gambitch - now available in blue
Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Perhaps you are wondering: "What in the name of (insert your favourite god's name here) is gambitch doing blogging at four in the morning?"

Some explanation is definitely in order.

The main reason why gambitch is blogging at four in the morning has something to do with the fact that he is awake at four in the morning. Awake doing what, you may ask. Unifying several important mail distribution lists, that's what. And when I say important, I mean important - if the distribution lists include several major government officials, it cannot be anything other than important. Working for a politically connected organization has its benefits.

Having just completed the job (and it was not exactly the easiest job to complete), I thought I would just empty my brains of work-related matters for a minute and blab on a little. I probably deserve the short break anyway.

There is always some satisfaction to be derived from completing jobs like these. Being able to say to yourself "mission accomplished" is always nice. It gives you a feeling that you have achieved something. And sometimes that is all we need - a personal sense of achievement. On occasion we feel even better when others thank us for a job well done, but you don't always need that. It would be a little sad if we needed it, and the current arrangement suits many of us much better - thanks are a bonus, personal satisfaction is all you need.

Sometimes, though, after all that fatigue, you really want to feel that you are appreciated for the hard work you have put in. Not so much of the "what would we do without you" variety - it only makes people start feeling they are indispensable, and that can overly inflate a few egos. It's more the type where people go "thanks for being there when we needed someone". It just so happens that that someone was you, so it was more a case of being the right person to be there at the right time.

Sometimes we don't look for a word of thanks. Talk is cheap. Good hard pats on the back or a hug of appreciation can work wonders that no amount of words could ever adequately express. Man is a weird creature; people tend to be very sensual and depend very much on bodily gestures to be effective communicators. Considering some people put in their entire lives trying to create or improve on spoken and written languages, this must really frustrate such people, who can only struggle with trying to deal with this observation.

What I really am looking for now, though, is a good dose of sleep. Good thing I chose not to have any coffee.

gambitch [ 4:51 AM]

Friday, June 06, 2003

is it too much to ask
that when i tell you to back off and leave me alone
that you just disobey me?

gambitch [ 9:51 PM]

Sometimes I wonder whether immersing myself in work is really the way I ought to spend my time.

Don't get me wrong. I love feeling productive and doing meaningful work. It is only when there seems to be a lack of progress despite the work, and when there is suddenly no clear direction in where the work is really going, that it can really get frustrating. It just feels like you are running into a brick wall. The best part is, other people don't always have an obligation to help you out with tearing down the brick wall. Sometimes you are supposed to do it yourself - which is fine, except you don't know how to.

How do you explain that kind of feeling? How do you expect other people to be understanding and to be willing to help? Especially when they are not obliged to?

So it is back to the grind, back to the old business of running into brick walls and occasionally worming into the right holes and making progress.

And often you become numb from all the banging.

Eventually, you shrug it off.

But can you, really?

gambitch [ 9:43 PM]

Again the funky gadget did not work, even after I brought all the equipment along. The problem appears even simpler this time - Windows ME could not find the suitable driver (even though Windows XP on my own machine had no problem doing the same without added disks).

The problem was eventually worked around, but it's hardly an elegant solution. But at least the stuff has been brought in. Now I can do even more work.

Rather depressing though was a deluge of mailing lists which I now have to unify. That is going to take some time. Which I don't actually have an abundance of. Nobody enjoys the thought of living on borrowed time.

Back to work.

gambitch [ 9:31 PM]

i am made of blackness
never blamed you for always forgetting
only the black shadow accompanying the lonely you

gambitch [ 3:20 AM]

I was discussing some very important work-related stuff with a friend when it struck me how I have these odd useless abilities that somehow smooth the way for a lot of important things to continue properly. For instance, when casually talking about dates to hold an event, I thought specifically about checking a number of things, such as when prospective participants may be having examinations, and whether we could tie our event up with some other, more major local or regional event in a convenient and effective manner. All this should seem rather obvious, except people usually do not notice these things, more so if the event is the kind that is held regularly, say once a year. And somehow I notice them.

