Thursday, March 30, 2006

Celebrating difference

Working with women is wonderful. Those who work in offices with loads of women [and women themselves of course] may not really appreciate this. When I was in campus, the motivation for waking up in the morning was the kebab and mandazi breakfast. I can remember looking around during the first induction-type session we had and hardly being able to make out the women. That's when I gave up on that angle of my education. Every year I would look out for the number of women in the 'fresher' class but would be met by the same ratios. 15-20% women. And I always used to ask myself why. Girls were always top of the class in primary school. For the longest time a girls' school was the best among high schools. So why weren't there more women in my class. I never found an answer, only a sombre acceptance of reality. Where are the women in IT. Is there Intrinsic aptitude that's responsible for this gender imbalance as some have suggested, or is there not.

I don't know. All I know is that working in an environment where more than 10% of the work force is composed of women is a good thing. I have a phone number and a lunch date to prove it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Not here. Not there. Not anywhere.

Due to a mixture of good fortune and misfortune in equal measure, I have not been able to say anything for a while here.

As a result, I have things colliding in my head like loose change. Without much further ado:

The anatomy of a soap opera:

If at all you are like me and you are going to be home on a Saturday evening (for reasons such as being broke), then you had better arm yourself with one or more of the following:

1) Alcoholic drink 2) A movie or two 3) A novel

This is because if you don’t, you will be spoilt for choice as far as offering on TV is concerned. Especially that wretched hour between 8 pm and 9. On all our premium channels, we have Mexican soaps of various shades in a contest for attention.

The formula of a soap must be the first thing on this earth that can be claimed not to get out of fashion or tired. The same plot is pulled from the shelf, dusted off, some color, scenery change and voila! smash hit. It must be an effortless money spinner.

The lead character will be a woman. This woman is very beautiful. Another character, a man, is added. His name will nine times out of ten be Alejandro. Or Juan.

This man is beauty itself. Tall, very handsome, athletic and in excellent health. He usually comes from a poor or middle class background and his means are modest, his profession noble. Sometimes, they will stick a real brain in this man. He is a surgeon extra-ordinaire. Or something along those lines. His gentleness, manners and capability for romance know no bounds.

Yet another man is added. This man (or his family), is so rich, that his fortune cannot be mentioned; It can only be hinted at. He has a darkness of soul that is second only to Satan's. He is ruthless, merciless and generally inhumane.

Enter girl number two. She comes from a rich family too. Not as rich the other guys. Her family is happy to play second fiddle.

We have the vital ingredients:

1....2.....3....Action!

The first girl, extremely beautiful and exuding the innocence of a newly sprouting flower, is hopelessly in love with Juan/Alejandro, the class A good guy. The evil guy desires her the way a starving lion regards a fat, supple antelope. The beautiful girl's family is intractably tangled with the rich guy’s family, usually either economically or by crime. This is why even though she is very "strong and moral", she cannot help and indulge the evil man, for the sake of the family.

The handsome good man is also madly in love with the beautiful girl. The rich man will on occasion have the other guy thoroughly beaten up as a discouragement. The ladies (plus male models) who watch shed hot tears, fawn and curse and wish they could pull the perpetrators from the TV screen and feed them some justice.

The family of the second girl is pushing their daughter to bag the rich man so that their situation in the world can improve.

Against this, there is a background of sleek sports cars and limousines; unbelievable palatial mansions on beach fronts; clothes designed by Gucci and other such exotic names; jewellery that produces its own light.

To cut the long story short. The good guy marries the good chic, after real anguish and suffering. The bad guy loses his money and goes to jail (or dies). The other girl finds a similar fate, for trying to assassinate the poor girl or something equally stupid.

Cut!

A slight variation of that for your entire lifetime. The producers walk to the bank grinning.

Faux Pas.

