Saturday, March 31, 2007

fall into you is all i seem to do

Today was really stressful, primarily because I'm so damned busy at work that I can't even sit down long enough to check my email, let alone feel like I have a chance to do any work other than chilling in meetings all day. Unluckily my meetings today required a certain level of thought and engagement, so by the end of it my brain was completely fried and turned to mush. I hate feeling like I can't think, unless I've done it myself with too many vodka cranberries, so that was frustrating.

But, it's happily the weekend, and I left work with Terry around 6pm to watch 'Blades of Glory'. I recommend it--Jon Heder (aka Napoleon Dynamite) is hysterical, Will Ferrell isn't quite as annoying as usual, and I like that Craig T. Nelson was called 'Coach' all through the movie even though he's coaching skating rather than basketball. The movie had its ups and downs, but there were some truly classic scenes that made me laugh quite a bit. It also made me sad that I missed watching this year's figure skating competitions, so I'll have to get back into it next year.

After I got home, I was having trouble getting my brain to stop trying to reboot, so I decided to let it hibernate completely by feeding it a romance novel. I reread 'Earth Song', which I hadn't read in years--it may be one of the most hilarious romance novels out there, although it may not be to everyone's tastes given the sort of gratuitous aggression and mastery that is common in most medieval-period romances. I just like that it has a character named Gorkel the Hideous and that he breaks a man's neck by shaking him. It also reminds me of Katie, which in turn reminds me of simpler times, back when we used to row around the lake, slather contaminated mud on our faces, and drink orange sodas in the heat of the afternoon while the Amish watched us cavort in the water. Not that those things all happened on exactly the same day, but it's an amalgam of several v. touching memories.

Anyway, now it's time for me to go to bed--goodnight!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

on top of the world you get nothing done

Work continues to be insane; luckily it looks like I might have an hour or maybe even two hours at my desk tomorrow, which will be a fantastic luxury. I just need to stop complaining, though; I would far rather be busy than be bored, and I'm much happier in general than I was three or four months ago. Perhaps work is to me what drugs/alcohol are to other people--by working all the time, I'm numbing my mind to the issues of what to do with my life and how to pursue my dreams. Injecting heroin into my eyeball would be faster, but would also be more detrimental to my physical and financial health over the longterm, so maybe I'll stick with corporate America.

In other news, I had dinner with Claude tonight, and we discussed her impending move away from California. Once she's gone, I'll only have Vidya (and no, Vidya, you don't get a tag--you only get one if I hang out with you) in terms of people I see all the time, and Oniel, Adit, Sri, Tom, Julie, Shedletsky, Terry, and some other random people in terms of whom I see occasionally. So, there goes my social life--it's a good thing I'm practicing to have no social life now! Actually, I'm exaggerating, since I have friends at work as well, but I definitely feel like I'm on the edge of a new phase of my life.

Before I start to ponder this, I think I need to sleep. The weekend can't come soon enough!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

need for speed

No, I don't mean that I need methamphetamine, although it would probably help keep me awake. Instead, I'm referring to go-kart racing--it's awesome! I had a team offsite this afternoon; it's rather unfortunate that the go-kart place only allows people to go timed laps without passing eahc other, since it would probably be even more fun to be racing all at once. I did two five-lap runs, for a total of ten laps; my best time was 60 seconds. I was trying to get under sixty, but on my final lap the girl ahead of me was so slow that I caught her and had to slow down since I couldn't pass, so that pretty much sucked. 60 seconds was still respectable, though; I saw a few people around 58 seconds, and a lot of people in the 65-80 range, so I felt pretty good. Now, though, my arms are slightly sore from steering aggressively without power steering, and I had to remind myself that my Pontiac Sunfire is not a go-kart when I was driving back to the office, but I still had fun.

The rest of the offsite was pretty uneventful; I could have played minigolf, but I didn't. I did get to play DDR for a few minutes, but I'm clearly out of practice given that I got a D on 'Butterfly' :( I had some pizza, hung out, and went back to the office around seven p.m. I was going to get some work done there, but instead I talked to my parents for quite awhile before coming home. I did some work here (not enough, but it's never enough), and now I'm going to go to bed. I have a conference call at 8am tomorrow, which is always fun--and my days have turned into endless blocks of meetings, which is truly unfortunate. Oh, well, at least I'm not bored. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

baby...did you forget to take your meds?

I'm exhausted, but in a good way! I went to work late this morning (10am, I'm such a rebel), spent the whole day in meetings (which means I have hundreds of work-related emails that have piled up and theoretically need a response, but it ain't gonna happen tonight), then left at 6:30pm for an offsite with the associate-manager group at Tamarine in Palo Alto. I love that place--I've gone there w/Tammy, Claude, and Shedletsky before, and recall being all super grown-up there. However, tonight I got to be even more grown-up, since I was with fellow managers, and I also got to eat a lot, since it was paid for. We had this delicious hamachi tartare (nothing like raw fish made into salsa), some amazing salt/pepper fried calamari, these barely-cooked steak skewers, some spring rolls...and that was just the appetizer. It was followed up by that green soup w/coconut, lime, and dumplings that I had w/Tammy and adored. The main course was gigantic prawns, some chicken, a nice-ish tofu dish, some great green beans, and a mushroom dish that I didn't even bother trying. The dessert looked great, but I was too full, so I just had a bite of chocolate cake. They also served four different wines with this extravaganza, but since I wanted to drive home (and since the director showed up), I paced myself and barely touched the last three. What a travesty!