Maybe these abilities are not that useless. The only problem is, if you had to write this down somewhere on your resume, how do you describe it? It is difficult as a selling point. Somehow "attention to detail" is a very inadequate description because this kind of statement says nothing. It is a bizarre talent, this, and others I have such as interpretation of legal documents in layman terms. Things you just cannot write onto your resume, I would call them, because there is no proper way to describe these things.

(I ask those of you who are irritated with not seeing the e's in 'resume' being accented to forgive me. I don't know how to do these things on a keyboard; they are too counter-intuitive.)

Anyway, as a consequence of this new revelation, we will be creating another new slave vacancy. Naturally, the person to fill it is not me - I have other, more pressing things on my hands. I wish the fool good luck.

Getting into the rhythm of continuously doing work. This is cool. Go me!

gambitch [ 3:09 AM]

Thursday, June 05, 2003

The funky gadget did not quite work out right, because I made the blunder of not carrying some of the accessories.

Just because it worked fine on my machine without the accessories does not mean it must work exactly the same way everywhere else.

Fortunately the problem can be worked around. I just have to bring the equipment in tomorrow and try again.

Unfortunately it does mean that today was less productive than it could have been. Which is a disappointment to say the least.

But do people really want to hear about me getting work done?

Do I really care? In the end, this is my blog.

gambitch [ 11:09 PM]

if day represented happiness
then sadness should belong to the night
and who does it wait for?

gambitch [ 12:08 AM]

Today is an important day.

In context, today is probably not the most important. More important days have passed before, and probably more important days will come. Definitely the day of my passing on will be very much more important.

Come to think of it, today was not a landmark day - that was at least several days before. It would have been, except work was done to significantly mute the signals to prevent it looking like some sort of landmark.

But today was important.

A report was done, another edited, and I got myself some funky wares to bring even more work home. I also made some phone calls to smooth the way for travel plans in a month or so.

And so all is well. Everything went according to plan.

But then, did I want it to?

gambitch [ 12:01 AM]

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

What does it feel like to be alone on stage, with the stage lights and music all down and no audience, and there is nothing but a weak glow of black light somewhere, you know not where?

gambitch [ 11:37 PM]

The night has been extremely tiring but fruitful. A Constitution Review Committee meeting lasted four hours, and we have not even gone through a third of the Constitution. Considering it is the first third, though, it is of foundational importance. The first third usually has a strong bearing on the remainder, because that is where the object and membership issues have to be decided. Everything else revolves around these two blocks.

One of the few good things I think I have is a general sensitivity to context. While I am not a trained lawyer, an awareness of context helps in reading legal articles. Also important of course is the fact that I was relatively awake, compared to half the committee (including the lawyer) who had been busying themselves with real office jobs, the kind where they get some pay in hard cash. Night meetings bring out the best in gambitch.

One problem of such night meetings though is the fact that people get completely fatigued the morning after. Some people think this sounds like sex. Far from it, actually. At least with sex, there is the possibility that you wake up the morning after to breakfast in bed, if it involves a very close partner (as opposed to prostitutes or people you just got to know at the ball last night). With real work you invariably wake up the morning after to more of the same. It can get monotonous, and often it does.

The meeting will have to be resumed soon. In fact, it looks like a very long weekend ahead. Four meetings in five days is not exactly how you want to spend your life.

I like it, though. Keeps me distracted from other occupations. Maybe they will learn to go away.

Meanwhile I shall spend the night staring into black light.

gambitch [ 2:09 AM]

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

While on the theme...

It's my fault you get to read this blog, because I wrote it.

gambitch [ 3:47 AM]

As the signoff for the evening, some thoughts about the subject of responsibility.

Where does responsibility end? Indeed, where does it even begin?

