Saturday, April 16, 2011

Annual family outing

Our family outing involves three cats and a dog on a visit to the vet's. They are long overdue for their shots and today happened to be a clear day on all our busy calendars.

The cats are like kids. We have to grab each one and stuff them in their individual portable cages before we can load them in the car. That IS the standard procedure, right? But as always there's the howling, the screaming and tears -- mostly from me, as Kaiser (such a disagreeable boy!) gashed my finger with an ill-placed claw. I'll wear the scar for a few days, I'm sure. Otherwise, everyone arrived safely at the vet's eventually, singing lively choruses in the trunk all the way through the whole trip.

For routine cases like ours today, a trip to the vet is a laugh-a-minute. But while we were there, it happened that a couple of other pet owners had to make the decision to sign the dreaded pink form. Maybe that's why pets don't like seeing the vet. For us, we get sick, we consult a medical practitioner, we go home with bags of pills and stuff. But for pets, a trip to the vet could potentially mean taking one last ride in the car. :'(

Friday, April 15, 2011

System error

Starting to rethink the utility of content. Firstly, because I'm now on the committee producing the stuff in large, predigested quantities to be regurgitated for the benefit of our little fledglings. Secondly, because after today's in-class exercise I've come to the conclusion that for some pockets of children, they are truly lacking in intelligence.

Before you haul out the pitchforks and torches, I don't mean 'intelligence' in the sense of being able to process information (although that outcome has yet to be empirically tested). I mean that they are deficient in 'intel', knowledge. In other words, they're ignorant. There, I said it. Now you can pick up your riot gear again.

All the processing routines I've instructed them in to date is sound, but while my attention has been on designing the synthesis, analysis and application software, the kids do not already come equipped with even a basic hardware reality interface input module. Translation: today when I tried booting up, my system immediately crashed with a "No keyboard detected" message.

Prior knowledge processes new knowledge, but today's flood of new information from the prescribed data package was almost entirely new knowledge. It was neither accessible nor manipulable because there was little to no prior knowledge to contextualize the new knowledge in. Attempting to run a processing routine with no/minimal/garbled input results in a divide by zero error. Exactly what happened this morning: unintelligible printed text in, unintelligible scrawled text out. Brilliant.

Despite my disdain for 'airplane' games involving baby food, I have to accept that many of our kids haven't yet grown the requisite teeth to chew grown-up food on their own. True, we're working to rebuild them from the inside, but we can't let them starve in the meantime. Mashed carrots, anyone?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Communication let me down

I take back what I said about one of the non-majority parties needing an image consultant. It's the majority party that needs one more. Seriously, they're going with 'incentivize the vote' as their campaign platform? Instead of making us feel good about voting majority, this approach sounds like we're being made to feel bad about not voting majority.

Guilt is a poor marketing tool and though many mothers wield it with alarming efficacy, it simply isn't the best motivator of confidence for children who are growing up.

If netizens are turning unfriendly towards them, it's not because of what they're doing or even what they're saying, but rather how they've been presenting national agenda to the voting public. Good news or bad, delivery is the key to win support. They claim the best plans and the best interests of the nation at heart, and the most forward-looking mechanisms in place that work, but communication isn't their strongest asset right now.

They'll have to fix their message, or more and more people will want to change the messenger.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Getting stiffed

Francis thinks he's being discriminated against at Changi Airport. His flight to Perth got cancelled and...

"...after waiting for more than three and a half hours in the queue, we were told to go home and return the next day for a confirmed flight and to claim reimbursement for taxi fare.

As we were leaving the counter, a hotel representative approached us and asked us whether we were passengers of QF72 and if so, he would take us to his hotel for an overnight stay and the next morning, after breakfast, drop us back at the airport. As we were not told of this arrangement by the counter staff, we approached them; they quickly gave us an identity tag and asked the hotel representative to take us to the hotel.

We wanted to seek an explanation from the counter staff regarding the practice of asking local passengers to go home and foreigners to stay in a hotel..."

Wait, it makes sense for locals to go home because they have a home to go back to. And foreigners are likely to stay in a hotel because that's what hotels are for. This claim on grounds of discrimination is farcical!

And now Francis wants compensation from Qantas for his stay at this hotel.

Dude, how is this Qantas' problem? Some shady character offers you an night in his unnamed hotel. He doesn't claim to be a representative of Qantas, so he's likely to be a hotel tout whose pitch you fell for. In fact, as you say, the counter staff already said that you could claim for taxi fare, but you thought you could squeeze out a free night's stay in some cushy hotel at Qantas' expense too. Nice try.

I'd sympathize with you, being a fellow traveller getting fleeced everywhere I visit -- but trying to turn it around and trumping up a frivolous claim against someone else to compensate you for your own gullibility is a touch too desperate. I'm sorry for your loss, but the best comfort I can offer is, Kuah Kuah!