Monday, September 25, 2006

Wherein I move

Moved to Wordpress.


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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wherein I give notice of termination of service

... but not of my job.

I'm considering switching over to Wordpress.

Just because I love building my own things.

So be prepared to update your links some day.


Blogger Cervantes de Leonard said...

Happy Birthday! In advance! cos I don't know the exact day!  

1:27 AM

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Wherein I realize my limitations as a salesperson

The office was empty today, with my colleagues on leave or out for appointments and programmes (we do events). Thinking it would be an easy day, I slept really late last night (having bought a new computer that can support Oblivion) and came into work sleepy and looking forward to a day of stress-free tasks, like designing some much-backlogged brochures and sending out mass feedback emails to clients instead of tending to one of the million niggling little IT problems that my colleagues keep digging up in their efforts to justify my salary.

It turns out that being the only one in office also meant fielding all the calls. And people called at the weirdest times in the morning, such as before I had the time to grab a morning coffee, which grew more important with every call - from cheap, simple luxury to I-GOTTA-SUCK IT-JUST-ONE-MORE-TIME-BEFORE-I-DIE. Without my daily caffeine and with calls flooding the office's three phone lines, I soon began to feel like a capsized sailor in the middle of a large, shark-infested, customer-service ocean, with only post-its and pens for floatation.

I exhausted an entire post-it pad today, taking messages for my colleagues and sticking them onto their keyboards. Some of them will have rather sticky keyboards when they get back.

It's probably not a good idea to let someone who uses metaphors comparing potential customers and clients as sharks answer the phone.

As those near and dear to me know, I have a naturally sarcastic voice. I can't help sounding nasty. Even when trying my best to be nice it always comes out dripping with venom. My sincere "Oh, that's nice" and "I'm so sorry" tend to draw looks of suspicion more than tenderness, and I even surprise myself with how scathing I sound sometimes.

This is not a good thing when speaking to customers on the phone.

One lady called up in an effort to find out if she'd faxed over a letter - she'd been so busy that she had completely forgotten if she'd done it. My intended sympathetic remark of "Oh yes, you must be sooooo busy, huh" practically dripped ice and was met with a hushed silence.

The woman told me not to bother checking - she'd just fax the letter over again.

Another called, asking after a colleague of mine who was at that point somewhere in the Phillipines on a diving trip. Upon discovering the fact, she gushed out "Oh, so wonderful, get to go to the Phillipines!" to which I replied "Oh yes (sniff), everyone's having fun now except us", intimating, of course, that I was not having any fun talking to her (to be entirely fair to myself, I really wasn't having any fun). I slapped my hand to my forehead as I said it, because I'd said it in a tone of voice I normally reserve for making fun of people who tell unfunny jokes, and this poor lady had not deserved it at all, having not tried to tell any unfunny jokes and simply trying to find some companionship in this cold hard corporate world.

She curtly told me she would call back next week and hanged up.

I tried my best to improve over the course of the day, doing my best to imitate the bright cheery voices of the girls in the sales team. I tried answering the phone with a loud and hearty "GOOD MORNING! THIS IS XXXXX CO, HOW MAY I HELP YOOOOOUUUUU???" which ended up scaring some people who had the wrong number (or so they said). I tried telling amusing anecdotes and gossip, spiced with a little laughter to try to elicit familiarity, but my naturally shrill and maniacal cries of mirth disturbed the one girl I tried it on so much she asked me if I was alright. I tried smiling as I talked, so that the natural good humour induced by the physiological effect of smiling would effuse my speech, but the effort of clenching the muscles in my face just made me lose concentration and made me unable to catch a single thing people told me (although I did give very warm and happy-sounding "I'm sorries? Could you say that again?").

I just couldn't win. A phone is a weapon of rather small annoyance in my hands - let unfortunate customers beware that days I man the lines!

Possibly the only thing that saved me the whole of today was my nervous accent. You see, I tend to speak with a strange accent that grows stronger the more nervous or out-of-place I feel. Towards the end of today, I was pretty sure I sounded like a cross between Elmo and Count Dracula. This gave me the advantage of making it almost impossible for the people I was speaking to to make out what I was saying, which I could tell from the amount of nervous laghter I kept hearing over the line as my voice gyrated wildly within the confines of its vocal range in an effort to squeeze as much sarcasm as possible out of my second-most-vile (but it's a close match) orifice.

