October 2008 Archives

Pick a number and I'll listen

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I've been driving around with the same old CD's in my car for too long, so it's time to take them all out and pop in some new ones. However, since I tend to grab the same over and over again, I need your help in selecting some new music. It's not hard at all, just read along :

I've got about 250 CD's in the rack, and let's say I need 32 CD's to listen to in the car. Everyone who wants to play along can pick three numbers between 1 and 250, and I'll take the CD corresponding with your picks and let you know which one it is. However, to make things a bit more random and to prevent ending up with 6 Madonna albums, your numbers should be at least 30 positions apart from each other. Example? Ok!

1 - 72 - 240 would be a good range of picks.
62 - 81 - 100 would not be, since there is no real spread between them.

I don't know whether it'll be fun, but I'd be rediscovering my cd collection and you'd be discovering my rather broad and possibly strange choice in music :)

In the mix

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This post will probably touch upon a couple of different subjects, some related to one another, others will have no relation whatsoever. Here we go :

Language. Just as I was parking my car, a song on the radio had this line - "what kind of girl do you think I are" - in the lyrics and immediately I thought "crap, how can you sing or even write such a thing?". What happened to "I am"? Sure enough, language is a living matter and it evolves constantly, but even evolution has it's limits, wouldn't you say? Unless it has to rhyme with "bar", "car" or "Arrr, I'm a pirate" that sentence has no linguistic value at all if you ask me.

Mail. I've prepared a long mail which I'll be sending out later today after a good rest and a final review with probably a few touch up's here and there. I've also got some very short mails to send out, which I'll do as soon as I've finished my posting here.

The bubble bursts

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Here's an update about things that are clear so far, but much more currently remains unclear.

On Monday I had a talk with the representative of the customer I've been working at for the past 5 years. We went over the test I participated in last week, in order to see whom of 4 candidates would be best to fill a position at the customers company. If all of that sounds complicated, let's say that I work in an outsourcing type of job, which may help you get the situation. To make a long story short, he was quite happy and impressed with my test, but I also made some mistakes and was not as complete as I could have been. Two of the other candidates have been selected to make it to the final round, for which I congratulate them. Things change and evolve all the time and it was made clear that while I may have come in short this time, with the progress I've made so far, I will definitely be in the running should a similar position open up in the future.

Now... To make things slightly more complicated, the company I've been working for for the past 5 years, has lost the contract with our current customer, and starting January 1st 2009 another company will be providing the services on site. So for the next month or two, we will still be working on site, while we know we no longer will be doing so in 2009, at least not if we decide to stick with our current employer. I have little doubt that both my current employer as well as the one that has gotten the contract may be contacting me in order to see what I'll do.

For the time being, I'll refer to them as Company Current and Company Future. Company Current lost the contract, yet didn't officially fill us in till I was called around 16h00 today. Yet the customer had already handed over a letter to the colleagues and I yesterday around 13h30. In other words, a third party had to announce that a very important change was to affect us all, while my employer (Company Current) didn't even talk to me till 36 hours after the initial announcement. To say the least, I'm not all that pleased with their communicative skills, yet it doesn't surprise me either.

I have no clue what'll happen next, but I suppose it would be talking to both Company Current as well as Company Future to see what they have to offer and what guarantees they are willing to commit to. And no, I won't be considering verbal promises, I want things in writing.

To say the least, the situation is rather edgy and most people are running around like a chicken with its head chopped off, which really ticks me off. Example : when we started our day at 6AM this morning we had a few extra people to which we could assign tasks. By the time 9AM rolls around those are caught up doing tasks that were not planned, and by the time I get back at my desk around ten, we're one man down and I step into what seems a war zone with people discussing and generally being very agitated.

Whether or not they were right or wrong doesn't really matter. What was clear is that there was a lot of talking but very little work getting done, let alone it was up to par with the requirements in effect. Maybe I'm excellent at separating feelings and work, or have mastered the art of not giving a fuck anymore when some weird situation rolls around, but I really felt like I was the only one still trying to meet expectations and getting things done.

