Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dear diary (part 2)

OK, now I got your attention. I figured all text and no picture makes a tough read so there you go, a grainy snap of me working out in the gym in the Papua New Guinean camp that I am currently living in. So let's now proceed to what happened during week 2 of my second full rotation here.

I was informed that both the photo books I bought and spent a lot of time in my last break designing the layout of have arrived. I finally have a book with all the best pictures from my past photo shoots. This is a no-holds-barred publication, with no censorship. Full frontal glory at its best (some shots of me being more than a little aroused even, if you know what I mean). I can't wait to hold the books in my hands and gawk at how amazing I look (hehe)! Workwise, I am still chipping away at getting the documentation in shape to execute all the alarm changes that have been identified so far. It is a massive task especially when those changes have not been identified by me (ie. I lack the proper background) and the way the changes were summarised was done quite haphazardly leaving a lot of loose ends to sort out. That is what you get when things are done by people without the necessary skills. I will still work my eleven or so hour days and re-evaluate this closer to the deadline to see if I need to work overtime. Well at least I can avoid the dreadful meetings for the rest of my rotation, which is a win in my books. Because I cancelled those meetings that I fought so hard to organise, the grumpy old man came over twice in my office to "jokingly" say things like "your credibility is now zero", "hope you've learnt your lesson not to be so dogmatic" and "welcome to how the company works"—I guess he was unhappy how I forced him to change his schedules around those meetings. Whatever. This is just a job buddy, I am not going to stress myself over it. On the gym front, it looks like the faulty treadmill has been fixed. I worked out topless the whole time the cleaner was cleaning the gym so I guess toplessness is not something they object to. I shall continue then to work out topless during off-peak hours when the gym is empty.

The weather here is getting warmer and less rainy but because of the high elevation, the temperature is still maintained at about 25 degrees. It can get up to 30 or so in the day and down to 20 at night but it is not humid up so high (I am so glad I am not at sea level). PNG is in the Southern Hemisphere and so it should be hottest in the coming month. I had to go on site today to verify that an application bug has been fixed. I hate going on site because I don't drive and I need to depend on the very unreliable shuttle bus. I wasted twenty minutes or so waiting for the bus going to and from site today and that was time that will never be regained. However with the bug now fixed, I don't foresee the need to go on site again and finally I can concentrate on the enormous clean-up task at hand without any more interruptions! Just when I was happily working away in isolation, my boss came into my office and asked if I had enough to do. WTF. He just gave me a massive task and now this question? I think what he really wanted was to find out if I was encountering any obstacles that would prevent the deadline from being met so that he could help remove them. I told him I was fine—he is very concerned with this job as finishing it is his KPI. So I guess by successfully completing it I am making him look good and hopefully that will put me in his good books. But I am starting to get quite worried that I might not be able to meet the deadline so I have decided to wake up an hour earlier to work ie. I will be officially working twelve full hours per day. Hope with gym on top of that, I will still be left standing at the end of the day Wish me luck!

So there I was in the office, at work and buzzing away like a bee at 5am in the morning, that's a first. Hopefully this will work towards meeting that ambitious deadline. I need something desperately to prove myself and show everyone else that I am valuable enough to consider either retaining for other projects or maybe even hire as an Oil Search employee. Lots of contractors here hope that they can successfully jump over because of a higher salary, job security (so to speak, compared to say an engineering consultancy firm which I am working for), a good 4-on/4-off roster and perks like shares and bonus pay-outs. Fingers crossed. The day flew past quickly and I was totally in the zone throughout. When I am feeling like that I do not spend time chatting over lunch and I become very anti-social. This is me being productive and efficient so if people have an issue with that—tough! By the way, another of my Jetstar flight itinerary has changed and this is the price to pay for buying budget air tickets and booking flights too early. First the timing was changed for my flights with boo to visit the in-laws and today I was informed that there was a date change for the flight with my mum from Singapore to Melbourne! Seats had to be reconfirmed, which was a hassle. Looks like I will be spending a day more in Singapore in March and my mum will be spending a day less in Melbourne—it's not a huge change when you think of it. The cardio session before dinner tonight really hit the spot in relieving some of the tension built up throughout the day. Even though I was pretty drained by the time I finished work, I was still well enough to hit the gym so I guess I am all cut out for full twelve-hour days after all (we shall see after a few days of this).

