Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
February 26, 2008
I am the worst interviewee in the world.
Category: Travels

Seriously. I think I look pretty darned good on paper, but then I get into interviews and blow them so badly that the hiring organizations don't even bother to contact me to tell me that I didn't get the job -- they just repost the classified ad and only let me know when I write to find out about the (fairly obvious, but still) status of my application.

Anyway, I mention this because I had an interview last Friday that was flipping brutal. I'm not sure how appropriate it is to mention many of the details in an online forum -- what I was applying for, specifics of the interview, etc. -- but let's just say that I felt like the lead interviewer essentially called me an ignorant American and at one point told me that I'd given a terrible response to a specific question. It was the kind of interview where I almost wish I'd flipped out, cursed everyone relentlessly, and maybe even tossed in a few German suplexes for good measure. Yeah, that kind of ferocity isn't really in my nature -- and I certainly wouldn't have gotten the job unless I'd been applying to the UFC competition (which I wasn't) -- but I a) wouldn't be worried about whether I got the job (which, amazingly, I'm still hoping for at this point despite the utterly abysmal nature of the interview) and b) could have walked out of that room with my pride intact. As it was, I felt utterly emasculated when it was over.

If I did anything right at all during the interview, I think it was that I probably came across as wholly docile and non-threatening -- which may be good considering that half of the interview consisted of the interviewers telling me how reviled and potentially feared I would be in the position owing to the color of my skin. I guess there were other parts of it that may not have been completely terrible. I got a chuckle out of my mention of octopus-flavored ice cream, even if I did choke on the word "octopus". I probably choked on more words that I don't precisely recall -- I know I choked on my words at least five times while saying goodbye to another interviewee with whom I had the pleasure of chatting during the bus/metro ride to and from the interview. Yep -- my Smoothest Dude Ever Award is in the mail.

I may have accrued some positive karma points, though -- and not just because the interview went so terribly, either. At the bus stop en route to the interview, this old woman happened to drop one of her gloves before going off to hail a cab (apparently the bus was taking too long for her). Now, I didn't notice her dropping the glove, but another woman at the stop happened to see it and stated flatly, "She drop [sic] her glove." And then I found myself in one of those moments where time stands still, because I was totally waiting for the woman to reach down, pick up the glove right in front of her, turn to the other side, and hand the glove to the old woman -- who, at this point, was still standing on the curb about an arm's length away. Instead, she did flipping nothing. When it became apparent that no one else was going to do anything either, I found myself dashing forward (I was standing on the opposite side of the bus stop enclosure), scooping up the glove from the ground, and running up to the woman just as she got inside a cab while waving the glove and shouting, "Ma'am! Ma'am!" The cabbie rolled down the window, the woman got her glove, and all was right with the world -- until the bus showed up about a minute later and carried me off to botch that interview in a very real and very, very unfortunate way.

But while I may be a terrible interviewee, at least I'm not an entirely terrible person. Right? 😐

-posted by Wes | 7:39 pm | Comments (11)
November 14, 2007
Taco Trek
Category: Travels

For some reason I was under the impression that the free taco giveaway at Taco Bell took place during the first week of November, but apparently it was on Tuesday, October 30. Not that that's particularly important -- I only mention it because if I'd realized that earlier I would've written about it first rather than Halloween. 🙂 Read on...

-posted by Wes | 9:15 pm | Comments (5)
June 5, 2007
Shanghai Shanghai Shanghai
Category: Photo … SC Updates … Travels

More of Nanjing Road...

First off, I've posted a new comic on Scary-Crayon that briefly relates one of my encounters on Nanjing Road. For more info about that incident (and numerous similar ones), you can also read the attached SC blog entry.

And now, more photos from Shanghai!

A tear(man) of joy!

This guy was on a lot of the signposts around the area near the hotel. I have no idea what he signifies.

The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

This is the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. I didn't actually get to go inside, but I did take several photos of the exterior, including one of this cool plush pufferfish they had outside to advertise the deadly aquatic animals exhibit.

