Thursday, February 28, 2008

Organisational Help

I've always been envious of people who effortlessly organize their lives despite their numerous responsibilities. Lately, have been having trouble prioritizing and keeping track of my various projects, which is quite frustrating. "Tasks" in Outlook is useful, but doesn't easily organise your projects into distinct groups and bite-sized pieces. I needed something else.

While exploring various unfamiliar software in the office computer last week, I stumbled upon Microsoft Project. It was quite easy to use, despite being a little bagak in presentation, with loud colours which is a little jarring. Not wanting to buy more software, I started Googling around for more options.

I tried OpenProj for all of 2 hours. It was really coarse (as most Open programmes are), and not very suitable for my needs. Who wants Gantt charts to organise stuff anyway? It's more of a commercial project management tool. Tried a few other options like Open Workbench and TaskJuggler, but they didn't suit either. Tried Googling "Task management software" and finally found something I liked.

MyLifeOrganised is a task organising tool that is lightweight and easy to use. I liked the Standard version which is simple, fast, with a clean background and enables you to outline your projects and key in notes where necessary without having to fill in too many fields. After all, the main idea is to organise your tasks into distinct groups and break them down into manageable sub-tasks. I have always been VERY bad at doing this... The only thing I paused at is the price. Going at $49.90, it would be quite hard on my purse. Plus, I'd need to install a copy of the program into each computer I use (there's at least 2), and make sure I have my pen drive with me so that I only work with one Task List.

Looked around a bit more and found Todoist, which is online. The structure is similar, but with less space for long notes. I'm fine with that, especially when I just need a tickable list of things I need to do. I like the due date feature and flexible page views. And I especially like the Gmail integration function, so I can schedule in mails that need to be dealt with in my task list.

I'm guessing there might be better options available, but for the time being, this is doing all right. Would love to know of any other options out there. Cheers!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Going Cold Turkey

Adeh... I'm suffering withdrawal pains 'coz I finally put my foot down to stamp out my long-time addiction: playing games.

Like alcoholics and drug addicts, the source of temptation has to be removed. So there's no more games on me computer. I'm only allowed to watch some TV or read a bit, or go out and do something in lieu of spending 2 hours on idle playing.

After all, I AM a busy woman. I have lots of writing and organising to do. A translation job is pending confirmation, and if I don't clear the other stuff ASAP, I won't be able to sleep. So how can I waste time on nonsense, right?

Right now, I'm fighting to stay focused, finish something and send it out with invoice.
The reward: bowling during the cheap hours.

My game sucks, so might as well get some practice before the Tekadmons get together. Teringat bowling dengan Reeza & P. Their pointers did help me improve from totally clueless to almost totally clueless. Look forward to bowling with friends again. Haven't done it for a long, long time.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moving On...

Alhamdulillah, the year is looking up, despite a slow start. I'm hoping that things will fall into place now, and I won't get quite so many idiotic problems cropping up. Or at least, let me be able to deal with those that do. Small things can be a pain if you don't have enough resources to nip it in the bud. Some might laugh at the nonsense I moan about, but not everyone gets big fat bonuses at the end of the year.

There's more work coming in, and I've sent the laptop for a checkup this morning. Hopefully, it can still be fixed. I'm aware that new laptops are cheap these days, but I've become comfortable with the HP machine. Anyway, electronic waste is a major environmental hazard, and I'd rather not contribute to the mounds of toxic waste accumulating in dumpsites everywhere. After so many months stuck on the PC, I think it's high time I go back to laptops. Am not much good at sharing computer with housemate; hard drive space is too limited and our preferences are too far different. Anyway, it's good to have a portable computer, especially when having to work off-site.

Am still feeling a bit sore after extraction of a problematic wisdom tooth yesterday, but happy that dentist was good, so I didn't suffer overly much. Dude was easy on the eye, and bill was not too unkind to the wallet. Would have suffered less if I hadn't got a crappy gomen dentist in KJ a year ago. He acted as if I made the problem up and practically shooed me out of the chair. Duh! maybe he gets lots of slackers looking for an MC kot. Hrmph!

