Wednesday, November 30, 2005

uncovering untruths.

Ever wondered what happened to the Kiswahili TTS? After "marching" on the same spot for a long time in terms of career prospects and development, the project's star left the scene.

So, what might have happened? The project is a subject of lectures and seminars (OK, at least one) in far-flung places like Hong Kong. From which our leech doctors probably raked in hundreds of thousands. I don't think things went very well for the main developer in terms of benefits compensated for the effort.

Which is why it is so hard for me not to leave a "little greeting" in my code when I get the feeling I am being screwed.

Upside down

I am a programmer. I work for a software development company. Apparently, my employer is a better payer than most other software developement houses in this town. So, according to them, we are getting a very good deal. The only way to get a significant rise in pay is to move to other sectors, banking, etc. As much as this may be true, people are still leaving, and for better terms elsewhere, wherever that may be. In other parts of the world, programmers are among the better paid guys - and they work in shorts. Here, things are the other way round. You'll instantly double or triple your salary if you become an auditor. Why suffer writing code for a living. Of course you'll have to start adorning suits. [It's still beyond me why most other software houses in this town have their employees wearing ties and stuff. At least I can come to work in a T-shit and jeans. One of the little things that make work tolerable]

So. How come the view of the world is so different in these parts. Why do guys tell you to develop some system for them and offer you 5K for it, thinking they've really helped your life. I've already said that what we do isn't rocket science, and we aren't going to find a cure for cancer, but what we do is not very easy either. Here, we are the bottom feeders, at the bottom of the ladder, the foot soldiers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

To quit or not to quit

That has been the eternal question for me. I had a meeting with my manager yesterday to inform him that I would be quitting my job. Today morning, I typed up the resignation letter that I had drafted on Sunday night. I will not be handing it over to him though. I have just put it in my Yahoo briefcase for future use.

Anyway. Bottom line, from our meeting it became evident that nothing is likely to change, and not too soon even if it were to change. My issues with work pressure, non-appreciation, restrictive rules on use of the internet and installation of applications were all explained away. Nothing will change here. My concern about pay is apparently shared but apparently there's a lot of bureaucracy involved in getting pay rises for guys so that may not be forthcoming very soon, if ever. However, if we had another guy for a manager, I would probably have given him my resignation letter by now. At least this guy is quite straight forward and tried to address my concerns. My decision, therefore, has been to stay put for now, see if there'll be any reactions in the next one or two months. I'll still look out for any better job offers. I avoided disclosing my decision to quit over the weekend with any of my friends, the philosopha included, for fear of being talked out of it. I've been all over the place about his decision anyway. Who knows how I'll be feeling about it all next week.

At home, people have breathed a sigh of relief. The apprehension they had displayed was similar to that which they had when I told them I wanted to do Computer Science at University. "But everyone is doing computers at these colleges in town", they said. My heart was set though, and I've been known to be a bit stubborn. Runs in the family. They probably still wish I was a doctor or something, but at least things didn't work out too badly.

One thing I've learnt from this experience, your life is your own. Seek and listen to advice, but ultimately you are answerable for your actions. Do your thing - as much as is possible. Sometimes circumstances make it difficult to do this. Life is too short to be doing what everyone else wants you to do. Make your mistakes. I was ready to have made the biggest mistake of my life [as almost everyone around me declared I was]. The freedom and relief I felt was truly liberating. I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I will do my thing. My way.

Dreaded Tasks

I remember a blogger’s who said he had been given the task of searching for an activeX control. I think I might have been fallen in the same ordeal although in my case initially I had thought it was a good assignment. Mine had nothing to do with searching for a control it’s about memory leaks in VB. Every time I know I have no good task to do and thus has to go back to these issues makes me so bored even to wake up and come to work. The issues seem not to be going anywhere but am sure I can’t continue with it. The report is required by tomorrow and am sure they expect great result if only they new that nothing will come out from this task. Praying that this thing disappears completely tomorrow cause am not ready to continue with it. Moral of story don’t look for Memory leaks in VB.

It is these small freedoms that make work tolerable

This statement is so powerful, I felt it needs to stand out more in this blog.

When will employers realise this. How do you think 'watu wa computer' get away with wearing shorts to work.

Pushed to the Limit.

Somebody somewhere has declared his wish to quit and might accelerate my decision also. I had been thinking over the weekend to tell him to stay but before I did the decision had already been made. Another guy left and incidentally we aren’t sure whether he left or was fired. What worries me about this place is that they are not concerned when people quit and not for greener pastures but just quitting due to being fed up. In my previous employment he had once given me a threat of firing me due to not coming to work and when I told him I don’t mind he changed that topic completely and never attempted this again even if I was on the wrong. Even that day Ii was supposed to be fired. Now I don’t know but I know I will be the next culprit, but still remain to be optimistic that they will change their values and hope he won’t deliver (it's already written) the resignation letter soon.

That sinking feeling

I had my long awaited meeting with my manager concerning my resignation. More on that later...

