Wednesday, April 25, 2007

.: Inspiron Death Part 1:.

24 April 2007 - 10.24 AM

I woke up, feeling slightly groggy, but otherwise refreshed after a night of restful sleep. By virtue of habit, the first thing I did was reach my hand out of my comforter, to the floor where my trusted old friend laid, my Dell Inspiron 510m notebook to check for work emails, and any updates on ESPN.Soccernet.

That's how I start my day. Everyday for the past 2 years. Hell, I even prowl the web before I give my other half the customary morning kiss.

This morning, however, there was an eery feeling swirling around my room. It sounded more quiet than usual. Deathly silent. There was also a slight feeling of static in the air, coupled with bone chilling cold and heavy humidity. Something evil looms.

I flipped open the LCD cover slowly, as I was not fully awake. Then I hear a strange sound. Soft, barely audible, but it was there nevertheless.

"Tik ... tik ... tik...".

That jerked me up instantly. I have not done any IT support (save for my own personal hardwares) for the past 6 years, but the training I had as a Systems Engineer back in 2001 rushed into my head instantly. You see, just like a medical doctor trained in the art of emergency medicine and procedures, we were trained to identify emergency symptoms in a computer. And this is the biggest one of them all. The cardiac arrest of the notebook.

"Tik ... tik ... tik...".

That distinct sound can only mean one thing: The hard drive is either dead, or dying real, real soon.

Took my hand off the laptop, shell shocked. Panic.

When was the last backup? 3 weeks ago. Any new, important data ever since? Yes. Lots. Holy mother of God. That massive proposal I created for my client last week wasn't backed up. The long hours I put into creating Max's videos. That wasn't in either. Not to mention 3 weeks of emails. Damn, damn, damn.

"Tik ... tik ... tik...".

Windows was still on, but hanged. That is a good sign. No Bluescreen of Death. That means the drive is still partially alive, at least for now.

"Tik ... tik ... tik...".

Okay, I told myself to calm down. I almost rushed to map my laptop to my server shared drive and try to copy all the data to the server and hope for the best. But what did basic training say?

We know that to try and push the limit of the drive further will kill it even faster. We also know that heat is also a problem in situations like these, as the disk's spindle will expand due to heat, and that worsen things. It is also known that the drive have less than 48 hours of operation time left to live, regardless of what one does to it.

So I got the facts. What do I do with it?

"Tik ... tik ... tik...".

I made a decision. And in doing so, I am taking a huge risk, but with potentially high returns..

Slowly, and gently, I carressed the power button. Applied some pressure on it, and turned the whole notebook off.

I lowered the temperature of my room air conditioning to the lowest possible, 16 degrees centigrade. And then I went on to do my daily chores, although for the whole day, my heart was heavy, and I keep hearing the "tik... tik... tik..." repeating in my head.

24 April 2007 - 8.36 pm

Came back, and my room was freezing cold. Almost like the morgue. I gently touched my Dell, running my fingers through the sleek LCD screen. I felt the keyboard keys, and finally I rested my hands on the small touchpad. Looking for signs of life, looking for hope.

Next, I had a decision to make again. Do I move my Dell to my workstation, where I could have nearer physical access to the network switch, router, server and my other notebook, or do I leave it as it is? I decided to move it, after weighing the pros and cons. You see, moving a sick drive is very very dangerous. One very gentle jerk, and you can be rest assure your data's fried.

So I picked up the notebook slowly and laid it on top of my table. I plugged in all the necessary pheriperals. Cross cable into my Acer Aspire. USB connection for the DVD Burner. USB mouse. Power cord.

And I stared at the "Power" button, touched it but not pressing it. I hesitated. I dreaded this moment for the whole day. According to experience, there's a 70% chance the drive won't boot again. Ever.

Slowly, I applied some pressure to the button. Here we go. Moment of truth...

To be continued.........

Monday, April 23, 2007

.: Max on YouTube :.

Just made this short video of Max for YouTube. Hope you guys enjoy :)

.: Angel :.

"The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine - Four Tops"

Angel sent me this track and virtually completed a big part of my life. You see, I have been searching for this song for about 8 years now.

I first heard it when this DJ friend of mine, Robert Mah, played it regularly at this joint we frequent. Unfortunately, the song was on LP, so I couldn't borrow a copy of the CD.

Anyway, before I digress, as I tend to, this post isn't about Robert, LPs even me. I specifically wanted to thank Angel for her efforts and kindness to locate this song for me.

I am not even going to try to figure out how long and how tough it took her to do this, as even I have problems locating it for a BIG part of a decade (and believe me, I'm an expert serial MP3 leecher).

For that matter, don't start calling me a cheapskate - the CD is not available in Tower Records either.

And until 5 minutes ago, this song was not even available on streaming sites, even YouTube.

Well, I've uploaded the song to YouTube now, as I believe for such a great song (one of the greatest ever, IMHO), the only logical step is to share it with the world.

For a bit of background information, the song was written by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren, and performed by one of the most popular groups in the 70-80s era, Four Tops. The song first appeared in their album Indestructible, out in 1988.