A random man. A random woman. The only thing that is not random is the meeting. It is pre-meditated. The man has talked, with a lot of difficulty, for the whole of five minutes, and finally, grasping at straws, has run out of stuff to say. The random is girl is extremely helpful to the man in distress. She keeps quiet and contributes nothing to the conversation.

Desperate, he glances around, racks his brain. Presently, a very beautiful girl strolls into the pub/restaurant. The man is about to do the first deadly mistake.

The man unwittingly directs all his attention on the beautiful lady. She is too collected. Not a hair out of place. She is moving gracefully.

He opens his mouth and commits deadly mistake #2.

M: How do you guys do it?
W:(between clenched teeth)Do what?
M:Come on I mean, look at her. She looks as though she has just descended from heaven. Not a spec of dust on her. Isn't she beautiful?
Without waiting..
M: How much time and money is spent to make her look like that?

The woman is now looking at the man with pure unadulterated hate. It suddenly kicks in. The man's next sentence dries up in the dark recesses of his throat. The next attempt at conversation (or explanation if you like), is in fits and starts.

The random chic leaves with a piercing parting shot:
Since you like her so much why don't you take her for the rest of your lousy date?
Up and she is gone.

The random man, an acquaintance, advises men:
If beautiful women start filing into a club, stare into your bottle of the KBL liquids and ask yourself this question:

What is the physics behind those bubbles in the beer? Do not unstare until:
i) The question is answered
2) The beautiful woman is out of your field of vision.

Whichever comes first.

Isn't funny?

That someone will look for a (reg-ex string here) friend and for a long time not find one. Then, by sheer luck, someone will give someone a fleeting chance. Something begins to simmer. Suddenly, other people start getting very interested. Your last fiancé comes crashing back into your life and chooses very opportune moments, like the middle of the night?

Bird Flu?

I eat Kenchic chicken with gusto. I was reading a notice which has been stuck up in all fast-foods, informing people on the avian flu. The only thing you have to worry about is adding weight. Avian Flu is a non-starter in Kenchic fried chicken. Here is why.

When you buy your chicken, you are given a paper slip that has the net cost of all you are eating. This paper slip, you hand it over to a greasy man who will not be content to merely take the paper, but will insist on smearing your hands with frying oil. The man pierces a piece of meat from a slick glass cabinet and ferries it over to a blackened vat. A dark, still liquid sits in this vat; that is until your piece of meat is popped in. The hot frying oil comes to life and gives the impression of a thousand demons rising from the sea. Your piece of meat is turned into a crusty biscuit in short order. Some of the organo-carbons in the meat turn into elements that cannot be mapped anywhere in the periodic table. The meat is handed back to you for your consumption.

I have difficulty in believing that an organism that cannot even be seen with the naked eye can survive this inferno.

Relax, death will find you in its own good time.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Baghdad Burning

Had a look at this blog from a BBC news headline. Wasn't exactly what I expected.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Lessig method

I attended a presentation today that reminded me of a post I read sometime back. The one good thing about a couple of courses we did in campus was the prof. insisted we be making presentations. Why bother with notes and things when you can sit back and listen to people talk about stuff they are keen on. Like I did. Anyway. I learnt quite a number of things about making and presenting powerpoint presenations, and more so because we only had 5 minutes each to do our thing. Another benefit. No wonder this guy is a prof. You could go for your breakfast [the breakfast of champions a la chai, mandazi na kebab], go to the lab 2 minutes before the class and whip up 5 slides on a topic that came up over tea. A topic like "The end game". Mind you, the first of those slides only has a title, and the last a summary.

Anyway. I digress. Attending this particular presenation reminded me of some stuff I'd read about making presentations, specifically not to read out the slides to your audience. They can read! [of course unless they can't] Somehow, when the presenter reads the stuff you are also trying to read, it becomes so much more difficult to follow. There are other thing that came to mind was the amount of stuff you put on slides, and The Lessig method. Less is more. A tenet that spans many domains.