About an hour after this meeting, we get an email informing us that yet another guy [a programmer who has been responsible for R&D] has quit/left our firm. This is the 3rd programmer to leave in a period of slightly over a month - and we are a software development firm, not a bank or an insurance company!

There is definitely something wrong here. Guys are running from this place like you would after seeing tsunami on the horizon. Is management blind? My manager says not. Apparently there's a lot of bureaucracy involved in getting things like pay rises, which may ease the jitters around here. Whatever the case, one way or another, something's got to give.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Money aint a thing

I met a rather interesting chic recently who seemed to put material things way up there in the list of things she looks for in a guy. In spite of this, and the deficiency of my payslip, I got her phone number. One should always do.

Anyway. I was texting her on sato and we got flirting. Ok. I got flirting and she obliged. Such a rare thing for me. A couple of smss into the conversation, she got to tell me what she was wearing [or more importantly what she was not wearing!]. I'm still recovering. Hopefully I'll get to hang out a bit with her sooner rather than later.

Let the games begin.

As if on cue, my eyes popped open at 0615hrs sharp. That is despite the fact that I did not catch some sleep until about 2.30 at night. The human body, has great ability to adapt. And mine is reacting to an ominous concert that is playing out at my work place.

The man at the top is playing musical chairs again. A few top people have been shuffled. Consequently, they are running a similar show in their small fiefdoms. The mastermind has blown on the bugle; the minions are running all over, cracking the whip.
The end result is, my immediate boss has changed. And that can't be good. I will have to give up small freedoms that took a lot of effort to earn. And it is these small freedoms that make work tolerable.

Obtuse phraseology like "revitalising the key performance drivers by harnessing the capital and resourcefulness of our staff" is getting such life. Mail and communiques have almost tripled. Endless boring meetings. The black fake leather folders are out in force. My wing, which was formally full of life, camaraderie and jolly good fun now looks like a hospital wing for the terminally ill.

The rats are out. Everyone is hiding a knife under the cloak. Normal mail can be used as evidence of your incompetence if things come to a head. You need six sets of authorization to get anything done. Everyone is scurrying for cover. Impossible deadlines will become tighter still. In a wholly futile effort to cover these deadlines, people will kiss ass, rat out one another and a lot of bad blood will ensue. The sadists will watch, probably toast to some "corporate" wine and call it good management. A middle level manager will cut off your head, make a carving out of your skull and grin happily if he has the slightest belief that will advance his career.

Sometimes, lack of ambition is a good thing. Its like you are hoisted on a psychological pedestal; You can see below all too clearly. Sort of like an "Early Carrot Stick Detection System". Having no desire to become a manager, nothing short of a real increase in my net income will propel me to do more than what I absolutely have to do. No bending over backward, trying to impress some bigwig. Another thing I am grateful for; Most of what I do is cut and dried. A pure, measurable science.

What is to be said of management? How smart you can dress? "Strategy" and "Politics"? Or making a sport out of making other people miserable?

I hope, for my own sake, that I am being overly pessimistic.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Carrying a heavy heart

My mood has always been an integral factor in determining if,when and how I do things. I like doing things when I want to do them and doing something I feel I'm not ready to do, or don't particularly want to do is difficult. Ok. I must confess that women have a way of making me going against the aforementioned principles. That's a story for another post ... and lots of therapy.

So. I've been thinking about leaving my current employer and have noticed that even the slightest things not going right pushes me towards this edge. I snap at workmates, and when I'm not snapping away, I'm snarling in anticipation of some untoward comment. Taking out my frustrations on innocent bystanders.

Anyway. I had another one of those days yesterday. Do something that doesn't quite work smoothly. The usual questions follow - "Why is it doing this?". "What is this?". I'm dejected and the problem is not very straight forward to solve. Issues with windows installer. I don't know how to make these setups that well anyway, but noooo. There's no time to find out. We must have a setup by the end of the day. It always amazes me how people are unwilling to wait to get a solution. They just want it now. The phrase 'Dirty fix' comes to mind. I guess running a business has its own realities.

Later that evening, quasi-solutions come up and that's good enough. I ended up idling on the net kidogo, looking for sample resignation letters. I-resign.com gave me some solace. The net has absolutely everything and anything one can think of. Who runs such a URL? Once more, I decided to quit sooner rather than later.

I'll be spending the weekend mulling over this desicion once again, and possibly drafting my resignation letter. [I've printed like 20 samples]. I love my job. I get to write code, come to work in jeans, work and walk around the office bare foot, start work at 0900 [meaning I can sleep until 0730] and I earn higher than minimum wage. This is the perfect job! That's why this issue has been haunting me so, and the indesicion has been so profound. I've been told that if I quit without having another job first I'll be depressed and get disappointed. Perhaps. I don't know. I just don't know. As at this moment, I'm thinking of handing in my resignation letter first thing Monday morning, effective the end of the year. Let's see how I'll be feeling on Monday.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Twilight Girls

It’s not been one of those fine months for me because I could not be able to consume my usual dose of beer due to being broke. This has been due to having to purchase those entertainment units that one feels they should be resting in your room. Anyway I’ve enjoyed the times I had to rest in the house. Thus the escapades with the twilight girls have been very minimal. But when am with them am very cautious to avoid losing my hard earned assets. The only bad thing is that they have caused me not to return in some of the pubs for they will surely ask for pint and I only by once.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Help me please!

