Friday, May 17, 2002
My job in a nutshell:
To: TC Lin/O&MTPE
Can we combine the words "Responsive + ability = Responsivibility"?
To: Green Chou/O&MTPE
Don't even think about it. There's enough of these pseudo-words floating around the corporate world already without idiots making more up whenever they can't think of the correct term for some random thought they had. By the way, you can't use the word "feedback" as a verb, either. And I'm getting pretty sick of "solutions" as well, to be honest. They don't pay me enough to be the kind of person that willingly uses words like "synergy".
Just sharing a glimpse of the joyous experience that is my job. At least it's Friday. I was going to meet Sho tonight at Sogo for dinner, but his grandmother is in town so he can't come out tonight. My friend Mindcrime is coming up to Taipei tomorrow, and Maoman from the Oriented Crowd is having a birthday bash tomorrow night. It's been raining on and off all day, so hopefully the water restrictions will be eased soon.
I've been trying to speak more Taiwanese with people. Usually I can get by ok, but the other day I was talking politics with a taxi driver, got in way over my head and had to switch to Mandarin to express myself clearly. Oh, well. Serves me right for living in Taipei for so long.
Thursday, May 16, 2002
Not trusting myself to navigate Taipei's traffic under the influence of the Liquid Brown Mixture this morning, I got into a taxi with the World's Most Jocular Cabbie at the wheel. Much hilarity ensued after he realized that I could speak Chinese. The sight of my ID card in my wallet as I paid him before getting out sent him into such hysterics I thought I might have to offer him some of my opium. I didn't dare say anything even remotely funny as it might have given him a stroke.
The water was cut off all day today at the office, and while we seem to have enough in the tower on the roof, I have refrained from changing Office Turtle's water, and he's been giving me dirty looks all day. He's getting a whole sinkful tomorrow for that. Either that or a swim with the Vampires' lobster.
Speaking of my unholy colleagues, our Vampire Album of the Day was by a Taiwanese girl group called "SHE". SHE sings tired Western hits with a vocal quality comperable to the sound of constipated cats being used unsuccessfully as chalkboard erasers. I had thought that Charlene's "I've never been to me" was the worst song possible, but as rendered by SHE, I was reminded that such musical monstrosities can always be made a little worse. The Vampires' bane, i.e. the blinds, are showing a bit of stress from being slammed shut every day. Perhaps they should work out some sort of appropriately gothic ceremony with candles and a gregorian chant accompanying the slow lowering of the shades, plunging the office into deep gloom as the Vampires make a solemn vow to bring darkness and cheesy 70's songs with inane lyrics to every corner of the earth, ending civilization as we know it.
Mother's Day was a few days ago, and as usual, I sent what I thought was an appropriately clever e-card to my mother in Oklahoma. But today I received an email from my dad, who said he could not help noticing that I forgot my mother on mothers day again. "When I think about the time, love and effort she spent in raising you and trying to do the best for you, then I have a hard time understanding your attitude," he writes. "Perhaps it would help all of us if you would clarify what your feelings are toward your mother (and me also)."
Ok. This is, of course, just parentspeak for "there was some sort of e-glitch and your card was never delivered. Just FYI". A little guilt trip now and then never hurt anyone, right? Now excuse me while I go reevaluate my entire life and try to figure out just when and where I went bad.
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
I went to the Adventist Hospital again this morning to check up on my itises. My back is feeling better and I am walking more or less normally again, albeit* slowly. On the cold/infection/virus front, it seems that I was overdue for my annual opium binge, so they gave me a couple of bottles of the concoction known by its scientific name "Liquid Brown Mixture" today along with my huge bag o' pills. Consequently, I've been feeling rather mellow today. There was a rather large earthquake, and I didn't even notice. I got out of the elevator at work to find people rushing around excitedly. "Where were you during the earthquake?" one of my co-workers asked. "What earthquake?" I asked, and immediately got a look of disbelief. I'm not surprised I didn't notice, though. I'm even feeling amicably towards the Office Vampires today. The water's going to be cut off at the office tomorrow, since the Xinyi District's turn according to the rationing plan, though. I doubt I'll be feeling very amicably towards that.
