Monthly Archives: June 2007

Liberation Delayed

Liberation Delayed

Last weekend, I decided: it was time to give notice. This arrangement just wasn’t working out. High demand, high stress, and what for? I wasn’t saving lives. Please. The urgency needs to stop. Plus, I’m actually getting responses to my feelers, so things are in the pipeline.

I had planned to submit the letter on Friday (yesterday). On Tuesday, we had two big presentations/demos and then there was a customer visit on Wednesday. He flew back from the East Coast very late Wednesday night, so I figured give him a day or two, and I’d drop the bomb. Then, life got in the way. His father fell ill, was in a coma. In a flash, he was out again on a plane to India Wednesday night.

People say there is never a good time to leave. But I need to say it in person. And while there really isn’t ever a good time, there are certainly better times. John says, I’ll probably piss away the summer by the time I finally cut the cord. Given that we’re practically into July, I suppose he’s right. Still, it’s not as if I’ve got another offer in hand so really, what’s another month or so.

I’ve been feeling noticeably fatigued lately. And to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed: it’s only been 8 months… seems like I should have more stamina than this. Ah but, I am 31 now so perhaps age really is catching up to me.

I had dinner last night with a really cool guy at work. I was out in the haz waste storage area checking on our tanks, and I was having trouble latching the door while propping it up above my head. I felt my arm give out a bit under the strain, and thankfully, Joe had seen me and was already there to assist. As we headed back to the office, he commented that he couldn’t believe I was still there, that a person with my skill set was being so wrongfully abused. Say what? I was stunned. Was I being abused? What was I supposed to be doing with my skill set? Had someone actually been noticing this? His bluntness shocked me, and I had to learn more.

I had talked to him before actually. Like most of the engineers at my company, he’s a total brainiac– MIT Ph.D. track material. But we had one big thing in common: Florida. It was amusing: we both acknowledged that in some bizarre way, we missed the simplicity of life in Florida. Anyway, he is a true adventurer– Peru, Malaysia, New Zealand… on weekends, he just gets in his car and drives east. His trunk is full of gear: tents, skis, snow shoes… it’s amazing. I feel like he’s a kind of person I wish I were. I’m a wannabe minimalist adventurer. I say wannabe because it’s a beautiful day outside, and I’m indoors typing on my lappie. Anyway, we went to dinner and I had a great time. And once again, I was reminded of just how much I miss friendship. These days, real connections are so rare. Sure, part of this is due to lack of effort, but I still think much of it is just plain circumstance. Whatever the story, I miss connections with people.

And talking to this guy was so reaffirming. Some days, I honestly just feel like the CEO’s bitch. Like all my work is just tedious crap that really requires no skill. So I waver between feeling self-doubt and feeling undervalued. But last night, he drew such a clear distinction for me. There’s a difference between what I do and what the office manager does. The office manager takes care of office supplies, HR benefits/enrollment, scheduling interviews with candidates. My job? I coordinate and manage the company’s affairs. Haha, yeah, that’s what he said. I coordinate all the logistical details pertaining to customers and potential customers. The CEO’s the sales person, but I’m the marketing team.

It’s difficult for me to express this realization here, but when he explained that, it made sense, and I suddenly felt appreciated and valued. Coming from someone who actually designs and engineers and builds our product, his comment just made my day. And he even said that I understood the engineering side of things… haha, Mr. MIT said I knew what was going on tech-wise. Aw yeah! Anyway, I guess I’m just saying, it was nice to be acknowledged.

Kill the GPS Lady!

Kill the GPS Lady!

I got a GPS for my birthday. In theory, my lil’ Garmin is the ideal gift. In practice, I’m ready to kill the beotch. Twice now, the voice has led me astray. First, I had a meeting with a vendor. The vendor was only about 3 miles away. Unfortunately, Fremont is under crazy construction. I think there’s a huge ball field going in or something. Anyway, one of the main overpasses that crosses I-880 is gone. Like totally no longer there. Of course, that was precisely the thoroughfare I was told to get on. I kept turning onto other roads, thinking the voice was recalculate the route and redirect me. Nope. Jesus, I must have made 6 u-turns. Was an absolute fucking nightmare. Felt like such an idiot arriving late to an office that was only a couple miles away.

