Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reason #712 Why I hate dealing with Dimwits

After my last clustered failover occurred, I lodged a case to the support engineers in the US, in hopes to determine what might have caused the system to panic.

After a week of not hearing anything from the support engineer I was working with (he had promised to call me back), I saw this logged into the case notes this morning:

(S) I tried reaching you at 612 9*** ****, the listed number above, is there an alternate number to reach you that number rang busy

I really wanted to put an update into the case notes which says something along these lines:

+612 9*** **** is the correct number, and the reason why it rang busy ... is BECAUSE I'M FOOKING ON THE FOOKING PHONE.

Alternatively you can contact me on my mobile (+6141********), but I may not be able to pick up the call if I am busy on another line. If that is indeed the case, please try calling again later.... fooking dimwit !!!!!

I was tempted, but I didn't. Instead I kept it simple: "If number is busy, pls try again later."

Today is a busy day. Busy days are not good days to be dealing with @#$! Dimwits .. grrrrrr.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Whats for Dinner ?

I hate having to think about what to have for dinner.

Most of the time, when Pete askes me what I want for dinner, my usual reply (unless I am craving for something) is.. "I don't know.. what do you want?"... He goes through his list of food choices - to which I ban everyone of them (Dominos and/or KFC is not a type of cuisine). Then he complains that if I wasn't going to go for anything he suggests then I shouldn't ask for his opinion. We ignore each other for a while.. until either one of us starts to starve. Which by this time of the night, the only thing available is McDonalds, KFC or Dominos.

Recently we've come to some kind of compromise. He can't suggest any one of the 'top 5' fast foods (ie. McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Hungry Jacks and Dominos), and has to answer with something I can actually cook (Which means.. No Singaporean Chilli Crab), and with ingredients that are available downstairs (more on that later).

Then I'll go and cook it.

I thought this was fair, so long I didn't have to do the thinking, and he wasn't allowed to complain.. even if it tasted like shit water.

Oh.. and Indo Mee.

Indo Mee seems to be our best seller so far, we managed to finish a whole box within 2 weeks. During our grocery shopping downstairs yesterday afternoon, (to pickup yet another box of Indo Mee), I asked the dinner question again.

Tomato Soup was the reply.

Real tomato soup ?! (I asked as I eyed the can soup section on my left)

Yeah.. why not ? Do you think they have all the ingredients here?

My last attempt when I tried making tomato soup was with canned tomatoes and water with some chicken stock powder.... The Campbells Canned Soup version tasted better.

Ingredients that are available downstairs. Ever since the Asian grocery store opened downstairs we haven't stepped foot into a supermarket. Neither one of us is willing to drive to a supermarket, which means that what we eat at home has been limited to what the Asian grocery store sells. A lot of canned food, preserved\dried food, bread, bacon, instant noodles, eggs, Asian veggies but no fresh meat.

So after a bit, I managed to find some chinese-brand canned chicken stock. I also got some carrots, celery and lots of tomatoes.

I googled a recipe for tomato soup after my last failed attempt and remembered that was roughly what I needed. Well, everything except the basil. I figured I could just use the dried spicies at home anyway. The grocery store didn't have any vine-ripen tomatoes either. Actually the only ones that were available was borderline greenish-looking.

Nevertheless, the result wasn't all bad. It looked kind of more orangey colour than red. Pete did eye it suspiously when he saw the final product. But after the first spoon, he declared it was 'nice' and alot better than canned soup and went on to gobble the whole thing down with bread. I admit it was a bit better than canned soup, but something was missing. Quite possibly, the absence of basil and vine-ripen tomatoes. I'm going to try and get my hands on some later this week, and if it tastes good, I'll post the recipe up.

Until then I still have 2/3 of a pot of tomato soup to polish off.

Other than bread.. does anyone know what goes good with tomato soup or if I can use it for something else ?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Away from home

Yesterday while doing some late night shopping alone, I realised I had been away from home for 5 years and 1 month. The 5 year mark had lapsed, and I didn't even realise it on that day.

I'm actually not sure if I had accomplished my 5 year goals -- the ones I had originally made before I jetted off to Singapore.

The original list is in my old Filofax diary (does anyone still use Filofax??) back home in Perth. But I can still recall some of the major goals\milestones I had listed.

  • Not Married and definitely not have kids. Yes. Believe it or not, this was first on my list. I think it might had be contributed by my grandma constantly praying in my ear that she will not accept any great-grandchildren out of wedlock. But marriage was a big thing to me. Looking at my parents, (don't get me wrong, I think they did a great job).. but there was never time. I don't recall having a proper sit-down dinner with both of them at the proper dinner time. (11pm at night is not proper dinner time).. and unless they sell their business, I doubt I ever will. I always had in my mind that if I wanted a family, then I would need to give up my career. Or atleast until the kids grow up. And so whatever I would want to accomplish in my career will need to be done before kids. I know alot of women who read this will disagree with me, and argue that as females we can have it all. And I do agree with that, some women can, but it wasn't what I wanted. And anyways, these were my long-term milestone plans I made before I left home and went overseas to work. Now, I'm not so sure I can let go of my career, probably because what I want to accomplish seems to have scope creep. I'm not really 100% sure what I want yet.. and doubt I will ever be.

  • To be a Database Administrator (preferably Oracle). I know this line will make some people laugh. I'm still in IT, but I kind of did a 90° turn and went down the Systems Administrator\Engineering way. Looking back now, I think I have touched nearly every side of IT, but DBA. In working order...Delphi Programmer, Networks Operator, IIS Webserver Admin, System Admin and now Systems Eng. I have worked with Oracle DBAs and I thoroughly enjoyed working with them, but somehow never ended up going down the DBA track.

