The Sinking Ship

>> Thursday, August 31, 2006

So everybody is looking for a new job. One of my friendlier colleagues went to an interview at another non-profit company that offers better salary and benefits. He is interviewing for an account payable manager position, if he gets the job he'll be getting a raise, more vacation time plus he'll be working flex time. There are only 2 people interviewing for the job and from the looks of it, it is very very possible that he'll get the job; he was well prepared, charismatic and he sent the handwritten thank you cards right after the interview. It'll be hard if he's gone, but I do hope he gets the job.

Other people are applying for jobs in big corporate companies, other non-profits, universities and hospitals. I have been putting that task in the back burner. The thing is I've been in this organization for more than 5 years now and due to the lack of training, I think I'm quite behind on a lot of technology stuff, so I'm not confident enough to apply for IT jobs. I never got any Microsoft certifications and I pretty much give back all the things I've learned post-graduate back to the university. Though, I still think my math skills and my analytic skills are better than average, maybe I can apply for relevant jobs like business analyst, financial analyst or statistical work.

I know a few languages, maybe that would help out. Since the Chinese market is the next big thing, I'm sure a lot of company would be looking for people who speaks Chinese. My job experience here will probably help me too. One of my friends used to wokr for the UN and she liked it a lot, maybe I can look for jobs in the UN. Their official languages are English and French, I'll be set if I keep up with my French. But if I do work for them, it'll mean that I would have to moved to New York and the living expenses are quite a bit higher there. I really want to know what's gonna happen to me, and with my visa status. I hope I can find another job soon.


Foul Mood

>> Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This morning I decided to wake up earlier so I can start walking to work. It's not really that long a walk and I can save $6 everyday if I do that instead of taking the cab. I got to the office before 9am, and I immediately start working. In come the building manager saying "This is the part of the problem!", pointing at my half-opened window. My operation manager came in behind him and sheepishly explained that the bathroom window was opened last night and the rain that came in caused a small flood in the men's room.

The building manager was a smuck with an attitude that everytime I see him I want to smack him in the face. Since I'm one of the few men in our office, he proceed to interrogate me with questions to see if I left the window open yesterday and told me the window should bnever be opened. It was not the right way to approach me, especially not in the morning. So I told him the reason I opened "MY" office window is because I was cold, there's no way for me to turn the air conditioner off, there's no way to control the temperature in the office and that's why I open up my window. As for the window in the men's room, it was kept open all year long. If he needs the window to be shut all year round, he can either paint it shut or nail it shut. He said that he shouldn't have to do that and we should tell people not to open the window again. I snapped. "I really don't have time to stand by the men's room window and tell everybody who entered not to open the window." He can put a sign there, we share an office with a doctor's office, there's no way I can tell every patient that come in, not to open the bathroom's window. He can tell the cleaning crew to close the windows when they clean, and I shouldn't have to teach his how to manage the building.

The whole incident put me in a foul mood since this morning. I mean, what do they want from me? I work my ass off everyday and other people are just lounging around. Why are they still harassing me with these little shitty thing? It's a good thing that he ran after I showed color on my face, I could really have chewed his head off. Maybe I woke up too early for my own sake, that's what put me in a fighting mode. But people who knows me, know to not mess with me in the morning.


Ye Have Little Faith

>> Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My colleagues and I were discussing the various charities and causes that we have done personally. Giving back to the community is nice but rarely done in my part. I'm too skeptic. I work in a non-profit that receives donation sometimes, but the donations are being set aside as "unrestricted funds" and more often than not it's being used to pay for my executive director and other staff's traveling fees and meals that no other funding would pay for. I'm sure we are not unique in this situation and I don't have a problem with using these donations to increase the salary to already unnderpaid staff, but to use other people's good intent for other people lavish lifestyles, such as airplane tickets to a conference that they won't even attend or meals at a five-star restaurant is, how should I put it... Wrong!

We used to do the AIDS walk every year, after we realized that only 25% of the raised funds goes to service and the other 75% goes to administration costs, we don't walk no more. Plus, HIV nowadays are not as deadly as they once were, so nobody cares as much. Katrina, 9/11 and breast cancer seems to be good causes, but they all seem so distance. If there any causes I would walk for, is getting George W. out of the White House. But for a lot of reasons, I don't believe in donating money.

I used to give money to homeless people who ask for money on the streets, until somebody told me not to because they are just gonna use it to buy drugs ans alcohol. Other places I've been has triads that organize a group of poor old people begging on the streets and take their money as an income. I never understand why churches pass that basket either, and the story they tell about poor man gave the church every he has is far more impressive than the rich man sharing part of his fortune is such a scam. I don't trust organized religion. Nowadays with all the child molestation cases that the Vatican don't even condemn the priests for doing it. I think the churches' moral values are a little crooked.

Some department stores would set up a X'mas tree where children's wishes on them, so you can buy things in the department store to fulfill those wishes. I know those children are from less fortunate families and all, but that is such a shitty scam from the department stores, you have to buy those things full price from the stores, and most toy drive only accept new toys. What's the deal with that? Getting rich from people's good intentions? Hell, nah.

