Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Review: Sony Ericsson Z800i

A very nice client recently gave me a brand new Sony Ericsson Z800i. Very nice people. I could do with more clients like these.

Well, any phone would be better than my current Samsung, which is very - yesterday. Of course it had a colour screen and polyphonic ringtone! I'm not THAT yesterday lah.

It is the first 3G unit released by Sony Ericsson, and well, there's always room for improvements right? So, as you can see, it is a rather chunky piece of gadget.

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But I had fun familiarizing myself with this new toy!

The Z800i is equipped with a 1.3 megapixel camera with a rotating eye! The rotating eye is especially crucial for people like me, because I love taking pictures of myself, and constantly need to ensure that my hair is in place before the camera goes click. Being able to see myself on the screen is a plus point, and the rotating eye allows me to do just that! In addition to that, there are some super bright lights around the "eye" to allow for shots in the dark. I tried it while lying on my bed in the pitch black darkness - it works.

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Another plus point about the phone would be the gigantic screen. It makes everything so much more comfortably for the eye, especially for SMS freaks like me. And, it's relatively easy to use actually.. so tech-idiots, worry not! The Z800i also comes with a 64MB memory stick and allows you to store pictures, video files and also MP3s, etc. The unit is also furnished with a USB cable, thus file transfer between phone and computer is hassle free. Just the initial installation of the software which came in a CD.

Traffic police might also have to amend their laws because these days, phones have loudspeakers, therefore, you don't actually have to hold the phone to your ears while driving. Better take full advantage of this before they tweak their laws!

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The only thing that I need to get use to would be the size of the phone. My old Samsung was a small, sleek piece of thing compared to this Godzilla. The keypads are spaced well apart, making SMS with one hand quite difficult. Damn. Now I can't SMS and drive. It takes forever to get one SMS typed out while I'm driving! In addition to that, the video recording function is somewhat handicapped because it limits you to only 10 seconders per file.

The games are bullshit too. Only 2 games, tennis and some board game looking thing, and well, it looks kinda difficult, so I can't be bothered at this point in time. Oh, and unlike my old Samsung, I can easily flip it open with the use of my thumb! With the Z800i, it's quite difficult as well because the flip has a magnetic click to it everytime you open and close the phone.

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But you know what? It's a new phone with 3G technology! Not like 3G matters much anyway, but it IS still a new phone to play with.

Posted by Doreen at 5:29 pm


Friday, January 20, 2006

Things You Learn From TV

Some Lessons Learnt From Watching 1 Episode of ALIAS...

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1. A phone with camera, multimedia messaging and the rest of the other high-end functions is essential for all 2 have because it is life saving. Sydney used her mobile phone to take a picture of the dead guy whom she was buried with. She then trasmitted the picture file to her colleagues, who were then able to identify the man, thus a lead for the team.

2. That a mobile phone is, like I've said before, VERY IMPORTANT and can and will save your life. Sydney was ambushed, kidnapped and buried alive in a cemetary all the way in Cuba. Her mobile phone had four bars of battery, approximately 36 hours, or till she runs out of oxygen. Her colleague manages to fly from LA to Cuba, with help from a coordination team based in LA, and using radio transmission waves emitted by her mobile phone, able to track her whereabouts, yada yada yada.. and she's rescued!

3. That in cases of emergency, almost anyone can still perform and optometry surgery. Sydney's colleague needed this man to access the door using some sort of eye-identifying technology. BUT. The guy is dead. What do they do? Dig his eye ball out. First eye ball - ooops, accidentally snipped a nerve and juices were oozing everywhere. Not to worry - we still have the second eye ball which was dug out without causing any damage to the cornea and retina. All they needed to do then was to lift the eyeball up to the scanner, and voila!

4. A spoonish looking fork, or a forkish looking spoon is called a spork.

Well, there you go. Pretty educational don't you think?

Posted by Doreen at 2:53 pm


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Working with JJ

The past few weeks at work have been insane. Of course, this week, with JJ's arrival from Taiwan, things are slightly more hectic. Meeting after meetings, running back and forth production houses, press conference, the whole works! But it is always worth the fatigue because there's just so much to learn every day!

JJ is an amazing guy. He's young and fun, and most importantly, down to earth! I think he's cool. It's the second time we're working together, the first being his last promotional tour in July 2005. You'd think a rising young Taiwanese singer like him, with three albums to his name (fourth one coming soon!) and millions of copies of his records sold across Asia, he'd be up there, but he's really not, and I think even the production crew found him easy to work with!

