Monday, January 31, 2005

The beginning / The end

Really wierd but - Noddy had her first day at the new workplace today and someone in my group decided to quit today. What a contrast I've had to deal with. On one hand, Noddy with all her new experiences on her first day. On the other - this guy who submitted his resignation and has decided to move on, or rather move back because he's going to the same company he had quit to come here.

Other than that the day went well. I need beer and peanuts right now. Wally, my co-developer who is part owner of a brewery, had stopped by last week from NY and he gifted me a case of beer and some more!! Wow - that's a lot of beer for someone who drinks very infrequently. Will try my best to offer it to others when they show up in Dayton. Speaking of which, any of you blog readers planning on coming to Dayton OH? I can provide free accomodation and free food for Indians (because non-Indians might not really think that is an attractive option anyway but you're more than welcome to it).

Current mood: Anxious
Current state: Inquisitive
Current music: None - I want to hear silence right now.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

December 22nd Ohio Snow Storm


Picture of our driveway that I shoveled for about 1 1/2 hours straight, to get at least 14 inches of snow off. Look at the piles next to the shoveled driveway. Also, the mailbox is buried.

What a lame movie THAT was.....

...but before we get to that, one thing to note. When I visit other people's blogs, I see some that are 8-10 paragraphs long. Frankly, I just skip them. Then it struck me, hey, I've written some that are that long too. Bad idea bloggers!! Do not write a thesis because most people just want a quick "what's going on" kinda thing. So from now on, my posts will NEVER be longer than three paragraphs (decent sized).

So back to the blog title. Noddy, Smita and I went to Udipi Cafe, Cincinnati last night for the awesome dinner that they serve. After over-filling our tanks, we decided to go watch "Meet the Fockers"....heard so much about it. The drive to Dayton was very interesting with all the snow falling and the salt trucks creating a gravel road for me to drive on. Anyway, we got into the 10:30 pm show and the movie was about an hour and a half or so. The movie was (yawn) funny, but it did not have the same kick as Meet the Parents, it's prequel. The humor was actually worse and gross, the guy always messes up whatever he tries to do and really they did not need a story. Nothing concrete happened in the movie - the parents from both sides met, and in the final three minutes, the couple got married. The humor is semi-crass, has a few key punch lines but overall, just a one-time watch.

We're contemplating fish again and Archana's comment has seriously prompted me to consider that. I'll keep you informed on how that goes. Jody, Noddy has sent you her thanks for your comments on her new job.

Current Mood: Pre-Monday blues
Current State: REALLY lazy
Current Music: Eric Clapton, Cranberries

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dead Fishy

Five days after we bought him, Fishy is dead. Some kind of fin rot got to him. Two possibilities - he either had it ever since we bought him or we stressed him out way too much with sudden water quality and temperature changes. Noddy seems to believe it was a combination of both. I would agree with that observation.

The pet store has a seven day return policy but get this: They expect you to bring your receipt and "the deceased fish". Okay, that's just inhuman. I mean the pet stores are inhuman anyway, but for them to expect that you'd bring your pet fish, slam it on the counter and ask for your money back or a new fish in exchange is just pathetically lame. Our fishy got a decent burial in our frontyard. I'm sure the pet store lady would have opened her trash can with her foot lever and dumped the fish in there along with other dead aquatic things. I cannot even believe they have this policy of bringing BACK the dead fish. C'mon!! If you cannot treat it well when it's alive, at least treat it well when it's dead. I wish I could sue. I can't sue. I've got bigger problems to deal with.

Noddy had an emotional farewell on her last day at her current workplace. At least two people cried and Noddy avoided crying so that it wouldn't make others feel bad (which is saying something because she cries easy). Lots of thank you notes and youve-been-great notes from all over the company. Her boss sent a note saying if she ever dislikes her new workplace, she should give him a call - Yay for that !!!. Her resignation was a perfect textbook operation - she got her core points across and did not ruffle any feathers in the upper management. Well executed. She is looking forward to her new workplace starting Monday. The convenience is unbelievable. It takes her ten minutes to get there if she walks lazily....no car, no nothing. So with the car, she can leave two minutes before she intends to be there. Lucky her.

Current mood: Gloomy
Current state: Transitionary
Current music: Eddie Izzard, Jeff Foxworthy

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

In the long run....

I decided to write about something that I think of when I'm listening to a particularly meaningful romantic song.

I've been happily married for three years now and love Noddy dearly. Often I ask myself - what keeps the marriage going. More importantly, what will keep it going 25 years from now. Or even more importantly, what can I do to make sure it's going good 25 years from now!

