Monthly Archives: March 2012

Friday Funnies

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Looking at this toilet bowl makes me wonder WHAT or WHO’s specs В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В  В did the developers use to make it?!!!

Fantasy Football: Q3 Report

Wow! BPL has just completed its Gameweek 30, which means we have about 8 more matches before the season concludes! Sure seemed like yesterday that the BPL 2011/12 season just kicked off! 😛

On the reality front, whilst there are quite a number of teams jostling for the 3rd and 4th positions, both Manchester clubs are going virtually neck-to-neck in the title race! After grinding out a 1-0 victory over Fulham, Man Utd is 3 points clear, (still) with inferior goal difference of (-3) but with only 8 matches to go. The key message here is that Man Utd’s final stretch looks significantly easier on paper, with upcoming matches include Blackburn, QPR, Wigan, Villa and Everton before the Manchester derby. Compared to Man City’s schedule of playing Sunderland, Arsenal, West Brom, Norwich and Wolves, things are looking good for Man Utd. Without further distractions from domestic cup competitions as well as the Mickey Mouse Europa League does help too!

Meanwhile, back in Fantasy Football land, I am happy to announce as at the completion of GW 30, I have finally managed to claw my way back to the top amongst my friends! In my Q2 report, I shared that only 10 points separated the top 3, with Friend A on top, followed by Friend P and me in third spot. Over the next couple of weeks, Friend A started to drop points rather drastically, possibly due to the lack of support from his bench. So that left me, week after week, trying to catch Friend P.

As I approached GW30, I gambled on buying Grant Holt (NWC) to score goals against woeful Wolves, and it partially paid off with Holt scoring twice….and sadly collecting a RED card too. Sigh. Thankfully, my other players did enough to secure me 50 points, which was sufficient to overtake Friend P for now. Yay me!

In terms of stats, this is a summary of my Q3 report:

Globally, I have improved my positioning from 3,855 (0.8%) to 2,889 (0.5%). My team value has increased just slightly from $168M to $171M. I doubt it would increase any more within the final stretch of 8 games. Current points collected is 1,324.3, with the chasing pack of Friend P (1,312.6) and Friend A (1,258.7)

Looking forward to an exciting finish to this season’s BPL, both on in reality and on the fantasy front. :-)

 

Awkward Samaritan Moment

Have you ever been caught in an Awkward Samaritan Moment (ASM) before?

You know, those situations where you find yourself in a position to help or assist someone in need, but somehow it comically, or worse, tragically doesn’t turn out as well as it should?

Ahhhh…I’m sure we ALL have had those ASMs, right?

One of my favourite ASMs happened some months back when I was travelling on a business trip to Penang. The plane had touched down at the Penang airport and I was casually making my way to the baggage claim conveyor belt area to pick up my luggage. The belt started to move when I noticed two small kids came and stood in front of me to pick up their luggage too. I assumed their parents were not too far behind.

Anyway, they exclaimed gleefully when they saw their luggage on the belt steadily moving in their direction. It was quite a large suitcase, by the way. When it was within range, one of the kids tried to lift up the the luggage and was visibly struggling because it was evidently too heavy.

Immediately, I moved forward to help them with their luggage before the kid missed it or worse, break his fingers or something.. With one sweeping motion, I gestured a quick “Here, let me help you” as I lifted the handle of the suitcase off the conveyor belt….unfortunately breaking the entire handle from the suitcase in the process…

There was an eerie pause in this ASM as both the kids and I just stared at each other.

Finally, I managed to blurt out a “Erm….sorry?…” as I saw my luggage coming along. Without batting an eyelid, I took it and quickly rolled away feeling awkwardly guilty. By then, their parents were already by their side and they too were visibly stunned and didn’t know how to respond…:-D

Do you have an ASM story to share? 😛

Does Money Grow on Trees?

I was doing some typical gardening the other day in our house – mowing the jungle lalangВ tall grass, picking up fruits from the ground, admiring the flowers, etc. and suddenly I saw a ONE RINGGIT note lying there!

It was partially embedded in the ground, under the trees and plants and vines of our garden. I was just as surprised to see it there as I was on how it managed to survive the deadly blades from my lawn mower!

Anyway, I quickly took it inside, washed off the sand and dirt and hung it to dry…

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Hmmm….do I actually have a MONEY TREE in our very own garden that I don’t know about?!!!

OOPS!

Image Credits

Book: OOPS!

