Monday, January 29, 2007

Office Space

As my current job is concluding its business of driving me nuts, I can take a look back on the past year in the cubicle environment. Yes, few things have changed since the famous "Office Space" movie, and indeed, since the invention of the cubicle itself some time back in 1779. The boss still has the propensity to creep in from behind just when you decide it's time for a personal email check. The coworker in the next cubicle still has her phone ring set to an Indian-pop tune - on full volume. The guy on the other side still talks over your cubicle to the woman with the loud phone ring instead of coming over. The conditioned, artificial air in the office still makes your skin dry and cold. Your key client still comes over exactly at the time when your face is covered with moisturizer. Most requests from clients still come at exactly 4:45 on a Friday afternoon. The urinal in men's bogs is never flushed. The handicapped stall is always occupied, and you are forced into the cramped and claustrophobic regular one. Coffee pot is always empty after 2 pm, when you REALLY need coffee. Office meetings can still cure even most acute cases of insomnia. On rare occasions when a pizza is ordered on the company, it is always from the cheapest, crappiest possible place.

Still, there are also good things about being a trusty soldier of the multimillion-strong army of cubicle warriors. It does drag me out of bed each morning - something that would be highly questionable otherwise. My morning commute gives me an adrenaline rush comparable to go-cart racing. The coffee IS free, and there is even a cappuccino machine. Kind mid-aged female colleagues keep steady supply of chocolates on their desks. I never exceed the minutes on my mobile phone plan. I can call Canada for free. I can steal paperclips, pens, manila folders and an occasional roll of toilet paper. I get to sample the fine fast-food cuisine of the glorious San Mateo county. I can hear all about my Indian coworker's (with the loud phone ring) family troubles - in Marathi - and feel happy I am not her husband. I can finally snugly fit into the size XXL swimming trunks and not worry about them falling off.

So can't you see I am going to miss working when it's all over?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


So, once again, for the n-th time, I spent my New Year in New York City. It's always good to be in Big Apple for the dusk of the holiday season. This is one American city that "gets" New Year. While everywhere else, people seem tired from the holiday season and just want to get done with it already, here in New York, my favourite holiday of the whole year is this city's favourite, too. There are tourists, there's the ball drop at Times Square (which I've never been to and do not intend to go), there are shops open late and bars having NYE specials, there are the lights, there's the holiday mood that softens even the hardest-knock Brookliner's heart, and there's the mandatory sobering up on January, 1.

This time around, I pat myself on the back for managing not to:
freeze my buns off;
get pissed drunk;
vomit on a bouncer;
urinate on multiple street corners;
kick rubbish around pavements at 4 am;
pinch underage girls on the butt.

Instead, I finally managed to take some pictures of my favourite city on its favourite day. Here are a few.