about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'm about to lose my anchor

My colleague and friend Grace is leaving us for greener pastures...much to the shock and bewilderment of many on our team. Tomorrow is the start of her final week.

While I can't deny I got saddened and a little infuriated because I didn't know about this sooner, I can't really help things by stewing. Instead I decided to give her birthday gift three weeks early. Good for me I already bought it in advance.

Ever since she got that Olympus Mju 770SW camera of hers, she's been taking snapshot upon snapshot with it on her many travels. Knowing how quirky her taste is and how frequently she shoots, I got her a Joby Gorillapod Classic as an investment for her photographic hobby. Wow, did she rave like a little kid when she opened it. Apparently she'd been wishing for one for a while after seeing one of her mountain-climbing friends bring one, and I just so happened to be the fairy godmoth...uh, godfather. Moments after opening the Gorillapod, she affectionately called it "Gorio."

We've had our share of problems but she's still my anchor to my other colleagues. Even though I was gradually weaning myself from her, nothing could have prepared me for her total departure. She was a bright bit of sunshine the whole time I knew her. All I can do is leave her with a few good memories while she's here and hope for the best for her in Switzerland.

Thank you, Gracey. Barclays definitely won't be the same without you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The consequences of "first-child syndrome" fuelled by rage

I'm stuck in the notion that I can actually change things by sheer force of will and a lot of vitriol.

Even though I know I can't, I still engage in this idiotic, idiosyncratic folly.

Go with the flow, people say.

I can't.

I'm the proverbial salmon, fighting the tide and going upstream with no rational explanation, except for thinking things should go exactly the way I envision them to be. I want people to follow the rules. I want people to be conscious of the rules even if they aren't being enforced properly.

I want them to think, dammit! I want them to reciprocate! I want them to feel guilty before they commit to something stupid!

Sigh.

What an enormous waste of energy and willpower attributable to what our priest calls "first-child syndrome."

GAH! I feel nauseous. I am a failed Dr. Gregory House clone. At least his browbeating and overbearing behavior actually gets results. In contrast people just look at me and silently scream "What the fuck's this guy's problem?"



I have to let go at some point. I hope I don't get to the point where all the coiled-up tension and animosity just snaps my springs.

Socializing 101

When someone greets you hello after a long time, the proper thing to do is to greet them back.

What you don't do is give some cryptically sarcastic, uncalled-for reply that makes the other party actually feel bad that he/she greeted you in the first place.

Is that not correct? Of course it is.

Then why are you doing precisely the wrong thing?

Ah well, whatever. That's not for me to lose sleep and grow wrinkles and eyebags over.

Contradictory wisdom, part 1

Not everything can be explained by statistics. Intangibles are what will give you the edge over others.

So says my "big brother" at work, PJ. I suppose that's true.

Unfortunately not enough people pick up on those intangibles...which is why sometimes it really, really makes sense to follow Ayrton Senna's advice:

Nice guys don't win.

Gift-giving has its rewards...I guess

Giving presents should be a straightforward process, right?

Apparently, it isn't always that way. You see, it feels like a waste of effort and money when I hear the present isn't being enjoyed the way it's supposed to be.

I've prepared a number of gifts for my friends at work. The problem is they seldom have the time to fully enjoy what I give them...and so far my contributions have ranged from books to CDs to a free trip to the spa as a "job well done" treat.

I know it's the thought that counts, but knowing that they actually enjoyed my gift counts just that little bit more.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rest in peace, Colin McRae.

An acquaintance of mine from an old forum I used to frequent sent me news that Colin McRae just died in a helicopter crash.

McRae's wins in the World Rally Championship while driving the Subaru Legacy WRC were my formal introduction to the world of rallying. The man loved racing in any and almost all forms: he also participated in the Paris-Dakar Rally and I know he tested Bentley's Speed Six Le Mans racer for Autocar a few times. Not many people liked him for being a colorful character, but you can't deny he had buckets of talent.

Next to the also-recently-deceased Richard Burns, I consider McRae the consummate rally driver. He will be missed.

