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

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oh, the draw? You mean you were waiting for it here?

Well, here it is.

AC Milan vs Bayern Munich
PSV Eindhoven vs Liverpool
AS Roma vs Manchester United
Chelsea vs Valencia

So I got one tie out of four correct. Which is not too bad, though far from spot-on. At least it wasn't a total miss!

My reaction to the draw? Who needs a reaction? Just bring on the games!

gambitch [ 12:26 AM]

Friday, March 09, 2007

Yes, I know, it's kinda bad that the show was on Monday, and I had to tape it down and watch it only on the Friday. It's been that kind of week for me, to be honest. But I really liked it that way, getting a little busy as the groove starts setting back in.

So anyway, I sat down and watched the latest episode of TAR:AS, where I finally get some relief for the moment as David and Mary were eliminated in the third leg. The short version of my assessment is that I had no memory of them from the previous season - mostly because I hadn't seen it - and the dumb woman was just an annoying harpy, and she was dumb. Very dumb, in fact.

Quite seriously, the level of ineptitude Mary demonstrated on this race was incredibly appalling, and you have to wonder how it is that fate allowed them to survive the first two legs while John Vito and Jill got eliminated in the very first one. Yes, I know, I am still sad and in need of comfort and pacifying over their way premature exit. But anyway, Mary is gone now. David, I didn't hate so much. It was mostly Mary the shrew who thinks she can run roughshod over a man who actually decided to marry her. I mean, that's a huge commitment, and you don't take it so lightly by providing the kind of verbal encouragement Mary was capable of.

In any case, this episode has its own collection of dumb and ridiculous moments, like Charla trying to butt in at the airport queue for no real purposeful reason, other than to perhaps screw with the minds of people they have sworn to be their arch enemies (the Beauty Queens). Or Mirna doing this really weird gig at the airport at Santiago that involves trying to bully Teri and Ian, simply by pretending that she's got bogus promises at another counter that should be followed through on transit right here at this one. I'm thinking this is just lame, it's stupid, and it's also a rather brazen attempt at cheating and conning. It's a race, stupid. You run one step slow, you come second place, fair and square.

Fortunately, we are treated to quite a fun scene at the Roadblock where people are supposed to basically transfer some kind of flatfish from one tank to another. It's quite funny to watch, because you'd have to deal with live creatures. Not always very nice if you're the one doing it, to be fair; I'd know, because I'd take a while to get over the initial fear of handling live sea creatures. But Danielle (of Eric and Danielle) was so incredibly scared, you'd say it was a pretty bad idea for her to volunteer to do the Roadblock.

In any case, you then get this totally bad piece of work by Eric, who's cheering his girl (or at least that's what we're supposed to believe) from the sidelines. Now, it might help to understand that one of the things Danielle the Pink was so scared about was how these flatfish tend to madly flap around when they are taken out of water, like most fish do with their gills, fins and tails? So when you put the flatfish on some kind of shallow basin or container of some sort, they flap around quite madly, and that scares Danielle. Eric's brilliant suggestion? Sandwich the flatfish between the container and your body, using it as some sort of lid. Entirely sensible.

But what isn't so sensible - or sensitive for that matter - is the way he phrases the suggestion. He basically tells Danielle: "Use your boobs! Use your boobs!" At this point, it bears mentioning that Danielle is top-heavy, and quite so. This is also just about the only major positive thing about her, because she has so totally no personality, and is as weak-willed and submissive as... well, herself! Anyway, I'm just not sure that the best way to encourage Danielle would be to do what Eric does and tell her to use her boobs. Then again, I have no experience in terms of dating a top-heavy blonde ditz. All the same, Eric's behaviour just further fuels the theory that the two of them aren't even really an item, and were just lumped together so as to create some kind of story for the show's producers.