Who knew?

That Excel has a maximum capacity of 65,000 rows. [These are the kind of problems a guy has been suffering]

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quote of the day

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Voltaire

The thing that made me happy about this one is the realisation that I'm very normal! I mean. I'm uncertain about virtually everything.

Learning new tricks. Or not.

Age is a funny thing. It creeps up on you every so subtly. All of a sudden you can only last for 2 hours on the dance floor before you need a break. You bound up a flight of stairs only to get to the top and wonder what you were thinking. Yes. True confessions.

For a while now, I've been feeling it. I honestly think I'm going through mid-life crisis. I didn't know it lasts this long though. Perhaps what I need is HRT. Looking at the world with a new set of lenses. Not chasing after every woman I see. Being content with who I am. Generally things just being upside-down. The other way round from the way they've always been.

The upside has been the wisdom that I'm gaining. [ok. There's a pal of mine who insists that wisdom is something only those ancients of the bible had] I don't know what else to call it, but there's a lot more clarity amid the confusion. A lot more pragmatism. Ageing gracefully? I don't know.

The end game

Introverted guys will probably remember a similarly titled presenation I made for some course in campus. That is of course, except those who didn't attend that particular class. I can't remember what the course was. Anyway, I was just thinking [and sharing my thoughts] about the impact of technology on society, and where it would take us. The end game I called it. It's still something that I think about every so often, this afternoon being one of these occasions. Whether or not we adopt emerging technologies is another issue all together.

Anyway. I'm not posting so much to give my vision of the future, but because I came across a song I heard a couple of times and really liked. A song that had I known the lyrics would have sang during my aforementioned presentation. There's even a wikipedia entry for it! In the year 2525. [I couldn't post the lyrics, as I'd have loved to, or even a direct link to the lyrics because of the wonderful content filtering system my employer has]. Food for thought.

Robotica

I was amazed that I woke up this morning. Amazed that I woke up before the alarm went off. I've been waking up at about 6am for the past 3 weeks. Torture. I normally struggle to wake up by 8am. 1pm on saturdays. So I was rather confused this morning when I woke up and found myself on my bed, just as I had been the previous night, the book that I had attempted to read by my side, lights on. At first I wasn't sure whether I'd been asleep for 2 hours or 24. I mean. I never wake up before the alarm goes off. I guess that biological clock is getting reset [not the one that signals that I need to have offspring. The other one]. And how efficiently so. The problem with this clock is that it may not be able to identify a day like sunday, and not wake me up at daybreak.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Does a man have any rights

I saw a piece last week on CNN about a guy who had gone to court seeking not to be compelled to support a child he'd had with his now obviously ex girlfriend. His defence? He'd discussed the issue of kids with her and ostensibly made it clear that he didn't wish to have any at the time. Somehow, the chic got paged and had a baby. Apparently, he feels that the woman, having the right to do whatever she wants with her body, can choose to keep or terminate a pregrancy and the man with whom conception was achieved has to live with this decision. This particular guy probably doesn't want anything to do with his child, emotionally or financially, but the point is still moot.

Entrapment by pregnanancy [real or feigned] is something women have done in the past, and surprisingly, continue to do. What if a couple conceives and the woman wants to terminate the pregnancy while the man doesn't? [Humour me] Does the guy have any say in the matter or is he only good for providing the ingredients. Given, it's the woman who'll carry the baby to term and do most of the caring for the child, but the father will be expected to provide for the child. A situation where men don't take up their responsibilities shouldn't be encouraged, and it is in matters such as this that I envy our ancestral societies of days gone by. Where kids belonged to the greater society and were cared for as such. [at least if my primary G.H.C teacher is to be believed]

I don't think this guy will win though. There's a whole micro-economy based on child support payments. That can't be allowed to collapse. The thought of men being 'free' from any responsibility after the soon-thereafter-to-be-mandatory-before-sex disclaimer "I don't want a kid" will also make the judge think twice before upholding the guy's point of view.

