Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Any questions?

I've always had sympathy for people who have something uncommon or prominent about them, which only allows other people to bug them with the same thoughtless questions or comments over and over again. Like, I'm sure Ryan Stiles is sick of people telling him how big his feet are or how Pope Benedict must be fed up of being told over and over again that he looks exactly like Senator Palpatine aka Darth Sidious (or the evil Emperor from Star Wars for all you non-scifi people). I guess everybody has a few questions that they're tired of answering. And like everyone, I also have a list of the ones that I hate the most, which I have taken the liberty to mention in order of most hated to the least.

1. Why are you so thin?
People never get tired of asking me this. I could give them a hundred different reasons but they already have a perfect explanation fixed in their heads. Which beckons the question: why bother asking me something that they already know the answer of (i.e. according to them)?

2. What do you want to do in life?
Another one of my least favorites, probably because I admittedly don't have a clue on what I would want to do in the next year or so, let alone have a game plan for life in general. So whenever I'm put forth this question I respond with a very precise picture of my plans in the most succinct narrative possible. To be more exact, I answer by saying "I don't know".

3. What are you good at?
This question has many forms, including "What are your strengths?", "Do you have any special skills?" and "Is there anything at all that you can do right?". Typical answers include "Is using hair gel in 5 different ways a skill?", "I know the value of PI up to 31 decimal places (which I seriously do)" and "I can scan all 50 channels of cable in less than 10 seconds".

4. What have been your achievements so far?
This can be a tricky question as it could either be intended for academic, extracurricular or professional achievements. Lucky for me I have none in either category which allows me to use the same answer in all situations.

Writing these down makes me feel that I'm better off than the Pope. At least I don't get asked if I can discharge electricity from my arse or if I have a light saber hidden underneath my robe or if I'm the most evil being present in the universe... Now I can go back to memorizing the value of PI to the next 20 decimal places in peace. May the force be with you!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

First days at work

Not only are they boring, but they’re damn tiring as well. Especially when you start work after a good period of doing nothing, it’s even more difficult. I think the main reason for this is that you’re not used to sitting in a single position for long, or for that matter, even short periods of time. At home, you’re more accustomed to the comfortable position of lying down horizontally after every 15 minutes of sitting, standing or walking (I won’t even mention running).

Few exciting things happen on first days. Firstly, your boss doesn’t want to dump work on you all at once, and then you also don’t know your co-workers well enough to be too friendly. And going through company manuals or orientation material isn’t my first choice for literature. Probably the most difficult thing is in trying to stay awake. You don’t want to show that you’re lazy, well not on the first day at least, so you battle hard to find something interesting to keep the subduing powers of sleep at bay.

One thing I sometimes do to fight boredom is to try and make different words on a calculator. For some reason I always end up with the same words and I don’t even see the point of trying, but somehow the whole thing gives me a kick every time.

Another thing I like to do on a calculator is to enter the value of pie to the 11th decimal place and then perform weird arithmetic functions on it. Again, it doesn’t really make sense, but I can spend a good 7-10 minutes doing that. Sometimes I also like to see how many calculations the calculator can take before giving an error message. Like for example, I will fill the screen with 9s and then add a 1 to see if the calculator will give an error and if it doesn’t I’ll keep on adding 1 or some other number until it finally succumbs.

If you have a computer without any internet, there’s little that you can do to keep yourself interested for long. But for some of us it can be a good tool for appearing to be busy. MS Excel is probably the most useful amongst the very basic software available to the everyday office worker. Just type in some random words, accompanied with some random numbers in a few columns and you’ve got something going. Writing something in MS Word may arouse the suspicion of your colleagues or your boss as people tend to look at what you’re typing. But no such thing ever happens when working on Excel. The thing is so damn boring that people try to keep themselves away from looking at the screen whenever an Excel spreadsheet is on.

The thing about the office is that when you don’t have any work, you wish you did to make time move faster, but when you do have some work, you wish that you didn’t so that you could just laze around and enjoy the scenery from your window (yes, I have a window). I guess it’s just another one of those things when you just can’t win.