Genre: Management/Business

Author: Aubrey C. Daniels

Thickness: 190 pages

Tagline: “13 Management Practices That Waste Time And Money (and what to do instead)”

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Gosh! It sure has been a while since I last posted a В book review, as per my personal commitment to read, read, read (and review, review, review…of course). I realise that much of the challenge may not be the lack of time to read, but possibly the lack of time to review them! I already have a growing stack of books that needs reviewing…

Anyway, I was recommended to read this book which was supposed to shed some refreshing insights on Management Practices…13 to be exact. The lure of the book is basically getting to know what are 13 normal management (or mis-management, rather) practices that may have been over-used worldwide and what we could or should do instead.

The book is written by one of the moreВ renownВ management gurus, Mr Aubrey Daniels, so it was certainly worth a read.

 

Content

For those who are working or specifically in management or HR, the content is very much relevant and hits the nail on the head most of the time.

As you read through the 13 practices, you’d more often than not find yourself chuckle and go “Yeah…that makes sense!” It’s also shocking to see how many of these practices are still widely promoted in many companies around the world!

For example the books shares that the “Employee of the Month” practice (which is very widely used all over the world) is essentially a no-no because the largest number of people impacted positively by this method is exactly…ONE! Everyone else would be visibly upset. Besides, it is also not personal, not immediate, not contingent and not frequent.

Another one that I liked is the popular practice known as ‘The Sandwich’. It is aptly named as a method for correcting performance where criticism is sandwiched between two positive statements. The book mentions that this practice will do well to ensure the main message is missed altogether! Check out this sample ‘sandwiched’ message that clearly confuses the intended employee:

“You are one of the best employees we’ve got, when you are here. If you don’t improve your attendance in the next two months, we are going to have to terminate you. Why, you have more talent in your little finger than most people have in their whole body and that is why I am so concerned about you.”

The suggested method to use instead would be one where the corrective feedback is given in a more straightforward manner by emphasizing on the specific, desired behaviour to take place. The alternative address to the sample above is as follows:

“Tim, you have been late three days this week. I have spoken to you about this before and you know how important it is for you to be here on timebecause other employees cannot complete their work until you do yours. If you are late again this month, you will be terminated. Do you have any questions? Now, what can I do to help you be punctual?”

Good stuff, huh?

 

Writing

Although this is supposed to be a management book (read: boring), I found the writing of Mr Daniels very easy to follow. Even if I had no prior knowledge or background in HR management, I would still be able to understand the message he is trying to deliver.

Mr Daniels has managed to avoid too many business jargons and kept me interested through simple layman illustrations as he goes through each of the management practices. Nice!

 

Glue FactorВ (difficulty of putting the book down!)

It’s a management book…sheesh!

My way of saying that management books are typically not glue-y at all. Nevertheless, Mr Daniels has managed to inject some humourous illustrations and cartoons too that surely helps in keeping the reader not putting down the book for too long!

 

Conclusion

Overall, an excellent book that critically debunks many of the more popular management practices and offers more refreshing and innovative solutions instead.

Of course, as with all management books, for every book that promotes Method A, there will be another book that will promote Method B. So whilst I tend to agree with most of the content of the book, I also believe that not all methods or suggestions can work for every company.

Definitely worth a read!

 

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More Strange ABCs

Sometime ago, I highlighted some really strange descriptions of ABCs our kids are currently exposed to. Yeah, although it is quite hilarious, it does make us wonder where our education is headed with these types of weirdness being approved for print!

Anyway, I found a couple more strange ones to lighten up your day (or make us worry even more…gasp!)

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The word is fine, though I felt finding an animal that is ALIVE would have made more sense...
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This is another reason for publishers NOT to try producing ABCs of only ANIMALs. Heck, I'm finding it difficult thinking of an animal starting with N too!
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shocking!:-O

Reel Review: Seefood

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Last Saturday, I woke up strangely feeling a little more patriotic than usual (that, and quite bored too) and decided to take Collin out to watch one of the more highly anticipated local 3D animation films to open in recent times – Seefood.

So off we went to the nearest cinema and checked out the screening times. I was also delighted to see Citibank having this Buy 1-Free-1 promo on Saturdays. Hmmmm…perhaps should go for movies on Saturdays more often. 😛 Anyways, it was either SeafoodВ or The Lorax. I brought Collin to check out both posters – one showed a scary looking cat-like creature and the other featured a cute fish and a shark in a robot-suit. Easy choice. Heh.