I really want to do some good though. I do believe in the boy scout's motto "Do one good thing a day." I try to be nice to people, I try to smile. I donate can goods and clothing every year. Buy the homeless guy a breakfast sandwich. I believe that a person has to try their best to support themselves first before asking for help. If they seem young enough and can walk and stuff, I won't bother. They should just get a job and work like the rest of us. I don't like to work either but I am still doing it. Asking for money is easy, earning it is the hard part.


End of Round One

>> Monday, August 28, 2006

So I broke my diet. I did it because of my friend's birthday was yesterday. I had cake and udon and fried rice. Feel guilty really, although in the beginning I said I will stop my diet yesterday, but I did want to keep on going until I lose enough weight. And because all the fruit compote that is left with the birthday party, I made almond french toast this morning for the whole office, originally I thought I would just wrap the fruit in crepe along with whipped cream and nutella, but the supermarket don't sell crepe anymore and I'm too lazy to make it myself, so I did french toast instead. They liked it, the whole stack of 25 was gone in 10 minutes. I still have the udon to get rid of though, I'll give it to somebody for lunch and get a salad myself.

There's no way to know how much weight I have lost during the course of the diet. Since I started with my half-broken scale and ended it with my new scale. But my guess is about 15-20 lbs. That's good, I think. Right now I think I still want to lose 30 more lbs. It's very ambitious of me, but I tired of carrying a belly around. My colleague is ready to officially join the gym and he wants me to do it with him. it will cost me $59 a month if I join for a year and $69 a month if I do a month to month thing, given that I might not have a job soon I may do the month to month thing for now. I remember joining a gym class after high school, that and my summer job keep me in good shape.

I need to start waking up early and walk to work. At least I would save some money, so I don't have to take a cab every day anymore. That would save me enough money to pay for the gym. As for the diet, I would kick start again this week, although I haven't decide whether I should get right back on it or if I should wait until next monday so I can have some stuff that I was missing out on before getting back in my diet.



>> Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dreams are wonderful stuff. I enjoy all of my dreams and I'm fascinated about them. The details in your dreams are all made up in your head, it all comes from your unconsciousness. It's like a movie that you self-directed, self-written and you are the star of it. It's so entertaining and so relevant to your daily life. The strange thing is sometimes you can't even remember what you dreamt about, all that's left is the lingering emotions. You search through your head and all the details are gone, drawn back into your subconscient. How peculiar?

My favorite ones are the ones which I can fly in them. That has been my wish since I was little, I want to fly. Doesn't matter if I grew a pair of wings like Warren Washington III or propel myself through the air like SunGoku, I just want to fly. When I was little I had dreamt that I was traveling on a flying carpet at night in London, that was nice. Of course, I had dreamt that I was a superhero too, I'm a guy after all. And of course, if I dreamt that I was a superhero, on of the power I had whould be flying. Unless that was the kind where I use a metallic robot. Every asian boy must have dreamt those kind of dreams, those robots were in all the best cartoons.

I used to have sleep paralysis. A reoccuring dream in which I woke up in my bed but I couldn't move my body or say anything at all. I always scared shitless when that's nothing worse that can happen to me. I would kinda scream and yell inside and eventually snap out of it. After doing some research online, I realize that it is only a dream. So when that happens the very next time, I wasn't scared anymore and just because I knew that was a dream, I flew up in the air and left. After that my sleep paralysis was cured. I'm self-conscious like that. Sometimes I would realize I'm in a dream and slap myself in the face. When it doesn't hurt and I know I'm in a dream, I start to do things that I want to do. It never lasts long enough, but it's a good way to relief stress.



>> Saturday, August 26, 2006

A lot of people like to invite drama into their life, I try to stay out of it as much as I can. I understand the value of drama, it's a release of emotions, it's entertaining, and a lack of drama can make life dry. I was against Mary J. Blige when she said "No More Drama", I was against Sinead O'Connor when she said she was not gonna scream in her songs anymore; they are singers, the need to express their emotions, it's a part of why we love them. But I don't want drama in my life because I don't want to hate anyone around me or talk behind somebody's back.

If I can choose I'd like everyone around me to be good folks and I want them all to prosper. I want all of us to do good, I don't want to envy people. But then that wish is like winning the lottery, it's quite unattainble. After all there ARE assholes in our lives and we can't build a wall around ourselves fast enough to block them out.

I'm usually very laid back and reserved, but when someone provoke me I can go pretty far out, even to an uncontrollable state. That's why I steer out of drama. When I need to express my emotions or stored up anger, I rather listen to music, watch TV or play TV games. Maybe there's why I bitch so much on this blog, typing out my anger, this should be healthy.

I do think people needs drama in their lives, or else life would be too boring for them. The only thing I hate is when people jump to every opportunity to create drama. They read into every little comment you make and try to make a big deal of every move you make. It's like having paparazzi and tabloids surrounding you. It's a stressful environment when people feed on this kinda thing. The only thing you can do is befriend them even it's against your will. "Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer."



