So, what next?

5 01 2011

Call it resolutions, call it ambitions, call it fantasies.
This year, the list is a small one. but I will explain why I need to achieve it… and what makes me think i can achieve it… and whether it justifies the SMART (Simple, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) criteria.

So, here goes the list:

1 – Buy a car:
This item tops my list of to-do items for the year. I have never needed a car this badly… ever.
Simple:  I know exactly what i need to buy.
Measurable: Well yeah, I can measure it with the parameters of finances, availability of desired car and availability of will to buy one.
Attainable: I think i have the necessary finances, now i need to explore the market and ride one back home.
Realistic: Absofuckinglutely
Time-bound: Although i got a whole year to buy one, but buying one within the first four months is what i seek.

2 – Pass a Certification Exam: 
I have been trying to finish this one for the past two years, I am going to make this happen this year…. for sure! 
Simple:  Yup, appear in a certification exam and pass it too. 
Measurable: I can measure it with the parameters of training, finances, and time.
Attainable: With necessary training (and hands on practice – if needed) I will be able to get it done.
Realistic: as real as me writing this shit 
Time-bound: Expecting to start my training no later than Q2, and finish in Q4 this year.

3 – Change my goddamn cellphone: 
Need to buy something that has GPRS, WiFi, Music Support and preferably a QWERTY keyboard. Not looking for something fancy, but my desirable gadget is currently available under 15K tag.
Simple:  Cellphone is a single object. No complex set of prerequisites needed to get it in your pocket. 
Measurable: Measurable within the parameters of finances.
Attainable: I am likely to get some extra income from one of the projects i did last year. So, am gonna use that money to buy myself a cellphone. 
Realistic: very much… as long as i get the promised shit from the project.
Time-bound: Q1 this year.

4 – Hit a Gym and get in some decent shape: 
You know you need to smarten up when you are in a photo-shoot and the photographer winks at you and gestures you to flatten that belly of yours so that the photograph could look decent. and the worst part?  you are the guest of honor!

No need to use the stupid SMART criteria to justify this. its a matter of honor. So, gym in the winter and additional activity of swimming pool in the summer. with serious intention of learning to swim, not just splash around like i did the past year.

5 – Feed one hungry a day (at the least)  
That makes it feeding 365 hungry a year. Not a big number but it has to start from somewhere. I intend to estimate cost of a meal that might be sufficient to feed one normal person. my estimate is something around Rs. 35-40 (though breakfasts are more cheaper). This types of initiatives are needed badly as current inflation has affected the laborer class the worst.  
Simple: Its only one time meal a day. and you dont need to serve it to the person. just pay it to a decent charity of neighborhood diner.
Measurable: Measurable easily as i intend to pay on weekly basis. i.e. pay for seven people once a week.
Attainable: very much attainable, with some strong will and greed of eternal reward, I WILL DO IT!
Realistic: sounds ambitious, but once i get started, i can make it happen.
Time-bound: Full year – broken into weekly tasks

6 – Learn something new – non techy thingy  
May be its the half a decade long desire to own and learn to play a guitar. or may be learning to speak a foreign language. the possibilities are unlimited, but it is not the case with my will.

7 – Spend some time with family.   
I know they look forward to seeing me on the dinner table, it is me – the ignorant son-  who always let them down. Perhaps it is time now to pay back the favor – to have the honor of their company. not to eat outside unless i have no other choice and actually spend some time talking to them.

8 – For the love of god, solve this Rubick cube of mine  
I wanna do this for myself.. and myself only.

9 – Recurring tasks   
Watch new movies, explore new music genres, bang my head hard listening to heavy metal, read more books,  dream about more $$$, keep blogging, keep tweeting…. etc


I wonder i start tracking all this stuff in MS-Project and treat it as a set of project…and publish periodic progress about these. Agreeing to this would mean more work 😦

The best of 2010

31 12 2010

The year 2010 wasn’t a very productive blogging year for me. It saw me transform from a personal blogger to a more ‘general’ blogger influenced by things that were happening around me. Although i cherish each post that i wrote, the following list take the cake.

DIY: Slaughter your own goat

Perks For Code Monkeys, How Much Is “Enough?”

Fresh Out Of A Secret Lab, I Give You…..

A Nation United…. For Pr0n

LHC : The New Hero In Town

20th May: Identify The Retards Day.