If you find me somewhere, and in my vicinity there is a bottle of beer, then you are likely to find some cigarettes too on my person. So I am strolling the Choices "underground", lighting a cigarette. I stop by a pool table where two ladies are playing. A gentleman is watching from the sidelines. One of the ladies, very often after shooting the ball, would go to the guy and engage him in some long conversation. The other lady got pissed. Out of the blue she dismantled the game, grabbed the cue from the chic and shoved it to my face. Hi! Can we play? I want to play and all this ***** wants is to hug and kiss.

Yeah, of course. The guy comes off his stool and now wants to beat me. The two chics are at each others throats. Anyway, the chic who wants to play comes and shoves the guy out of my face. We start playing. My game is tremendous. Conversation gets into high gear. We start dancing, seductively, as we shoot. After about 5 games, I realised I had disappeared for too long. Man, the chic does not want to let me go! She's clutched me like a vice. I do the big sister thing, talk some nice things, rub her back all the time re-assuring her I will be right back.

I shoot off before Samborera and the two chics leave. OK. Everyone is bored. So we make towards the door. The women are hungry. We eat. The DJ changes the music. Wow! No one is no longer interested in leaving. We shuffle back in.

The 21 year old now really turned on the heat. Some nasty stuff, right in front of everyone. The memory is stuck like a broken record. I will not bore you with the details.

Later, I met the previous chic. Her buddies had left her. She was complaining that after taking them out for treat (and producing some 7,000 bob of what was left as evidence!), they had abandoned her. She is clinging to me, wants to buy me drinks and after that I escort her home in a cab because she does not trust cab drivers. I did not want to ask what would happen after we reached her place. The answer was in her eyes, her tone of voice. She was about 28. Cute. I said no (politely) and went to the 21 year old firestorm. Too much woman for me in the 21 year old. I wonder what she will be capable of at 25?

It is dangerous out there.

Abstaining in the wild

This past weekend was the longest in living memory. I happened to have subscribed for a safari to the Maasai Mara - Sato to Monday. I am not a tree hugger as such and my main motivation of signing up for this trip was to do something different on a weekend. Different it was. I pitched a tent. I saw a tent even!

We spent the whole of Sunday driving around the Mara, checking out game. Funny enough, for me, the most breathtaking thing was the scenary. Plains and grassland as far as the eye can see, with the odd acacia tree at the horizon. Truly inspiring. Awesome. The animals weren't that bad to look at. There had been a wilderbeast migration the weekend before so we got to catch the aftermath of this spectacular event. I couldn't help but wonder why they don't use the nice bridge rather than plunge into the river. Probably for the excitement.

I also got to meet a couple of interesting people. There was the resident chef, who can cook anything, even in the wilderness. Spaghetti and minced meat, mkate ya nguvu/toast mayai, anything. I Met Joe Black. There was B, a.k.a pre-mix, a.k.a pre-mixed. Ever watched Diary of a Mad Black Woman? There was Captain Zee, and another chic who said she couldn't hook up with a guy earning less than 200K. Net! At some point at Monday breakfast she exclaimed whether one of us would be able to feed her. I can remember wondering whether she was a buffalo or an elephant that she would ask such a ludicrous question.

We checked back into town Monday evening. I hooked up with 0.5 later that night for another of our escapades, this time with two lovely (l)asses. The things one of these chics [who had turned 21 a couple of weeks back] was doing to/with 0.5!

I was comatose the whole of Tuesday. Was woken up at 1900. Was totally confused and disoriented. Now I'm back to my 9-6. Back to boiro.

Friday, November 18, 2005

What is it with management?

There's a workmate of mine who got promoted recently, to a management position. Since then, almost 2 months ago, I think she's greeted me twice. Not that we were bossom buddies before. The fact that I've also retreated into my proverbial shell has also contributed, but I can't help but feel that her demeanour and manner of speaking have changed since she acquired her new status at work. I guess it's part of trying to be 'tough' or 'firm' or something like that.

So what is it with management. All of a sudden, people stop being seen or treated like people. Reason and common sense goes out of the window [you are asked to finish a piece of work in 1 hr when all parties know that that's not possible].

I have never had a desire to be a manager. I despise management courses [I have actually done a couple. One of the hardest exams I've had to do. Amorphous]. I hope that if I am ever put in such a position [possibly when I'm a bit more advanced in years], I will not catch this bird flu that seems to come when go into management.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

would like to be slapped?

By a girl?
Or, probably you would prefer to be pickpocketed, ....by another girl?

I am getting way ahead of myself here. Where do I start? Let's go chronologically.