JJ was revealed as the ambassador of X.PAX for 2006 yesterday evening at a press conference at Westin Hotel, and I got to emcee the show with Phoebe of My FM again! (We hosted the Promo Tour 2005 press conference together as well). It was definitely fun and rewarding getting to work with such an experienced personality in the industry! We went back and forth bantering in English (me) and Phoebe (Mandarin), and I think we pulled off a damn good show!

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The stage was bright and funky - appropriate for a personality like JJ!

During the show, under the harsh lights, I was sweating and felt the beads of sweat melting away my make-up. But Phoebe is always looking spectacular! No sign of sweat! She must be so used to it by now, with her experience in various live shows and many TV productions. That's something I must try to master - not sweat under lights. But how? Anyone?

But thankfully, the beads of sweat weren't visible on pictures and I looked lovely on TV. Heh.

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That's me and Phoebe running the show. Look! My purple string of beads is just so X.PAX!

Going behind the scenes of a photo or commercial shoot is an eye-opener. It's my first production with a celebrity! It's not all glam.. they have it hard. He has to make sure he sleeps proper to avoid puffy eyes. He has to submit to the beck and call of the Art Director and photographer, "To the right.. bit more.. no, no.. step back.. yes.. ah.. now tilt your head too.. gimme attitude.. chin higher..."... "Ahh.. that was just a test. Now let's do it all over again.. ah yes.. bend forward... no no.. too much! Go backwards a bit..."

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That's JJ at the Press Conference being mobbed by photographers.

Now try enduring that for a whole day. Then repeating the whole process again the next day.

Posted by Doreen at 7:09 pm


Monday, January 16, 2006

If it's yours, it's yours

The last day for submission of entries for the Star Power of 9 contest was last Friday. The grand prize as you all know, is a whopping RM199,999! With that kind of money up for grabs, and only submission of original forms allowed, Malaysia went into a frenzy and many bought newspapers in bulk and diligently completed all the forms. When I mean bulk, I mean BULK.

Every other day during that week, there would be stories about this someone who's loaded an entire trolley-full of newspapers into his car so that he could buy his dream house, or a couple who submitted 500 entries so that they can renovate their house or something or the other. I read these stories with amazement and wonder how in the world am I to compete with these guys? I merely submitted a total of 7 or 8 entries - one from every copy of the Star for the entire week. Of course, the rationale here is that if they won that money, 500 bucks is nothing. But to me, if I didn't win the money, goodbye 500 bucks! Nah. I'm not much of a gambler.

But I believe in fate. Or luck actually. My theory is simple. If you're meant to win it, that single entry you submitted will bring you your RM 199,999. But if it's not in your stars, you can submit even 1,000 entries, and you'll never get that giant prize money, maybe just a prize for submission of the most entries.

We're managing Fear Factor: College Edition for the Blue Telco, and our first campus stop was of course home ground last Friday. On that day, we had a Motorola V975 to give away. The current retail price for this 3G unit is about RM1800, or thereabouts.

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Our game mechanic is simple. We have a glass tank and we fill it up with 10 kilograms of worms. In there as well, are pieces of paper which the contestant will have to pick up to determine what prize s/he will get. Every piece of paper will win a prize, ranging from small items such as a pen to the grand prize such as the Motorola mobile phone.

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Each contestant will need to purchase a recharge card worth RM10, and this will entitle you to one lucky dip in the tank of worms.

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Jerold, eager to win the phone, spent RM 200 purchasing 20 recharge cards, entitling him to 20 encounters with the worms in the tank. Just as he finished his 20th draw, Kak Zuraini, purchased two recharge cards just to top up her credit, then dipped her hands into the tank of worms and pulled out two pieces of paper. Her second paper read "Congratulations! You have just won a Motorola V975!"

Jerold was stumped.

See what I mean?

Posted by Doreen at 9:14 am


Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Seventh Sense

In the course of my working life so far, I was, on several occassions, required to be part of the hiring process when we had vacancies for interns, administrative staff, graphic designers and promoter girls for events we're managing.

But today, we're going to be talking about college / university-going students, who in a year or two's time, will be graduating and go through the process of job hunting. I've had the (dis)pleasure of interviewing and meeting up with students who are interested to take on part-time jobs with us.