Many a time do we face the difficulty of not knowing whether we were responsible for something. More often than not, this is when it involves something a little sad. Everybody loves to claim responsibility when something happy happens, like when a company has won a valuable contract. Everyone who was remotely involved in the project, including the guy who bought everyone coffee and did very little else, would like to claim some share of the credit. Actually, almost everyone. There are always the humble people who willingly let others claim more credit than they deserve, only because their own humility prevents them from joining the crowd.

Things are a little more tricky when it involves something sad. Those with a heavy sense of responsibility will tend to volunteer themselves as the party whose actions (or sometimes inaction) had a significant contribution to what happened. Those with a lighter sense of responsibility will tend to shut up, but will not deny responsibility if it is placed upon them. There are yet still others who will duck all responsibility if at all it is possible.

Of course, this mostly refers to responsibilities in a work context. When it comes to more personal matters, responsibility is a very tricky thing indeed. What causes a person to feel responsibility? What makes a person think he or she was responsible for something, had a major role to play for causing something to happen? Is it out of a simple "want to feel better" impulse, or is it more a matter of self-sacrifice, of the form "if I claim responsibility, then I take some of that off you and that is somehow better"? Is there some sense of guilt involved? To what extent does this guilt factor come into play?

Questions, questions.

Should a person be sorry? That depends on whether there is something to be sorry for. And is that the person's own fault? Sometimes - quite often, actually - people apologize for things that really was never their fault, but they never recognize that. They would like to believe it was their fault. Occasionally I wonder why people are this masochistic to have a predisposition towards loading themselves with guilt and responsibility. But that's the way they are built (gambitch believes that all humans are ultimately biological robots), unfortunately or otherwise.

And so I pen my little thoughts for the night. A good time to sleep, indeed. Tomorrow will be another long day in the office.

gambitch [ 3:45 AM]

The IT man has responded. Techies - don't you love them for working the oddest hours?

gambitch [ 3:20 AM]

Another one of those tracks I came across while sorting out data.

Amuro Namie - Please Smile Again

A pretty nice song actually. The MTV was also interesting. Translated lyrics (pulled from the Internet) below.

Please smile again
Please smile again
I don't wanna feel the pain
So smile that wonderful smile once more
Please close to me
The more defenseless you are the happier I am
'Cause I can understand you.

I've been thinking of it since yesterday when I'm awake and even when I'm asleep.
It's obvious I'm absent minded with my crude attitude,
In my head, in my heart, and my body have been initialized for a long time.
Why do we always end up breaking up ?

Please smile again
Even if we're not supposed to relate, we are.
We're networking by an invisible line.
Please close to me
In a mere moment, a space just for us
At our own pace
A basic lifestyle

Please smile again
I don't wanna feel the pain
So smile that wonderful smile once more
Please close to me
The more defenseless you are the happier I am
'Cause I can understand you.

I watched your sleeping face, I watched your smiling face
I could see your true face.
Show me once more, that lonely face and exhale in my ear
And hold me tightly once more, the shades don't change, right?
I don't wanna be in the way, I don't wanna break it.

Touching the smooth skin, it was like I could have melted.
You brought me deeper and deeper always deeper, didn't you.
Lately just as I seem able to fall asleep without you,
I can't forget your white shirt, your tanned skin and a blue cocktail.

Please smile again
Please smile again
I don't wanna feel the pain
So smile that wonderful smile once more
Please close to me
The more defenseless you are the happier I am
'Cause I can understand you.

Please smile again
Even if we're not supposed to relate, we are.
We're networking by an invisible line.
Please close to me
In a mere moment, a space just for us
At our own pace
A basic lifestyle

Please smile again
Even though I don't wanna be broken
Please close to me
Even though I don't wanna be disturbed.
Please smile again
Even though I don't wanna be broken
Please close to me
In a mere moment, a space just for us
At our own pace
A basic lifestyle

gambitch [ 2:51 AM]

Monday, June 02, 2003

This is going to be a very long night.

With my e-mail account overloaded (having forgotten to check it in the past week), I now cannot access some of the more important work-related messages. Damn. There are important files in there that I needed to download that I had not downloaded yet.

