When I started out freelancing - illustration freelancing - I had a mix of local and foreign customers. It would not be long before I decided to drop all local customers except one.
Local businesses, it seems to me, disregard freelancing work as non-serious work. One works at home at one's own time, I suppose, so why would we want take you seriously. If one was serious with work, then one should have studied to become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer... they probably figure.
The problem here is that whatever the case businesses need freelancers to work for them. But because of they regard freelance work, it would take many phone calls and many weeks to get paid after the job is done. The usual excuse would be because of company procedures and bureaucracy.
So many years have passed since I stopped taking local freelance commissions.
... I've been awake with only half an hour of sleep at only one instance, spending 24 of those hours straight in the office with quite a heavy workload on a two-day deadline while having to travel all over the city to help get the work done. I feel like there is a nest of bugs in my chest. My reaction time is slowed.
Just over an hour ago, I looked up in the night sky which had a thin cloud cover. This gave the full moon a diffused but bright yellow glow which bathed the countryside on my way back to the city from KLIA. Then, an aircraft which was a mere silhouette crossed the moon's disc. From the back seat, Irfan saw it too.
It was a unique and beautiful sight.
I'm exhausted. Good night everyone.
I have a few backlogged blog entries to make, and here is the sequence of events detailing why they were delayed:
1. Thursday January 22, 2009 - Allie's 6-month birthday. Lots of picture taking occurred.
2. Friday January 23, 2009 - my laptop screen dies in the mid-afternoon. Connecting it to an external monitor shows that the laptop itself is fine. I drive to Best Buy, stand in line forever, only to have the Geek Squad (f*ckers!!!) tell me that a) my laptop warranty ended November of 2008, and finally they come around to say that they don't fix laptop screens. Please call someone else. They suggest a company. (Don't even get me started on how angry I was that I drove all the way to Best Buy to have them give me this bullshit. What kind of Geek Squad doesn't fix laptop screens?) So I get back in the car, call Vin and he gets me the repair company's number. I call them, they are open until 6 PM Mondays to Fridays and they ask me to bring the laptop and power cord. Of course I had left the power cord at home since the last time I went to Best Buy they made me take the power cord home while they sent the laptop back to HP for repairs. So I drive all the way home, pick up the power cord, find out that Allie is refusing to drink milk from her bottle and is getting very cranky. Then I drive back the way I came (past the Best Buy - could have waved to the effing Geek Squad) and 12 miles further to the laptop repair place. I get there at 5:30 PM, drop off the laptop and power cord, and drive back. All this while I am worrying because even though I had defrosted milk for Allie to drink she had refused the bottle. But I did call for Indian carry-out and picked it up on the way home. I get home around 6:30 PM and Allie has refused the bottle all this while. And she is cranky and upset by this time, although Vin coped very well with her.
Last summer, Vin and I started going to the Cincinnati Opera where we enjoyed 3 wonderful operas last year. This summer, with great excitement, we subscribed to the entire season (Cincinnati Opera is a summer season, they produce 4 operas each summer).
We enjoyed Faust in mid-June, then had to miss Cosi Fan Tutte due to an unexpected death in the family. We gave our tickets to our friends who said they very much enjoyed the performance. The third opera this year was Nixon in China. We went to see it on Saturday night.
Now begins the rant. Better not continue reading if you object to profanities because I'm afraid I can't contain myself on this one.
Here's another rant I stored somewhere which I rediscovered.
Say you're waiting on the ground floor of a building. You need to get up to the tenth floor. When you arrive at the elevator doors, the cab is currently at the tenth floor. You hit the button and it starts to descend. Another guy waits with you by the lift. It stops at the 8th floor to pick up a passenger on the way down. Then it stops again at the 7th floor, where it remains there for more than 30 seconds. Then it descends and stops at the 5th, 4th and finally the 2nd floors.
The doors open and a bunch of folks come spilling out. One guy is carrying a large item of furniture, which probably held the lift at the 7th. Once the lift is clear, you and the other guy waiting board the lift cab. You hit the 10th floor. And the other guy squints, moves his finger with uncertainty deciding which button to press and finally hits the 1st floor button.
The 1st floor.
Where you can reach at least 90 - 240 seconds earlier by just climbing up one floor using the stairwell adjacent to the elevator lobby.
Many thanks to the more-than-just-a-couple-of-people who've wasted my time in such instances, and kudos for managing your time in such an efficient manner. Bravo! Author! Golf clap!
Lisa Simpson once claimed pessimistically in the episode HOMR, "As intelligence increases, happiness decreases", and made a graph about it.