Here, the government, they're all scratching their head and trying to figure out why our local graduates aren't getting employed. They talk about lacking the right attitude, a poor command of languages, maybe even to the extent of questioning the education system? I don't know. Whatever man.

But to ME - the answer is obvious - in addition to lacking all of the abovementioned, they lack the most important thing - COMMON SENSE.

Common sense is what people in common would agree. It could also refer to beliefs or propositions that in their opinion they consider would in most people's experience be prudent and sound judgement without dependence upon esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what is believed to be knowledge held by people "in common".

There you go. Without esoteric knowledge or study. That means, one need not be extremely well read and have multiple PhDs to own some common sense. But yet, there are people without them.

Some months back, we were short of staff at the company and I posted up notices on campus regarding a part-time vacancy at our office, to handle daily administrative tasks mostly. Response was slow, afterall, it IS a boring job. Nevertheless, we had some inquiries.

One of the emails I received read -

Dear sir,
I am Mohammad so-and-so Id no.1000512003.
I am applicant for that job.

Yes, that's it. A Three-liner email which addressed me as a "Sir", when my notices around campus read "Interested applicants to contact Ms. Doreen at..."

Does Ms. Doreen sound masculine to any of you?

OK, so back to that email. Applicant for what job? So you mean you are trying to convince me to hire you because you tell me you're an applicant? No CV? No nothing? I never replied to his email.

There you go - wouldn't common sense save his ass?

Then recently, I had to do some hiring again - this time, for promoter girls for a roadshow we're managing for the Blue Telco. So I sent emails out to a couple of students, and got them to help me pass the word around. Response was overwhelming! The RM25 per hour probably had something to do with it. I had calls from far and wide! And uh, late into the night too!

I've got these girls from universities and colleges calling up asking about the job, so yes, they are old enough to possess SOME common sense right, the sense to know when is the right time to contact potential employers. Apparently not. In the past 2 weeks, I've been receiving calls and SMSes at 10pm, 11pm and even midnight, and more often that not, the voice on the other end is meek and incoherent.

"Uh.. hello ah.. Miss Doreen ah.. I call for the job.. there, that promoter job you advertised ah.."

The first few times, I entertained them, I waited patiently for them to get to their point, and answered the queries nicely. The last few calls I received, I'm beginning to get impatient and go "Yeah, and..?"

During all these times, I always wondered - isn't calling people at the right time something that is "common knowledge"? I remember when I was young, if I wanted to call a schoolmate and to ask something about homework, my parents would give gentle reminders like, "It's 7pm, your friend and her family are probably sitting down for dinner, why don't you call later?" or "It's already 10pm, maybe her parents are sleeping and you shouldn't be calling at this hour".

So I always make it a point to check on the hour before I call someone. At work, I don't usually call people at 9am on the dot, unless it's a matter of life and death. I like some time to settle down, turn on my computer, and make a cuppa before I start the daily grind, therefore I assume people would appreciate the same.

My final straw broke last night when I was drifting off to sleep and my phone beeped ed upon the arrival of an SMS. At first, I thought it was The Drunk Friend who had earlier on in the night pestered me to go out for drinks with him. But it was an unknown number from another student enquiring about the promoter job. The time read 12:34am.

I sleepily typed out a reply - "Tip No. 1 when job hunting-contact potential employers at a reasonable time. But do email CV to me at...."


Addendum - Five minutes after I published the post, I got another SMS from the girl who texted me at 12:34am last night. I had told her to email me her CV. Her SMS this morning reads - "I'm sorry, but what's a CV?"


Posted by Doreen at 9:04 am


Monday, January 09, 2006

A Jagged Decade On

Nine years ago, Dant introduced me to this girl. She had curly, long, dark brown hair. I thought she looked like a horse. Her face was rather angular and long, and when she smiled, her set of pearly whites were neatly lined up inside her mouth that it looked like a mare grinning back at me. Physically, she didn't exactly fit the conventional definition of female attractiveness.

Many a times, we'd sit in his room, smoking our Marlboros and mucking around till wee hours of the morning, and more often than not, end up skipping the morning classes. Sometimes we'd sleep together on the mattresses strewn around the bedroom floor. Don't you get funny ideas now, there was no menage-a-trois happening there.