P.S: A friend of mine narrated a tale about this paranoid guy who follows the following regime, without exception.

1. Before sex, take a HIV test. [He'll provide the test kit]
2. During sex, use a condom.
3. After sex, take those morning-after type pills.

For him, it's a case of once bitten thrice shy.



Disclaimer: This is not a response to a couple of YAMPs [Yet Another Male-bashing Post] that Shiroh has been engaging in.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Reality TV on drugs

RealityTV has been the in thing for a while now. People were fed up of the same old tired jokes and plots. Enter real people, with no scripts. Definitely interesting. But I can't help but wonder whether people work anymore. I mean. There are like a million reality shows. I don't even know how they make money cause they all give away cash and things to the participants. And how people can act normal with cameras following them around is another mystery to me. From people professing love [and kissing all the women in the show] to those eating creepy crawly things. Guys just can't get enough.

One show I'd like to watch is Beauty and the Geek. Yes. There's a bit of geek in me.

Lack of sufficient brain power

Disclaimer: The phrase in the title of this post is © aJamaa.

It is days like this that I wish I had an 'easier' job. My head hurts. It hurts from days of wrestling with the same problem. Constantly hitting it against the proverbial wall. One hit after another. I'm at the End of Thinking Capacity [etc].

I've always liked doing interesting and challenging things, shunning 'routine'. Well, sometimes you get what you want, and it isn't a pretty sight. Working on hard problems can be hard but there's a certain allure to it. Not knowing what to do can be mighty frustrating. Terrifying if it's your job. So much for wanting to do interesting things.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Quote of the day

I had to share.

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.


http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/P._G._Wodehouse

Grab an umbrella, man.

There is a new fad in town. That fad is called male-bashing.

Sure, we have been doing it for centuries. And perhaps we deserve it. But personally, I will take off the head the next woman who will come screaming to me about how useless men are. I don't mind if women discuss men during those girl parties; It is when someone insists on telling it to my face that my sex, and fellow brethren are useless.
It does not help when these torrents are unasked for. I mean, its not like I walk upto a woman and ask: Are men useless?
You will be discussing something very inane, like for example the frequent blackouts in a certain area of Nairobi, and voila, the topic rears its ugly head.

And don't they get graphic!
You will hear of people, sorry, men, who had sex for the whole of three seconds and then went out like a light.
Sordid details about personal habits men have.
We are constantly accused of a mean streak. Don't buy enough of this or that.
Men are incapable of telling the truth....the list is endless.

The available choices in the mode of delivery, leave nothing to be desired. This phenomenon is in print, big screen, small screen, unholy gatherings of women loudly bad-mouthing guys and the guys being within earshot, and the classic one where the women will confront the very source of the problem; Go to men directly and b*ch about it.

If you have some beef with a man, don't take it out on the entire population of men. Splitting a guy's head open with a metal bar for example, will do just fine. At work, you will get irritable female bosses, baring teeth and contorting their mouth into a horrible rictus in the face of a small inconvenience, like the poor boke whose report is an hour late. Just because of some domestic beef with the husband.
There will always be friction in the relationships between men and women. If a man can quarrel with his mother or sister, and a woman with the father and brother, then can you begin to imagine how gross the conflict can get if the other party is just another pedestrian?


There is a solution to the problem: Avoid all men. That way you save yourself the anguish that men are known to bring. Which brings me to my other point. The hypocrisy.
You will endure a one hour tirade about a certain man breaking the girl's heart. She will make oaths, stop short of writing them down in blood and chant in furious determination. In the evening the man will show up. He will butter her up, and she will go for an 'out' with him. The next day she will be giddied up, smiling like a druggie. She not only forgave him, but screwed him.
Worse, the bloke might be the arrogant kind. While the woman is in a huff, sobbing and depressed, he is off with another woman. After about a week devoid of phone calls from him, she will go to him, apologize to him for his mistakes, forgive him, promise him that she will not repeat his mistakes again and then screw him.
I admire this amazing capacity in women to quickly forgive and forget transgressions which 24 hours earlier were of a magnitude of 9.6 on the Richter scale.

