gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Saturday, July 19, 2003
My fingers are now coated in envelope sealing starch!
Signing and sealing over 120 letters is definitely not a trivial matter. Now of course there's the smaller problem of raising the money to pay postage.
So what happened at the meeting today? Well, in a way, a lot. We were going through the plans for two or three upcoming events run by our organization, and after that we started discussing the possibility of a committee structure revamp. The benefit of discussions like these is that they won't affect my current term in office too much. However, there have been a number of issues that needed addressing, so this is as good a time as any to examine them.
The committee (myself included) felt that the publications we have been doing have not been having the desired effect, mostly because in trying to come up with nice-looking magazines that are printed in full colour and featuring interviews, we ended up dragging the publication frequency to two issues a year. That is not really meeting the objectives of the organization. So we are going to propose a revamp. It is ultimately up to the next committee to take up our suggestion, but this is a sign of progress.
The only problem is, I won't be there to oversee the change, and neither will the bulk of the committee that has put forward the proposals. From one point of view that is not exactly being supremely responsible - we suggest the changes and leave it to someone else to see through the implementation. Unfortunately this had something to do with the fact that we were bound and shackled to the old structure upon which we were elected, so there was no way we could change the structure within our own term. What we can do now is limited to explaining the failings of the old system and why we are proposing this new set of changes to the next committee when they get elected.
Meanwhile I have to spend more time licking stamps. gambitch [
If you guys really resent me, why don't you just kill me in my bedroom?
I was discussing with a colleague some plans about organizing a live demonstration for something when he stood up and accused me of being unconstructive. In a way I could see why his accusation was justified - I was having genuine concerns about the size of the audience the event could attract, as well as the venue of the event. The place he was looking at was not exactly very small, so if there isn't some kind of decent expectation for turnout, then there would be the real possibility of playing to a very empty floor. The only problem was, I didn't know how to realistically and meaningfully increase the chances of ensuring a good turnout. In other words, I didn't have positive suggestions.
But the issue goes deeper than that. There was a question at one time on whether I was going to take charge for the event. Normally, this would have been my job - and honestly, I would have wanted to - but circumstances meant that committing to it would have been burdening me with more than I could bear, and I was showing signs of overstretch as it was. So, somewhat reluctantly, I had to hand this one over to someone else.
So this is perhaps one of those things, where I may have to learn that giving up the project to someone else may mean that I have to let go more totally. Okay, okay, so maybe that's a must-learn lesson in life, but knowing that it's a must-learn doesn't make learning it any less tough. More so when you're talking about things that are closer to you, things that you practically invest your whole life and soul in.
But if people are going to shoot at me for being an unconstructive armchair critic, then please take into account that I am equally concerned about things as they are. If I didn't really care at all, and if I really wasn't bothered, then I wouldn't even have taken an active step in asking about things. I don't really have to ask all these questions - I do have other things to do too, and those are equally if not more important. But I am concerned, and I am worried, and maybe a bit paranoid. Instead of dissing me for not being such a big help, perhaps alleviating those fears and reassuring me that appropriate measures can and will be taken would be a bit more purposeful and, perhaps funnily enough, more constructive.
In other news, a friend studying in Canada suddenly popped up to chat online after a prolonged absence. It's good to know that she's still doing well! gambitch [
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Done with the stock-taking. We have lots of old publications to give away, except who can we give them away to?
It's always a little harder when your publications just don't have swimsuit centrefolds or discount coupons enclosed within. gambitch [
Don't you love it when you're writing a formal letter on Microsoft Word, and the content of the letter is just long enough for only the signature to spill over to the next page?
I just love it, man, love it!
Now to do stock-taking and update the supply count. gambitch [
So I ended up catching a movie on the invitation of a few friends. It all started innocuously enough when one of them asked me to photocopy some papers I had and pass the copies to him. Straightforward enough a request, this, except I was working somewhere else and I lost track of time. So I called to ask where he was and whether it would be convenient for us to meet so I can get the papers off my hands. He was having dinner with these other friends, some of whom I knew and some of whom I didn't. No matter. I arrived in time to sit down for a while and watch them pay the bill.
Now I was having a bit of a chat with these fellas, and somehow they decided to catch a movie. They remembered me and made the invitation. The alternative for me was to go straight home and collapse on my bed at 9pm. I was that tired. Then again, I hadn't caught a movie in a long time and I had a little time to spare, and it was a weekday so tickets were cheaper. So I said "okay" and joined in. The movie wasn't until about an hour later, so I decided to have dinner. (Work meant that I forgot to get dinner prior to dropping in and meeting the friend.)
Dinner at Lips was some pesto spaghetti with breaded fish. At almost $13 it looked filling enough, so I picked that, thinking it would be pasta with some proper sauce with the breaded fish on the side. The order turns out to be some weird fusion thingy with green noodles that looked more like it was half-stir-fried, like some kind of Asian fare. And the bits of breaded fish was just laid simply on top. The first thing to cross my mind when I saw the plate was: Where's the sauce?
The excuse for a Western-Italian-Asian fusion dish was filling, and the breaded fish tasted all right, but the presentation and the pasta left something to be desired. The iced tea went down well with the food, though, so one fewer cause for serious complaint.
We then caught Terminator 3. The show wasn't too bad, given that I don't usually set expectations for movies that I wasn't particularly looking out for. Arnie had his usual funny lines, and the level of destruction and damage was sort of just enough. There were a few dumb laughs, of course, like this scene early on in the movie when T-X (Kristanna Loken) was pulled over by a cop, and she looked up and saw a nice, big billboard from Victoria's Secret. Cue next shot, and we see her breasts noticeably filling out.