Feeling pretty good, though. Should push through all the remaining odds and ends and enjoy the weekend for a change. :-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


1. Call the plumber
2. Be very pathetic
3. Get discount

2 Problems fixed. Thank God!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How to Look (at Least) A Decade Older

1. NOT be rolling in money, as I obviously should.
2. Own an ancient house that needs lots of maintenance which you can ill afford, esp in the way of plumbing.
3. Not get assistance for obviously-simple-but-involves-climbing-into-roof tasks despite calls to Pater
4. Be unwilling to pay for plumber
5. Have housemate who refuses to deal with problems properly. Instead, will lie around waiting for someone else to try and fix the problem, then lay blame if anything goes wrong.
6. Have no one else to sucker into helping out.

Case study: Changing water tank valve.
Problem: Thing worn out. Overflow constantly going to other bathroom, creating danger of floor collapse and such.
Temporary solution: Turn off main inlet pipe
Side effects: No water to MY shower. Have to bathe downstairs.
Solution: Buy valve. Now, just screw it in, right?
Problem: Paid too much for wrong type of valve. Will not fit into current setup. Leave both lying in roof until I can fix it the next day.
Additional problem: Housemate turns on inlet. Donno why. Water overflows again. Plus, some of it escapes through tank inlet opening and creates scary drip around staircase lamp! HM asks if I broke anything. What a lovely thing to ask. You sit around doing nothing and then accuse me of breaking things. No doubt felt a bit like tikus membaiki labu there for a while.
Solution: Climb into roof again (Doubtless, this is why activities like rock-climbing are considered beneficial). Re-affix problematic valve. Did I mention how creepy, dusty and dark it is in the roof?
Permanent solution: Go to shop again and exchange with suitable valve. Cross fingers and pray it will work out this time.

Sheez. Good thing I finished my work yesterday, so I can deal with the problem today. Part II will involve re-connecting water to toilet cistern. Maybe I'll get the plumber to do that. I hate fiddling with PVC pipes and such.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I think I'm starting to be allergic to staying up. Every time I exceed the time limit, my ears start to hurt. Now my gums are painful too. Maybe it's lack of vitamin C, but it's kind of ridiculous as well. Perhaps there's some kind of underlying sinus problem that hasn't been diagnosed. I don't know. I just feel so uncomfortable, but I don't want to take Panadol or Ponstan. They taste funny.

Top that with things that I really need to finish, but couldn't deal with in the office due to other bosses taking priority. Means I have to stay up, but maybe I shouldn't, because I might be better off sleeping now and dealing with things in the morning. But I don't know that for sure... Darn. My brain is shot. Maybe I'd be better off asleep after all...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Tribute to ...

I was going to dedicate this to the inventor of something essential to our modern life - the washing machine. Alas, no one knew who actually invented the first electric washer.

Due to its tedious nature, people have long enlisted help from humans and machines to assist in the cleaning of clothes and household linens. There were washer women, dhobbies and fullers in the olden days. Many gadgets have been invented in the past to churn and wring fabrics in order to clean them. But none had been an all-in-one equipment until the advent of automatic electric washers in the early 1900s.

It's easy to disregard this machine which is quite durable, and not prone to constant breakdowns. The one I've been using had been around for more than 15 years. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and when it broke down a week ago, we decided to let it retire. Well, strictly speaking, it didn't completely die. The motor works, but the tub just refuses to rotate. I'm sure if anyone is willing to spend money to fix this, it would 'live' again.

We, however, had got tired of paying for repairs, and decided to get a brand new one. However, due to my tardiness, and the Chinese New Year, we didn't purchase one until Wednesday, and I had to wait, and wait, and wait for the new one to be delivered. I was so glad when the boys came over with the thing this morning, and since then have happily washed 3 loads - mostly blanket, sheets, towels and heavy stuff which would have broken my back had I tried to deal with them manually. I'm quite happy to hand-wash my beloved garments, but rely on machines to deal with the heavy duty stuff. And laundries? Perish the thought. I hate the smell of their detergents and softeners. Nothing beats home laundered clothes, and I'm glad that someone created a machine that helps us with this task. Thank you, whoever you are!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Waste not, want not

I've had for a long time my late mom's locket. I loved the setting, but I couldn't bring myself to wear it because the middle stone, a jade, had turned brown and muddy.