It didn't help that now we have kittens in the office (the why is another story). Usually, there are enough girls with enough spare time ("yes, they are soooooo free) around to hug and play with the little bundles of cuteness, but today there was only me, and I was busy flailing with the lines.

The kittens mewled all day. All fucking day. I think at least some opf the people I talked to over the phone must have thought that a psychotic, maniacally-laughing madman had broken into the office and was answering calls whilst suffocating kittens.

If the sales team girls start to giggle and point at me next week when they come back (instead of ignoring me until their computers instruct them to CONTACT THE SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR), I will know why.

In other news - I got a new computer, a decent graphics card, Oblivion and The Movies. Don't expect many posts in the coming weeks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow ! New com. Wads the specs and price ? =P  

8:18 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahhaha..alex..u shld learn frm me..pick up the phone with enthusasiam dear..hahaha...


12:14 AM
Anonymous Seet said...

Ah hah! The gamer's spirit has awoken in you again. You will again fall into its wilful behaviours for the next few weeks. Submitting to the hunger!!! muahaha  

12:01 PM

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Wherein my computer breaks down again

Windows XP SP2 does not agree with my drivers. I finally tried to update just so I could download .Net 2.0 and VS2005 Web Express Edition but my plan backfired in the worst way possible.

Ok, to be entirely honest it might have had something to do with needing (or at least wanting very badly) DirectX 9.0b.

But this time I was able to respond and get my data back! Knoppix with Samba, a switch, my brother's computer and my 80GB portable hard disk ensured I kept EVERYTHING, down to the porn involving fluffy little animals.

I had originally intended to gparted my way to a second partition where I could install a recovery version of Windows and read off the original as a backup, but damned bad sectors stopped me. Linux Live CDs being strangely more available than a bootdisk with chkdsk, I went for Knoppix.

I had originally intended to up my stuff into my MP3 player, but realized that 512MB didn't even allow me to store my email folders. That would have been pretty l33t, though, data recovery using a Creative Nomad.

Sorry about the gratituous self-congratualtion. I am very happy.

Oh, and for those of you who want to know what Linux looks like you can always download Knoppix. Give you a feel of Linux without having to install anything. It works as a Live CD, meaning you boot your computer from it and get a fully-operational (albeit not very optimal) web, print and ftp server, along with KDE and pretty good hardware detection.



Anonymous Gary said...

try the Ubuntu Linux LiveCD if you have the time... It's pretty damn good too!

Almost everything works out of the box. Everything except media playback. It doesn't come with mp3 / mp4 / aac codecs due to legal reasons, but you can always download those. (because they are licensed for individual use, not mass distribution)  

3:31 PM

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Do the french write scripts?

My claim to cinematic expertise comes from the one Film module I did back in university, but I do watch quite a lot of movies, which I believe counts for at least something.

And I'm pretty sure I can recognize a French film when I see one (even without the benefit of the large noses).

The question I'd like to ask is - do French films use scripts? And if they do, who writes them? How? My idea of a French screenplay looks something like this (translated, for the benefit of my non-French readership):

(Scene 1)

Matthieu: (whispers, haltingly) Go.

(Camera lingers lovingly on Marie's face for one minute. Switch to Matthieu, who has on face expression of tremendous pain mixed with longing. Switch to Marie, who has single tear fall from cheek. Switch to stock footage of 2 seagulls flying along a beach set against fading sunset. Switch to Marie, who sobs and runs from the door in anguish. Switch to Matthieu, who looks blankly at the empty doorway for five minutes, while violin-music plays. Switch to seagulls, who continue to fly. Switch to Marie, driving along a highway, tears running down cheeks. Switch to Matthieu, in exact same position as he was in previously, but now staring at the ring on his right hand with an empty smile filled with pain and sadness, yet twinged with melancholic happiness. Switch to seagulls. Switch to Marie, sitting on the beach, looking at seagulls and sea-things, the sea breeze blowing through her hair. On her face is an expression of sadness mixed with the happiness of freedom from a tragic relationship. Switch to Matthieu, who slowly crumples onto his bed, crying softly in anguish and pain. Switch to seagulls, who fly for a bit longer but finally land. Switch to flashback of Matthieu and Marie laughing whilst running along a beach. Fade to next scene.)

