King For A Day

>> Friday, December 29, 2006

Last night DC and JEW took me out for Vietnamese. We went to a restaurant that DC liked and the food was pretty good. JEW like to tease a lot and we kept on joking and I have a pretty good time. We exchanged gifts, I gave them some Shanghai Tang cufflinks for X'mas and DC gave me a box of chocolate, some soaps, a sweater and also a $50 Barnes and Noble's gift card. He said he had no clue what I wanted, I thought that was pretty good. I gave the sweater to Principe, so he don't feel left out. He was pouting at home and didn't want to join us for dinner, because he can't communicate with anyone. That took care of the guilt I felt for buying myself a sweater and not getting him anything.

So I went to work today and they still didn't get the DSL hooked up. I kinda confronted my boss for lying to my face. I find myself liking him less and less. I didn't think that was possible. I also decided to take a day off next week sometime. Since Principe will have two days off. I may go to the Bronx Zoo with him and test out our new camera.

Suddenly I remember that this is the time of the year that something called "King Cake" is available. So I went to a very prominent bakery called "Miel" in town and see if they have any. Luckily they have it available for order, so I ordered one. Of course they don't call it king cake, snobs, they call it "Galette des Rois". I remember when I was still living in Paris, we used to have a King Cake Party with the other Chinese restaurants owners' kids. They hide a miniature baby Jesus made out of sugar in this tart with almond fillings and whoever get the slice of pie containing the baby Jesus would be "king" for a day. It comes with a paper crown and all. I never get the baby Jesus for some reason and believe me when I say that I've been holding a grudge ever since. I figure this year if I ate the whole pie, I'm bound to be the king. Haha...!

Rented a few movies and I also bought a few DVDs, I plan to cozy up at home and watch them all in one sitting. I made some meatballs that are exceptionally good, I also made some congees, so I guess I don't have to go up for a while. Did I mention that I also got a box of chocolate? I can be king for a stay-at-home day!


Excuse Me But Can I Be You For A While?

>> Thursday, December 28, 2006

Since Principe Rana's watch is breaking apart, I thought it would be kinda romantic to buy a pair of similar watches and call them our "wedding bands". I had a "Mr. G-Shock" and used it for the past 10 years. It hasn't break on me yet, I find it very reliable and so I decided to shop for some new Gs. So I went around and looked and find myself very attracted to a blue faced G-511D and since Principe loves red, I found a G-520D4 that he might like. Bid for them on Ebay and I paid for shipping and handling which comes to about US$80 each. Not a bad deal considering they cost about $150 to $200 each. Then I got a text message from my Ex-boyfriend that says: "Grow up and start realizing what you can't be without me." What the hell? we went out for three years and broke up five years ago and I ignored all his late night phone calls and messages. They say the grieving time of a relation is half of its duration. Man, he's way over his limit. He was bitter and depressed and a lot older than me, not to mention a racist, fat and broke. I realized what I can't be when I'm with him - happy, and that's why I dumped him. Now when I look back, I wonder why I was with him that long to begin with. I must have high tolerant to pain and suffering.
I went to Express Men and got a nice sweater for $40, but there's only one good color, so I only got one for myself and didn't get Principe anything, so I feel tremendously guilty. Strange, eh? I went to the dentist and he scolded me for not going to see him and that my tartar built up is horrendous, and he wants to do a special procedure on me that would cost me $1,200. So, I haven't go and see him for three and a half years and only see him before I lose my dental insurance, big deal! My colleague JH went to see another dentist that is the boyfriend of the owner of the bar he frequent and the guy did not even charge him a cent. I guess it's good to be good-looking, sociable and popular. Why can't I be more like him? My dentist literally used 'scare tactics' on me, which was irritating. "Do you know that people with gum disease tends to have diabetes, stroke, heart attacks?", "You're young, but I hate to see you throw your life away." C'mon, give me a break! I might as well be doing drugs or something. It really did put me in a foul mood.

