then came the part where the dude climbs onto the deckchair, and squats over you as another kind of back massage style is applied. This is quite normal and in most circumstances, a guy like me would have no issue. EXCEPT there were these factors that combined together:

- Dude was wearing some kind of standard uniform where the shorts are of the loose type

- It was a dude, not a woman

So the dude is squatting over me, and I feel something. Then a few seconds later, I feel something again, and again. And a few more seconds again! Massage patterns are iterative and then to my regret came round 2. If round 1 I was caught completely unaware, in round 2 I was trying to avoid contact by wriggling around to avoid contact with the dude’s balls (yes, it was balls). I even contemplated running out screaming like a madman.

I was exhausted when I went into the massage place, and I was violated, shaken and deeply disturbed as I stumbled out of the place. The exhaustion was completed drained out of me, as was any other kind of feeling & emotion. Deeply scarred I was for several days after!!

05 May 2010

[Work] Program Mgmt

Bloody hell, managing PMs and a portfolio is damn hard!!

RVI is not with me so cannot login, I think I left it in office somewhere better find it else it is gonna be a major hassle. Too tired to even grumble now.

Let's hope the printouts of QoS profiles, and some trace findings in GGSN work out tmrw.....

17 February 2010

[Work] The Crazy Saudi Escape

When people ask me about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I give a balanced 1-line summary "Same Planet, Different World".

When people who have actually been to KSA hear this, they nod in total agreement; while people who have not, knit their brows, and with a befuddled look ask you to explain which you do try to, but it's one of those things you need to personally experience to really get it.

As in all countries and cultures there is the good and bad. But I'm just gonna share a personal story relating to the Saudi Visa ... one of the weirdest and stress inducing things in the world.

Getting a Saudi Visa is something like Calvinball where the rules keep on changing. And so is the process of getting the extension.

My Visa Start Date = 30Sept2009
My Entry Into KSA = 11Oct2009
Validity = 3 months

So there are 2 dates to consider, is my visa expiry date on
- 30Dec2009 (based on visa start date)
- 11Jan2010 (based on entry date)

But this being KSA, you always err on the side of caution, hence when I re-entered KSA on 18Dec09, I talked to the visa officer from my company to extend my visa by 2 weeks for me (did it many times before never was a problem). He told me to come back on 26Dec09.

Which I did, and he told me to come back on 30Dec09 to pick it up. I just didn't trust the bugger, so I came back on 29Dec09 to get it. He tells me it was rejected by the gov officials and shows me the paper. But he follows up and tells me it is 100% no problem he just needs to appeal and get the record straight for me. I don't trust him but have no choice.

Then I come back on 30Dec09 to get my extension. He sees me approaching and starts to panic. He talks to an Arab guy who is a in-between runner for the company and the authorities. They speak in Arabic for 5 mins in hushed tones but with spikes of "oh shit ... errm now what' (you can get that from the intonation don't need to know the language).

So they settle down after ignoring me. Arrogant visa officer from my company tells me it is too bad I have to fly off today. I am really pissed off and barks back at him. He then chats in Arabic again, and now the Arab guy takes the paper, whips out a red pen and scribbles something on it (see text in the the red box) which is actually a date in Arabic.

Here you go - they tell me and hand back the form to me. It is extended.

I am.... huh???? wtf??? since when do you simply extend something that the authorities rejected?!! The advice I get is as below:

- Oh no problem, we shall photocopy it for you so they cannot see the red ink. Here you go (photocopy is handed to me).
- Why don't you try to pass thru the immigration at the airport first.
- If you pass no problem. If you don't pass show them this paper.
- Remember, keep the paper in your pocket first. Don't show to them unless you have to.
- Don't worry.
- Don't worry. Seriously.
- OK OK we'll give you a backup number to call if you face problems.
- Remember, keep the paper in your pocket first. Don't show to immigration unless you have to.

I had to arrange to next reasonable flight out, and was lucky enough to escape without any complications! If I did not, I could have been looking at several of the possible choices below:
- Fine of 10k-20k Riyals (approx 10k-20k Ringgit)
- Deportation which would be recorded in my travel documents
- Fine by airline co. to cancel trip
- Lots of bureaucratic hassles
- Prison

There were lots of vaseline jokes made during my waiting period btw 30th of Dec to the 4th of Jan, when I finally flew off. Seriously, the visa thing was really scary as hell!!! Not something you'd want to repeat anytime soon.