First Ever Off Saturday: My Thoughts

Valentines Mubarak

HK-101: Slacking Techniques For Programmers

Closure – 2010

29 12 2010

Coming to an end of 2010, its time to look back what has been accomplished, what was abandoned, what needs to be done in the days to come. Here is my review of my year in my own words:

The year 2010, another ummmm interesting year is almost coming to an end. The year saw me start my transformation into a ‘family-man’. Though, me – being the cloud natured wanderer of the interwebs didn’t like it at first, but thinking deeply would leave me no other choice but to face the reality and to resign to my fate.

I started this year with a sense of hopelessness. Life didn’t seem to have a purpose except going to work, wasting time on the internet and tweeting my miseries. Though it hasn’t changed much, but there had been some good moments which need to be acknowledged.

The year primarily was focused towards work. Since the beginning, i had been putting extra hours due to tough deadlines, egoistic management and general workaholicism. However, around the mid of the year, i decided to change my job and after much extra work and failed negotiations, managed to join my current job. So, I changed my status from ‘the guy in the spotlight’ to a ‘nemo’ at a big company. I now live in the shadows, tend to work and scratch myself at the same time. The work hours have been relatively flexible but they still are long. The good part: I get to enjoy Saturdays as a non-working day.

In monetary terms, the year hasn’t been a great one. I spent almost the same as i earned. Thanks to past savings, which came in handy and saved my ass. I switched job just because i could get some extra cash and be a little more stable, but <BEEP> this life, <BEEEP> this <BEEEEEP> inflation… i don’t <BEEEEP> even know where my earnings go. No extra projects this year (at least no money from extra projects) so all i had to rely on was the income from my day job.

Family.. To cut it short, my family now lives in Karachi – with me. Dad got sick and decided to take some rest to heal himself. Living back there made no sense and by earlier December, we finally wrapped up our matters from the city of saints and moved south to the city by the sea. Renting a house (first, finding a house which ‘matched’ the choosy habits of my aging parents) was a challenge in itself but we managed to get that sorted out too. So, I write these lines from the comfort of my own bed in my very own room. My sick parents are on their way to recovery and i expect them to be in a better shape in the months to come.

No studies ever conducted this year, no proper course taken (except a training offered by my company) and nobody is to blame except my sluggish attitude. However due to changed nature of job, somethings were learnt by me which are quite a decent addition to my profile as well.

and yeah, in the end… the wild horse was caught in a noose set by my family… and on 20th of December, I got on my knees and handed over an engagement ring to Sarah – A topic which needs to be written in a separate blog post with a separate state of mind.

So, with a mixed set of feelings, i am closing this year with hopes that the last two days remain as un-eventful that i dont need to write an amended blog post. Meanwhile, I will prepare my new year resolutions, and there will be quite a few ambitious statements there…

P.S: Thanks to mum & dad for giving me rays of hope and being a source of motivation to work hard.

P.P.S: Thanks to my close circle of friends who lent me their shoulders to cry on and their faces to yell at. God bless you all.

DIY – Slaughter your goat

19 11 2010

The following post is an act of satire. No goat was ever harmed by the mentioned way. (at least by the author). Unless you are a pro, do not try this at home.

Butchers are a rare commodity during the Eid ul Adha days. How many times have we been scammed and turned down by butchers (or cobblers, barbers, gardeners)? I am sure, most of us get screwed every year. Doesn’t that make you feel angry? don’t you want to remove the dependency of the butcher when you want to slaughter your cattle?
So, today let the joker inside of me present to you a slaughter method which removes your dependency on the butcher, in fact the method is so kick-ass that if performed with perfection, you will get your meat in your desired format i.e. meaty chunks, qeema, siri, paya etc. in no time at all. and above all, it is totally traditional (read: Pakistani).

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: “The Jehadi’s way of slaughtering your kettle”. Here are the steps you need to perform to get your kettle slaughtered and meat done in no time.

  1. Go to your local cattle farm or livestock market.
  2. Choose your goat of choice.
  3. Negotiate the price with the seller. If the seller doesn’t want to ‘donate’ you the goat in the name of God, kill him. God wills it.
  4. Load the kettle in a loading truck. This shouldn’t be the truck you use in your ‘routine’ operations as goats may trigger any hidden switch and could take you to your 72 sooner than you had imagined.
  5. on your way way back, grab a few suicide vests loaded with the latest ball bearings, nails, inflammable powder etc (the choice of filling depends upon how you want your meat served, minced, chunks or roasted)

    Protip: Suicide vests can be obtained easily throughout Pakistan. Just consult your neighbor mulla. you can also have it custom built depending upon your preferences.

