A Personal & Professional Milestone For Me

I’ve finally got it. The grade hike that I felt was pending for the past 10 months. The pay hike should be shortly along. It’s finally paying off. I’ve been promoted to the grade of Assistant Manager and will take care of training (as I have been doing for the past 10 month).

I got promoted to the post of Training team lead 10 months back. They added an AM to take care of both Quality & Training for the Cochin branch of the BPO I work for. He was supposed to work in the post of manager for both the departments, while I took care of training & my counterpart took care of quality.  Basically the two of us were doing Assistant Manager work but our grade & pay did not show it. And I was pretty much managing training on my own except for high level escalations which I would ask the acting manager to take care off.

Now, it’s changed. I will soon be heading training on my own. There will be a remote manager in another state who I will be reporting to on an occasional basis and probably send out monthly reports to. And ofcourse there is the DGM of training. Plus our center head. There’s negligible change in the job that I will be doing. I just hope the pay is much better. I will find out on the 31st as to just how much they are ‘blessing’ me with.

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And yeah, I get the green tag on my company id card (lanyard) which identifies my grade as that of AM and above (uptil DGM).

 

Free Files & Images Hosting With MediaFire

With the impending demise of Geocities, I was on the look out for an alternative source of storing files (mostly images) online, mainly for linking to my blog. I didn’t want to drain the storage space that I have on my blog server. There still had to be a few sites that offered file storage for free!

Turns out that there might be quite a few of them actually. For my purposes, MediaFire seems to do the job just fine. MediaFire is a free file and image hosting web site that started in 2006 and is located in Harris County, Texas, USA. The free service offers all members

  • Unlimited storage
  • Upload limit of upto 100mb per file
  • No limitation on bandwith
  • Image gallaries
  • No software download needed to upload/download files
  • Unlimited downloads

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The interface is very simple to use. Logging in no hassle at all. Uploading multiple files at a time is easy as pie (I uploaded 50 files at a time). It’s quick, it’s efficient, it’s everything that I wanted.

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I’ve copied all my files from my two Geocities accounts and uploaded them to MediaFire. Now I have to go back and check which posts require which image file and then changes the paths to link to Mediafire. That will take time and energy. Too bad, it can’t be a job as easy as uploading files to MediaFire.

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Healthy In Paranoid Times – Our Lady Peace

Released in 2005, Healthy In Paranoid Times is the 6th studio album put out by post-rock Canadian band Our Lady Peace. As A huge fan (since 2001) of the Toronto based quartet, I was eager to get a copy of this but was unsuccessful until I was able to download it.

Let’s start, shall we? Angels/Losing/Sleep is the first track, second single and the song that has had most success in the US for the band. Lyrically, the song is about watching someone close to you having to go through the process of losing their faith. In this case, it could be religion (looks like the holy ghost is gone). Will The Future Blame Us, a loud and proud arena rocker that is tinged with enough social awareness as to not to make the song not seem cliché. Picture seems to be about documenting & capturing the things across the world on the protagonist’s travels. The ballady track uses photos as fractured bits of memory of personal & worldly strife. Catchy lead off single Where Are You is next, with its wonderfully ambigious lyrics, like Is it different now? Or did Jesus get it right? Or is the devil behind the light?

Wipe That Smile Of Your Face, which creates a wonderfully intense vibe with Maida’s political rant refreshingly to the point. The song is about, as Maida says in the live dvd, “being proud to be Canadian and hating the things that George W Bush has brought to the world”. Love And Trust and Boy are stark expressions of the hopelessness OLP feels as they seek a solution to the problems of the world. The former is driven by a pounding rhythm section and takes the form of a son speaking to his parents. The latter is about the inner voice telling us what to do and guiding us. Our conscience so to speak.
Apology, with it’s atmospheric instrumentals, is a gentle midnight breeze. I even think that the song should have been just an instrumental. World On A String is so-not like OLP musically. It seems to be influenced by Brit-pop of the 90s.  Don’t Stop is a desperate love song, in which the singer says that he is willing to show his devotion by giving up his life for his love. Circles should have been a single (if it was, I don’t think it was promoted much), it’s probably one of their best tracks ever. Mid-tempo song about changes & strife in personal lives. The album ends with the slow & haunting Al Genina (Leave A Light On) – a fitting way to finish the album. The anger and frustration, the desperation which pervades throughout the album resolves itself, at least to an extent.

It’s probably the most personal (lyrically at least) album of the band. I can’t wait for the new one, out in June. Till then enjoy the video for Will The Future Blame Us.