My boss just called me and ask me if I mind going to work and help moving the server and other peripharals. I know he's lying when he told me that the building needs us to move out of the space before Friday, because the building manager specifically told me that we can take as long as we want. He just say that because he likes to annoy other people. I'm on vacation, and if he can get me out of vacation to do this for him, it's make him feel important and powerful. If I go to work tomorrow and do this for him, they'll just be able to use it for tomorrow afternoon, everybody will be off Saturday through Monday and back on Tuesday anyway, so what's the point? I should have never took his call when I see my caller ID anyway, stupid me. I wish I win that immigration lottery thing, get my green card and get the hell out of this company.


Christmas Spoils

>> Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I have to say I made a pretty good meal on X'mas day. Principe Rana didn't have to go to work, so I thought I want to do something special for us. Filet'ed some chicken legs and marinaded them into chicken steaks and put them on the grill. Chicken steaks are pretty much my favorite meat in the word. I put the leg bone and some vegetables and spice into some boiling water and simmered them for hours to yield some broth out of them and use the broth to make a mushroom barley risotto and did a side orange salad. Got some tiramisu and some champagne and that was it. Everything tasted pretty good and especially loved the risotto.

So I was proud of myself and all, and was gonna reheat the rest of the risotto for dinner tonight, but found it to be spoiled. I was so pissed off, why is it always the things that test the best who got spoiled? I was hoping to save it for dinner tonight and since it's winter, I thought I could have left it out. Ah... now I have to make instant noodles and serve it with the leftover chicken steaks. Funny, cause I made some roasted root vegetables last week and come to find out that I don't really like root vegetables that much. I put them in the fridge and that are still okay.

Now I'm thinking of planning a trip to the Bronx Zoo with Principe. Since I got him an expensive semi-pro camera, we might as well put it to good use. Find out once I transfer the photos from the memory card and delete them, I can't transfer the photos back to the memory card. Guess I have to buy another gadget to do the task. In chinese, we call it "Pick up a dark belt and lose a fortune." Because all the other accessories that you need to get to go with the first thing you pick up is gonna cost a fortune. In the future, I foresee a tripod, a few more lenses, a remote clicker, another memory card, a printer and more... It was a bad idea to start with, god knows how I'm gonna afford this hobby.


Fogo de Chao (X'mas Meal 06)

So I finally tried Fogo de Chao, twice, this week. The whole experience of this restaurant is more like an adventure. They give you a card which one side is red and the other side is green. When you flip it to the green side, a wasp of waiters they called 'gaucho' will come circling by with a big chunk of roast meat in their hands, asking whether you want some or not. And these gauchos won't stop coming by unless you flip the card back to red.

The whole restaurant is a bit intimidating, the service is a bit too much. They take your coat which is normal, they pull and push your chair when you are sitting down, even if you are a guy. They came by two or three times asking you how things are. They change your plates every 10 minutes. The manager comes by to have small talks every now and then to make sure you are having a good meal and a great time. One waiter came to deliver juice and complimentary fruit for the kid, so I said "Thank you." and he replied "MY PLEASURE!!!" with tons of enthusiasm, which I thought was scary. It's feels like a cult or that he got brainwash or something. Noboby is that nice.

So 15 cuts of meat circling by every minute. There's filet mignon, rib-eye, bottom sirloin, sirloin, top sirloin, beef ribs, lamb chops, leg of lamb, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, garlic beef, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, Chicken drumsticks, pork ribs, baby back ribs and pork sausage. Every table comes with non-stop garlic mash potatoes, platanos and fried polentas, there's also a salad bar with exotic things like heart of palms, artichoke hearts, smoke salmon and shiitake mushrooms alike. The meats here tend to be on the salty side and we paid nearly $60 per person, but I have to say on occassion, this is a nice experience.


Gifts and Parties

>> Thursday, December 21, 2006

Woke up this morning at 7:00 to bake cookies for the party. I got the recipe from that Barefoot Contessa, personally I think she's too snobby, fake and she tries too damn hard, but it shouldn't affect her cooking skills. They were coconut thumbprints cookies, I stuffed half of them with raspberry jam and half of them with apricot jelly. The cookies turned out OK, but I don't think I'm gonna make them again. There are better recipes out there, and I usually bake cakes anyway.

