Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My life in Sing and the first installment of my Asian travels

I work long hours. I'm in before 9am (sometimes 8) and I leave anywhere between 6:30 and 9pm. Except on Fridays. Fridays, we have a happy hour in the office, it starts at 4pm. Sometimes I start at 4, sometimes I start at 5. Always, once I pick up a glass of wine, I don't work again until Monday morning.

Some days I'm frustrated and I hate my job. It can be overwhelmingly. Sometimes I can feel like I am in over my head. There are moments I want to quit.

I love my job.

Not once have I regretted being here.

I love the people I work with. We are an eclectic, international mix. We are a living Benetton ad, constantly mocking each other's nationality and race. But there is great affection and respect between us. It's weird being outside the US political correctness. The teasing each other about racial stereotypes at first was shocking to the American in me. (And the liberal). Now I join in. When Rebecca was here she asked, "When did you become so racist?"

My usual gang from work is compiled of a couple Aussies, some Irish, a few Indians, and a couple Americans and a Sri Lankan. That's our immediate team. When we hang out with other googlers, throw in some French, Brits, Malaysians, New Zealanders, even the Finnish.

What has been the most surprising to me? To realize that America's best export is Hollywood. Everyone, I mean whether you grew up in a long house in Borneo or a cottage in Ireland, watched Friends and listened to Michael Jackson growing up.

I love my house and get along with my flatmate. We are friendly with each other, but haven't done much socializing outside of the apartment. When I'm home, I tend to spend more time in my rooms, but that's mostly a product of having being used to living alone, and having a job where I’m dealing with people all day. I do feel at home in the house.

Singapore is clean and efficient. The MRT (the subway) always runs on time and I've rarely waited more than 3 minutes for a train.

Singaporeans walk into you. Personal space is a different concept here. Walking down the street, sometimes I feel like the sidewalk is like the game that's a board with a silver ball and you tilt the board, and the balls rolls down the incline. That is Singaporeans rolling towards me on the sidewalks. Drives me crazy.

Also, Chivalry is a Western concept. Holding the door open, giving your seat to a pregnant woman, holding the elevator door. These are actions that are not viewed as necessary to be polite, and not doing them is not considered rude. As a westerner, it feels to me like Singaporeans are rude. They will push and shove you out of the way to get on the MRT before you. A pregnant woman will not be offered a seat, and, she will be pushed and shoved out of the way. It drives me crazy. And the MRT is never not full of people pushing to get on the train before you. I have to remind myself that to them it isn't rude to knock you out of the way get on the escalator before you.

Politeness is in different rituals. For instance, in business, you hand your business card over using 2 hands. The recipient of the card must take the card and read it. Take at least a minute or 2 to actually read the card, and then place it on the table in front of you for the duration of the meeting. As an American my instinct would be to take the card and shove it in my pocket. Which, to a Singaporean, would be considered incredibly rude.

I miss Chinese food. I mean, American Chinese food. It's weird to be surrounded by Chinese food, and miss it. Its fish with the heads on (including eyes) and shrimps completely shelled with heads. And the chicken consistency is different. But, I do love dim sum and noodles. Some of the Hawker Center food is really good. I’m especially a fan of really good Chicken Rice. But sometimes, I just want some good old American Chinese Chicken and Broccoli.

So, my travels:

When Rebecca was here we went to Bali for the weekend. Too short of a visit, but it was fun, but the story there was the whole moped business. Stupidly, I forgot that I don't know how to ride a motor bike and that I do have a fear of death. So of course, we rented motorbikes. Which involved the very complicated process of calling the front desk and asking for 2 bikes for 2 days. An hour later someone came to our room with a receipt for us to sign, helmets and keys and told us they were parked in the parking lot. I did comment that it's a little bit weird that they didn't ask for driver’s licenses. (Since, you know, I'm no longer licensed drive)

We got on the bikes someone from the hotel helped us start them, and gave us directions to an ATM. We shakily took off down the road only a couple doors to a Circle K that had an ATM. Except when we got there, the ATM didn't accept my card. We got back on our bikes to find a new ATM, Rebecca hopped on her bike, revved the engine and took off down the street. She's in her 20's. She has no fear, all her body parts work and death is something she thinks will never happen to her. I'm in my 30's. I'm losing coordination and confidence. It took me a bit of time to balance on the bike, strap on the helmet and turn the key.

