Friday, November 30, 2007

hellabad

I have arrived in India, the place that haunts my dreams. It is much
as I remembered it...as we drove back to the apartments, the streets
were quiet, and everything was muted by a haze of smog and dust, but
it also felt like I hadn't left. We were picked up by Jaffer, who was
one of the main drivers when I was here, and it contributed to the
feeling that this is a homecoming of sorts.

However, I am not very efficient typing this on my crackberry, and it
is almost five am here...one girl we were traveling with lost her
luggage, so the ridiculously long ordeal to wait for bags took even
longer, and it was almost two hours after we landed before we finally
left the airport. So, it's time for bed!

Amsterdam

I am sitting in a cafe in the amsterdam airport. Thanks to the fact
that I was overworked this week, I managed to sleep almost the entire
way here...and now I need to get on another ten hour flight to India!
That's the only update for now...I will write again when I get to the
East!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

can't you trip like i do?

I am absolutely positive that I've used this title before, but you'll have to deal.

Even though I'm exhausted, I'm suddenly excited about my trip to Hyderabad tomorrow. While I will likely spend most of it working, I am just excited to see the city again, to sleep in the apartments (I'm staying in the one that my friends Regina and Rohit lived in when we were all there two years ago), to go into the office, to shop for bedspreads (!) - to experience the thrill and mystery and unsettling strangeness of the East. Regardless of what happens in the rest of my life, the six months I spent in India will hold a special place in my heart, and there will always be a part of me that longs to go back.

However, the preparations for getting there have been misery-inducing. I worked until 3:30 a.m. yesterday, and decided to skip my 8am and 9am meetings so that I could get five hours of sleep. I then had meetings straight through from 10am to 7:30pm, with a 40 minute break that I had to use to get back to a bunch of people who were waiting on me for stuff. I came home tonight, packed, and then worked until now, but it's time to throw in the towel.

My flight leaves at 3:30pm tomorrow, and I have meetings from 9-12, so I'm looking forward to getting on the plane and being forced to disconnect for awhile. However, I am sure that I will blog while I am overseas. Wish me luck on my journey!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

hey, wait, i've got a new complaint

You know, over Thanksgiving, I was thinking about all of the things that I have to be grateful for. And instead of writing them down, I played Civilization IV. But I remember thinking, 'I should really stop complaining about work in my blog, I'm beginning to sound like a broken record.'

However, the thing about broken records is that they can't really be fixed. The best you can do is frame them and hang them on the wall, or use them to kill zombies like in 'Shaun of the Dead' (interestingly, my high school classmate who lives in London is married to the guy who was killed by a record in 'Shaun of the Dead').

So the point I'm trying to make in my rambling way is that while I have the best of intentions about what I write here, I find it v. hard not to complain about my workload. Particularly on days like today, where I had meetings pretty much straight from 10am to 8:30pm, and then I came home and worked from 9:15 until half past midnight. And especially in anticipation of days like tomorrow, when I have meetings from 9:30 to 6, and then a project that I have to finish tomorrow night that is suspiciously similar to those LSAT logic problems (such as 'Tim can sit next to Mary, but cannot sit next to the person who is less than twice the age of his cat, unless the cat has one white paw'). I also have to do laundry sometime tomorrow night, since I have meetings until 7:30pm on Wednesday, and I have to pack Wednesday night since I'm leaving for Hyderabad on Thursday.

However, so far I haven't really complained about my week - in fact, you could theoretically assume that since I'm masochistic and bring much of this on myself, perhaps I'm actually having a great week! Only time will tell. But, I predict that when I get on the plane Thursday afternoon, put on my noise-cancelling headphones, my neck pillow, and my face mask, and take a few extra-drowsy dramamine, I will be dead to the world. Until then, there is much to do, so I should go to bed. Goodnight!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

after all that we've been through, i know we're cool

The weekend wrapped up with a ban - while I accomplished nothing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I was both social and productive today! Claudia came over and we had brunch at Stacks in Menlo Park; the wait time was surprisingly short (neither of us had finished the complimentary cup of coffee they provide for people waiting outside, since the wait is normally >20mins for Sunday brunch and we probably waited for seven). Even though Stacks is no Peter's Cafe, it's still tasty, and it's significantly closer to my apartment. So we hung out at Stacks and caught up some more, then came back to my apartment and had a cup of tea like civilized people (rather than like the heathens we are).