Initially I started out with, "You better always love her". That was okay for a while but then something else was working that wasn't just love. Something more than that was going on and I struggled to find out what it was. Now, I'm one of those morons who like to figure things out on their own. So if you already know this, I am not a bit surprised.

Anyway, not to digress, love is definitely a core element in a marriage. But it does not help keep the marriage afloat all by itself. I see couples around me going through divorce and saying, "We just couldn't get along but still love each other". These aren't celebrity couples I'm talking about - whom I wouldn't trust with my $3.49 pet fish, let alone my heart. These are real people in our real world.

Thus comes in a term called "committed companionship". Once you've got love and you've got committed companionship, you're set for life. Love refers to the feeling of loving and being loved and the joy that it brings. Committed companionship refers to putting up with annoyances, the good, the bad and the really really bad and still wanting to be together as "companions". You look at couples in their eighties and you wonder - that's so good, what kept them together. And the truth seems to be - they just want to be with each other. Period. There's nothing more to it. The companionship holds them together so strongly that they do not want to give up on each other and are willing to put up with irritating habits and traits no matter how persistent those are.


That's what a marriage needs. That's what a committed relationship needs - the willingness to not just love the good, but also work through what is bad. I know exactly the reasons why I fell in love with Noddy. However, very few of those reasons are on the top 10 list of why I am still in love with her. Anyone can easily adjust to what is good about someone else. We did that with roommates when in college. The fights started when I had to tell my roommate to wash the dishes so that we could all see what a kitchen sink looks like. Perhaps one of my top reasons for wanting to stay married to Noddy is knowing that she will give me a hand if I'm sinking fast and deep, even if that might sink her. That's what it takes in addition to love - a willingness and a dedication to give it all, go through it all and still survive as a pair. You let go of those hands when things are going wrong, and you've basically taken a giant step backwards. A step that is reversible but takes a lot of effort. I'm not talking about putting up with absolutely everything absurd. If you're a wife-beater you deserve to not only be deserted, but also to be left naked in Alaska with a very large polar bear (that will straighten you up quicker than stupid anger management sessions). It's not that black and white. Realize what is reasonable for sustaining the relationship and make that adjustment. It's worth it.

Truth be told, it isn't that hard to be in a committed companionship. It just takes getting used to. You will sometimes feel like saying, "Argh !! Why don't you just stop doing this and we can BOTH be happy". But on the same token, are you willing to give up one of your own extremely annoying pet peeves? Maybe not. And rightly so. Giving up these things takes away a lot of your individualism and may change you into a person you dislike. That's why a better approach is to shake hands and stick together as a team - a team that will need to play together for many many years regardless of how many matches you win or lose and how mad you get at each other on occasions. Just like the old saying, it's not about the battles, it's about the war. If you win the war, it's immaterial how many mini-battles you lost.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Something Fishy




Me and Noddy had spent the better part of October/November trying to buy a cat. Don't ask why. It was just a phase. By end of November that idea was dropped as not very feasible. We can barely handle ourselves very well, let alone a cat - even though cats demand nothing compared to the amount of needs that dogs have. Anyway, that idea was canned around Thanksgiving.

So ever since then (again don't ask why) , I've been wanting fish. Maybe it's because I thought that if I can't get a cat, I'll get something that a cat would love - fish!! So I've been trying to start small, never had a pet fish before - EVER. Noddy's idea was to buy a clown fish (Nemo style) that costs 30 bucks here. Now, before I plonk down that money on that fish, I would rather start with a three dollar fish and see if I can keep it alive for 60 days. If I can, then I'll think of a fish tank. We also found out that fish like Nemo are salt water fish and need a specially prepared marine environment in the fish tank (the entire kit to prepare a salt water aquarium can be about $250-$300). Nope - not doing that.

So yesterday, I bought myself a male Betta fish. Beautiful dark red and absolutely gorgeous fins especially when it moves quickly and they swish around. It sits in a 1 gallon bowl that is extremely uninteresting right now. I plan on buying some real live plants. I would have bought real live food for it but that would completely gross Noddy out. I'd love to throw in the occasional worm and watch it get devoured because Bettas are completely carnivorous. If you haven't read about Bettas you might want to because they seem to be very different. You cannot put two males together, you cannot put most other fish with Bettas and they have very distinct personality traits (yes, fish have personality traits).