Got called onto site at the end of yesterday to follow up on an action item I created. Well it's better to tie up all these loose ends earlier than later but this meant that the uninterrupted focus on my most important task had to be broken. I got into the swing of things yesterday so I went straight back into it smoothly after the disruption. I just hope that there will be no more of such disturbances! If that's any consolation, the test went largely ok although we missed a few things but for now I am fairly satisfied. I was actually a little surprised they read my action item list and decided to organise the test to close that item out. Looks like the system is finally showing signs of working. Still working away tackling this massive task which is proving to be more arduous than expected. You see there is a limited number of licenses (in fact there is only one) needed to access some applications necessary to  get this work done and people on site have to share this single license with the Brisbane HQ. People from the HQ think they have the sole right to use the license and they become nasty when I log on and kick them out. In actual fact, we have equal right regarding this. That irritating HQ person thinks I can access the applications another way but he doesn't know that that workstation is locked and I will NOT resort to begging people to help me unlock the door in order for me to work. This is getting preposterous. The funny thing is I accidentally pressed "ignore" when this guy's chat message came in most likely to whinge a second time. Maybe I sub-consciously did click that. Well, I am not going to go back and ask him what I missed. Anyway work frustrations aside, there is always dinner to look forward to. It's cocktail prawns night but somehow the locals don't like seafood too much. This is surprising as a lot of them are very poor and even the basic things like rice, stir-fried meat and vegetables served at the mess are luxury to them I was told.

Just realised I had two new blog comments awaiting moderation. They are from two of my most loyal fans—it's always nice to hear from them. Here's a shout-out to Chris and Michael—keep your comments coming! To make the day even nicer, it is Saturday today and I get to work in the weekend! Sounds strangely positive? It is not. Although you tend to lose track of which day it is and weekends no longer matter, there is a huge advantage of working in the weekends for me right now—I don't have people from the Brisbane HQ fighting with me to use that sole license! Even now in my second rotation, I sometimes forget that these people don't work in the weekends and get unnecessarily upset when they don't respond to emails. Other than work, everything else is pretty much the same. By the way, there is laundry service here that returns your clean clothes by 4pm. They use industrial-grade washing machines that really don't offer much protection to fabric so I use it mainly for uniforms. They also mark clothes with the room number to ensure that they get returned to the right people and they do it on the inside labels. Well I sent in my pyjamas for washing but it had a black label so they wrote my room number on the fabric itself on the inside and I am not happy about that. Also they sometimes lose clothing items. I have lost a company shirt and a pair of socks in my last rotation and just a few days ago, I lost another shirt. They do however turn up several days later sometimes so we shall see if they do, like how they did during my last hitch. Oh, and I met the first person doing weights today at the gym during off-peak hours but I didn't interact much with him as I am extremely anti-social when I am working out.

Looks like I am flying out of PNG a day earlier but that is because that grumpy old man and I have to meet both our back-to-backs plus some HQ people in the Brisbane office to get alignment on a very important issue (hence the need for a face-to-face meeting where every one is present). This means that I would also have to stay in Brisbane for one night. The date and time I arrive back home remains the same though. It has been more a year since I last stepped foot in Brisbane and I know it wouldn't have changed much—I wonder if I could organise a photo shoot with a photographer for that night... Meanwhile in the office, the work I am doing requires a lot of focus as it involves a lot of spotting and correcting mistakes and inconsistencies left by my back-to-back. Because I am in charge of implementing all the changes identified by him via a computer application, the input has to be perfect with no mistakes and what I got from him to work with was FAR from that. As a result of this focus, I get so drained and mentally exhausted by dinner time. Staring blankly at space while eating alone in a quiet corner in the mess sounds sad and unwholesome but it is actually quite soothing after a long day. Fortunately that tiring work is very solitary which is GREAT (I hate having to interact with people and worse still begging them for help)! Boo told me to cut back on gym so that I don't get too spent but I will never do that. As long I keep up with my vitamin-intake and healthy-eating, I think I will be fine. It is easy to eat well while in camp because there are so many healthy choices available. My favourite is the broccoli salad and fruit cocktail.