There I was, sitting the in the tiny driveway of a circle K in Seminyak Beach on the Island of Bali in Indonesia. And I heard, "click." The engine wouldn't turn over. I turned the key again. Tried revving the engine. Nothing. Rebecca had evaporated into the landscape of motorbikes and trucks and cars. And the needle on my motorbike engine was sitting snug and defiantly on E.

I hopped of the bike, took off the helmet and stood there.

What to do?

So, of course I stood there a minute more.

What to do?

I took out my phone and sent Rebecca an email. Because she could get wireless on her phone even if she couldn’t make calls.

I waited another minute.

Motorbikes, cars, and trucks whizzed by and beeped as they passed.

I waited another minute, and then decided to walk, assuming she have must noticed at some point that I wasn’t not driving up behind her and probably stopped.

I found a few hundred yards up the road, perched confidently on her moped waiting patiently for me. She greeted me with, "Where the hell have you been?"

I told her about the bike being on empty. She was waiting for me in the driveway of another ATM. So I tried that ATM, placing my helmet on a ledge inside the vestibule, noticing an offering to the gods. It was a dried palm folded into a bowl shape filled with dried spices, fresh flowers and Ritz crackers. Versions of these are all over Bali. Some on sidewalks, in driveways, and in ATM vestibules.

That ATM also didn’t accept VISA. Rebecca and I decided that I would ride on the back of her bike we'd go get gasoline for the bike and find another ATM. I hoped on the back of the bike and she took off down the road, her face in the wind, mine tucked behind her back, terrified. We pulled into a gas station that also had an ATM, one that luckily took my card. While I was in the ATM she filled up her bike with gas. As I walked back to her bike, I realized, I didn’t have my helmet. She was trying to ask the gas station attendant if we could bring some gas back to fill my bike. They don't understand English, we got frustrated.

I told her about my helmet. We decided it was probably back at the other ATM, so decided to ride back there. Once again, I hopped on the back of the bike. As we were turning at an intersection, a policeman stepped out in front of us and signaled for us to pull over. On the corner was what looked to me like a photo hut, but was a police station. They sat me down on a bench outside, and brought Rebecca in.

There they were, her, tall, blonde in a tank top and shorts, looking very much like an American tourist. And him, tall, rotund, a policeman. Looking very much like an over weight, middle-aged policeman. He could have been in New York, Chicago, or Bali.

He asked for her ID. Told her there were big problems, she didn’t have an international driver's license and I wasn't wearing a helmet. She tried to explain that we were going back from my helmet. He just shook his head saying, "Big problem. But for 200,000 it can be done." (200,000 IDR is roughly 20 bucks). Rebecca had no Indonesian money. She had American dollars. She offered him 20 US dollars, trying to explain that she was out of the Indonesian money that she had changed at the airport. They brought me into the photo hut/police station. He said to me, "200,000. It’s not for me, it's for the government."

It was, at that moment, that I understood what was going on.

Something to note, I can’t do math. And for me, currency exchange can be confusing. Even the most basic, at times, can throw me out of whack. It gets worse when I'm holding a 100,000 bill. I mean, What? It's hard for me to wrap my head around it being 9 dollars. So, I opened up my wallet and I pulled out 1 bill of 5,000. I can't count zeros when there are too many on a bill.

As if I was bargaining, he shook his head at me and held up four fingers. "One, two, three, four." Right. 4 bills at 5,000, for a total of 200,000. Or one for him and each of the cops hanging around the photo hut/police shack. But, it's for the government, not him.

I gave him 4 bills. They then let us go and get back on the motorbike, without international drivers licenses or my helmet.

At the ATM vestibule, my helmet was waiting for me, sitting next to the offer to the gods.

Rebecca was furious that we had pay off the Indonesian Cops. I put on the helmet, and we decided to leave my bike where it was, and find a place for lunch, and deal with the bike later. So, once again, we were zooming along on the frenetic, chaotic streets of Seminyak Beach, Rebecca with her face to the wind, me cowering, my head down behind her back, holding on tight.

We found a lovely cafe and ordered burgers. Yes, we were those tourists. We ordered burgers. I love Indonesian food, but I think both of us needed something familiar. She was still all in a tizzy and angry about the forced bribe. I found it hysterical. I kept reminding her that it was my money after all. And, in the end, it was 20 bucks.

We finished our burgers, decided to do some exploring, so back on the bike we hopped her driving, me hiding behind her. She was Dark Knight all over the streets, eventually I raised my head and took in the scenery and stopped imagining death by moped in Bali. We worked our way back to my abandoned bike.