Or do they? Forgive and forget I mean. I have heard stories about how you can be reminded by your girlfriend of tiny mistakes you did seven years ago.

A guy needs another account

I got a call at the office yesterday. On the other end of the line, a lovely lady. Trouble is, we weren't exactly acquainted. She knew me, not me her. She went on to tell me all about some bank account at Stanchart. All the time I was racking my brain, wondering how she knew about me. I guess this is the telemarketing I often hear about. She even offered to come to 'my office' to do a presentation. Trouble is, I don't have an office. I have a piece of furniture, with a computer on top of it. She'll be calling me later. [I still can't say no to a woman; even a stranger on the phone. I'll probably end up asking her out to lunch or something]

Indeed towards the end of last year, it hit me that I needed to start saving. I don't consider myself a thrifty individual, but have managed not to save a single cent for virtually all of my working life thus far. So when I decided to quit my job, without having secured another one, or other source of income, saving was no longer a choice. Since then though, I've found it tricky keeping track of my progres. I literally do a count of the number of months since I started saving [Yes. I count aloud and with my fingers], when I go to the ATM, then check that I'm not withdrawing more than my savings. I might just take up the lovely lady's offer and open another bank account to deposit my savings in.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The model is wrong

A model is an abstraction of reality.

The model I am concerned about is the model that tells us that to succeed in life, to be happy or to live comfortably, all one requires is education, a good job and hard work. There have been people selling this model to me since I was little tot. My parents have been selling it to me as far as I could remember. I spent 20 years in school and all my teachers sold this model. Its sold on TV, in the movies, in books, in the bible everywhere basically. Do you remember,
'Someni vijana, muengeze pia bidii. Mwisho wa kusoma mtapata kazi mzuri sana' or 'Amkeni kumekucha ...' or 'He who does not work does not deserve to eat'

So it is only natural that I bought this model hook line and sinker. The model basically sells the idea of suffering and toiling now to earn future returns. As an avid believer of this model I spent my childhood worrrying about education, spent hours on end reading instead of enjoying my childhood. I went to one of those academies. In class 8 I used to be at school from 7 a.m to 6 p.m Monday to Friday, on Satos school ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday's from 2 - 4 p.m. The school was focused on books and not education. So I never did any sport, drama, music e.t.c I guess some of you now understand why I cant kick a ball straight, that is when I dont miss the whole damn ball and kanyaga one of my teammates instead.

But all the effort I put in paid of. I got to go to a good High school. Of course good as per the model is a school that has in the past produced reasonable KCSE grades. The only problem with the High school was that it was a boarding school. Honestly, how do God loving parents send their kids to these den of thieves, drug addicts, rapists, homo sexuals and claim that they are doing it for the good of their children. None of my kids will step into a boarding school. I started to drink when I was in High school, I discovered prostitutes because of High school, I even nearly did weed when I was in High school. The place was pathetic, it used to get so cold a guys hands would turn blue. They used to make me run a 12km cross country four days a week for three months. In High school I turned into a petty criminal, I learnt how to tell a lie while looking at a guy straight in the eye. The only thing that kept me sane was sport.
However, as a true believer of the model I got out with a fairly respectable grades that allowed be into public uni.

I have now been working for three years and reality has checked in. The bubble is busted and I can see the model for what it really is 'A lie a fat stinking lie'. I work hard like the rest of you guyz. I like what I do half the time but this does not compensate for the other half when I detest what I do and hate myself for doing it. The model promised that things will get better but instead I am headed down a long dark road that promises nothing but abject poverty and misery.