Around 1pm, Vidya called and decided to come over, and I thought it would be appropriate to make chocolate chip chewies, which I haven't made in months. Claude and I ran around the corner to buy eggs, and I made cookies while Vidya laid on the floor under my big down comforter nursing her mysteriously sore neck. This detail is not necessary, but I include it for the people who read my blog to keep track of Vidya - she had a nice weekend as well, with a fun Thanksgiving dinner, some extreme socializing/dancing on Friday night, and now a mysteriously stiff neck which seemed to be causing her an annoying degree of pain. Anyway, we hung out for a couple of hours and ate a lot of cookie, at which point Vidya and Claudia both left.

Upon being left to my own devices, I talked to my parents for awhile, as is my Sunday afternoon tradition. I also talked to my brother for a little bit, which is much more unusual, but not unwelcome. Then, I talked to Katie for the first time in a couple of months - it was great to catch up with her, and I enjoyed laughing at her expense as we discussed how the worst romance novel in the history of English letters ('The Prince of Midnight' by Laura Kinsale, in which the hero is half-deaf, suffers from ridiculous vertigo that almost kills him on a boatride across the Channel, and keeps a wolf named Nemo as his pet - and which I found out inexplicably got 4.5 stars on Amazon, which proves that humanity is in decline) was one of the few things that Katie managed to save when she fled New Orleans in advance of Hurricane Katrina. I found another copy of it in a used bookstore here a few weeks ago, as though I had been drawn to it - but with Fabio's magnetic masculinity emblazoned on the cover, how could I not be lured in? Anyway, it was quite lovely to talk to her, and we spent a few minutes indulging in plans to someday live in the same town, turn into Lorena and Jackie, and generally have wildly-eccentric and amusing lives.

I spent the rest of the night running errands, taking care of some stuff that I need to do before going to Hyderabad, and trying on my Christmas party dress and inviting Oniel to go with me. The party is the night that I get back from Hyderabad, so I probably won't need to drink because I'll be so strung out on jetlag. I'm both looking forward to and dreading the trip - looking forward because I have a lot of friends over there, I like Hyderabad, and I like the group that I'm going with, but dreading because it's a really long trip, I don't deal well with jetlag, and I have a lot to do both before and after I go. However, now is not the time to complain - I'm going regardless, and I'm sure that as soon as I get there, I'll be v. excited. For now, though, I should go to bed. Goodnight!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

if i could escape and recreate a place that's my own world

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I was feeling rather antisocial - or more to the point, other peoples' Thanksgiving traditions aren't comforting and delicious, but rather scary and strange - so I turned down several invitations to spend Thanksgiving with various people and instead spent it alone. I made some delicious potato/leek soup, and had quite a lovely day.

On Wednesday, I had a decent day of work and managed to stop around 6:30, whereupon I left the office and met up with Claudia at our favorite Mexican restaurant. You may remember Claudia as my bestest friend who moved to Yale, abandoning me to my fate in California - I realized that since she left, I stopped socializing, mostly because she was one of the few people who would call me and force me to do something. She's back in town for Thanksgiving, so we had a lovely time catching up over delicious Mexican food. I'm happy to report that she has not yet been stabbed in New Haven, despite the town's atrocious crime rate, and so I'm holding out hope that we'll be able to spend more time together at New Year's.

Today, I went to Milpitas, where I had brunch with Arod at Marie Callendar's. I love that place - the clientele is generally on the darker side of seventy, but the food is v. comforting. I realized I hadn't seen Arod since a bunch of us went up to Heather and Salim's at the end of September, which is just depressing - we even work for the same company, but since we're not in the same department or in the same part of campus, I never ever see her. It was great to see her, and she's yet another person whom I'll have to spend more time hanging out with when I finally go on leave.