Tomorrow looks to be more of the same--it's offsite week at work since it's the end of the quarter and we're in use-it-or-lose-it mode with team-building budgets. So tomorrow I'm leaving work at 3pm for some go-kart racing, and I may drop in to another offsite at 6pm to see someone defend his mechanical bull-riding title. Thursday I get an offsite break and so may have a bit of family time w/the crew; Friday I have a team lunch at Beppo's. How I'm supposed to get anything real done, I do not know. So, I'm going to go to bed now so that I can get up insanely early--goodnight!

Monday, March 26, 2007

i'll be the one to make you crawl

Michael - do you wish that you had never turned me on to Placebo's new CD? Or are you just glad that I stopped quoting James?

I had a decent day at work, in which I had a fun lunch with Alaska Matt. Then, I followed my slogging with dinner with Arod--we first went to Target to buy decorations for a coworker's desk for her birthday, then ate on campus (my work campus, not Stanford campus). After I dropped her back off at her building, I went back to mine, took care of ~30 minutes of work, and decorated my coworker's desk with streamers, garland, confetti, etc. Then I came home, looked for airfare for all of the trips I'm making in the next two months (and in particular my trip to Dublin in April and my trip to Zach's wedding in May), and am now exhausted.

Tomorrow doesn't look too awful, but I think I'm both sick and stressed--sick because I've developed my infamous cough (which makes me feel like I'm suffocating/drowning all the time), stressed (I'm guessing) because I've had a smashing headache all day that neither Advil nor Tylenol could resolve. But, things are getting better at work, and tomorrow night I get to go wine-tasting/eating at Tamarine, which I love, so that will be fun. Now, though, I should really go to sleep!

Dinner with Arod!

Arod doesn't like her photo taken...

For Alaska Matt

My favorite fabio cover!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

i'd break the back of love for you

It's ridiculously easy to take a photo on my BlackBerry (what I'm now calling my SwampBerry) and send it to my blog, as evidenced by the grainy photo that I took at dim sum this morning and posted below. I'm going to have to try SwampBerry photo blogging more often--I think it could jazz the place up a bit, don't you? I realize that this photo doesn't have great quality, but it's because I had to use 3x zoom and be surreptitious to take a picture of a stranger in a restaurant (particularly since this stranger, in person, looked like he could send me to the gas chamber).

This morning I woke up of my own volition around 8:30am--this whole growing-up thing sucks, since I'm starting to wake up early on the weekends even though I want to sleep in. I got out of bed at 9:30, showered, then drove to Woodside to pick up Shedletsky. We went up to the opium lounge for dim sum, where was had a veritable shrimp massacre--between the two of us, we had two orders of steamed shrimp in bean curd, one deep fried shrimp in bean curd, one deep fried shrimp with mayonnaise, and one har gar (aka shrimp dumpling aka shrimp families, so named because it's like a whole family of shrimp wrapped in a delicious ball of goodness). We had a good time, although I was sad that Tammy wasn't there to partake in the festivities :(

I came home and wanted to rub my belly for awhile before taking a nap, but I ended up spending ~4hours on the phone. This was quite strange, since I usually try to spend no more than four minutes on the phone unless I'm talking to my parents, but it was special circumstances--I spent 90 minutes on the phone w/my parents, ~25 minutes on the phone w/my nephew and nieces (happy birthday Zane! my nephew is thirteen today!), and and hour and a half on the phone with Katie, the queen of my heart and captain of my soul. Okay, perhaps that's an unnecessary exaggeration (particularly since I typed it, rather than saying it in an overly-gay faux-British accent), but it was great to talk to her--we hadn't caught up in ages, and we talked until I thought my bladder would burst (since I'd made two cups of tea during the convo), so we finally parted ways.

After catching up on Katie's life and reminiscing about our hometown and Walker, Texas Ranger, I went into the office and worked for an hour or so. Then, I met Vidya in San Jose for a v. leisurely dinner at this Thai place downtown. San Jose's downtown is strange; they've put so much effort into revitalizing it, and it all looks v. nice, but there's never anyone there, and the nice downtown areas are only a few blocks away from some places that feel genuinely seedy (and that I got vaguely lost in for a few minutes, since the ramp that I wanted to get on the freeway with was closed, and the detour was confusing). Having dinner w/Vidya was nice, and I feel like I relaxed enough this weekend to vaguely prepare me for the brutal slogging ahead. Hopefully this week won't be too bad, but given the various ridiculous things going on with some of my working relationships, I'm not holding my breath. So, I think I'll go to bed--and take my allergy medicine, which I have a bad habit of not doing even though I really should take it all the time, and the consequence is that I end up with a cough deep in my lungs that won't go away. The cough developed spontaneously over the weekend, so I'm hoping that my Allegra/Singulair cocktail will cure it--otherwise I'll have to move on to the whiskey cocktail, which isn't the same at all. Goodnight!

Hitler sighting!