We tried several names for the fish - Irwin, Leo and many more. We ended up with Fishy! How non-creative. Any other name suggestions are welcome. One thing - my fish eats a lot of food. The fish food we bought says we are supposed to feed it 2-3 pellets 2-3 times a day. This guy ate more like 6 pellets at one time. This morning I dumped 5 more pellets in it's bowl and they were probably gone within a few minutes. That also means, Fishy is going to poop a lot ...... a.k.a. I have to clean the bowl very often :-(

More on Fishy to follow....

Friday, January 21, 2005

....and she went down fighting


Sania Mirza - Indian Tennis Icon

Okay so Sania lost to Serena as predicted in this post of mine. Not bad though. 6-1 , 6-4 against Serena. The fact that the newbie from a non-sports nation such as India won 5 games against Serena, says something about her. She's still very young so she's got a whole lot of room and a whole lot of time to improve. I really liked her spirit and her game definitely needs improvement in the big points area. Good going, Sania !!

What pisses me off is how the Indian media portrays it. One newspaper said, "Sania matched Serena stroke for stroke initially". Okay but if she matched Serena stroke for stroke she wouldn't lose the first set 6-1 now would she? I'm not trying to take anything away from Sania. In fact I am really proud of the fact that she fought that hard. But I hate how the Indian media takes anything that's Indian and portrays it like we're going to conquer the next available continent. Just shut up and focus on being real please. No, Sania did not match Serena stroke for stroke. Truth is, Sania could not get her first serves in at all, Serena powered her way through with very strong and relentless baseline strokes that exhausted Sania. Serena ended the match with an ace. So lets stop saying this as if Serena was in deep shit at any point in the entire game. She wasn't. Sania fought hard against Serena and we've got to give her credit, just not the way the stupid Indian media wants it to be.

I remember, when Kalpana Chawla went into space, the Indian media claimed it to be such a big deal. Oh really? Well lets see - she did not live in India for most of her life, Indian government did not sponsor her space trip or her training, she trained and worked for NASA and she is flying on a US mission. Rings any bells as to who should get credit and be proud of her? Being born Indian does not automatically mean that your achievements are translated as "Indian efforts". No they're not. They're your efforts. We do this repeatedly. We've also done this for Aishwarya Rai (will she kiss / won't she kiss in Hollywood - oh well let me tell you that she gets mentioned in a one page article on CNN as the fourth headline in the entertainment section. Get over it.), we've done this for Norah Jones (she's a great Indian musician's daughter and that's it - she's lived in Houston TX for all of her life and plays jazz and blues. C'mon!!!) and we will continue to blow our trumpet for anything that any Indian does on this planet. Well if we were such hot stuff why are all those achievers OUTSIDE India? Because you don't give them the opportunity, the bandwidth and the resources to flourish. And if you can't do that then stop claiming they are Indian achievers. You did nothing for them. What they did, was for themselves and on their abilities. Their Indian background did not automatically push them upwards to success.

You know, if I keep going, I'll be spewing out more and more inflammatory stuff - so I better stop. Bottomline - if you're Indian, recognize that and be proud of it if you want to but don't let your achievements be tagged as "Indian". They are your achievements and if you are a great achiever in Mars, then you're a Martian achiever. Your roots do not automatically inherit your achievements and cannot claim it as their own. If they want to, they should have done a better job of keeping high achievers like you in their homeland in the first place.

And now the hatemail shall start :-) . Enjoy your day !

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A tennis player

Finally, FINALLY my country is looking at a sportsperson who does not engage in the game of cricket. Cricket, for those of you who do not know, is a British game that all former British colonies such as India have inherited. It's a lot like baseball but a lot different too.

Anyway, we are talking about Sania , the latest tennis sensation in India. By the way, we have a very different idea of "tennis sensation" than Americans. Your tennis sensation may be Serena Williams who wins every second tournament decides to play. Our tennis sensation is someone who can get past the third round. Anyway, Sania is currently out there playing in the Australian Open and her next match tomorrow is against Serena Williams. For the most part, she's going to lose in straight sets. You need much more international exposure than that to win. I will keep you posted on how that goes.

What is surprising me is that a sizeable population back home is rooting for Sania, the underdog. It's almost like they identify with her and want her to beat Serena. Maybe the faith will erode once she loses against Serena. But I think personally I'm going to follow this lady's career to wherever she goes. Maybe a short lived career, maybe a long lived one. I just hope it's not as mediocre as our Indian cricket team.

I frankly don't understand what the deal with the Indian cricket team is. We have won ONE world cup in our entire history of playing cricket. True there are countries out there playing cricket and haven't won a single world cup - such as New Zealand. But then there are others such as Australia who have made a habit out of it. They are a very solid team and they perform consistently. Our cricket team, on the other hand, performs like a bunch of 40+ women undergoing PMS. On any given day, you cannot tell who is going to do well, who is going to get mad and who is going to play in an extremely stupid fashion. It just depends on the weather, the sun, the players' moods, their wives' moods and so many other factors that have nothing to do with the game itself.