Fortunately the IT manager is still around, so I've sent him an e-mail to get that fixed. But it is a bit of trouble to have to deal with this sort of thing. Productivity can be forced to a grinding halt because of problems like these.

Not quite the way I had wanted to spend the day - locking myself up and concentrating on nothing but hard, solid work.

The work continues tomorrow. And the day after. And with some luck, the day after that too. Don't you just love it?

gambitch [ 11:57 PM]

Progress has been slow. One report took close to an hour.

The night will be long.

gambitch [ 10:29 PM]

In miscellaneous footballing news, defender Vegard Heggem has been released by Liverpool after two torrid years. The Norwegian played only four games after being hit by injury. A rather sad ending for a man who had two decent seasons before the injuries came along. On the bright side, he is still only 27, which means he has a good number of years left in him.

Meanwhile Li Tie's stint in England could come to an end if Everton cannot agree terms with China's Liaoning Badao, who loaned him out to the English club for the previous season. Liaoning want only a permanent deal, while Everton were intending to loan Li for another season.

gambitch [ 8:30 PM]

Today I write with a vengeance.

The day has seen very limited productivity, thanks to a body clock that has gone completely nuts. The night shall be spent transferring data, sorting out old reports and writing several new ones. The very hierarchical structure of the organizations I work for, as well as general caution about potentially unjustified spending, means that I frequently need to file reports to explain why we spend so much. I personally find nothing wrong with this hierarchy and caution - it is not as if these things cannot be accommodated - but writing reports can consume more time than it would appear to need. I have no complaints actually; I like this job. I wonder whether whoever takes over from me when I retire can say the same.

Considering that I don't have that many more reports to write, I probably should enjoy these last moments of my career. Looking back, there are mixed feelings about the job. There have been some successes, some achievements, and some progress, but as always the work is never finished. And in a few months' time someone else has to carry on where I shall be leaving off.

Given a choice, most people on the verge of retirement will tell their friends they want to carry on, maybe for eternity. The first instinctive feeling from me is somewhat the same. However, many who choose to stay on regret their decision afterwards. It is important to go out on a high, when your dignity and your reputation would still be left intact. Unless you achieve even more by staying on, going away would probably leave better memories. It is a little like food, actually - leave it around for too long and it will spoil. The taste would just not be the same, even though the dish is.

When you go away, you go away cleanly. That way people can remember you for all the right reasons.

gambitch [ 8:12 PM]

A long-overdue review of the first episode of TAR4.

Firstly, of greatest importance - Debra and Steve have been eliminated. I never fancied their chances, and even though the initial prediction was that they would be eliminated in the third leg, going out even earlier than that was never a surprise. If you get the last flight to Milan and the last bus to the mountains, and you are fat and 40 compared to a whole bunch of considerably fitter youngsters sharing your flight and bus, you definitely look like elimination material. Good riddance.

Monica and Sheree did cross the Atlantic, so my prediction went wrong. But this was unexpected largely because teams usually would linger around the Americas in the first couple of legs. Flying straight to the fashion capital was not quite the usual thing. In any case, they have used up their Fast Forward, so they have lost a very potent weapon for the rest of the race. They are fourth at the moment, behind a three-way tie for first place.

This race is proving to be quite interesting. The father-and-son team finished joint first, and the Type A males are trailing far behind. David and Jeff have a lot of catching up to do. The blonde bimbos are also in deep trouble, so expect them to try playing their Fast Forward in the second leg.

The preview for the second leg says the teams will go to Venice. Let's see the teams try to punt their gondolas.

gambitch [ 4:54 AM]

The body clock has gone completely out of control - I am now as awake as ever at 4 in the morning. Of course it could have something to do with the fact that I went to sleep at 8pm and woke up at 2am.

Not exactly a good footballing day. No shots on goal, and I was the culprit for conceding two or three of them on the other end. One assist from a throw-in was basically all I had to show for the day's efforts, and maybe three or four important clearances.

My face stinks. Time to give it a good wash and scrub.

gambitch [ 4:42 AM]


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