I saw this dude at dim sum today...somebody needs to tell guys with brown hair amd combovers not to sport the small Third Reich mustache.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

it's in the water, baby...it's between you and me

I didn't do much today; I was trying to get up the drive to work on my romance novel, but instead I drove around aimlessly (actually, I drove with aim, but failed to settle someplace for very long) looking for someplace to hang out. First I tried Cafe Borrone, which was too full; then I tried this place on California Ave., which served me a delicious tuna melt but was not conducive to writing; then I tried the Peet's Coffee near my apartment, which was too cold. I then decided to go on a quest for a leather-bound executive-style notebook, to match my executive-style life (if I'm going to turn corporate, I might as well go all the way--or rather, I love paper products, and I've always secretly wanted one). So, I went to Village Stationers on California and struck out; then I tried University Art, Borders, Congdon and Chrome, and some other store on/around University Ave.; and finally I went to Town and Country Village to try the Japanese paper store that I visited and raved about a few months ago, only to find that it had gone out of business :(

I came home and talked to my parents, and was interrupted by the arrival of Terry and Lisa, with whom I had dinner plans. Lisa was visiting for the weekend; she's getting married in June, and she chose Terry as her maid of honor, which was probably a good thing since Terry is encouraging her to think of things like makeup, hair, and lingerie. We went to Lisa's favorite Mexican restaurant and had dinner and margaritas, which was fun. They dropped me off here, I actually wrote several pages of my romance novel (in longhand, so I don't know how many words it was, but I estimate ~1000), then started to fall asleep on my couch, so I think it's time for bed.

Tomorrow I have an impeccable commitment to dim sum, and then I want to try to write a bit, but I also have a lot of work that I should do, so I may have to go to the office for awhile. We shall see, we shall see. Goodnight!

Friday, March 23, 2007

keep this scene inside your head

My brother, in a clever ploy to get me to stop using James lyrics, suggested that I finally open the new Placebo CD that I accidentally bought a few months ago (I got him one for Christmas, but bought it twice, so kept the other). And I love it! However, Michael and I are both somewhat surprised that none of the bandmembers have killed themselves yet, given their heavy drug- and suicide-related content...which leads me to wonder if all of the heroin and self-hatred is just an act.

Today was a surprisingly good day. You would think that it wouldn't be, since I made someone cry in one of my feedback sessions, and one of my people resigned--but since the resignation actually happened two weeks ago, I was prepared, and the crying conversation ended on a reasonably good note. It may have helped that the weather was gorgeous, and while I couldn't feel it, I could enjoy the view of the Santa Cruz Mountains from my office. It may have also helped that I discovered Google Themes - if you personalize your Google homepage, you can choose one of six cute themes that change depending on the time of day and weather at your location. So, now when I go to Google.com, I see a cute little fox wearing a Japanese-style pointed hat, sitting outside of a tea house and playing by a pond. Right now he's playing a guitar for the ducks, but he'll probably go to bed soon.

But no, the main reason why I was happy is that I feel like I made the crucial first step towards resolving the issue that got me so utterly pissed off on Tuesday. As I mentioned yesterday, I spent a couple of hours last night writing down what was upsetting me and figuring out how I wanted to state it without seeming like a whiner. I discussed it with the person's manager today, and while I don't like giving what feels like harsh feedback, it felt like a really productive, honest, and helpful conversation, and I felt like my voice was heard. I also got to spend some time chatting with a new manager we have--he used to be in the Navy and was an F-18 fighter pilot before moving into business, and he seems to have a fantastic amount of experience and wisdom, so I'm really looking forward to working with him.

When I got home tonight (after driving around for awhile and getting a burrito), I signed up and took this career development test developed by the Harvard Business School. Yes, how corporate is that? Anyway, the funny thing was that the test told me that I should really be exactly where I am in terms of the type of company I'm working for; it said that I seem to value aggressive, rough and tumble, flat-org companies where people at a variety of levels have the ability to push agendas, and where a premium is placed on trying new approaches and taking risks. That pretty much describes my company exactly. The interesting thing was that it spit out that my 'deeply embedded life interests' are application of technology and theory development/conceptual thinking. It is perhaps too bad that I didn't move into more of an engineering role in college; I think if I had to do it over again, I would either go more towards the systems side of symbolic systems, or I would investigate the management science/engineering program.

So, I'm still really conflicted about what to do with my life, but it seems the everyone is, so perhaps I'll just roll with it for awhile. I'm beginning to feel that it would be less of a terrible thing if I ended up in business, but that's a slippery slope that will probably see me enrolled in business school in the next 2-3 years, which is a bit scary and still doesn't feel quite right. We shall see, though. Now I'm going to go to bed, and I'm not going to set an alarm for the first time in like a month, so if you call me before 1pm, I will curse you. Goodnight!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

gotta keep faith that your love will change tomorrow

Michael - how did you know I've been listening to James?

I went to work today, had a decent time of it, and made a presentation on the fly to a 300-person meeting (which for some inexplicable reason made me nervous enough to feel nauseous beforehand...or maybe it was all the caffeine I'd been drinking on an empty stomach). I left around 7pm and decided to have dinner at Mike's Cafe--I wanted to think, and since I wanted to write out my thoughts, doing it over a glass of wine and some steak seemed easier and less carsick-making than driving fast into the Santa Cruz Mountains. So, I wrote out a bunch of notes related to a conversation I want to have at work tomorrow, organized my thoughts, played with my BlackBerry--essentially, I have suddenly turned weirdly and incontrovertibly corporate.

I am pleased to note, though, that those acid peels seem to be working; since I got the second one, I've been carded both times I've tried to buy alcohol, which means that a) I have apparently regained some type of dewy complexion, and b) I've had a drink twice since Saturday. Considering how rare it is that I go out and have a drink during the week, it's clear that this hasn't been the easiest week in recent history, so I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Okay, no more; it's time for me to go to bed!

much brighter than all this static

My anger subsided to a slow burn today, which was enough to get me through 12.5 hours in the office, followed by a break for some Easy Mac, followed by working from ~9:30pm to 1:30am. I watched 'Love Actually' in the background, followed by a bit of Letterman, followed by Craig Ferguson. I *adore* him; he spent much of his routine tonight doing his druid equinox dance, which was a parody for that stupid 'My Humps' song by Fergie--but instead of 'my humps', he was singing, 'my henge, my henge, my lovely lady hinge'. He also discussed how he left the movie '300' all fired up by the dialogue, and that he screamed 'tonight we dine in hell! or the olive garden!' He's just so classic - I wish that watching him didn't mean that I had been working until after midnight, since I only seem to see him when I'm so busy that I'm still awake when he comes on.

