Thursday, June 28, 2007

At the Mercy of A Machine

Don't you just hate it when something you rely on goes all wonky and unreliable? The lappie fell off its rocker recently and now I'm at its mercy. There are 2 articles to be drafted by tomorrow, plus a mailing list to be completed, meaning that I'll have to do a lot of online research. It cooperated yesterday, and I was able to print out my mailing labels. But it's now back to its wonky state and refuses to recognise USB devices; meaning that printers and flash drives are not an option at the moment. New flash drive does not work well with machine, due to a 'superiority complex'. Maybe it's the source of all this evil... Old pen drive is now missing. With my luck, it's probably stuck in one of the hotels' "Lost & Found" drawer as we speak.

There might be some malware lurking in there, for all I know. I don't have the time to reinstall everything, and the best option is probably to just take the thing in for servicing - tighten those loose screws, you know... But again, time is an issue, and if I don't stop whining right now, nothing is going to get done... Sigh. This is a classic case of superior technology vs bad luck...

What to do? Shut up and get back to work, la. What else? Sigh. Oh shut up...

Monday, June 25, 2007


I once thought the most annoying thing to go wrong on the comp is software problems. I was wrong. Hardware problems are even worse! Not only they make working difficult, most of the time it also involves cold hard cash to fix.

I was packing for a trip last week when the conference bag fell off the bed - with my lappie in it. It worked fine until I came back, then it started jamming up. I thought it was a virus, so I reinstalled. Rupa2nya, the machine itself got a screw loose somewhere, so I have to tilt it up a bit, otherwise it won't work. Darn. So, now, once I have it at the correct angle, I can't move the machine. Otherwise it will just completely jam up. Sheesh. How to fix the thing?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Surprise, Surprise...

Sometimes, it's good to be suckered into doing something.

Promised Khairul a few weeks/month? back that I'd help organise the annual visit to Genting Tea Estate. Mainly out of guilt that I've not been active in the committee at all. In any case it meant receiving phone calls during meetings and NOT noting down important details like names and phone numbers properly. It was a shambles, really. So ashamed of myself.

In any case, the Genting Tea Estate is home to Dato' Henry S. Barlow, one of the MNS Council members; and he invites visitors to his home every year. I have never personally visited, and had no clue what was in store. All I had is the write-up in the newsletter, written by someone else; and it said - an introductory talk at 11 am and a walk around the orchard afterwards (sensible shoes recommended). We were to bring our own picnic lunches and Dato' will be showing off his collection of butterflies and moths afterwards.

What comes to mind when you think of a TEA ESTATE anyway? I had visions of serene walks in an English country garden with a background of rolling tea bushes. Well, to most of us, it sounded like a stroll in the garden and sport sandals are normally what I wear to any outdoor activity. We were in for a surprise.

I hopped into another member's car for the journey, and was I glad I wasn't driving! The road was tricky enough to find, and leading to the estate was a really, really rough and narrow road. It did say so in the write-up, but we never expected it to be THAT narrow. Some parts were so overgrown that we thought we had the wrong road. We crawled along and finally got there. Parked the car, said hello and was told to go up the steps to the main house, which turned out to be... THE RED KEBAYA HOUSE!!

Imagine my surprise... The house used in the movie The Red Kebaya was actually Dato' Barlow's home! Of course I did the most logical thing to do and immediately SMSed my kakis la. The house itself is really charming with the high windows lining the wall and a whole collection of books lining the walls. There were comfortable rattan reading chairs and sofas and woven mats on the floor. Really comfy.

As scheduled, the talk started at 11.00 sharp. However, being the so-called coordinator, I had to deal with phone calls from hopelessly lost people, and at one point was told to lower my voice while trying to give them directions, even though I had removed myself outside the hall. That was annoying. I was missing the talk due to silly latecomers and I got told off for trying to help them figure out the way there. Sheez. Found that the place STARTED OUT as a tea estate, but it went into other directions soon after. Currently, it is being planted with dipterocarps, the purpose of which I am not at all clear. All that is left of tea plants are a few overgrown trees on the estate. However, Dato' maintained that most of the Boh tea plants started out from stock taken from his estate. Interestingly, though, the part that intrigued most Britons (there were a few in the group), was Frank Sweetenham's scandalous past. Go figure. Kepochi, aren't they?

Next was "the walk". It wasn't through a garden, it was through the orchard. And it was not a stroll, it was a hike. Up steep hills and along muddy, leech infested tracks. Never had I ever appreciated the fact that I had forked out good money for a proper pair of hiking shoes just the day before. And I was in the company of a bunch of noisy kids who were stomping around and making a lot of noise with every leech they saw. Amping up the volume if any (on many occasions) were spotted on their shoes/ socks/ person. Sigh. Needless to say, I barely heard ANYTHING of Dato's explanations at various points along the walk.