I did some stuff around the house this afternoon that I had meaning to take care of for awhile, and I went to the post office and mailed some stuff and bought stamps, but my plans to work on my romance novel met with dismal failure. The root of the dismal failure was my inability to stop playing Civilization IV - I don't play that often, but I've been in the mood for the past couple of days (astute readers will chalk it up to procrastination, since I'm playing Civilization and not working on my novel). I played the Mongolians tonight, in honor of the trip my father and I hope to take this spring, and I had a fantastic game in which I won the space race v. narrowly against the Romans. Yes, I am a complete dork - Civilization and romance novels pretty much hit two rather unrelated sections of 'socially unacceptable' behavior, making me an even bigger dork than if I only pursued one of those interests. Oh, well, normalcy would be rather boring. However, I need to dig up some willpower and not play the rest of the weekend - I have plans tomorrow afternoon and Sunday morning, but I should spend the rest of the time writing. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

green to red, machinehead

I had thought that I might be able to quit working around nine or ten, given that I got home around 7:30 after having a quick dinner with my friend Sean - it was half work, half fun, given that we had fun (of sorts) while discussing work at Amarin Thai in Mountain View. However, I instead worked until now. Boo. I'm trying to get through stuff so that I don't have to work over the weekend and can instead focus my efforts on my romance novel, but we'll see how it goes.

Today was fine, but I've had a stomach ache for a couple of days. If nothing else, I need to take time off so that I will start taking better care of myself, and perhaps (no promises!) break my intense diet coke addiction. Only time will tell on the second part of that dream, but I think I would naturally take better care of myself if I wasn't stressed all the time (thus stopping my stress-eating), and if I got enough sleep (which will only happen when I stop working and having stress-nightmares).

This isn't to say that my job is all bad, however - there are projects that I rally like, and I love the people I work with, I just have about twenty more projects than I really should have. I described it to someone tonight as the same feeling you get when you eat too much ice cream - it's fun and tasty and you keep piling on more, until your brain freezes and you feel sick to your stomach.

Then again, perhaps the better metaphor would be an abusive relationship - I tend to respond well to praise (which I've been getting a nice quantity of recently, in addition to getting promoted), and so even though I know this job is bad for me and I need to follow my other dreams and escape to freedom and look out for myself and my health and sanity, I keep having the typical abused/dependent thoughts of 'How will they survive without me?' and 'What if no one else wants me?' and 'They're really not so bad, it's my fault for not setting limits' and 'I should just suck it up for the kids' (in this case, my coworkers/team). Ugh.

I think I'll go to bed, where I hopefully won't have any nightmares. The four-day weekend starts tomorrow night! Yay!

the kingdom where we secretly reign

Okay, I shouldn't blog, I should just go to bed - it's midnight, I have an 8:30am meeting, and I just spent the last four hours working through an email backlog that has piled up long enough that I didn't feel too bad archiving weeks' worth of stuff since I made the assumption that if anything sent before Halloween was really that important, they would have resent it. Clever, eh?

But, I felt the need to wish my father a happy birthday online - I called him earlier today, but I felt that he deserved an e-shoutout. Happy birthday Daddy! Granted, it's no longer his birthday in any time zone in which we live, but I only missed the e-shoutout by a couple of minutes. Given tat the e-shoutout is free, and he apparently expects that I'm going to cost him thousands of dollars over the next few months, hopefully he'll forgive me.

Okay, that's all - it's going to be a rough week, particularly if I want to get through enough stuff so that I can plausibly and logically not do any work over Thanksgiving weekend, which is the goal. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

i've got this sentimental heart that beats, but i don't really mind that it's starting to get to me now

I know, dear reader, that I owe you far more than you are currently getting on this blog. I'm not exactly sure why I've had a relative aversion to blogging recently - part of it, no doubt, is that I have too much work, and there were a couple of nights last week where I simply forgot to blog before going to bed. Other nights, though, it was a conscious choice - particularly when I knew about my leave of absence but couldn't talk about it, I felt that I was holding too much of my current state back, and so it almost felt like a betrayal to write about my life without mentioning the most exciting part of it.

Now that it's official, though, it still feels a little unreal - I haven't taken six months off from anything since the day that I started preschool (and that was something I was so eager to start that I got up and ready to go a day early, as I recall, and was horribly disappointed to find that I would have to wait until Tuesday - I was a Tuesday Tiger, and not a Monday Monkey, at the every-other-day church-run preschool that I went to). So, I find myself both excited and unsure about my upcoming leave. Mostly excited, of course, but also unsure what I will discover about myself. I'm hoping that I discover that I do have the discipline necessary to finish my novel, and that I'm capable of relaxing from my professional stresses while also focusing intensely on the creative aspects of my life. However, it's also possible (even though the possibility feels remote) that I will find myself horribly bored and missing the challenges and triumphs of corporate America - I am, after all, a good little capitalist at heart, and so the more Puritanical side of me sees giving up a steady job to write romance novels as a rather silly thing to do. But, I also feel that I can make money writing them someday, which is keeping the capitalist in me quiet for now.