Rebecca suggested that we try one more time to turn it on. She sat on it, turned the key and revved the engine. It burped, coughed, then hummed. Mocking me, of course. Apparently I was trying to turn it on wrong. It was on empty, but it wasn't actually empty.

Rebecca got a good laugh. Suddenly the whole Indo Police Shakedown was funny.

She road off, I wobbled and we returned the gas station to fill it up. Well, not only was I not comfortable with starting the bike. I also wasn't comfortable stopping it. Luckily, I'd slowed to an almost stop, so I sort of hopped off it to make it stop (and solicited the help of the gas station attendants that I almost knocked over). Rebecca had to start it again for me.

For the rest of my motorbike driving, I was wobbly but ok. Until the last day.

On our last morning we had time to drive around and do some shopping. We took off on the bikes again. Well, Rebecca took off, I wobbled and sputtered. On the way she took a left turn rather than a right at an intersection, heading in the opposite direction then we intended. She pulled over, and I (almost) smoothly pulled up next to her. She might be Dark Knight on the bike, but I’m the one with the gift of a Sense of Direction. I pointed out the wrong turn, so we turned our bikes to make a U - turn, waiting for a break in the flowing stream of motorbikes and trucks and cars. She zoomed off, I waited for my turn. I was definitely getting a bit over-confident. There was as safe enough break in the traffic flow, I turned the bike wheel and revved the engine, except, I didn’t U-turn. I sped across the street, and with my lack of finesse for stopping, slide sideways and landed on the other side of the road. The bike on it’s side, and me as well. People came and helped me up. They couldn’t have been kinder. Although, I’m sure they were thinking, “Stupid American tourist lady shouldn’t be riding a bike.” We got the bike up right, and I checked my limbs, my fingers and toes, and my sanity. Rebecca came back to check on me, and I said to her, “And I’m done with motorbikes.”

I wont be getting on a bike anytime soon.

That was Bali. I’ll catch you up on Macau, Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh later. (what you have to look forward to are hookers, casinos, Buddha, a Vietnamese pop band that covers only American music, sparklers, Pho, blown fuses, more Pho, and stories about me being cranky)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What I did the weekend of Vesak Holiday in Singapore and What I didn’t do the Weekend of Memorial Day (

What I did the weekend of Vesak Holiday in Singapore (Thursday May 27 - Sunday May 30 2010)

The last Friday in May, in Southeast Asia (and Singapore in particular) is Vesak day and a national holiday. Apparently this is a celebration of the Budda's birthday, which like how the US celebrates holidays, means big sales in Singapore. For me the weekend started Thursday night when a small group of co-workers and non-googler friends and I went to the Swissotel for Happy Hour drinks (or, Sundowner drink specials). The NewAsia bar in the Swissotel has extraordinary views of Singapore. And on the last Thursday of every month, if you can get on the guest list and/or acquire tickets, you can take your drinks up to the helipad after the sun has gone down. Definitely the best views of Singapore. We drank a few bottles of champagne, waiting to go up on the helipad. But it had rained early, and they just weren't letting anyone up because of the rain. So ventured on, first to McD's for some drunk snacking, then to Loof, for rooftop drinks. It was, as the Irish say, good craic. And the first time I had hung out outside the office with 2 of the girls that were out that night, and the first time I met another coworkers wife.

The next day was Friday, and the holiday. I slept late. Then I ventured out to Bugis for some shopping. It was the first day of the World famous Singapore Sale. Bugis was crammed with people. Crossing the street was a crush of tiny steps, everyone leaning into each other, a mass of humanity slowly moving along the sidewalk. Not fun when you are hungover, and me (who hates crowds, needs personal space, can’t stand people walking slow) Still, I managed to buy an new camera, so in the end a successful afternoon.

Saturday was the wedding of a co-worker, who is Singaporean. It was not a traditional wedding by Singaporean standards, but still quite interesting to see the differences to an American wedding. The wedding was in the Four Seasons with gorgeous views of the sunny day out side. The ceremony was sweet, the officiate funny, and he would switch from mandarin to English during the ceremony. After the ceremony, wine and juice was served and a great buffet spread, and cupcakes. Which we know, I love.

After the ceremony two of the girls from the office and I went onto have more wine at Boomerang on Robinson Quay. and after that we stopped at a Going Away BBQ for a googler, and then on to a bar for a drink. It was a lovely afternoon, getting to know better some great people from work.

The next day I met friend for Sex and The City 2 and some starbucks. and then I went home and did laundry.