Horse-face always sang to us. She had this voice which was strong and determined, a voice unlike any other. When she belted out her tunes, I was always mesmerized by her lyrics. It was deep, passionate, realistic and raw. Lots of anger too.

Over the weekend, we were lazing around the room with the TV on. Suddenly, I heard that all too familiar voice. It was horse-face! In no time, there I was, still in bed in my pajamas and face unwashed, singing along to the songs she sang to us in Dant's bedroom many, many years ago. It was a documentary, marking 10 Years of Jagged Little Pill, the album that introduced her to the world.

My, my horse-face, you sure have come a long way!

I don't have that particular album, but I was amazed to find that I still know the words to most of the tracks from Jagged Little Pill after all these years. My personal favourite would have to be Ironic, followed by Head Over Feet.

I went out to Tower Records that very afternoon and began my search for the album, but to no avail. The friendly staff at Tower Records Mid Valley also did a check with the other outlets and then confirmed that none of the outlets have it in stock, and she's not sure if they will replenish it. There was an acoustic version of the album though, horse-face released it to mark her 10 year anniversary of Jagged Little Pill but I refused it because I wanted the original one, the one I grew up with.

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Sitting in bed that morning, listening to her lyrics a decade later, the songs were refreshingly new. Listening to her songs as a 16 year old, I had my own 16-year old interpretations and meanings which I associated with the songs. As a 25 year old today, the songs now carry a different meaning for me. It's natural I suppose. But the beauty of it all is that I still love songs from Jagged Little Pill, and amazingly I still relate to it, albeit on a different note altogether.

Fuck. It's been almost a decade. Time flies.

This entry is dedicated to 2 people: To Horse-Face, thank you for such brilliant music... and to Dant, "Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you, when you think everything's OK and everything's going right, and life has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up in your face"

Posted by Doreen at 3:40 pm


Children Catching Up Fast

Catching Up On Some Girl Talk

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Caught these photos a days back when Jia Wen received a phone call from her girlfriend back in Puchong. They were very good friends when we were still living in Puchong and the would talk over the fences for hours!

God knows what they talked or gossiped about in this conversation but I reckon that they were talking about this other boy who lives 2 roads away. I haven't seen this boy yet but they seem to know quite a bit about this boy. Perhaps they have had some "encounters" with him before and find him "attractive"? I don't know. But this teleconversation went on and on for about one hour. As you can see Jia Wen did change positions quite a few times while talking. Rolling all over the bed, standing, sitting squating. Of course there were laughs and some serious moments during the conversation. From what I gather from eaves dropping is that this boy of the topic is about 3 years old and his father drives a Mercedez S Class and is planning to go to St Nicholas Montessori in USJ.

Oh well, looks like my daughter is starting young. Imagine my phone bill and if this conversation lasted about an hour, imagine how long it would be by the time she gets to 16 years old?!?

Blog entry from The Star Citizen's Blog, posted by S.F. Goh.

Posted by Doreen at 10:26 am


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hazy First Year

Yesterday was the first day of school for the many seven-year olds around the country. The returning students are probably split between the excited ones who have been bored being cooped up in the house for about 2 months, and the remaining ones are probably groaning at the thought of having to endure another year of homework, tests and examinations! And oh, let's not forget those who will be sitting for major examinations such as the UPSR, PMR, SPM or STPM - they are the super stressed ones I believe.

A visual on the evening news yesterday caught my attention. The camera crew went to a Chinese school and filmed the ongoings in a First Year classroom. Parents accompanied their seven-year olds to school on the first day and you could see them fussing so much over their little ones, and of course, many were seen loitering outside the classrooms and peeking through the windows checking on their sons or daughters.

The children are a funny bunch. Some were seated silently in their seats trying to soak in the ambience, some were making fast friends and chatting amongst themselves. Some were jumping up and down waving to the cameraman and one even covered the camera lens with his palm! That's a cheeky little one who knows his privacy is being invaded by some nonsensical papparazzis! Of course, let's not forget those frightenend ones who were bawling their eyes out and running out of the classrooms!

Li'l Doreen reporting for Year 1 is hazy in my memory, c'mon it's been 17 years ago! Being the first born, I got everything brand new - my white shirt, blue pinafore, socks and shoes, textbooks, pencils, crayons, poster colours, pencil case, you name it. Lucky aren't I? My schooling adventure began at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Tebrau in Johor Bahru, and I was in class 1 Sutera. I don't remember if my parents accompanied me, but upon checking with mom momentarily, she said dad sent me to school on my first day and helped me through the registering / enrolment process before he set off for work.