Sorry…back to the quick review. In brief, Seefood is a story about two sharks, Julius, a white-tipped shark and Pup, a bamboo shark, that happens to be best friends. One day, some humans dive into the ocean and take home all the egg sacks from Pup’s reef. Angry and determined, Pup journeys onto land to rescue the eggs. When Julius finds out about Pup’s daring mission, he gets some help from Octo (an octopus, obviously) to build him a machine that would enable him to walk on land, so that he can go and help Pup and bring his best friend home.

With some really cute characters, original plot, and a shark walking on land, this should have all the makings of a hit movie, right?

Unfortunately, Seefood turned out to be one of the WORST animated movies I have ever seen – suffering from a very poor script that doesn’t do justice to the very good animations that had been put into this film. It’s like they have a ‘Everything That Could Make a Movie Bad’ checklist and efficiently ticked every box on it.

Perhaps it would be better for me to start with the positives first….hmmm…let’s see….the plot was relatively original, the animation skills were really good – comparable to many international 3D animations, many cute characters – good for toys/plush/marketing campaigns, plenty of Malaysian identity inserted.

So, where did the movie go so wrong? OH, let me count the ways..

1. Complex storyline. Whilst it’s exciting enough to have a shark walk on land, I have no idea why they decided to throw in some sideplot about some factory polluting the sea with some industrial waste and some strange, mean sepent and his creepy looking spider-like goons from the deep? If the stories were well connected, it would have made more sense. Instead I was left baffled as to why these subplots were there. It’s a KIDS movie! Try to keep the plot simple, OK?

2. Poor Film Editing. Many segments throughout the movie seemed to end abruptly, causing me to go “Huh? What just happened?” before they cut to another segment. Sigh.

3. Loose Endings. This probably concerns all those confusing subplots as well. I was totally lost on the conclusions of all subplots. I mean whilst it is good to finish the main story well, we must not lose focus to tie up all endings as well. I felt the subplots were poorly concluded.

4. Humourless Dialogue. One of the weakest points of the movie was its inability to make the audience LAUGH. And for a KID’s movie, that is the LEAST it is expected to do! The dialogue was bland and un-natural. And if the lines didn’t make me laugh, there wasn’t enough slapstick to tickle the kids either. It was not surprising there were only minimal chuckles heard from the full-house cinema. If I was walking past the cinema hall, I would have guessed a thriller movie was screening!

5. Moral Message? Ever since Happy Feet showed the world how effective a moral message embedded into a good film for kids can be, many other films have tried to emulate that. When Seefood introduced a subplot involving a factory spewing industrial waste, I thought it was a good byline that would eventually carry a strong message about the evils of sea pollution, etc. Sadly, the moral message that I think the writers/director wanted to project didn’t quite take off as planned.

6. Draggy Pace. For a film that is selling its promos on a ‘shark walking on land’, it sure took a great deal of time before that actually took place. My advice? The shark on land aka fish out of water (literally) segments should have gotten longer screen time and more humour-based. I mean it’s gonna be the first time a fish is on land. The types of jokes one can play with is almost limitless. Unfortunately, we only got some scene involving a car at the traffic light (as seen in the trailer) and the coconut crabs (boring).

7. Bad Soundtrack. One of the most important component of all good movies is a a good supporting soundtrack…and Seefood sadly lacks this. The accompanying audio was all over the place and lacked the quality to build the tension as required in key scenes. Also missing were some SONGS that could have been used to spice up the film. See how Pixar also incorporates catchy tunes into their movies.

8. Main Message Missing. Usually, one would come out from the cinema with one key message that the film was delivering. For example, Cars 2 stressed on the importance of friendships and Kung Fu Panda 2 highlighted the need to remember who we are in the present moment. Sadly, in Seefood, I didn’t get any key message at all. Was it about friends helping each other? or friends don’t eat friends? I don’t know.

9. Lack Explainations. Much was not explained about the evil looking eel-like fish and the spider-minions, their plot, how they came from, were they mutated products from the industrial waste, etc.

10. Lacked Tension. I recalled there were several action scenes in the movie that was supposed to be edge-of-the-seat stuff. Unfortunately, I felt none of it. Sigh.

Thankfully (for me, at least), Collin said he enjoyed the show although I did notice he was already getting fidgety and restless by the final third of the show.

In summary, I came to watch Seefood, with strong hopes that it could be something groundbreaking for our local animation industry. Unfortunately, what I saw was how a local animation film should NOT be. It’s rather sad that whilst the film has the standard and quality in terms on animation techniques, its poor script and editing made it a terrible film overall.

Do also check out my personal alternative movie script for Seefood …:-P

 

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