It was a great weekend.

What I didn’t do the Weekend of Memorial Day (Friday May 28 to Monday May31st)

I didn’t see Sex and The City 2 with my friend Dana and friends as part of her birthday celebration.

I missed hanging out with my family that weekend.
I missed the cubs game. I missed the Sheffield beer and music fest.

I didn’t see the Blackhawks game.

I didn’t go my cousin’s wedding. I didn’t dance at the reception. I didn’t hear the speech my Uncle gave that left everyone in tears. I didn’t see the Maid of Honor, my cousin and twin sister of the bride, who is tom-boyish and tough with a wicked sense of humor, who cried through her whole toast.

I didn’t hear the off color but funny jokes my uncle joe tells.

I didn’t hang out with my brothers and their fiancées, and my parents before, during or after the wedding.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Singapore so far ...

SFO > HKG > SIN These are long flights. 14 hours to Hong Kong, another 3 to Singapore. I watched 4 movies. Read a book, slept.

On my flight from Hong Kong I sat next to a gentleman from China who spoke no English and obviously couldn't read English. The Embarkation card that the flight attendants passed out was in English. He and I engaged in some sloppy and awkward sign language when he asked for assistance filling his out. Finally I just took his passport and filled out as much as I could. I find it odd that an Asian airline wouldn't have something in Chinese. After the exhausting task of helping my seatmate, I slept.

When I got to Singapore, my luggage didn't. And they were so friendly and helpful, it was hard for me to cranky with them. Which, considering how tired I was, is pretty miraculous.

Friday, in my smelly sweater and leggings, I took a short walk around the block of my hotel. It was hot, I was stinky, I went back to the hotel. And I waited and waited and waited for my luggage. Initially it was supposed to arrive at 1pm. They then called to say that it had arrived to the airport, but wouldn't be delivered until between 3 and 6.

and so I waited.

and then my luggage arrived. and my shampoo had exploded. of course.

Sarah and her husband Ben invited me over for dinner that night, and told me to bring my shampoo drenched clothes to wash at their place.

It rained, down poured most of the night. They have a great apartment with a beautiful roof top deck, and had hoped to dine up there. Instead we ate in inside, but I did get a tour of the deck once the rain stopped. It was great catching up with them, and to see a couple that I knew when they were first dating, now settled into married life with a toddler. I started to yawn about 8pm. The combination of tiki masala, white wine, Jack Johnson and jet lag were doing me in.

I was back in my hotel room asleep in bed by 9:30. I slept until about 8am and woke to rain again.

I thought I'd make good use of the rainy morning and decided to go to the gym. Only, when I got to the floor I found that to get to the gym, you had walk outside by the pool. As I was standing there perplexed and unsure of myself, wondering if I should go back to my room and get an umbrella, or just give up on the undertaking all together when a man appeared with an umbrella for me.

After my work out, and my shower, the rain had stopped. So I decided to venture out into the city that would be my new home. I walked to the same shopping center that I had walked by the day before, but this time, a little more awake, and in clean clothes, I was in better spirits.

My hotel is on the edge of Chinatown. I was in the minority, and yet, I didn't feel like I didn't belong. There where people out shopping and walking, stores and restaurants. I felt a similar energy to New York. Everyone kept asking if I was excited about moving to Singapore. And really, I was so bogged down with the weight of the logistics to get here, and with the emotional task of saying goodbye to everyone I love, that I hadn't been able to feel excited yet. Walking down the street in Chinatown in Singapore, I finally felt excited. Like, finally, this is what I’ve been waiting for, this is what all the stress was for. I’m pretty sure I walked around with a goofy grin and wide eyes.

My plan was to just wander, and if I wasn't sure where I was, to than take a taxi back to the hotel. I managed to not get too turned around. I stumbled on the Maxwell Road Hawker Center. I wandered the stalls a little overwhelmed by everything, not sure what was what, or what to buy, and pretty much starving, until I settled on some dumplings. yum. Then I tried to some Almond Milk Tea, and continued on my meandering walk.

I then decided that I wanted to live in Chinatown. Before I thought I wanted to live in a modern High Rise. But seeing the shophouses, the winding streets, the shutters, I thought, this is Asia, this is where I should live. Of course, I'm sure the next neighborhood I explore will be where I decide I have to live.

I made my way back to the hotel. It was about 4:30. I laid down on the bed to rest, thinking I'd take a short nap. I slept until 11pm. I woke up annoyed with myself for having slept through the rest of the day. I was awake for a few hours, watching (I'm ashamed to admit) the Legend of Graystoke on HBO. I then fell back asleep, until 6am.