The illusion of forgiveness

We're taught to think that sins can be forgiven, bad habits can be abolished and a return to innocence is possible.

Is that really the case?

From personal experience I know my doubts aren't simply unfounded. Old habits are hard to get rid of, if at all possible. Sins can be forgiven perhaps, but it's impractical to totally forget what people have done to us due to their character flaws---and vice versa. It's just the natural thing to do to cover our asses.

A return to innocence? Let's just say we're all dirty washcloths. The water used to supposedly launder us of our adulterations unfortunately can't be drained and changed.

Battle Gear 4 for me, thanks

I tried Initial D 4 again. Sure enough, my suspicions of "invisible walls" are confirmed, at least on Akagi and Shin-Myogi. Colliding against these things slows me down to an inexplicably sluggish pace that I have so much trouble recovering from.

This isn't stopping the game from gaining relative popularity though. Well, the players can have it. At this point I can say I'm through with Initial D 4.

As far as I'm concerned, if I wanted a satisfying driving game I'd play Battle Gear 4. No invisible walls of frustration, no sluggish response from the wheel and a much more realistic driving experience make this my arcade racer of choice for realism.

Besides, I already have my own car and I've slain more than my share of giants in real life. People can harp about realism and my sucking in arcade driving games all they want. However, I've already humiliated a fair number of hotshot drivers on the streets---I have nothing else to prove.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Four years in the making

I haven't seen my friend Kathy in the longest time, so I was glad when we finally got the chance to go out last night.

After her party and my weekend work session, we met up at Shangri-la Plaza. The place is unfamiliar to both our peepers, so we ended up consulting the directory on where to go. After buying movie tickets, we ambled our way to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner, conversation and jokes.

We had an hour to burn before the movie began, so we simply walked around and window-shopped while laughing our guts out and making fools of ourselves.

Then "Hairspray" began. We marveled at newcomer and headliner Nikki Blonsky's perky sweetness, an in-drag John Travolta showing what he could have been before Saturday Night Fever, laughed at Christopher Walken's kooky gags and gasped at Michelle Pfeiffer's mean bitchy streak.

When big girl Tracy Turnblad's (Blonsky) dream to star on "The Corny Collins Show" comes true, she becomes a catalyst for social change as she fights for integration of African-Americans and plus-size women on TV in Baltimore, circa 1962. The movie is simply wonderful, both in message and execution, and within the first five minutes I decided I was going to buy this soundtrack.

In short, we had a rollicking good time.

Thanks Kathy! We should do this more often. I hope it doesn't take another four years.

Friday, September 07, 2007

"Everything's fine in the morning"

I absolutely love this song.

Little child, be not afraid
Though rain pounds harsh against the glass
Like an unwanted stranger, there is no danger
I am here tonight

Little child, be not afraid
Though thunder explodes and lightning crash
Illuminates your tear-stained face
I am here tonight

And someday you'll know
That nature is so
The same rain that draws you near me
Falls on rivers and land
On forests and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you'll see
In the morning

Little child, be not afraid
Though storm clouds mask your beloved moon
And its candlelight beams, still keep pleasant dreams
I am here tonight

Little child, be not afraid
Though wind makes creatures of our trees
And their branches to hands, they're not real, understand
And I am here tonight

And someday you'll know
That nature is so
The same rain that draws you near me
Falls on rivers and land
On forests and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you'll see
In the morning

For you know, once even I was a
Little child, and I was afraid
But a gentle someone always came
To dry all my tears, trade sweet sleep for fears
And to give a kiss goodnight

Well now I am grown
And these years have shown
That rain's a part of how life goes
But it's dark and it's late
So I'll hold you and wait
'Til your frightened eyes do close

And I hope that you'll know
That nature is so
The same rain that draws you near me
Falls on rivers and land
On forests and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you'll see
In the morning

Everything's fine in the morning,
The rain'll be gone in the morning,
But I'll still be here in the morning...

- Vienna Teng with Tiffany Shih, "Lullaby for a Stormy Night"