Thursday, 29 November 2007

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Month of superior problems

All this month, I've been having problems with my many superiors. The problem with doing many jobs is that there are many bosses and many more bosses above those many bosses to deal with. I have a news gathering boss and an anchoring boss.

I had another problem with my new gathering boss today. Twenty hours after my story on high school entrance exams (yeah, they have HS entrance exams in addition to college entrance exams here) went out, he boss calls me at home as I was preparing to come in and tells me he didn't understand my story and I should do another one today and incorporate what the newspapers printed this morning. I'm on the night shift, so this was in the afternoon. I asked what we did with it this morning and he said nothing, since no one, including himself, understood the matter. I just can not comprehend how he is an assigner and editor when he can't do either of those jobs, or even report for that matter. So twenty hours later, he tells me he doesn't understand the my story that he supposedly "edited" and told me to do another story, running a half day late behind the other stations. I'm very upset because he's once again made me responsible for his own mistakes and problems.

Here's what should have happened:
He should have edited my story. (He never edits.)
If my story was unclear, he should have fixed it.
If my story was incomprehensible, he should have made me redo it.
If there was something more in the newspapers that came out in the morning, he should have had the morning shift follow up on it, and then if that wasn't enough, have me work on it some more when I came in for the night shift.

Of course, none of that happened. And he sent me scrambling for interviews that I couldn't possibly do all by myself. Good thing I'm friendly with my colleagues on the beat and one of them made a copy of a couple of interviews for me.

That was the highlight of my day. Wonderful.

Now I still have to deal with the 26-hour shift that my anchor boss effectively put me on. I get off at 1h00 Saturday morning, but he's still making me anchor from 7h00 (meaning I have to start preparing before 04h00) all the way until 15h00. I told him that my body may not be able to handle it and he said, "sorry, if you don't anchor, Guiya will have to anchor too many segments." This is when I wanted to swear at him. There are other anchors available to cover me but he's just afraid to ask them. On the other hand, he's never been afraid to ask me to cover for other people. The MD's told him before to take me off the days I come off the night shift, but his bird brain snapped back to its old ways after that one time.

When I went to his boss about the schedule, I asked if I can anchor in the afternoon/evening instead, and he said "OK." But today, three days later, the schedule still looks the same. If it doesn't get changed by tomorrow, I'm going to the MD for "advice." I'm going to ask her how she manages to look energetic and come alive on screen when she is really the exact opposite. I can work, but I want her to know what I am going through. And I want her to know why I may have sunken eyes and a hoarse voice Saturday and why I may contract bronchitis or pneumonia and be out sick the entire next week.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I always miss the American holiday spirit around this time of year. When I was growing up, our family would get together at Thanksgiving potlucks hosted by family friends (we didn't have relatives in America). The adults would do their thing and us kids would do our thing, which was playing video games, throw Nerf footballs and wrestle with other kids, mostly boys. You see why I was like a boy until I went to Japan?

Before starting shopping for Christmas, we'd always stop by a giant Christmas tree in downtown San Francisco and marvel at its grandness. The glass ornaments, ribbons and lights were just beautiful. Everyone during this time of year would seem especially nice, and there would be the smell of pine trees everywhere, including inside our house. Every few years, Dad would take us to a Christmas tree farm somewhere and we'd pick our own, beautiful tree, chop it down, tie it to the roof of the car and drive it home ourselves. It was probably hell for Mom and Dad because we were so little and the tree so big, but it was so much fun for us. For a couple of months, the wonderful smell of our Christmas tree would fill the house, and our spirits would get higher and higher as the presents under the tree accumulated.

Weekends were especially wonderful as it was nice and cold, and we'd all fight for a spot by the fireplace to roast marshmallows while Dad picked at watermelon seeds (see the cultural difference?). Whoever that couldn't get a seat by the fire got to sit by Lucky and Miffy, who didn't seem to enjoy the flames and crackling wood all that much.

Although we didn't seem to have many of those years when Dad was always around, we had a few good ones.

After I went to college, every Thanksgiving I'd still celebrate with friends or fly home to celebrate with Michael and Daniel. In Tokyo, we couldn't get turkey, so Jenny pan fried a tuna fish head in Mama's atelier one year. Then Jenny got too busy with work the next year, so I decided to celebrate by taking Grandma and Grandpa to have turkey at a Californian restaurant instead.

But this year, my third year in Taiwan, it was a lonely Thanksgiving, if you can even call it one. No turkey, no family, no Thanksgiving.

Next year, I have to have a proper Thanksgiving and Christmas, no matter what.

Having a child to be a child

I took Mom to see Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium this week. I picked the movie this time. Obvious, huh? I was smiling almost the entire time. I love these movies that have to do with the magical world that exists in children.

The details of the toys were wonderful, right down to the grooves of the red, rubber balls that we used to play handball or dodge ball with.

