Monday, January 30, 2006

Ms. Etiquette: Polite Vulture Hints

Right around lunchtime, I saw a memo pop onto my screen: "food available in the Casablanca conference room." There was some other text in there, but I didn't bother reading it. After all, as soon as that memo went out, other vultures and scavengers would be converging onto the conference room for a piece of the corporate carrion. I was the first one to arrive. The door was closed, but since I knew that the meeting was cancelled (hence the free food. It was too soon to cancel the catering), I just burst right in.,,,

And found my boss. And her boss. Engaged in an intense conversation, grave looks on their faces. Like in an old-style western where the stranger waltzes in through the saloon entrance, it was as if the music abruptly came to a stop and all patron eyes were cast at the interloper. Hello, I say, as I tug nervously at my collar. Hello, they say. At this point, I'm already committed. Just as I cannot half-puke or half-sneeze, once that trigger is pulled, there's no turning back. I had to make that sandwich. As I put together the bread, and the meat, and the vegetables, my fingers trembled. The mustard and mayo pattern on the coldcuts betrayed my unease -- no clean lines of condiment here; just some quick squeezes on the disposable packets that got more on the table than on my meal. We sell VoIP gear here, but in those awkward moments, I could sense, in 5-bar signal quality, the communication mechanism of the future. No more of this Voice over IP thing. It will be Voice over Eyeball Penetration (VoEP). Thankfully, a colleague made the same blunder and burst into the room. I took that opening as a way to make my graceful exit, and left her to experience VoEP.

I must add that the sandwich and BBQ potato chips were good though.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nintendo or PC version?

Photo from a school buddy.

Does it make me old skool, or just a dork, if I'm expecting geometric shapes to come falling from the skies?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Public Safety

this morning, I noticed shiny new laminated signs lovingly placed on the restroom doors.

"Severe Weather Safety Area"

Call me crazy, but in the event of a hurricane, I think I'll take my chances outside...

Friday, January 20, 2006


It's not half as bad as you may think. Which of course is still pretty bad if your imagination is more vivid than mine.

Be that as it may, let it not be said that my culinary habits cannot change to incorporate healthy alternatives! Today, my eyes were opened to the fact that with the right condiments -- mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, quarter-pound hamburger patty, fried onion ring, and a side of french fries -- tofu bologne is very much edible.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


One of the staple foods in my daily routine is the humble microwave popcorn. There's an endless supply of gratis genetically engineered goodness in the office breakroom, so I find myself gorging every now and then.

Thing is, those kernels have an uncanny habit of lodging in my throat on the most inopportune moments -- like just when I'm about to deliver a rousing discourse on the merits of using semicolons in marketing copy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


This morn, I attended my first yoga class. Impetus for this came from my last physical. Cardiovascular and strength-wise, I did okay; slightly better than the norm for my age range. On flexibility though, there was a bit left to be desired. The doc had me sit down and put my feet against a metal box about 1 meter long (for folks on US units, that's 6.82 hotdogs). On the topside of the box, gradients were marked off. The idea was for me to stretch as far as I could, and the doc would see where on the box my fingertips could reach. Since I can't touch my toes, that particular exercise didn't fare well. The doc, after realizing that it wasn't due to my lack of English comprehension that I didn't commence (actually I did, but I was DONE already), furrowed his brow and sagely proclaimed that I had the flexibility of a 60 year old male. To make me feel better, he added that maybe it was for a Robust 60 year old male.

Taking that as a New Year's resolution thing, I signed up for Yoga.

The instructor was totally authentic -- had the look of an enlightened guru-type that spent years subsisting on nothing more than water and nan bread. He also spoke like Yoda, in that his instructions were delivered in grammatically backward English. This also added to the Authentic Indian Yoga experience:

"Stretch you will, and pain you may feel"

He interspersed his direction with the expected effects of each pose, which the class and I found very informative.

"Daily you practice, constipated you will not be"

Good to know. Thanks.

Incidentally, it is now 5 hours after I attended this class, and my back and legs are SORE.

Monday, January 16, 2006

all I want for Christmas...

Rei lost his first baby tooth yesterday. He was chattering away about how the tooth fairy is gonna help him stick it to the Man and make him rich, but he was a little hard to understand because of the air whistling through the newly formed gap. Because of this, it caused some issues at bedtime. "tooth fairy is a'coming" sounded more like "too scary is a'coming" and caused Anna to stay up terrified for a good hour past bed time...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Thank you HAL

As a newly minted graduate, I gained access to the school's Alumni Website.

Eager to look up former grads that I know or work with, I registered and signed on.

I dutifully tapped in my name, address, garduation date, etc, and pressed the register button.

"Welcome Hideo, class of '05", it said. Thank you, polite website, I think to myself.

I looked at the What's New section and noted that the site now has the capability to link Friends and Friends-of-Friends together in a seven-degrees-of-separation kind of way. Cool, I think, and click on the link.