Other than my temper, today was a fairly decent day; I pulled off a talk for about a hundred people (I didn't talk, I just organized the talk to have someone from our mergers/acquisitions department speak, which was fun), and I managed to get my emails back down to manageable (in other words, <35 emails that still require my immediate attention) levels. Now I should go to bed, as I have to be back in the office at 8:30 - and I have meetings straight through from 8:30-6 without even a break for lunch, so we'll see how cranky I am by tomorrow night. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

those who find they're touched by madness, sit down next to me

I don't really know what to blog about tonight; typically I would blog about how much I've worked today, but today really took the cake in terms of my frustration levels. I reached the point today where I was getting close to the level of annoyance I felt last year when I found out that I would not be going to Dublin for an additional two months and so would potentially be homeless. For those of you who remember how livid I was then, this should give some indication. Gyre (my officemate) knew I was angry about something when he walked into our office and I had my feet propped up on my desk and was eating a bag of potato chips while staring out the window.

Terry was annoyed about some unrelated stuff as well and had already asked if I wanted to have dinner, so I peaced out of work around 6:30 and we went to a Mexican place down the street from work, where we proceeded to vent to each other a bit, and I ended up feeling marginally better. There isn't really much else to say about this, and I don't want to anyway because it's rather imprudent to blog about work or interpersonal relationships on one's blog (although I do love being imprudent, but not about this kind of stuff). Hopefully things will be better tomorrow. Right now, though, even though it's only 9:40pm, I'm going to go to bed; I can't bear the idea of working right now, so I might as well go to sleep and go in early tomorrow instead. Goodnight!

Monday, March 19, 2007

take the old spice challenge

Man, I love my blackberry--they're called crackberries for a reason. Mine is even better because it's a luscious crimson. I was able to check my email while I was waiting for some coworkers at a restaurant for lunch, which made me feel very stylish and professional. Lunch was pretty tasty too; I've never been to La Fiesta in Mountain View, but it turns out to be spectacular. I ate a ton of chips and some tasty enchiladas for lunch, then just wanted to crawl into a food coma, but instead managed to rally and work for a long time. I came home around 8:30 and took a break to eat a peanut butter sandwich and read part of 'Consumer Reports' - it's the automotive edition, and since I've vaguely been thinking about buying a new car, I decided to pick up the magazine.

Wow, this post is utterly lame - I'm sorry! I've just spent too much time working tonight, so my brain is kind of mush. But, my work email inbox is down to only 32 emails that require action - sadly, most of those actions are time-intensive, but this is the closest I've come to feeling caught up in a v. long time. Granted, I have at least a hundred tasks in my online listmaker, but I haven't seen the bottom of my inbox in about six months, so this is v. v. exciting. And on that pathetic note, it's time for bed!

she knows where to hide in the dark

I was going to catch you up on my entire weekend, plus the sales conference, plus all of the pondering that I have done recently. But, that would take a long time, and you probably only skim these posts to see if I mention you, so this wouldn't do anyone any good. I would have had more time to blog, but I went over to Shedletsky and Joanna's around seven, and stayed there until 11:30; we ate dinner, then played this game called 'Illuminati', which turned out to be really boring and annoying. However, I had fun hanging out in general, and Shedletsky and I have made an impeccable commitment to have dim sum next weekend.

In case you don't know, and impeccable commitment is one that you make with a firm deadline, and that you will keep no matter what; if you find that you can't keep it, you have to renegotiate and let the other person know ahead of time. This is something that was discussed at the sales conference, and it was all v. interesting in a v. managerial sort of way. Perhaps I shall discuss more about this at another time, but for now I shall move on.

This weekend was nice; yesterday I spent most of the afternoon w/Claude, who dragged me up to the evil city with the promise of dim sum--she had to pick up tickets from a stranger, and said that we could have dim sum on the way back, but by the time we got back to Millbrae, dim sum was over, so we ate at Peter's Cafe instead. That was acceptable, since I had the best tuna melt ever, but it wasn't dim sum. Then, we saw '300' with Oniel--I freaking loved that movie! I mostly loved it because it was like a shorter, more ridiculous 'Lord of the Rings', with much more muscular guys (the 'New York Times' review said that it was enjoyable if you like 'prime Spartan porterhouse', which I apparently do). Also, the Brazilian dude (Rodrigo Santoro) who plays the soulful Spanish guy in 'Love Actually' and is a bit character in this season of 'Lost' was somehow changed into a seven-and-a-half-foot version of Xerxes, absolutely covered in gold and piercings and eyeliner. He basically looked like the hottest drag queen ever, and he attempted to seduce the Spartan king Leonidas into surrendering by giving him a rather creepy massage. Okay, so perhaps I'm not explaining the movie very well. But, if you like muscular guys covered in each others' blood, then this is the movie for you. Oniel wasn't a huge fan, but I thought it was fantastic.

