Tuesday, June 27, 2006

On the Shrink's Couch

Something about UK that always psyches me out. I wrote about this little complex almost a year ago -- but that was only when one British colleague was visiting San Jose. Today, I'm the visitor. And that magnifies and intensifies the inferiority complex.

Flashback to several hours ago to a Proudly Serving Starbucks pseudo coffee bar:

"Tall coffee, room for cream, thank you," I say.
"Pardon?" asks the barista
"Um, tall coffee, room for cream?" I reply, suddenly self-conscious.
"Come again?"
"(ah of course, perhaps they refer by cup size) Oh, a 16oz please"
"(how silly of me, I need to convert to metrics!) Sorry, I meant a 14.72 cubic cm coffee please."

Finally, a bemused local colleague steps in to save me.

"16oz coffee, mate. Cheerio."
"Brilliant, here you go! Cheers!."

Mark my words, one day, I shall learn their secret handshake.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The 100 yard stare

Zzzzzz. Got into London at 6:30am. Stood in the customs queue forever, amongst throngs of ripe-smelling, irritable, summer vacationers. Once that was done, waited another 30min for the Hotel Hoppa, checked in to the hotel, napped, overslept (1hr planned, 3hr actual), showered, and headed for the office.

I chugged a can of Red Bull and chased that with a espresso, right before the meeting. Nice buzz. But hardly alert. It gave me a crazy spinning adrenaline feeling, but with only a blip of mental activity behind it. I had a persistent anxiety feeling, like those cartoon characters that know that the 400lb iron is about to fall on their head, but hoping really hard that it won't happen this time. The wide-eyed, zoned out look was reflective of that. Or so I thought.

"Hideo, your look tells me that you're not convinced. How about if I lay these data points in front of you....Still no? What if I said the cost is half of what's on this slide? No? How about if time to execution is shaved by a week?"

I didn't hear a single word the vendor was saying. But apparently we drove a hard bargain.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Be Still My Beating Heart

From a company benefits mailer I received this morn.


As a recent user of the TRP, we want to make you aware of upcoming enhancements that will provide you with a faster and easier process for submitting your applications and requesting your reimbursements! Here are the exciting enhancements you will see effective July 5, 2006:

New Fax Number:

New Processing Request Form:


Even one of these by itself is cause for irrational exuberance...but BOTH a new fax number and new form???

Madness! Pure Madness I say!

I am all a-tingle with excitement!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Food for Thought

Quote heard on the morning radio:

"I like pastries, but dead animals rule!"

I dunno why, but that conjures up images of Denver to me.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day Gifts

Yesterday was father's day, so I got me some goodies from the young'uns. Rei gave me a mousepad that he made himself, which was very nicely done. It came with a worksheet that he had to fill in. Sample: My Dad ________ at work. He filled out: My Dad plays with the computer at work. I was going to correct him, but then I thought hmm...ok good point. Checking World Cup scores probably falls in that category. Playing conference call jargon bingo may cross the line as well. "Cross-functional synergies" BINGO!

My daughter Anna gave me a fridge magnet in the shape of a necktie. However, since she never saw me wear a tie in her 3+ years of consciousness, she thought it was a sock... Reminds me of the last time I wore a tie -- almost 5 years ago as a salesperson in Tokyo. I had fallen asleep on the train, mouth agape, and lurched awake just in time to miss the drool that dripped from the corner of my mouth to my new tie. On second thought, maybe a clean sock is preferable to that.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Whine and Cheese

In Chicago till Wednesday. Great eats town, according to my colleagues, so I'm pretty psyched. Sure the conference was meanigful and all, but now the Main Event. Food! But my elation was short lived. We went to a place called Bin 36, a wine affecianado place. Don't get me wrong, the place was a lively, modern joint. It's just that....ok, I'll just say it. Wine and its rituals terrify me.

I order last in a table of six. Each person sounds like they're Alex Trabek, over-emphsizing and dramatically pronouncing French and pseudo-French words. My palate is not so distinguished nor sophisticated -- color and temperature is as far as I get. Red. White. Cold. Not Cold. When it got to my turn to order, I just stammered, "Um, Ann that, that...thing you ordered? Sounds delightful. I'll have that as well." Even after I drank the white cold wine, I still have no idea what she ordered.

I sat next to another colleague who tried valiantly to give me a crash course. "Suck air in as you sip -- it opens up the wine, " she says. I did, and sucked the damned drink into my lungs and opened up my nasal passages instead. "Lively and light, balanced with pristine minerals vibrant with acidity, right?"she remarked. I can think of some people that fit that description, but as for the wine, all I could think of was, "Yes, it is indeed white. And cold!"

And all this hubub about regions! Mosel-Saar-Ruwer? I know that's in Germany somewhere, but why don't they just say Aisle 3 of the Produce Asile? Heck, *that* is where I would get *my* grapes. There's a special this week ya know.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Web 2.0.1

Have you ever innocently walked into an exec-type's office, only to encounter the Mood Ring on Blood Red, and become the innocent-bystander-hit-by-crossfire?

Worse yet, have you ever done so when the exec-type's ire was due to something you did (or forgot to do)?

Well fret no more!

Thanks to a well-placed special agent with a clear view to exec office, you can now have advanced warning.

Current weather: cloudy with a chance of sun later in the afternoon.


weather has suddenly turned turbulent. High winds, lighting, chance of meterorites.
Advise evacuation from premises.


I call it The Executive Weather Report subscription, available via RSS feed. And all it costs is lunch maybe once a week.

Venture capitalists, take a number and stand in line.

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