My colleague asked me for a favor, her friend asked her to get some gift cards for him. Three $150 and one $100 gift cards from Macy's, I guess that guy is pretty loaded. We exchanged gifts, so far I 've got a tea pot and a 'Chinese' knitting kit. It comes with a pair of 'chopsticks' knitting needles and they put the yarn in a Chinese take out box and they call the yarn dark greyish color black bean. It's quite hilariously racist, I passed by the store one day and thought who would buy that stuff, now I know.

I had a lot of fun giving out gifts though. So far everybody liked their gifts quite a bit, and I was pretty happy about that. the two staff that received the shadowboxes that I put together were thrilled. Well, most staff I gave a gift to were plenty happy. I'm glad.

We got food catered by Bertucci's, it was pretty good. I definitely loved the cheesy breadsticks. Can't wait to be at Fogo de Chao tomorrow chowing down big meat. Cheers!



>> Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The auditors are here for the nth time, it's so many times that I practically lose count. There are auditors that we hire and there are the one's from the feds and there are the one from the states. It's like a tag teamed match and we are the ones getting beat all the time.

Whenever we have auditors in house, our CFO get all crazy. She get very tense and pissy and she'll start badmouthing the performance of other staff. The weird part is that she won't criticized me and she trust me immensely. There's a good working relationship between us. I do trust her too, she seems to be the fairest of them all. (Like Snow White...) But it translate to coming to me for help everytime she hits a block. I was happy to help her at first, and I know that nobody else can help her. But after a while it gets tiresome and she can be quite unreasonable under stress. I mean, she'll ask me to help her with these humongous tasks. Those things take up so much of my time that it is all I do for a very long period of time. It's not even in my job description, but because of the people that works on it f#^k up so bad that I have to do it for them, so we can be good in the eyes of the auditors.

And those auditors are so high and mighty, they have an attitude like they are there to get us. Watching over our every move and when we tell them how things come to be, they get very suspicious. I don't really need them to trust us, I could care less. Talk to my finance people, it's really not my job to convince them of what I or our other staff do. Bite me. Maybe they don't like my boss, I can understand that. They might wonder how come the whole week that they are here, they only see my boss in the office for three hours, but take that up with him. I don't have any control over my boss, I don't need to defend him or cover for him.

It's X'mas and I really don't feel like working hard for them or seeing them around at all. Come back in February, we'll talk.


More Gifts and Spending Ideas

>> Monday, December 18, 2006

I said I was all spent out, but I still manage to spend more this weekend. Two pairs of new shoes, a new sweater, underwear, new eye glasses for me and El Principe, an umbrella and a hat as gifts. Macy's was having a sale, discount after discount, it was very exciting. I spotted a pair of Steve Madden all year, now it's half the price. And I bought groceries, I'm making a beef roast tonight with roast winter vegetables.

Funny that I get very excited when I buy other people stuff but I rarely buy myself anything. I think psychologically I needed acceptance or I like to please too much. My VHS has been broken for a week and I finally threw that thing away. I gave my entire VHS collection to JH. Bought some connector for the DVD-recorder that I bought from Hong Kong a few years ago, so now I can record TV and play my PS2. I'm happy.

I found out that a Brazilian All-You-Can-Eat Churrasco Steakhouse Fogo de Chao just opened up in our city. It makes my mouth water, just from the thought of it. El Principe adores Churrasco, too bad it's not open on Christmas Day. I definitely want to take him there and I think my friend DC will enjoy that and MO will probably enjoy the mile-long salad bar.

I bought a digital picture displayer for El Principe, I always buy 'follow-up' gifts. It's not enough just to get one thing, I like to get other related things along with the main gift so he can be content. It looks just like a picture frame, but it display pictures from a memory card just like a powerpoint presentation. That way, El Principe wouldn't have to waste tons of money each year to buy cartridge and photo paper. He's a maniac when it comes to pictures, he prints and prints and prints. No matter if the picture is a good one or not, he just prints them all out. It's costing a bundle. The displayer however is a little scratched up, I already wrapped it up, but since MO says she's going to Sam's Club on Wednesday, I think I'll just go unwrap it and do an exchange. It was almost $200, can't afford to get something not perfect. I'll have to stare at it everyday and it will bug the hell out of me.