Out Of The Icebox Into The Frying Pan

What a day! Oh man, does it always happen that the day after you come back from a few days vacation has to be a killer? I’m so tired mentally & physically after just one day that I need another holiday.

Let me wind up the day for you – I reached the office at 10 am, said ‘hello’ to my team and my colleagues. In 20 minutes I logged in to my system and became terrified as the mails kept pouring in. 200 in all I think, plus another 50 as the day progressed. Sorting out through them and replying to a few took most of my morning.

No soon had we settled for lunch, when my counterpart in Quality & I were pulled in for an HOD meeting. An hour later, meeting done, I sat with the Ops manager and told me what was in store for us and also told him that whatever support he had promised me before I went on leave did not materialize as of yet. He needs to put more pressure on operations. 30 minutes later, I went in with the Quality lead & the center head for a dry run of a conference call presentation, which was to be at 6 pm.

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At 4:30 pm, I met with my team and informed them about the workshop that we were all to attend on Wednesday. I also gathered some points & obersvations from them during the last 1 week. At 5 I had a long call with the training manager of our client. At 5:45 pm I went to drink some water and get ready for the conference call/presentation. That went on till 7:15.

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I prepared some email replied for points discussed on the call and sent them. At little after 8 pm I left the place had a quick dinner as I was extremely hungry and got home at 10 past 9 pm. Tired and bummed out!

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Death Of An Ensign

I watched a couple of Star Trek Voyager episodes today. This one, Latent Image, is one that Robert Picardo (The Doctor) calls his favourite. It’s about the choice that the Doctor had to make regarding treating two patients, with the same injuries and with the same chance of survival. He can only treat one at a time and so has to choose between the two patients. He makes a choice – which he later thinks is because he was closer to that ensign and though of him as a friend.

Ensign Ahni Jetal is shown as having celebrated her birthday in the mess hall in a surprise party thrown by the senior officers. Later she joins Ensign Harry Kim and the Doctor on an away mission in one of the shuttle crafts. During the mission, an unidentified ship attacks the trio and one of the aliens beams himself into the shuttle and fires his deadly weapon on all three. Being a hologram, the Doctor is unhurt and quickly beams the alien out of the ship. Voyager rescues the shuttle and the Doctor has little time to treat the two injured ensigns.

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He is faced with a decision – choose one patient to treat first. He looks at both the ensigns and starts the surgery on Kim. Once he is done, he turns his attention to Jetal but she dies. There was not enough time to save them both. Later, the Doctor’s experiences a conflict in his programming that couldn’t be resolved. His ethical & personality subroutines develops a feedback loop over & over – in essence, he is finding it difficult to reconsile with the fact that he chose a friend over another patient for treatment and he blames himself for Jetal’s death.

The Doctor feels guilt over this and starts ruminating loudly and is unable to perform his duties. So it was decided to have his memories deleted about this incident and reprogrammed. 18 months later he comes to find out about this and starts to have the same effect. Only this time, he is allowed by Captain Janeway to go through the issues and come to terms with it & resolve them in due time.

This is one of those episodes which leads me to sometimes think that Robert Picardo was the best ever actor in the Star Trek universe and that the Doctor was the best character too!

The Body Is No More But What About You

I’m an atheist and a strong one at that, so I do not hold the same beliefs as most of you who do. While watching something on tv, I was made to think about death. I do not know what happens to us after we die (and religious people, neither do you!) and can only speculate as to whether there is an afterlife or not.

Now, when I say afterlife or even if I may venture and say ‘heaven’ – it’s not the kind of afterlife that a lot of you might envision. I do not believe that when one dies ‘we will be embraced by the loving arms of the almighty and he will love us forever’. Yuck! I just want to puke when I think of that. I remember this woman who said it and I looked at her as if she was mad!

But after we die, our bodies decay and only the bones are left. Do our ‘souls’ or ‘spirits’ or whatever that makes us ‘us’ go on? Do we move on to a more enlightened sense of being or ascend to a higher plan? Or do we get reborn as another human being as so many hindus tend to believe? That is a classic one. Coming back as a new human being.

The idea that you never really die but keep getting re-incarnated as different humans but with no recollection of who you were in you previous avatar is quite popular. Many chances for your soul but you don’t retain any of the skills, memories or experiences that you had in the previous one. Except ofcourse, that is, if you happen to be a Cylon!

