Monthly Archives: November 2004

Even an Elephant Can Learn to Dance

Even an Elephant Can Learn to Dance

Funny thing… my coworker Bill is some kind of closet MBAer. Years ago, he toyed with the idea of attending B-school. He even considered studying in the US. But then the economy took a downturn… people with MBAs just weren’t finding the jobs they thought would be a given. So Bill changed his mind. But by then, he had already spent a bunch of energy studying business-related topics like strategic channel relationships and the like (uh BOR-ING!). Anyway, the other day, he started telling me about IBM’s former CEO– Steve Gestner or something? I had no idea. I mean, beyond Trump, Forbes, Iacocca (?), Welch, Gates, Jobs, Fiorina, that’s about all I know. So anyway Bill starts telling me about Gestner’s famous quote, “Even an elephant can learn to dance.” Was Gestner talking about the mammoth Big Blue? Ha, ha. What a joke. Boy have these last few weeks been an eye-opener. Here I am at a Fortune 500, and my external hard drive at home is larger than our server’s, which is shared among 15 people. Let’s see: I just finished week 5, and I have yet to receive a door badge despite already clocking ungodly amounts of OT. I was at the goddamn office until 4:30 am on Thursday night! I mean the list goes on and on. I had to pay 5 kuai for my own office key duplicate. Oh I busted my ass recording these stupid training modules– suffered through shitty mic after shitty mic. Ended up buying my own goddamn mic so I could record at home, and I still had to redo it, “because your voice and the recording quality are so inconsistent.” Well jesus christ, I’m not trainied in voice. I don’t know how to control it, and maybe if you’d give me a fucking sound studio or at least a decent mic and computer soundcard for my hours and hours of recording, maybe I could actually produce something decent. So long story short, I worked nonstop to meet this project deadline that was last Friday. Thursday night (the day before), after the shitty mic broke a second time, the PM finally went out to buy a professional mic and a semi-professional soundcard (we had been recording on our piece of shit laptops). I stayed at work until early Friday morning and then Friday evening, they told me that my clips were no good. The PM and the other guy planned to split my modules and redo them. After I’d recorded and edited my ASS off for weeks. Mother fuckers. Hel-lo… could you have arrived at that conclusion any later? And that is just one example. Needless to say, Big Blue’s tech facilities remind me of working for FMF, except FMF was non-fucking profit. I am so irritated. Just one more month and then my contract is up for renewal.

Of course, the catch has to do with my work visa. It will make my life and John’s life so much easier to have a legit, longterm, multi-entry visa. That’s the only thing that’s holding me back. Otherwise, left middle finger, right middle finger, cross the arms. I’m outta this ghetto joint. Unbelievable. John and I are selling our Big Blue stock this week, man. Make my money and I’m out. Fucking getting exploited like crazy. Today I worked from home in the morning. Didn’t even clear it with the PM. I mean seriously, there is no reason for me to go in. I can’t save shit on the server because it’s full. Yep. Last I checked, there was 55 MB remaining. Nice. No system backup. Nadda. Totally ghetto. Did you know IBM was a goddamn computer company? Who the hell knew!

In other news, I recently hooked up with Amanda Miller– a fellow Dukie whom I met months ago. Super cool chic from Berkeley. Feminist, motivated, totally into over-analyzing… we’re having a great time. Bonded this weekend talking about all our Dukie image issues– man, that was a tough environment. Anyway, she’s organizing a Duke happy hour tomorrow night. I’m gonna try to go if IBM doesn’t smother me to death. What else?

Oh so tonight I actually came home at a decent hour and didnt have to work from home, so I decided to try something new in the kitchen. Big mistake (as you probably guessed). Tried to make this channa marsala stuff, but I didn’t have onions so I substituted with carrots and yams. Made some black rice and homemade peanut butter too (not to go with channa). So the chickpeas came out gross (but the dogs like it!), but the rice and peanut butter are edible. Kudos again to Braun for making that awesome hand mixer. I didn’t have to grate the carrots or dice the potatos. Yippee! Am I lazy?

Well before you answer that question, let me just say, I do have class twice a week from 7:30 to 8:30 am. Yeah, Frank’s class is tomorrow so actually I have to go prep now. And damn, the weather is starting to turn chilly. I had to turn on the heater last night. 🙁

Countdown til Bubbey’s back. This Saturday. We’re gonna go out to eat (I haven’t really dined out in five weeks!! I know, I have a big circle of friends, can’t you tell?) at Punjabi! Awwww yeah!