It is 7:30ish. My sim is dead. I can't call. I pick up my deskphone and dial. Too much work, too little time. Why is there tomorrow anyway? I shut down the machine and leave in a huff. Destination, Tropez. Alas, can't find Samborera. The waitresses are opening bottles of Tusker left right and center. That seductive hissing sound as the bottle top disengages; I can't wait. I peer about and I see a bubbly shadow on the other side, so I make my way there. There is a woman at the table.

Tempo rising. The beer is getting to all of us (including those who don't drink). The lady starts doing salsa on the seat, leaning perilously towards Samborera. Red flag! Time to go, time to go.

ChinaMan sends me an SMS. Zeep. Nothing extra-ordinary happens here. I escort him to the stage.

It is now late. I am delirious. As I come back from the neighbourhood of Jazz, I meet a twilight chic next to the Sony showroom. I stare at her a bit as I pass by.
Hi.
Wow. I backup. In a flash I am at her side. Hi yourself. She places her hands on my shoulder. We start some quasi-haggling. Buy me beer. I am broke. 500. Too high. Her hands are on my mid-section. I am kneading her breasts.
.
.
.
I decide I have had enough fun for one night. I withdraw my claws from her chest. I put my hands in my pocket, in a gesture of neither satisfaction nor despair. She realizes I am not bringing any business her way and makes to go.
There is no phone. THERE IS NO PHONE!My blood chilled. Quickly. My phone is old, but I am not giving it up, especially when I am staring the thief right in the face.

I grab her arm. "What?" She has become hostile now. I want my phone, madam. She laughs derisively and mocks me: "what phone?". At this point, I am not joking at all. We argue. How did she get it out of my pocket in the first place? I was sure it was her. She even dares me to search her, which I do. I run her down like a professional officer of our delightful police. Nothing.
She laughs out loud. She wants to leave. I detain her. She starts shouting. Damn. I am worked up now. She tries to claw my face and get away. I lift her and slam her into the wall. As she tries to free herself, wriggling and shaking, my phone pops off her shoe! I grab the handset.

"Thats mine". The nerve of that woman. She lungs for the phone. I throw her off. She tumbles, falls and screeches on the pavement for 10 metres. At this point I think she realizes that indeed life is dear, and I might just take hers if she continues being silly. She contents herself by insulting me from a safe distance of 20 metres. I am walking away.

I proceed to the stage and hop into a mat. I sit next to a drunk woman, wearing a short skirt with a huge slit up the middle. The slit is split wide open and almost the entire length of her thighs is visible. Man! Don't I just love these night jaunts! Being silly, and the alchohol obviously not helping, I am contemplating touching her legs. She stirs from her drunken stupor as I make unsure movements and addresses me thus:
"If you touch me I will slap you so hard". Is it worth it to be slapped? My common sense (which is hardly common because if it were I would never be in half as much trouble) kicks in and I immediately abandon my intentions to massage those thighs. But not quite. So I counter:
"But I can stare?" to which she replies "Stare all you like". Ahhhhhhhhhhh. I move my face to mere centimetres from her thighs and study them cell by cell.

Ai ai.

Work Out

I had been silent as I had decided to go for a rest and with a major intention of working out. Incidentally I’ve been adding weight in an alarming late until some friends and family have been asking me if I’ve married. How marrying would cause a man to increase size remain strange to me as I’ve always thought it’s vice versa. Now unfortunately it seems it’s difficult to wake up one morning and decide to work out as I did for two days and gave up decided I accept my fate of nursing my bigger body. I some how feel refreshed but there are no those interesting tasks at work and especially like now when am supposed to ‘shine’ for me to be promoted ie increase in my wallet. Unfortunately they don’t know a wave is currently in the working place where developer are waking up and saying ‘there comes a time …. Which is now to go’. Anyway I updated my Resume so am better placed. Let be log off as somebody might be watching me to say that some people have been surfing the whole day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A semi-blind date awaits

There's this chic I met over the weekend. We danced, she told me about how she's kosanad with her boyfie, we exchanged numbers. You know. The typical night out. So I call her later but apparently she can't remember who I am.

I shall be at the Tropez balcony today evening. I know how she looks like, but she doesn't remember me. Should be interesting. Join me if you can.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

That's a Jack of all trades.

This Enterprise Solutions Specialist has a familiar ring to it. When I landed my current posting, they called me "Enterprise Systems Support Analyst". Very esoteric. So, for all that title what did I do? Install programs, move machines back and forth across domains, look for people's lost Outlook PSTs. Troubleshoot. Babysit adults with fully grown brains. Ohhh, Ohh, sometimes it would get very interesting. I would put a page or two on the intranet for the education of the rest of the staff.

For a prize of two cents, what is a "Database web developer"?. Most likely, that is someone who writes asp pages, hosted on the corporate intranet, that posts alerts and reads information from a database. And that is if they are 20% accurately describing the job. Most likely the job is what one would call a computer lackey. Mtu wa computer.