Today, I paid a woman to pour acid on my face (in other words, got another glycolic peel), then bought a new phone. I am now a member of the BlackBerry (aka CrackBerry) club, but my BlackBerry is sleek, small, and crimson red, which makes it slightly more acceptable. So far I think it's wonderful, but I haven't really learned all of its features. I cleaned my room and talked to my parents, then went to Shedletsky's, and you know the rest. It promises to be another ridiculously busy week at work, so I should really go to bed--goodnight!

Friday, March 16, 2007

drinking the koolaid

If I were to classify the just-concluded sales conference as a flavor of Kool-Aid, it would have to be black cherry--black cherry was always my favorite flavor, both tangy and refreshing. And, I managed to imbibe quite a bit of the Kool-Aid at the conference this year; I left it as I always do, exhausted but re-brainwashed for the months ahead.

I will perhaps come up with a longer and more coherent recap of the past couple of days tomorrow, but right now I really desperately want to go to sleep. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

i love the sound of you walking away

I should be in bed; 11:17pm is usually decent for me to be going to bed, but not when I have to get up at 5:40am to catch a shuttle to the evil city. Tomorrow and Friday I will be in San Francisco for the sales conference. My past forays to the sales conference have resulted in some mildly debaucherous activities, but I'm feeling too damn old for such nonsense--I'm tired, I was at work until 10:30pm tonight (albeit with a break for a Taco Bell run and a chat with my dad), I missed this week's episode of 'Lost', and while I'm feeling much better than I was yesterday, my cough has moved to my lungs, which means I will feel like I'm drowning/choking for the next month or so. All of this combines to make me feel rather apathetic about the prospect of drinking like a college freshman with a fake ID at an open bar. Then again, I succumb to peer pressure easily, and so tomorrow night could turn epic--but if I sneak away in time, it will likely result in me sleeping for ten hours while trying to block the sound of Terry watching the opening night of the NCAA tournament (yes, I'm sharing a room w/Terry--there are advantages to working at the same company as your former roommate, one of them being that you can room with someone you know rather than a psychotic stranger).

It doesn't help that I'm a manager now--yes, I've gone corporate. But, people just pay more attention to the people who are managers, and have longer memories with them. For instance, I can't even remember the name of the guy who was found passed out, pantsless, in the hallway outside of his room a few years ago, but I definitely remember getting wasted with my first manager after he won an award and got far too drunk for his own good. So, for my own good, I will probably tone it down a notch this year.

Managing people, refraining from passing out, potentially buying a new car--I'm become an adult before your eyes. I'm becoming an adult before my own eyes as well--I've discovered that if I crinkle my eyes like I'm scowling at someone, there are definite wrinkles forming in the inside corners of my eyes. That's what I get for scowling at people so much, but I was seriously depressed the first time I noticed them. It sucks enough that I'm getting wrinkles, but to be getting wrinkles that result from scowling rather than laughing? Sad!

Okay, this pity party is going to be cut short abruptly, since I need to sleep more than I need to whine. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

mascara bleeds a blackened tear

I'm still sick; I left the office today around 2pm and slept for a couple of hours, which helped my congestion a lot. Unfortunately I'm left with a smashing headache and a cough that has settled into my lungs for what will probably be the long haul; whenever I get a cold, I end up with a cough that won't die. Sadly, there was some stuff that I absolutely had to take care of for work tonight, and so I came into the office around eight p.m. and have been here for the past three hours. It's fine in theory, since I slept ten hours last night and three this afternoon, which means that I'm not really tired, but I didn't get through all of the stuff I needed to do, and so I should wake up early tomorrow to come in and take care of it. Bleh.

In other news, I'm still considering buying a car, and I've realized that the choice of cars is mirroring my choice of lifestyles/careers/futures to an alarming degree. As I was telling Vidya on Sunday, I feel that I tend to think in absolutes; things are either good or bad, black or white, awesome or boring, euphoric or miserable, and I can't accept in-betweens. This is perhaps due to my mildly ridiculous personality, which also explains why I tend to either be v. happy or v. brooding with few stops on the safe middle ground of the emotional continuum. Anyway, this may explain why I am so annoyed with myself for being 'stuck' in what for all intents and purposes is actually a great job; I've tended to condemn peers who took the conventional path when they had the talent and ability to do 'better' things, and I tend to define 'better' to mean unconventional, risky, and exciting. So, due to the judgments that I've passed on others and my inherent sense of fairness, I feel the need to apply the same standards to myself, and I am finding my current 'conventional' life wanting.

Which means that, since I'm trying to decide between awesome or conventional, and I feel that I can't have it both ways, my current top car choices are mirroring that path; awesome in my mind is the Infiniti G35 coupe (expensive, but amazing), while conventional is the Honda CR-V crossover SUV. The funny thing that I just realized is that while the Infiniti is like 100 times more awesome than the CR-V, it is actually made for my current conventional lifestyle--if I take time off to go to Iowa, I would potentially have trouble driving a sporty rear-wheel-drive luxury coupe on snow and gravel. Conversely, I would be bored silly driving the CR-V in California, but it would be more suitable for driving cross-country. I'm so confused!

Vidya asked me on Sunday why I can't do both things that I love (in other words, make money and write books). And I suppose to some extent, I don't feel like I can do both because I see this as a huge, life-altering decision between the two. My absolutist thought processes follow the old adage about having and eating your cake - I think that I can have a career or I can follow my dreams, but I can't do both. Am I right? Probably not. But, until I overcome my mental block regarding writing while working, I'm still going to be conflicted and frustrated. Now, though, it's time for me to go to bed, and hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, March 12, 2007

clone us in a test tube, sell us to the multitudes

It's been awhile since I've updated you, eh? Part of my excuse is that I'm very sick; I will write until the Tylenol Severe Cold Nighttime kicks in, at which point I will probably fall asleep halfway into my sentence. Even though the time jumped forward rather than fell back, I'm ready for bed at 9:18pm, which should indicate my miserable status. Anyway, on to the moderately interesting stuff before I pass out...