Tomorrow is yet another early shift, but I hope to have some time this weekend to sit down with everyone in the team to figure out what their intentions are or how they see things. I'll respect everyone's decision though, just as I expect others to respect mine when I take it (I have not, and won't till I've at least have talked with all parties).

Off to bed now, I'm more exhausted then I previously figured.

And now what?

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A lot of things are going on right now and I have not yet decided how I'll be dealing with them. An update may be forthcoming later today, though it would mostly provide background information as even I can't see into the future.

Shoot!

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Someone brought up an interesting topic in the comment section of this blog : semen donation and whether I ever considered it.

I've never considered it, but morally I think I'd have little to no problem with it. One could argue that making a baby with someone you don't know - in case of anonymous donation - could make you wonder later what ever came of the child, but I see it more like helping someone out. Anonymous donation sure wouldn't score as high as making the deposit personally - hey, sex is fun, what can I say? - but knowing you get to help someone would come close I suppose.

One thing that could possibly be something that holds me back would be a reversal of current legislation - right now donors and receivers are anonymous in Belgium - which could lead to donors being sued for child support and such, even if they never had anything to do with the child and its life besides the initial "donation".

If I agree to help someone out, I would like to be pretty damn sure that such a thing doesn't bite me in the ass later. If I wanted to have a child of my own to raise and support, I'd do so. Oops, doesn't that require a partner?

Those that know me IRL will probably not be surprised at all by my point of view, others may be shocked or don't understand how I would be willing to just give away a piece of me (or my DNA) to someone I don't know, to put a living creature into this world but at the same time denying it part of who conceived said child.

I'm a firm believer in choice, whether it is in life, or in death. If someone wants a baby but can't make one, there is nothing in my mind that would have me speak out against such a choice. If someone decides they no longer want to live, there is nothing in my mind that would make me speak out against such a wish.

8 pages, I tell you!

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While I don't know yet how I scored on yesterday's test, here's some background. Initially there were about ten to twelve candidates for the job as far as I know. Four of us made it to the actual test round where we were given 7 questions regarding various security topics and law and regulations. Not all that much you could assume, but it took me about three hours of constant writing to wrap up the answers to those.

I knew all the other candidates as we all work together on a (semi) daily basis, which I found quite relaxing. No surprises there as you know whom you'll be "competing" against though that definitely doesn't make it any easier.

I'll probably know somewhere next week whether I made it to the next round, if there is such a thing.

Go!

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This time the right 16th of the month rolls around and I'm ready to take a shot at a new future work-wise. The competition will be no laughing matter, yet on the other hand I bring quite some qualifications and potential to the field of honor myself. I'll keep you updated as things progress.

(Peeks around the corner)

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My activities so far include strolling the market, purchasing three brand new jeans, a shirt and belt and I was actually planning on going for a haircut as well - the little hair I have sometimes needs a trim - but it seems the hairdresser has decided to take the afternoon off. What is planned for the evening is a night out with the colleagues from work - it'll be a group of about 16 to18 people I think - and I think it'll be good fun.

First we'll head off to Ellenbee which is the restaurant where the Italian Stallion - a former colleague of ours - is currently working, and then we may be heading off to Feestpaleis somewhere in a far far away "town". Don't know yet whether I'll be arsed to join that last trip, yet on the other hand, why not.

As you can read, I've done some things already, will be doing some more later, but the one thing I haven't done yet is sleep, so I'll head off for a quick 3 hour nap now before I head out.

Geek at heart?

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I just got home from my first night at work after being home for over two weeks, and it's as if I've never been away, lol. There were only 74 mails to read, reply, save or delete and I managed to bring that back to 38 already. The rest of it will be handled tonight.