I have been dreaming a lot lately and these dreams seem to be unrelated to what happens during the day and I don't know why this is occurring. Last night I was watching a documentary debunking alien abduction and this is what I learnt. You see, our brain switches off motor control during the active-dreaming phase of our sleep so that we won't act on our dreams and hurt ourselves. This "override" is reset when we wake but sometimes this doesn't happen and people find themselves awake but unable to move. That could be why they start to think they are being abducted and controlled by aliens. Call it a coincidence, I woke up the next morning to find the door to my room opened! That never happened before and I remember locking my door before I went to bed!!! It sends a chill down my spine even now when I think about it. On a totally different subject, there is a very hot daddy who practically lives in the gym here. He is in charge of security and used to be in the army. His body is AWESOME! People tell me he used to be fat, which makes his sexy build even more amazing. He offers free personal training sessions to people and I didn't think much of it at first as he could just be really passionate about fitness. But I just heard that he is asking for payment from some and now it all makes sense. He is trying to build up his customer base by giving free sessions at first so that he can eventually charge them. Well he better not let the managers know this because he is using company facilities to moonlight and I am sure that is not acceptable. In the meantime, I will continue to perve at him. Hey there isn't much else to look at in the camp!

So at the end of the second week, I can finally start to look forward to the beginning of the end. Ision and I are going to visit his parents for five days during my upcoming break and I am so looking forward to relaxing and doing absolutely nothing! Watch out for week number three in exactly seven days.


Qing said...

Sooooo looonnngggg to read.

Chris said...

That's one great picture! And thanks for the shoutout.

Hearing about your daily routine is interesting. I haven't worked in 5 years (made redundant and now retired) so thinking back to the world of work is interesting to me.

Photobooks? Are you going to offer them for sale? (hint!)

Thanks again for keeping us informed.

Kim said...

Dajie you so lazy

Kim said...

Chris, glad you noticed my shout out!

Working here in PNG might sound interesting but it is actually not so. I sometimes imagine the day I can finally retire and the thought usually just stops there. I think I might have to work till the day I die seeing how everything is rising in price so quickly and ceaselessly.

Hmmm... the idea to sell the photo books is intriguing. It is in an A4 landscape format with 64 coloured pages with a glossy finish. How much are you willing to pay for it? Haha.

Chris said...

What would I pay? Your cost, plus a premium, plus shipping. Get back to me with a quote! Email is chris at christianphansen dot com

Kim said...

OK, so you're serious.

I bought the photo book when there was a HUGE price discount. I want to keep the copy I have now for myself.

The full price if I were to buy it again currently is $230 inclusive of shipping (I bought it from vistaprint.com.au).

I don't think that is going to be worth it for you and we haven't even added the premium yet!

Chris said...

Which currency is that? US$? AUS$?

Chris said...

Oh, and yes, I am serious.

Kim said...

That is in AUD$.

How much premium are you looking at? Hehe

Chris said...

AUD230 is around GBP121. How about £150? That's about AUD286.

Kim said...

OK, Chris. I will get on that website and find out the actual total cost plus shipping when I get home after Christmas (my saved photo book is back on my home computer).

I would need your full name and mailing address you want the book to be sent to. I can also give you my bank details for you to transfer the money into my account. Once I receive the money I will place the order and notify you to expect the book in your mail. Let me know your email address and we can continue from there.

How does that sound?

Chris said...

here is my email address:

chris at christianphansen dot com

I'll bet there might be a place here that will do the same thing for less. email me with your email address and the name of the place you're using. i'll do some research and perhaps we can do this for less by using a local provider here. after all, the pictures are digital so it can be done "remotely".

I also have whatsapp, skype, etc. so we might be able to communicate better by some other method.

Kim said...

Cool. I will send you an email and we can take it from there.

This vistaprint.com.au website uses its internal application to allow users to edit a photo book into a format that can be imported onto their servers for print. I have painstakingly added my photos and edited the format over many days to the way I want it to appear and then imported it to their website. I have the offline book in my home PC and I can always re-upload it to the website if I want to order more books from the same company.

With this setup, it is impossible to find another company to print out the edited photo book because the format is "proprietary" to vistaprint.

Am I making sense here?