So, go Sania !!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

License bureau

My conclusion is that if someone is 40 and making a living out of flipping burgers at McDonalds, the next natural progressive step seems to be a job at the license bureau or the motor vehicle title office.

Those rats who work there seem so disinterested in what they do. They don't smile - maybe it's forbidden. They absolutely do not look happy. And they definitely have a problem going out of their way to help you or make your situation better.

I made two visits to the license bureau today and have one more planned tomorrow. The first time I went today, he said, "We need such and such paperwork and if you get that, just come upfront. You don't need to stand in line". Seemed very helpful. So I went back to work and had that required paperwork faxed to me at work. Then I took that and drove back to downtown (a 15 minute drive each way plus 50 cents to park for 30 mins if you can find parking), walked in 3 degree fahrenheit for 5 mins and went directly to the counter and showed him the paper. He goes, "Oh shoot, I should have mentioned this to you but uh..we are going to need the original. Maybe I should have mentioned this to you earlier".

Yeah pal, you think so? No in fact I'm really happy that you didn't tell me the first time because I love the old rotten Christmas candy you have on your counter and multiple trips for me means more of that sweet delight. So just keep sending me back for some reason or the other. If you send me back enough number of times maybe the rules will change by then and I'll have to start all over again.

So tomorrow, I will be going WITH the original document he wants, along with my social security card, my passport, my homeowner details, tax documentation, previous years tax returns, my mother's dental records, my dad's favorite cologne bottle (original because they don't take copies of things as I learned the hard way) and two of my co-workers and their kids to be my character witnesses. If I take ALL of that I *may* be able to get my drivers license renewed.

Why. I always wondered why. Why do the license bureau, the title office and the drivers exam station look like places of doom. Nothing is happy about any one of them. A graveyard visit is definitely more cheerful than that. At least you know for sure that those people are dead. Going to these offices, I never know if these are zombies or real people and if I smiled would one of them collapse and burst into flames?

One day, I'm definitely going to go and see if they have an employment form. I want to see what kind of check boxes are there. Are you perennially upset? Check. You hate people? Check Can you handle not smiling for all eight hours and looking glum? Check. Do you refuse to help people out beyond what is stated in black and white? Double check. If I have those answers, I'll definitely get hired.

I'm just curious if this is just me or is this a universal (or at least countrywide experience). I am willing to move to a state with HAPPY license bureaus. You have to deal with them so often in your lifetime that it is worth it.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The year of "the churning within"

This year has started off very strangely. Actually I think things started to move in a different direction last December. What I do not know is whether or not this is just a passing phase or if this is permanent. But it's definitely intimidating at times because things move so fast that it confuses the heck out of me on what is going on.

You ever get the feeling that you're digging yourself into a hole and all you do to remedy that is dig harder and faster with a bigger shovel. You get into situations you don't want to be in, but you know you're in them because you chose to be in them. Sometimes life plays tricks like these.

Anyway, back to the "phase" that I think I'm going through. If this phase is not just a phase, then life is going to change very fast and in a very big way.

1) Re-building broken bridges: I'm starting to get to know better, the people from my past. While some of this is good, a lot of it can be very damaging. There is a lot of overhead involved and digging up the past brings back the good, AND, the bad. But I've been doing that more and more starting this year. By the end of this year, either I shall be in a major mess or I shall know more people than I ever have.

2) Work takes a backseat: If you had met me last August/September and asked me to rank my top 10 priorities, work would have been at the third or fourth place - easily. This January, if I were to do my top 10 priorities list, work does not even figure in there. It's simply gone away. Lots of reasons.....but most of it is basic math. I can work half as hard as I do, still be equal or more productive than most co-workers, and get the same kind of monetary and non-monetary incentives. I have sort of hit a glass ceiling at work.

3) Getting unfinished business done: I want to be a physically fit person. Right now, I've got some muscle tissue here and there and mostly just skin and very little fat. I definitely don't want to look gorily hunky. But I want to be fit. I also want to learn the guitar and get into music in a very big way. I want to blog more actively and I want to keep up my technical blog. This is all unfinished business from the past. And I plan on moving these up on the priority list. Now you see why work has plummeted in such stellar fashion?