Crash and Burn

>> Thursday, December 14, 2006

It is extremely irritating that my bosses do not know what they are doing. I wonder how they got to be where they are. I know how our deputy director got to be where he is, he had been in a relationship with our executive director for the past eight years, but how did our executive director got to be where he is? Somebody once told me that it is not crucial for a manager to know how to work, his/her job is only to manage the people who works. That would explain how my bosses don't work at all.

It is extremely irritating that they only come in whenever they want and do not know nothing about what's going on in the organization and won't even except responsibility when something goes wrong. I'd like to think that maybe every boss is the same or maybe every employee thinks that their boss is a jerk, but mine somehow just seems to be bigger jerks.

For example, he told us that after December, since our company is downsizing and has limited resources, he would leave our organization and stay on as a consultant. It seemed to be a great thing for a great guy to do at that time, but he would get a huge severance, a consulting fee and he talked to the board so he would be re-hired in February and a sign-on bonus. Basically, he would double his salary with this little skillful maneuvre. Plus, the deputy director would get a raise during that period for acting as the executive director and after the other one comes back it is unlikely that his salary would go back to normal. Getting a big raise when the company is downsizing, what a move! He told everyone that he is a senior staff he would get two weeks of severance for every year he has been here and all other staff would just get one week per year, forgetting that once in a meeting he practically made everybody a senior staff out of spite, but of course he now denies it when it affects his own money.

Five of our staff toured South America for three weeks, using $20,000 on air fare and food and hotel to 'get business'. But it is a leisure tour, some of the staff who goes there don't even speak Spanish. So there's not a lot of money to pay severance, and for other things needed in the office, he'll just say 'We don't have money!'. It wouldn't have upset me much, but a staff who has been here for 14 years just came to me the other day and ask me whether she can go to the food bank and get food.

The board is composed with people who don't care or friends with my bosses who are easily deterred by lies. They are all people that can be easily controlled by my bosses. They are there mostly for the vanity of it. Most of those people are quite uneducated and mostly don't know how a board should be. Of course I quite appalled that the deputy has f#*ked his way to where he is today and how my boss, an executive director of a non-profit and doesn't do a thing can earn more than the mayor of our city. But if he is the one who sets his salary, there is really nothing that anybody else can do. Any actual work that they have to do they hire a consultant. I'm pretty sure the fate of this organization would end miserably and I hope I'll be able to get out and get what I need from this before they do.


I'm All Spent Out

>> Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's X'mas around the corner again, yes, I know. And since our company is downsizing, I felt like I should give everyone a X'mas gift. It's our last X'mas together, and although they are getting a severance, I do feel bad for them. My bosses and some other staff have been going around South America to 'get business' or just travel around , so I doubt that there's any money left for them to pay their severance.

So I went to Pottery Barn to get some shadow boxes for two staff that have been quite dear to me, so I can make them some memoribilia with fake snow, tree barks, acorns, and pictures and poems and X'mas decorations, something nice to look at, soemthing that they can hang on their wall. I got ES a big cardigan from Banana, it can act as maternity clothes. (It's gonna be a healthy boy by the way...) JH who walk with me every single day is gonna get a wooden spatula (He's in a stage where he need to impress his boyfriend with his domestic skills and I gave him my Jambalaya recipe and he said his plastic spoon melted during the process) , a salt and pepper shaker, some napkins with printed form who tell cab driver where to drive him and where his money would be when he's drunk. I picked up a nice wallet for a staff, CM, who constantly put her money inside her bra. Ew... And some bracelet for four other staff from Macy's $9 each.

