Originally written on Sat 01 March 2014
1.03am local time
19°C (66°F), humid

IT’S BEEN a bad, bad hair day — and I didn’t know how to handle it. Bad Hair Days are not a usual fixture in my life. That’s okay because that’s what you all (ahem, all of you) want to read about anyway.

Flared nostrils

nostrils healthcentral-com

(via HealthCentral)

Dad said my problem was I couldn’t take a joke about money.

Not true. Price is what I can’t take a joke about. There IS a difference between money and price.

Money is about miserliness, and I’m no tightwad. Price is an objective unit of measure of your level of contractual obligations with respect to those who deserve no effing respect by any other measure. I know, Dad, because you were sometimes such a renegade used-car salesman flogging rusted-up cars in a rain-sodden area, and I learnt something from you.

But it does get up my nostrils (plus some other more precious orifices) when a person dicks with me about prices.

I don’t even mind unreasonable prices, since those could be made reasonable through negotiation (preferred, and cheaper to do) or a Southern Death Threat (which incidentally is also the name of a cool American rock band).

Most people get the impression that ink is the main bag for printers like me, mainly because of that phrase “Never argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” Not true. Our main bag is in fact paper.

For those who’ve never seen paper (because of self-imposed illiteracy or the Internet, both of which comes to the same thing), this is the whitish stuff, not so dark, in thin sheets that we embarrass our parents and our respective nations on with a pen (another fictitious implement of literacy).

Consider the current facts:—

Paper prices

€665.04 (US$921.28) per metric tonne (2,204½ lbs) of 100gsm coated WF (woodfree) paper reels

€830.31 (US$1,150.23) per metric tonne of A4-size B-copy 80gsm sheets

Prices as of 25 Feb at the FOEX (Finnish Options Exchange). MOQ (minimum order quantity) is 20 tonnes (British/European practice) or 100 short tons (American practice). That’s 20 × 665.04 = €13,300.80 per minimum order to the Europenis or 100 × 665.04 = US$66,504 to the Americ*nts.

Ink prices

Ink prices have considerable leeway, depending on how well or badly you hang with your supplier, but generally:—

Standard offset printing ink (any colour) is US$24.47 per kilogramme (2 lbs 3 oz)

MOQ is conventionally 600 to 1,000 kg (one metric tonne) and usually allows mix and match of colours (cyan, yellow, magenta and black). Bad attitude incurs higher prices and additional (mis)handling surcharges.

If it were you at those prices, d’you think you could take a goddamn joke?

Because phoque yeu, that’s why!

Did you know…?

Paper pulp problems could ass-wipe the whole paper industry overnight, and therefore the whole printing industry. Know that?

shredded paper documents via www.photos-public-domain.com

(Public domain photo, courtesy of www.photos-public-domain.com)

The paper industry is one of the most stratified markets in the world, meaning that each paper subsector is compartmentalised with relatively no overlap with other subsectors. So newsprint manufacturers make only newsprint, paperboards make paperboard, and so on.

For comparison, plasticware manufacturers can make anything. The two deciding factors are what kind of extrusion mould they’re supplied with by (or prefabricates for) the client and the quantity of product ordered.

The only primary component that cuts across the whole paper industry is pulp, the major ingredient of all paper products.

The USA remains the world’s top paper pulp producer. But ’Murica F*ck Yeah is likely to sink into some kind of recession this year (2014). Weakening corporate bond prices will be the first sign of that storm. Weak bond prices affect all kinds of paper-product producers more than most other goods manufacturers — no idea why.

Life last year (2013) for the global paper-products industry hasn’t been too rough a ride, even in the face of paper-packaging demand failures (because of bad weather depressing consumer demand) AND in the face of massive bookstore failures, newspaper failures and print publishing missteps (blamed on challenges from electronic media, an excuse laughable and absurd).

I know the electronic-media excuse is absurd because Asian markets last year have seen double-digit growth in paper demand. That compensated for the sagging paper demand in North American and European markets because global paper supply (not the raw materials that go into producing paper) comes from North America and Europe.

Paperboard for corrugated packaging was the only thing that kept growing (and at double digits) in North America and Europe. If paper producers aren’t making enough moolah there, they’re doing something srsly wrong.

Then again, what the hell do I know? I’m in the printing business, not the paper one.

From now till 2017, many in the paper industry (including allied outsiders like myself) see no serious problems ahead. Demand and profits will continue to be slow but stable (because, whilst trees are becoming increasingly scarcer, there is still enough to go around). Moreover, new substitution technologies are appearing, such as the one that pulverises stone (rock) into thin, flexible, writeable sheets but not very eco-friendly yet.

All that, barring brainless politico-economic jockeying by jock-strapped politicos and econoclasts and/or the forecastable problems such as natural climate disasters usually labelled as ‘unforeseen.’