You know what they say about jades - they respond to the wearer. If your jade suits you (maybe it's the other way around), the colour would become richer and more beautiful. Otherwise, the stone would fade or even break. In this case, I had a feeling that the colour turned dark due to my mom's long and chronic illness.

I've always wondered about our relationship with crystals and stones. It's all the rage these days to wear crystal bracelets. But what actually is the factor at hand? How do these things work?

Whatever the cause, it turned me off wearing the locket because I could not bear to wear a stone which had been 'tainted' with pain and suffering. What if it 'poisoned' me as well? Call me demented, but I do believe that the subconscious affects us in many obscure ways. A nagging mind distracts us from our quest for happiness, perhaps.

In any case, I decided to change the stone. It should be pretty easy, right? However, it proved to be quite a challenge. Not being a fan of luxury items, I didn't know where to turn. Visits to big, posh jewellery stores earned me disdainful looks and quotes that run into the thousands. Not being a necessity, I soon put the locket away in a jewellery box, and let the matter languish at the back of my mind. Once in a while, I would approach someone at a jewellers and ask. I never went back to any of the shops with the item, but I did realise that small shops were more open to repair jobs other than selling expensive new jewellery.

At last, opportunity presented itself. Someone opened a small jewellery shop near my office. I first went there to ask if they could fix the hook on my gold chain which had broken off. Sad it might seem, I had been wearing that treasured chain, a gift from my parents since my teens, and I do feel quite incomplete without it. I was pleased that it was so cheap - just RM10 for the missing part and RM5 for workmanship. RM5!! I couldn't imagine any other shop taking less than RM30.

Browsing, I asked again about the locket. The lady said that it definitely could be done. The next day, I took the locket with me and showed it to her. We chose a stone and she promised to have it done the same day. I had budgeted a few hundred for a ruby, but there wasn't one in the right size. So I settled for a lesser stone. Total cost: RM15 again.

Maybe someday I'll upgrade it to a ruby, but for the time being, I have a red stone surrounded with diamonds. To me, red is the colour of happiness. And I could finally wear the locket that I admired but for the flaw which I could not forgive.

I'm not sure what to do about the jade now. I don't believe one should throw away gems, but something about its history makes me shudder. Could I maybe bury it outside the house? Or dispose of it in a swift running river as one does unwanted spirits? Maybe I could gift it to my stepmother as a symbol of my ill will. Heh. I'll figure something out, eventually. Any suggestions?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Have a Break, have a Kit Kat...

This is terribly silly, but working on last week's meeting report is making me grin like an idiot...

Been busy lately, and even now struggling to finish my work. Haven't slept yet, and I have a meeting at 9.30 a.m. Probably safer not to sleep at all, at least I won't oversleep that way. Actually my own fault for not finishing my work, I seem to have trouble focusing. Idiot. Maybe it was caffeine deficiency - I ran out of instant yesterday. So now pushing myself to sit and get it done. Could be in bed if only I had done the necessary during the day. Strangely am not groggy. Silly. Will most probably conk out tomorrow.

As I said - meeting was pretty lively. I couldn't zone out 'coz I was supposed to take notes. And fighting stupid virus infested borrowed laptop makes it even more challenging. Yours truly also sick with flu, made worse by sitting directly underneath aircon vent and lack of sleep. Nasib baik there were a number of *ehem* cute guys to cuci mata on.. And not comel2 Leo de Caprio cute. Think in the lines of James Bond and GQ cute. Heh heh. Once in a while, a welcome change from my Bollywood bosses la, kan... Some of them could have been featured in a Harlequin - tall dark & handsome, smart, charming , bla di bla di bla...

Whatever la. Anything to jazz up my semakin boring life. Happily, there's a lot of work to do, with a respectable income tagged to it. The only catch is - I have to submit la. OK. End blog time. Get back to work, you ninny!!