September 27, 2011

To descend freely by the force of gravity

Today has been a rather interesting day for me. It started off at 7.30 a.m.when I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock. Instead of pressing the snooze button like I normally do, I woke up bright and early, eager to seize the day. I was feeling cheerful cos my sister and her bff Carol had just arrived the previous night.

Another thing that excited me today was the fact that I had a meeting with both Yoda and Obi Wan. I don’t normally make a big effort to dress up for these meetings but my mood today was exceptionally different.  Today, I was feeling a little vain cos....

I had these nails to flaunt!!

I finally got Kay’s giveaway gift yesterday and had been playing with the goodies ever since. The stuff in her gift box are awesome! I had so much fun painting my nails and pasting pretty stickers on them. Thanks for the special delivery Kay! :)

Now where was I? Oh yes. Meeting the jedis right? So I got to the office at 8.50 am and started getting my stuff ready for the meet up. I spent the whole hour doing last minute checks on my analysis and the print out for the transcripts. Every 10 minutes or so I'd stop to admire my oh-so-pretty nails and started imagining Obi Wan's reaction to them.

After an hour of printing and daydreaming, it was time to make a move. I walked out with my sling bag and quickly I headed to the UCSA cafe where the three of us promised to meet. When I got there, I decided to walk in through the main door.

HUGE mistake.

The main entrance led to the main area of the cafe where most of the mingling and eating takes place. So. If one were to make a spectacle of oneself, one can easily get an audience of 30-40 people here. That's exactly what I achieved today. Can you guess what happened?

I fell flat on my butt. 

It wasn't a ladylike fall. It was more like a Humpty Dumpty kind of fall you know. A great, big, messy fall. That is probably the best definition for the word HUMILIATING. I wasn't hurt or anything. There's more than enough padding back there. But damnit, it was so embarassing! I know I'm a bit of a klutz but falling at the cafe is just a tragedy.

So what did I do? Well, after uttering a panicky OMG, I picked myself up, dusted off my bum and walked straight to the usual spot where Yoda sits every week. If it weren't for the meeting, I would've left the cafe in a heartbeat. I didn't look around to see if anyone was looking or laughing. I bet they were but I chose not to bother.

One thing made me feel better though. Yoda and Obi Wan missed all the action cos they were both late for the meeting. Thank God for that.

I have psychologically recovered from the fall but I don't think I'll visit the cafe anytime soon. It's too malufying.

September 26, 2011

Argh DST, how I loathe thee

Daylight Savings Time started at 2am yesterday. Like everyone else in NZ, I've lost an hour's sleep setting the clocks ahead. 2 am became 3 am. 2.01 am never existed. Confusing right?

So who's the moron who started DST?

It was George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight. In 1895 he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift, and after considerable interest was expressed in Christchurch, New Zealand he followed up in an 1898 paper.

Info taken from Wikipedia.

Why Do I hate DST? Let me count the ways.

1. It messes up my biological clock.

2. It messes up Alden's biological clock.

3. I lose an hour's sleep.

4. A cranky Alden loses an hour's sleep and ends up being sleepy in school.

5. There is now a 5-hour time difference between Malaysia and NZ (previously it was only 4 hours). This means skyping with family and friends during weekdays is close to impossible. By the time they get home from work, I'd be in bed.

6. It takes me a month to adjust to this insanity and after a few months (sometime in Autumn), I have to readjust when the clock moves backward.

It's a really stupid idea. Changing our clocks ahead one hour has totally no effect on the actual hours of daylight. It’s just a psychological thing. I prefer knowing the standard, real time than pretending it’s an hour later.

September 22, 2011

Told Yoda the truth, I have

Yesterday, I had a brief meeting with Yoda. It started with our usual semi-formal discussion about the progress of my work, what I've done, what I struggle with and the development of my thesis. Since I haven't started writing Chapter 6, I decided to talk about the SALT analysis findings.

Yoda asked me to summarize what I did, so I listed down the types of errors I found and the ways in which I have coded them. To aid his comprehension, I also provided examples from the essays. After 5 minutes of talk, I saw an unfamiliar expression on his face. It read : What the hell is she talking about? Okay. So maybe my explanation was a bit disorganised. Regardless, it felt good to know that my Jedi master was capable of being confused. So how does it feel like to be in my shoes? I asked him.

Well, silently of course.

So anyway, since the old jedi  didn't say anything, I continued talking about the codes and the interesting findings I came across. That's when he broke his silence.

"Now explain to me the difference between an error of utterence, EU and  word order, WO."

Hmm. Easy peasy.

Me: The code [WO] is a word-level error code used to mark words that are used in the wrong order. The code [EU] is used to mark errors that cannot be associated with a specific word...or when the whole sentence just doesn't make sense.

Yoda: Right. *knit brows*

Yoda: So how would you code She horses rides?

Me: Pardon me?

Yoda: She horses rides. Is that an error of utterence or word order?

Crap! Mesti juga mau tanya soalan muhau.

Me: Ermmm...Both I guess. It's a word order error and also an EU. I'm not sure though..

The jedi smiled.

Yoda: Indeed. It's a bizzare sentence. She horses rides is more like Yoda-speaking in Starwars. We might not find any in the transcripts but anyway, have a chat with B and get some feedback. Also, have a think about the apostrophe error. Bla bla bla bla bla.

I wasn't listening anymore. I was dumbstruck cos he mentioned the word Yoda. I never told him or any of my colleagues that he's Yoda. Our discussion continued for some time before he finally said

"Is there anything else we need to discuss?"