"Hideo, You currently have No Friends" the website states.

Taunted by mere lines of code, I sigh dejectedly.

Tomorrow, perhaps, someone will let me sit with the Cool Kids at the virtual school cafetrial lunch table.

Until then, I sign off and carry on with this loverly 13th of Friday workday.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tagging is the New Black

ack, tagged! I've got a bit of a writer's block going; I've been staring lifelessly at the flickering glow of my LCD screen, willing my work to complete itself. So...this tag is a welcome diversion/procrastination.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Roughly 10 years anyway. Fresh out of University, just completed a degree in Eng Physics -- that's Nukleeer as George Bush Jr. pronounces it. I've entered a field directly related to my studies: Sales! And telesales no less! Parents un-thrilled. Creditors also un-thrilled.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Ha! Turns out that there's no market for Nukleer types as defense spending dried up in the early 1990s. As careers go, moved from telesales to channel sales, then to marketing about 5 years ago. School debts paid off; both parents and creditors off my back. Feeling that I am getting too much sleep, delved into night classes.

Five snacks you enjoy
Salty, Fatty, Sweet, Fried, and various combos thereof. Deep Fried Mars bars in Scotland is something that I must try beofre I die. Though that will likely be the cause of my death.

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
Thomas the Tank Engine
Alphabet song (ok, I know all the letters)
I'm a Little Teapot
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Thunder Road (so sad that this is the only one of *my* songs that I can recall verbatum)

If I had one million dollars?
I'd buy a plot of land large enough to park my bicycle. I live in California, ya know. We measure housing pricing and land in terms of deaths: "Hmm, that nice fixer-upper is a steal at 3.2 life insurance payouts!"

Five bad habits:
1. email! This is an addiction. I get nervous when I'm on vacation like I'm gonna be all Rip Van Wrinkle when I return. As if I'm that important in the scheme of things.
2. Driving before coffee. If someone is tailgaiting me, they are a jerk. If someone is driving too slowly, they are also a jerk. But that would make me one too.
3. Coffee. I get a splitting headache if I don't get my fix. And I get really cranky.
4. Not following directions.

Five things you like doing:
1. Run. I dunno why, because I used to hate it. Now I'm hooked and training for my second half-marathon in February.
2. Sleep. Those of you with young kids, I don't need to explain. Everyone else, trust me.
3. Read. Books with more words than pictures. That's a rare treat that I only get to do on airplanes these days. But I can quote "Green Eggs and Ham."
4. Eat. One of these days, my metabolism will slow down. But until then, I'm gonna chow. Or until I reach that holiest of holies -- the Deep Fried Mars Bar mentioned above.
5. Seeing our young'uns in their classroom. It's so cool to see Rei and Anna in class-- they're so different from how they act at home. And they're getting smart. I better read up before they make me look stoopid.

Five things you would never wear, buy or get new again
1. mohawk. For one week in college. And it wasn't one of those tall pointy ones but just a tuft of hair. Looked like a small animal died on my head. Went no hair soon after, then grew back to where it is today (functional and fast-drying, but not much else).
2. a 1979 Toyota Celica. The engine actually sprung a hole on the highway, vaporizing motor oil onto my windshield. It was like the old arcade game SpyHunter. The car was worth almost as much as the quarter it costs to play.
3. another iPod. But since my willpower is made of jelly, as soon as the next thing comes out, my 20GB, Shuffle, and Nano will likely gain a sibling.
4. Another subscription to a magazine. I get so many and I never get to read them all. It stresses me out to have an ever-growing pile of mags that I have to force myself a daily quota of articles to read. And to think I subscribed because I wanted to enjoy them...
5. All those suits I wore as a salesperson in Japan

Saturday, January 07, 2006


I remember when I was a kid, passengers used to clap when the plane landed. Were pilots back then just learning, thus less likely to land correctly?

Friday, January 06, 2006


I dunno why my wireless connection dies more often in Dallas Ft Worth airport, but there it goes again. And here I am again, suddenly tetherless and abruptly jerked back into the real world. I look around the lobby and see mostly other business-folk. Heads down and typing, or talking to disembodied voices via their earpieces (mine's out of batteries from an earlier call...). No one makes eye contact.

Last time I felt so isolated within a crowded room was back in University final exams. At the time, I had a pretty effective system of waking up at the crack of noon, missing morning classes and using nothing more than academic bulemia which involves quickly ingesting class notes then retching it out for the exams. For that particular day, the analogy was an opt one, as the concoction of 50 hours sleep deprivation and heavy caffene use (we used to make espresso by the mugfull) was causing me scholastic dry heaves. Try as I may, nuthin' was coming out of my brain! I remember looking up from my test paper and feeling utterly alone and helpless amongst a sea of heads-down students and the desolate chorus of pencils scratching paper...

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