Anyway, this weekend was so-so - I spent five hours in the office yesterday afternoon, which was super annoying, but I also had brunch at Mike's Cafe and spent some time contemplating my novel. This afternoon, I went to a tea place in Palo Alto and had a couple of pots of tea and some delicious (albeit overpriced) tea sandwiches and crumpets while working on my romance novel. I wrote ~2400 words, which is close to ten pages, in less than three hours. At that rate, it would take me twenty three-hour days to finish my novel. Given that 700-1000 words/hour seems to be my standard pace, it seems quite conceivable that I could write a romance novel in a month, start to finish, even with additional time spent plotting.

However, I'm going to have to do some significant editing; I reread a lot of my earlier stuff tonight, and since I've been writing this in fits and starts over the course of three years, details keep changing - particularly pesky little things like the number of siblings each of them has, or the occasional disappearance and reappearance of Amelia's friend. It's going to take some reworking to make sure the narrative voice is consistent throughout the book, and also some careful editing to fix the little inconsistencies. But overall, I'm fairly pleased - it's certainly in the top half of all of the romance novels I've read, even in its unfinished form. Whether that says something about the quality of my writing, or instead is an indicator of the overall state of the romance genre, remains to be seen.

It would be nice if my leave was starting right now - my boss still hasn't set a date, and instead has been lavishing praise on me for a variety of projects, which is making me wonder if he's going to try to convince me to stay. I'm going to remain firm, though...I just have to know if this dream is something I can turn into a life, and this is the best time to figure that out. If nothing else, I won't starve to death - and I told my mother that, for Christmas, I was considering giving her and my father an IOU for a couple of months of my company in early 2008. Isn't that a lovely present? They're so lucky to have a thoughtful daughter like me :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

heart shaped box

Work continues unabated - I was there at 8am prepping for an 8:30 meeting, then I had meetings all morning, and then I had to present two different announcements at my department's all-hands meeting. I also had a one-on-one with my director, plus the woman who is taking over much of my responsibility, which was as intense and interesting as usual, and of course resulted in half a dozen tasks for me to complete. After work, I had dinner with Terry, and then came home, where I worked from 9pm until now. I had intended to set a deadline of going to bed at 11pm regardless of the amount I got done, but it just didn't happen. It doesn't matter, though - I can sleep for seven hours, which is a new record compared to the other nights this week.

I made a tactical error, though - I sent an email to my 80+ closest friends at work, saying that I was taking a leave of absence to write a romance novel. Given that my 80+ closest friends include people who are either based in other offices around the world, or people who are as addicted to work as I am, I've already gotten five responses and three IM conversations as a result, so I'm going to go to bed or else I'll be here for awhile. However, my former director in Hyderabad offered to pay me 500 rupees to make him the cover model, and while 500 rupees is around ten dollars, that's a lot of money for a starving writer. So, I may have to take him up on it. But for now, it's time for bed!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

what do you say, do you do, when it all comes down

I'm sure I've used this title before, but I'm too tired to think of another, or try to write a real blog post with actual content. However, Vidya and my parents (quite possibly in that order, given Vidya could get to me faster) will kill me if I don't update soon. I'm really exhausted though - all weeks are bad, but this week is worse, if only because I somehow wound up with 39 hours of meetings in a 45 hour work-week (40 if you consider that three of those days I don't get a real lunch break, and the other two have lunch meetings). Seven of those meetings were reviews, five of which I had to write, and writing the reviews takes me a couple of hours each because I'm too freaking verbose. Bleh.

But, I have news! It's official at work now - I'm taking six months off starting sometime at the end of January or beginning of February to write my romance novel and make some decisions about what I want to do with the rest of my life. It's still unclear as to the exact date when this will start, or where I will spend the majority of that time, but it's safe to say I'm v. excited. However, it was really hard to tell my team - in fact, when the time came in our meeting yesterday, I almost threw up because it came much sooner in the mtg than I anticipated, and it was a hard thing to do. But, in general, I'm excited.