The Roadblock provided plenty of opportunities for laughs, like the thing about fish whisperers (Team Guido), and becoming the fish (Cha Cha Cha). Not to mention just evil glee at watching people like Mirna go into meltdown-levels panic. In comparison, the Detour was actually rather more tame, although there was this obligatory seemingly-dangerous moment when Teri fell into the water. But then we all knew she'd be perfectly safe. It was obvious when she fell into the rapids just before a commercial break. We're getting smarter, Jerry Bruckheimer!

Anyway, as it ended, David and Mary went out. The ending would have been equally satisfying either way, as it turns out, because it was a race to the finish for them and Charla and Mirna. Couldn't quite lose either way, could we? So we get one of these two teams out of the way, and then we'll wait to boot the other one out next week.

Unfortunately, though, we seem to be getting too much of South America at this point. I mean, the third leg already, and we're still here? Shouldn't the teams be moving on to, you know, another continent? Next week the chances of that happening aren't looking that optimistic, but hey, a TAR watcher could dream!

gambitch [ 1:26 PM]

Thursday, March 08, 2007

So, happily, United beat Lille to make it 2-0 on aggregate, while Arsenal crash out after only mustering a draw with PSV. Celtic's exit was a pity given they forced AC Milan right through to extra time, while there's something very satisfying about seeing Real Madrid get knocked out on away goals.

Couple that with results from the night before, and we've got the following short list: United, Chelsea, Liverpool, AC Milan, Roma, Bayern, PSV, Valencia. It's a rather interesting pool of teams left, certainly.

Just for a second, let me play God and try to predict the draw for the quarterfinals, which they're about to do tomorrow evening.

In no particular order...

Liverpool-Valencia (Hey, Rafa going to his old kicking ground is always nice!)
Chelsea-AC Milan (Shevchenko says hi to his old mates, a nice draw if there's ever one!)
Roma-United (PSV would have been an easier draw, some argue, but that's making it too easy.)
Bayern-PSV (An intriguing one, this, but let's be nice to the Germans for a while, eh?)

Will I get it right? We'll know in a couple of days.

gambitch [ 1:41 PM]

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I seem to be turning into this warm, friendly and encouraging creature that people didn't always know me to be.

We've had a few new guys joining the operation, see, and I somehow became the first person to actually give them a big warm welcome. I was half-expecting other people to do this ahead of me, but it so happened it was me. So I ended up being this warm and friendly big brother, saying hi and everything, even affording a quirky little bit of humour which I had no idea if it had worked well.

But that's besides the point. I was friendly, as I often try to be. The surprise is that it was received well this time. People even end up looking to me for advice! I am flattered, to be honest. And since they ask, I give. And I try to be nice when giving.

There was a time when I was harsh and wielded a big stick, because I wanted to whip people into shape. It turned people off rather badly - people didn't seem to understand why I was beating up their egos, so to speak, and they couldn't take it. I persisted even though it pained me just as much. It's like what parents used to say. They hit you on the palm, but the pain is in their hearts. They then tell you all that, and you're supposed to cry with them and promise to listen to them.

But that worked when we were little kids. Nowadays I'm not sure even little kids fall for this anymore, never mind adults. A different approach was necessary. Modern parents keep talking about how they befriend their children, and if television shows showcasing warm and lovely families are supposed to be any indication, this seems to work. Of course, I'm a little skeptical when it comes to this. TV showcases successes, and when you're successful, anything you say counts.

Notwithstanding that, warmth and friendliness seems to be the way of today, so that's what I try to be. And I'm actually feeling rather comfortable with it. With that comes generosity in dispensing advice where it's helpful, although I'm mindful there's a need to make sure I don't come on too strong by giving too much at one go. I don't always get it right - there's no guarantees in this sort of thing - but I'm still trying.

Some of this is certainly a response to some less-than-friendly postures put up by some other people, who should really be taking more of a lead in doing this kind of thing. I'm just another guy in the pool - someone else has the fortune of being given the chance to play boss. Not being the real boss, mind, just to play boss. But already there are signs that there's a bit of throwing weight around in rather unfriendly tones. It's not even a "good cop, bad cop" kind of thing. We're talking inaccessibility, we're talking unhelpfulness, we're even talking threatening tones.