Sometime back when I was out of town one of my managers joined us in the hotel. The journey from Nairobi was pretty long so he had time to read the paper and think about things (which is very rare in his case). The first thing he said when I walked into his room was "You know I am fucked". He went forward to show me newspaper adverts of palatial homes in Runda, Lavi and Westi that were going for between 15 and 30M. He then shared how frustrated he was that it had just occured to him that if things went on the way they are he would never get near such a house.

I was taken a back. This guy should be a success story as per the model. If I work very hard for the next 5-10 years and lady luck shines my way I will be in this guys shoes. The guy is in his mid 30's owns a house worth around 3.5M which he paid for in cash monies - hataki mortagage ya mtu. He has been married for like 10 years so he does not waste money on crap like girl friends. He earns like 300K, now thats the kind of pay that a guy needs. Compared to most guys his age he is doing well. But as he indicated if our employer failed to pay him at the end of the month his kids would be out of school and his wife would have feed the family on ugali and skums. According to the model this guys should be at the top looking down on us mear mortals. But the guys is walking a serious tight rope and I am not even half way to being him according to the model.


Believers of the model will wake up early in the morning, go to work, spend the whole day doing lousy jobs for bosses they hate and earn peanuts at the end of the month. The will trudge along five days a week to only live in the weekend. I have sacrificed a lot and received very few benefits. The worst bit is that this is as good as things get. Things will only get worse from here. Since I live with my parents I can wake up tommorrow and refuse to go to work and the only impact on my life will be having to switch to Allsops or citizen as opposed to Tusker. But what will happen in 10 years when I have a wife and kids pulling me down?

What a guys should do is give up on the model. Spend your days doing anything you like or doing nothing at all. You will definately have nothing but how is that different from continuing to struggle under the curse of the model and still have nothing. There must be equity if you work you benefit. But since work as defined by the model has no benefits then you are better of doing nothing.

Au?

Raison d'etre

Sambolera mayi son.

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

The lyrics.

[This is a repost. For the curious]

Friday, March 10, 2006

What really matters?

For some time now, I've been in a rather sombre mood. Sad. Confused. Lost. Disillusioned. Depressed. Asking myself questions like what life's about and is it worth it. So what really matters? Money. Health. Career. Education. Relationships. What.

Salute. The Emperors have spoken.

If you are by any chance like me and work in a company that has pretensions of international affiliations, then in the ecletic mix of individuals you probably will have a boss (or bosses), usually very high up the ladder, who is/are white.

There are usually no problems if there is only one white boss. He or she, is usually bedevilled by "problems" of inter-galactic scale to be bothered with pedestrian concerns such as yours or mine.

Such problems usually include drawing a multi-million shilling salary, every month.

But things begin to quite unravel if there are some mini-white bosses. Now, don't get me wrong, a boss of any kind is extremely undesirable; But white bosses can be spectacular in their nastiness. Perhaps it stems from the superiority complex or the condescesion that they are encumbered with in regards to people of dark skin. Let me be straight. Black people.

We have quite a sprinkling of these extremely likeable fellows.

They appear, as if by magic, from the thin air. They come from far and wide. Hungary, France, Brazil, Britain, Germany. Usually, the main guy does rounds introducing the new honcho.

His or her role (when it is explained to you), is something that either you did not think your company is capable of doing, or it is something that someone else, already in the employ of the company, is capable of with his (or her) eyes closed and hands tied behind his back.

Over the next few days, the new guy produces an axe and proceeds to chop off a few heads; Those he can't chop off he bashes in. This benevolent exercise is wrapped in biz-speak as "streamlining operations". Bosses must be on a totally different plateau of "sense", mainly because the logic of firing people when there is too much work already entirely escapes me.
Or may be I am stupid.

From these colourful precedents, people have learnt caution, patience and endurance. The general wisdom is that you cannot possibly win against such guys.