While I would be playing some world of warcraft under normal circumstances, I can't as it's Wednesday and patch day, meaning the servers are offline till at least 11AM. Instead I've verified the connection to this blog - it was briefly unavailable yesterday evening due to a network cabinet switch that FUBAR'd - and whilst having a quick bite I'm reading a study titled "As the Net Churns: Fast-Flux Botnet Observations", which you can find here, should you be interested : http://honeyblog.org/junkyard/paper/fastflux-malware08.pdf. Once I've finished those 9 pages, I'm off to bed. See you all later.

A wasted morning

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I'd like to start off by clearly stating that I think the right to strike is a necessity, and not a privilege. With that out of the way, let's take a look at today's national strike in Belgium which is organized to put pressure onto employers and politicians to make sure the wages an average Joe and Jane make keep up with the ever increasing cost of living.

I left home at 6h45 and was back home at 09h00. I was planned to have a training session today, which fell through due to strikers denying access to the plant where I work. A quick calculation tells me that 2h and 15 minutes of travel would cost about 31 euro based on the average hourly rate I get paid. Then there is the cost of the trip itself which is - based on official rates - good for another 12 euro. Total cost : 43 euro.

We're not even taking into calculation the resources and trainers allocated for the training that fell through, not forgetting it will need to be rescheduled. As far as I can see, my net purchasing power has taken a dip due to the strike, opposed to being safeguarded.

If you think I have missed something essential here, feel free to let me know :)

For Pony!

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The number of posts on this blog have been dwindling lately and though it seems that I no longer touch some of the more serious topics here, this doesn't mean that I no longer care or don't have an opinion about them. Let's take for instance the debate and commotion about the financial crisis, not only in the USA, but also in Europe.

While it may seem that it all started with the sub-prime bubble bursting in the US, I'm convinced that if you believe that, you are missing the whole underlying issue. Most - I'm no financial expert - European banks have not issued sub-prime mortgages, yet they did invest in institutions that did. Take away a certain amount of support beams from a building and it loses integrity and collapses. If you build your house on quicksand, should you be surprised that even after years of relative stability, suddenly cracks appear and minutes later the whole place tears apart?

What we see right now is not the result of the sub-prime market collapsing, but rather symptoms of a fundamentally flawed way of doing business. It's always about "more for less", extending credits for which there is no security, consumerism and meeting expectations.

The past week(s), both in the USA as well as in the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg) politics and central banks alike have been fabricating over the top plans to "save failing banks". Last time I checked, banks were companies that worked to earn cash, they are commercial entities. If you are willing to take risks, you should not come knocking on the door when things go wrong, but refuse interaction or sharing when you rake in the big bucks. You can't have all the benefits, but none of the potential risks.

Now, let it be clear that while I would most definitely support seeing one of the current players in this crisis fail, it would also have a serious impact on people that "assumed" their money was safe. If I deposit money into a bank - yes, I do that too - I get a return on it. That return is the payment for letting the bank use my resources to generate more for themselves, however, that also means that I carry at least a part of the risk involved of doing business. If there is no risk, there is no reward.

I guess that what I'm trying to say here is that even John Doe should think twice before accepting an offer, before signing up for yet another credit, or at least try to know what exactly he is investing in. If we all took a bit more responsibility for our actions and choices, there would be less need to clean up the mess later.

Finished

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This is a follow up on the Frostsaber Mount post earlier. Let it be known for all humankind that on October 1st 2008 at 2:32AM I turned in my final two quests (giants and ursa/shammy) and reached exalted reputation with the Frostsaber Trainers. I got my mount and even though it has taken me over a week of constant (boring) grinding, killing the same mobs over and over again, it was worth every drop of sweat, every ache and sigh.

I've slain a couple of hundred bears, chimera's, ursa's and shamans, not to mention loads of hard hitting giants. I went from level 61 to 62 just doing this, and this morning I pushed to 63 even (yeah, I was that close). I'll post a picture of me on the new frostsaber mount as soon as I can (done).

Image, taken near Cenarion Hold in Silithus

Now, if I had done this with the hunter (skinning/leatherworking) I would have made a ton of cash while doing it. No, I won't be doing it again - once is enough :)

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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