I don’t think that it can be so. I think one life is it – you don’t get to come back and get reborn. My late maternal grandmother once told me (I don’t know how it came up; probably was casual talk during lunch) that she left that bad people get reborn as dogs and they have to live out a life as a dog for the crimes & wrong doings that they had commited. She might have said Nambudhuris, (a caste in the regional Hindu community) as I have heard that from someone else as well, instead of just all humans.

My answer : I told her that she shouldn’t insult them poor dogs in such a manner. I told her that dogs do not commit crimes and do evil things the way humans do, so why pick on them. And then I told her that it was probably the other way round. Bad dogs probably get punished by being born as a human being and have to endure a life as a man or woman!

You should have seen the look on her face! It was priceless

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Laptops & Notebooks Galore…But None For Me

Everywhere I turn around, I see people using laptops. I can’t escape from it – it’s all around me. Funny thing is that kids are getting laptops too!

It seems that most of the good brands, even with the drop in prices for most things, have priced laptops way too high. I can’t afford one. ‘I’m willing to put in my current 2.5 year old desktop and a brand new external dvd drive to cut the cost. But unless I get that promotion money, I still won’t be able to afford a good laptop. My usage is limited – mostly the internet, a couple of games like NHL & FIFI 08, ppts-word documents-excel sheets for work, watching movies on dvds & ofcourse playing my rather extensive collection of mp3s.

That’s all I need. Surely I should be able to get a laptop within the next couple of months. I can’t wait to be rid of all these wires and save space. To be able to carry my computer to the living room or take it to coffee-shops so I can’t enjoy some wireless internet while sipping on a mocha frappe!

I’m looking at Acer models, like the one pictured in this post. Oh yes, she will be mine!

Who Said It? – Funny Joke

Who said it ……………?

It was the first day of school and a new Indian student named Chandrasekhar Subramanian  entered the fourth grade at Grapevine Middle School in Grapevine, Texas.

The teacher said,  “Let’s begin by reviewing some American History. Who said ‘Give me Liberty , or give me Death’?”  She saw a sea of blank faces,  except for Chandrasekhar, who had his hand up:  “Patrick Henry, 1775,” he said.  “Very good!  Who said ‘Government of the People, by the People, for the People,  shall not perish from the Earth’?” Again, no response except from Chandrasekhar.  “Abraham Lincoln, 1863,” said  Chandrasekhar.

The teacher snapped at the class,  “Class, you should be ashamed. Chandrasekhar, who is new to our country, knows more about its history than you do.”  She heard a loud whisper: “F**k the Indians.”  “Who said that?” she demanded. Chandrasekhar put his hand up.  “General Custer, 1862.”  At that point, a student in the back said,  “I’m gonna puke.” The teacher glared around and asked,  “All right! Now, who said that?”  Again, Chandrasekhar said,  “George Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister,  1991.”

Now furious, another student yelled, “Oh yeah? Suck this!”. Chandrasekhar jumped out of his chair waving his hand  and shouted to the teacher,  “Bill Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!” Now with almost mob hysteria someone said, “You little shit. If you say anything else, I’ll kill you.” Chandrasekhar frantically yelled at the top of his voice,  “Michael Jackson, to the child witnesses testifying against him, 2004.”

The teacher fainted.  And as the class gathered around the teacher slumped on the floor, someone said,  “Oh shit, we’re screwed!” And Chandrasekhar said quietly,  “I think it was the American taxpayers, during the 2009 bailouts.”

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      A Few Questions On The New Trek Movie

      Warning : Please be aware that there might be spoilers if you haven’t watched the movie yet

      • Does cannon not get disrupted in this movie?
      • Does Kirk’s dad actually die in this manner, as depicted in the new movie, in the original storylines?
      • Didn’t Chekov join much later? He was the youngest of TOS crew to join in.
      • How can a cadet jump to Captain within a single voyage?

      army of darkness dvd Keep in mind that I haven’t actually seen the movie. These comments are based on what I have read about the movie. I’m sure that there will be some oddities that will be apparent once I watch the movie. Pretty excited about it : most reviews have been more than flattering!

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      Dadkii Waa Dhibtee Nagala Soobax

      I never though I’d ever promote a ra/hip-hop song. I basically do not like the genre at all, especially the party rap, the having sex rap, the gansta rap and the annoying rhymes and bullshit lyrics.

      Not like this. Now this, as I understand, is what actual rap is all about. Songs from the street. K’naan is a Somali refugee in Canada and he has some bitching songs. Powerful lyrics and a mean beat. I will never be a fan of rap music but I can be a fan of K’naan.

      Soobax is a song about telling the gangsters & the fighters to get out of Somalia as they have caused nothing but pain & suffering for the poor civilians. The chorus features lyrics in Somali. Great song!

