Year2007

Extreme Dislike

 Extreme Dislike

Because hate is such a strong word.

compassion, empathy, trust and happiness: a work-life balance

Bear with me here, these are all random unstructured thoughts.

Do you love what you do? In work or in life?

Why is it important to love the work you do? At least, why is it important for me to love the work I do? The work I do is a part of my life, it is a part of who I am. The general structure of our society dictates that we are at work at least 8 hours a day, for a lot of us it’s more than that. This means that we spend more time in a day working and getting to work then we do other things, like spending time with family and loved ones or sleeping. So is it not important that for our own well being that we love what we do? Or that we do what we love?

Does money buy happiness? If time = money, and money buys you happiness, I would argue that time (not buys but) brings you happiness. Hah, the need for money vs the need for time. I would choose time every time around. Time allows you to do (or think) a lot more than money does. Money is a lame substitute for time. And those that are attracted by the lure of money are also lame. Money does not, cannot and will not buy you peace of mind. Time is not equal to money, time is far more valuable than that.

So then, why are we not happy? At work or in life? No one can be happy all the time, so why aren’t we as happy as we should be. I think it has a lot to do with a lack of compassion, empathy and trust. Think of all the conflicts you find yourself a part of, now imagine that those involved in the conflict trusted each other more, empathized with each other and were more compassionate, what would be that state of the conflict then?

I’m sure there are more concepts apart of those three that I’m missing, but in my mind those three suffice. It’s sad because we are not conditioned to trust or empathize or be as compassionate as we should be. But then, when we are, it’s often misconstrued, people start thinking things, questioning your motives. Now think of how difficult it is for someone to empathize or be compassionate when all you are doing is questioning their motives. Meh, but don’t let that phase you.

If you’re doing something good for someone and are looking for something back in return, you might as well be dealing in money instead. I’m not saying that knowing that you helped someone is a reward in and of itself (it might be though), but I’m saying, stop looking for rewards.

Clear your mind, think of nothing. If you think about nothing, then you have nothing to worry about. In our lives these nothing moments are very short and they come in different forms. A chuckle, a laugh perhaps a gasp (there are so many more), but they don’t last long. Think about what we can do to maximize those moments, think about what we can do to maximize those moments for others!

Let moments of nothingness be your motive, let them be your reward.

Pushing Daisies

The facts are these: if you love food and colour, you will love Pushing Daisies.

Pushing Daisies is about a pie maker who has an unusual gift. If he touches the dead, the dead come back to life. But if he touches them again, they are dead forever. If he leaves the dead living for over a minute, then someone else must die (randomly chosen by a proximity thing).

Due to certain events, Ned, the pie maker, teams up with a private detective and they use Ned’s gift to determine to conditions under which certain homicides occured, then collect the rewards. One such reward collection venture sees Ned bringing back to life his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte. She lives past the minute, interestingness ensues.

They can’t touch.

Pushing Daisies is awesome because it has a very unique style of presentation. All the episodes are full of colours and (ironically) life. I totally love the long-winded conversations between Ned and Chuck, their words wander, confuse, then come full circle to make sense. And then it hits you, this is a very very good show.

If you’re not watching it, you’re missing out.

Life

I love Life.

Life is about a police officer who is framed for multiple murders he didn’t commit. After being imprisoned for 11 or so years Charlie is released based on DNA evidence. Although his settlement $$ is more than enough for him to continue his life, He re-joins the police force as a detective.

I love Life because it’s intelligent and witty. Charlie’s adoptation of Zen is awesome because it spawns beautiful dialogue between him and his partner (who has her own issues).

I think if I could realign myself after television characters, I’d try and be a cross between Gregory House and Charlie Crews.

Absolutely brilliant!

un-butterfly

The Un-butterfly Process

A process by which something beautiful becomes crap.

Serendipity to WordPress

I converted the blog from serendipity to WordPress.

I used the S9y to WordPress Importer, although I had to modify the code a little to make the conversion go on without major errors. There was still a glitch however, the importer didn’t map a lot of the posts to the correct categories. Instead of actually fixing the code, I found it easier to just go through the posts and remap them to the correct categories. Luckily I wasn’t dealing with a whole lot of posts.

The main reason I converted is because WordPress with Akismet has much better spam blocking features. I was too lazy to look up how to make spam blocking work in s9y.

I’m going to take a little look at how plugins exactly work in WordPress. See if I can hack something together.

It’s interesting because I wouldn’t have even thought about bothering to do anything with the blog if I was working right now. Only because of the break did I bother, makes one wonder.

EDIT – I forgot to add, I totally love this wordpress theme. Courtesy of wptp. Best of all it’s valid XHTML and CSS.

