Wednesday, April 27, 2016

comic competency

On of the managers for the corporation that I am subcontracted to has become increasingly unhinged, as evidenced by his multiple pages long emails that he sends out almost every half hour, accusing the various other subcontractors of a wide variety of misdeeds - all in Comic Sans using large, bright blue font, often underlined and boldfaced. In case anyone is unclear, Comic Sans is a cartoonish, unsophisticated font that was invented during 90's, a seriously questionable decade in regard to style (grunge movement, anyone?), and classified as a casual, non-connecting script. Do not use Comic Sans if you want to be taken seriously. It's only one step above writing a business letter in Elvish.

Anyway, I have stayed mostly off this man's radar, thanks to a separation of scope, but every few days, when he has run out of accusations to spout at the others, he turns his attention to me and lets loose a torrent of craziness. I have learned not to reply, no matter how contradictory or serious the accusation. I learned this the hard way when I tried to make a reasonable reply to an unreasonable demand and received a series of enraged responses from the manager, each one adding one more unrelated accusation of my competency, and copying one more level of authority until his last attack included a member of the board at my office and the highest level of management at his company. No one actually replied, in case you were wondering. Probably due to the Comic Sans.

He now complains at the design meetings that he doesn't know whether I am actually working because he never hears from me. That he isn't copied on any of my emails isn't an mistake on my part. If my work ever fell under his scope, I would probably resign.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

bull dozers in rut

If you are traveling to Northern China, please be aware that it is mating season for bull dozers and they are very aggressive when in rut.

The dozers on my site are domesticated and neutered but we have to be careful about the hydraulic crawler cranes. They are known to be unpredictable, especially when in close vicinity to the tower balance cranes, their natural enemy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

neighbor nuisance

I will feel like an a$$hole if I make a complaint but I'm not sure what else I can do...

My neighbors for the past several years have not been the easiest to live with. They are noisy and fill the shared alcove in front of our doors with racks of shoes, boxes, and suitcases that are an issue if I am leaving home with a sports bag (i.e. at least twice per week). I have avoided confrontation because I have felt sympathy for them.

Our flats are small, but face the race course, and are priced accordingly. SB and I love the view so we choke down the cost of rent compared to the tininess of the flat. The neighbors have a smaller flat, but I imagine that the rent is not reduced greatly. I'm pretty sure that they couldn't afford the rent by themselves. I often see him by a truck receiving carts full of cardboard in the morning while I walk the dogs, and I don't imagine that managing cardboard collection pays well. I have seen her reselling open suitcases of used clothing on a street corner. I don't think she is rolling in mad cash either. They have several bunk beds in their living room and I'm fairly certain from the constant comings and goings that they rent out the bunks to tourists and live-out domestic workers.

I hate stumbling over the rows of suitcases outside of my door. There are often foul smells coming from the boxes and other items in the hall. They have a friend who sells supposedly organic fruits and vegetables on another street corner and she often leaves her boxes in the hallway overnight. Two weeks ago I discovered a small cockroach strolling across the floor and had a small meltdown.

Aside from knocking on their door on three occasions, I have never made a complaint. Once I had to knock when the mess actually blocked my ability to enter my home, and the other two times were when some items in their pile smelled so foul that they fouled up the air in my flat. Other neighbors have complained and the management response has been to post warnings on our doors, to no avail. My next door neighbors simply ignore the warnings. I cringe whenever I see a warning on my door because I wonder if the other neighbors actually think that some of the mess is mine. I have thought of filing a complaint due to fire safety issues but I would feel like a jerk if I harmed their ability to earn a living wage by forcing the removal of the suitcases. I just don't know what else to do.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

the bloodbath

Is it happy hour yet? With SB out of town, I have had a lot of activity alone with the furbabies. Too much activity.

I staggered up approximately 1200 steps from Wong Nai Chung Reservoir to Violet Hill. You're welcome for carrying all of the water, dogs.

Near the start of the Twins, I noticed blood on the steps in front of me. I called the dogs over and discovered that Tippy was bleeding quite a bit from a wound to her ear. I spent about ten minutes applying pressure without success. There was blood covering my arms and front of my shirt.

Some lady yelled at me to leash the dogs so she could pass. We were all to the side of the trail, Tippy and Elsie both sitting, and she had plenty of space. I ignored her. She shouted at me that I needed to control my (sitting) dogs. Fed up, I held up my completely bloody arms and waved my equally bloody towel at her. "I'm busy with something more important than you." My opinion of humanity was restored when a couple of hikers stopped to ask if they could help. Dog hater took the opportunity to stomp past with the couple as her buffer (like I said, plenty of space). I informed the couple that they just helped me immensely. As for Tippy, nothing really could be done so I told them that I was going home where we had a styptic pen.

We made record time going to Parkview. Poor Tippy left a trail of blood. I stopped by the toilets to wash off as much as I could so that I didn't look like a psychotic killer, not that Parkview hasn't seen one of those before. I freaked out over how much blood I rinsed from my arms. Did I mention that blood makes me nauseous?

Made it home and applied the styptic pen. The bleeding slowed. At this point, Elsie was concerned and tried to lick the wound. I washed a disturbing amount of blood from Tippy's scruff and took a moment to calm down. Then I applied more styptic pen and finally stopped the bleeding.

I chased drippy Tippy around the flat with an antiseptic, spray bandage can.

I scrubbed blood from my clothing, two towels, a rug, and a bath mat. I yelled at Elsie, who attempted to lick her sister's (medicated) wound behind my back. "If you get sick and throw up, I'm returning you to the pound!" Then I took a shower and freaked out some more at the red shower water.

While the dogs napped at my feet, I wondered if it was my imagination or if there was still a strong scent of copper.

Is it happy hour yet?

Friday, April 1, 2016

and pigs fly

SB, while in line with my way of thinking on a lot of women's issues, draws the line when profit comes into the conversation. We disagree mainly when discussing funding for female athletes. He wants to relate compensation with popularity and overall earnings of the tournaments, including television coverage. It's not like I don't understand his point but I think that women being disallowed from even trying to compete until the last few decades has placed a restriction on the development of women's sports, and I think that there is a need for affirmative action to give women a chance to catch up. In many sports, women still have to work to support their sporting careers, and not being able to train full time will affect performance. SB's agrees that we have restricted women but then shifts the argument to women in tennis playing smaller sets than men. I grudgingly agree. Then he admits that he actually prefers watching women's tennis these days because the men's game seems to have (d)evolved into being almost entirely about the serve while he can still enjoy volleys in the women's game.

Recently, we had an interesting turn. Several US women's soccer players are suing because not only are they being paid 25% of the salaries that the men are drawing, but the women's soccer team generated $20 million more revenue last year than the men’s team. To add insult, the women have three world championships and an Olympic gold medal for the past several years of effort, while the men have achieved...well, we'll get back to you on that. Many prominent members of the men's team, including goalie Tim Howard, have come out to support the women.

SB admits that without knowing more information, it seems unfair. If there was such thing as a feminist flag, I would be waving it.

Someone ought to commission a feminist flag. It should feature at the very least, Germaine Greer's armpits and a fish on a bicycle.

***post note:
USA Today reminds us that U.S. Figure Skating has always given its male stars the same as its female stars even women by far outdraw them. A top USFS official explained that they wanted to grow the sport with boys. It was seen as a smart investment. Interesting.