- Extra Footnote -


It’s hard to see you walk away
It hurts to see you go
But if I asked you to stay
Would it matter anyway

I’m not surprised you’re leaving
I’ve known it all along
But my life will still go on
Yes, my life will still go on

I’ll find a way to make it
Through the long and lonely night
Find a way to live without you
Without you in my life

‘cause baby, baby
The sun ain’t gonna shine if you’re not with me
I’ll live without the love you have to give me
I’ll make it through the night
I’m gonna be alright

But baby, baby
The stars ain’t gonna dance across the heavens
The moon is gonna hide away forever
I know I’ll make it through
But it won’t be the same without you, baby
Without you, baby

Maybe I’ll be better
Better on my own
I can stay out all night long
I’ll have a good time when you’re gone

Maybe it won’t be so bad
To be here all alone
I’ll have all the time to do
All the things I wanna do

So go ahead and walk away
If that’s what you wanna do
‘cause I’ve got my life to live
And I can live it without you

‘cause baby, baby
The sun ain’t gonna shine if you’re not with me
I’ll live without the love you have to give me
I’ll make it through the night
I’m gonna be alright

But baby, baby
The stars ain’t gonna dance across the heavens
The moon is gonna hide away forever
I know I’ll make it through
But it won’t be the same without you, baby
Without you, baby

I’ll find a way to make it
Through the long and lonely night
Find a way to live without you in my life
Without you in my life

‘cause baby, baby
The sun ain’t gonna shine if you’re not with me
I’ll live without the love you have to give me
I’ll make it through the night
I’m gonna be alright

But baby, baby
The stars ain’t gonna dance across the heavens
The moon is gonna hide away forever
I know I’ll make it through
But it won’t be the same without you

The sun ain’t gonna shine if you’re not with me
I’ll live without the love you have to give me
I’ll make it through the night
I’m gonna be alright...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

.: Manchester Utd 7 - 1 AS Roma :.

One of my proudest moment, really. Second only to the 1999 Treble year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

.: Kiasus and Kiasis :.

The following are actual conversations that took place between me and my direct Singaporean counterparts. Names have been changed to protect those not so innocent kiasus.

Scene 1 Act 1

Me: (Shakes hand) Hey Alex, how's it going?

Alex: Good good. Our market is growing pretty well. In fact, I think we're gonna hit our numbers way before the end of the fiscal year.

Me: Oh? That's great news. Congratulations.

Alex: Thanks. I heard you guys in Malaysia are slogging it out. What's wrong over there?

Me: Slogging it? Nah, we are not doing too badly. We've achieved all our quarterly numbers ...

Alex: (cutting me off) You know, I think it's the mentality. You guys need to work harder, and set your goals properly. You see, the objective is very important.

Me: My team is working our socks off, Alex. Frankly, I can't ask for a better team.

Alex: I'm sure you guys can improve. You see, we just sealed a 30 mil dollar deal from Singtel last month. It's all due to the hard work and never say die attitude, which is lacking in the rest of the ASEAN region. That's so sad, you know. Phillipines is doing much worst off than you guys up there, and Indonesia is not much better either.

Me: Phil is a young team, Alex. The Phil operations just started barely 3 years ago. Give them a chance.

Alex: It's not about young or old. What they need is proper guidance. In fact, I have submitted a proposal for us in Singapore to do a regional thing next Q. We'll all travel to each ASEAN outfit and try to see if we can train the sales guys up. To push the numbers, so to speak. I think our Singaporean guys can share their ideas with you guys.

Me: I can't comment on that. You need to put that up with Regional for that kind of request. Anyway, honestly, Alex, I think we're doing ok as a group. Nobody posted a red report, so far.

Alex: Yes, but with our experienced guys guiding you all, I think we can all perform better. Frankly, I am tired of the rest of the region dragging our group performances down.


Scene 1 Act 2

(Second unfortunate meeting)

Alex: Hey Leon. I heard your boss, she's not really performing.

Me: Well, as I told you earlier, our team is doing really great, much better than the previous two years, I suppose.

Alex: You know, she's a Malay. They cannot perform. All they do is wait for hand outs. I've heard about you doing wonderfully, but if you continue tagging along in the group, I'm afraid things might not look good.

Me: What? Hey man, in Malaysia, we are all performance oriented, regardless of race, nationality or religion. You need to watch those words, especially when you come to my country next time around. Besides, we work as a team. We support each other. We do not create mutiny against our superiors.

Alex: Not mutiny. We need to work smart man. Look out for our own backside. If you want to climb the corporate ladder up fast, that is.

Me: Oh? And just how am I supposed to do that?

Alex: You mustn't continue this group thing. You need to let Regional know who is performing and who is not. If you are doing well, you need to learn to take credit for it. If not, nobody will notice you. And if your boss isn't doing her job, you need to report that up too. Subtlly, of course.

Me: But we do work as a group. We help each other, and we take the credit or fall together. It's more fun that way, you know.

Alex: It's not like that here in Singapore. Here, we all watch out for our own backs. Lots of sharks around the corner, you know. Your best friend might just turn back and bite you.