I'm also excited because I had some Super Bubble bubblegum today - it's weird how taste evokes memory. I found a piece in the microkitchen at work, took it without really thinking, and popped it into my mouth - and when I bit down and released the flavor, for a split second I was eight years old, sitting in my grandparents' store and chewing Super Bubble while reading a Nancy Drew book. It was so fast and so real and so fleeting that it made my heart ache just a little - a feeling that I had to brutally shove aside even before the gum lost its flavor (which takes about five minutes) because I was on my way to another meeting. I'm looking forward to taking some time off and living again so I can create more of those intense memories - but right now, it's time for bed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

love will lead us

I can't write for more than a minute or so - I need to be at work at eight a.m. for a meeting with the VP of my department, so I suppose I can't be late. The weekend was decent, except for the fact that I had a splitting headache all day yesterday - I had intended to work yesterday so that I could not work today, but instead I just had breakfast at Mike's, then generally moped around. Luckily, my head recovered sufficiently for me to drive up to the evil city, where (after fighting traffic in the rain and getting rather lost) I had dinner with Heather, Salim, Lauren (aka Subz) and Nathan. We went out for drinks after as well, which for me consisted of a few sips of a really disgusting caipirinha - it's supposed to be cachaca or rum with lime and sugar, but in this case, it was really just rum. Ugh. Not only was it not good, but drinking it would have rendered me unable to drive home, so I just posed with it. It was great to see my friends, though - it's hard to believe it's been over two years since I came home from Hellabad, isn't it?

Today, I woke up late, and then saw 'The Darjeeling Limited' for the second time, this time with Vidya and Oniel. I was pleased that they seemed to like it, and we generally had a good time. They came back to my apartment for a bit, where Vidya and I had tea and Oniel had a coke, and we had a lovely and pleasant discussion until Vidya called Oniel 'Fauxneil', which he doesn't like, and so he stole her shoe as he left. However, he left it in the mailbox, so all was well. Then, Vidya and I watched 'The Office' before she went off to a barbecue - I was quite happy to stay behind, given it was dark and cold, which is not a good condition for a barbecue.

Tonight, I finally got down to the work I'd been avoiding all weekend around 9:30pm, and I worked until now. And now, it's definitely time to go to bed - this week is going to be brutal, as usual, so wish me luck.

Friday, November 09, 2007

i'm coming up on infrared

The last couple of days have been hideously busy - both yesterday and today, my calendar was completely blocked with meetings, and last night I stayed up until after two a.m. writing performance reviews for my team. This was particularly unwelcome since I had to be at the office by eight a.m. for a meeting that I did not really want to attend. But, I did manage to leave the office before six tonight and go out for dinner with Terry, before coming home and completely vegging out for the past four hours in front of the tv. With Tivo, I have control over my television destiny - and there are some great shows on right now. Too bad the writers' strike will put an end to that!

The favorite thing of all that I watched was Monday's episode of 'Chuck', the show on NBC featuring a cute geek turned government operative due to the national secrets lodged in his head. Part of the backline of the series is that Chuck was kicked out of Stanford for cheating, which he didn't do. In this episode, he returned to Stanford to find a secret hidden by a professor in the Stanford library. The geography of the Stanford campus is nothing like what was portrayed in the show, but it was kind of fun to imagine that the CIA was recruiting spies out of regular Stanford classes. Particularly since apparently Chuck would have been in my class, given the dates shown on the flashbacks. Sigh. I don't know if my life would be better if I was in the CIA, but it would certainly be more interesting.

I also caught up on past episodes of 'Scrubs', '30 Rock', and 'The Office', so I've cleared out what I typically Tivo on NBC. I need to watch 'Pushing Daisies' and 'Boston Legal' next, as well as the vampire show on CBS, but those will have to wait for another time. Right now, I'm exhausted and going to go to bed, where I will hopefully sleep for at least ten hours. Goodnight!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

for what it's worth, it was worth all the while

Today was a horrendous day at work - I woke up early because I was infuriated about something that I knew I would have to deal with, and it just didn't get better. The VP of my division wants weekly updates on something, and so there's a fire drill to prep for a meeting with him on Monday; I was scheduled for a mandatory 4pm meeting to follow up on a meeting at 9am that I wasn't invited to but in retrospect should have been; I had my weekly meeting with the directors and came out with a list of action items the length of my arm, all of which have to be done right now; the weather outside was completely dreary and it got dark before I was even out of meetings for the day; and I have to get up and do it all again tomorrow, starting with a meeting at 8:30 and going almost straight until 6:30 without a break. I may possibly get lunch tomorrow (which would be an improvement over the turkey caesar wrap that I grabbed at 12:45 and finally ate during my 2pm meeting).