In the Line of Fire

In the Line of Fire

The weather had been so nice here that I never even considered checking accuweather… of course as my luck would have it, last week I got caught biking home in a skirt in the rain. I was a mess when I got home.

Here’s my take: already I’ve given in to some to the practicalities for biking. For example, if my outfit requires that I wear heels, I’ll wear the dress/skirt or whatever but bike in wearing sneakers and then change. Nobody here does that (women just bike in their stillettos!). But I refuse to get a poncho. I just hate the notion of wrapping myself in plastic. For one, I have this fear of suffocating in it. Every time I see people wrapped up in that shit–and here it’s as thin as a grocery bag– I can’t help but think of those warnings they print on bags in the States. Second, I’d feel like I’m doing one of those stupid weight loss (water loss) treatments. Regardless, the bottom line is I learned my lesson. Yes, I could bike with one hand and hold an umbrella with the other, but biking here is simply too dangerous for such foolishness. Instead, I just check the weather every day online (sometimes it’s accurate, sometimes it’s not), and if there’s even the slightest chance of rain, I metro in. Enough said.

Oh god, almost forgot. Man, the spitting here has got to stop. People spit while their riding their bikes. And twice, I’ve nearly biked right into their packet flying in mid-air. Really close calls. I’m sure one of these days, I’ll get hit. I hope I won’t be too big of a ninny about it. I’ll just keep reminding myself: I used to collect waste samples at the landfill. I used to research solid waste. Bodily fluids? No big deal. Right.

I had another crazy busy week at work. I’m starting to compile a list of grievances– regarding my workspace and my contract. 🙂 This job sure is requiring a lot of outside research. Already, I had to look over the Chinese tax laws to make sure Worksoft (my hiring agent) wasn’t screwing me over by nixing my tax exemption (they sure tried). Now I’m reading over the Chinese labor laws so I have leverage to demand OT pay and who knows what else. I swear, there’s a huge gap here between the laws on the books and in practice. I’ll probably come across as a brash, demanding, bitchy American but whatever man. Bush has screwed our international reputation anyway. No, actually this has nothing to do with Bush. I just believe in getting what is legally granted. Fair is fair. Why should I allow employers to get away with exploiting their workers? Screw that! If they don’t budge, that’s another story, but at least I shoud speak up.

I finally finished all my audio recordings at work. I’m getting soooo sick of hearing myself. I’m talking hours of audio! By now, I’m starting to get pretty good at it, although my coworker said I sounded really pissy. Hmm, wonder why. Must have been Thursday– the day after our shameful elections. God, I just cannot get over Kerry’s loss. I’m not being dramatic: I truly believe that the US is going to shit. And with Bush appointing as many as three more Supreme Court judges? Jesus fucking Christ. We are so screwed.

Anyway, it’s early Sunday morning here. I gotta get going.



Oh my fucking god!!! How could this possibly be? I mean, are there that many psycho, retarded Americans? I know, it ain’t over, and goddamnit, I fully support Kerry/Edwards calling for the counting of all votes (including the 60k missing absentee ballots in Broward Co., FL), but STILL. This race shouldn’t have been so close. Really. Totally ruined my day. I’ve been a nervous wreck. This whole week, I’ve had high anxiety. Work was so frustrating and overwhelming, so I really poured myself into it, working like 12 hours a day on this Intel new employee training shit. Finally made some headway today and got some breathing room, only to stress out again with the news. I returned home late tonight after SABIC and started prepping for Frank tomorrow morning, but thankfully, he text messaged me to cancel. I hope I can sleep in. It’s weird. I’m like totally wired staying busy with work and teaching, but if I lie down, I suddenly feel exhausted. Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed regarding OH. Can’t believe Republicans gained more seats in Congress. Honestly, the US is going to the shits. I mean, think about it. I’m happier living here in Commie China, for chrissakes!

I’ve made some other observations this week that I was intending to share with you, but my brain is mush now. I’m heading off to bed shortly—first night I’m hitting the sack before 1:30 in the last two weeks. Maybe baba is right– the normal adult only needs 4 hours of sleep every night. 🙂