Ridiculous. These titles are made by self-important middle level managers. For instance, mine wanted to feel that he was managing a team of "Analysts". The whole idea is laughable. I have seen real analysts at work and I know I am not one. Much later, the HoD changed. This one had done a stint in IBM and knew how a software concern should be run. I got a new christening. Junior Developer. All the support work was cleared from my desk. Seat, table, computer and Visual Studio only. A whole line of managers were reduced to techies again. It was a glorius time for foot soldiers.

To recognition of lies, wrapped as truth.

What is a Database Web Developer?

What about an Enterprise Solutions Specialist? No idea? Neither do I. Where do people get these titles from. I'm not a fan of fancy titles but perhaps if they made sense, or were even remotely accurate, then I wouldn't mind so much. However, KCB is currently looking to employ such individuals. [Deadline is Nov 25, 2005, details in this past Friday's Nation]

I couldn't help but be amused at this advertisement. Which reminds me. For my first job after campus, I was an Associate Product Consultant. What nonsense! When someone tells you he's a teacher, or a butcher, at least you have an idea what he does on a daily basis. An Enterprise Solutions Specialist on the other hand could be doing anything. Literally. The things people do for impressions sake. Insane.

Glitter isn't necessarily gold after all

I expressed my fears the other day about people who look like they have it all together. This feeling is driven mainly by the fact that I have come to realise how inadequate I am.

Today morning, our manager called us for a meeting and mentioned the recent interviews that have been going on. His assessment of the candidates seen thus far went something like "it seems that talent out there is very scanty or we are just not getting the right guys". Well. That put a big smile on my face. Not that I relish a dearth of talent. I have been anyone willing to listen that there aren't too many good programmers in this town, and that some of us should be paid more than we are. I am not the greatest programmer around, but at least I know as much. I know how little I know, and I've always been amazed by people who think they know so much, or those who spew out esoteric, techie terms to make other people realise how good they are. I am a good enough programmer to know that I know very little and hence continue striving to improve, the frustrations of the employer notwithstanding.

I have always held that if you recognise an employee as being good, then you should renumerate him as such. This fallacy that there are numerous unemployed people who can do the same job at half the price is plain suicide. You lose good employees then only realise their real value after they've left and their not-so-good replacements can't hack it. This doesn't only apply to programmers of course, but employers seem to be determined to persist in this culture. Most people I talk to agree. I believe employers and entrepreneurs should make money. Lots of money even. However, paying a guy a soc a day while you earn a million in that day [partly because of his work perhaps?] is not right. This is the moral reason for giving people their due, but the economic incentive [quality of products and services goes down] is lost in the fog that is greed for more profits.

To all those who are not getting fare wages for the work they do, keep your heads up.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Putting my money where my mouth is

During the course of the past couple of months, I have grown increasingly disillusioned and dissatisfied with my current job. Yesterday I had another aneurism bursting moment at the office. Later that evening, a sudden thought came to me. Just quit. Now. I've had such thoughts before. The difference this time was the strange sense of calmness that I had, and for once I wasn't afraid of what the future would hold. I then made the decision to quit at the end of the year, whether I'll have another job by then or not. Everyone I talked to when I initially had such feelings some time back told me not to quit then, not before I had another job to go to. I didn't. Yesterday, I decided to go against this advice and deal with whatever happens.

I mentioned my intentions to my mum today morning. She was horrified. Apparently, now we have to talk about it at length. I have an idea what she'll say and all I can hope for is that she doesn't recruit the rest of the family to give me a talking to. I've just told my shrink about this insane intention and he was as terrified as my mum. What happens if I don't get a job soon thereafter [I'm confident I would] then I'll probably end up depressed, broke, dependant on others and full of regret. Apparently his sister-in-law or something quit her job and wasn't able to get another one. She had to go to the US "by hook or crook" [to survive basically].

I've had to reverse last night's stance. I won't be handing in my resignation letter Monday morning. At least I've been galvanised once more to seek an alternative employer. The difference now is that I'm not as hell-bent on being a programmer.

In the meantime, I'll try to be the best employee I can to my current employer. I'll try not to get so mad and worked up when accused of all manner of things. When spoken to with disdain and treated with contempt. When not appreciated for anything I do. When denied permission to install software from any vendor other than Microsoft. When given unrealistic deadlines within which to finish pieces of work.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

accolades for nothing.

I have received praise for doing something very simple. That is quite a deviation from the norm, which is why I am noting it here.

Today, I have done absolutely nothing, except for the simple thing I have just mentioned. Wait. That is not entirely true. I have been looking for music today. I found quite a few gems and received two others through mail. It has been an extremely fulfilling day. In my new collection are artistes like Enya, Enigma and others who sing in ethnic Irish, Latin and a cocktail of other languages. When the marketers are not calling 'World' music, it is called 'Haunted' music. It has this deserted feeling. Very soothing when you are trapped in code that is not making sense. Anyone want a sampling? Nah, didn't think so.

I will be working tomorrow. Its a thing we call a 'CRF'. I don't exactly know what that spells, I just found the term in use, and was not in any mood to ask questions. But it entails making a major change in the systems. I hate that kind of stuff. Ever heard of 'Server Panic?' This is when a server has been running like forever, you alert people 'hey guys, this thing will be offline for 1 hour' [loud noises from all over]. You do your stuff. Restart. _______________ !