Without going into the intelligence territory for super geniuses like Albert Einstein, Richard Feynmann and Querl Dox, it's apparent that every human possesses a certain amount of intelligence. As a human grows and develops, he or she learns more about the surrounding world, including things that is picked up in school and at work and media such as books and television. A human would learn, among other things, of science, history, geography, arts and literature, and of family, friendship and love.
I seriously did think back in the earlier years of the Eighties I could build a fully functional Incom T-65 X-Wing space superiority fighter given the proper parts and tool. I thought that it would be cool to pilot the ship to school. I even picked out a landing spot, right by the Standard Three classes behind the principal's office.
Needless to say, I never actually did build the fighter with my 10 year old hands.
However, within the last decade or so, everything I achieved personally has had the "if I put my will into it" stamp on it. I had believed that if I put work into it, I could create passable digital art - and it worked. I had believed if I put work into it with a little help from friends I could create websites using HTML and CSS - and again it worked. The same with happened with my wanting to set up a blog, and write, illustrate & put up children's book pdfs for sale (not that anyone's buying), and draw professionally for RPG books, and running a Linux OS at home, and going further back I remember picking up BASIC (totally useless skill now) on my own just by reading a book.
So it's time to set the bar again for me to achieve something I can't do right now. I believe at this point in time I can with the right knowledge, try to create something useful of note with a computer, for instance a programming code complex enough for, say, a computer operating system if I put my will into it.
Well maybe not an operating system - but if you see me posting that I've created something like a moon lander simulator, or a Tron light cycle game, you'll know I've gone over the bar... or gone bonkers.
So I arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Bangalore by way of Chennai (which I was told used to be called Madras, by the way) at around 1540 hours this morning. I was early enough to jama' qasar my Isha' with my Maghrib before Subuh began.
Tonight while putting him to bed, Ain & I came to the conclusion that Irfan (like most kids his age) are 2/7th (or 0.28571429) of the Seven Dwarves (as told by what is now known as the Disney Company).
Why? Cause he's both Grumpy and Sleepy at the same time when fighting his lethargy.
Babycenter's analysis of 2006's baby name trends was released some weeks back. Ain & I used to refer to Babycenter a lot while Irfan was happily gestating in his amniotic sac up to the time he started to walk.
The names are obviously American, but there are some issues that can be brought up by looking at the list. Not so much on the boys name though the rhyming names Aiden, Caden and Braden gives me the heebie-jeebies. No sign of Raiden though.
If you're a rich person (with more than a couple of grand in cash handy at the bank, able to invest in businesses, buy houses and yachts and other assorted rich guy items), which among these three categories of the financially wealthy do you belong to?
- Getting rich is a means to an end, which is to help as many people as possible.
- Getting rich is a means to an end, which would be an uncontrollable sociopathic urge to hurt and leech more from people around you.
- Getting rich is THE end itself and you'll do everything to get there, ensure your security to this end even if others around you get hurt.
As much as I'm extremely happy there's roof over our heads (and ten floors plus change beneath us), I am very much zonked out by the accumulating damages in our house for the sole reason that the building was 10 years old when we moved in. It's a great place to be, but we need to move out of here so we don't spend a bomb monthly on fuel costs and waste hours every day travelling to work, which is right across the city.
But before we can move out, we'll have to sell the place cause we can't really spend on rent on our income. (Not to mention transporting our stuff would also cost us some money.)
And before we can sell the place there are a few things on the wishlist that need to be addressed.
Do you know what's one of the best things about driving along the PLUS highway (or the North South Expressway in English) after you had a good meal, especially if you got bits of gristle and such uncomfortably stuck between your teeth?
You can use the Expressway's toll ticket as a very effective toothpick.
It's thin enough to get between your molars. It doesn't disintegrate easily by moisture (or saliva, if you will). It bends easily and can get into angles and corners that would put a Hound of Tindalos to shame. Plus after you wipe the edge of the toll ticket the crud disappears like magic.
It works much better than a regular namecard. OK, don't ask about the namecard.
Sure it's disgusting. But man, does it work like a charm.
Yesterday was my semester finals. There are a few good lessons I learnt this semester.
1. I procrastinate til the last moment before I really study, thus activating my panic button right around 6 hours before the exams begin.
2. I should start to study a month before exams.
3. I realize these are all lessons I've learnt before in previous semesters, and things always go apeshit at finals.
4. I accept it as status quo and go back to sleep until about a day before my next semester finals. Wheee!
It's just past 0500 hours. Right now, we're all heading for Kelantan for the weekend (and the couple of days before it); and Sila and Vin are headed for Puerto Rico soon.
