Monday, January 30, 2012

I Procrastinate, always

Just in case anyone forgot, when shit hits the fan here the powers that be shut down, slow down and generally ignore any problems. I do not write about it as (stolen from Harry Potter) "he who must not be named" tracks certain words and phrases and there is nothing good going to come from me chatting about it. They can see what you do from a VPN, and if you are cool they pretty much ignore you. When shit hits the fan, there is a general response. I will talk more about this when I get home. The TV and Internet are taking frequent breaks right now.

I am supposed to be packing and purging. Instead I am fucking around on the computer. I am using my intestines and sleeping patterns as an excuse. I always get done on time, just not always in the manner I had hoped for. Not sleeping properly, the trip and the fireworks extravaganza and innards always react to change and stress.

Out of sheer boredom I was reading the Pioneer Woman blog this afternoon and I was aghast at the comments. Where the hell do these people come from? You know how you always kinda wonder if you are normal? Not always, but that once in a while when it goes through your mind? And you think, whoa-people don't need to know about this shit. These ass-hats write about it. Ree, that is the blogster posted a pantry must have list. How more than 10 people in the states would be stumped at setting up a pantry in this day and age is beyond my comprehension. There were pages of comments thanking her for this previously secret knowledge. Here are a few of my favorites:

*(You will need multiple freezers) Take a gallon of milk and pour half of it into an empty gallon of milk jug. Squish it down until all the air is gone and it is fairly flat. Freeze it. When you need it: partially, say 70%, thaw it out and add enough water back in to make a gallon. Now I am not stupid but a deformed plastic milk gallon jug is not going to conform to the squishing more than half the time. They are cheap plastic and crack, especially when frozen and stacked in a grotesque configurations. My question is where the fuck do you get all the extra plastic gallon jugs?

*If you are lacking space turn your powder room into a pantry. Your guests can review your supplies while they pee and poop. Who would put up shelves and keep their food in the same place where you get rid of the food? Isn't there a saying about not shitting where you eat? It is advised to cover and hide your toothbrush in there.

*When you make a dinner, make 2 and freeze one. There is one "Bless her heart" lady that has been doing that but her family will not eat the same meal twice in one month so every month she throws away all the extra dinners from the freezer. This is one of the only times I would actually recommend the use of illegal drugs, I am just not sure who in that family should be taking them.

By the way, I have been seeing something lately where people make the comment "But I slept at the Holiday Inn" or something close to that phrase. They use it after a statement almost as if you would  put the "just sayin" tack-on. What is that all about?

Okay gotta go stare at my luggage.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Story of the Pink Diamond

Big Daddy and I have a game we play. We only buy gifts for each other at odd times. If I have a desire for a present I will say so. If it is specific I will say so. There are no rules. BD does not like routine gifts so he gets surprises and mostly he gets to pick out his own gifts as this makes him happy.

In order to make him smile I have resorted to asking for a pink diamond. Today he was walking down the street with the worst charlatans hawking shit when he was approached with the opportunity of buying a real Rolex for 250 RMB. He told Mr. Seller he wanted a pink diamond. The guy had diamonds. BD must have felt like fucking with the dude because he told him the 18k gold and 2 carat diamond was not good enough, he wanted platinum. The guy went and got him a platinum ring. As BD has been taught here in China he took out his lighter and put the flame to the ring. It melted.

Back in the real world we both think the request for relo expectations is a fear that we would require 2 moves, one from China and then again from Michigan. We have that response worked out as we have no expectations for the China move. I did have to face the reality that the Thai cabinet is not going home. It would cost a lot more than I paid for it in shipping charges. The rest of the shit is not worth a lot and some of it I can take with me. I am making 3 piles of stuff, stuff I am taking back, stuff for BD to take back when he leaves and stuff to pitch at the bitter end.

Because I have made another decision. I probably will not be coming back. Never say never, but unless something happens of an emergency nature I am not planning to return. There is nothing for me here and no matter what happens BD won't be here that long. I figure, depending on the circumstances I can look for a job or do some volunteer work. Maybe think about getting a dog. Do some projects, learn to knit, or look into my plan of starting a bordello in the French Quarter.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Deja Vu, all over again


I have no idea what this is supposed to be.

I was actually feeling kind of bad that the fireworks only lasted one night, Sunday. Well, Thursday I went to bed and slept for 2 hours. Then the dragon woke up and we had non-stop fireworks for about 12 hours. WTF.

I almost posted a real picture of the real me but I slapped myself before scaring the hell out of everyone. The sink used for hand washing at the bar is outside of the WC and sits rather low. So I am bent over drying my hands and Big Daddy shouts something out and I turned. So stooped and twisting I was caught giving the "don't make me hurt you" face. The truth is I do not photograph well and this one was worse than usual. This happened after the hairdresser insisted on taking a Polaroid of me and BD at the salon. He looks great, I look like a Yeti with nice hair. I did not think they still made Polaroid film.

Good news is BD has 2 interviews back in the states, one in our hometown and one in New Orleans. The latter is coming into town for a face to face after the phone interview. It is nice they are coming to BD instead of the other way around. Have to try and schedule them before the parades. They want an approximate idea of our expectations for a relo package. How the hell should we know. What are people currently getting? If anyone has information, let me know. I doubt it is as good as before the bottom fell out but it can't be as bad  as when we left.

Bad news is BD has a back situation. He has never had one before. I rubbed some Eye of The Tiger oil on him and he took some ibuprofen and we will see.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Purple Dragon


This is my purple dragon.

I am still mad at Blogger. They changed horses and jockeys in the middle of the race.

When I was trying to download the fireworks video, Blogger changed to the new and improved format. You know, the one that makes it really hard to blog now. They also asked if they can track me. Huh, is like stalking?I use a VPN, actually I use more than one, so no one can track me. I mean really, when I am in New Orleans are they going to send me a coupon for a free Hurricane?

I also tried Vimeo which was a waste of my time.

The fireworks video is working now, for how long, who knows.

We went to the museum yesterday and I saw another one of those "flower carved things" this one for 8000  RMB, the first one saw and wanted was 1000 RMB. Got the cheapo dragon instead in the rabbit warren. It is supposed to be Jade, yeah right.

Blogger fucked me over

In the composing of my previous post Blogger changed my entire blogging experience.

I do not feel like going to blogger school right now.

I cannot edit or do anything.

Fuck it.

The Fireworks


video
This is Chinese New Year's Eve from my balcony on the 28th floor.

It was quite a bit calmer this year. Either the Dragons were busy or the cold and damp slowed some people down. Lasted about 8 hours, but only Sunday night.  Then off and on until daylight. The rest of the nights maybe ten minutes here and there.

The video store had Boardwalk Empire and I must say this is quite good. That is one thing I will miss, we never bought or even rented this stuff at home. Of course, we never had that much time to watch television.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Organizing the crap

Yesterday we took a huge load of books to the Bell Bar, Amay's place. As it rained and gusted all day this was not a fun trip. We had to go down first and get our room cards turned back on, again. We were standing on the curb waving to the taxis when this black guy stood out just a little beyond us. I just could not help myself, I looked at him and said, "You know you are not getting into a taxi before me, right. Because I will beat your ass with this umbrella." He laughed and said yea, he knew. People are always trying to sneak up and steal your taxi. If they are the anorexic Chinese girls BD just grabs their arm and moves them out of the way. They only weigh about 6 pounds.

Handed over the books, got some coffee beans and took some refreshments. We met the most unusual young man from Germany. He thought Hitler was an okay guy. Hitler built great roads. I know I missed something in this conversation, I just can't put my finger on it. It is unbelievable how many young people are here studying Mandarin because they can't get a job in their home country. Are there no jobs in Germany or are these kids not educated for proper jobs, I mean the one kid has a degree in Physics. Or maybe when daddy pays it is easier to just keep going to school.

The fireworks have started. I wondered as it snowed and rained again today. But the Chinese are fearless of the cold and going to town. So far no spectacular light displays.

We also cleared out the old DVDs and BD took them down to the gym. There were some poor students, again studying Mandarin, and they were thrilled to get the movies. Better than in a landfill.

BD is grilling rib-eyes and making butter beans so life is good.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Planning our escape

We need to start packing for the home leave. We also need to think about what to take home and how we can get it there. This is the last year for China and decisions need to be made. We have a few plans, A, B and maybe C-.

Big Daddy has 1 and 1/2 job interviews when we are back in the states. A company he talked to this week sounds perfect and that scares me. Perfect just does not work out often. And I will never forget the time he got a great offer overnighted and it was rescinded. The HR Director came back from maternity leave and was pissed they filled the position without her input. So she changed the job description and qualifications. And to this day they have never filled that job. 5 years and no takers. BD stays in touch with the guy that kinda hired him. The other job he wanted just moved into their new headquarters  and are in sticker shock at the final cost. So that job will not be filled this quarter anyway. And of course, the call us right away if you get on offer people. To me that smacks of no integrity. It reminds me of people who quit thinking the company will try and woo them to stay. Nope, if I give you notice I am leaving.

This is the last day of work before the Lunar New Year and BD needs to get a shopping list and tomorrow I get my hair done. The fireworks are going off as I write this. I will have to look outside tonight and see if the colorful fireworks have started.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. is a 3 day weekend

Big Daddy said something this morning about MLK day and I mumbled no it was not Monday, it is Wednesday.  He was watching CNN and then I recalled the way the United States treats MLK day. Dr. King has a designated day in his honor. In my mind I thought this was supposed to mean that this was the day you thought and reflected on the person and his life. Not in the USof A, it has become a union holiday.  It is becoming no more important than a President's Day sale at the local mall.

It would not be a big deal to shut down whatever needs to be shut down on the actual day. So the assembly plants shut down on Wednesday, what is the difference? Ah, a three day weekend.

I remember when he was killed. I lived in the south and had recently moved north. I remember that funeral. I remember the Klan and the white only drinking fountains. Hell, I lived in Memphis.  Hell, I remember that in the 90's this shit still happened. So I am just a little offended that people think it is A-okay to celebrate a three day weekend instead of a man. It is so damn insulting to his memory.

Sad of the day: When I was working we had a fugly and I was trying to get it fixed, with no resolution. Everyone was off that day, it was a plant holiday. When the customer started yelling at me I "dropped" the ball and said it was MLK day, this was of course in October. They looked at me like I had grown horns. I was only repeating what I had been told all day by assholes.  Well, the plant I was covering for in this debacle had a union vote and decided to take the holiday on the first day of hunting season, they just kept the same name for the holiday. Oops.

No I am not really that stupid and only said that in a closed door meeting. I really don't care if you observe holidays or not. I do mind when people use any excuse for a three weekend and pretend it is to praise someone that might not agree with that shit.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lagniappe

As you all know I take none of this Blogging seriously. I am also so far removed from a technie designation it is amazing I can turn the laptop on and off.

Well, I fell off my crappy dining room chair today when I checked my profile. You see someone told me they did not have my email address. It is on the Blog I said to myself. Not anymore.

The whole thing is changed. I did not recognize myself. I am thinking this is where the precious italic comments must come from. And Esby is now twins in my meager group of followers, but he is not counted twice which I feel is somewhat unfair.

So it is not all the evil China Internet monsters, the evil Blogger people are throwing poisonous pixie dust on my little posts.

The cherry on my sundae, The Closer now has a little key (means you have to  pay) on my television watching whatchamacallit. Just said that as y'all don't need to know how I watch TV, only I figure any 3rd grader could figure that out.

I can't fix this shit until I get home so I am positive that I will get crankier as the days pass by. Grrr.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just Random Thoughts

Big Daddy got dissed by a street vendor. He was walking down the street with his Trader Joe's insulated shopping bag and this cretin told him his bag was a piece of shit. Now come on, it has a zipper and shoulder strap. He tried to sell BD phony paper logo shopping bags. You know, Prada, Chanel, status bags. Who the fuck would buy a phony paper bag to carry their shit in.

The luggage I want is only sold in China. Yes, this gives me pause. But there are items manufactured strictly for the China market. The Briggs and Riley bags are ugly as can be, the Wenger bags in the US market don't appeal to me. I may go with the cardboard box the Chinese use, that and an Ikea bag and you are a world traveler.

No iPhone for me, the 4s unlocked with no contract sells for about a grand in the U.S. My conversations usually involve intense conversation like, "where are you", or text messages that say "In the taxi now". Not worth a grand.

Next day-I lost some of the post yesterday and then the Internet went off-line for a few hours. The Internet is so crazy here right now.

Something weird happened this month. I got a FB message from my mother. We have not communicated since last summer. She sent me a Happy New Year on January 11. WTF. No Happy Birthday, no Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday's, no Happy Jewish Day, and now this. Don't know what she was going for, belated calendar date or very early Lunar New Year.

Crazy of the day-The migrants cannot get to their home towns for Lunar New Year. The migrants pretty much make everything sold and live in deplorable dormitories. When the New Year's shutdown happens the dormitories are usually shutdown and the workers have no choice but to take their shit and leave. China introduced on-line purchases of train tickets last year. You must have a China ID card and a credit card to purchase these tickets. The migrants don't know how to use the system and all the tickets are sold out when they get to the stations. Talk about a plan.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Still alive Punkin Head

Tickets for home leave are Feb 4-17 and Nola is 9-13. There will be 2 parades in the Quarter during our stay, Krewe of Cork (winos) and Barkus, which is the dog parade. The Queen of the Barkus parade is supposed to be a  shelter rescued dog.

Big Daddy is driving me nuts, he did not have fun on his train trip back to Shanghai.


Did I mention there is no heat in the train stations.

I tried to console him last night and took him to the Italian place for dinner. Bonus, nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and you get to take the bottle home to finish it. Truffle pizza again. Demerit, lost my good black leather gloves. These should be harder than shit to replace here.

When I got up this morning my foot hit a huge wet spot in the white fuzzy throw rug. I thought the dog pissed on the rug. Then I remembered we don't have a dog. It seems I created a micro Eco-system from the humidifier and caused a rain cloud over the rug. It stayed on top, not soaking through, thank goodness.

Big Daddy's phony Wenger bag fell apart, lasted about a year and a half before complete disintegration. He will now be stealing my real Wenger bag, it is a rolling laptop bag, you can actually roll it easily down the aisle in the plane. Now I have a reason to shop for new luggage. My Tumi bag is falling apart, real Tumi, and if they fix it for free fine, if not fuckem, I do like the Wenger better. Better wheels.

The China Daily had an article on the Apple Store riot in Beijing. Guess they had a bunch of re-sellers in the line, and a bunch of migrants acting as shills, as you could only buy 2 at a time. This was the launch of the iPhone 4s. Stupid me wondered why anyone would buy a real iPhone from a street hawker at a premium price. The Chinese take tremendous pride in being the first. First in line, first to own something, first to be first. They got into fist fights and Apple refused to open and will only sell the phone on-line. Hilarious. That reminds me, going home soon. Wonder what the iPhone sells for in Michigan. Must check Best Buy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I am bored.

Big Daddy is traveling and the fog/smog is so bad today I can barely see outside. BD is trying to entertain me with his new program, rejected supplier and hotel. He called downstairs for a razor and ended up with the information that Jim was in room 2015. Guess they did not understand the beard on the chin situation.

Supplier forgot that BD does not believe they are good enough to flush down a squat toilet. They tried to take him to dinner, just all showed up and when he told them that was a lot of people to drive him to the hotel Chatty Cathy sprang the dinner plans. He refused and his boss was amazed that they took no for an answer. That guy is such a wuss. Then Chatty got upset that BD had his hotel changed, she had booked them into, TRUE NAME, the Romantical Hotel. BD told her he did not need a hooker. Which also meant I did not got pictures of the condoms and underpants in the rooms.

We have the tickets for home leave and BD is supposed to get the tickets for New Orleans this afternoon. Then I have to start planning our lunches and dinners. And cooking at home. I really want to make a pie. Maybe Punkin Head will have a request.

The politics are boring me too, I mean really how can this group be this boring? Michelle was the only fun. Funniest I saw yesterday was a reporter talking to one of them about his sweater or vest, don't remember and for 100 dollars you can get one from the campaign. She was all about how expensive that was. Then the guy mentions it is made in America. People, ya gotta pick, but when you always pick Walmart don't ask why everyone has a crappy job. And if you shop at Walmart you don't need that much money anyway.

I was very excited when I heard everyone was watching the new season of Downton Abbey, then I found out it is the season I saw last year on the phony DVDs. I need to find out about this movie Inception everyone is talking about and see if I already threw that one away. I watched most of Marie Antoinette the other night, not a bad movie but for shit's sake, how long can a movie be without losing some of the audience due to death, births, appointments, that is the longest movie ever. I need to finish it and see if that was true about cutting her head off.

Hat is off to Coach Sabin

This guy is a shit, but he is good at football.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oh Crud, Geaux Saints

Hate it when my two favorites play and one has to lose.

Now have to be a Who Dat.

Can't wait to see how the Niners coach treats Payton. Don't get too cocky there, Jim.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Internet caught my cold

 We had no Internet most of the day Friday. About 9:30 Big Daddy called the front desk to find out what the problem was. The Internet was sick. This according to the English speaking lady in charge. It was sick and felt very, very bad. China Net, our provider, was trying to make it better all day. Yep, Piers, these people are miles ahead of us.

Big Daddy got me a portable humidifier and those are expensive here, 45 dollars for an okay one, and hold onto your hat, 75 dollars for the Hello Kitty version. And I am talking desktop models.

Big Daddy got an email from the last impossible job people, they thanked him for being the only honest candidate that told them he could not do that job and no one could do that job. They said everyone else just played along until it became obvious that they were not qualified in one of the many areas. He had another interview last night with a different company.

About the calendar, I was tethered to a Blackberry for years and that meeting notice feature that drove me insane. Between the laptop and the Blackberry I was so tired of technology. And I never kept anything personal on company property. So a nice paper calendar and I was happy. I made all my appointments for the year and at a glance I knew what was going on. And I love making lists, so pen and paper is a natural for me. Not normal is that I have 3 cell phones. And they are all standard issue plain. One is a Nokia that uses a sim card, one is a Sprint and one is a World phone. The Nokia phone calendar is stuck in August 2011 and will not move.

This is Shocking

There is a way to print a calender off your home printer. I know, most of you are picking yourselves up off the floor and wiping your brows, but it is true. I used to know about these things when I lived back in the real world of Trader Joes, Old Navy and Macy's, of course I never went to Macy's.

I have been begging for a calender here in China. Daily I asked for a calender. It is now January 6, the end of 12th night, and suddenly it appears you can down load one from a computer. I am so fucking amazed.

I have not seen this of course, so I am just hopping about in anticipation.

I am of course the only person in the world with a computer that has no printing capability and no CD/DVD functions. That could be why it was so cheap. I have that thing that flings itself out the right side of laptop and you can put a DVD in that thing that looks like it should fit there. And that is where that story ends.

Will wonders never cease.

Funny of the day-I just remembered when I took my laptop to IT and the tech had to convince someone I had not "stoled" some critical piece of equipment, don't remember what it was, but I heard her tell her boss I was not that smart.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I have caught another cold

I was amazed at how I could have caught another cold. Then today I had that aha moment. I watched the ayi empty the trash can overflowing with used tissues and noticed she had no gloves on. And then waited to see her wash her hands, which never happened. Then I remembered, these people do not wash their hands very often, if ever. My cleaning lady at home wore gloves. Yes, disposable gloves. Need to buy more bleach.

Which brings me to another issue that bugs me. Flight attendants that wear gloves to pick up the trash but do not wear gloves to hand me food and drink. As it is all about me, all the time, shouldn't they wear gloves to hand me consumables? As they never touch the trash and always touch the food and drink I am confused. They hold that bag as far away from themselves as possible and if you miss, oh well, it is gonna stay on the filthy carpet for the duration of the flight.

Big Daddy had another job interview last night, 11PM China time, and these people have won the prize for unattainable candidate. They want someone that is a tooling expert, a manufacturing expert, an engineering manager, a purchasing agent, and someone to set up a department to develop patents for the company. And manage over 100 people. They are firing the current guy because he is a tooling expert and cannot handle the additional responsibilities. So we know one other guy that is competing with BD for a job, that guy has to know they are shopping his job.

We now have reservations for New Orleans. It is a miracle. I think BD is so bogged down in bullshit he is losing his edge in personal lifestyle management. Or I made him brain dead with chanting bigger, bigger. He had an epiphany and called the bar at the hotel and asked to be switched to the reservations manager. Bingo, we have the room we wanted. Not at the old hotel, the second hotel, which is becoming the better hotel. I will post on this if we ever get there. Still waiting for HR sign-off and travel bitch to fuck up the tickets home. Oh, the HR guy that would have signed off and that worked with the expats has disappeared. No one is talking. Hmmm. The stories I could tell.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Momma is really, really unhappy

Momma, that would be me, was excited about her upcoming vacation. That was foolish as momma is not going to get a vacation. That is because Big Daddy did not make any reservations. Momma spent many hours planning this agreed upon vacation, BD's schedule must be considered and flights and hotels and other mucky muck. That was a waste of time.

Some ass-hat actually opined that going to New Orleans after Mardi Gras was a great idea. If I wanted to watch pious souls trying to make amends for their misdeeds walking around with ashes on their foreheads I would go to Rome. But as the cheap ass company will only pay for tickets to Detroit, that ain't an option either. And New Orleans is not warm enough for a random visit in winter.

There is no place warm enough in the US to visit in February that I want to go to. The entire point of the trip was Carnival. That is why we spent Christmas in China being miserable to save the money for New Orleans. I have understood foregoing vacation for BD's job and hurricanes, not for I forgot to make any reservations and plans.

This really screws the pooch. If you stay here too long you become a certified lunatic. I feel lunacy creeping up on me.

I am no longer confident that  I can face China with a sense of humor and a devil may care attitude. This sucks.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Success

Just when I was almost resigned to wearing the ugly wine and chutney coat, success smiled on me.

We traipsed down to Mr. Bigger and Bigger and tried on his biggest coats. They were too small. But with a judicious eye and thorough critique I discovered it is my shoulders that are too big. Yes the bosom is big for China standards but the width of the shoulders is the problem. And Big Daddy pointed out that a lot of the Chinese women are wearing clothes too small and do not button up their coats. He is right. The Chinese are getting larger, and not taller, and I think it is KFC. And Coke. McDonald's. Pizza.

So after that less than a cheery experience we went for a respite at Fossette. It is right next to the Butchery. It is a wine bar with a limited food menu. We had Caprese salad and Shanghai pork. The pork came with a potato salad. We split it and it was just right. I had a great glass of Malbec. They have wine specials on Sunday after 2PM, phone is 86-136 3635 7011. Oh and the dude in charge was French and he could not get a taxi last night either.

So we wandered back down Xinle Road toward Shaanxi and found a great shop. They had the most beautiful red cape in the window. They also had one in black. I started talking to the friend of the owner, a nice guy who spoke English. He studied in the US, first in Ann Arbor and then Parson's in New York. We had a great conversation and the cape fit. No shoulder problems, no snug problems. And it reaches my knees. I went with the black as I pictured myself in the red looking like a huge tomato walking down the street. Not a good picture. And I got 1000 quai off the list price. Black is good, won't show the dirt and it is a good Italian wool so it should wear well.

Big Daddy is returning the other coat to Marks&Spencer in the morning and stocking up with our credit. Whoa, potted meat.  

Next shopping quest is for Chinese New Year, you are supposed to wear red underwear.