>> Friday, August 25, 2006

There's someone living in my city that looks exactly like me, I'm convinced. Actually I know, because I've seen him in person. He hosts a local flim festival every year, I saw him on stage, heard him talk, he's real! Although, he doesn't sound like me and I only see him from afar so I don't know how tall he actually is and I don't quite seem to remember his name. My friend saw him on stage when we were attending the film festival, he thought we look similar but not exactly alike. He thought the guy look not as good as I do, he says I have a poor self image. But I didn't think the guy looked bad or anything, I just thought we look alike.

Every now and then there'll be someone coming up to me, saying "Didn't I see you somewhere before?", random people. A cab driver said to me one time, "Didn't I drive you to... the other night?", maybe it's just that "All asians look alike" thing, but I'm pretty sure it's the movie guy, my "Doppelganger". He must be a nice person, everyone that had mistaken me for him seems pretty happy to see me.

It'll be nice if I can get to know him and be friends so I can pretend to have a brother, I always wanted one. To learn how his life is, what his background is, it may give me some answers to my "What ifs". But how am I supposed to befriend him? "We look alike, let's be friends???" I mean how ridiculous would that sound? But somehow I'm quite comfortable with the fact that there's somebody would looks exactly like me walking around the same town, almost happy, really.


Gym Here, Gym There...

>> Thursday, August 24, 2006

One of my colleagues forced to to go to the gym with him. There's this new gym around the office called Sweat (appropriate but ironic), and they have a free 7-day trial thing that we signed up. One of my best friends gave me a 3-month membership at another gym as a birthday gift before and I did sign up at that gym for two years. I might be enthusiastic at first but after that it gets boring then I avoid going completely.

Actually my problem with the gym is mostly that there are like tons of people there fighting for machines and equipments. And the machines were old, the air conditioning non-existant, no music and no TV. It was like paying a few hundred dollars for a second-grade run down gym.

This new gym is great. Tons of machines, don't have to fight for it. And each and everyone of them has a little personal TV with lots of cable channels. I really like it. I might just sign on for a longer period after the 7 days and really start exercising and hopefully losing more weight.

So me and my colleague went together Monday and Wednesday, just for 30 minutes cardio. It was quite intense, I can't barely move afterwards, that's how bad a physical state I'm in. My thighs still hurt like hell. Interestingly, I discovered that my diet is having a strange effect on me, I get tired nowadays easier. I thoguht I was lack of sleep, but when I eat something I feel a lot better. I guess it makes sense to other people but it's the first time that I feel this way.

Also I sneaked a little bit of bread and rice in my mouth yesterday, chewed and spat it out. That's so sick... But I still want to go on this diet, maybe until the end of September.


Lion King and such...

>> Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I went to see the Broadway version of Lion King with a friend last night. It was in town for the past two months, but I don't really keep track of this stuff. So when I realize that they are actually in town, it's already the very last week of their stay. I bought two tickets and it costs $169. Actually for the past few days I have been online and try to find the best seats, but all there's left are seats that are either behind a column or those that are far, far away. I called them up and they say if you get tickets two hours before the play at the theaters, they are going to be $25 each. But when I got there the line was so long that i rushed to a ticket center and got the better seat. So me and my friend were like 6 seats apart, but we found seats they are pretty close and not behind anything.

The play was quite nice, I've seen some footage of their creative costumes before, so I was expecting to see really elaborate things and they delivered. I have to say I was touched about how they integrated the aspects of Africa into the show. Of course, everybody knows the storyline of Lion King and we have all heard the songs before but seeing the story being told in a different way is very delightful and they did add a lot of "ethnic" chanting in the play. Since I don't understand the language they use, there's so way for me to know whether it is "African" or not, but I've heard that Disney is pretty good with authenticity. Maybe not quite, Mulan was quite horrid. But the entire feel of the show was quite nice.

When the whole show was over, me and my friend when to eat in a neighborhood restaurant. It was like 10:30 pm and I nearly fell asleep on the table. It wasn't a bad restaurant, but I'm so used to the fast service of Asian restaurants that waiting 5 minutes for the waiter after being seated is quite unreasonable for me and it's not like they were busy. I cannot stand slow service, I'm hungry, I'm here to eat. They didn't even give us bread, not that I can eat it but bread is like a common courtesy thing. The food was ok, a bit on the expensive side, the service lousy but I still gave them more than 15% for tips. They are pretty much the only restuarant who still serves at that hour. And I'm pretty sure I took in quite a few carbs either in the tamarind-glazed ribs or the white mussels with chorizo and corn. It's hard to be on a low carb diet when you dine out.

I really need some sleep. I think I'll go to bed early tonight.



>> Monday, August 21, 2006

A blogmate named Thena posted something very inspiring yesterday on her blog Kill Bunny entitled "Sorry For Forgetting That You're Not Me" It's inspiring because I think most of us are out here looking for an answer to life's biggest question, i.e. Why are we here? What's my purpose in life?