Well I still didn’t learn my lesson. Because today, I had to send something via certified mail. Looked up post office on my system. Whatya know? Directed me to some Post office warehouse where they don’t even sell postage. And then the post office my friend drove me to the other day? Yes, the one whose location I had already forgotten? It didn’t even come up on the damn directory. Spent 90 minutes searching for the damn post office today. Next time? Google maps + GPS beotch. Hate the necessary redundancy. What’s the frickin’ point?

In other news, today started off pretty badly. I got an email from my ghetto property manager. Apparently, they/I haven’t been paying the home owner association dues for the last YEAR!! Now I am super anal about paying bills and tracking all my expenses, so this notice threw me into a tizzy. I called my prop manager, and Jesus Christ, I don’t know why I still pay his sorry ass. Denial, denial, denial. Said they never pay assocation dues. Company policy. Bullshit, they paid mine. Insisted they never received the invoices even though the association has mailed out at least four (quarterly) in the last year AND the address on file matches their business. So yeah, you mean to tell me all those bills got lost? Round and round in circles. I was so pissed, I started shaking. I know, I need to get a goddamn grip of myself. And I was at work too. I even made my cube mates uncomfortable. Whatever, man. I was livid. I was like, “So what are you telling me, Tim?” I mean, come on. Customer service basics. They hadn’t done squat. You’d think step 1 would be for them to call the association and explain that they never received the correspondence. Had they called? Nope. In fact, when I suggested he call, he told me it was my responsibility. Uh, hello? You’re my property manager. I was living overseas. All correspondence went to you. I dunno if this is some reflection of my pissy ass emotional/mental state or what but HOLY FUCKING SHIT! Come again? I know this sounds like corporate bullshit lingo, but seriously, people who do not own up to their responsibilities? They have to die. Just fucking die! Drives me insane. Then he was supposed to call me back. Did he? Nope. Sent me an email. Now I am very familiar with that game, and that game doesn’t fly. But at least he reported back on some research. They still insist they didn’t get the info. Meanwhile, after all the finance charges and attorney fees are said and done, I’m fucking $1200 in the hole. Yup, the association went to the damn lawyers because of the length of the deliquency. And the retarded thing is, I’m a goody-goody to the bone and now in one fell swoop, my prop manager has shitted all over my clean record. WTF? Some of you may think I’m overreacting, but let me tell you: this is the last straw. This isn’t even the start of it. Honestly, between me posting my own “For Rent” ads, and me researching/selecting the best deal on the stove, and me researching fair rental prices for the area, I’m practically my own damn prop manager anyway. Half ass. Nothing irks me more.

I had gotten into work early even. I spent all my time that I had originally planned to dedicate to my training packge, on calling the HOA to get this sorted. Then I drafted a letter to petition the HOA board of directors requesting that they waive the late fees. I was so angry, I actually thought about packing up and going home. Yes, my temper was a flarin’. I really need to get that shit under control. And the very first step towards recovery will be the severing of ties. Yup. Gotta do it. You should have read the last major dispute. The dude copped major ‘tude with me. Was bad, and this is beyond the point of no return.

Moving On

Moving On

This weekend has been good… not much human interaction (in person), but I’m enjoying the me time. For one, I’m catching up on my blogging which is extremely cathartic. Also, I managed to rollerblade (with the dogs), swim, and get a massage all in one day.

I’ve been getting up early too… going to bed at grandma hours, but starting off when the air is still crisp. I’m feeling better today. Yesterday I was my usual curmudgeony self– disgruntled and angry, but the swim did wash away some of the crankiness.

The Paralysis Returns

The Paralysis Returns

Now that we’re on the topic of family, I have more to say. I must confess, I just don’t feel that connected to them– the brother, the parents, the extended family in Taiwan. And frankly, I’m tired of society making me feel like I’m the freak. I’m not going to feign connectedness or intimacy. Granted, at this point in my life, I’m probably the least connected to people (in general) than I’ve ever been, but my point is, why do people force this whole “family ties” thing down the throat? Reminds me of those bullshit parental consent abortion laws… I don’t know what kind of world those policymakers are living in, but they insist that every young woman has responsible and involved parents with whom she shares a close, genuine, and trusting relationship. Whatever. When priests are molesting boys, fathers are raping daughters, and young adults are being trained/ordered to torture and kill, you know the world is far from perfect. So let’s just stop the charades, and save everyone the damn trouble.

