Feb 272004

I’m sorry I have not updated recently. Since we got back from Thailand, there has not many new stories to tell. Sure, there have been lots of arguments with taxi drivers. waiters, and people giving me a hard time for no general reason. Haga and I have gone to parties. We also continue to exercise and try to take care of our health. I haven’t gone to any great new restaurants lately. Although I’m impressed with the pan fried pizza we make at home. I still see my Chinese friends and foreign friends. I completed my fourth speech at Toastmasters; “Is the glass half full or half empty?: the Globalization question”.

I’ve started teaching University of Phoenix Online classes again. I also put together a feasibility study (not really…just copied material together) for a Joint Venture project…got paid $250 for 3 hours work…not bad.

We saw a lot of movies. Some of them were not good: The Duelist (1977 staring Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine…I liked it by Haga thought it was dumb), Lost in Translation (very moving), Boys from Brazil (sort of cheesy), Dogville (must see), and American Splendor (also must see).

Some of these movies reflect thoughts/feelings that occupy me. The message of Dogville (in my interpretation… which seems very different from other viewers) was that communities must be held responsible for their collective moral failures. Lost in Translation was about how being in a foreign country can highlight the parts of your life that lack direction or clear meaning. American Splendor is a biographical movie about an underground cartoonist. The cartoonist is an “everyman-ish” not-glamorous guy with a dead-end job who uses writes cartoons (illustrated by R. Crumb, among others) to express his feelings of pessimism, depression, fear, and despair.

I’m sort of depressed today though. I have not found a great job and I have not come up with good ideas for starting my own company. So in some ways, I feel today that life is not progressing more than it was in the States. And this thought makes me bumbed out. I know…it has been suggested to me before to keep depressing subjects out of this journal. Just this once though I want to “unload” my depression bout onto my readership.

So, 2 weeks ago on Friday I was supposed to have an interview with a company…and 15 minutes before the interview- when I was outside getting a taxi – a lady called me up and said that they are in a meeting that is going overtime and we need to reschedule. She would call me back next week. The call never came, although I followed up twice. Today I got her on the phone and she said they already have their candidate. I told her – in a non-intimidating voice – that I felt she conducted herself in an un-professional manner. She started bitching at me on the phone. If she was in front of me, I would have punched her. For real.

Today I was supposed to have a meeting with a German guy for a Marketing Research position (name seems German..I’m not sure if he is German or not). But he never gave me his address or phone number.

The upshot of all this is that I know I have to get something started myself. The downside of all this is that I am cursed.

So what does it feel like to be Jesse when he is bumbed out? Well, He starts thinking of himself as being in a tragic movie. And therefore starts thinking in the third person. Everything starts falling apart. Friends are moving away (literally and figuratively). Jobs will never come / be acquired. He clearly sees how he is pessimistic/ arrogant/ anti-social/ lazy/ stupid/ inept/ blind (literally and figuratively) / flabby / self-centered. He puts on a stone-cold face but feels like crying and he prays that people can’t see that. He loses ALL patience with non-friends/family. Which is OK in China…and one thing about China which is somehow suitable to him. He sometimes deals with this depression by just going to sleep. Or, if the depression is not too bad, eating ice-cream helps.

Depressed Jesse should have been a cartoonist like the guy in American Splendor.

Eventually I stop thinking about myself in the third-person and I try desperately to think of solutions to my problems.

For example:

I need to get a registry of all the foreign owned companies in China and contact those companies. I tried to do this 3 weeks ago; I went across town in traffic to the Foreign Commerce Management Department, but they said they sold out of the directories and maybe they will be in stock at the end of the month (its near the end of the month now). And then I got into an argument about why they didn’t tell me it sold out when I called them on the phone.

I need to contact … that guy from Nortel who seemed to gush over me on the phone but has not responded in the last week… those head-hunters I previously contacted…that cool company that said they almost were going to hire me before their CEO was fired for embezzlement… that Chinese manufacturers of solar power cells and that manufacturer of fuel cells, even though these companies are not making money yet…

Maybe I should create some freelance marketing reports. Maybe I can then sell them. And/or organize some sort of seminar where I get sponsors from technology vendors.

I have to CALL Josh and Ingrid (when is the baby going to arrive?)…and Erik and Heidi (and how is their baby?)…and Peter and Annabelle (and Hunter and the new baby to come?). … Riki and Allison (whom probably don’t want to even talk to me because its been so long), and Drew (who last I heard has a good job now) …and Chris (still in Russia?) …and Chaz and Carmen (and what are they doing?)…and Bart, Brad, Jeremy, Unagi, Lucia, Matt Seaman, Matt Pitt, Aaron, Anna…oh…and Tony (who should stop worrying, just pack up and travel the world and visit Shanghai while you receive unemployment from the country of France…bastard!)

What else is there to say right now? Passover is April 5th…anyone reading this is invited to my parents house in San Diego…but you need to RSVP. I will probably be there, but Haga unfortunately cannot. The weather is getting a little warmer. I’m excited about taking weekend trips out of Shanghai. Haga’s taking golf lessons. I need to get running shoes because I run 3 times a week on the treadmill. On Valentines Day, we spent the y day in a 5 star hotel about 3 blocks from our apartment (we won a free-night stay at a Chanukah party), and we had a good time. Some peasants stole a canister of metal from a local nuclear power plant and took the canister to an unlicensed recycling center which processed and sold it…the canister actually contained radioactive selenium. Peasants also steal manhole covers…so I have to watch out for open manholes when I walk around. Gary Newson – the mayor of San Francisco – makes me proud to proclaim I’m from California and even prouder to say I’m from the Bay area.

Love you and miss you all!

 Posted by at 12:30 pm

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