While I use my blog as a diary to write down things that happened through my daily life, it records my mental state. Part of it is my still unfinished thesis on what would I like to be when I grow up, looking for my own purpose. In Thena's post, she question why people even bother with soul-searching; There might never be an answer, or even if there is, it maybe of little significance. I wonder why I called myself a cynic and never reached that high ground.

I think in some way I was being very naive. Let's say we found life's purpose, what then? What good would that do? We'll still have cynics like myself to question that and rebels who go against it. We'll still have to earn a living, live our daily mundane life. So instead of wasting our time to search for the one true love or the one purpose in life that cannot possibly be found, we just need to except that life is just what we put into it. Nothing more, nothing less. We should quit telling ourselves that each of us are special in our own way. Not all of us has an unique gift; After all, there are 6.6 billion people on earth, how unique and special and significant can one be?

But then, won't that make everything we do quite pointless? Why even write a blog? Why even do anything at all? Maybe life is of little significance, but somehow we have to tell ourselves otherwise. For our own sake, we have to set our own purpose and run for it. If not, how can one live with oneself?


Personality Flaws

>> Sunday, August 20, 2006

Yes, it's another post about myself. What an egomaniac? I recently read a post of a friend which describes personality. So I went online to do a personality test and find out that I'm actually an aggressive type. It surprises me because all along I thought myself as quite a laid-back person, if best, I am can only be passive aggressive. So I have a type A personality, type A's are more likely to succeedbut are also more proned to heart-attacks and heart-related health problems. But I'm so lazy, how can I be a type A?

Although lately I do realized that I get hostile very easily. I have to tell myself "not everybody is against me". It's hard when I come from a family that pinpoint every mistake I make, I'm pretty much brainwashed to believe otherwise. You might find most of my postings I blame my unbecomings on my family, but I do believe it's mostly true. Of course, there are great things about my family, but I believe that I have suffered some psychological trauma due to my family. (I don't even know if I'm exaggerating...)

I get obsessive at times, lately I have been on Yahoo! Games a lot playing Mahjong and a card game called Pyramids. I played Pyramids so much that at night I'm dreaming about it. I get cold, defensive, sarcastic, cynical, passive aggressive, some even think I am a very angry person. If politics is an art, sarcasm should be an art too, it's much prettier and a lot more brilliant. The bad thing about me is I can't hide my feeling, I can't shut my mouth, if something is on my brain, it's very hard for me to not say it. It just blurp right out, I have to learn how to better control my impulse.

By the way, I'm saying all this because I use this blog as a mental page. If I insulted you or bored you along the process, I'm very sorry!


Another Posting About Food

>> Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm a procratinator with a short attention span. I know, it's the worst. I was gonna go to New York today to fu=ind something for a friend but I was playing games online and watching TV at the same time. By the time I'm done playing it was already quite late. So I decided to prospone my trip til next week.

I read one of my cookbook and decided to make roast beef. So I get of my ass and went to the market. I have to say this diet is costing me a fortune. By the time I'm done dieting, I'll lose a few pounds and all my savings with it. The 4-pound tenderloin costed me $65. Maybe I can stretch it out and eat it for the whole week.

Then, I went to this Japanese restaurant around Chinatown that has great Bento boxes and ordered a Sashimi deluxe. It was around 3 pm and I was the only customer inside. It's called Mixx and it's a relatively new shop with great prices on everything. The deluxe costs $20 and there's approximately 20 pieces of fish. The quality is ok, I mean the fish is on the muscular side and not exactly premium grade, but I liked it. It comes with a bowl of rice and soup or salad which I can't really touch, but I had the salad anyway. After I finish, they even gave me chocolate ice cream for free, but I had to rudely ask them to take it back because I'm on a diet. Everytime I go there they give me free ice cream. I'm sure I went there knowing that fact. Maybe I went there because I wanted to tempt myself. How sick am I?

I talked shop with the sushi chef for a while. That shop is right next to Chinatown and the prices are really reasonable. I thought they would do great business, but then I thought most foreign people are scared of new things, especially when they are raw. And if they come to Chinatown their intentions would not be Japanese food and no matter how reasonable the price maybe it can never be cheaper than Chinese Food anyway. Maybe that's why their businees hasn't been picking up much since they opened. Anyway I wish them well. It'll be upseting that they have to close down, because I really liked eating there. (And the free ice cream, of course...) We had a great Japanese/Korean seafood buffet in town called Oasis and they had to close because they were losing money, that was really a shame.


The Brilliance of Stephen Lynch

>> Thursday, August 17, 2006

I consider myself a music lover, and there's a wide range of music that I enjoy. My favorite type of music is R&B/Soul, but I also like Pop, Hip Hop, Acid Jazz, Jazz, Rock, Dance, House, Blues, Alternatives, Reggae and everything in between. Since I'm from HK, of course I would listen to some Canto-Pop. And during my course of life, I learned to appreciate Reggaeton and Cumbias. So you can imagine how much my iPod means to me.