Saturday morning I made it up to the city in time to meet Adit and Vidya and pick up a big rented Suburban for our trip to the wine country. We were supposed to have a minivan, but Adit kept hitting the Staples 'easy' button on the counter at the rental place, and for some mysterious reason the guy upgraded us two full classes. Perhaps the 'easy' button really works? We met up with Claude (the birthday girl), Oniel, and two of Claude's coworkers, and proceeded to drive up to Sonoma for some laid-back wine-tasting. Since I awoke on Saturday morning feeling the beginnings of what would turn into a ravaging cold, I didn't drink much; but, I did enjoy champagne at Gloria Ferrer, buy three bottles of wine at Eric Ross, and get lightly buzzed. We had a delicious late lunch in a small roadside cafe, then stopped at Benziger, Valley of the Moon, and some other place before heading home. This all reminded me (vaguely, since I was much drunker the first time) of my epic day in Sonoma with Ritu and Maneesh oh-so-many-moons ago, since Ritu and I also went to Benziger and Valley of the Moon.

We made it back to the city around 6:30, ditched one of Claude's coworkers, and had dinner at Osha Thai, which was delicious. We also randomly met up with my former friend Julie (she used to date Chris Boyd, for those of you keeping track at home); I say former friend because she moved to Seattle several years ago and we didn't stay in touch, but I do miss her. Missing her was reinforced by our brief but efficient catch-up at the tail end of dinner; I feel that I got the broad strokes of her life, and was sad that we couldn't spend more time together. Actually, we could have hung out longer, but I was feeling rather ill at that point, and so bailed on the after-dinner plans and came home to sleep.

I had to bring Claude's other coworker back with me, which was mildly annoying; granted, it only took an extra 20ish minutes to drop her off, but since she wasn't my friend and since I didn't offer to take her home (she was foisted upon me), and since I would have preferred to speed home with the sunroof open and the music blasting, I was frustrated. I also realized at that point that I'm not really a nice person; nice people would have been happy to take home a dozen people, while I was pissed off at having to go a few minutes out of my way. Oh, well, I'm over it!

I went up to the city again yesterday and spent a very quality (if vaguely depressing) hour w/Vidya; we discussed our respective dilemmas, and I left our conversation feeling even more unsure and worried about my future. However, the conversation took place in the sunshine of one of the most gorgeous days in recent memory, so that made it a little better. Then, I met up with Irish Matt for a late lunch. I was going to hang out with him longer, but was feeling the need for some alone time, and so I left early. I was going to do laundry, but on a whim I decided to drive to the coast instead, and I drove down Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to San Gregorio before cutting back to the valley and going home. It was wonderful, and I felt much more relaxed than I have in a v. long time.

Today I went to work, even though I probably shouldn't have, and had lunch w/Irish and Alaska Matt. The rest of the day was filled w/meetings, and I peaced out around six p.m. to come home. I vegged on the couch for a couple of hours, went out to grab dinner and some medicine, and now it's time for bed! I was going to brood about my life, but I think the sleepy pills are kicking in, so I should post this before I fall asleep, drool into the keyboard, and cause my laptop to short out. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

designer love and empty things

I should have gone to bed a couple of hours ago; I'm tired, and I have to get up around 7:30 to go to the city. Bleh. I left work around 6:45pm, ran an errand, talked to my parents, and went shopping. I did some major damage at Ann Taylor, then bought four pairs of shoes at Nordstrom--including a v. hot pair of shiny red high heels. I want to wear them tomorrow, but I haven't done laundry in ages and so have nothing that I can wear them with :( I will hopefully be able to do laundry on Sunday so that I can wear them next week--I'm in love!

I'm currently wishing that I was comfortable driving a stick shift; I've done it a few times, and I've never burned out a clutch or anything, but I would need some serious practice to feel proficient. However, I'm lusting after the Pontiac Solstice; it's a 2-door convertible that looks incredibly fun to drive, but all of the Pontiac dealers for miles around are only selling it in manual configurations. It makes sense, since I'm sure that sports cars are more fun to drive as manuals; I usually rest my hand on my gearshift when I'm driving, even though I have an automatic, so I bet that I would love driving a stick-shift. I could probably afford to keep my Sunfire since it's essentially paid off, gets good gas mileage, and only has 43,000 miles, and also buy a new midlife-crisis convertible.

Then again, if I were to buy a car, it would make more sense to buy a small SUV or something; my Sunfire ain't exactly a large, practical vehicle, so buying an even smaller car is probably stupid. But, I have no commitments and no plans to make any commitments in the near- to mid-future, and I adore driving, particularly with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. You know that point in 'Pirates of the Caribbean' where Jack Sparrow is saying that his ship represents freedom? That point in the movie tugged at some deep part of my soul, and probably fueled my love for the whole mess--I feel the same way about my car, the ability to go someplace, feeling the power under your hands, hugging the curves of the road, etc. I love to speed through empty parking lots, drive up into the hills, cruise down the freeway late at night, and so a convertible would make me almost disgustingly happy.

Well, whatever, until I learn to drive a stick it's a moot point, and since I don't have any friends who drive manuals, I'm pretty much screwed. I think that I could learn it pretty easily, since I've had lessons off and on and am familiar with the concept, it's just that I wouldn't feel comfortable going to a dealership by myself and test-driving a manual-shift car. Sigh.