Yes, I"m complaining, but it's just sad because I would have liked to have come home at a reasonable hour and worked on my romance novel. Instead, I came home at nine and did some vital stuff, and now I'm going to bed without being even close to done with my task list, which means I have to get up super early and go in to get some stuff done. Ugh. Luckily this state won't last forever. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is in two weeks? Impossible!

However, there is a bit of good going on - for example, I ordered an ergonomic keyboard and mouse to plug into my laptop at home, which I'm using right now, and I think that it will be good for keeping myself from getting carpal tunnel in the future. However, it's clear how ridiculously entitled people feel at work - when I left yesterday, I was carrying a big box from Amazon containing the keyboard, and a couple of the people who asked me what was in the box expressed amazement that I didn't just steal one from work. Now granted, I take lots of drinks (since diet coke is my lifeblood), and a completely unnecessary and accidental number of pens have migrated to my house over the past few years, but taking a keyboard seems to be beyond the pale. Maybe I'm just not taking full advantage of my resources. Now, though, it's time for bed - wish me luck tomorrow, I need it :(

when you're here, you're family

Today was a pretty good day at work, despite the fact that I had meetings almost all day straight, which is always my least favorite type of day. In fact, I had meetings almost straight from 11-6, with a fifteen minute break right before noon so that I could grab a sandwich and take it to my next meeting. Sigh.

However, I had quite a lovely evening. I left work around six-fifteen, and met Vidya at Starbucks, where we caught up with each other after a v. long hiatus. After checking my blog, I realized that I hadn't actually seen her and talked to her much in over three weeks, which is v. depressing. So, it was nice to have some alone time with her before going to dinner with the crew. We went to Olive Garden, which is an entertaining choice since there are many good restaurants in the general vicinity that aren't chains, but a fun time was had by all. Sri, Adit, and Vidya were there, as well as three of Sri's other friends.

I'm glad that Adit pulled this together - it's been way too long since I've seen my friends. I've been in a rather hermitlike mood for upwards of six months - ever since I started working really hard after coming back from vacation in Ukraine, really, with a brief descent/ascent into friendship again during the period around Claude's departure when we were all making an effort to hang out. The rest of the time, though, I've been so stressed at work and so in need of some downtime/ time to write/ whatever that I ended up avoiding (or, at least, not seeking out) my friends. In retrospect, this was not really wise - while I don't remember most of my solitary times, I have a fantastic and fond set of memories related to my friends, and it would be nice to keep adding to those. So, tonight was good for adding to the memories, and I'm still happy from it, even if I cam home and worked from ten until midnight. Also, Sri is a particularly great guy, and I'm glad that I got to celebrate one waypoint in his voyage to finding employment, even if the worst is yet to come for him.

Now I should really go to bed so that I can make it into the office for another endless string of meetings. Goodnight!

Monday, November 05, 2007

seven is the new eight

I'm excited that even though I have to get up at seven a.m. tomorrow, it will feel like eight a.m. - if only I could maintain that feeling forever! Even better, of course, would be not having to set an alarm at all, but as long as I'm still in corporate America, I suppose I will have to play by their rules.

The 'rules', of course, do not stop me from dressing as I please - I had my Q3 performance review today with my manager (also a director, and so one of the most powerful people in my department), and while I wore a somber black top and dark grey wool skirt, I accessorized the outfit with knee-high boots and green tights. Snazzy, eh?