People and buses

Another photo I took while walking around the downtown area near the hotel. Note the McDonald's in the background! Even with a Mickey D's on every corner, though, the people in Shanghai remain remarkably thin.

Greenery and buildings in the distance

Another pic from the area -- I think I took this from outside the local park. I'm a bit puzzled as to how those trees stay so green, because the sun never shines in Shanghai. Which is to say that there is so much pollution that the sun literally is not visible (at least from the ground). Plants receive their energy courtesy of a smog filter.

The Rock says...

Here's one from inside the park! There were lots of giant rocks in there.

Friends, Shanghai style

A billboard with some very happy people and some text I cannot read.

Defeat M. Bison with the power of Pepsi

And to think I'd pegged Chun-Li for a Sprite drinker.

Finally, here are two additional pics I took with a certain someone in mind:

Taco Bell Grande!

Nicole Kidman for Omega watches

I have no idea why Nicole Kidman should make me want an overpriced watch. Speaking of Omega watches, though, a guy tried to sell me a Rolex watch, an Omega watch, and some sort of designer pen for a combined total of 20 yuan (roughly $3). Very cheap price indeed!

All for now, then. Ja! 🙂

-posted by Wes | 12:26 pm | Comments (2)
May 29, 2007
I have returned…!
Category: Photo … Travels

So I didn't explicitly say as much in the ol' blog (though I did hint at it in this post), but I left for Shanghai, China, last week on the morning of the 22nd. (However, due to the lengthy flight -- 17+ hours on the way there -- and the +12 hour time difference in that region, I didn't actually arrive in Shanghai until the afternoon of the 23rd. Yikes!) I got back into the area late Sunday night and arrived back in my childhood home around midday yesterday, whereupon I spent a great deal of time sitting on the couch drinking iced tea and watching episodes of "Boy Meets World" (which was so much better before everyone got older and had their IQs halved) and "Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends". Of course, I will write more about the trip later (perhaps in a multi-part SC article), but for the moment I am still too out of it to do much of anything substantial in that respect. The 15+ hour flight was terrible, but the real kicker was the food poisoning that I came down with towards the 2/3 mark of the trip. It pretty much put me out of commission for the remainder of my time in Shanghai and I'm still suffering from the effects (though I am getting better, thanks). If you're ever in Shanghai and find yourself in the Super Brand Mall, avoid New Age Veggie at all costs. Your intestines and anus and non-spasming esophagus will thank you (unless you get food poisoning somewhere else, that is).

Anyway, here are a few pics from Shanghai!

Hooters Shanghai!

Nanjing Road

Iceseason mannequins: edible fashion

Museum exhibit and Wes

All for now, then. Hope you had a good last week and a great holiday!

-posted by Wes | 9:00 pm | Comments (10)
May 18, 2007
I’m frightened
Category: Travels

From the Scams section of the Wikitravel China Travel Guide:

Just as you?re leaving a tourist attraction, a friendly couple approaches you, speaking excellent English. They might claim to be tourists, they might say they're studying at a local university, or the story might go that one person is showing his out-of-town friend around. Since you are walking along together, a very polite, pleasant and friendly conversation starts... As it so happens, the relatives/friends were on their way to a special festival, or going for a cup of tea, so wouldn't you like to come along... and after a short walk you end up in a tea house somewhere in a mall, with no special exhibition in sight. If you go along for the ride you will enjoy a full tea ceremony, with your new friends translating, which does end up being very interesting to see and quite delicious to taste, but unfortunately at a price that is way over the odds. ...

Also beware of the scam operating in many of the larger cities where attractive women or a friendly group of students entice you into a tea shop, bars or karaoke parlor. They show you a menu with a price on it and once you finish your drinks and ask for the bill, they produce a completely different price list that lists everything at much higher rates. It's wise to verify prices in writing or simply to pay in cash up front for each round of drinks.

This sounds really messed up! I hope the roving gangs of hot women do not take advantage of me. 🙁

In other news, WordPress 2.2 was apparently released the other day. Not sure whether I will upgrade before or after I return, though!

-posted by Wes | 8:25 pm | Comments (0)