Please pray the paper industry won’t f*ck up, otherwise I’ll die and you won’t get to read The Naked Listener’s Weblog anymore. (Assuming you want to keep reading it…)

*

The world’s most traded commodity is ink. Know that?

offset printing inks

Comes in tins (cans), actually … bought by the kilogramme
(image from author’s collection)

We all know ink is more expensive than blood.

(Interestingly, blood is the world’s only non-man-makeable liquid.)

Just look at your useless, designed-in-America-assembled-in-China/Mexico desktop printer and the criminal cost of ink cartridges for it (Agent Orange-immune Vietnam-made).

Printer ink (as opposed to the professional kind called printer’s ink) was trading at its usual level of US$1,000 a barrel (119.24 litres or 31½ gallons) at the New York Futures Exchange as of 28 Feb.

Alright, printer ink isn’t exactly printer’s ink, but you get the general idea. Your yee-yee ass ink cartridge demand in turn bumps up professional ink prices. China is ramping up demand for both types of ink, by the way.

Please … don’t argue with someone who buys ink by the kilogramme. Because phoque yeu, that’s why!

Stop making printouts unless absolutely necessary.

Recycle your goddamn ink cartridges.

Learn PDF and take screenshots.

Do everything on your $2,000 Facebook and pr0n machine called a computer, preferably with one hand on the mouse and the other on a body part (yours or your pet’s).

While you’re tossing yourself off with (and on) that $2,000 pr0n machine, pray that the ink industry won’t f*ck up, otherwise I’ll die and … etc.

istockphoto_10556767-british-pound-money-tree

(via istockphoto.com)

_____

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14069)

How comfy is your family screwing you?

Monday 19 August 2013, 5.28am HKT


TOMORROW (19 Aug 2013) is the fifth anniversary of The Naked Listener’s Weblog on WordPress. Not more than half an hour ago, Life handed me something that most people in their right mind wouldn’t think of as a gift.

This broadcast is based on actual events.

Yes, folks, it’s a TL;DR rant. Skip it if you want. I preferred it if you didn’t though.

banana lick

(via Blessing Eremionkhale)

You could just as well call this post The Naked Listener’s Top 10 Lessons Learned From Family Members — because it’s that ‘deep.’

(Adult language follows — one-in-a-million occurrence from me.)

Read the rest of this entry »

The anger and resentment, delayed for now

Sunday 11 March 2012, 1.01am HKT


(Updated 11 March 2012 to fix typos and errant phraseology)

9.17pm local time / 14°C (57°F) windy and overcast

AND RATTA has decided to delay her resignation until Monday or Tuesday next week, for the sake of earning two more days’ wages.

She was to have called it quits this morning.

There’ll be two more new hired hands coming in next week, so Ratta also wanted to make sure the new guns get settled in.

Now that’s what I can be responsible-minded.

That’s why Ratta — and not them lot — have been put in charge of high-end luxury sportscars worth millions of dollars at her previous workplace.

Advisory: This will hopefully be the last of my totally angry, totally emotional, totally out-of-order, totally vicious and totally brain-baffling post — quite frankly, even I have had enough of this angry crap.

* * *

I’m not emotional
— and don’t you say I am either

*smack*

I have a couple of highly emotional reactions about her workplace.

I too can be arrogant, establishmentarian, Tory (conservative), disciplinarian, prescriptivist — choose the words you like best (as Marc Antony said to Cleopatra) — especially to those peasants.

Pay attention! Class is in session!

___

You won’t even allow Ratta to answer calls on her own mobile phone.

Your workplace is an office. It isn’t a construction site or a railyard where answering phone calls could be dangerous.

Even some prisons have payphones and allow un-effing-restricted phone access by convicts.

Tell me exactly what kind of place you’re running, or you leave.

___

Your goddamn job is to teach young kids. F@#king learn your manners.

This is your principal job. You do this, or you leave.

___

Your website is a disgrace to the online community.

Your ‘professional’ organisation cannot even manage the simple task of putting in the right materials into the right webpage.

Your English-language blog page (based on your ‘en_’ URL) is f@#king entirely in Chinese, written by your ‘principal’ in poor bloody Chinese grammar and poor bloody Chinese diction.

By the way, when you’re head of an educational establishment for preteens, your proper title is headmistress, you fat, smelly runt.

This is your principal online task for your website. You do this properly, or you leave the online sphere (or be put out of it).

___

You are mistaken. You are not professionals because you are not a Professional.

A ‘Professional’ is a person who is trained and/or practising in the Professions.

Classically, there were only three: divinitymedicine and law — the so-called ‘Learned Professions.’

Today, architecture, engineering and (believe it or not) plumbing have been added into the Principal Professions.

A ‘Profession’ is defined as a vocation founded upon specialised educational training, the purpose of which is to supply objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain.*

* Paragraph 123 of “Architect Services” (Chapter 7) of a United Kingdom Competition Commission report dated 8 November 1977, quoting a New Statesman article dated 21 April 1917 by Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb. This definition is applicable worldwide to a greater or lesser extent.