For instance, if the guy without any reason decides to smack you very hard with a metal slide rule, you will not be a fool and run to complain to HR. Who has any way of knowing what relationships they have with the boss in the past years? You might run to complaints section about a certain white employee, say a lady, little did you know that she has done a bit of adventure fishing with the current boss in some obscure, godforsaken part of England.

Consequently, you will get unceremoniously booted out of the company.

On occasion, when running in cocktail parties (on company money), sending senseless junk mail, yawning and stretching does not produce palpable excitement, these distinguished ladies and gentlemen take a perverse pleasure in taking on whole departments. And of course winning, because if they did not win, they would not engage in despicable displays of pride, would they?

This they do by engaging scarce (and busy) resources/people in endeavours that have little merit in business sense, or are meant to enrich their personal experience where they work.

These "small" projects, are a mockery of people's intelligence.

To add insult to injury, these requests are either not registered, or done inappropriately at best.

These ideas are mooted at fancy tea parties held in honour of some lost cause, like racing donkeys across a dry patch of land.
We do not have the pleasure of being invited to these gatherings.

Consequently, footsoldiers, like myself, will have not the slightest idea that some bigwig would desire his or her Outlook program to do quite a number of fantastic things. Like for instance aggregate "business news" from the web. Or have reports streamed seamlessly into his/her PDA. The fact that the report has thousands of rows and cannot be rendered on a PDA because
it is too heavy or uses some exotic reporting engine, is of no consequence. All that matters is that the order is out.
EXECUTE ASAP!

Those who sit on lofty perches will think these are brilliant ideas. They make great business sense! What would be more sensible than the ability to view and analyze an operations report while sitting at home lazily on a Sunday afternoon?

Of course, project managers in a department, for instance IT, will immediately see that the assignment is non-critical. It is non-critical because there are other systems which if not developed, or maintained, the whole business will come to a crashing halt.

As a result, it will get a low ranking in the general order of things. Or not get a ranking at all.

The requestor, in his limited knowledge, will imagine an RSS/XML aggregator dll for Outlook for instance, written in say, COM or .Net is as easy as typing an email. After a mere four days from the conceptualization of the idea at the tea party, the said boss will start asking questions, sending mail in caps.

The managers in IT will start to panic. They will pick a programmer who has the best "drift" of the area of expertise required and promptly deposit the problem at his desk. Then it will be tagged "High Priority". A deadline that does not move will be set to expire approximately 3 days after the programmer is first alerted of the problem.

The programmer will pose one question:
Which of the systems I am currently developing/maintaining should I shelve so that I can pay attention to this?
The manager, invariably will have no answer to this question.
Can't you just slot in among your other duties?
At this suggestion the programmer laughs derisively.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the Manager will conceive a brilliant idea. That idea is to ask you to allocate equal time to all the systems at hand.

The deadline passes. A fresh flurry of mail begins.
Another meeting, informal, possibly held in a social gathering of white manager brethren and a few senior black judases who have licked sufficient a*s to merit invitation comes to pass without the knowledge of everybody else. At such meets, the idea of the general "inefficiency" of the IT department is discussed. All problems, known and unknown are laid at our doorstep. A list of things that should have been done is enumerated. The need to bring the place to heel is stressed. The main boss, I would imagine, nods his head pensively.

The boss, goes after our managers with a real fury. It is pointless to try arguing that there are procedures in place that are flouted with abandon by our dear cousins, leading to the mess.

Everyone scrams to cover their behind. New prompt deliveries are promised. The managers will walk down from such meetings breathing real fire. Consequent meetings follow. The general drift is:
This is direct from [name of boss]. It has to be over by [date] WITHOUT FAIL.
At this point the footsoldier tries to protest.
The answer he gets is very accomodating:
I DON'T CARE.

And that is how ladies and gentlemen, you find yourself working 16 hour days. 8 am to 11 pm.