Single train on a single track

“Single train on a single track”, this is loosely translated from Hindi and is something my grandfather said while describing me (when I was in India many months ago).

What I take from that is how one-dimensional I am. There’s nothing better than a dose of reality based on how you communicate and interact with new people. You realize how multi-dimensional people really are and how that holes you back into your single dimension.

This comes from a self-retrospective based on the Toronto Newunion 2007.

  • I’m only funny 81% of the time.
  • When you are around people who have the capacity to think, articulate and engage better than you do, just shut up and listen. (you might even learn something).

These are general notes from the day:

  • Get glasses or contacts that don’t make thing blurry. I’m wearing a trial pair of contacts and anything two feet away or more blurs out after a few seconds of viewing. This is annoying and headachy.
  • Make meaning, not money. change the world (or certain sub-sections)
  • speak in a way that you are heard, even by lurkers.
  • people on the internet are humans too
  • time passes quickly when you’re sitting down and doing nothing
  • we’re not chuckling with you, we’re chuckling at you
  • network through exchanging sharing ideas
  • Godfather and Beauty and the Beast are in the same category of movies
  • You can still get a real job if you studied English in school
  • You can have your cardboard at Future bakery, and eat it too
  • Plans are nice, but please assess risk as well

good luck, good looking

good luck comes to those who are good looking

picture abhi baakhi hai mere dost…

Om Shanti Om at IMDB

I liked the movie. I really liked the movie. I thought it was good. I thought it was very very good.

“But Adnan, you didn’t like Main Hoon Na, and Om Shanti Om isn’t like the drama movies that you prefer”

This is true, I didn’t like Main Hoon Na, but that’s because Main Hoon Na sucked. While Om Shanti Om is good. Sure it’s not a drama, and is “mindless entertainment”, but is good mindless entertainment.

The movie sets up an “anything goes” atmosphere to start off, and thus anything that goes afterwards becomes much more believeable. And it’s very well done as well, it’s not melodramatic, and there are tons of inside jokes along the way.

I would say 9 out of 10, go watch it.

hurt

You’ll just have to learn not to be hurt by the words I say

New Blog

I’m starting a new blog to blog about work, management, technology and the like.

The India Experience

It’s feels like so long ago. I’ve already started to forget.

I would never have thought, that I would go to another country for work purposes. So when my Saudi experience unfolded to become my Indian experience, you have to understand that everything felt surreal.

But I was there, and it was real. I found myself in Mumbai. I’ve never been in Mumbai for more than two days. But whenever I’ve been there I notice this distinct smell. Yes, there is a smell. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, there it was, the smell. And even if my eyes were closed, I knew I was in Mumbai.

Let me go back to how unreal of all this was. I even recall telling the then COO of the company, “No”, when he asked someone, “Is Adnan the best person to go to India?”. Not that I was the worst, I suppose I was good enough. Did I want to go? Yes, of couse I did. The very thought of the experience was exciting. Either way, it came to pass.

Next day I was at the office, located in Bandra. The office was nice, from the inside. Not that the outside was bad (we’ll discuss incidents on the outside later on).

My second day at the office, my co-workers started to play a song for me, [Ya Ali, Maded Ali]. Translated it means, “Oh Ali, Help Us Ali”. I knew I was there for a purpose, right, I was there to train them.

In the next few weeks we covered a lot of material, from source code control (CVS) to JSPs. It was indeed an interesting experience, because now I wasn’t coding myself too much, I was dealing with people who would be doing the coding. This is a different level of being. It’s just not the same. In ways, it is more difficult and challenging.

I got used to being in India pretty quick. I was walking to work, or taking a rickshaw (or ric as they call it). I wasn’t just ‘staying’ in India, for those 4 weeks I was living in India.

The work days were tiring though. Sometimes I’d be explaining things individually to folk, and on other days we’d put ourselves in the boardroom and project my laptop onto the screen and discuss things. Then at night, I’d go back to the apartment I was staying at and everyone back in Toronto would be up and online, then I’d catch up with the Canadian email, read documents, try and phone into meetings etc. So really, it was like working around the clock.

What else did I do while I was there? For being there a whole month, I didn’t do a whole lot.

I bought a lot of books. You see, books printed in India are printed on cheaper paper, and thus cost less. I purchased around 24 books dealing with programming, technology and management. The most important of these books was Peopleware. But I’ll discuss that in further detail at a different time, on a different blog. I had to purchase a new suitcase just to be able to carry all those books back.

I also went on a one day trip to Hyderabad, to meet my grandfather and other relatives. It was quite the day, perhaps one of the most tiring day’s I’ve been through. We rented a car and hit up a lot of relatives from my dad’s and mom’s side. One after another. It was like hit and run. And they all had something or the other for me to eat or drink. And foolishly I did eat or drink. Unforunatley the next week I was feeling sick and hardly ate at all. But it was good going back to Hyderbad, even for a day. This was the first time I was there by myself. I hadn’t been there in about 7 years, so it had been a while.