A self-proclaimed eccentric, Dato' seemed like a stuffy Englishman to me. He was wise enough to wear galoshes for the so-called walk, but he didn't waste much time waiting for stragglers and such. Or maybe he was just annoyed with disorganised 'organisers' who didn't call in advance to check on the arrangements, people who dared come late, run in and out of the room during his talk and spoke too loudly on the phone... Sigh. Guilty as charged. Except for the being late bit. Plus noisy kids. Shee. I was annoyed too. But they were nice kids, just a little too noisy.

In the last bit, we had an option to either go through a jungle path "shortcut" to the house, or follow the way we came. a bunch of people opted for the path, and found it very slippery and a little tough. Thanks to my lovely shoes, I had no problems, but being the 'responsible' 'organiser', I had to encourage people who were having problems with the trek. One complained that "we should have been warned". I thought, no one knew what was coming, so quit snivelling and walk. Mean, but hey, that's outdoor for you.

Once we got back to the house, the first thing to do was check your feet for leeches. It seemed my policy of "I don't hate leeches but I don't like the bleeding" worked because only 2 were found on me when we arrived. This is not counting the ones I eliminated along the way. One didn't get a chance to really sink its teeth in me yet, and the one that did was just a tiny little baby. Thank goodness. I hate the endless bleeding that ensues.

Others were not so lucky. The daddies were really game and simply let the leeches eat their fill, totally grossing out the kids, but of course, making themselves a hero at the same time. Men. One lady got it quite bad and was bleeding quite a lot. But it doesn't hurt, so no one was overly bothered by the experience.

Hungry, we all took out our packed food and dug in. We found a rooftop platform and ate there. There was some lovely lime juice provided by the house staff.

Afterwards, Dato' showed his butterfly collection and talked a bit about the preservation process. We all had a chance to take a close look too.

It turned out that Dato' is an EXPERT on Swettenham, and that he actually wrote a book about him. For history retards like me, Frank Swettenham was the first Resident General of the Federated Malay States. And it was him who laid out the streets of Kuala Lumpur, which stays to this day. The book looked really interesting, but of course, such luxuries are not on the current budget. I must say there were quite a lot of sales today :p

We left about 3.00, and arrived home at about 4.30 pm. I was too exhausted to go see Yuz's baby though. Congrats, Yuz, I'll come see the baby another day, kay?

All in all, it was a pretty rewarding day. Tiring, but I needed the exercise anyway. Trekking uses up more muscles than jogging, and has always been my preferred form of exercise. Should do it more often, actually. Cheers, guys! Have a good week ahead :-)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pergilah Sayang

Ella dan Korie

Indah terasa bila cinta tercipta
Memadu kasih janji bersama
Bersama-sama melafaz kata cinta
Gurau senda dan tawa berdua

Tapi kini semuanya kenangan
Kau pergi tanpa pesan

Mana janjimu yang kau lafazkan dulu
Hidup dan matimu bersamaku
Rela kau pegi walau hati disakiti
Biarkanlah aku sendiri

Airmata menjadi penawar
Akanku simpan semua jadi kenangan oh... oh... oh...

Pergilah kasih, pergilah sayang
Tinggalkan aku (pergilah sayang)
Biarkan saja kenangan berlalu
Antara kau dan aku
Pergilah sayang

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reality Strikes Back

You know there is something wrong with your life when trips are never long enough.

Flew up to Penang on Monday for a factory visit yesterday. Found the work to be boring, but it wasn't too bad. Was in the company of 2 distinguished gentlemen. One was older one and the other is a tall, dark and handsome guy with all the prerequisite 5Cs. Stayed in a nice hotel with comfy rooms, hot water showers to die for, a great breakfast spread and close to kopitiams which made dinners a pleasure.

After all that travelling, work and stuff is done, I get home, take a nap, and before long, reality sets in.

The house is grubby, I saw an 'intruder' escaping the kitchen, the cats are all clingy and the neighbour's cats came over to start a yowling match.... And for whatever reason, my sinuses are extra sensitive and my own room irritates them.

I'm seeing a client tomorrow and am still not prepared. It means I'll have to work the night to get it done.

In an ideal world, I would have an immaculate house with someone to keep it clean; and the ability to work very fast instead of being all draggy and tired... Sigh. I need a rich husband.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Left Hanging...

Darn it! I didn't realise I've watched the season 3 finale of Grey's Anatomy two weeks ago. No wonder the 'next episode' never came up for downloading. It's no fun watching it on telly because of the exceedingly long ad breaks. Also it's fun to be able to rewind and pause at will. Yes, I am a little bit on the control freaky side. When will the next season start, I wonder? Hmm... No McDreamy for a while, I guess. Hmm... wonder what happened to MY McDreamy...?