Another long walk, spoiled

Last night I went to see Justice League at the cinema in the Nu Sentral mall in Kuala Lumpur. I like going to the cinema when I get to KL because on the first night of a work trip, it’s a good antidote to the rigours of travel, and there’s a good burger joint nearby. Unfortunately, I only had 16 ringgit and the burger place only took cash, *and* the nearest ATM is 5 floors down, so there was a lot of rushing around and sweating before I got to see the film, but it was two hours of costumed silliness with a plot that wasn’t as duff as Suicide Squad, and not so grimdark that all you wanted to do was die. Continue reading “Another long walk, spoiled”


The second day of our conference was today, and there was much less sitting in freezing rooms, listening to somebody talk. That was partly because I was standing up in a freezing cold room, making people listen to me talk about moats and walls and CPMs, and then later on we had a team building event where I performed a rap over a generic hiphop beat. I guess you had to be there. (My team was called "James’s Minions" which is terribly self-aggrandizing, but I didn’t even choose the name. Some people are born to egocentrism, some grow into it, and some have it thrust upon them.) Continue reading “Performances”

Lunch at the Marina Bay Sands

Today I was at a conference all day in the Marina Bay Sands. I packed a sweater so I wouldn’t get too cold, but since the conference room was packed with people I was actually too hot rather than too cold.

The last time I was at a conference at the Marina Bay Sands, I was nonplussed by the revolting food that was served – given that you’re in a gold-plated hotel complex built without any expense spared, you would expect the food to be decent rather than unmitigated misery, a bland nothingness that tasted of disappointment and sadness. Learning from my experiences, I skipped the buffet line of heated trays and just scoffed dessert, because you can’t go wrong with raspberry chocolate cake, macarons and creme brulee, and that worked out just fine until I had a tarrible sugar crash mid afternoon.
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A day out in Kuala Lumpur

At lunchtime today, I took a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. This isn’t very far at all; you get in your seat, you look out the window, they give you some peanuts and a small tub of orange juice (for this was a Malaysia Airlines flight rather than a low-cost carrier), you eat the peanuts, they give you some more peanuts, you eat those and well, and then the plane lands.
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Daddy Daughters Day

Each year there’s a Bring Your Child To Work Day, which translates to an afternoon of the girls running amok in the office. If it were to be an accurate depiction of my daily duties, I suppose La Serpiente would sit at my desk and make a combination of obscene gestures and awkward puns about data, while Destroyer raided the microkitchen for snacks. But since that might be frowned upon by any right-thinking person, instead the kids are entertained with child friendly activities.

They both got to paint, and to make their own soap, both things they enjoyed but I fear gave them an unrealistic expectation of the world of work (and probably tells them I spend my days goofing off) but better than that was the Balloon Room.
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Another day, another hour spent asleep on the floor of the bedroom of one of my daughters. This time at least I was tired both from jet lag and from going for a 90 minute run this morning. 

Today I interviewed three different people for a job. I ask the same battery of questions to all the candidates but it’s always surprising how wide a range of answers I get. Sometimes people give brutally simplistic solutions to problems. Sometimes they raise deep philosophical objections to the questions themselves. And sometimes they just ask me to repeat the question lots of times. 

I do sometimes worry that the questions I ask will find their way to for other applicants to pore over. A truly paranoid person would create questions that were the interviewing equivalent of the cartographer’s fallacy, though all that would really tell you was which candidates were cribbing notes from Glassdoor. Does that count as cheating? As careful preparation? Should I stop asking people “what’s the biggest thing you’ve ever eaten?” or “do you want to fight?” (But in my line of work, it’s essential to be able to recite from The Bad Tempered Ladybird so I don’t see a way out of this quandary.)

In a previous role, I put all my interviewing questions on my blog. Which nobody read. There’s something about security through obscurity that has at least aesthetic appeal. 

Cold days

This morning, still feeling tired, I forced myself to go for a run; one that turned out to be quite tough. I then made life harder for myself by going to work in shorts – after all, I do live in a tropical country.

But I work in an air-conditioned office, and it feels like it’s calibrated not by anything as obvious as a thermostat, but by an equation relating to the heat generated by several hundred people being in the office at once. Since there were less than ten people on my floor today, I think that explains why it was freezing cold and my body was constricted, shivering to try to keep me warm.

Or I ate too many crisps, and that’s why I felt rough when I got home this afternoon.
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