I'm going up to the city tomorrow, where I will spend the night w/Vidya. This means I will probably not blog again until Sunday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

nobody loves you when you're twenty-three

Sadly, people love you even less when you're twenty-five. Actually, that's not true at all. But, I was feeling v. grown-up today and so am beginning to think about my future in different ways that I have in the past, or something. I started off the morning by doing an initial consultation with the woman I have decided to hire as my CPA/financial planner; she was extremely friendly and seemed thorough/knowledgeable (used to work for the IRS), and I think that it's going to be very good for me to get some practical advice about planning for the future. She took a look at my stuff and said that she wanted to look over everything in more detail to determine if I should be thinking about buying a house (gasp!), and she also said that she was going to send me a recommendation for a broker so that I could start investing more of my savings in the market.

After the meeting, I was simultaneously freaking out about my sudden adulthood and also feeling strangely happy to at least be attempting to control this aspect of my life (since I love control--and I usually either control everything or absolutely nothing, because I can't stand to be half in control; I either want to have absolute power or no power). I rushed to the office, where one of my new minions handed in his resignation letter effective two weeks from tomorrow. I was like, wtf, but I couldn't do anything about it (other than say I would get back to him on exit procedures after reading up on the appropriate guidelines, since I hadn't exactly memorized those procedures since resignations are pretty rare on the team I'm managing). Then, I spent all day in meetings handling difficult manager-speak messaging regarding compensation, HR, etc. Finally, I came home and watched 'The Office'.

So I suddenly feel completely lost and at sea in terms of what I want from life. I feel like I'm standing backwards on a 10-meter diving platform, with my arms crossed over my chest, ready to lean back and dive, and I don't know whether I'm about to dive into a warm sea of creative writing, or a murky bog of corporate whoredom. Then again, perhaps corporate whoredom is the warm sea, and pursuing creating writing is a fool's errand. I guess it all comes down to whether I want a conventional (but likely safe and happy) life, or if I want to risk it all and potentially come up empty. Granted, conventional doesn't have to be boring; if I do stay in business, I could focus on international business, or move into more interesting consultancy/project management work, or find a niche that is right for me. And to be honest, I love the feeling that I am a living example of the American Dream--in just about any other country in the world, I couldn't have gone from an agrarian, poverty-stricken backwater to an elite private university and a job at one of the best companies in the world, and I really am proud of what I've accomplished even if I wish that I were doing something more 'meaningful'. For those of you who have previously questioned my politics or my patriotism, this should go a long way toward explaining why I'm so rabidly pro-America; I can see America's flaws and wince at all of the things that we do wrong in the world, but I also embrace the limitless potential that I feel that I have here and would not have someplace else.

Anyway, perhaps these are the justifications people make right before they sell out and abandon their dreams. Or perhaps these are the pragmatic realizations that people have before they begin to think realistically about life and what they want from it. Either way, I'm extremely conflicted--I want the safety and security of a job and a family, and I believe strongly in the mission/values of my company, but at the same time I want that nauseating, exhilarating feeling of risk/excitement that comes with picking up ones' roots and moving off into the great unknown. I want to go off on a grand adventure; in a previous generation, I probably would have wanted to be a homesteader, or a colonizer, or an explorer, or a caravan trader [in a previous generation I probably also would have preferred to be a man, but whatever]. But in this generation, maybe those adventures don't exist anymore--maybe I should just settle down and play it safe.

I can feel tears welling up in my eyes just thinking about playing it safe, and yet I love my apartment and my friends and what I'm currently doing at work. This conflict isn't going to be resolved tonight, but the time is coming where I either need to make peace with the business world and begin planning with my career in mind, or I need to move on and take the backwards dive into the unknown. Either way, for tonight at least it's time for bed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

bleh

I can't think of a title, and I need to go to bed. Today was a decent day, although work was a bit stressful; I feel like I have a lot to learn to be an outstanding people manager, and I don't feel like I have enough time to actually learn everything, which is annoying. If I'm in a new situation, I like to learn everything I can before I have to start acting, and in this case I was just sort of thrown in--I feel like I'm learning to swim after being tossed into a twenty-foot-deep pool with my hands tied behind my back. I also now have twenty people reporting to me, which is an increase of exactly twenty from how many people were reporting to me about five weeks ago. So, there's lots to do, lots to learn, lots to stress about, etc. At least I'm not bored, though!

I did make it home tonight in time to watch 'Lost', which I thought was great tonight; I'm definitely hooked at least through the end of the season. I should go to bed, though; I have to work tomorrow, and I also have a meeting with my CPA, so that's all v. exciting. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

all i want to do is be more like me and less like you

I've been at work for fifteen hours. Actually, 14.5--I took half an hour out to go to Taco Bell, which was the best decision of my entire day. Mmmm. I'm making a conscious and concerted effort to not have to do any work at all on the weekends; but since I'm working the equivalent of almost two full-time jobs right now, that means that I feel the need to work a lot during the week.

But you don't want to hear my strange combination of whining and bragging about how much I'm working, do you? Unfortunately, there isn't much else to report; my work-week life has gotten rather boring since I started working enough that I can't spend my evenings brooding and writing in my journal (or dining out and carousing with friends). I only blogged tonight because my parents assume that I'm dead if I go more than 48 hours without blogging. This is to confirm that I'm alive in body, even if I'm not particularly lively in spirit right now. So, I suppose I should go home and go straight to bed--tomorrow's looking equally brutal to today.