Johnny sent me an email for my birthday. In his latest process of self discovery and personal transformation, he’s embracing Nichiren Buddhism. Says the chanting helps channel all his negative feelings and emotions. Says he’s changing for the better, and he suggested I try it. My response? Fuck off. Religion is not going to erase, much less stop, the lifelong turmoil and distress he has caused the family. And I hate to say it, but my uncle supposedly had a religious awakening a decade ago (he’s now a monk). He’s still a leech, and his daughter doesn’t even speak to him. That’s what I’m saying: the words and the actions have to fucking align. I’m in goddamn sales and marketing. I know bullshit when I see it.

It’s not even the money issue. I mean, if my parents want to blow dough on him, that’s their prerogative. For me, it’s the emotional manipulation. The verbal promises claiming that he has changed, that he has gained awareness, that he truly cares. The parents can eat that shit up all they want. I will not be fooled.

Anyway, the email just annoyed the crap out of me. First, my dad was copied on the email. What the hell, an intervention for me now? Then, Johnny goes on to say that, in his new and improved form, he’s helped our extended family. In what way, I have no idea. Given that my relatives are, to varying degrees, racist, elitist (obsessed with having a doctor in the family and in each generation), and now homophobic, I’m curious exactly how he has helped them see more clearly. Do you see how pissed I am about this whole thing?

I awoke at 6 am today and spent about 4 hours in the car. Driving is the worst setting for all this emotional, self-reflection bullshit. I know that I need to be honest with myself too. The job is not working out. I need to just say that and move on. And I realize that in my liberal stance on many issues, I am in fact quite intolerant of other views, particularly when they conflict with mine. But how am I to get over that? Is the correct position to simply agree to disagree? Why do I get so worked up when my family holds views different from mine? The hypocrisy just eats away at me. Not just from them, from me, from the world. There’s too much damn gray.

I canceled Netflix. They’re a “blue” company, but they disappointed. We received so many scratched, unplayable DVDs. I switched over to Blockbuster, who is staunchly “red.” Blockbuster costs the same but has the added convenience of renting from the store. My decision to switch is bothering me. I know, it’s one stupid little membership that costs like $10/month. It’s nothing; yet my choice, given what I know and for something as utterly unnecessary as MORE TV, just doesn’t feel acceptable. … I mean, do I need to watch 5-10 movies each month? What is the consequence of my selection?

I saw Fast Food Nation the other day. Everything is linked: immigration policies, unfair labor conditions, cheap nutrient-deficient food, animal abuse, rape of the land, making money, serving the insatiable American appetite, feeding the working class… What am I doing? I’m trying to have my cake and to eat it too.

I also watched A Crude Awakening. Why am I working 30 miles from where I live? I live in the artificial, manicured, oblivious-freakin’ suburbs. And in the last week, I’ve met so many people who commute 1 hour each way for work. Why are so many of us doing this? Why are we working 10-12 hours and commuting another 1-2 hours? What is this for?

When my parents visited, my father asked us: For your generation, what is the purpose and goal of your life? I didn’t have an answer. After some thought, it seemed that my purpose is to pass time until it’s all over. Try to spend my time doing things that are meaningful to me and hopefully helpful to someone else. But am I doing that now? Mostly, I am just passing time. And now it seems maybe 31 years hasn’t passed quickly enough.

What’s the purpose and goal of his life? Answer seems simple: to provide a good life for his family. I didn’t even ask him his question. I know that’s his answer.

So where to go from here? I don’t know. Maybe I think too much. I watched Grand Canyon last night. People are but a tiny speck on the world stage… still, if we don’t treat our actions as anything more than trivial, what’s the point at all?

I lead a very lucky life. The least I can do is to live it responsibly and honestly. I’m going to take a swim in the pool. I hope I see clearer afterwards.