To liven my llistening pleasure, I also burned a few comedy CDs into my iPod so when I'm shuffling my songs I get some unexpected cheerfulness coming on to make my life happier. It does work, I find myself giggling all the time walking down the street. Yes, I'm the annoying crazy dude that suddenly bursting into laughter and scare the shit out of everybody else. So far, I have Dane Cook, Margaret Cho and Stephen Lynch. As you can see, I'm a liberal curved to the left.

Among these comedians, I like Stephen Lynch the best. He is just a very talented singer-songwriter who writes these magnificently absurd songs which makes you laugh so hard that snot comes out of your nose. Of course, some of them could gross you out and some of you may not be able to stand the number of curse words or their suggestive nature. But it just make the songs so much more interesting. Stephen seems to be in his best when he's playing live, the reactions from the audience amplifies his energy. He's musically and lyrically gifted. With a guitar, he sings his songs in various styles. Each piece of his work is carefully crafted to make his punch line stands out. You just can't help but enjoy yourself and laugh yourself silly.

I hope Stephen will continue to publish more materials. While being the headliner for The Wedding Singer could be a great career move so more people will know who he is, I think most people love Stephen for his own act. If you want to hear some of Stephen's stuff, you can go to his website. The ones I personally like the best are [Love Song], [Little Tiny Moustache], [Vanilla Ice Cream], [Talk To Me], [She Gotta Smile], [For The Ladies], [D&D], [Lullaby], [Albino], [Pierre], [Down To The Old Pub Instead], [Bitch] and [What If That Guy From Smashing Pumpkins Lost His Car Keys?]


The Insulting Scale

>> Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The whole thing started with my diet, which I'm still on by the way. I wanted to know exactly how my weight would change during this diet by I don't trust the scale I have. The reason why I don't trust it is because when I go to the doctor, I'm like 20-25 lbs heavier than I measure myself at home, so I wanted to get a new one just so I can have an accurate number to work on.

I was just gonna go to K-Mart or Target to get one, nothing fancy, a $20 scale would do just fine. But my Japanese suggested me to find a "Tanita" scale, she has one at home and those scales can measure your body fat, bone mass, water retaining percentage, how much calories you should be eating per day amongst other stuff. So I looked and got one from ebay for around $100. It took two weeks to get here because the seller uses Paypal's money order function, it took a whole week to clear and another week to get here from New Jersey, which is like an hour from here. I could have picked it up myself from that moron.

The scale looked fancy. It's like a piece of reinforced glass sandwiched by these two piece of stainless steel and a lot of buttons on it. I was afraid to get on the scales and break it. It's weight limit is stated as 330 lbs, so I know I should get on it fine. The scale does tell you a lot of things other than your weight, according to this scale, I'm 8 lbs heavier than the old scale told me. More than a quarter of weight in my body is from fat, ew... And from my body rating, apparently I'm "obese". That was a comment that I didn't expect from an object. Insulting and rude, really. I could have handled "Fat" or even "Chunky", but they word they chose was "Obese". I understand its shock value but it's such an ugly word. I was gonna bang that god-darn scale to the wall if it hasn't cost me $100. I should leave the seller a negative comment on Ebay just for selling that rude product.

Adding insult to injury, my friend saw my my pictures earlier and commented how much skinnier i was before coming to the states. I thought it was true, because that was before I know how to cook. I should really stop cooking and just eat bagged salad everyday until I'm happy with my weight. I feel like Urkesh Davlet.


Working Girls

>> Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Every family has their own secrets, mine is not that different. Aside that my aunt had told me in private that I am not the only child that I thought I was, there are juicier stories. One of the more interesting stories concerns my grandma. In fact, if she writes down her life stories and send it to the publishers, she can possibly get a book deal out of it.

Growing up, I was amazed of how many relatives I have. I always thought that it is just because we are Chinese. My grandma has more than 10 people that she called "sister". It was nice for me though, because come Chinese New Years I would have a lot of elders to go visit and earned some cold, hard cash through the custom "red envelopes". You can't expect much from these old folks, but sometimes their married children would give me some envelopes too, it usually add up to a pretty nice sum, given if I have the patience to visit each and everyone of them. Later on though, I found out that these people are really not my grandma's sisters, but they are her "blood sisters". Actually not even, they just happened to "work" together at one point in their lives.

According to my grandma, she used to live in Vietnam when she was young. I always thought how interesting to be able to find Chinese in every part of the world. My friend who works for the UNICEF went to a small village in South Africa once and to her surprise she found a Chinese restaurant there. I travelled to watertown, NY once, a small town that is small in population deserted after the one main factory in the town has closed down due to the obscurity of the location and there's a Chinese Restaurant. We Chinese do that, we go to the strangest part of the world and open restaurants. So anyway, her parents used to have a big house in Vietnam and they used to be rich, at least comparing to the locals. And then world war II hits and she migrates back to Hong Kong met her husband and gave birth to seven children and turned into the grandma that I now know.