Damn thing refuses to wake up. Scheduled time to put the thing back online arrives. Still dead . Calls start. You can't hide. Did I ever tell you guys it is majorly ILLEGAL to switch off your phone? Ati ran out of charge?

Yeah. Tomorrow. That kind of thing. I am not happy.

Lets return to the present: I am going to Hornbill to drink the 300 /= I have. Guys, you are free to invite me.

Sheng goes to the west

Our use of local slang [mostly a mixture of Swahili and English, thus called sheng] has long been frowned upon by older folk. I don't know much about its genesis but it's the way young people talk. It creates some kind of bond and a feeling of belonging, in a group without the authority figures that the vigour of youth inherently detests. Sheng is so advanced and dare I say main stream, that there are even online dictionaries for it.

I am therefore exceedingly happy to hear about this phenomenon [it's no longer a localised issue about (mis)use of Swahili but a matter of the psyche of young people] being experienced in the UK. They call it Blinglish. A mixture of 'Bling' and English, whatever 'Bling' is. As happened here so long ago, the adults are totally lost. However, it's been interesting to note that Blinglish is being approached in a more positive manner than sheng was in it's early days. It's hailed as a "development" of the Enlish language rather than being seen as being restogressive.

I don't keep up with our local slang. Never have. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with, and I'm getting old ...

What's with all these hi's

There's another item of etiquette that I find hard to comprehend. Who decided that ALL emails must start with "Hi". Proper and appropriate use is fine and I have no issue with that. In fact, I rather prefer this to "Dear sir".

What I don't understand is scenarios like the following:

I send an email to a work mate who's seated 5 metres away from me. "Hi, ...". He replies. "Hi, ...". I respond. "Hi, ...". He replies. "Hi, ....". How many times are we going to greet each other? Absolutely ludicrous! Unless, that is, the "Hi" in this context doesn't have any meaning and is just the way an email should start. If that's the case, shouldn't this be automated so that people don't have to type it there all the time - it's automatically inserted when the email is sent.

I have always found it extremelly difficult to do things I don't understand, and that's why I refrain from behaviour such as I've described. Some people probably interpret it as me being rude. What's new. I don't like conforming anyway. As I tell anyone who's willing to listen,
Normal is boring

Scary looking guys

I'm not refering to individuals whose facial features cause you to feel afraid for no apparent reason. No. I'm taking about those guys who look like the know it all, have it all. You must know the type.

My firm has been interviewing this week, and a few of those guys who've come in for interview have been scary looking. I have been wanting to leave my current employer for a while now, but seeing some jolly, confident guys coming in makes me realise that I won't be missed. I had convinced myself that finding quality, hardened programmers is a difficult task in this town, but now I'm not so sure.

However, I have the following to console me and take a bit of that fear away:
All that glitters is not gold.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A fresh Kenyan.

Today morning I had the opportunity of sharing a matatu ride with one of the jolliest kenyans I have ever met. The man had an opinion about everything that walks, breathes or takes a form, physical or metaphysical. In a short span of time, he produced streetwise philosophy that you will not find in the inside of a university classroom. I will report in 'almost verbatim'. The soul and thrust of the statements are lost in translation.

The police: Never remove your cap when in a police station. There is no law written anywhere that says you should do this.
Refugees: Ahhhhh. So these guys have realised there is no more free food huh? Good. They should go home and cultivate those barren lands. Aren't we hardworking, we Kenyans? We feed two states, Kenya and Somalia.
Women drivers: [this one is hard to put in English, but roughly]: Hiiiiiiiiii, aren't women driving nowadays? We dereva, just check out that one, amekupita. Soon, we [men] shall have to look for another planet.
Unclassified: As I roamed in Runyenjes, I noticed that everyone is short. It must be the inhospitable, cold temperatures. Everyone tries to roll himself together, and thus start reducing in size.
Driver, step on it. I am late. Or are you going to let me have your driving job if I am fired?

How NOT to end an sms

There's some smsiquette that is driving me up the wall. You start a conversation with someone. They reply asking you how you are, what you're up to, blah, blah, blah. Then, to end the sms, they say something like "goodnight/goodday" or "take care". Even worse, I've had someone use both, yaani "good day and take care". You might as well add "Have a nice life"! [invariably this happens only with chics]. How do you reply to an sms like that? Are you supposed to? That, to me, is indicative of someone wanting to end a conversation and not looking forward to having another one with you. And I consider myself a reasonable guy, who has a white bucket at home [aJamaa can expound on that]. The only time I can remeber ending an sms with "take care" is my last email to the red bima chic [who was by then no longer taking my calls or responding to my texts]. I accepted her decision not to have anything to do with me, or encourage me in any way and that was my way of showing that I'd finally gotten to grips with her choice and was moving on.

And another thing. Why do people [mostly chics once again] have the urge to tell you "thanks for calling" after you've called her and the conversation is ending. It's like thanking a pal of yours you meet in the street for talking to you - a la "thank you for talking to me". I just don't get it, and it kind of irritates me. If I ever ask you for the number of a chic with these traits, please spare me the misery.