4 Melons, 6 Peaches, 6 Oranges, 6 Days

4 Melons, 6 Peaches, 6 Oranges, 6 Days

The parentals were in town for Memorial Day weekend. Actually they flew in the Wednesday before and left the Tuesday after. John and I tried our best to present ourselves as a normal couple, but I think the parents caught on relatively quickly when they couldn’t find the right soy sauce in our cupboards. We didn’t have cooking wine either. I mean, I told them we don’t cook…

The thing is, we’re on totally different feeding plans. John and I eat Chinese only occasionally. My parents, on the other hand, ONLY eat Chinese. So meal number 1, we went to a Chinese place. After that, they insisted on going to the Chinese market to buy food for the week, which was fine with us… we definitely appreciated coming home to a hot meal. Still, how much seafood (and fruit) can two people consume in six days? Fish at every meal. You have no idea how many times John begged me to go to BK. I know, he’s disgusting.

Anyway, it was good to see the parents, but we didn’t have too much to say. I took them to a few scenic places, but they are pretty sensitive to temperature and wind (that’s where I get it from!) so they didn’t have a good time. We ended up renting a bunch of Chinese movies. Most were pretty forgettable, unfortunately.

One night, John and I watched the Joan Chen movie Saving Face about a mother and her ABC daughter who happens to be lesbian. I mean, sure there was homosexuality in it, but I thought the movie had interesting dynamics. I thought my parents would be ok with it. Well Jesus f-ing Christ. The scene where the two ladies flirt? My parents flipped out. We basically had to turn the movie off. And then I got so pissed off by their reaction. Later Mom and I got into a big fight about the usual: she’s clueless; I’m a spoiled bitch; Johnny’s lame; blah, blah. Then she made some ridiculous comment blaming my cousin (who she insists is gay) for causing all this heartbreak in his family. Chinese parents, I tell you. With all the shame and pain they suffer from their kids, I don’t know why they still bother with procreation. On one hand, you have my aunt and uncle choosing to take offense to something that really has nothing to do with them. My cousin isn’t being an asshole to them. He just doesn’t like women. On the other hand, you have my parents who are total gluttons for pain– Johnny’s a total dick to them and they just endure it. From my experience, I swear the pain subsides with estrangement. But do they ever learn? Nope. Well I guess that’s a consequence of the way they choose to parent. I know, sounds harsh but it’s their bullshit decision. If he actually demonstrated some respect, maybe there would be something worth fighting for. But he doesn’t give a shit about anything or anyone other than himself. Example? I get these mass emails about his projects, his essays, his screenings, blah, blah. If I don’t reply, I obviously am not interested, so stop spamming my inbox!

When my parents visited, they asked me to fucking book a roundtrip ticket to China for him using my dad’s frequent flyer account. A fucking Duke AB Scholar and he can’t book it his damn self. That’s why this is a situation that will never amend. Wiping a 30-something’s ass will never result in any kind of progress. Whatever. No longer my problem.

But back to the homophobic stance: Eye roll. My parents just don’t get it. Why’s it ok to watch Chinese movie after Chinese movie where the protagonist is some misogynist or where there’s major incest going on– somehow that’s not repulsive? Somehow that very watchable and tolerable? Ugh. So disappointing.

That’s the thing about my parents. Nice people but conservative in an irksome way. And certain comments they make just get under my skin. For example, my parents talked to this Chinese lady about her process for renting out her townhouse. She had one ridiculous requirement after another. Sure, it’s important to have good tenants, but can she really stipulate that she wants grad students only from the med, law, business, and pharmacy schools? And can she eliminate Indians because their cooking stinks up the house? My parents told me that, and I said the lady was racist. Didn’t believe me. Wtf? My parents came to my house for a week and stunk it up cooking all their damn fish?! Chinese cooking is pretty greasy and smelly– would their friend eliminate Chinese renters from the list too? Nope. Plus, the lady was charging like $2500/month in rent and she wants to control what the tenants cook/eat in their home?

Phew. Yes, a lot of pent up negative energy. This post was just supposed to be about the fruit and seafood safari. Sidetracked. Signing off now.