February 28, 2007
I had one of the best days I have ever had since I joined my current firm today. If you see the pictures above, you will see that I have some of the most bizzare, interesting, and unbelievable colleagues at work.
One of the engineers in our firm decided to make a tattoo on the side of his finger. It's actually looks like a tattoo when he out his finger over his lips. I think he is a genius to think of the idea. By the way, the most interesting fact is that he and his girl got engaged at the tattoo shop in the middle of getting the tattoos. All I have to say is.....amazing.
Congratulations Sean! You are THE MAN.
My colleauge not only is very creative but he also has a unique taste of art. Look at the mousepad he is using. No one would believe that someone would actually use such a mousepad in the office. Well, technically, he doesn't use that mousepad but he looks at the mousepad now and then to relieve his stress at work. Genius, isn't he? By the way, please worship his hand. We all agree that he has the most sexy hand in the world and his dream is to be a hand model. Way to go!
Last but not the least about my unique colleauge, he has one of the most beautiful snowglobe I have ever seen in my life. It's much better than the collections that I saw on the 2nd floor of Meyer Library at Stanford University. The colorful dragon snowglobe....it's just....okay...I don't have words to describe such a masterpiece.
If you see the other two pictures, you can see how creative our marketing team is. One of our marketing teammates created a sell sheet to sell a new product our company rolled out two weeks ago. Look at the unicorns on the sell sheet. It's incredible.....again I was speechless when I first saw that in my mailbox. Let's give a round of applause to my colleague. Feel free to post a comment or email me to praise him. I will make sure that I pass on the information.
Working in such a company, I am speechless.
February 27, 2007
I saw this picture when I was doing a Google image search. I could not believe that someone would have the idea to put the restroom and food together. You see, diners sit on the toilet to eat and the stuff that eat looks like what you pass out. Are we out of out mind or are we just getting so fed up with the real life?
By the way, it's a real restaurant in Taiwan. Let's give a saulte to the great country of Taiwan.
Have you ever felt that you aren't getting the attention from the people around you?
Almost 10 years ago, when I visited my high school friend, Ron, at UPENN, he told me that the ultimate goal in people's life is to be recongized by someone. The person could be your family members, your friends, your significant other, your colleagues, or any one around you. Everyone want to be the main actor or actress in the spotlight. One of the most famous social psychologists, Erving Goffman, believes that life is just a drama. People have both front stage and back stage behavior. His in-depth analysis of human interactions render many significant obeservations and theories about how human interact with one another.
Recently, I have watched the British BBC comedy called The Extra. Each episode is about the life of an extra in a movie set with a famous Hollywood star. I think the show is very funny and provides much needed comical relief. Most importantly, it makes me think that no one wants to be an extra in life. However, many times, I feel like that I am not at the spotlight or getting the attention from my friends, families, or colleagues. That sensenation makes me feel that I am THE extra in my friend's life. I feel that I am never significant enough to make someone around me laugh, cry, weep, or angry. You know, it's genius that we use the term "significant other" to describe the people we love dearly in life. However, we never use the word "the extra" to describe the acquiantances that come across in our life. I think the reason is that "extra" has a slightly more elevated role than acquantiances in our life. Without extras, we would not be able to support or display the best part of us. The extras play an inevitable role in our day to day action while acquantiances are people who are dispensable.
Anyway, for a long time, I have been feeling that I am THE extra in everyone's life. Maybe that's the reason that I am not very excited or happy most of the time. If you think that I ain't the extra in your life, shoot me an email or post a comment.
February 25, 2007
I rented this movie and watched it last night. Surprisingly, this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. I couldn't help going to Borders to purchase the original biography by Dito Montiel.
Basically the story was about Dito's childhood in New York and his relationships with his family and close friends. They were all from a poor neighborhood and did not have many opportunities to move up the social ladder. In particular, the movie spent the time dissecting the relationship that Dito had with his family and his friendships with his four close friends. At the end of the movie, Dito gave the credit of the movie to Anthony, one of the closest friends he grew up with in his life. I am really touched by the story and how each of Dito's friend stood up and helped one another. Also, I admire the courage that Dito had when he decided to leave everything he was familiar with to move to California. He had a dream of forming a band. In real life, Dito did had a one hit success in Hollywood with his band Gutterbuy.
Anyway, it's an excellent movie! You should definitely check it out!
February 24, 2007
I love Calvin and Hobbes so much because Calvin has this imaginary friend who is a tiger. He is the only person who can interact with him. They play and enjoy many good times together. In reality, Hobbes is just a soft toy. I remember that when I was little, I used to have a teddy bear and I always talked to him. He's like an ideal companion and an imaginary friend I have had in my life. It's just interesting to see kids interact with their toys these days. No matter whether it's a soft toy or a robot, kids seem to project them as real persons and engage in conversations and interact with them. Maybe it's a learning process that kids learn practice to interact with one another. Or maybe they are smart enough to know that there is no ideal mate in the world unless it's an imaginary one.
I am so psyched now that I got my travel arrangement planned out. I am going home on March 7 and will be there for at least two weeks. I am now trying to hook up with my friend who works for the Oasis airlines to get a roundtrip ticket from Hong Kong to London. It will be awesome if I can spend a week there seeing my three good friends there! I hope the ticket will go through and I will be able to go! I can't wait to see my friends in Hong Kong but I also can't wait to go to Europe again! I love Europe so much!
Wish me luck! Hopefully I can get my ticket to London soon!
February 23, 2007
I was trying to offer help to my colleague on a project that he is responsible for. However, he basically just turned down the help and wanted me to do the work. He said that he won't mind if I took a lead to do the work. What the hell was he thinking? I couldn't believe that he would ask me to do the work for him, rather than spending some time to figure out how to do it. Anyway, I learned my lesson and told him that I won't take charge of the work that he is supposed to do.
Sometimes I wonder how there's such a big difference in people's work ethnic. You know, you come in late at work, take an hour or so in the afternoon, and leave work an hour early or so. If that's what makes the American society moving on, I'll have to admit that the Asian society has a lot to learn. When I was working back in Asia, people not only stay late at work but they also bring work to home. I did not think that it's the right mentality because many Asian employees stay late at work just to impress their bosses. They are so inefficient at work and end up spending hours at work chatting online or doing nothing. I think the best workers are those who get their work completed within their work schedule. It means that you know how to manage your time efficiently to get the work done. That's the type of people who will be successful because they know how to work within the limits and get the most out of it.
Since I worked very intense at work today without taking a lunch break, I am completely exhausted now. I think I am going to chill tonight to finish some DVDs that I got in the mail a few days ago.
February 22, 2007
One of the most notable statements from the article is "Although depression is emotionally crippling and has numerous medical implications—some of them deadly—many men fail to recognize the symptoms. Instead of talking about their feelings, men may mask them with alcohol, drug abuse, gambling, anger or by becoming workaholics."
Doesn't that ring a bell to you when someone tells you that they need to drink excessively to forget their problems, or someone telling you that they are angry at work or at home all the time? I am sure that you have heard that from many of your friends. Many men are refusing to discuss their emotional problems because they don't want to be viewed as weak or a betrayal of their male identities.
"For decades, psychologists believed that men experienced depression at only a fraction of the rate of women. But this overly rosy view, doctors now recognize, was due to the fact that men were better at hiding their feelings. Depressed women often weep and talk about feeling bad; depressed men are more likely to get into bar fights, scream at their wives, have affairs or become enraged by small inconveniences like lousy service at a restaurant. "Men's irritability is usually seen as a character flaw," says Harvard Medical School's William Pollack, "not as a sign of depression." In many cases, however, that's exactly what it is: depression."
My previous research also found that depressed men are more attention seeking than their peers. As a way to balance their self-inadequacies and guilt, they love to be praise by their male peers for a lot of seemingly deviant behavior: excessive drinking, drug use, having multiple sexual partners, getting into fights, yelling at their loved ones. This leads to many problems with family abuse (not just physical but psychological). Unsurprisingly, many times their women are the ones calling it quit and asking for divorce. They just can't stand having a husband who prides himself of the aforementioned "manly" behavior. Your male peers may praise you for what you do because they know that they won't do it. They want to see the consequences of what it should be like if they actually act out their thoughts (such as arguing with wives all the times, having multiple sexual encounters in a short period of time). It's like "I ain't going to take the risk to carry out the action but I do want to see the positive and negative consequences. So, I encourage my buddies to try it out and see what happens."
Anyway, if you think someone you know is hiding his emotions and expressing some of the symptons described above, it will be a good idea for you to encourage him to seek help. You should always be available to them if they ever want to talk about it. However, you will find most men aren't comfortable sharing this secret with their mates for fear of being rejected. Take some time to read the Newsweek's article online. I am sure you will gain some insights about this alarming health issue among men.
I ended up waiting at the Chinse Consulate in San Francisco for 3 hours to get my Hong Kong passport renewed. It's going to take at least another month before I can get the new passport. While I was waiting there, I was amazed to see so many US passport holders from mainland that don't speak a word of English. Is it ironic that I have been legally here for 12 years and got my degrees here, have a job outside of Chinatown and and still can't get a US passport? The more I think about it, the more I question whether it is really worth it or not.
It's funny today that my friend told me that when anyone reaches 30 and is still unmarried, he/she must have some psychological issues. With his insights, I do find that to be very true. I guess the older you are, the more you realize that you are going to be an outcast in some way by either not getting married or building up your career. You cam make an excuse to be naive and exploring the world in the 20s. However, in the 30s, it's time for each person to settle down with one thing or the other. Yes, it may not be the best thing that you ever want. However, everyone should realize that there is no perfect place, perfect job, perfect mate.....nothing is ideal. We just have to accept whatever options we have in front of us and make the best out of it. If we keep wandering around for a few more years, you will realize the disconnection you have between you and the society. You will become more angry at the society because you feel that no one understands you and your action.
I came across the above card at a story the other day. I love the quote on it. I really have to
"accept the things that I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the differences"
I feel better today because I believe that friendship is one of the things that I cannot change. Just like any other relationships, I cannot force it to change. I was naive enough to think that friendship is different from other type of romantic or work relationships between it's much simpler and it does not involve any gains and losses. Now I know, it's just the same as other relationships.
I am accepting the fact that friendship is one of the things that I cannot change.
Why is it hectic being me?
1) I need to figure out how to get my permanent residency quick if I still want it.
2) I need to finish a few more papers to get published in journals and present them at professional conferences.
3) I need to perform the best at my job for the rest of February. I mean, the best...the kind that you rarely see, like getting A+ in your Stanford class.
4) I need to arrange my travel plans.
5) I need to forgive and forget. Trust me, letting things go takes a lot out of me.
6) I need to get my passport renewed.
7) I need to breathe (it takes a lot of energy and calories).
A little bit of hug and support is well appreciated.
If you like me, send me some love!
Give me a reason to stay.
Today I made a call to my travel agent to reserve a flight ticket to go back to Hong Kong. I am still aiming to leave on March 1 and probably spend a few weeks there. I want to spend some time with my mum and possibly do a little bit of traveling while I am there. I am hoping to go to Vietnam or somewhere in S.E. Asia, unless I can score a cheap ticket to go to London. I would like to visit my friends and my beloved teacher there.
It was a hectic day at work but for some reason, I was very productive. I guess part of the reason is that I don't feel like having any baggage on me and I care less what my colleauges think about me anymore. It's a great feeling because I can actually put forward the best of me and get my work done before my departure. I want to show it to the world that I am capable of doing more than you think. What's more, I want my colleauges to know that I ain't as mediocre and lazy as some of them. Haven't you heard of the old Chinese saying "Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"? It's even the title of a popular Chinese movie.
Once again, for those who have supported me, I thank you. For those who have trepassed me, I forgive you. It's time for me to move on with my life.
February 20, 2007
Since I have been thinking a lot about friendship lately, I came across a very interesting post today on the Sports Illustrated website: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/02/20/bc.bba.yankees.jeter.ap/index.html
The article talks about how the friendship betwen two great baseball players for Yankers, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. According to the article, the two used to be very close friends in the 1990s but their relationship deteriorated dramatically in the past few years because of the wins and losses on the field.
Rodriguez said in an interview today "I just found myself trying to say always the right things and trying not to screw up," he said,"And I think that came acrosss for some people as very disingenouous and phony perhaps -- those are the things you hear. If you're going to get chopped up into pieces, you might as well be as honest as you can and get ripped for it."
Basically Jeter was criticized by some last year for not voicing sufficient support for Rodriguez, who struggled at times during the regular season and was booed at Yankee Stadium. He said "The only thing I'm not going to do is tell the fans what to do. ... I don't think it's my job to tell fans to boo or not to boo."
I have some resonance with the story. As many of you know, I recently have sort of a melt-down with a colleague of mine at work. So, I can understand how Rodriguez when Jeter made such a comment. When you are in a difficult situation or going through a hard time, the last thing you need from your mates is to show any indifference. You want them to stand by your and support you throughout the ordeal. If you can't do that, don't claim to be someone's friend. You are just using your friend when you see the potential benefits. It's all true. The observation is well documented in the many social psychological theories including the social exchange theory.
So, what do I learn from this story? It's time to move on and be true to myself. I will no longer question myself and feel that I have not been a good friend to someone. I know I have done nothing wrong and I am ready to move forward.
Today, four months after submitting the change of employer application for my H-1B work visa, I finally received an email from my attorney that my new H-1B application has been approved. It's such a relief for me since I have been waiting to get this for 4+ months. I have not been home since December 2005 and I really want to take a break from all the chaos happened at work and in my personal life.
Life has been very hectic since the beginning of the year. I have switched to 2 new bosses in January. I became good friends of one of my colleagues. I had an arugment with my colleague out of nowhere. We stopped hanging out and became just regular work colleagues. We started having arguments at work and things just deteriorated dramatically.
I really have no idea how to mend this work relationship/friendship. I cannot deny the fact that it's very awkard at work whenever we try to carry a work-related conversation. It's somehow affecting how I view myself and others. I think this is particularly true since I don't know how to react when someone suddenly gets real close to me and wants to be friends but at the very next moment, the person becomes so not understanding and basically makes your life difficult. I guess it's part of the theory at the closer you are to someone, the more you are afraid to get hurt.
Anyway, I am pleased that things are coming to an end. I am going to take most of my March off and return home. I love my friends and families at home and I know that they will always be there for me.
I learned from my sickness two weeks ago when I asked my teammates to bring me medications. The conversation was as follows: (A=Antony, B=Colleague)
A: I am not feeling very well. Could you bring me some meds at lunch or after work?
B: No, I can't bring you anything.
B: You need to take care of yourself.
A: I am too weak to even get out of my bed. I just need some medications and food. I haven't eaten since Monday.
B: I can't bring you anything. Allison and Isaac can't bring you anything. You should take a cab.
A: I don't have the energy to get out of my bed.
B: Call an ambulance to take you to the hospital.
Someone I still don't know whether my colleague is an asshole or he is just an inconsiderate person. It's interesting that my friends and ex-colleagues in South Bay actually messaged me all day long and wanted to come up to the city to save me. I only lived 10 minutes away from work and my colleague, whom I thought was a good friend, won't even stop by to check on me after work. Instead my boss and my colleague in the sales team offered to swing by to bring me movies or food.
What would you do if someone keeps telling you that he/she is moody and is a loner? What can you do to make anything work? Is it so hard just to make a genuine friend nowadays without having to calcuate any gains and losses? Now I learn that I don't need to take an extra step to help my colleauge anymore. It's not worth it.
This is one of my favorite songs of all time. Read the lyrics and you will understand why. In particular, see the sections highlighted in green. It is a very accurate portray of my feelings at this very moment.
"Home" - Michael Buble
Another summer day
Has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I wanna go home
Maybe surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home
Babe I miss you, you know
And I've been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
Each one a line or two
I'm fine baby, how are you?
Well I would send them but I know that it's just not enough
My words were cold and flat
And you deserve more than that
Another sunny place
I'm lucky I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I've got to go home
Let me go home
'Cause I've just too far from where you are
I wanna come home
And I feel just like I've living someone else's life
It's like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right
And I know just why you could not
Come along with me
That this is not your dream
But you always believed in me
Another winter day has come
And gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home
And I'v surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know
Let me go home
I've had my run
Baby, I'm done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It will all be all right
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home
February 18, 2007
Today, I finally had the opportunity to watch one of my most anticipated movies of 2006. I was hoping to watch "Half Nelson" when it first came out in theatres. However, because of various work engagements and personal issues, I did not get a chance to see this great movie until it was released on DVD this past week.
The movie was about a high school history teacher, Dan Dunne (played by Ryan Gosling), and his relationship with his family, his girlfriends, and his students. In particular, the movie highlighted the teacher-student relationship and friendship between Dan Dunne and Drey (played by the talented Shareeka Epps). Drey's brother was in jail because of drug-related charges and her mother was always at work to support the family. In return, Drey was spending a lot of time with his brother's friend, Frank, who is a drug dealer in the inner city.
The irony of the movie is that on one hand, Dan was trying to teach his students and steer them away from drugs. On the other hand, Dan was tormented by his inner demons and had to rely on drugs (provided by Frank) from time to time to stay sane. Despite the fact that Dan was trying to help Drey out of the drug-related neighborhood, he failed to help himself. Eventually, he found the "friendship" he had with Drey to be unbearable. It exemplifies the inner demons he has with himself. He is afraid to get close to anyone because he doesn't want to get hurt. However, what he ends up doing is hurting himself and the people who love him.
One of the most haunting scenes in the movie is the one that Drey showed up at a motel room to delivery drugs to Frank's clients, she saw 4 people in the room, two of them engaging in certain kind of sexy activity. The one actually purchased the drugs was Dan. It's a scene without any dialogue. The only thing that conveyed the message is the expression on Drey's and Dan's faces: An exchange of $20 with a pack of coke.
So what're your inner demons? Are you afriad of getting hurt once you get too close to someone? Do you realize that you are actually hurting yourself while you are hurting others?
You can read more about the movie at Half Nelson's official website at http://www.halfnelsonthefilm.com/
February 15, 2007
Tonight, I am checking out the results from the British Music Awards. I am surprised to learn that That Take, a very famous British boy band back in the 90s, got the award for the Best Single of the Year for the song "Patience," which was featured on their 1st album after their reuniuon.
I really love the lyrics of the song and I think it's one of the best songs from last year. I just listened to it once tonight and I love it.
You can access the mp3 of the song here:
Enjoy and please just have a little patience on me!
February 13, 2007
Lately, I have been feeling unusually anxious and paranoid about people and things around me. I have started taking a new medication for my medication condition back in late Decemeber. My doctor told me that it would take 6-8 weeks for the drug effects to be seen.
Today my colleague told me that my emotions have been unusually volatile and I am paranoid all the time. At first, I just thought that it must be the stress I had at work. When my doctor called me later in the afternoon to confirm my appointment tomorrow, I took the opportunity to ask her whether it could possible be the side effect of the new medication. Guess what, she told me that that (she actually sent me the link) "some patients have unusual thoughts or behaviors while taking the medication, including delusions (believe you are someone else), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), paranoia (feeling that people are against you), or feeling confused. If this happens to you, call your doctor. "
Now I finally understand why I have been acting like a douchebag since early Jan and I probably have been acting worse since then. My doctor asked me to stop the medication immediately and she said that it may take a few weeks or more to wear off all the side effects.
I never envision that my doctor won't tell me about this before I started taking the medication! What the hell!
February 04, 2007
As many of you who have been reading the blog know, I have not been feeling very well lately. Part of the reason has to deal with the stress at work, what I want to do next, and the relationships I have with my friends. This weekend, I ended up spending the whole time by myself without giving a call to anyone. I am trying to overcome my weaknesses and become a stronger and more confident person.
I spent my entire weekend watching some DVDs and selling some of my furniture. I finally sold my IKEA filing cabinet and one of the two bookselves that I have. I seem to have a lot more space than before. Now, I am working hard to sell the rest of my belongings since I want to shred the old me and start everything anew.
If you ever watch the British comedy the Mighty Boosh, you will know the character "Naboo the Shaman" in it. He is my favorite character because he always stands by Vince and Howard (the two main characters in the show) and gives them any magical help if needed. I wish there could be a Naboo in my life, who is always standing my me and helping me to overcome the difficulties in life. Either with the magic dust or the magic carpet, I would become much happier and feel like being in another place.
I think I am going to go home as soon as I get my H-1B Visa paper work. I want to take a short vacation to see my families and friends back in Hong Kong.
Naboo, where are you?
February 03, 2007
It's finally Saturday and I got a chance to take a break from the hectic work during the week. This past week has been a very interesting, confusing and depressing week. Throughout the week, I have taken on two new product launch projects, had an argument with a colleague, listened to a very interesting talk by our CEO during the All Hands meeting. I don't exactly know how to explain my feelings. I guess on one way, I feel that I am relying too much on my new friends and I worry too much about their happiness and sacrifice my own. I feel like that I am making the same mistakes over and over again, being too passionate with the friends that I know. I somehow get too involved in their psychological well being and forget what I really want for myself. I am willing to work around my schedule and needs to help my friends but how many of them would do the same if I need their help. I do know that I can help my friends in some ways. However, how come they don't treasure or value our friendship until he/she needs my help? I told myself last night that I am going to be strong from now on. I am going to take a month to see how my friends will react if I don't outpour my concerns, sympathy, and love to them. If they don't really take an initiative to check on me, I know that they aren't my real friends. They just want to use me for their own benefits.
I am tired of being the nice guy. Probably the old saying that the nice guy finishes last is correct. I guess if I am more firm about what I want in my life, I will probably be a lot happier and less worried about whether my friends are fine or not.
During the argument with my colleague, I also realize that I get too wound up with the reactions that my friends are giving me. I get depressed or upset when I get treated badly by them. I should learn from now on that it's their lost if they don't want to be friends. Every single relationship in the world has to be somehow balanced. I can't be the one giving all the time. I can't be the one that's always available when my friends need me but put me aside when things are going fine. I am going to take measures to change my personality this quarter. By the end of March, I want to be a new person, an independent human being not being swayed by my friends. I also need to learn to say "NO" more frequent than before.
One thing that I did learn during this past week is that my friends back in Hong Kong are genuinely concern about me and they want me to be happy. I guess living in the foreign soil, I somehow feel that I need to take extra miles to be friends with someone. I somehow lose sight of what I want and what makes me happy.
I am going to see what will happen this weekend if I don't make any outgoing calls. I wonder whether someone would actually give me a ring and see what I am doing. After being away from Google for 6 months, I did figure out who my real friends are. Some people you just lose touch over time but some will try their best to get me involved in their activities despite the fact that I am no longer in their circle.
Anyway, let's see what happens this weekend. I need to be strong.