After an excruciating trip from the American midwest to our polluted, drought/quake-stricken island, My friend Mindcrime is now back in Taiwan, although he hasn't made it up to Taipei yet. Perhaps he will venture up here to see Episode II when it opens this weekend. Dean called me up last night after an evening of drunken antics at Q Bar and proposed that we should get everyone together at Jake's on Sunday and then rush the theater. I've got a bad feeling....nah, actually it sounds fun.
Speaking of movies, I recently watched On the Waterfront. Is it just me, or did they accidentally lose the voice tracks and replace Marlon Brando's voice with that of Billy Crystal and Eve Marie Saint's with that of Andie Macdowell? Also, I had no idea that Karl Malden was such a good actor. I really only remembered him from all of those American Express commercials. With this in mind, I also recently bought Patton on DVD. Best war movie ever, as far as I'm concerned. Much better than Saving Private Ryan.
*I once used the word "albeit" in a research report on German sports cars for my 7th-grade English class at Maitland Junior High school. Mrs. Gwinn, my teacher, refused to believe that I had come up with that word myself and accused me of having my parents write the report for me. My mother had a talk with the teacher and managed to convince her that I had written the report on my own.
I liked Rosalie Gwinn, though. She was a good teacher. It's just that this kind of thing was always happening to me in that period of my life, since I had made up my mind at some point in junior high school to begin applying myself to get better grades, actually since I was informed that they actually meant something and could have something to do with my going to college or not. My reputation, however, was that of a rather poor student, and the sudden onset of entrances to honor societies, gifted programs and the life, confounded many an educator. Once my Civics teacher wouldn't let me leave the classroom to attend the yearbook photography for the honor roll students. I had to show her my name on the list, which of course embarrassed her in front of the entire class. She got back at me with a none-too-suble touche by giving me my only C that year, kicking me off the honor roll. And now I'm getting back at her by, uh....not mentioning her name here. I'm sure she'll be devasted. Truth is, I've completely forgotten her name. So there!
Ah, the memories...*drinks some more Liquid Brown Mixture*.
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
My sense of humor has been accused of being my best asset, a sort of compensation for not having really grown up despite the fact that I'm already 33 years old. I suppose, as it is with many people, it is a sort of coping mechanism or something the psychologists talk about. The first time I heard the word "cope" was when my aunt said it was something I had to learn to do one time as she consoled me during a fight between my grandparents and my mother when I was 7 or so.
When I was that age, I wanted a sense of humor. I wanted to be able to trade the kind of witty banter that Hawkeye and Trapper John made a routine part of their conversations on TV every afternoon. Every night I looked forward to the jokes my brother and sister would trade at the dinner table. To me, my brother was the epitome of wit and sophistication. He could actually predict when the light would turn green! (it just didn't occur to me that you could watch the other lights at the intersection). He was into the humor of Steve Martin and could make me cry I was laughing so hard. We used to record our banter and play it back. I wish I'd kept the recordings. I think I have a portion of one of those tapes somewhere, but that's all. In any case, be it coping mechanism or just plain lack of charm on my part, I still think my brother is far funnier than I am.
I should probably be at home in bed, but due to my overwhelming sense of loyalty to my company I'm at the office today despite my something-itis and sore back. Had a migraine this morning to sweeten the deal, plus a couple of people throwing huge powerpoint files at me and wondering if I could skip lunch to accomplish some sort of time travel trick and get them finished by an hour ago. All I can say is, as shitty as this day is, thank god for MP3s, friends on ICQ and a sense of humor.
Monday, May 13, 2002
I took today off from work since not only do I still have tonsilitis or bronchitis or some other itis, I pulled a muscle in my back the other day lifting a tank of water in preparation for today's water cutoff. So now I'm on two different sets of medication after spending all morning in bed and all afternoon at the hospital. Hopefully I'll feel like going in to work tomorrow, but I have to go back for a checkup on Wednesday morning. Oh, my weekend? Spent it in bed, basically. Kirk called me from Danshui's Fisherman's Wharf, and Harry and Yong-gen came over to give me some plastic inflatible toys they won at some sort of event over at the CKS Hall yesterday, which was nice. Other than that, however, it's just been me and my bed.
We got a little rain today but likely not enough. It will take a typhoon or two to fill the reservoirs again, I'm afraid. At least it's cloudy enough that the sun isn't evaporating too much water. That's all the news for now.