Our other black bosses, are a miserable lot too. But they usually don't take drinks or play golf with the CEO. We are therefore quite able to run them through the mill.

How are yours?

This is not a race chant.

Have an anger-free weekend.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Let it rain

I have really fond memories of playing in the rain when I was a kid... and promptly getting admitted with pneumonia for my efforts. The met guys said that by the end of the week, the rains would be over. Whenever these guys open their mouths to say something, the exact opposite begins to happen the very next day. And so Friday was the mother of the rainy days of last week.

I like rain, and getting wet. Possibly the child in me. If it's also going to prevent rationing of elec [we already have water rationing where I live], and mbogas and things can grow, then I'm a happy guy. Thankful. Let it rain.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Irony

Irony is leaving a company where people's main concerns are pay and high staff turnover to join a company where people's main concerns are pay and high staff turnover. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be, Socrates.

I haven't worked with the woman who causes me nightmares for 3 weeks straight now. I couldn't ask for more, really.

The rains are here, I like the weather but the jam ! oh my ! aJamaa hopes to beat it my rising early, I wish I could borrow a leaf from him on exactly how he intends to accomplish that. I need those tips ASAP, these rains look like they gonna be around for quite sometime, especially now that those nincompoops have predicted that they will only last the week (they have a knack for getting it wrong each time someone in that department opens their mouth)

I have been appointed to a 'wedding committe' for a close friend's upcoming wedding. Poor dude, new tactics are being deviced by the second to condemn the bachelor species to extinction. I have no idea what my roles as a 'committe member' will be, I struggle to understand why he thought I would add any value to the process in the first place. I know zilch about weddings. The only wedding I ever attended was my mum's, yes, my mum's! I was four. She conveniently forgot to mention what I was doing in those pics of her wedding. Talk of putting the cart before the horse.

I hate fixed costs. I got my salo a couple of days ago. Not that it is any different from other months, but two thirds of it is already spent, largely on rent and repayment of loans. The vicious cycle at its 'bestest', you would say.

Technically, I don't have a girlfriend. We have been having a couple of fights and no amount of comprising would mend any fences, so I figure its safe to assume that there's only one way in which this relationship is headed. I haven't told her, but am not worried, for she has seen it coming and there is no way it's going to surprise her.

I strongly support the raid on the Standard media house, or how else am I assured that what I read on the papers is the truth?

I think Barca will proceed next week. I want the Arses to proceed too, soooo so badly.

Have a fun-filled friday, and whatever you do, remember to get yourself some. This bulletin sounds credible.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Without Him!!!!!!!!!

How are you guys and on my first day without Samborera staff have been even comfortable to tell me I’ve become silent. Anyway am admitting to them because some of them even if I have a problem I would not go to them. Then come some issue I had to resolve and when I test it I don’t have the problem incidentally they were having a problem. I returned them the issue and tell them to investigate further. At around for some manager somewhere send me mail telling me we need to resolved this issue with the person involved and adds ASAP. The person am suppose to resolve with was actually installing her PC and thus I wondered who did she expect me to discuss the issue with, to add on that she is sitting next to her so she can see she is setting up her machine. When I discovered it was a configuration issue they will not agree. I called the manager at my desk and told her to recreate but no where. I can start feeling what some pressure will always be on me. As I said they won’t disturb me and they should be able to discover some simple issues like this.

First day post

I promised dangerously_shy a first day post, so this is to fulfil that promise. I don't have a machine yet, and am squatting on another guy's so this will be brief.

I haven't seen the women yet. I'm being thrown right into the deep end. Things like xml-rpc, production C code, "this is R&D" and "finish by next week" describe my first work conversation. The gloves came off real quick. All of a sudden, I'm feeling very inadequate. I'd given myself 6 months [now possibly 9 considering the notice period is an incredible 3 months after confirmation] here. Now I'll be glad to survive probation. Anyway. I'll give this my best shot, and proceed with as much alacrity as I can muster.