4) Look better: I think I look okay, but I am so careless about it that I look like shit more often than I should be. I can understand if I'm working in the garage and am greased and look like shit. But I look homeless and on Social Security benefits when I'm going to Walmart or something like that. I need to change that. People treat you differently if you aren't dressed as if you are the definition of the bottom level of the poverty line. I have definitely felt that. Anyway, that needs to change. I need to take care of that. I also look shabby at work somedays and that's not good either.

5) Spend more time with myself: I like to think a lot. Unfortunately, I also like to talk a lot. Talking has to take a backseat and allow the thought process to drive the car for a while. If I really really put my mind to things, I can figure them out and move on. The problem is to shut up long enough. And that's going to happen....that's a given. I shall be talking much less.

6) Advance my career: This is really common. The uncommon thing is, I want to do this outside of work. I have written several previous blogs about how my work situation has been lately. For me to grow in my career, I have to do it outside of the workplace. I have to find people, connect with people, share my knowledge and learn more. One way to start this is right here

These sound like New Year resolutions. But they aren't. I have no clue when I'll get to these. I just know that these are my priorities and they are going to be a very big part of my life in the near future. If this is just a phase and I go back to being the original "me"....well then so be it. No regrets and no remorse.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Another great blog-thing

I discovered, via this post, another phenomenon in blogging called - De-Lurking

What do y'all think of that? I think I came across quite a few of you people by reading your blogs and then de-lurking and showing myself to you by posting on your blogs etc. You know what I do on a regular basis? I visit 10 new blogs every night - that is apart from the ones I read regularly. If you post a comment on my blog, rest assured I shall be actively reading and commenting on yours!

Jack of All who comments on my blog brought up a good point on his blog - why do we create blogs? His understanding is mentioned at the beginning of his post here although the post itself deals with an entirely different but very interesting topic.

So I thought why not write the reasons I blog. Here's why I blog (or at least as far as I know) :

1) Freedom of expression: I blog because I can. I can freely say what I want. I can be myself and don't have to be worried about almost anything. Bloggers have that kind of unbridled power of expression. If someone hates mankind - they can shout openly on their blog. This is something they cannot do at their frustrating workplace or say in a supermarket standing in an unending long line. So it's definitely a release mechanism.

2) Knowing people because I want to: Throughout my life, I have made friends because of where I have ended up. I had friends in school because they and I went to the same school. I had friends in college because they and I chose the same college. I have friends at work because they and I chose to work at the same place. Therefore the commonality exists because of the choices that people make and that's how your social circle gets created. With blogging though, you try to find people who LIKE the things you do, who THINK thoughts like you do and who have similar BELIEFS such as yourself. Sometimes you also hunt for people with extremely opposite beliefs simply because you want to know what the other team thinks. See how this is different than situational socials? I don't know "Puppetainer" or "Jack of all" or some of the other people by any association other than blogging. Yet here we are.....why? Because I like Jack of All's posts and I go there regularly and I partake in his thoughts. And the converse is also true. So blogging brings people together because of a commonality that exists between them in this unique way.

3) Immediate social networking: Blogging is free from having to do introductory useless conversations with people who you meet for the first time. For example, if my first meeting with someone is in an elevator, in all likelihood we'll talk about the weather. Why? Because that other person isn't going to tell me how much he hates the way American democracy is going. But on a blog - I can look at a complete stranger's blog and read his thoughts without having to get into the crappy get-to-know chit chat nonsense that is so important to our society. Blogging gets to the point directly - this is what my day was like, this is what I feel strongly about and this is who I am. Now if you like what you see here then get back to me. It's the fastest way to connect to people.

4) A history of myself: It's relieving to put my thoughts down somewhere that I can go back and look at them. If I stop blogging right now and if blogger.com stays in business, I can look at this ten years from now and see how much I've changed or haven't. In the pre-blogging days, all of this was mental, in my head, no time for others to listen to me and no time for me to listen to others - too fast too furious a lifestyle we all lead. :-) . But this way, what I'm telling myself and my readers is :

This is me - read at your leisure. Hang around till you feel like and enjoy yourself !!!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

From not knowing ... to knowing Poker

About a year ago, I went to my first even Poker game. It was a bunch of office folks playing together. We had a great crowd initially - about 14 people. We started playing once every two weeks in an unused section of an old office building. I figured the best way to learn without completely going in the red is to start dealing. Another reason is that I totally suck at card games. So for people like me, don't just sit on the outside and watch - go ahead and offer to deal. You will be amazed at how much the players will appreciate it because that way they get to concentrate on their game without working about playing and dealing at the same time. Within a few rounds you will know what's going on.