      Reaching The End Of The Relaxation

      My leave/vacation is coming to an end tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed these last 7 days of doing nothing other than reading, browsing the web, watching dvds, watching clips on Youtube and listening to a ton of music from my mp3 lists. I’ve attended a wedding briefly and then went to an apartment warming party.

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      I’ve ventured out to coffee shops on a couple of days, reading a book and sipping cold coffee while munching on either french fries or a sandwich. I’ve had a few vodkas and a couple of beers along with some good food. The remaining 5 days, and today, I’ve been at home doing the said activities mentioned in the first paragraph.

      A  couple of times, I’ve had to field calls from work. When it’s members of my team I have no problem since I want to help them out for any issues that they are facing. When it’s problems other than that I have tried to avoid it. But I no longer can, even if I still am on vacation.

      Now that the vacation is coming to a close, I have some heavy duty work cut out for me. There’s going to be a ton of mail to sort out and issues to work out. My department’s performance last month was not good as indicated by the scorecard that we have to maintain. These all are due to outside reasons that I cannot control or ones that I can but not when my entire team is completely occupied with other stuff. Hence the good show that we have been showcasing these past few months have dropped down.

      I’m ok with it since I have proof that my team and I have been occupied elsewhere and things were beyond our control. And no matter who else were in these positions it would have been either the same or probably even worse. But I am willing to roll up my sleeves and get to work. But I needed this break to recharge myself and get juiced up. clomid rates of conception

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      So tomorrow I’ll go out, get me some good cold coffee, a few shots of vodka or beer and relax and get pumped up for the working week ahead of me. Back to work, relaxation is getting over in about 45 hours!

      Happy 39th Birthday Sis

      39 years ago on this day, something terrible happened to a woman in Mattancherry (an area of the city of Cochin, Kerala, India). Awful, unspeakable terror upon that a woman.

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      She named ‘it’ Sherine

      My sister Sherine, called Sherina by most of us, turns 39 years old today. Say happy birthday to her. She’s 6 years older than me.

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      Which means that it our parents 6 years to correct the mistake of giving birth to you! ROTFLMAO!!

      The Afghan – Fredrick Forsyth

      One of the best writers that the world has ever know, the late Frederick Forsythe, has given us a look at how a British intelligence officer infiltrates the Al Qaeda in order to avert a threat of terror. The story takes place in Indonesia, Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay, Trinidad and Tobago, Washington state and on board various ships sailing the high seas.

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      Mike Martin, a retired SAS man is recruited to infiltrate Al Qaeda and pass for an Afghan prisoner, who is currently held in Guantanamo Bay. Martin is able to do this as he was raised in Iraq as a small boy, has perfect command of Arabic & Pashtun, is familiar with Afghanistan terrain (due to being previously posted there) and because of his chestnut brown complexion – passed on to him by an Indian grandmother.

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      In the story it is revealed that prior to Martin’s escapades in Iraq he had worked with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation where he met Osama Bin Laden and rescued a young Afghan boy, Izmat Khan, who later became a resistance leader. Izmat Khan is the Afghan that Martin has to pretend to be. Highly covert, the operation is successful as Martin is accepted as Izmat Khan and welcomed to the fold, albeit after passing an interrogation.

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      He volunteers to be part of a suicidal terrorist attack – hijacking a tanker carrying liquid petroleum gas and ramming it into an ocean liner on which the G8 summit is taking place. Martin’s heroism averts the attack and he is killed in the process.

      The only weak part of this novel is how Izmat Khan dies –  a US Airforce jet accidentally crashed and hits the secret hiding base in Washington state where Izmat is held.The crash destroys most of the wall and the building and Khan escapes. While at the Canadian border he finds a phone booth and as he tries to alert his commrades, he is shot to death. That was a highly improbable scenario and is termed as rubbish in this otherwise immensely thrilling novel.

      Dom Delouise : Dead At Age 75

      Comedian, actor, chef & cookbook author Dom Delouise died on Monday the 4th of May. He was surrounded by his wife and three sons when he died “peacefully” Monday evening at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. The family have not released the cause of death at this time. He was 75.

      DeLuise appeared in scores of movies and TV shows, in Broadway plays and voicing characters for numerous cartoons. Writer-director-actor Mel Brooks particularly admired DeLuise’s talent for offbeat comedy and cast him in several films, including The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World Part I. DeLuise was also the voice of Pizza the Hutt in Brooks’ Star Wars parody, Spaceballs.