The review went pretty well; most of it was really positive, which is nice, particularly since I have been working my ass off the past few months. The areas of 'constructive' feedback (which, since I'm self-critical, I always term 'things I suck at') were around my people management skills, which I initially found surprising - I feel that I have generally good relationships with my team and with my peers. However, after some quick reflection post-review, it makes sense - while I really like my team and feel like they like me back, I am not the most patient person in the world. And even though I idealize and idolize people who are able to strike exactly the right note when it comes to reading peoples' feelings, getting buy-in, etc., I am also very numbers/facts focused, and so I'm not easily swayed by peoples' feelings - I need to see evidence and make rational decisions, rather than changing my mind just because someone is upset. That's not exactly the warmest way to deal with things, and it's helped me to get a lot done, but I recognize that I risk alienating people or not doing enough to convince them because I tend to think I'm right about things.

The problem is that generally I am right about things, which is a horribly obnoxious thing to say, but in practice is often true. And so I can't really complain that I got feedback about it, because the feedback was completely accurate - it's more that I'm not sure how much energy I want to devote to changing myself. I do want to have a really strong and great rapport with my team, so I'm willing to make changes that will help them to feel more secure and supported, but I don't really see a lot of value in trying to build true consensus across dozens of managers on every single decision that I make. Or maybe I'm just being lazy, who knows.

Anyway, as I said, the review was good, but the crux of the issue is that I would rather be working on my romance novel than improving my business acumen, so we'll see what happens. Now, though, I should go to bed and save up my strength - I'm having dinner with friends tomorrow night to celebrate the end of this stage of Sri's thesis, and Adit will be there, which means I need all the energy I can get. I hope he's happy I referenced him! Now, it's time for bed.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

 
dad conducting business from my patio - note the hello kitty calculator
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me and mom
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me and dad
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the golden gate bridge from the vista point near sausalito
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my parents on the terrace at gloria ferrer champagne caves
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sonoma's mission san francisco solano
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the end of the mission trail in sonoma
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ruins at alcatraz
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doesn't this look like the life?
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nice warning
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

the carp of my dreams

Hello, dear reader - I am sorry that I have not written in the past few days. Work has been hectic, but my lack of communication has been more than that - there is so much that I want to say here that I cannot, perhaps out of a desire to self-censor, perhaps just because I do not know the full extent of my readership. Also, I find myself loath to log in to my computer at night, perhaps because I recognize how much time I waste online, and so want to minimize that wastage.

Amazingly, in the past two days, I have read two books. Real books, not romance novels (not to disparage the genre in which I intend to write, but I still have a love for 'real books'). Last night, I left work early, got a facial, and read 'Gentlemen of the Road' by Michael Chabon. He wrote 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay', which I need to go back and finish - I started reading it in the autumn of 2004, was in love with it, and then promptly became extremely depressed over the thread of the narrative in which one of the characters lost his family in the Holocaust and abandoned the book in favor of watching a marathon of 'The O.C.' Lame. Anyway, 'Gentlemen of the Road' was shorter, but quite beautiful - it follows two superficially-dissimilar, but similarly lonely men as they scheme together through various adventures and misadventures in Jewish Khazaria (now the area around the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea). In short, I loved it, and I want to read it again since I typically find that books which I love for their language are often even better on subsequent readings.

Today, I went to Mike's for breakfast, and then spent a few hours at Mike's and at Starbucks reading 'Tales of Moonlight and Rain' by Ueda Akinari. I had received this book from my parents for Christmas a year or two ago and had never gotten around to reading it, but I really enjoyed it. The book is a collection of short stories published in 1776 in Edo Japan, all of which have some supernatural/spiritual element. This translation included fairly detailed footnotes and introductions for each story, as well as a longer overall introduction to the history of the writer, the genre of literature, and the social context of Edo Japan. I had learned much of the social/literary context in my 'History of Japanese Pop Culture' class in college, and so it was a nice refresher to read the intro - and now I have a longing to go to Japan, see the shrines and the countryside, and experience a culture that I can never actually be a part of.

Speaking of alien cultures, I spent the evening with Subz (aka Lauren) watching 'The Darjeeling Limited'. I had wanted to see it for awhile, but I'm glad I saw it with Lauren - since we were in India together, and since Wes Anderson has such a passion for minute details, it was nice to watch and notice all of the little things that he got so perfectly. The movie was really good - not as funny, necessarily, as some of his other stuff, but heartbreaking in a good way. We went out for drinks and appetizers afterwards, and spent a couple of hours catching up, which was lovely.

Now, though, I think I'll go to bed - I have work to do tomorrow, and Monday will come all too soon. Goodnight!