As I was enjoying the movie, however, I realized how detached from the world of children. I don't remember what they think and care about anymore. The other day, I was interviewing some third graders and totally blanked when I tried to have a chat with them. But getting a glimpse of their creative and wonderful world through the movie really reminded me what fun a child's life is like.

Then a horrific thought crossed my mind - could it be that my biological clock is ticking away?

No. It can't be. I just want to be a child again, that's all. Every time my career plateaus a little bit, I start thinking about marrying myself off and starting a family. Then when a guy comes along and the relationship turns sour and my work begins to take off again, I don't want to marry and have children anymore. At least that's what happened the last time.

My coworker who has a two-year-old son and is pregnant with a baby girl said that her and her cameraman husband really love children, so even though they don't make much money and hardly have any free time, they're going to have another baby. But could it also be that people have children partly because they want to relive childhood one more time? I think that would be a very big reason for me. Of course, to love somebody more than anything in the world would be another reason. I guess I don't know if I would have a child because I "love children." I have no idea what's to love about children. I suppose they're cute if well behaved and would be fun to dress up. There are no children around me, so I really have no idea.

I don't know if I'll ever find anyone to marry or to have children with, but raising children certainly seems like a fun thing to do for me, a child at heart.

Lions for Lambs

Took Mom to see this last week by her request. I really liked it. It's a good political thriller that centers about the Iraq war, young people's passiveness to what is going on around in the world and conflicts in reporting. Although the pictures were not exciting, the dialogue was fantastic. I highly recommend it to people looking for a thought-provoking movie.

You can watch the trailer here: Apple Trailers
You can read a review by NY Times here: Hearts and Minds: Senator Meets Reporter, Selling a New, Improved War

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Busy day off

Yoga, laundry, haircut, facial, and a mushroom hot pot dinner with Anna (old high school friend) all in one day.

I'm exhausted on my day off.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Whew and comfort food

Today, I was the five-reports-and-one-live girl. But now I feel more dead than alive. I think this ties with the six stories I did in one day last year. Interestingly, Shen Shen was my assigner on both of these days, and even though they were exhausting days, they weren't unpleasant days. She just assigns, leaves me alone to work and then edits when my story needs editing. And when I don't know what to do, she tells me exactly how to do it.

I'm getting faster at writing these days. I was done with everything around 17h30 and she told me to go home. Craving cottage cheese, I stopped by Jason's in Taipei 101 and picked some up, along with a container of yummy, creamy German yogurt. I was a little shocked at the cash register when some cottage cheese, cereal, granola bars and wheat biscuits came out to be over TWD1.000!

Not that expensive of a price to pay for comfort food, though. I miss America and Japan. Kryptonite and other neon colored cereal over Saturday and Sunday morning cartoons were such a treat. Wheat crackers and granola bars were what I lived on during my college rowing days. And cottage cheese was one of those midnight snacks that I attacked when I was writing my MBA thesis on private banking.

Those wonderful food memories...

My latest craving though - steamed Chinese egg pudding (蒸蛋). Both my moms have their versions of it, and both are really tasty, but these days, I don't get to taste either of them. :(

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Orderly life

This may be the perfect bookshelf for people that need a formula or equation for every aspect of life, including one for even furniture.

(via Boing Boing)

Great holiday gift

I'm not so interested in eating these days, but I'm absolutely dying to cook (or bake). I think I just want to do something with my hands and not have to bother with my brain.

(via NOTCOT)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Good advice

After I got over being mad at him-who-shall-not-be-named, I got an email from Uncle Terry.

It said something like this:
When you look back at your career 10, 20, maybe 30 years from now, you'll have had many bosses. Each boss will come into your life for only a short period of time, like a visitor in your life. And while you choose what company to work for, you can't choose your boss. Given both these conditions, don't let one bad boss ruin your bright future with a company, unless you choose to change companies. Bad bosses will go away one day.

After reading this, the clouds parted and the fog lifted. I'm lucky to have all these wonderful people watching out for me.

Thanks, Uncle Terry!

Aquafresh One

Here's Taiwan's Air Force One, also known to the media as "Aquafresh One."

Spotted it at Sungshan International Airport during my Orbis assignment.


The Flying Eye Hospital was in Taiwan, and I went on board to do a story.

Once on board, we were too busy, so I don't have any pictures from the inside. Sorry!

You're beautiful, but you're killing me

These beautiful, purple flowers bloomed outside my window last week, and are making me so sick. Since coming back to Taiwan, I've never had allergies this bad. My eyes were so swollen that I couldn't wear contact lenses all week, my nose was constantly running and itchy and my throat so painful that it caused me to wake up in the middle of the night to dig out the cough drops.

