Dancing Matt

The baby in DH’s office just twittered that he just danced with Matt today. He is at a conference in Seattle, which DH did not go to.

I wonder if DH would dance with Matt if he was there.
I know I would !!

( I still tear up watching this. Such simple manifestation of how much we all have in common as humans. Peace, joy and humanity. Good on ya, Matt! )

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Song: Praan
Sung By: Palbasha Siddique
Music By: Gary Schyman
Lyrics from:Rabindranath Tagore’s Poem of the same title (translation below)

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

The mis-Intuition of Intuit

Intuit did it again. Yes, that giant accounting software company. While their product has served me well, every year their departments never fail to provide a farce for me. Last year, it was the call centre people, this year – it is the marketing flock. Here’s what happen.

I am currently paying a subscription of about $37 a month for their accounting and payroll product. That totals to about $400 a year. The accounting software industry works by yearly renewal. Every year, you have to purchase their new version because of annual changes in tax tables. So this year, I am using the 2008 version – next year in Jan, I have to subscribe to the 2009 version etc.

Then yesterday, an Intuit marketing guy called and enthusiastically offered a ‘great deal’ where if I subscribe to another product – the Support Plan (basically, thats a Help function call centre) for $19 a month, I will get the 2009 version FREE. Now any basic logic will ring these numbers for you – the fact that I will save $400 next year since the 2009 version is ‘free’. I asked him what he meant, and he said…’You will get the 2009 version FREE’.

Then my ‘editing tyrant’ self (this is a name that DH endowed me with. He thinks I am an editing tyrant during post-production. NOT ! (nb to WanSan: stop smirking) decided to ‘edit’ what the guy just said 🙂 I asked him how much will I be paying next year in Jan 2009 – and he said, “Oh mam, as I mentioned you will get the 2009 version FREE. You will be paying $37 + $19 a month.”

Hello?!! Did you just say what you said??! I asked him the question again, and like a true marketing robot who memorised product briefings and sales scripts religiously without making sense in their own heads, he repeated the same lines. Now at this point I was so tempted to say no thanks and hang up. But I didn’t. There was something youthful in the guy’s voice, and my sisterly instinct kicked in. I NEEDED to tell him what was wrong with the briefings he has been given. Blame it on my kepo instinct too.

I told him, if I don’t subscribe to the new product he is selling – I will be paying $400 next year for my 2009 version ($37 x 12). If I subscribe to the new product, I will be paying, and I am quoting him -($37 + $19) x 12. Thats $672 for me to get a 2009 version AND the so-called Support Plan. In other words, I will still be paying for my 2009 version. So how could they say the 2009 version is FREE?

The guy was silent for a few moments. And then harriedly offered to email me the Terms and Conditions, ‘so you can understand the offer better’. He did email me , and I read it. And trust me, it was full of marketing smoke.

So here’s what I don’t understand. Intuit sells accounting software. They jolly-well know that people who used their products are basically, those who analyse and breathe costs. So hiring marketing goons to craft such marketing goofs, is a joke and errr…not very smart.

Surely they can afford to hire marketing pros who can smoke better? Grrrr.

Protecting The Treasures

Today is the day that I killed. ALL of them…and I spared no one.
I didn’t know I had a ruthless energy in me. It was wicked. I didn’t even bat an eyelid or think twice about the mass murder. In fact, I couldn’t wait for my online language class to end just so that I could start the deed. While a classmate of mine, halfway across the world, was busy reading out answers to an exercise, my eyes were fixed on the plants just outside my window. “I’ll KILL you. ALL of you!”, I chanted.

Those damn Aphids. And in between, I discover Spider Mites too. They have been infesting Tomajoyah Momok and also the miniature rose bushes that Mak planted while she was here. And slowly, the Aphids have made their way to the purple Petunias and the Gerbera Daisies too. There were so many of them…small, tiny and green. So it took a lot of squinting for me to see them.

So I finally bought my bottle of insecticide yesterday and read the instructions diligently. It says the best time to kill the pests is in the early morning. What ?? I had to wait ?? Man, I feel like dousing the plants with it there and then. Better still, soak the entire plant in the insecticide.