I decided to explore areas beyond the immediate neighborhood, so I took off for the MRT (Singapore’s subway system). It is CLEAN. And EFFICIENT. (Which I'm noticing, is pretty much how most of the country is, clean and efficient, hmmm...maybe there is an upside to canning).

Two stops on the MRT, and I was near City Hall, the Raffles Hotel and St. Andrews cathedral. I attended service at the cathedral. The Building is shiny white. Very beautiful. Inside, the pews are dark wood and feel ancient, but the walls are white, ceiling fans are white, and the front of the church is painted a bright blue. It feels both old and new.

After church I walked around the Raffles Hotel. I debated doing the high tea in the Tiffin room. Instead opted for lunch in the courtyard. I sat under an umbrella, drank a Singapore Sling and ate some chicken curry. It did feel very colonial. And it was both sweaty and cool, sitting the shade. There was a breeze, but I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. This is one sweaty place.

I headed back to the hotel, and spent a few hours by the pool. I ordered room service, and fell asleep by 9:30. I woke up at 4:45am. I was annoyed that I woke up that early. But, when I logged onto email, I had an email from Joey, he was working the night shift, so he called my hotel and we got to chat a bit. I then, worked out, and got ready for work, had breakfast in the hotel lobby, and headed to the office. In the less then 10 minutes of walking, I was completely covered in sweat. And now I am sitting at my desk, which is next to a window with a view of the harbor. And so, I survived my first weekend in Singapore. And I think I’m already a little bit in love with this place.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The little joys of packing and preparing to move to the other side of the globe

I’ve learned a lot about in the past few weeks. For instance, even if you believe that your apartment has been re-rented. Check, double check, and check again. Otherwise, four days before you leave you could be on the phone with the leasing director screaming and crying that they failed to inform you that the potential sub-leaser you sent them was rejected three weeks earlier, and that subsequently you turned away four other possible leasers.

If you are a disorganized pack rat, packing can be an emotional minefield. You can open a book and see that when your mother was ten, she signed her name in it and that your sister, who died two years ago, did the same thing when she was ten. You might also come across caricatures that were drawn of you and friends six years ago in New York city, one of the friends being the late husband of your best friend. This means that in the middle of packing boxes, tape and stacks of your things, you will break down and cry. Allot time for this.

Also, as a disorganized pack rat, you could open a purse, wallet, or make up bag and find a Ritalin pill that, by your estimation would have to be four years old. You, of course, will take the pill. And you will get much done that day. However, when you lie in bed that night and your heart is pounding, you will remember, half doses. You used to take half doses.

If you live in a third floor walkup in the back corner of a courtyard building, with the trash room at the front of the building, every time you throw something out it will involve three flights down and about 250 yards to walk there, then back and up the three flights. Even as a disorganized pack rat you will find yourself opting to throw away rather than pay to store or ship most of the crap that you should have tossed years ago. This means blisters on your feet, sore muscles, angry shoulders and a crick in your neck from the approximately 40 bags of trash you carried down those three flights and through the courtyard to the trash room.

If you decide to sell your furniture on Craigslist, don’t carry all the cash in your wallet when you go to TJ Maxx to treat yourself with a new summer top. When you are in the dressing room, if you have more than the 8 items limit to try on, bring your purse with you while doing the hangar exchange. Otherwise some jackass of a bitch will go into your dressing room stall and rob you of the cash you just got for selling your sofa. This does not make you happy. However, it does make leaving Chicago a bit easier, if for only a few minutes.

Check and double check the baggage limits for all flights. Especially if you are flying to Washington DC and then San Jose California before leaving for Singapore. Miscalculating the weight requirements could cost you over 300 dollars each leg of your trip. The realization of this might cause a brief moment of hysteria. Then you discover UPS Ground. If you pack at least 5 days early, you can ship your two 60 lbs packed suitcases to your Mom’s in California.

Don’t pack all your winter clothes right away, especially if it’s March in Chicago. One day it will be in the 60’s, the next it will snow. This means you will be head first into a wardrobe box trying to find your boots and a sweater. Also, once you pack up everything, and keep a warm jacket, not a cool spring one, one a winter jacket, the weather will reach 70 degrees. You will wish you had packed that jacket for storage.

You need to make sure you get enough sleep, that you don’t forget to eat, and that you don’t over caffeinate. This combo could make you a bit insane. Especially a few days in row.