But the interesting part is, somewhere down the line I think she worked as an escort. Not the sex kind, no, no, god forbid. But in the old days, rich folks can go to these clubs to drink and there would be girls chatting with them and entertaining them. I found that out because she kept pictures of herself in those days, they were balck and white pictures, but her lips were colored in bright red. She looked very pretty and glamarous. I still wonder how the war turned her family from being rich to a situation where she needs to work in those places. It must have been tough for her. But then from my uncles and aunts, I heard that she met my grand-dad who was rich at that time and did not take care of her childrens, my aunts and uncles were raised by servants. So all the people she calls sisters were all "working girls", I suppose. Fascinating, eh?


The Struggle with Atlantic City

>> Saturday, August 12, 2006

I really wanted to go to the beach. Sitting on the sand on a mildly warm day, feeling the sea breeze blowing on my face, hearing the ocean waves. It must be so relaxing and therapeutic. I wanted to go there for weeks, but the most accessible beach around my area is in Atlantic City.

There's nothing wrong with AC, it's not like it's "Sin City" and even if it is, I'm old enough to control myself and to not "Sin". I do gamble from time to time, visit casinos. And I believe that I'm pretty good in a little game called BlackJack. I usually win, if there's a score board between my wins and my lost, the winning team would be way ahead. I usually managed to win enough so my travel and food get covered plus making my wallet a few hundred dollars heavier.

Although, I'm not in a gambling mood these days. I just want to be relaxed and go feel the breeze, that environment would make my mental state a lot healthier. Don't get me wrong, I like casinos. They build these giant attractive hotels, decorated to wow its visitors in its luxury. The only problem is that I would have to wake up early enough so I can be at the beach while its still cool. And the buffet... I'm still on a diet doing the best I can, and I'll be damned if I go to Atlantic City without visiting its buffet. So I guess I'll wait until I finish with my diet and then go there. As for now, I'm walking around town trying to calm my nerves.


Paths and Runways

>> Thursday, August 10, 2006

'Project Runway' has been one of my favorite TV shows since it had started, it's a show about fashion designers competing to show in New york's fashion week and potentially get their clothing mass produced and sold to the general public. The thing that drawn me to the show is the sheer creativity that these people have, to work around the same topic but create different garments based on their own styles and values.

For some reasons, I never thought making clothes from scratch was possible. Although my mom did made me several outfits when I was in France. There are paatern stores that you can get patterns for anything you want in any sizes. When I was in school in Paris, students were required to put on a drama show every year for Saint Baptiste Day or something like that. I played a cat-cooking chef one year and a cow-baron the other, and my mom made me both costumes, they were very well made too. We had a little Singer sewing machine at home.

There is a saying in Chinese to describe 4 basic needs of us humans; "Clothing, Eat, Shelter, Transport." While I can pretty much walk to any place I want and I can cook. I can't build shelters and I can't make clothes. Although lately, I ahve the urge to learn how to do things in order to fulfill my potentials. I was learning the ppiano for a semester, I'll be interested to learn another language or get professional training in my cooking, maybe a class in photography or sculpting or painting. Watching 'Project Runway', designing clothes is like another way to express your own creativity. They make it seemed so easy that I wonder if I can do it. I really want to know what I'm good at, and I'm really want to know if I'll be good at this. They say god gives everybody an unique gift, I feel like I've yet to open up my box and see what it is.

Like I said, I'll probably have to win the lottery in order to do any of these things. Funny, once you've started your career, you've entered a predetermined path and it's not often that you get the opportunity to change that path.


Time of The Month

>> Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I don't know what is with work lately, it's so hectic all the time. Don't have time to eat or even breathe. We are almost gonna 'close shop', what's the deal? I don't have that much enthusiasm to do anything anymore. Last week, I was on Yahoo! Mahjong almost all day for two days, and now I can't get a break. Going through 15,000 records again and again trying to find consistency, budgets, reports, invoices and computer repairs. Check this, double-check this again, fix that, read this, reply this forward that. We are closing, the last thing I need is working til the last f#@king day. Get me outta here already! Did I mention that my heart is not in the fight anymore?

I don't know why life has to be so difficult sometimes. Nothing seems to be working out right. Maybe that's a bit exaggerated, but everything seems so overwhelming all at once. I know what it is, I'm PMS-ing, silly me!


The Distance Between Me and Everybody Else

>> Tuesday, August 08, 2006

As I have mentioned before I used to be a very sociable person, but somewhere along the line I have completely changed. I remember being with my friends and getting myself in every conversation possible, and I had an opinion for everything in everybody's life. I wonder what happened.

Maybe I was way less confident when I came over to the States with my language barrier, although I didn't think that happened. Maybe because I was depressed for a while and it changed my world view. Maybe I realized that whatever my opinion is or however much I voice my opinion, there are little people who cares, I can't change my surroundings, less the world. Maybe I was just getting older.