The main milestones** that mark an occupation being identified as a profession are:—

  1. It became a full-time occupation
  2. The first training school was established
  3. The first university school was established
  4. The first local association was established
  5. The first national association was established
  6. The codes of professional ethics were introduced
  7. State or national licensing laws were established

** Perks, R.W. (1993). Accounting and Society. London: Chapman & Hall, ISBN 0412473305. Page 2.

Even the thoroughly brain-damaged Wikipedia does NOT even include educationistas in the lineup of Professionals:—

  • Accountants
  • Actuaries (i.e. insurance accountants)
  • Advocates (i.e. barristers a.k.a. trial lawyers)
  • Architects
  • Archivists (does not include librarians)
  • Chefs (does not fulfil criteria 5–7, thus does not qualify as a Profession as described above)
  • Dentists
  • Diplomats (career diplomats only)
  • Engineers (includes electricians)
  • Financial analysts (who are now too big to bail out)
  • Journalists (even yellow hacks)
  • Lawyers (i.e. solicitors a.k.a. non-trial lawyers)
  • Optometrists
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists (but not pharmacologists)
  • Philosophers (does not fulfil criteria 5–7, thus does not qualify as a Profession as described above)
  • Physicians (i.e. non-surgical doctors)
  • Pilots
  • Plumbers
  • Professors (only full sitting professors on tenure)
  • Psychologists
  • Scientists (does not fulfil criteria 5–7, thus does not qualify as a Profession as described above)
  • Social workers
  • Surgeons (i.e. butchering doctors)
  • Veterinarians

I am a Professional by training and qualification and general recognition.

Your work is not professional because you are not a Professional. This is your actual social and work status. You accept it, or you leave.

As you are not a Professional, I have no interest whatsoever in entertaining your unsubstantiated un-Professional opinions, which are worthless for my Professional purposes.

(Notwithstanding the foregoing, some of my esteemed readers are professional (and Professional) teachers and educationists, and I should hope they too object to your brand of professionalism in education.)

___

You refused to even speak to your new hired hands, even for something as simple and innocuous as casual chitchat.

Ratta sits around in the office with absoeffinglutely none of the usual office conversation happening.

If you are a jobhunter, this should raise all your red flags about a problematic workplace.

If you are an employer with a workplace like that, you are part of the problem of running a problematic workplace and not the solution.

Your principal job is to run a comfortable, on-going business for profits. I too run a business, comfortable enough, as profitable as it could humanly be. You are to provide a proper workplace with no undue stress for your employees, or you leave.

___

Your co-workers won’t even talk to each other while dining together at lunchtime.

Red flag. Clearly these people have deep-seated psychological problems.

Untalkativeness or refusal to have social interaction is a strong indicator of high sexual frustration and psychologically traumatised personalities. (I know: my first degree was in psychology and statistics.)

Basically, you need to see a doctor at the first opportunity because I srsly believe the children under your care are under threat by your general pattern of behaviour.

Frankly, I would prefer to put you down like a sick dog with a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum myself, but I understand from my legal training that would be slightly illegal in any jurisdiction.

Your lunchtime or whatever-the-hell break is when you’re supposed to be yourself. You do that, or your leave.

___

You deliberately and purposefully stretch things out in your teaching to the children so as to gain maximum possible revenue.

Your ‘company’ provides English-language tuition to very young children as a crammer (AmE: tuition school). But you also prolong the tuition on purpose in order to milk their over-anxious parents sold on the insane idea that kids could learn to speak English ‘natively’ (they mean ‘to speak like a native’) whilst growing up in a non-English-speaking territory like Hong Kong.

Your principal operating doctrine is that you’re a crammer. A crammer is to provide non-permanent remedial directed teaching to meet a specified need (e.g. examinations). You do that, or you leave.

___

Your three or four expat education or programme or whatever-the-hell directors have been living in my town only after the 1997 handover.

Unless you’ve been here before or are a belonger by birth or connection, you know jack shite about the Chinese and their children.

Ye olde Hong Kong flag

Were YOU here when THIS was here?
Then tell me what you know about Hong Kong, please.

In fact, you know bollocks about the Chinese
unless you were here when THIS was here.

 * * *

In fact, I’ve a mind just to sue those peasants just for fun and to see if my lawyerings skills are still up to scratch. Harr-harr.

Oh, yeah, for our non-English-speaking cousins, all this is what it means by the English phrase ‘having it in for’ somebody.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Updated 11 March 2012.

Images: Mobile phone via Schoolnet.lk | Facepalm via c4c | Faucet by the author | Arrogant face via Terra Ferma Media | Girlie chitchat via Glossy Icon | Uncle Sam Shut Up via Psychology Today | Old Hong Kong Flag (public domain) via Wikipedia.

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