Salvation Army will stand you up for picking up your donation. If you haven’t eaten, you are overtired and over caffeinated, this will make you hysterical.

When your apartment is empty, you have all your windows open, it’s a 70 plus light breeze day and you are sitting on the back deck, you will be overcome with nostalgia and sadness about saying goodbye to what was your favorite apartment to date. And you’ll feel a little bit panicked and nervous about the property-less wandering life for which you are about to embark.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Singapore, Here I come

I’ve tweeted, buzzed and announced it on Facebook. But I haven’t blogged about it. I am moving to Singapore. For one year. I’ll be going back to the Greatest Company Ever. Working out of their office in Singapore.

I wasn’t necessarily looking to move to Asia. I was actually networking for jobs on the East Coast. With my job situation not panning out, and missing my family too much, I was contemplating a move back East. I wasn’t expecting to move so far East.

But, the opportunity presented itself to work with (actually for) one of my dearest friends, for The Greatest Company Ever, to experience living in Asia, and to get a substantial raise that will help me knock out my debt. I couldn’t turn it down.

Now I’m planning my USA GoodBye tour, trying to rent out my apartment, secure my cat in a new home, sell my furniture, put whatever I don’t sell in storage, say goodbye to everyone I need to say goodbye to. Oh yeah, and, I’m going to start working for the Greatest Company ever, here in Chicago at first. So, I’ll be working while attempting all of this.

My challenges?

My mother lives in The Bay Area.

My father lives in the DC Area.

Two coasts.
Two parents.
Lots of frustrations.

I am determined to spend Easter in DC. I love Easter at my Dad and StepMom’s. My little brother and his girlfriend are coming down from NYC for the weekend. My older brother and his fiancé will be in town. And my StepMom FINALLY got reservations at Volt (restaurant of Brian Voltaggio, from Top Chef, and the husband of an old co-worker and dear friend from my NYC days, who, come to think of it, I haven’t seen since their wedding day).

So, I have a mother on the West Coast, Family on the East Coast. And Easter in the middle.

As of now, my USA GoodBye tour involves a drive from Chicago to DC (to deliver my cat to my brother’s) then a flight back to Chicago, and, possibly, a flight from Chicago to San Jose to see my mom, then a flight probably from San Jose to DC for Easter, than a flight (or probably more than one flight) from DC to Singapore.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Goodbye to Good Time Charlie

Good Time Charlie
I first started working when I was ten (yes ten) babysitting. I believe that's illegal today. Then I worked at the snack food stand at the little league field. That was the summers I was 14 and 15. When I was 16, I started working in the local Public Library. And when I was 17, GapKids at the mall.
But, my first office job was the summer between 11th and 12th grade. I interned for Congressman Charlie Wilson. That summer I did not get paid. I interned another summer while I was in college, and I did get paid. I believe for the princely sum of $1200/month. Which, to a nineteen year old in the early nineties, was living large.
Charlie Wilson was all the outrageous things said about him, and none of them. He had a crass sense of humor, and notorious love of beautiful women, a party hard lifestyle. He was also a shrewd politician. He was a public servant first, a politician second.
Yes, much of his staff in the Rayburn House Office Building was made up of young, beautiful woman. But, unlike how they were portrayed in the movie, it wasn't about cleavage and a party at the playboy mansion type atmosphere. Everyone on his staff was ridiculously intelligent and hard working. I was impressed and intimated by them as young adult.
Wilson was a large personality. He had a voice that deep and booming. He stood 6 foot four with a toupe that was usually just a bit crooked. There was a letter taped up in the office from a constituent saying that while she liked his politics, when she saw him on CSPAN, she was embarrassed by the tilt of his toupee.
I hadn't seen Wilson in about twenty years when I heard about his death. But was sad to hear of his passing. I posted his obit on facebook and twitter and late Friday night an old high school friend asked if I would be interested in writing a haiku about Wilson for her column on Huffington Post. With my sleep deprived mind, I threw something together quick, emailing it to her saying, well, I hate it (like I do all my writing) and understand if you don't use it. But alas, she did. And I was the featured writing, which, was a shock to me.
So... Check out Susanna Speirer's column.

Monday, February 01, 2010



Pronunciation: \ˈblō-vē-ˌāt\

Function: intransitive verb

Inflected Form(s): blo·vi·at·ed; blo·vi·at·ing

Etymology: perhaps irregular from blow
Date: circa 1879

: to speak or write verbosely and windily