Me: No..But there is something that I want to tell you..I hope you won't be offended...

Yoda: Oh God...*feigning a worried expression*

Me: I actually call you Yoda. I mean, when I talk about you, I address you as Yoda. All of my friends know this......When you mentioned Starwars I just had to tell you.

Yoda senyum sampai nampak semua gigi dia. Btw, ada 1 gigi atas hilang.
Yoda: Golly!! So you have been talking about me. Now if  I'm Yoda, that makes B...

Me & Yoda: Obi Wan Kenobi

Yoda: Indeed! Then you must be... Luke Starwalker?

Me: Yes! *over-excited*  Luke Skywalker not Starwalker. I'm the apprentice!

Yoda: Aahh.. but of course.. So I'm Yoda *squares shoulders* Mmmm...I like that. 

There was an akward pause after that but only for a few seconds.

Yoda: Alright then. I've got to run cos I have a class at 11. See you next week I will!  

Me: Yes! See you I will! 

And that's how Yoda found out that he is Yoda. Who would've thought that I had the guts to tell him? Hehehe. That was the best meeting EVER.

September 21, 2011

Girls' Day Out

It’s a ladies outing.. assume that we are good friends (Something like the girls on Sex And The City movie) and we want to meet up at 1 of the nice fancy bar and restaurant on the evening.. But before that we are going to shop at some nice boutique 1st.

Thanks to CathJ's guest blogger segment, I now know the existence of Polyvore. She started this craze about having a virtual meet up and got us all shopping at the virtual Polyvore shop. Everything's free! Hehehe. This is probably the most exciting segment I have EVER joined. Here's my outfit for the big meet-up.

I had a lot of fun doing this. You should do it too!

September 19, 2011

My Little Makeup Artist

Every morning when I get ready for work, Alva would sit on the bed and watch me religiously. The thing she enjoys most is watching me put on make up. She'd observe my every move and mimic whatever I do. When I'm finally done she'd smile at me and say "My turn mummy".

Yesterday, I let her play with my second make up bag (the first one is off-limits) while I took these candid pictures.

She has become more and more girlish nowadays and I can't help but feel delighted when she poses and prances in front of the mirror. It's so fun to watch. The moment she's dolled up, she'd run to her daddy and say "Look daddy! Look! Vava lawa." Hehehe.

Ahhh...I'm so in love with her :)

September 18, 2011

Blossom Fever

I have a huge obsession for cherry blossoms. Whenever I see a cherry tree, I’d stop to ogle at its beauty and start snapping photos like crazy. These past few weeks, I’ve been wanting to take more pictures of the blossoms but the cloudy weather has made that impossible.

Today, I was in luck. The weather was absolutely perfect for a spring day adventure. Right after lunch, I dragged everyone to Hagley Park to experience the beauty of the blossoms. Although hubby wasn’t keen at first, I could tell that he was in awe with the sight of the white Sakura trees. The kids enjoyed themselves too.

With my dad :)

Although I don’t have any photography skills whatsoever, I kept taking photos of the blossom whenever I had the chance to. It is so addictive. These are my top 3 shots of the Sakura.

I won’t be here next spring so I’m trying to soak up as much of it as I can :)

September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: King of fruits

Discounts on durians at China Town. Kepingin juga mau makan tapi macam berbulan-bulan suda kena simpan dalam fridge. Tapunnnn.

September 12, 2011

A copycat in every sense of the word

Last week, I had a meeting with Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi, my second supervisor. Obi Wan and I talked about the different types of errors found in my participants' essays and the ways in which I should code them. I got a bit depressed at the thought of coding 130 transcripts but when Obi Wan gave me a software called SALT, I was instantly motivated. FYI, SALT is a very powerful tool that can help me in my research. All I need to do is copy the transcripts into the SALT spreadsheet, code the errors and then let the software do its magic. Excited and fired up, I spent the next 4 days analysing essays.

While I was doing all this boring stuff, I took some time off to read my favourite blogs and some random blogs. I came across one particular blog which I found from links and started reading it with great interest. Since I was still in the SALT-editing mode, I became more aware of the writer's language and style. And for that reason, I noticed that some of the posts were distinctively different from the rest. It wasn't until I had read a couple of entries that I realised something wasn't right. 

To confirm my suspicion, I chose 3 distinct posts which had more subordinate clauses and complex sentences and highlighted the ones which seemed unauthentic. I then started googling these sentences on the net to look for common phrases. Now before I go on, let me set something straight. I know I got a little crazy there and I totally understand if you're creeped out by this but rest assured that all I wanted was to get the truth. Plus, I was bored as hell.

So. What did I find? A shocking discovery.

I found out that the 3 chosen posts were plagiarised from 3 different American blogs; a different blog for a different topic. FYI, the blog I read was written by a local. What I found shocking was that these posts were copied in a wholesale kind of way. Not just a sentence or two but a whole entry. The only changes made were the dates, some addition of sentences and inclusion of photo(s).

I know I shouldn't be bothered cos it is none of my business. Don't I have better things to do? Kerja pun bertimbun so why be a penyibuk kan? As my friend Carol pointed out, I am not the internet police. But then I can't help but feel apalled by this. I'm no expert when it comes to blogging or writing but I know that plagiarism is ethically wrong and illegal.

It is SO uncool!

That's all I wanted to say.

I shared this story with Carol today and she said, "Well Mrs. imitation is the most sincere form of flattery". I guess that's true. But then, how would you feel if it happened to you? Would you be flattered? Would you??

I doubt it.