January 29, 2009

Mabuhay Ang Short Time

At a time when people are losing their jobs, factories are closing, and everybody is struggling to put food on the table, it's good to know where the Philippines' Supreme Court priorities are. Click on the post title to find out what it's all about.

January 19, 2009

Emergency Numbers in Switzerland

My wife and I were eating some grapes last night and I contemplated on what will happen to me should I accidentally choke on one of them. I asked her if she knew how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, even though I already know the answer, which was no. She told me she will instead call 911. Of course, 911 is something which is used in the USA, but Switzerland also has equivalent emergency services. Unfortnately, more for me than for her, she also didn't know the emergency numbers in Switzerland. So I'm posting here some information on what to call in case something untoward happens. Note that this is the current known numbers, and that you should get in touch with your local Gemeinde if there are any specific contacts for your area. The Gemeinde also issues information mailed to your address either at the end or early of the year.

117 - Police
118 - Fire Department
144 - Ambulance
1414/1415 - Helicopter rescue (Rega)
145 - Poisoning emergencies
140 - Emergency roadside assistance
143 - The helping hand (I have absolutely no idea what this is about)
147 - Support for children and kids

There are also some miscellaneous services available. What I do not know is if dialing these numbers will incur you some additional cost on your landline bill.

161 - Talking clock
162 - Weather forecast
163 - Road conditions and traffic news
164 - Sports and lottery results
175 - Telephone fault assistance
187 - Avalanche reports
1600 - Regional/local information
0900 77 hh mm - Automated wake up call (Replace hh with hour and mm with minutes on what time you wish to be called)

Now that you have these numbers, there shouldn't be any reason why anyone has to die of choking by grape.

January 14, 2009


I was terribly disappointed at my office colleague yesterday. We were having a staff meeting and he was his usual self: laying blame on everyone but himself, making it appear to the boss that he's the only one working in our group, and basically, just showing how big an asshole he really is. I was really pissed at the fact that he makes it appear to everybody that he's the only one in the group who can accomplish anything. I wouldn't really make a big deal out of it, except that even outside of our group, he would usually push himself as "the man" who knows everything about our processes, and that he's the only one who can make things happen.

I have to admit, he gets things done. Unfortunately, his working style is only effective with one group of people. He tried, unsuccessfully if I may add, to use this kind of working attitude to two other groups and failed miserably. This was the reason why our manager decided to give the more challenging task to me. Unfortunately for me, success has been slow but I think we all believe the reason for this is that those two groups are really hard to push.

So after our staff meeting yesterday, I have decided to get out of my colleague's way. If he's really aiming for the top position in our group, he's welcome to have it. I have decided to get out of his way. I would rather move to another group, hopefully to one with no competitive jerks.

January 09, 2009

What would you do for fun if you had to give up tv, movies, electronic games and the internet?

For the past couple of years, I feel like my life has revolved around exactly just that: internet, movies, and TV. I had taken up photography for the past three years, and I feel it has helped me get out of the house and do something not related to anything electronic, although I do have a digital camera, and that means sooner or later, I would have to use my laptop to download the pictures and upload them to my Flickr site. And that's the problem. No sooner than I had downloaded my pictures then I start browsing the internet for good ways to tweak my pictures and one thing leads to another then I find myself surfing for something totally unrelated to photography. Lack of discipline on my part, I guess.

So to answer the question, here are some things I would do this year that is not related to TV, movies, and the internet:

1. Pursue photography even more. But this time, I would remind myself not to get drawn to the internet whenever I start photoshopping my pictures and uploading them into Flickr.
2. Learn how to play a musical instrument. I still want to learn how to play the guitar; and there's this shop I found in Brugg which sells that drum-like thing which you sit on. Yes, the one you usually see when bands have their acoustic sessions.
3. Learn how to ski or snowboard. Fat chance this is going to happen soon, but my office colleagues are bent on teaching me.
4. Write more. This blog needs the much needed attention from me.
5. Read more. I know English books are expensive in Switzerland, but spring will come soon, and with it, flea markets. Or tap my friends in Couchsurfing to see who's trying to get rid of old books.
6. Spend more time with friends. Most of my friends are not into anything electronic. They just want to hang out, have a couple of drinks. Not really good for the beer belly, but at least I'll get a chance to travel more outside Brugg.

Activity Equals Accomplishment? NOT

You see it time and again in the work place. People make side remarks on how you come late into the office, even though the company has a policy of self-time management. They comment on how you come in at nine o'clock and leave the office at five-thirty. On the other hand, you see other people who come in at six in the morning and leave at seven in the evening. Does that mean that people who spend ten, twelve hours in the office are more productive than people who don't?

Then there are those guys who send countless emails everyday. Most likely, they're the same guys who store tons of supposed work in the network drive. They're the guys who writes reports of whatever they do. Report this, report that, presentation this, presentation that.

In all of these cases, I talk about people who mistake action or activity as a form of accomplishment. While I don't really care much about how someone decides how to perform his or her work, I definitely take issue on people who say that they have accomplished something just because they sent an email, or created a file in the network drive, or, of all things, they spend twelve hours in the office. Accomplishment, for me, is a result that meets the group's end goal. Anything short of it is not. And what pisses me off more is when people tout they have "accomplished" something just because they spend more hours in the office than I do. And what pisses me off most is when these people get rewarded for it.

January 08, 2009


Wifey and I spent our Christmas and New Year holiday in London. I guess you could now call me one of those guys who fell in love with that place. Understandably, being there during Chrismas holidays, the streets were just so packed with people. We only had the chance to ride empty trains in the mornings, when we would wake early enough to beat the crowds in the tourist places, and in the late evenings, coming back to the hotel late at night after watching a West End musical. Nevertheless, we felt so much in our environment: crowded places where you could shop the whole range from name brands all the way down to Baclaran-type nicknacks, and food from all over the world.

Unlike here in Switzerland, where everything seems to run perfectly, one of the reasons why I like London is because of its imperfections. It felt normal. Trains break down, you see people arguing heatedly, there are real traffic jams, those things. And coming into London, I heard about how some places are dangerous because of knife crimes. That made me a bit wary, especially when we were walking from the train station to our hotel, but at least it made me feel normal.

I can't even describe what we did, where we went to. All I know is that we had a good time watching the musicals, doing the tourist things, and even shopping. If it's any indication how good London shopping is, I managed to buy three pairs of shoes... and I don't even like buying shoes!

We missed our flight going out of London, so we had to buy a new set of return flights. So that means we will be going back. Sooner, hopefully rather than later.