Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wasps Begone!

Today, I had get rid of a wasp nest. It really made me feel bad having to do it. I first noticed the presence of the nest a few weeks ago. I saw a couple of wasps circling our front gate, and true enough, there's a small wasp nest right outside my bedroom window. With the intent of removing it, I would look at the nest once in a while, but there's usually one or two wasps holding fort.

It's sunny weather again today, and the wasps are back circling our front lawn. Sensing an opportunity, I sneaked into the front lawn with a pole and a plastic bag. Like I said, I felt bad (and nervous) doing this bad deed. I can imagine the wasps coming back at night after a day's hard work to find their home gone. (Too bad they didn't get home insurance.) Then again, it's them or us. I say a little a prayer and gave the nest a good smack. Turns out there was another wasp inside the nest. Lucky for me, it simply flew away instead of attacking the invader.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC Day Book Group

I've extended The Book Group DVD twice already. Finally found the time to watch it. Today's ANZAC Day, so no work.

The British TV comedy/drama series centers on Clair Pettengill and members of her book group. Clare is a writer from Cincinnati, Ohio who moved to Glasgow. In an attempt to make new friends, she starts a book group. The group consists of three European footballers wives (Fist, Janice, and Dirka) , a druggie post-grad student (Barney), a homosexual football fan (Rab), and a nice guy in a wheelchair (Kenny). Throughout the episodes, the book group had gone through Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist (a.k.a. The Man Who Could Turn Base Metals into Gold), The Little Engine that Could, and Martin Logan's Dark Alley.

By the end of the six-part series, Kenny became personal trainer to Dirka and Fist, and had them lusting after him. Janice had an affair with thriller writer Martin Logan. Her husband Jackie doesn't really mind because he's busy giving all his attention to Rab, who became his personal assistant (not secretary). Claire made a pass at Barney right after the first book group meeting, but he didn't bite. Seven months and six episodes later, she got lucky. Barney passed away due to drug overdose and his struggling artist-brother Lachlan came over to sort out his stuff. First time Clair met him, she snagged him and made him her boyfriend.

Nice concept, funny one-liners from Kenny, a little eye candy from the footballers' wives, need more content and maybe a few new faces to keep the book group fresh.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hello, Hotmail!

Well, how about that? I log in to my Hotmail account today to find a welcome note. It congratulates me, and says that an email account has been reserved for me, and I need to activate it. I click on the Activate button, and was presented with a squeaky clean mailbox. Apparently, I didn't log in to Hotmail the past 30 days, so Hotmail did some housecleaning for me - deleting more than 10 years worth of emails (and spam). Good job, Hotmail! I'll see you again in a few months.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Cockroaches Are Electrically Conductive

Even when I was in Manila, my sisters have been telling me that our Panasonic microwave oven (with inverter technology) is on the blink. The past one, two years that we've had the microwave oven, we don't even use it for cooking, merely to reheat leftovers. Hard to believe it's junk now. Anyway, they tell me that every time they use it, there's a fizzing sound. They see a few sparks, the oven gives off some bad smell, and trips the circuit breakers. Thinking it's probably some moisture trapped in the enclosure, I gave it a good cleaning, and it worked perfectly.....for a few weeks. Today, the symptoms came back, and we definitely have a problem.

With nothing to lose, I took the whole thing apart. Every thing looks all right with no burnt component in sight. Zeroing in on the source of the bad smell, I took a closer look at the transformer coils. I see one very thin copper wire sticking out, so I thought, oh this must the one giving the shorts. It looks too thin to be a wire, so I looked deeper. Guess what? Deep within the transformer enclosure is a burnt cockroach. Obviously dead, its body is nevertheless still conductive which shorts the coils every time the oven is activated. Now I know how Grace Murray Hopper felt when she found the bug in ENIAC. After disposing of the cockroach remains by shaking it out, the microwave is back in tiptop condition.

Friday, April 13, 2007

3-Month Report in 2 Days

The impossible things one is capable of doing when one has to do it. I would never have thought that I can produce a set of quarterly reports within two days, given that all of the required statistics and measurements are still "out there" uncollected. Story is, I was filling in for this girl who's going on a maternity leave. For two afternoons, she was telling me where to pull numbers for all the platforms that she's maintaining, and how to generate the proper charts for the different parameters we're tracking. She was putting too much focus on this particular task, I had to ask her how often does she generate these reports. Quarterly, she said. Considering it's now April, I figure still I have three months to go, so no worries. Two days ago, I got an email from her manager inquiring as to how the reports are coming up because she wants them by tomorrow. A quick email to my "mentor" confirmed that no, she hasn't been collecting the stats all these months, and yes, that's now my problem. Right. Made worse by the fact that some of the data were missing from the systems. I can hear her shrug over the phone, "Yeah, I've reported that problem already." Well, thanks for nothing.

And what were my colleagues over at Pyrmont doing at this time? They're on a harbour cruise. One of them even called me and asked me to look out the window if I can spot their sailboat under the Harbour Bridge near Luna Park. Great, guys.