Outside our office are a couple of colleges. The place where students go for studying purposes, and other purposes I’m sure. One day the internet went down, and then the electricity disappeared as well. So we stepped out of the office to get some polluted air, tea and whatnot. After much persuasion, I decided I would go ahead and do magic for totally random people. So I went up to this group of 7 guys and asked them, “Hey, you guys mind if I shows you some card magic?”, they all seemed fine with it. So I started.

You have to understand one thing. This is Mumbai, there are lots of people in Mumbai. So when I started doing magic, people started to gather around fairly quickly. People were calling over their friends from across the street. Curious folk walking by stopped and started to watch. By the time I had finished the trick, there were over 40 people gathered there. The reactions were awesome!

This girls starts saying, “Who are you?”, as if to say, who are you and what are you doing?. “Are you like David Blaine?”. I just said, “Yes, I am the David Blaine of Mumbai, and you’re going to be part of my next trick” and started to do more magic. Once again the reactions were awesome. Unfortuantely none of this was caught on any media (video or still). Once I was done, people were a bit confused, not because of the magic,, but they were wondering why I was doing all this. I think they thought that I was doing this to promote something or gather money or something. I told them “I’m just doing this for fun”. And it was fun.

I was told by my co-worker that after the crowd had dispersed there were some folk on their cell phones talking about what had just happened. People were talking about it across the street as well. When asked for the bill, they tea guy said he didn’t want any money. During the whole commotion, this guy who has a stall setup to sell things (biscuits, chocolates and the like) was climbing up on this stall to be able to see what was going on. Unreal. All I had was a deck of cards!

There was another magic incident, where we (co-workers and I) had gone bowling and then went to this restaurant. I decided to do magic for our table. Once I started, the entire restaurant (about 50 people) stopped doing what they were doing. They were all starting at our table. The waiters had gathered around our table and everyone was watching. After I finished, the waiters were all smiling. Once again, the reactions were great.

I’m going to go into my magic rant here, but every single time it’s an unbelieveable feeling. I can really say now that I’ve performed for 100s of people. And to be able to make some sort of a difference even for that one moment is amazing. It’s very humbling once I think about it, having the ability to do that.

There are other work related things that I experienced while in India that I’ll elaborate on some other day. 🙂

Well, after all was said and done, India was an awesome experience. And it only adds to the growth process I’ve gone through in the last year. I don’t feel I did an amazing job there. I think I was adequate. I think I could have been much better. But I also know that my being there helped. Which is good.

sleep inquiries

Lately many folk have been asking me the following:

“Do you ever sleep?”

The answer to this question is:

“No.”

Thank you for your inquiries.

Working India

I really want to blog about my India experience so far.

But if I’m not sleeping, I’m working. And I’m not sleeping a lot.

Very soon hopefully.

The Saudi Experience

Landed on the 7th, took off on the 14th. The math is fuzzy. I think I was there a few days.

As noted in a previous post I have exactly one more iPod than I had before.

Finally peformed Umrah after not having enough time the last few years. Me and my mom took a flight to Jeddah, got there around 12:30am, picked up at airport, dropped off at the Grand Mosque. The time now is 2am. Did all the required walking just in time for Fajr, 4:30ish am. Stepped outside the gate of the mosque, I thought to myself, hmmm better wear my slippers before something gets stuck in my foot. Inevitably what happens? A pin finds its way into my bare feet. “Hmmmm…”, I think to myself, “There is a pin stuck in my foot”. From the portion that was sticking out I thought it was a small pin. When my mom pulled it out we realized this thing was about 2 inches.

Brilliant. I wonder what would have happened if I just wore the slippers first and then thought about something getting stuck in my foot.

I also wonder what that pin’s story was. Obviously there was a demand for this pin, someone ordered it to be made, someone made it, someone bought it, someone used it, someone dropped it, it lived for x amount of days outside the mosque and then found it’s way into my foot. My foot. I threw it in the garbage. I’m sure it lives on. Me only playing a small part in it’s life.

5am, back in the car, and at the airport by 7am. Flight at 10am. Sleep no where to be found. Back in Riyadh, something or the other am. It’s all so blurry now. But at that point I had to catch a flight to Mumbai within the next 24 hours or so.

Back in the airport the next day. Jetlag not helping my ability to recognize how this day and night process works, or how I’m supposed to work in it. The scene here is madness, the brown gene has no concept of lines. The Saudi gene has no concept of respect. These genes don’t mesh well at an airport.

Air India, flight delayed by two hours. One of those hours was spent inside the place.

This, the Saudi Experience.

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