Me: (speechless)

*and Alex proceeds to give me a 30 minute premier on high riding office and racial politics, to which I almost vomitted at the end of*

Scene 2 Act 1

Tony: Hey Leon. I heard your team did pretty well last quarter. That's good news man. Regional is really paying attention to you now.

Me: I think our team got lucky. But oh, well, we do try our best. That's what they pay us for, right?

Tony: Yeah. It's just so sad that the head of the country is a Malay. If not, can perform even better.

Me: Tony, I don't think race got anything to do with it.

Tony: It has everything to do with. Us Chinese, we are the ones working. They are just enjoying the fruits.

Me: We do try the very best in our country to not use the US and THEM termininology, man. It's considered seditious. If we want fairness and equality, we have to first give the same.

Scene 3 Act 1

(At 8.45 after company dinner)

Me: Hi Robert, this is a great dinner isn't it? Hey you know, us and the Phillipines lads, we wanna go for a few beers after this. You wanna join?

Robert: Thanks, but we've got lots of work to do for tomorrow's presentation. Say, are u free for the next 1/2 hour? I wanna run some numbers by you...

I'm not even gonna comment on those scenes. You draw your own conclusion. And here I have people asking me why I dread going to Singapore, and why I'm always chilly towards Singaporeans in general...

(For the record, I do have a few really cool buddies from Sing. There are some down to earth, normal ones there, I assure you. It's the rest of the country that sucks.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

.: Dear God :.

Attn: God
CC: Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City

Dear Sir,

RE: Stay of Application - Sainthood for Leon

Forgive me, God, for I have sinned. And I have sinned aplenty, if I may add. I have been a very very naughty boy lately, and I can't say I didn't enjoy every bit of it though.

You see (of course you do, silly me), I have been doing lots and lots of naughty things lately. You are aware of the wild parties I have been having, no? Not that any of that has been faults of mine, mind you. My nutty friends are the evil ones, swaying me from the path of rightousness.

You are no doubt in deep anger, and I fully understand. But punish those bastards first, before you castigate this humble servant of yours. They are the ones who keep inducing me with the alcohol. The will is strong, dear God, but the flesh is weak. Forgive me.

You are also aware of my unholy fornication of various loose maidens. Punish them too. If they did not show those cleavages and perky backsides, this poor soul would not be tempted so. But don't punish them too hard, though. I am rather fond of each and every one of them. Well, most of them at least. May I suggest some mild whipping and candle wax drip? Handcuffs too, perhaps?

I am now smoking more than a choo choo train, and for that, go punish Dunhill or Marlboro. Make the CEO of British Tobacco and Phillip Morris gay. And make them both fornicate with each other. They shouldn't tempt me with such sweet, dangerous allures. Very unholy (and unhealthy too), I tell you.

If you recall, recently I submitted my application for Sainthood to the poor John Paul II fella, and he has since kicked the bucket and gone to see you. I think that under the current unavoidable circumstances, it would be in the best interest of all parties for me to withdraw that application, and request for a stay of execution (it means put that into your KIV box).

I will need time to repent and lead back a pious life. Give me oh I dunno, another two weeks or so. I will start self cleansing again, and probably re-activate my application to you.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say that you are one cool dude, because other deities would've sent a lighting bolt down my arse (if you would forgive my French) by now, even before I have a chance to hit the "Publish" button. Ben, yo, you are cool too bro.

Lastly, forgive me for not writing more, as it is already 7.45PM, and its time for dinner, and then more alcohol, and hopefully followed by some good old fornicating again. As they say, since you have sinned, why not all the way? After all, the confessions and consequences later are a tad about the same.

Cheers mates.

Yours Sincerely,

Saint Leon VI (pending)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

.: Babies :.

I have started noticing this back about a decade ago, and recent new aquaintances have just shored up my curiosity a notch further.

Is it just me, or is it true that girls who share the same name also share the same common traits?

Let me list down a few, and see if you agree:

Michelle - Pretty, sexy, straight talker, disliked by most other girls, hard to maintain a long relationship, big boobs

Rachael / Racheal / Rachel - Usually found with long straight hair, and has a strong scent of sex appeal around her

Kelly / Cally - Tall, great figure, target of most guys in high school / college and has a high sex drive or is usually horny

Irene - Exotic, asian look, soft hearted, likes to hang out with the wrong type of boys

Karen / Caren - Aggressive, not so pretty, usually earns good money, or comes from well to do families

Sharon - Horny

Amy - Pretty, but usually also ends up with wrong kinds of buggers and screws up their lives

Stephanie - Attractive, great body, highly manipulative

Cheryl - Smart, pretty

Emily - Sweet, sexy

Tracy - Damn bloody high sex drive

Esther - Usually looks ordinary, but great at dressing and make up to cover for the shortfall

Melanie - Smart as hell

Jessie / Jess / Jessy - Totally screwed up life, falls for guys easily, usually quite attractive

Hannah - very pretty, very popular back in high school / college

Jacqueline - bloody manipulative bitches