Vaya con dios, alls y'all.
Last Tuesday, I finally saw X-Men The Last Stand. But I’m not going to do a full review on the movie itself. The following two paragraph will summarize what I thought about it.
Despite the misgivings of having Brett Ratner directing the third X-Men movie, and reports of behind the scene shenanigans that caused Bryan Singer to leave in the first place, I really enjoyed The Last Stand. Sure there were some plot holes and unbalanced screen time for characters, but they delivered what they promised: super-powered mutants beating the crap out of each other in creative ways onscreen. And I’m sure if the writers and director were given ample time without any studio politics involved, they would have given us something much more glorious than what we got.
In any case, I because of the amount of details in this movie: a totally spot on Beast with amazing acrobatic moves in combat; visually spectacular telekinesis an order of magnitude better than anything we've ever seen before; two Fastball Specials; Iceman icing up briefly; a great Juggernaught vs Shadowcat battle; Ian McKellen as Magneto; Multiple Man in action; even a glimpse of the Stepford Cuckoos in the background at the X-Mansion... I’ll say that the movie is at least on par with the previous two movies.
Now the spoilers begin.
You know what I like best about working with the technological resources we have now?
It's the interconnectivity and flexibility, as well as the sheer amount of things you can make at home or at the office where before you had to outsource to another company. E-mail, instant messaging, direct file transfers, VOIP... they're all indispensable tools for any type of work. With a notebook and a wireless connection, you have your files and all the knowledge in the world (well, not quite) at the tip of your hands.
Yesterday, I wasn't in the office. I was at home. But I was talking to at least 4 other people at work via Skype
and cellular phone on speaker mode. Out of the 5 people involved only two of us were in the same room. Even with telephones, I can't see this happening in a company with a small setup like ours if this was ten years ago.
Last month we were in a conference call with a person from Denmark via VOIP
for software application training.
And yeah, I'm pretty much aware of the fact that young punks who would this 10 years from now (if this site still exists) would be laughing at how crippled we are with our tools compared to what they would have in the future.
Unless they're all technologically reverted back to the stone age... by natural or unnatural means.
In which case we're all
pretty much screwed.
... minus the dog and the rice wine, this show is Irfan, Ain & I turned into a Japanese cartoon. Even down to Irfan pronouncing words wrong hilariously.
... why can't we all?
When I lived in Terengganu, at my first rented house, there was for a time a strange thing that occured daily. Each sunset for a long time (I can't remember how long; it might have been half a year or so) a chicken would fly up and perch atop the fence by the driveway. Then a couple of minutes later, a little frog painstakingly would climb up the chain link and settle down beside the chicken.. as can be seen in the old photograph which I took of them.
I tried to catch the frog making its way up the fence, but as far as I can remember I saw it actually climbing up only once. It was a stealthy fellow. Throughout the night they just sat there side by side. And by dawn they were gone.
They seemed like very good friends, and the world might learn a thing or two from these two animals.
Last Friday, I was all prepared and psyched up to head on down to Unitar for my first mid-term examination paper for this semester. It was LAN 0023 Islamic Studies. I double checked the Excel file they'd emailed on the 11th and confirmed that the time and place for the last time.
Left the house at 8.10 am to make the 9.00 am exam. Made it there with 15 minutes to spare because it was Nuzul al-Quran, Selangor had a public holiday and the streets weren't that filled with Kuala Lumpur's accursed traffic. Got a great place to park right in front of where the exam is to be held. Then I walked up to the exam timetable Excel printout they posted on the bulletin board.
I discovered to my horror there were no exams scheduled for last Friday. (Though it took about 5 minutes for the horror to set in, for some reason.)
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that ravaged the Gulf Coast of the United States.
It's like something out of an apocalypse movie. While the death toll will never reach the numbers achieved by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of Dec 26 2004, the tragedy on the human level is just the same. There are about 16,000 hurricane survivors waiting for relocation in the local stadium known as the Superdome in New Orleans. Some have already been transferred to the Astrodome in Houston, but in the meantime, babies and the elderly are dying and have died of dehydration. There's no where to defecate or urinate. The stench must be indescribable. There have been rapes among the refugees there. MSNBC photojournalist Tony Zumbado reports: "The sanitation was unbelievable. The stench in there... was unbelievable. Dead people around the walls of the convention center, laying in the middle of the street in their dying chairs. ... They were just covered up ... Babies, two babies dehydrated and died. I'm telling you, I couldn't take it."