That approach worked very nicely for me. I became the official poker dealer. The crowds eventually leveled off to about 7 people on any given poker night. Slowly but surely, my interest in the game grew. I am completely anti-gambling. I always thought of it as money that I might as well just burn in smoke in 20 seconds.

But something different happened a couple of weeks ago. I took Noddy to play poker because she hadn't played and wanted to learn. Now, she's a card game fanatic....you can get her to play card games forever. So naturally, unlike me, she wanted to actually play. We put 20 bucks in and got her going. Long story short - we played for about 4 hours and we came back 10 dollars in the red. But we had an amazing amount of fun that I never have had by just dealing. That sparked such big interest in the game for me that today, I finally bought my VERY OWN set of poker chips, complete with dice , two packs of cards and an aluminum case. Poker is definitely addictive and I plan on staying on the right side of that addiction.

The set was bought off of ebay and you can see that listing here. I think this is great because it's been a really long time since I spoilt myself with something like this. I don't know how frequently I'd be using it because every third person coming to our bi-weekly poker nights owns a set. So it's not like I'm going to have to take it everytime. I'm guessing I'd have to get cracking on organizing some poker nights around here. Some people are hesitant to play with money - but you get very careless and rash when it's not real money because you don't need to play accurately. We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you informed.

Anyone else into poker-ing in my blogging world?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Workplace issues - #2

This is #2 because #1 was the previous post although it wasn't titled explicitly that way.

In that wake of Enron, how many of you have had to sign the Ethics and Compliance document in your companies? We all did at ours. Part of the document (in case you were forced to read it or were using it as toilet paper and happened to notice the writing) says that if an employee notices anything unlawful going on at the company then they shall report it to their immediate supervisor. Also, note that if the immediate supervisor is the one being unethical and non-compliant you are supposed to go higher up the chain until you can find someone who shall listen.

Sounds like a bunch of baloney to me but lets try to give it a chance. Okay - say you work for a boss and he/she is telling you to do something that you think is wrong, say something as simple as, "Don't tell the customer that we don't have it. Tell them that we do that and will ship their order promptly. We'll figure out how we can get it to them".

First of all - how many of you actually HAVE the option of saying no without being handed a box the next moment to put your stuff in and get the heck out of there. Can you say, "No I won't be doing that"...and the boss will go, "Okay"? Maybe... but what the boss is really saying is "Fine, I'll log that away in my memory. I may not be able to fire you for it right away but boy am I going to screw up your review, annual bonus and your raises. Watch out here I come".

Thankfully, I don't work for such a boss but if I did, I cannot imagine myself declining something and screwing up my career instantly or long term. If you're in a job you hate, then that's a different story. You can't wait to leave I guess.

It's not that I'm a coward, a wimp. It's a matter of being realistic. The Ethics and Compliance thing offers NO automatic protection to whistle blowers or people who want to stand up against a corrupt management. There's no clause that says, "If you're a whistleblower you are automatically protected for a period of 60 days from being fired - whatever the reason. Furthermore, after investigations are completed, you have a right to file a suit against the company if you feel discriminated and the state shall pick up the tab." THAT would encourage people to stand up and tell their organization - you're a lying, cheating and corrupt bunch of "gentlemen".

Think about it. Even though there is SO much protection for employees feeling sexually harassed, it happens so regularly that it has become a don't-ask-don't-tell policy. If the two people involved don't break the news, all is well. If one of them does, both are screwed (no pun intended). Given this hopeless situation, what does Sarbanes Oxley Act (couldn't they have picked Joe Shmoe Act instead? Seems easier to pronounce) offer in terms of whistleblower rights? What do workplaces in general offer as rights to employees who refuse to do actions that their immediate supervisor(s) is/are asking them to do? What workplaces encourage employees to speak out against their supervisors? They won't because that breaks the you-keep-me-happy-I-keep-you-happy fraternity that exists at the management levels.

The answer to all this? Deal with it ! If you decided to work in corporate America, sorry you're SOL - there isn't much you can do about it aside from saying this is a work culture and I shall do all I can to keep my conscience and sanity while this thing pays my bills. To bring about a revolution you need many many people who are willing to give up many many things for many many years. And knowing what a consumerist and comfort oriented society we are, that is definitely not happening.

Your comments and sharing of situations are always appreciated.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Pissing people off is devilishly fun...