You see…I am VERY protective of Tomajoyah Momok now that it is the ONLY tomato plant that hasn’t been a victim to any accidents. Fazimato has its head chopped off…so she had lost a few potential fruits. She is only bearing a grand total of FOUR yellow LemonBoy tomatoes now.

TomatoMinah Zanne, the Cherry tomato, is now regrowing and slowly building its repertoire. It had a bumper crop before the wind toppled its pot on one freaky-Vancouver-weather day and broke all the stems into pieces . All of its bumper crop (except for 2) were sacrificed.

So whats left ‘original’ is the Beefsteak tomato variety that is Tomajoyah Momok.

Last week, when I first saw the Aphids crawling on it mercilessly, I was soooooo mad like a mother hen would when she sees a fox approacing her chicks! I was determined to scare the Aphids away…and I saw a ladybug too making its way into the plants. Since the ladybug feeds on the Aphids…I thought fine, nature will take care of things.

Then one fine morning, Busu walked into my room and proudly proclaimed,” Ah Uja…Busu dah bunuh dah kumbang tu!” (translate: Uja, I have killed that ladybug for you). I was dumbfounded. There goes my natural-born killer of Aphids.

And so I researched and comtemplated between buying some ladybugs from the nursery, or getting me some insecticide and spray them all. No doubt, and I am not proud of it, my impatience dictated the latter. I couldn’t just wait to see Tomajoyah Momok destroyed. I didn’t want to wait for the ladybugs to do its thing. They are not exactly fast either. I think I see them staying still more than they move. I NEED at least ONE of my tomato plants to flourish in its original state. And so the killing began this morning.

Good riddance, Aphids. See you no more.

They went up a glacier

Yes they did. And crossed a mountain’s twin peak with little huff and puff.

All of the more than 70 years of hard work, pulling through tough times, raising a total of 10 kids and many more trials – manifested majestically when they decided to trough the twin peaks of Mount Sulphur and ride the snowcoach just so they can walk on Athabasca Glacier. Both are in the Canadian Rockies.

I have been to both the glacier and the mountain a few times, but was never drawn to go up to the glacier nor walk the hundreds of steps to cross the two peaks. I am happy to be at the foot of the glacier, thank you, camera in hand. I am well-geared with Sordel snowboots and all, but no, no mountain or glacier will make me walk up, or down, or any way you want me to. I’ll roll my body on the ice at the foot of the glacier voluntarily (which I did last year!) but not to go up to its middle peak.

But, alas, the neneks did it. Mak and Busu showed me, in style, what azam means. They didn’t bat an eyelid about taking the snowcoach up the very glacier that sits on the massive Columbia Icefield, feeding 3 oceans! And they didn’t show a single strand of wanting to turn back when the steps crossing the twin peaks were becoming more and more treacherous, and tough on the breathing. Oh the embarassment for me!
All in all, you can tell they had an ahem…adventurous stay in their one-month in Canada.

Speaking of which, my Tomato Project faced a tough challenge half way through their stay. One of the plants, whom I named Tomato MInah Zanne fell from the ledge due to high winds and its long stems broke into many pieces! I nearly cried when I saw it because the plant was already yielding a lot of tiny fruits. I was also speechless as to how I will tell the story to my friend, NS, whom the plant was named after. To make it matters worse, the plant fell on top of another tomato plant, the Fazimato. The hit was so hard that Fazimato’s head was literally chopped off.

So as I as picking up the broken tomato stems and putting them into the garbage bag, Mak insisted that replant a few of the stems into a new pot. One of them has 2 small fruits on it, ‘Cucuk ajer…baca Bismillah. Insya’allah dia bertunas balik..” She must have seen the sadness in my eyes as the tomato project was one way I wanted to impress her initially with.

Two weeks passed, and the botak stems were showing signs of life. Small leaves sprouted and I watched in amazement how TomatoMinah Zanne literally came back from the dead!

And here’s the treat. The 2 fruits that were left on one the stem ripened just in time on the very day Mak and Busu were due to leave for Singapore. They picked it, and ate it.
And my entire Tomato Project came to a sweet close.