  6. On the day of action, get into your best clothes. call a few fellow like-minded people over. dont forget a professional cameraman.
  7. Attach the vest with the goat. Make sure all wiring is attached perfectly. you don’t want to disappoint the goat and your fellow companions who are desperately waiting to devour the meat.
  8. Recite your dua’s of slaughter, and press the button.. (dont forget to get into a safer place prior to that).
  9. Here you go, your goat is slaughtered, and meat ready as you liked it! Ask your friends to collect the scattered meat and gather it for future use.

Optional step: Once you are done eating your stuff, yell out loud: “Hell Yeah MotherF***ers! on your face you nasty butchers, I am more bad-ass than all of you combined”.

Share the video with friends and spread the word.

Being a kid who once stared at goats

15 11 2010

Eid ul Adha is just a day away. Neighborhoods are flocked with a variety of cows, goats, lambs and camels. Grown ups and young ones both are excited about the animals they have bought for the sacrifice. After all, they should be excited because buying cattle in these times is considered ‘status symbol’. But my today’s post is not about the economic aspect of owning the kettle but rather the behavioral aspect of the most excited bunch – the kids.

Well, although I am old enough that kids of the block call me uncle, I had been a kid once and had gone through the same cycle as any other kid are going though, and this is what that used to happen inside my little brain:

We as kids always forced our parents to buy the cattle for us. We would never be so obedient ever in any other part of the year but the weeks before the eid. Getting an animal meant more than meat during the holidays. It meant ‘supremacy’ over other kids of the neighborhood. I grew up in a working class neighborhood. In those days, buying a goat means that parents of that neighborhood had to save the rest of the year to put aside enough money so that they could afford an animal of acceptable size and health. So, it was not every year that each family had an animal tied up in front of their house. So, whoever lucky family managed to buy a cattle, their kids would boast around and exaggerate the price of their cattle in front of whole neighborhood (well, we still do it even today) thus resulting in lots of disgruntled kids and a intra-family quarrels.

So, once the dad has agreed to buy the cattle for Eid, the next big question was what to buy? Cows are good, big walking icebergs of beef but far out of reach… and too powerful for kids to handle. Lambs are nice, cute but too girly.. and they would only ruin my efforts to look like a macho-man, so the remaining choice was to get a goat. oh goat! they were manageable, good looking, aggressive… and horny! just the perfect animal one would like to keep.

Soon, daddy has been convinced how a goat is the next best thing after the president of the united states and how it can solve this family’s current and future problems. and on one evening, we would hear the sound of ghungroo (a jingling bangle worn on ankles) in front of our house… and lo and behold! its a goat. all covered in mehndi, ghungroo and jewelry on head… just like a bride, but not really a bride – its a goat for god’s sake.

With this, would begin the era when the animal you bought will be your gladiator, the source of your pride (or humiliation).
What would happen if a bunch of men are stranded without anything (not even their clothes) in some remote island? who would be crowned king? who would be the manliest among them all? No, i doubt if they would ever choose the brainy one (certainly not at first), but the guy who is the most powerful (and well hung) will be unanimously crowned the king of the tribe. The same case applied to us and our animals. Each evening, neighborhood kids would gather around with their animals and would take their respective animals out on a walk which was more than just a walk. it was an ultimate test for the fitness of animals they would be judged for their beauty, their health, their agility etc. . we would not judge them for the amount of meat that they might produce, but for things that dont really matter. seriously, what kind of a question is ‘my goat is more beautiful than yours?’ but in our world, beauty mattered and we would do anything to make sure that our goat looked better than others. 
Sometimes we would just let our animals fight each other off… and sometimes the owners of the animals would join the fight for glory. and the rest of the neighborhood would cheer. It would also happen that proximity of goats with each other would raise emotional feelings among each other and they would break their bonds and would involve in goat-to-goat intimate sessions, this was the ultimate moment of pride and humiliation. scores of kids would gather and cheer the goats as they struggled to take the role of dominating partners. the goat (and its owner) who lost this struggle was perhaps the most ashamed person of the day. On a similar note, goats performing auto-fellatio and drinking their own piss would again be a source of awe for the most of the neighborhood kids.

Soon, this whole party scene was over and Eid day would arrive and with them would come the butchers. And a few hours later, the walking talking beauty pageant of a goat was nothing but a delicious bowl of cooked meat ready to be devoured.

Now, almost 20 years later, things haven’t changed at all. Kids still prefer goats while adults are into cows. sacrificial animals are considered more important than saying prayers five times a day and people are still trying to beat their neighbors by buying more expensive animals than their neighbors. and as far as I am concerned, I am not that enthusiastic about walking my animal out on the roads… but still savor the sight of goats struggling to hump their fellow goats… well, old habits die hard!

What ‘really’ happened to farmville?