...but before I get to that - here's yesterday's events in brief. Worked lazily and then picked up Smita at the airport. She's got a President Bush style itinerary with 17 interviews in 20 days for her internship site. I personally can't do that. Luckily quite a few of those 17 are phone interviews so no travel involved. After that, off to do some groceries, picked up dinner at Chipotle and home. At home, what is waiting but some bills in the mail. Opened up my heating bill - $284.00 !!!! Holy crap ! Oh well - that's what you get for being locked in home all December with the thermostat at 71 degrees and the fireplace being turned on very frequently. The electricity one was also there but was a decent 90 dollars or something like that.

Okay, now to the title of this post. I pissed someone off at work today. Wierd part? I enjoyed it. Probably because this man is an utterly useless blah-blah moron. So when someone on the high end of the idiotic spectrum gets pissed off, there's some evil pleasure that can be derived from it. Part of it is because that person pisses you off so much you're happy to piss them off once a while and get back. Other than that, it's very hard to get back at people who are ridiculously stupid because they don't get it. Anyway, I am so anti-social (which is a boon if you ask me) , that very few people like me at a personal level. What's strange is that I have more work colleagues who like me than real and actual non-work friends. Hmm...is there a psychologist in the house who can explain this? My mother didn't drop me on the head when I was born so there has to be a non-biological reason for this :-)

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Three days have been hectic because...

... lots has happened. A brief outline follows.

First of all I stumbled onto a website (via blog crawling) that is just a group of people with a philosophy that they believe in . If you have the patience (i.e. you're not the corporate rat that drinks coffee in the car), read this website - ClueTrain . All chapters are online but you only have to go through the first couple to figure out what this is about. In a sense, yeah their idea is appealing but it's full of assumptions of all sorts. Anyway, more on that later.

Noddy left for Chicago. I dropped her off to the airport where we found out that her 6:36 pm United 719 flight was delayed. Upon enquiring at the extremely efficient ticket counter (over 10 mins per person) with the extremely competant ticketing lady, we received a reply that I quote here - "It might leave at 10 pm, might even leave at 7:30 pm or 8:30 pm." This gave us a very good idea of when exactly her flight was going to leave. I think I'll fill one of their passenger feedback forms to suggest an IQ test before recruiting for those "ticketing lady" positions. On the contrary, this might push the ticketing prices up to cover for the costs of testing....just like the 9/11 security fee that they have tacked on. That fee is a little surprising to me - the security is still the same as it was pre-9/11, yet there's a 9/11 fee added to .....???? Dunno.

Shouldn't passengers get money for 9/11 since we're the ones taking shoes off, disrobing in public and pretty much dismantling our entire luggage for screening before having to put it back together at the other end? I swear, the other side of a security gate looks like a bathroom. Men trying to put their pants together with belts, some putting their socks and shoes back on, women putting their jewelry back on, putting together their emptied out purses ... really we should be charging THEM a fee. Airport experiences have always an inconvenience since I've roamed this planet. Maybe before that, they actually wanted to make passengers comfortable.

We watched The Terminal right before Noddy and I left for the airport. Coincidence? Maybe. The movie was good, in a sense showed the apathy that exists at every major airport. The same mix of people can be found at all major airports anywhere in the world. Senseless minimum wage Immigration and Customs officials, perennial cleaners who put up bright yellow Cuidado signs everywhere and just generally insensitive pricks everywhere. I liked the movie but don't think I'll watch it again. Once was good enough.

Spoke to a friend from NZ on Friday ... she was down but hey that's where I come into play. Some nice genuine heart to heart conversation and she was on her way to peppy-ville. That was quite satisfying. I do want to go to Australia and NZ. We are planning a 2006 trip if anyone's interested. I know of one other couple who wants to go.
By the way, shouldn't we have some guidelines on how cities should be named. Check this one out.

The rest of the blogging world seems quiet. Jody and Puppetainer haven't been blogging as furiously as they usually do. Keep 'em coming please. Rest of you, comments are always appreciated. I'm back to being single for another week now - till this Friday.

Work - here I come !!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Where's the company heading

I believe or at least as of right now I feel I'm working for a great company that's rapidly spiraling into a mess as it grows. The model they have worked good for them when they were small i.e. 10 people in a small building. But now we're growing ( already upto 50 people) and yet they want to retain the old model. It seems like the road they're taking doesn't match with the road that I plan for myself. Not that this cannot change.... it might. But the current state-of-the-union seems very backwards and primitive to me. Here are a few examples:

QA:

A quality analyst...someone who is supposed to test and measure software quality by running unit tests, regression testing, automated scripts etc. Our competitors such as IBM and 360 Commerce hire software engineers on their testing teams. Reason? Because you need to know code to test code. Knowing the functional side is usability testing. How do you test rigidity and stability completely merely based on usability? Sometimes a software can be stable after usability testing yet it fails in volume handling. In such cases, companies rely on their testing teams to write, using programming languages, tests that will stretch the limits of the system as a whole. Sounds good so far? Compare this to what we have in our QA staff. Most of them don't have a college degree. I have never seen them discuss work with each other. And they hate (wait that should be upper case) , HATE technology and don't want to have anything to do with it. Try teaching them anything new about technology and you'll hear a la-la-la-la-la. But you get a good recipe for some cookies and you'll have their attention for the next hour. That's not all of our quality analysts but a substantial number. Unless this changes, we can forget about releasing software that we aren't struggling day and night to keep up until well after delivering to the customer. And the management seems to think that our QA team is exactly how a QA team should be. Well done!

Developers:

Ever been to an interview at a REAL software development company? There are programming tests, multiple interviews, tough technical scenarios that need to be solved on a white board, presentation of something you've worked on. Do you know how we interview? No wait, I better not mock that process because I was hired the same way. But anyway we hire people who write code. Sounds okay but wait a minute...shouldn't we hire people who are passionate about developing software and have a vision as to what we can do to make a difference to the overall product? Writing code is something that can be ( and probably should be) outsourced. Developing ideas and visions about how far we can take this product, isn't something we outsource....we just will never do that. Yet we hire more coders and less software engineers. They had me in the interviewing team for about three recent interviews. I rejected all three candidates - they hired one of them. Turns out he's a waste of time. By the way, I'm no longer on the interview team...which is better. If I don't interview them then they can't hold me responsible after they hire them. Well done again!

Management:

The less said the better so I'll keep this short. We have the following managers of the the groups I am aware of within the company. These are not project managers - these are much more important people. They manage entire groups and each group works on multiple projects.

Manager A - Was a programmer. Now does not want to know much about technology and is in marketing. He speaks to customers as if he's selling them real estate on the moon - but is really selling them a horse barn with a broken fence. That's why he's well compensated. We need that skill so that we can continue to fleece customers into buying something we don't have.

Manager B - Loves technology and enforces it on anyone he sees walking around even if they're going to the bathroom. I'm largely in agreement with him on the technical side but he needs management lessons to be on the management side.

Manager C - Thinks that any question that anyone asks him, even if it's about our internal product or or maybe his child's middle name - the answer is on Google. He's more on Google's website than anyone else ever is. You just have to ask him a question to see a live demo. I'm starting to think he's got a second job as Google's QA.

Manager D - Has never successfully delivered a product in as many years as he's been with the company. Let me repeat: Not-To-Date.

Now the best that I can do with this mix and this company direction is find humor in it day in and day out until something changes - me or them. Time will tell. Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Shitty day

Really really shitty day at work. We had a group re-org and I got a really lame deal out of it all. It doesn't get any worse than this.

So really there are two options - stay or leave. Stay involves two options - stay in the new re-org'd fashion or ask for a demotion because I am currently unwilling to put up with the rearrangement. Leave involves two options - leave and join another group internally or leave and join another company. While the second option looks more promising, I am going to spend this year working on upp'ing my credentials big time so that I am in prime position to do that if that's what's necessary to get out of this ungodly arrangement that I have been thrust in.

The reorg does not affect core things such as my job security and my salary and my future.....so it's not really making me insecure in any fashion. But it does affect my role and how I see myself in this company - it diminishes both of them. Hence the problem.

Will work towards getting out of this using any of the options outlined above.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Post 1 2005 : 2:17 AM

Here we are ... the earth has completed another rotation around it's axis exactly like it has done for a billion years. Yet we earthlings celebrated this particular rotation......so yahoo to us.

NY Party was good. Noddy and I had a great time. Pictures to be uploaded shortly. In fact they're on their way to the Yahoo upload site as I type here. I'll post the link after Noddy has gone through them and removed the ones she doesn't like. ;-).

The party was a lot of music, too much Black people music ....something I cannot dance to but there were definitely lots of numbers played that were retro. The crowd was more towards the 30s-40s than the 20s. Imagine this ... we are now hanging around with those people. Another sign that age is creeping up on us at lightning speed.

The champagne used for toast at midnight was really sweet. The breakfast buffet at 1 am was good - bacon, sausages, biscuits, potatoes and eggs. I had all of that except the eggs and bacon. We left around 9 pm and were back at around 2 am. Pretty decent for a NY Eve party. This would've been a good time to go to a friend's place and play poker with some early morning tea.

Puppetainer, Jody ... what are your stories for NY Eve party? Jody, did you get what you wanted and therefore celebrated?