For MH and SR, who have been helping me sometimes, and they have been here for 14 years, I got them a $50 gift certificate to Wal-Mart. So they can stop telling me stories about nearly getting trampled on Black Friday for getting a big discount. SR came to my office the other day and ask how she and her family can access food banks. I feel so bad for her. The volunteer assigned to me, PM, has just told me that she has hodgkins disease, it's some kind of cancer. It's devastating, especially at her old age. I feel very bad for her too and she has been a tremendous help to my work, so I got her a bathrobe. I thought it will keep her warm at home. For my bosses, I just got them some crappy toys. They did enough tricks to get themselves rich, they don't need any extravagant gifts from me, they can buy themselves what they want with their own filthy money. I got some candles for other staff and for people who I don't like, I got nothing. I'm thinking of buying some edibles for other volunteers, I'll have to see.

Mailed $500 for my cousin who's getting married. I have to mail some to my grandma, too. There are too many odd characters in my family that none of them get along with each other. They are constantly isolating themselves. So grandma called me up and said her sons don't want to take care of her anymore. So I felt guilty and offered my help. I went and got two pairs of cufflinks for DC and JEW, they finally made up and JEW got a promotion and now he is even a bigger shot than before and DC gave up his new job in Delaware and stayed in the same company, that company even offered him a bigger salary for staying with them.

I thought Principe Rana would appreciate a professional camera, so I went on Ebay and bid on a digital camera that ES has gotten and loved. It's a Canon EOS Rebel XT with a 18-55mm Lens. It's sold in stores for $800. I accidentally won two of them for around $580 each, so I paid them and I'm now waiting to get them. Once I get both, I think I'll sell one out on Ebay. I was gonna offer the seller $50 if I can get the rest refunded, but since they haven't responded. I'll have to sell them.

Somehow, I get crazy when I buy gifts for X'mas. I should stop thinking myself as Santa Claus or something. I guess I become too obsessive and I aim to please too much.


On Abortion

>> Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I once told a girl to abort her child. We were in college and she was seeing this boy in school, I think she had a crush on me for a while and I didn't tell her that I am gay until much later. But she was really friendly and she picked on me constantly, writing things on my hand and stuff. She was from Hong Kong too. After I told her my sexuality, we still remained friends and one day we went out to have steak at one of those Australian-themed chain restaurant, she told me that she couldn't eat much because she was feeling sick, especially in the morning, she thought she might have gotten a flu. So I asked her some more and she told me that her body has been acting weird and she has been missing her period for a while. So I thought she could have been pregnant. So I ask her who she has been hanging out with and if they have had sex and if they have been using protection. So she told me about this boy whose family owned a cane farm in Malaysia, and that they did have sex and she was vague about protection. So I told her to buy a home pregnancy test kit and test it at home. She asks me how do I know so much, I don't know how either, but I do wonder why she can be that clueless, especially when you are a girl you run bigger risks.

That night, she called me up crying, saying that she tested positive and asked me what she should do. I told her to talk to the boy and find out if they want to do something about it. If the boy doesn't, there's no point of keeping the child. Since it's very early in the stage, she can get an abortion if she wants to. And if I were her I would abort the child no matter what. She was still in college studying her undergrad, it's too soon to abandon her studies, give birth to a child and struggle to find low-paying job and feed an extra mouth. You'll grow to resent your child/husband for keeping your life in struggle.

Later on, somehow the boy and her got married and moved to Malaysia. She sent me picture of the kid, it's a girl. I don't quite know how her life turned out to be, but in some ways I was glad that she didn't take my advice. I was glad that the boy is responsible enough to wed her, most guys in his age would just run away. The term "baby's daddy" wasn't invented for nothing. Being one of the children who has a deadbeat for a father, I understand how unfair to be in a loveless family. In any rate, I wish her and her baby well.

Now my friend is pregnant and she is really worried that her child might have down syndrome since she's way over 30. She got her test done and she'll now the result come Thursday. I can tell she's nervous. On our way to Mitsuwa, yet again, this past Sunday. She was telling me if the results come out positive, her husband and her are going to get it aborted. Since she already has one, she feel that it is the right thing to do. Because right now it is much more crucial for KEL to have a healthier environment to grow then having a fetus with down syndrome. I'm reassuring her that the chance of her baby having down syndrome is slim to none and she should just relax. Along with the test, she will find out about the child's gender, she was really hoping for a girl, she even have the name picked out. I wish her all the best too.


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