  • To be working in UK\London by the end of my 5 yr working\travelling trip. I'm not sure where this milestone has gone to either. After Singapore and Melbourne, I was supposed to leave Sydney after I finished the 1st job here. But one job followed another and I was never more than 1 week without a job. So I guess thats why I am still here. Oh.. and all those stupid relationships.. thats what has kept me grounded in Sydney. I still want to go to London. Somehow I think I will always feel like I've missed something in my life if I don't go. End of the year or early next is what I am planning for right now. :)

Thats the 3 major ones I can recall from my list. The other ones I think I had down were rather stupid. I think I had down after each year what I wanted my salary to be. In the beginning, my career path was somewhat driven by money. I can say it isn't now... And hasn't been for a long while. While salary is still one of the determining factors when I move jobs (can you say No to a 30k payrise??), I'm happy to say it is no longer the most important one.

Looking back now, lots of things has changed since leaving home. Not only my milestones in life, but the daily things. Eat, drink, sleep etc. I probably have more instant noodles in a month now, than I would have in a whole year back home. But more interestingly my sleeping pattern is alot more normal. Past 1am now, and I'll probably just pass out on the couch. Before at 11pm I will still be calling people to go out to drink or have coffee with me. Or maybe just another sign I'm getting old ?!

While I was shopping last night, I realised the things I would buy had also changed. I had picked up this intricate top, silk and some beads sewn in it....I instinctly searched for the wash\care label, and confirmed the answer to my question... Hand Wash Only. I put it back down. I ended up getting something for the Kitchen instead. *sigh

I'm going to make another milestone list this weekend for my next 5 years. Although I'm still not sure which side I'm swinging towards in regards to the whole 'marriage and kids scenario in the next 5 yrs' thing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

For On-Jai

On Jai... Something for you to drool on until the end of this week. :)

This dish is actually pretty hard to find in Sydney (especially the good ones). We actually found this at a sandwich bar in Ashfield. Funny thing is that we sat there the whole morning and everyone who came in was ordering the above dish (which they make once every fortnight), and not one sandwich was sold.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Email Stuff-Ups #1023

After sending an email outlining the implementation plans to another department's manager, I got a reply back with only one word.


And my reply......

"Thank you, Mr Burns."


And No... (in case you are wondering), his surname is not 'Burns'.

I think I've watched too many episodes of The Simpsons... And why do my fingers type faster than my brain works !?!? D'oh!

Monday, April 02, 2007

FitnessFirst Cancellation Hell

Yep. FitnessFirst cancellation HELL. And judging from the information I found on some forums, I am not the first and unfortunately would not be the last one either.

My Gym membership is paid monthly. Every month on the first, a direct debit from FitnessFirst would be taken from my credit card account. Having finally made up my mind to quit my gym membership, I went to the nearest FitnessFirst during lunchtime to get the required cancellation papers. I knew I had to give 4 weeks notice and therefore, an extra month will be debitted after first notice of cancellation. So I wanted to get this cancellation notice in as soon as possible.

A request to cancel has to be submitted in writing. And as I soon found out, it must be submitted using one of their Forms.

A form which you will be required to fill in during your 'Appointment' with a Customer Care Manager.

Now here is the suss part. The Customer Care Manager will call you to make an appointment. When I asked them when would they call, I was told usually between 24-48 hours. (No definite timeframe). I was also told that the appointment would be made on a later date.

I told them due to work commitments, I wouldn't be able to make it to any appointment. I am being 100% truthful here. I'm practically 1/2 a field engineer. I have to go onsite to replace parts or solve issues whenever the need arises. I can't even make it to most of my project manager's meetings !! And I'm supposed to make time for some appointment with my Gym's Customer Care Manager to process a cancellation !??

Isn't the whole point of a cancellation supposed to mean that I don't want to go there anymore ??!

I was then told to call the 1300 number for FitnessFirst, the guy at the counter told me that I can speak to the Cancellations call center and they will be able to process it there.

So I went back to the office, and tried out their 1300 number. According to the 3 different people I talked at ranging from the Facility at Pennant Hills to Rockdale, it turns out there is no such thing. Surprise Surprise. Dammit ... I knew he was just trying to get rid of me.

Oh, I did find out one thing though. They had spelt my Surname wrong. And also my street name. Making it a painstaking process to locate me.

The only thing the people at the Facilities could do (that was all I got put through to from their 1300 number), was to put a 'note' \ 'comment' that I called, and that a Customer Care Manager(CCM) would need to call me back regarding my cancellation.

I called one of my friends who had recently quit his Gym membership and asked if he had to go through the same process. He told me Yes. And that the 'notice to cancel' was taken from when the form was submitted. WTF ???

Apparently for him, it was 1 week before he could make an appointment to see the CCM, and 3 weeks before the process was complete. And he was originally under the impression it would be from when he was called to tell them that he wanted to cancel and not when the 'Appointment' with the CCM was conducted. Unfortunately by the time the whole process was completed, he had to pay another month's membership because it had already rolled over to the next month.

He told me to write a letter and hand it in to them, outlining that I wanted to terminate my membership and details what I have done to try get them to process my cancellation. And so I did. Not sure if it would do the trick, but as he said, atleast I've got some kind of writen correspondence. (Even if it is only on my side).

Trying to get one of their people to email me something to confirm that I've requested to cancel my membership was like trying to squeeze blood out of a brick.

It would only be my blood. And it just wasn't going to happen.

One of the people I talked to wouldn't even give me her last name. And was blatantly rude. So much for customer service.

Here are some links to some of the forums I found: