Thursday, November 30, 2006

Slipping Through the Corporate Cracks


When meeting new people at work I assume that these new people are intelligent. After all, we are a huge financial company that extensively screens all new potential candidates before hiring them. However, it seems that sometimes, invalids slip through the cracks. I’m not quite certain how it happens, but it does, and occasionally, I have to deal with them. This was the case almost a year ago.

“B, this is S, you’ll be training him this afternoon.” My boss walks away.

Thus began the training.

I proceeded in describing our general duties in the exciting world of sales operations, and succeeded the introduction with a task. The task was to update a spreadsheet with information provided by a client. All he had to do was to copy and paste a line from one spreadsheet into another. Not exactly rocket science, but the look he was giving me was totally infantile, and I was afraid that he was going to start sucking his thumb.

“Umm… so do you get it?”

He nods slowly.

“Okay.” I pause, and look at him again to make sure he isn’t lying. I can tell he is. Whatever fuck it. “So anyway, the e-mail the client sends is going to look like…”

“How do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Move so quickly from one screen to the other.”

“You press ‘ALT’ and ‘TAB’”

“What about the internet explorer. How do you make a new one just appear?”

“You press ‘CTRL’ and ‘N’, it’s a shortcut key. They’re great.”

“Dude… are you like a genius or something? Did they send you to special schools or something?”

I look blankly at him for a moment. Then I continue the training.

I’m an impatient fucker, especially for stupidity, but contrary to this intolerance, I permit a learning curve. After all, I was once a new hire as well. However, if someone comes by your desk every day for weeks and asks you the same question over and over again, and you have to answer them by pointing at the same spot on the procedures they’re clutching in their hand, then there’s obviously some sort of disconnect. Now, S was nice as all hell, but he must’ve been a premature baby or something because the guy was seriously stupid. And to further aggravate the situation, he had a case of halitosis so severe, his breath was almost visible to the naked eye.

S made me stop and wonder about my own qualifications. Was I on the same level as this guy? I mean, the same people who hired him had hired me. Maybe I was totally deluded in thinking that I was a semi intelligent, corporately cultured employee who was doing well at his job.

A couple of months ago, S got fired. I felt horrible. But at the same time, it made me feel better knowing that he was in fact someone who slipped through the cracks, and not a peer. I know, I know, I’m going to hell.

I wonder if I would’ve been nicer to him had he been a hot chick. Who am I kidding, of course I would’ve.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hella Bored

That's right, I'm hella bored. So bored, I'm going all West Coast on your asses.

I like lists, so I'm going to make a list.

Ten Things That Happened in the Last 24 Hours in the World of L:

1) I found out that another one of my friends got engaged.
2) Dog threw up.
3) Eldest Bro called from Australia to make sure I told my parents when he'd be back.
4) I lied and said, "yes."
5) I ate five clementines.
6) I watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for the umpteenth time.
7) Someone walked by my desk and farted something awful. By the time the smell hit, they were gone and I didn't get to see who it was.
8) I discovered that one of the co-founders of Gothamist was my high school chemistry teacher.
9) I rediscovered The Frames.
10) I got too lazy to think of a number ten.



People should make more of an effort to incorporate the spork into the everyday table setting. If only for the fact that "spork" is fun to say.


The N-Word

Why is the N-word referred to as the "N-word," but the words Spic, Chink, Gook, Wop, etc. almost never censored?


Monday, November 27, 2006

Limbo Mimbo Bimbo Jimbo…

I’m in a state of limbo.

On the one hand, my coworker continues to hint that I will be full-time soon. This means steady paycheck, medical benefits, dental, optical, and ten free therapy sessions a year thrown in for good measure (a health plan that far surpasses the poor excuse of a plan I got at my corporate hell job). This is good news, very good news. Sometime in the new year (possibly earlier) my dream of getting paid to do something I’d do for free (were it not for my foundering savings) will come true.

On the other hand, everything else in my life sucks big monkey balls.

Fine, I’m exaggerating. They don’t suck, they lick monkey balls, and not particularly big ones either. It just seems that now that one aspect of my life has lurched into motion, everything else is at a standstill, and I’m floating in a stratum somewhere between bliss and misery. Nothing’s mind-blowingly good, nothing’s especially bad, and I’m perpetually bored.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hoping for something bad to happen. I made the mistake of saying once, in a bored delirium, that I wished that anything—good or bad—would happen to wake me up. Big mistake. But I still would like some thing to change (preferably/hopefully for the better).

So anyway, here are some

Bored at Work Mondayisms

1) I have this nose stud that’s got a little bulb at the tip, so you push it in and the bulb makes sure it doesn’t fall out (people with nose rings will know exactly what I’m talking about). Now that I don’t need my nose to be corporate-friendly, I decided I wanted to change it to something funkier only to realize (after much tugging and swearing and pain) that my nose had healed around the bar, and the bulb would not come through the hole. So now I’m stuck with my plain Jane stud until I go to a piercer and have them either rip it out (ouch), or cut the bulby tip off the inside (potential ouch).

2) I’ve been getting hit on a lot lately for some odd reason. I’m not complaining as this has been great for my confidence, but when I’m getting hit on by guys who decide that obtaining my number gives them license to use it indiscriminately, numerous times a day, despite my lack of response, it becomes a nuisance. I’ve always been an advocate of not playing “the Game,” but this is just fucking ridiculous.

3) Speaking of ridiculous…I reconnected with an acquaintance from Ireland recently via AIM. This was all fine and dandy because I had been feeling nostalgic about my time in Dublin as of late. That was until he decided that every single time I’m online, he absolutely must message me—despite us having zero to talk about. It’s reached the point where I don’t even want to go online at work because I know I’ll have to partake in the obligatory small talk with him for the fiftieth time that week.

4) The Jets…whoda thunk it?

5) People who wear a lot of perfume should not be allowed on the subway.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have shit to do. Not literally.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Eye Candy -
New link on my sidebar for Some awesome, funky art up there, but I'm especially smitten with his (anti)Valentines. If you were my boyfriend, I'd send you this one:

...because you do.

Ear Candy -
I had a chance to preview the new album by The Shins, Wincing the Night Away (one of the random, and useless perks of working in media), and I absolutely loved it. It’s out on January 23rd, so do yourself a favor and buy it.

Mind Candy –
There’s an article in this month’s Rolling Stone about Nate Ybanez that I recommend everyone read. You can find an excerpt here, but you should definitely make a point of checking out the full article. It’s just a sad, sad story about how the American judicial system fails our youth. And then it turns around and gives O.J. Simpson a book deal.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I’m walking a fine line. I’ve always walked this line, but as of late, I find that I’m teetering very dangerously towards crossing it and entering a realm of complete lunacy. Not the quirky, albeit irritating level of insanity I’ve inhabited thus far, but the kind of sheer “psycho-ness” that gets you locked up, that garners disgusted stares from passer-bys, that draws looks of concern from your friends’ faces.

At what point do your fantasies carry you so far away from reality that you can’t get back?

I have a very active imagination. I can spend hours staring into space, creating alternate realities in my mind. I’ve done this since I was a little hormonal kid dreaming about marrying Tom Cruise (pre-jumping-on-couch mental breakdown) and living in a mansion in Hollywood. My ideals have since evolved into something more tangible, but I’ve never gotten out of the habit of doing this. On my commute, before I go to bed, in the shower—any chance I get to let my mind wander, I’m adding details to the little fantasy life I’m living. The problem is that lately, in conversations with friends, I’m pausing longer to separate the truth from the events I’ve dreamt up. I’m tempted to tell people about a new aspect of my life that, on second thought, only took place in my mind. This is actually becoming a pretty frightening problem. Maybe the issue lies in my fantasies transitioning from outlandish dreams into actual possibilities, but the line continues to blur.

Is this how people become compulsive liars? They don’t intentionally tell lies, but their vision of reality is so skewed that they truly believe what they say? But what if I stop scripting this second life for myself? Will the boredom of my actual reality be enough to make me crazy in other, potentially graver, ways?

Whatever it is, soon enough, I’ll slip, and people will be murmuring about that sad, weird chick who lies about her glamorous job and nonexistent boyfriend.


Monday, November 20, 2006

The Culture Question

This Halloween, I decided to dress up as Alex DeLarge, the flamboyant young criminal made popular by Stanley Kubrick’s classic film, A Clockwork Orange. Decked out in my white pants and button-down collared shirt, black boots and fedora, brandishing a cane and huge false eyelashes on one eye (a detail that took significantly longer to apply than I had expected it to), I strutted around my living room with pride and waited for a friend to pick me up.

Upon her arrival, she looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed, “You look hot! But…what are you?”

This seemed to be the running theme of my costume for the remainder of the evening.

My brother had invited me to an invitation-only party at his friend’s loft for the evening. I had looked at him skeptically and asked, “Is it an Asian party?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Well, no one’s going to know what my costume is.”

“I know what your costume is.”

“But no one else will.”

Fine, I was being unfair. I was stereotyping my own, underestimating their cultural IQ. Just because they’re Asian doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have watched A Clockwork Orange. After all, everyone knows Stanley Kubrick, right? I finally agreed to attend, and on the day of, spent hours scouring the neighborhood shops for the necessary accessories—white suspenders: check, black hat: check, black cane (after coloring it in with permanent marker): check, eyelashes: check. I then spent even more time meticulously ironing my clothes, applying layers of black eyeliner and gluing a stubborn pair of eyelashes to just my right eye. Finally, I was ready.

After congregating at another friend’s apartment, we piled into our designated rides and headed for the Greenwich Village loft. My brother, dressed as Mario from Super Mario Brothers, was immediately swamped with random solicitations for photo ops from strangers while my night consisted of several varieties of half-drunken/half-thoughtful stares and, “Oh, wait, I got it! You’re like some kinda Charlie Chaplin, right?” Thankfully, there was an unlimited supply of free beer. Oddly enough, over the course of the night I discovered that I found more success in explaining my costume to people when I told them that Bart Simpson had dressed in the same one in a Halloween episode of The Simpsons a few years back.

“Oh, now I get it.”

At the end of the night, exasperated and drunk, I told my brother that my hours of prep had been wasted and that I was going to use the costume again next year in a venue where people would actually appreciate it. Then I headed off to the Lower East Side to meet with some other friends (who happened to be white) at a small dive bar. Within minutes, people were approaching me to compliment my choice of costume.

To be fair, I was in the Lower East Side, rife with hipsters and wannabe artsy-farts, but I still couldn’t get over it—what had made me think that no one at an Asian party would recognize my costume? More importantly, what had made me right?

It’s safe to say that Asian society doesn’t put as much of an emphasis on the arts. While the majority of my Asian friends have graduated from prestigious colleges and gone on to pursue extremely successful careers in non-creative sectors, almost none of them go to the Met out of their own accord, watch independent or foreign films, or read books for leisure. While it’s ludicrous to say that all white people are cultured, the fact remains that it is much easier to find a group of “artsy” white people than it is to find “artsy” Asian people. They, in turn, expose me to communities with similar interests, few of whom are Asian—the ones who are, quickly identify themselves as “white-washed” distancing themselves from the close-minded reputation associated with Asian society.

The way I see it, the same ambition that allows Asian people to pursue the most lucrative professions also stunts their growth in many other ways. Asians, as relatively new additions to American society, can’t afford the luxury of nurturing their creative sides like other ethnic groups can. Our parents, most of whom are immigrants, have drilled it into our minds that financial stability is key and that creative jobs don’t offer this, but some of us have taken this advice too literally and abandoned our creativity altogether. And it’s a shame, really, because A Clockwork Orange is a damn good movie.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Just another day... the life of Crazy Steve.

Censorship Shock

I'm proud of you, buddy! Everyone has a right to porn!

Again, this is why I love the Irish.


The Intern

Everyone’s out of the office today. The Associate Publisher and the Publisher are in L.A. interviewing Milo Ventimiglia (lucky). The Senior Editor is uptown interviewing Opie & Anthony (an interview I wanted to tag along on, but I missed thanks to my customized schedule). It’s just Intern Number 2 and me.

Thanks to lack of supervision, it’s story time for all you fuckers.

I am an intern at a men’s lifestyle magazine. Yes, a lowly intern. I get a stipend (in other words, no money). I do “mailings” (AKA “stuff envelopes”). But thanks to this organization’s small size and casual atmosphere, my duties far surpass those of an intern for, say, Rolling Stone—I get to write articles, tag along on interviews/photo shoots, suggest stories, edit articles, etc. I get to do everything a real journalist gets to do.

I’m not the only intern here. Two others were hired alongside me. The magazine’s going through an overhaul, and they wanted some cheap labor to help them through it. They also offered the promise of a full-time job if things “work out.” I love it here, so, hopefully, they will.

One of the other interns that was hired on the same day as myself was…ambitious, to say the least. The daughter of a lawyer, a Midtown Manhattanite, a self-proclaimed “actress” who attended high school at an international school in China before returning to New York several years ago. Surely she spends summer weekends in the Hamptons. She was smart, if a bit pretentious, worldly, if a bit conceited, insightful, if a bit critical, and I could not stand her.

When it got down to breaking down duties, I found myself in charge of the automotive, travel and technology sections. She was given fashion (even though she seemed to think babydoll dresses and Ugg boots are the only two things human beings should ever wear). She said she liked fashion, and was very knowledgeable in it. No one gave a crap that she clearly didn’t (a trade secret: the people who write the articles you read in magazines don’t know shit about the subject—they just research until they can pretend they do).

For her first article, she wrote about men’s cologne. She called the company to request a bottle so she could review it. However, thinking no one would notice, she decided to request the woman’s version as well, which she promptly pocketed—the Associate Publisher noticed. When I included Snakes on a Plane in the “Upcoming DVDs of Note” section, she rolled her eyes and said, “Don’t include that stupid movie.”

“Uh, did you watch it?”

“No, but it’s stupid.”

“How do you know that if you didn’t watch it?”

“Because…it looks stupid.”

“Um, yeah, anyway, it’s staying in.”

Three weeks into our internship, and I do stress the word internship, she took it upon herself to write “Editor of Fashion & Lifestyle” next to her name in her email signature. She essentially decided to assign herself the title of “Editor,” a title that the actual editors had to work for years to achieve, after three weeks…as an intern…part-time…without conferring with anyone.

This blew my mind.

Are the remnants of corporate culture clinging to my skin, or is this the most presumptuous, audacious thing anyone has ever done at a job? Especially when I, her equal, was sitting here without a fancy title attached to my name and no free bottles of perfume adorning my desk, watching Snakes on a Plane.

On Friday, two weeks too late according to everyone in the office, the Publisher fired her, but not before telling her she’s a fucking moron.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Living the Dream


I saw the Killers in concert the other day. Before 06 began, I had never been to a concert before in my entire life. But now, in 10 months, I’ve been to 5. Sitting in the theatre at Madison Square Garden, while sipping on a Dewar’s on the rocks double, I waited for my fifth show to begin.

Brandon Flowers stepped on stage for a disappointing 45 minutes to play material mainly from his new album “Sam’s Town”, a place I certainly don’t want to visit after his concert. The Killers are considered one of the top modern rock bands in America, however, the lack of passion and energy in their performance left me convinced that they were undeserving of such a title.

Now here’s a man who’s living the dream.

Brandon Flowers is a Mormon member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (yes, that stupid ass church we saw commercials for while growing up) who was born in Vegas a little more than two years after me. During college, he realized he wanted to become a musician, thus pursued it and never looked back. Now here I was, watching this Mormon mildly rocking out on stage, for a screaming crowd of thousands, and I searched for an emotion. Something. Anything. I reached deep into my gut, into my soul and pulled out: envy.

I saw Nicola perform the other day. Nicola’s the lead singer of an aptly named band called “Nicola”. She’s a graduate from the LaGuardia School of the Performing Artists. She has a beautiful voice, and she’s a struggling artist from New York City, who’s living the dream. I knew who she was because of Myspace. She’s one of those artists who use Myspace as a means to promote her music by adding friends and gaining support. I happened to stumble upon her page one day and listened. And now here I was, watching her perform live.

It was one of those early fall Saturday afternoons when Winter teases you with a cold breeze, but the sun keeps your skin feeling hot. I bolted out of my apartment with only 10 minutes to catch the LIRR. Whenever someone’s running frantically in the middle of Manhattan, I always assume they just did something illegal. The way I was running, people must’ve thought I just committed murder. Sweating profusely, I ran down the escalator with a minute to spare, and saw that the line for tickets was longer than the line at most DMV’s. I frantically ran from line to line, looking for the shortest one, and found on the far end a ticket booth with only one patron. I tapped my feet. I obnoxiously looked at my watch. I huffed, I puffed, I blew my tact down, and when she finally left, my fingers skillfully navigated through that touch screen ticket machine with the grace of Beethoven. I snatched the ticket, and made a mad dash for my train, just in time to see it pull away. Then I did the customary sigh, the loud one that announces that you missed the train to all in the vicinity who are spectators to the crazy running man. By this time, I was sweating like a 4th quarter Shaq. So, feeling defeated, I plodded over to the deli in the station to grab a drink.

After purchasing a Gatorade, I heard it: the unmistakable sound of a musician checking to see if a guitar is tuned. I couldn’t really tell where it was coming from until I heard her start singing. I spotted her near the back of Penn Station and got closer to hear her better. There she was, a lone girl, strumming on a guitar, singing a song called “Don’t Take it Personally”. She was awesome. She sang with so much passion. I could see in her eyes the wear and tear of the city. I could hear in her voice that she’d give anything to live and die as a musician. And here I was, watching this fellow New Yorker rocking out to a silent crowd of 1.

After she was done, she looked up at me and we locked eyes for a second. I fumbled backwards, feeling awkward, and started walking away. As I walked, I felt oddly numb, and so I searched for an emotion. Something. Anything. I reached deep into my gut, into my soul and pulled out: pity.

Don’t take it personally…

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just a thought...

When God was drafting up the blueprints for the human body, at what point did he say, "ah fuckit, I'm just gonna put the fun spot right next to where the shit comes out"?


Fuckin' Fuck

It's not good to have writer's block when you're supposed to write for work.

Does anyone want to lend some pearls of wisdom about SUVs? I'm considering writing "don't get one unless you're a douchebag" and being done with it.

-L (With apologies to all the douchebags who own SUVs)