My life right now is traveling between two space; home and work. Sometimes I'll step into a coffee shop or two, the dry cleaner's place, the two supermarkets, the bookstore, the record store, the video store. Occasionally, a restaurant or two, or a bar, or the mall. One of my friendlier colleagues loves to go to bars and he's always inviting me to go along, while I feel immensely friendly toward him I fail to be enthusiatic about 'hanging out'. I don't see the purpose and that's really not my scene. The truth is my energy level is too low these days and I feel too comfortable being at home with my TV.

Human relationships can be so distant. I feel like a satellite or a sleeping cell in society. My linkage to the outside world is so trivial. I feel like one of the people who if dead nobody's gonna notice for days until their dead body starts to smell. But then that could not be the reason for me to start socializing. The thing is I don't have the patient for the drama of everybody else's life. I have a hard time keeping tracks of my friends already, why do I have to know things about strangers that I hardly know, like my colleagues cousin's or their son's girlfriend or their cats?


Bean Counting

>> Monday, August 07, 2006

I went to Maggiano's last Friday after work with my colleagues for happy hour and dinner. I always liked Maggiano's. I know is a chain restaurant and all but the food is pretty good in both quality and quantity. I'm still on my diet, so I avoid anything with carbs. I didn't order any wine/beer/cocktails, I had diet coke. Didn't eat bread, no food with breading or pasta. No dessert, not even my favorite chocolate zuccoto cake and the nice tiramisu that they had. I thought I was being pretty regimental and was pretty proud of myself especially when I weight myself that morning and I've lost six pounds in five days of effort.

I knew it will be trouble dining out, all the sauces involved, if I were I chef I'll probably use flour to make roux for sauces and use sugar to make to tomatoes sweeter. But i still went, because one of my colleagues just got a job in another agency as the executive director and I was happy for her. So I tried to be on my best behavior, but I come to find out yesterday that beans have carbs and I ate quite a bit of them when we were out. My colleagues ensure me that beans were pure protein. I had my doubts, but they did taste very good with the mussels. So I gave in. When I weight myself again yesterday my original six pounds lost has lowered to four pounds. I'm quite disappointed. If I knew that would have happened, I would have gone for the cake.

I'm still sticking for my diet though. I don't know why I'm so obsessed right now. I'll be a lot happier if I can lose 20 pounds and I only have 20 more days to go. Last night I made a huge pot of stir-fries with chicken, cauliflower, celery, shiitake, green onion, ginger and garlic. I also added some oyster sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth for flavoring. I figured since soy sauce and chicken broth do not have any carbs, I could use some oyster sauce sparingly. 5 carbs per tablespoon, I used about 3 tablespoons, but I'm not eating the whole thing all in one day so I wouldn't have exceeded my 20 carbs per day limit. Besides, it wouldn't feel right if I cook shiitake and don't use oyster sauce.

In some way, I think you could say the whole diet thing forces me to be inventive in my cooking, but then I can't shake the feeling that the whole thing is quite pathetic.


My Heart's Not in The Fight

>> Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm supposed to stay here in my company at least for another 19 month, but I can't stand it any longer. My boss does not have any vision, and the other bozo is folding paper planes and distracting everybody else during the meeting. They don't have any visions and directions. They don't have any concepts of what work is, as long as they don't have to do it everything is fine. They credit for other people's work and blame others when they screw up. How can I work here anymore?

As you can tell, I'm having a bad day at work. actually I was having a good day until my boss showed up at 3:30pm. I wish he would have stayed home the whole day. It's not like he does not do that two-thirds of the week anyway. And I am not cranky because of my diet, in that department I'm doing fine. I went out with a friend out to a bar yesterday. All I had was diet coke and a bacon-wrapped shrimp and scallop. I really behaved, I even suprise myself. I'm going to an Italian restaurant that have my favorite tiramisu and an outstanding chocolate zuccoto cake. It's like dying and going to heaven; solid chocolate mousse covered chocolate genoise and cocoa powder on top. I won't be having that though.

The weekend is near, I don't know what I'm doing yet. Maybe going to the mall around me, looking for an iPod attachment for a friend's birthday. The birthday is not gonna be until the end of the month. And I really want to go to the beach, if it's not too hot. It cooled down a lot today. I need some 'R' and 'R'.


Community Property

>> Thursday, August 03, 2006

I know it's not proper and all, but I was "borrowing" my neighbors internet connection using my wireless laptop for the longest time. Well, somehow they found out probably because I was doing some downloading and caused a slow connection on their side. (My guess...) So they password-protected it and now I can't use it at all. Surely, I deserved that but the cable internet in our city costs too much, they seduce you with the $19.95 for the first three months, but afterwards, they raise it to $42.95 per month. I find that outrageous.

I don't have a home phone. I had that but nobody calls me except telemarketers, so I canceled it. I have a cell phone and it does just fine. But then I won't be able to get DSL or dial-up. In our city we have a monopolizing situation with our cable company. I'm paying nearly $100 a month with my digital cable TV subscription with HBO, and adding on another $19.95 or $42.95 per month for the net would just be too much. I don't know exactly how I can afford all this. Ever since Sex and the City is over, I don't find HBO that essential anymore. Bill Mayer and Carnivale is nice but they are only seasonal. The other shows are really not that great; Bravo is free and I like it so much better than HBO.