So the day before yesterday, I went to the ENT doctor by FTV, and got some medicine. So instead of being utterly miserable and unable to see, breath and speak clearly, I was completely drugged out. It made me sleep all day yesterday, which was great because I was off, but when I anchored this morning, I felt like there were balloon tied to me and I was lifting off my seat. I didn't know what in the world I was saying in front of the camera and it took the strength of nine cows and two tigers (Chinese saying 九牛二虎之力) to concentrate on just READING.

But on the bright side, maybe I'll not notice my boss as much while I'm on this medication. Hey, what an idea. Keep blooming, Flowers.

There is a heart in there after all

Here's an email I wrote to my coworkers, after collecting signatures, words of encouragement and money for the EB baby and his parents. I guess they are nice people after all. Just really cranky under stress.














Friday, 16 November 2007

Taiwanese lessons

Well Liao took these during my session with Lanchi after work.

Thanks, Well and Lanchi!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Thank you

After four agonizing days, I'm much better now. My boss is also more courteous to me these days. It turns out his boss found out about what happened and they had a small talk, which ended up a big fight. In any case, I feel reassured that people believe in me and what I do. I think I've also grown a little from the experience. I'm still not sure how I'll react the next time something like this happens, but at least I have a better feel of what my boss for the next four months is.


Thank you friends and family again for your emails, phone calls, and MSN messages during this rough patch.

Like my new glasses? They're a present from Dad. :) Thanks, Dad!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

New challenge

I never thought that anything could be tougher than reporting the news, until my new boss came along. I wanted to curse, cry, die and quit all in the same day. Actually, I cursed and I cried and thought it was enough. Four months! Four more months of this!!!!

I can't remember the last time I was so angry.

I must find something good in him. I must learn how to deal with the likes of him. And when I do, someone should give me a medal. Ughhhhhh!!!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Adversity will make me stronger

I had to work with two kinds of people today.

-The kind that will go to hell.

-The kind that will be left to burn in hell.

Adversity will make me stronger.
Adversity will make me stronger.
Adversity will make me stronger.
Adversity will make me stronger.
Adversity will make me stronger.
Adversity will make me stronger.
Adversity will make me stronger.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Change of scenery

In the 16 short hours I spent in Danshui, I played with the dogs, got out the winter clothes (it started getting chilly only recently) and disconnected my stereo set to bring back to Taipei. To make room for the stereo, I moved my books out to the living room, and voila, new scenery and what a beautiful sound it makes. Actually, half the system is Uncle Tsu's - the Ferrari red Usher speakers and DAC are his, and the tube amp was a birthday present from him two years ago. It's a regular DVD player sitting on the bottom there.

Because it gets really damp and humid in Danshui in the winter, I also brought back my kimono. I've hung it up, and tomorrow while I'm at work, I'm going to turn on the dehumidifier. I think I'm going to try to wear it at least once this quarter, but not to an omiai (matchmaking). It's so beautiful. Thank you, Mama. Speaking of omiai, I have a funny story to tell another day.

After all that moving though, I think I sprained my back. Ouch. Maybe if I keep my abdominal muscles tight, it'll get me through to when my back's healed.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Sunday plans

I'm being a little selfish this November and taking a few more days (that I've accumulated) off to rest, because I think I'm really killing myself. But on the first day of rest in November, I've run into a problem - I don't want to do anything, but I'm bored out of my mind. I don't want to read, I don't want to draw, I don't want to watch TV or movies, I don't want to go out. I've become very bored and antisocial. Stress and anxiety fills my days. What to do? What to do? What to do?

Maybe I'll finally go home and play with the Lucky, Miffy, Oreo and King. Hey, what a solution! And if Mom starts nagging again, I'll go horseback riding. Yeah. This Sunday is going to be a good day.

(image from Google images)

Trick or treat?

Daniel carved these. He and Quyen are going to have some very lucky kids.

I miss the American holidays, especially around this time of year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's... I miss the American food that goes with those holidays too - pumpkin pie, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, Christmas cake... It never really gets festive around here until Chinese New Year, which usually lands around February (it's 7 Feb 2008 next year). I've been here for almost three years and away from America for more than five. I can't believe it, but I miss American food (a little bit).

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Long day

It was a long and miserable day, full of stupidity and bureaucracy. Although I gained an EQ point or two somewhere along the way, I'm just so glad the day is over!

The silver lining over the rainbow, though, was another call from the mother of Yuwei, the boy paralyzed from the waist down. Yuwei's mother said an acupuncturist was just at their apartment earlier to give her son treatment. She said the doctor normally charges TWD 3.600 (USD 110) per session, but did it for free for them. What's more is that the doctor promised to keep coming over and giving him treatments (for free), in hopes that he will be able to use his legs to some extent one day. She called to tell me that this doctor saw my report on the news, called FTV and that's how they connected.

I was really touched. I hope this doctor's intentions really are well and genuine.

So although low on energy, low on spirit, I am...satisfied. And proud. And thankful.

Now I'm going to fall asleep to Star Movies and try to get some rest tomorrow before my weekly Taiwanese mess Saturday.