One other thing, though; after I blogged on Sunday night, I watched the Ted Koppel-moderated roundtable discussion following 'The Lost Tomb of Jesus'. That discussion was almost as awesome as the crapumentary itself, if only because all of the experts they brought on to go up against the filmmaker were almost visibly shaking from rage at how bad it was. Also, all of the experts that the filmmaker quoted in the film wrote emails to Ted saying that they were taken out of context (probably because otherwise they'll be shunned by the scientific community). It was great! And, with the memory of Jesus making tortillas to warm the cockles of my heart, it's time to go home and go to bed!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

an almost-prophetic visit from a blindwoman

I turned on the TV on the Discovery Channel just in time to see a snippet of their controversial (mostly controversial because the science behind it is so bad) new documentary 'The Lost Tomb of Jesus'. It's a good thing that the menu on my TV said 'Lost Tomb of Jesus (NEW)' when the TV turned on, since the first shot I saw was a camera going up what looked like a suspicious cavity (aural? anal?) and a deep, dramatic voiceover saying 'we may have reached another blockage'. I snickered to myself. Now, I'm feeling myself getting sucked in--the science is bad, the logic is untenable, the graphics are ridiculous, the lead archaeologist is unkempt and clearly obsessed with his goal--in other words, it's exactly the right program for me!

Anyway, the rest of my weekend was v. good and v. solitary, which was just the way I wanted it. I was in bed by midnight Friday, after reading 'Dream a Little Dream' by Susan Elizabeth Phillips), woke up in time to have brunch w/Terry (she had wanted to have dinner Friday night, but I had just wanted to sleep, so blew her off and made up for it w/brunch), and then went to get a facial. Actually, it wasn't really a facial--it was a glycolic peel, which, for those of you who aren't up on your spa lingo, means that I paid a stranger a ridiculous amount of money to stab my face repeatedly in an attempt to clear my blackheads before pouring acid all over my skin and leaving me to burn. Soothing, eh? But, my skin looks much better today, so I may try to do this peel-thing more frequently.

After the burning, I bought myself flowers (yellow tulips and yellow/orange gerbera daisies). I came home, read a romance novel ('This Heart of Mine' by Susan Elizabeth Phillips), went grocery shopping, made myself a delicious smoked-salmon-and-avocado sandwich, then read another romance novel ('Nobody's Baby but Mine', once again by Susan Elizabeth Phillips).

---->Break: the show now has a cheesy reenactment of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, where Jesus is leading Mary Magdalene while she rides a donkey. Now Jesus looks like he's making tortillas. WTF?!?!

Back to me--today wasn't much more productive; I slept late, ran a couple of errands at the mall, talked to my parents, went to Target, came home, made dinner, and watched a couple of episodes of 'Numbers' (CBS lets Comcast show some of their shows for free on Comcast OnDemand). Now, I should be considering going to bed so that I can get up tomorrow and start the week. Hopefully this week will be less terrible than last week, but we shall see.

Finally, I just want to report that it seems to be marriage season, but none of my female friends have gotten the message; Chris and Victor both got engaged recently (Chris around Valentine's Day, Victor yesterday), John and Zach are both getting married in May, and Adit's practically a done deal as well. It's rather funny that most of my male friends are actively seeking commitment, while most of my female friends are about as far from committed as possible. What's up with that? I'm going to console myself by watching this idiot archaeologist--the voiceover just said 'he's interrupted by an almost-prophetic visit from a blind woman'. This is awesome! I can't understand why the 'New York Times' thought this thing was so bad! I'm going to watch it now, so goodnight!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

i will love you forever and a day

I am freakin' exhausted. You can tell that I've reached that trance-like state of work-work-work that I seem to get into every ~4 months, since I was in the office for twelve hours yet again today. I was so tired this afternoon that I actually closed a spreadsheet I was working on without saving it, which I never do; luckily it was small and it only took me ~10 minutes to recreate it, but I was still v. annoyed. However, I took a break to have dinner with my friend Joann; she switched teams a year or two ago, and so I never see her anymore, but she was recently promoted to team lead as well, so we were commiserating on our newly-managerial statuses. We also had dinner at the same small-plates cafe that I ate at a few weeks ago and raved about; they weren't serving kangaroo tonight, but there was a chicken dish with a delicious cream sauce, some great garlic mashed potatoes, a crab risotto that I liked quite a bit, and perfectly-steamed green beans w/garlic and onions. Mmmmm. I really should eat at work for dinner more often, since it's free and awesome. This is particularly true since I have to drive through main campus now to get to the freeway when I go home, and I drive right by at least three cafes that are open for dinner. Then again, it's very appealing to just go straight home and crash, so I may not follow through on this realization.

Anyway, I'm typing this at work so that I can leave my laptop here (to avoid the temptation of opening my laptop again when I go home), then I'm going home and going straight to bed. I could easily find four more hours of work that I really should do by tomorrow, but it ain't gonna happen, so I should just throw in the towel.

Despite all this, I'm not exactly miserable--and I felt an earthquake tonight! It was awesome! There was this random jolt, followed by some gentle rocking, and every free-hanging thing in my office swung just a bit. I im'd Oniel to see if he felt it, and he expressed relief at the knowledge that he wasn't just imagining things. Since he lives in the East Bay and I am on the peninsula, the earthquake must have had some travelling power; according to the geological survey people, it was a ~4 magnitude earthquake somewhere in the north-east bay. Pretty cool, eh?

Now it's time to go home and go to bed! Goodnight!