The city was planning to get itself to be one of those cyber city, where you can access the internet everywhere given your computer has wireless access capability. They had been saying that for over a year now, but we don't see anything happening yet. To complicate the matter more, the city is also actively attracting the major cable company mentioned above to move its headquarters here, they are building their headquarters as we speak. According to the city, it will attract business and revenues. But if they do have their headquarters here, I doubt that they will proceed with their plan of making the city wireless. The cable company will lose a whole lot of income, we are talking about $43 per month per household, it is in no way a small sum. On top of that they are using their Cable TV business to produce bad press for DSL and DirectTV services. Every time I see their commercials, which is often, is like watching those degrading political campaign commercial during election period. So low-class and annoying... I wish they would have more competitors to drive down the price.

So here I am dragging my laptop in the rain looking for a coffee shop with internet access so I can have free service again. I did sign up for the cable internet thing but they will have to ship me a router or something so I can hook it up myself and of course... They charged me for the router, and if I can't put it together myself and need to call them, I'll have to pay an additional $50, if someone needs to come to my place and do it for me it'll be another $50. Comcast is too outrageous!!! There, I said it!!! (exhale)


The Problem of Knowing

>> Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Last night was kinda disappointing. I guess it's become I've seen the same show too many times, so I know how it was supposed to go. The main character in Quidam is john, who was supposed to be played by this 6'5" white guy who is an excellent mime actor. But he got replace by this short dude whose mime acting lack luster. There were so many mishaps in the show that makes it looks like a rehearsal act.

Other than the Vis Versa, Diabolos, the Banquine and the Rope-skipping, they are all forgettable acts and they are all pretty much the same. They might be able to do well as lone acts, but when you put everything together they seemed too much alike and too repetitive. The clown acts while entertaining, took too long to finish. Seems like more than a third of the show belong to clowns. I don't know why but it did not impress me as much as it did. While many shows have been improved or rearranged, the whole feeling of it changed. They should really get rid of the cloud swing. I never got the point.

The heat and my diet might have got into me. We went to a Mexican restaurant before the show, all I can get was steak with pico de gallo and a slab of guacamole. Can't have frijoles, can't have rice, can't have Jarrito. I so wanted to have ice cream in this heat. But I was trying to be good. Two small bottles of water in the circus cost $9.00

I have been reading labels before I buy stuff. Do you know that a standard serving size of a small 20 oz bottle of Sprite is 8 oz. That means you are supposed to separate that palm size bottle and drink it two and a half times? Who are they kidding? And I just find out that soy sauce does not contain any carbs. I don't know why I didn't figure it out before. I guess I thought everything in a diet would be tasteless. Oyster sauce is not so bad either, so I guess I'll use some of that.

Today it's suppose to "feel like" 115 degrees, I hope I don't die in the heat.


Another Hot Summer Day

>> Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's supposed to be 110 degrees Fahrenheit today and tomorrow. Unbelievable, I don't think I've ever experienced this heat during my years in northeastern United States. It's so bright outside that the pavement is emitting light. It's too sunny a day for me. My perfect day is cool, cloudy and windy, that's my kinda weather. I'm supposed to go out tonight to the circus, I wonder if how I can even go out in this heat. Thank god there's air conditioning at home and at the circus.

I started my diet yesterday, got a $7 salad for lunch and made cabbage and pork for dinner. The cabbage and pork is really addictive. I put ginger in it and salted the pork before cooking, it was surprisingly good. I think I might just make it a few more time, since it was so easy to make and I seemed to be satisfied afterwards. I made so half-boiled eggs and pastrami for breakfast, it is not the same without toast. I'm still a bit hungry, looked through all the vitamin water in the coffee shop for something flavorful to drink, but everyone of them have 13g of carbohydrates, I guess I won't be drinking anything but water here for a while.

It's August already and soon it'll be January. By the end of December, my company would have to downsize drastically. Although I was guaranteed a position afterwards and I need this job to get my green card. I was thinking if I wanted to stay with my company at all. The problem is my boss intend to keep useless people around, while he say that they are loyal, in my opinion they don't produce at all. I'm more of a merit-based person, while my boss is a relation-based person. I can't agree with my boss and that would just mean more work will be on my shoulder while others get to lounge, I don't know if I want that. They have been f#@king things up pretty badly, but my boss don't even say anything to those idiots, so maybe my company is not the place for people like me anymore. One of my colleagues is trying to start something new, and she asked me to join her. I have the concept of our new project down and I'm pretty sure it's gonna be easy and profitable. But I still have to think about my green card situation, I might have to stay in this company for 19 more months just as my lawyer had said, I wonder if I have the patience. This may seem very snobby of me, but why do I have to struggle with other people's incompetence?

It's so hot today that even the heat from my laptop here is bothering me. I should just go home and watch TV or play videogame. Something to take my mind of the heat... and my diet!


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