I don't think I cried or got scared when dad left - that would be embarassing no? Heh. But I'm sure I did OK. Being the eldest amongst 4 girls, I guess I was a feisty and independent little one! I hoped I didn't get into my "big sister" mode and tried to mother all the crying babies in the class, if there were any? Hmmm.

Mom gave me some pocket money, and packed me lunch because she didn't believe in eating out. But that didn't stop me from indulging in in those heavenly ais batang which was going for RM 0.10! I don't remember who my first friend was, but I remembered being close to a particular Malay girl in my first year. Afzan was her name. She was a cute, chubby one and she looked so round in her white tudung. So cute you know? Heh. (If anyone who's reading this and knows of a particular Afzan from SKST in Johor Bahru, let me know! I would love to be in touch with her again!)

I hated the chairs in my classroom. Remember those old wooden chairs that creak? They had these gaps where two pieces of wood meet to form the seat where you rest your bum. I always got the flesh of my bum or thighs pinched by that horrid gap! Ouch! Then I remember the bright yellow bas sekolah. My bus uncle was a tall scrawny fella with a measly moustache if I remembered correctly. His wife would always be in the bus during after school trying to make a few bucks selling us tidbits on our ride home. Then there were the games we played and the little jingles we'd sing as we clap our hands to these little games. I particularly remembered playing getah with the girls. It's a rubber skipping rope made by looping hundreds of rubberbands together.

But it's all so far away now....

Primary school was fun. I made many friends but lost them all along the way because the family moved to Alor Setar when I finished Year 5.

Oh well. Shit happens.

Posted by Doreen at 11:42 am


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2006: Here I come!

Well, here comes another new year! Resolutions? Well, at first I thought I had none. But then, upon further consideration, there ARE actually a couple of things which I hope to achieve. Yes, I have some realistic resolutions, but nothing addressing addictions - food and tobacco - cos these are the toughest to stick to.

1. To lose a minimum of 5 kgs come March 2006. It will be an awesome birthday gift to myself. Been hitting the gym religiously, and I would like to keep doing it and hopefully come March, shed it off. 5 kgs would be minimum, but if I can hit 7 or 8 kgs, that would be marvelous! If I succeed to lose this amount by March, maybe I can set another target for June 2006 too! OK, that's another unrealistic one I think. So scrap that off for now.

2. Manage my finances. I suck at this. I really do. So I hope to be better at it this year. People talk of the importance of saving up for rainy days.. but in my world, it rains at the end of every month and there is no savings to shelter me from the downpour. But we'll take it step by step. Savings can come AFTER I start getting the hang of managing monies properly and not run into negative before the next pay cheque rolls in. OK, so maybe this resolution can read "Don't run into negative before the 30th of every month".

4. To try and abide by ALL traffic regulations during daylight hours and to not bribe any police officers when I'm being pulled over. You pull me over, give me a ticket. I won't try and sweet talk you into letting me give you some "kopi money". Ah, night time is different though. I may be having a drink or two (yeah right!), and really, D.U.I is a major offense and I don't think there is a ticket for this. You go straight to the police station no? And I don't want to be caught on camera doing ear squats in the nude, so I'll just bribe.

5. Be patient. I'm easily aggravated and irritated. Screaming babies, children wailing in public places and parents who don't give a hoot, promoters at supermarkets 'recommending' me to try this new shampoo or conditioner even after I said "No thank you", idiotic customer service personnel over the telephone, tele-sales personnel trying to sell me VIP cards of some hotel or the other even after I said "No thank you", drivers going at 60km/h on the third lane, cashiers who go "Can I round it up to RM127.20?" when the bill clearly states RM127.12 (Where does the RM0.08 sen go to? 10 customers = RM 0.80, 100 customers = RM 8 - You get my drift), old grandmothers who act old and fragile and quietly slide in front of you when queueing up for public toilets at shopping malls and then you don't really have a heart to tell them off because they're old and fragile, oooh, you know I could go on forever about the things that irritate me. So yes, all in all, I'll try and be more patient, to look past these things and well, these ARE Malaysians we're talking about!

2006, here I come!

Posted by Doreen at 3:20 pm