Scared?

I scare easily, but Bird flu is not one of the things to scare me. Are you scared of bird flu? I did not think so. So, why this widespread, world-wide panic? Some 100 odd people catch the disease in Asia (remember how big Asia is. China and India alone have 2 billion people) and blitzkrieg! Its like a reincarnation of Hitler armed with 1000 atom bombs is about to invade mother earth.
What crap!

And the death casualties (in fact are there any?) have not even hit double digits. Jesus! The white man, with his opulence and contempt for the rest of humanity must find himself some amusement by worrying intensely over nothing.
Now people in far away Kenya, are all about Bird flu (those who are not discussing the other stupid business in town: referendum).

Did you know, that Donald Rumsfeld has earned 1 million US dollars (known, x million unknown) since the outbreak? How did he manage to do that? Apparently, a company called Gilead Research, in which he has a huge stock holding, makes a drug that is supposed to counter the effects of Bird flu.

Yes. We get suckered everyday. May be this bird flu is a dangerous disease. I don't think it is. It certainly does not deserve this storm it is causing. I am also confident that it will stay with the white man (I sympathise with poor Asians caught up in this mess), just like its sister bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease). We have our own plagues. Lets worry about those.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sambolera mayi son

One of my favourite songs ... and a source of inspiration.

Here are the lyrics.

Insomnia and the need to work

I just came back to work this week after a week off. It's been wonderful so far. I didn't find my tray full of stuff to be done or the 'everyone wanting you to do something' kind of scenario. So it's been relaxed, as it should. I have also resolved to stick to an 8 hour work day. I have an Outlook reminder to help me out with this when 'home time' reaches. I've been up-beat, cheerful and relaxed. Just wonderful.

However, the strangest thing has been happening. I typically sleep at about 2300. This week, I've been waking up at like 0200, out of sleep, feeling refreshed and restless. Apparently, one needs to work hard to get a good night's sleep. Not that I've been slacking off. I've resumed going to the football pitch to run around [or 'kufungua kifua' as Kamikaze would put it] and hopefully, that will get the body tired enough to sleep through the night.

Another thing. The sun was up and bright by 0600 today morning. Weird. Thank God even.

Ati my ass looks familiar?

Noooo. I'm not talking about myself. I just remembered what Talia [yes. the one and only] told 0.5 on one of our escapades. Verbatim. Posting for posterity!

How Goes It?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Windows Live?

Microsoft have made a very funky website Live.com.
As a person who has been reduced to a HTML junkie, I have to admit there is some stuff that is a bit interesting. No prizes for guessing that it only works in IE (there is a flier at the top that is extolling Firefox users to be patient).

They have these links that they call "gadgets". You can drag and drop these links to the right-hand lower corner of the same page, and alas, the link acquires some sort of life of its own. It morphs into a heading and downloads a mini-page with the relevant information. You drag drop many links, with similar results. Next time you open the page, it will have all these links in place. Its like a supremely personalizable home page.

The next step, Microsoft say, is to enhance these "gadgets" to include mini-applications using Web services [you will remember that this is an old technology, originally Java, they just copied and plastered it everywhere via marketing]. The idea is to offer service-based software (Application Service Provider, like salesforce, and google). When this live.com will be complete, it will look like Sharepoint [another Microsoft technology], but on the internet.

Small businesses, will get software as services, for reduced licence and maintenance prices, IF they will allow advertising to be carried on the software [think Excel or Word with ad banners]. Of course, as usual, Microsoft is playing catch-up. More companies are resisting tons of money from Microsoft in takeover attempts, to try out new ideas. And the ideas are working. Bill Gates must be scared shitless. When money can't get you what you want, things get jittery.

Those roving links? Must be IE, and their non-conformance to standards. I am going to watch this one closely.

Fixed

The weekend wasn’t as interesting as I expected. First my bank ‘Mwiganania’ meaning Make equal messed up my account thus no money to have pints. Then came my leg had some infection making walking difficult for me thus spending all time on bed. The fancies of the chilies of town were out of my sight this weekend. Some guy thinks am best in resolving bugs that they are unable to resolve. Due to the fact that I cracked the other one on Idd today he decides to add three more. Anyway todays were easy to resolve but one still remains. Till tomorrow when am added some more cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

^%%#$@$##@#@!!!

I am seething mad. I have a colleague, who out of sheer condescesion, asked me to STOP what I was doing, and look for a 3DES Active X dll on the Internet for him. I could not speak for 10 minutes straight.
When he asked me where the dll is, I exploded. Alas, we got into an argument about the relative importance of our assignments (his, is "apparently" supposed to be superior because of experience blah blah blah). I was having none of that nonsense. As a human being, I deserve a certain amount of respect. I have a full degree in Computer Science, just like everybody else. I am a programmer, as qualified as everyone else, does not matter that I am not paid as much. To tell me, no, to order me, to look for a dll?