Or this scene where T-101 (Arnie) just appeared, and he was naked. (So was T-X when she appeared, if you really want to know.) Unlike T-X, who killed a 40-year-old lady and then pinched her sleek one-piece garb, T-101 showed up in a male strippers' club and 'persuaded' a stripper to go through his routine much faster than usual. The stripper also had terrible taste when it came to shades - gaudy, idiotic star-shaped lenses definitely looked wrong to me, and T-101 showed his agreement by crushing the sunglasses under his foot.
Loken was generally passable throughout the movie. The cold sensuality of T-X sent nice shivers whenever she appeared. Part of it had to do with the way her hair was tied up in a neat bun. But apart from the Victoria's Secret scene, the producers chose not to play any more jokes on her figure for the rest of the show. Good move, in my opinion. This is an Arnie sci-fi flick, not a sexy sci-fi flick like Species pretended to be.
The rest of the characters were generally more forgettable. Arnie was his usual self, lacking apparent expression of humanity (he is a machine after all, at least in the movie anyway). As for John Connor (Nick Stahl) and Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), well, there really wasn't anything specially noteworthy about either's performance. No one cares, anyway.
The minor plot twist at the end was nice, though. Connor and Brewster's eventual mission was to try to destroy Skynet. They were supposed to fly to a military base in a deserted mountain area called Crystal Peak to stop Skynet. On arrival at the deepest underground bunker, instead of being greeted by rows upon rows of supercomputer CPUs, they see instead some kind of underground command centre where they could maintain contact with what was to remain of the US Army. After all those C4 bombs Connor was trying to put together, not having one more massive blow-up to remove Skynet was a nice variation, though some of the rubbish about "Skynet cannot be stopped" or something like that just sounded crappy.
If you have read this far before realizing that there were spoilers to the movie, well, too bad for you! gambitch [
"You will regret, and then you will regret that you regretted."
Do not look back and regret. There is nothing to regret over. To regret is to act in betrayal of your own feelings at that moment in time. You can say everything you want, but that was you back there, going through it all. And you then and you now are not so different to the point of being unrecognizable. Both of you are one and the same. A little different, maybe, but still, the same.
Everything has been good and great, whether the moment was happy or sad. It is a memory to retain, worth retaining, worth cherishing and treasuring, because that's what makes you you.
Kanashimi mo, yorokobi mo, subete no riyuu ni naru... Be it sad, be it happy, it has become the reason for everything.
(Those interested in knowing where that Japanese line came from can find it in the lyrics of a little-known Japanese pop song.) gambitch [
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Signing and sealing 40 letters together with magazines is no joke!
The best part: This is just the first third. gambitch [
They're all envelopes. They're all the same size. They're all the same design. They're all the same material. So why do some print nicely and some not feed on the same printer? gambitch [
Given that the Chinese government has been looking out for chances to shoot down the Falungong, this follower was certainly stupid enough to get himself caught and turned into a national target of ridicule. Master Li must be so angry over in America, he probably wants to zap Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin and their comrades in Beijing. gambitch [
Sometimes I wonder if everything I had done was really a big reprehensible mistake. Maybe sometimes is not often enough. gambitch [
I was actually supposed to interview a minister, but unfortunately he declined the offer. So instead we now have to interview another minister. Fine and dandy, this, except two-thirds of the questions that had originally been drafted are now no longer applicable with this other minister.
So I would have to now finalize a new set of questions for our new interviewee (though to address a minister as an interviewee feels a little odd to begin with). Given my current state of mental fatigue, I am fortunate to be in the company of excellent colleagues who have been keeping up with the news. I love these fellas; they are absolutely class just when you need them to be.
There is also the trivial matter of preparing over a hundred covering letters to go with the organization's next mail-run. We are delivering some of our esteemed publications to a lot of people, including ministers, parliamentarians, and other general heavyweights, as well as various academics. Needless to say, given this impressive list of people to send our publications to, crafting a nicely-worded covering letter is a skill that almost becomes an art.
You might ask why I should do all this - doesn't my predecessor have old covering letters I could just lift and copy from? Well, while that is true, it is on our agenda that we want to constantly improve on whatever we can improve on, and covering letters happen to be one of these things. Don't get me wrong, my predecessor happens to be someone who did a very good job when she was in charge of these things. In fact, I don't think my performance in this position compares well to how she fared. None of this has anything to do with the fact that she also happens to be our fearless leader's significant other (a relationship that goes back two years at least - cheers buddy!). The organization is fortunate to be stuffed full with so many capable persons.
Recruitment for the next generation, unfortunately, has been a little slow. This is naturally something that is of real concern, because there will be a significant talent exodus come September. Some exoduses are easier to cope with than others, but the danger of having a highly successful team lies in the question of how long the team can stay. To borrow footballing parlance, it's a question of how long the dynasty can hold. Unfortunately, in organizations like ours, the dynasties seldom last beyond two years before the organization's face gets pretty completely rearranged. The natural question: what will the new look be like? gambitch [
Monday, July 14, 2003
And dinner spirits me away... More chicken wings. gambitch [
The only problem is you can download three games a day, but that's good enough for me. gambitch [
Internet Joke of the day:
Go to Google, type a search for "weapons of mass destruction", and click I Feel Lucky. Then sit back and enjoy. gambitch [
Poll question: What do you do if you're going through a bout of acute depression that doesn't end as long as you don't actually do anything, and you feel as if you're almost living on borrowed time? gambitch [
I may have to invoke the me of yesteryear.
Time to learn a spell or two... gambitch [
Sunday, July 13, 2003
At least, in the midst of everything, there's something to make me a little happier...