One of the things I tend to preach about human resource management is that every human being is a resource that should be made to feel valued. It's a basic human desire when it comes to work, formal or informal. If you feel valued, you're willing to give, and the more valued you feel, the more you're willing to give, even if sometimes you stand to lose out on a couple of minor things. It's a sacrifice you're willing to go through because you're made to feel valued and important enough.

In that regard, the threat that a person can be discarded if he keeps doing X or Y wrong, rather than making active efforts to help a person avoid X or Y, or at least making some minimum effort to understand why X or Y happens, is really damaging to the whole notion of giving that person the feeling that he is valued for his work, even if he's paid ten measly bucks. We do this voluntarily, that is, by our own free will, because we want to be of value and of contribution. And being shafted and turned away like that just doesn't work nicely in terms of human resource management.

And that's part of the motivation behind me being warm and friendly, at least on a professional level. It's to help make people feel that they're valued here, so that their talents may be retained and honed before they decide to move on to greater things. Nothing like letting them know, "Hey, I can actually do this!"

Of course, on a personal level, it also helps expand my circle of friends. It's not terribly large to begin with, although I am immensely thankful for the few who I regard as very close and important friends, who understand what I am about and know what it's like being me. And who let me get a glimpse into their world and gasp at the beauty I've never seen elsewhere before.

And that's how I shall continue. Being warm, friendly, encouraging and helpful. The way I actually like to be.

gambitch [ 7:14 PM]

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The doctor confirms it's diarrhoea. Possibly gastric flu? I didn't ask.

But I've got enough medicine to last me three days, so we'll know how things go after this.

I've just taken my first course on an empty stomach, so maybe it's time to prepare a plain and simple lunch. No packed meals, thank you.

It's times like this that I appreciate the fact that my work hours are entirely at my command. Had I been the regular office-bound type, I would still have to go through the hassle of phoning in to apply for half the day off, getting the medical cert, and then going back to the office when that expires - during which time I'm likely to totally forget to bring my medicine along or take them at the right hours. Which, of course, means it's harder to recover.

Now, I can just afford to take a good, proper rest and get back into shape at the fastest time possible. Oh, and eating the right things would really help, too.

And am I grateful that, at the moment, I have (almost) no work!

gambitch [ 12:02 PM]

Monday, March 05, 2007

I don't feel too good.

Been like that since the afternoon, when I was suddenly awakened from my sleep by this regurgitation of some sour-ish fluid right up my throat. Could have been gastric fluid. I swallowed the whole thing down because I was too lazy to get out of bed to vomit it out. (What was I doing sleeping in the afternoon? I'll save the explaining.)

Since then, though, I have been rushing to toilet way too often. Looks like diarrhoea to me. The problem was, I had work to do in the evening, so I had to make sure I held up throughout the whole thing. No choice, then, but to pop a couple of anti-diarrhoea pills. Luckily, I held out for the evening, and used the full opportunity of the short intermission to let go.

But my legs have been feeling rather weak, and I wasn't intent on taking any chances. So I cabbed when I normally would have walked or even taken some cheaper form of public transport. No risk-taking for me when I know I'm not feeling too good.

And now I realize I'm out of pills. Actually, I still have a tab of pills, but they've expired. From my previous life as someone who handled medicines, I knew it was a bad idea to keep medicines that were, what, 18 months past the expiry date?

So this means I have to see the doctor tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I'd better go get some rest. I'm not going to get a lot of it if I keep waking up to rush for the loo...

gambitch [ 11:53 PM]

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A fairly satisfying conclusion to fifteen days of Lunar New Year.

Until next year, then.

Well, not quite. There are other things to do, starting next week!

gambitch [ 11:50 PM]


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