Platonic shmatonic

During my gap week, I spent quite a bit of time contemplating. Now, boy-girl issues didn't escape this scrutiny of self, and after a chic pal of mine smsed me telling me how she's been dumped and how I'll always be her friend, and so on and so forth, I took some time to consider this.

Can a boy and a girl be 'just friends' or platonic friends. I just looked up platonic on dictionary.com and this is the relevant definition given:
Transcending physical desire and tending toward the purely spiritual or ideal

Now ... what can I say. Need I say anything even?

If the chic in question is not hot [yaani you don't really fancy her], perhaps this kind of relationship would be possible. However, you would typically not go out of your way to vibe the said chic, and would in extreme cases avoid her. If you vibe a chic, as would be expected of a friend, odds are you find her attractive, and wouldn't mind taking her home if she happened to be a little inebriated [Exhilarated or stupefied by or as if by alcohol]. Don't you just love dictionary.com.

Last Thursday evening [Idd eve], one of my 'friends' [from chiromo] who hails in my general neighbourbood [and in 0.5's immediate neighbourhood] told me we could do something that evening. [I'd been prodding away and have asked to spend the night at her place numerous times. You know how it is ... you say all sorts of things hoping to get lucky, or she'll slip up one day and say yes]. Anyway, I was depressed and didn't fancy going out, but I picked myself off my bed, sprayed on some perfume, and off I went.

I fika her place, then she starts telling me how she's tired and doesn't fancy going out after all. I just sat there thinking "What the hell am I doing? What's all this for?" Why do I spend so much time and energy on such things. In half an hour, I was back at home, to some hesitant looks. I'd just left the house less than an hour earlier, refusing to eat supper, in the name of 'going out'. I called up 0.5, who was apparently at Ibiza with some guy(s), but at that point, I wasn't in the mood for anything.

My conclusion on the matter is thus: In my present mental [and physical] state, I am incapable of being 'friends' with a chic. I will thus keep away from such relationships for everyone's sakes. No misunderstandings, no emotional drain. All I need is some champions league to watch, or look forward to watching, and I'll be alright.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My gap week

I was away from work, and this blog, last week taking a well deserved break from the frustrations of the work place.

Nothing too exciting to report. When I wasn't sleeping, I was lying on my bed trying to get to sleep. After like 5 days of that, I was pretty lethargic and downright depressed, and couldn't wait to come into the office today to do something.

If I stay online too long, I'll be accused of not having worked today, so I'll post my thoughts [I had a couple of epiphanies] later.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Week That Was.

This has not been one of my enjoyable weeks. First my work mate went for leave thus no one to brainstorm with. Then have this job that I was assigned for me to determine why the application consumes a lot of memory i.e. Memory Leaks in VB. This has been hell as can’t really uncover when memory is not released, to add to this on installing some free ware it added ad ware on my comp thus every min Internet Explore would pop up. I tried everything but all in vain. Then come Thursday am assigned another bug to uncover why some third party control is behaving weirdly this has cost me to be here in Idd because I was very uncomfortable. All is not bad to end this week as I’ve been able to reset by comp to a workable state and has uncovered the weird behavior of the third party control and it’s one of the weird bugs that you can’t explain. At least the remaining part of the weekend I will be a bit relaxed waiting to provide a report on memory leaks in our system. Nice Idd guys I am off.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

i'm not crazy...i'm just a little unwell

i must say that i'm glad i really had a terrific weekend because when i woke up on monday morning, i had the nastiest sore throat ever. and for me that basically means that an even nastier cold is about to manifest itself in my defenseless leucocytes. (i'm shocked i still have an ounce of knowledge from my not so interesting biology classes in high school). anyway, i now have a full blown cold (literally), i've gone through like 10 boxes of tissue and my nose is extremely sore, my sinuses are completely blocked and i have a dull throbbing headache right at the center of my skull. i've been taking various cold/flu drugs as well as what i can only term as illegal amounts of vitamin C. this thing better die down or i'm worried i'll be the first person to o/d on vita c...for real

just thought i should share my sentiments. and hoping that someone somewhere is having a better day than mine. or actually the knowledge that someone somewhere is having a worse day than mine...would make me feel better. isn't it ironic?

have a nice day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Meeting Place!!

Street wisdom

Since it looks like everyone is in a deep coma, I have been reading other upto-no-good blogs. There are some clinchers that are not to be missed.

No prejudice. I hate everyone equally.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else
And politicians can be trusted only as far as where your urine will land if you urinate into gusty winds
Rule #1. The Boss is always right
Rule #2. If the Boss is wrong, check out rule #1.
A loser in real life, a legend in his own mind.
Take on my ideology and you will be blessed abundantly
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Please God, do not lead me into temptation, for I shall find it myself.
Life's not a garden so don't be a hoe.
Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
Son,if you don't make a noise God will never know you're there.
Your hand has been replaced by a rubber stamp. What does it say?
no one grows old by living life to the full...only by losing interest in living
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
Step away from that idiot! I am certified.
seize the moment.....and it will echo forever

Ha!