(Scene 2)

(Matthieu stands on the platform of a train station. Matthieu looks around nervously. Five minute scene of Mathhieu waiting for train, cut rapidly for cinematic effect. Five more minutes of frenetic editting featuring Matthieu boarding train and getting onto his seat. Matthieu looks around at his fellow passengers. Matthieu gets out of his seat. Cut to Matthieu standing outside the dessert counter buying a bottle of mineral water. Camera lingers on Matthieu's funger, where we see the ring from previous scene. Matthieu takes inordinately long amount of time to put money back into pocket so that ring and significance of said ring can be communicated to audience through its repeated appearance. Cut to Matthieu back in his cabin, where a Strange Woman has taken his seat. Cut to Matthieu standing over Strange Woman.)

Matthieu: (whispers, haltingly) Pardon, but...

Strange Woman: (looks up at Matthieu, surprised) Oh, I'm sorry... I thought no one was sitting here

(Strange Woman gets up and leaves, flustered. Camera stays fixed focused on scene whilst she leaves and Matthieu avoids all eye-contact. We will never get to see Strange Woman ever again in this movie, despite all the screen time that she got. Matthieu gets back into his seat slowly. Cut to scene of Matthieu sitting, staring blankly out of his window into beautiful French country-side view. Cut to French country-side view. Emphasize Matthieu's fragile internal state of mind with images of golden fields of grass softly waving in the wind. Cut to scene of Matthieu sleeping in his seat, as people walk about him to get off train. Cut to scene of Matthieu alone in cabin, still sleeping as everyone else has gotten off without him. Emphasize how alone Matthieu feels now with long, drawn-out images of emptiness of train cabin, with sweeping scenes of empty seats, abandoned sweet wrappers and the closed cabin doors. Cut to next scene.)

(Continue said along similar lines, until requisite dramatic scene arrives, during which there will be five minutes of excited, nauseau-inducing-camera-movement followed by an endingthat makes no sense and ending credits set to funky French music, in which Strange Woman will be tragically billed as Woman Who Takes Seat on Train, though it was perfectly reasonable for her to assume that the seat was empty given that Matthieu took half-an-hour to buy a bottle of water.)

And it's not that all French films are like that, but the vast majority of them tend to be, even the supposed-comedies. And it's not that I don't like French film - in fact I adore them when I'm in the right mood, but sometimes you just want to have a bit of a laugh and see something on screen without having to feel painfully conscious of Film Art and having to remember everything you learnt about mise en scene.

I have the sneaking suspicion that French scriptwriters are all trained in design rather than literature. Either that or French literary narrative differs very much from English, with Jane Austen plots set to Dickens prose. Will let you guys know once I can read anything in French.

At the moment I'm struggling to get past Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (Les Adventures des Orphelins Baudelaire in French), which is sadly not very French at all. Nor easy.


Anonymous Seet said...

Good gracious, that film seemed so boring according to you that I could barely go through half of what you were sprouting. Unless of course u were expecting us to just agree with you without scrutinizing your point. Which is highly unprofessional by your standards. And I doubt even nick could go through that stack.

Lend us the movie... We have a high trashhold for punishment.  

4:04 PM
Blogger fuzzybunn said...

Ummm... There IS no film like that. I made it up. What' I'm trying to say is that yes, most French films seem to consist of a lot of character-study and audience self-consciousness, something that seems to warrant a rather strange kind of script that Singaporean writers might find difficult to write for.

In any case considering you couldn't even get through two scenes of a mock transcript, I don't think French cinema will appeal to you much.  

12:53 AM
Anonymous Seet said...

Hey, kiss my ass!  

2:05 PM
Anonymous Nick said...

To be honest, I think the movie will be slightly more watchable than your script is readable...moreso if the female lead is naked  

2:11 PM
Blogger fuzzybunn said...

Ooops. Did I forget to include plenty of gratituous nakedness? That also comes standard with French movies, I think.  

11:57 AM

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