24 10 2010

A friend of mine on facebook asked this question in his status:

Whatever happened to Farmville???? don’t see anyone posting about their "good ol’ farm" any more….

and suddenly, i came up with a ‘story’.

Here is my reply to the question which i have started to feel proud of

The Text:

the plague man… didn’t you hear about it?
it was just a fine morning like any other fine morning when the first chickens showed some signs. Instead of pecking onto their grains, they started to peck onto pigs. the pigs started to mate with the cows and a new breed of mutant pigbulls was born.
this mutant breed ravaged the farms with such ferocity that within days, farms started to turn barren, all their commodities destroyed by these pigbulls who were continuously growing stronger.

that was when ‘Zuckerbergulees’ – the supreme lord of facebook nuked farmville.

Legend says some of the ancient infected chickens and a handful of pigbulls might have survived….

[this is the preview of the script for the upcoming movie farmatrix – directed by M.Night Shyamalan]

Perks for Code Monkeys, How much is “Enough?”

4 09 2010

Whatever my current job title says about me, deep down inside I am a programmer. A die hard code monkey who has never been ashamed of his existence when people from business divisions and clients have treated me and my fellow kinsmen with arrogant attitude. I am here today by choice and so far i have never been remorseful of what i have done to be here… writing this.
Ok, thats enough for covering up esteem issues. Now to go to the real stuff that i am going to write in this blog post:

There has been serious misconceptions about our kind among the non-techies who know that “programming” is a profession. They seem to think that we are some sort of aliens who talk in languages from other galaxies (if we ever talk at all). They also think that we are living on the top of the corporate food chains by leeching resources out of them. These resources may be in form of salaries or in the form of trainings or resources that we programmers demand to fulfill our jobs in an ideal manner. While the rest of the world may call it leeching, for us these are called perks.

So, whether you are a fresh college grad who is looking for a career in programming (or any technical domain) or you may be a seasoned guru who is planning to take your life in your hands by switching to new companies, this article may help you know where you stand and what kind of perks are various companies providing for their technical personnel.

(Note: The below list is a compilation from discussion forums and may not be necessarily true as i have to believe what the member of the forum said)

So, apart from salary (which may vary according to your company, your own negotiation skills and technical abilities), companies can provide the following perks:

  • No dress codes (jeans, T-Shirts, sandals etc are considered OK.) – Though this sounds fine for programmers who are working for software companies but programmers working for corporate sectors may have to follow formal dress code.
  • Free Tea, Coffee (and if you are really lucky, free drinks) – ideally a coffee machine or hot water dispenser should be present in the common room with supplies so that people can help themselves.
  • Flexible working hours – you just finish the work assigned to you within the deadline and no manager should poke his nose in your matters.
  • Comfortable seating arrangement. – a great chair and big desk makes a helluva difference!
  • Company provided laptops. or in case of desktop computers, ergonomic keyboards/mouse and large display devices.
  • Subsidized cafeteria open during work hours.
  • Free meals in case you stay late (or in case you have to work on holidays)
  • Nap Rooms (in case you are spending extra hours on a critical project or just too lazy to go to home)
  • Exercise areas/sports facilities in company premises.
  • Company sponsored memberships at local health/recreational clubs.
  • Mileage expense reimbursement
  • Telephone expense reimbursement
  • Day care center
  • Subsidized concierge services like laundry, shopping, groceries, chores to banks like bill payment or electrician or plumbing services at home etc.
  • Working from home
  • Company sponsored credit card to be used on things that could support you on being a better programmer
  • Company sponsored trainings locally and internationally
  • Carpool or bike-to-work incentives.
  • Pick-n-drop services
  • Private rooms/offices for each one (irrespective of company hierarchy)
  • Buy any book or development tools on company expense
  • Company shares for discounted price
  • Paid vacations
  • Insurace (health, life)
  • Profit sharing
  • Annual/Project based bonuses

There are some additional perks which are intangible and they play a vital role for employee retention:

  • Great view from office.
  • Great, supportive mangers.
  • Nice coworkers.
  • Manageable workload.
  • No Micromanaging
  • No Timesheets.
  • No internet filtering or corporate firewalls.
  • Your opinion is valued.
  • Control over technical resource hiring.
  • A portion of your work schedule can be used on personal projects.
  • Liberty of choosing any development tools/languages.
  • Periodic changes in job responsibilities.
  • Quiet working environments.

Well, this is what i was able to find around and they very much summarize what people get for working in the technical sector. So, if you are negotiating for job just remember that with right skills, you can get lots of additional perks and you should know what you have to ask for.

Well, to be frank… most of these perks make me drool coz i myself am deprived of these. But we both know what we need to do, right?