Monthly Archives: August 2002


Well, major shake up at work today. Major.

I don’t want to go into details, but there were a lot of layoffs today – of management. No rank and file employees were touched, just a pile of directors, managers and even vice presidents. With this pollarding of our management, the remaining managers suddenly found themselves in charge of multiple departments across a broad range of areas. I had a meeting for most of the afternoon with some of the survivors, and there was this glazed look in their eyes. Sort of like they’d been hit in the head with a 2×4. I think most of them were expecting to be told to start assembling lists of who to lay off in a month or two, not watch the angel of unemployment pass through their very midst.

At least I still got a job for now. I’d better redouble my efforts to pay off my debts and squirrel away as much cash as possible. With that thought in mind, I think I’ll skip Phu’s tonight – or maybe not.


Busy morning. Seems like I spend most of my time in either Excel or Access. Of course that’s my job…


For some reason I stayed late at the office yesterday. I had some tasks to finish up before this morning and I didn’t get home until after 7:00 pm. About par for the course actually. I watched Resident Evil on the DVD, then read some more of Derek Freeman’s book, Margaret Mead and Samoa. His central tenet, that Mead’s analysis of Samoan teenagers in Coming of Age in Samoa was inherently flawed, certainly has merit. I know several Samoans, and they all agree that Mead got it totally wrong.

It’s funny, I generally seem to have a book that takes me a while to read; I’ve been working on this Mead book since the beginning of July. Since then, I completed at least three other books and started a fourth. I consider those books as taking a break from the serious book. I can usually polish one off in a day or two, while the more serious work takes a month or two. It was the same way with the Seven Storey Mountain. That book took me three months to read and I read four others during the same time frame.

To finish off this train, I keep a list of what I read this year (or is on deck to be read). It can be found here.


Oof, it is hot here in our temporary office space. The air conditioners went crazy yesterday and today the problem is only worse. At best I would say it is stuffy in this building, in my particular office it is stifling. Three computers, two printers, two people in an enclosed space makes for a hothouse when the air conditioning is out. I might have to bail out from work early if this continues. I just can’t fathom being in a meeting for three hours this afternoon and being this uncomfortable. I’d rather go home.


Just got off the phone with a fellow in New Jersey. After we concluded our business, out came the usual “What time is it there?” questions. Some people are just bamboozled by the fact that our planet is round. And I live on the other side of it from the United States. Think Japan when you talk to somebody in Guam, we share the same time zone with Tokyo for half the year.

At least this guy called at a reasonable hour. Seems like most folks I deal with back there like to call during the middle of the night on Guam. The usual culprits are telephone operators at mail order outfits. They call during a convenient time for them, like 3:30 am Guam time. I once got a call from the vice president of a software company I was evaluating to replace some legacy systems. He called at 1:30 in the morning. Needless to say they didn’t get the sale on that system. One of the small tribulations of living on Guam.


Well off to bed. I just finished watching Am�lie, what a delightful movie. I could tell the director also did that movie with Ron Perlman a few years ago, The City of Lost Children. Though miles apart in mood and setting, they shared a wonderful sense of imagination. I am glad I rented it, especially since it never made a theatrical release on Guam.


My Psion was acting up yesterday. I really enjoy the little PDA, it’s really more of a palm sized computer than a PDA, but it can be tempermental. The backup battery peetered out yesterday afternoon, leaving me in a lurch during a meeting. The Psion completely froze and then refused to power up. Even whenI plugged in the power adapter it was acting erratic. I ended up wiping the internal memory of the little fella, then rebuilding from a backup.

Speaking of backups, I sorely need to backup all the data on my computer at work. I lost everything a couple weeks ago and the only thing that saved my ass were the regular backups I performed. Even those weren’t enough though, my data was a couple weeks old at that point and I lost almost all the GovGuam negotiation files I created. I am still trying to recreate what I lost, data updates, spreadsheets, memos. I think most of it has been replaced, so now is the time for a new backup. Guess I’ll be working late tonight finishing up that task.


I had a smashing headache for most of yesterday, along with a strong desire to just curl up in my bed and sleep for about 12 hours. I was feeling better by the evening though. Just took some food and Aleve.

I rented up the Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring DVD at Blockbuster and I was a little peeved to discover that another DVD is coming out in November with all the extra “Special Edition” footage and extras. Bummer. I still can’t wait for December and the Two Towers. I liked The Fellowship of the Ring, but it is lacking the detail of Tolkien’s books. Some things needed to be sacrificed in the translation though, and I think the director did a right good job of conveying the timbre of Middle Earth and the struggle between overwhelming evil and oppressed good.


The weekend looms large in my thoughts right now. I really need a break. This week has been killer – tons of work and now the accident to boot. Hell of a way to kick off my weekend.


Well guess who was in an accident this morning on his way to work? Damn… Fortunately it was just a fender bender.


Listening to the World Cafe, what a great show. It is probably my favorite program on Guam’s Public Radio Station, the wonderful KPRG. I can honestly say I never listen to anything but KPRG on my radio dial.


I was just listening to a story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” about a Trappist monastery. It was a little disappointing. I thought the story would reflect some sort of upsurge in interest in the monastic order, but instead it was about how the new monastery was built by an architect and how tragically hip the building is when compared to other monasteries built in the 20th century. Who cares what a monastery in the Czech Republic looks like? I was hoping for some insightful thoughts into a rejuvenation of the priestly orders, which have been so sorely tested this year in the United States.

I paid particular attention since I just finished reading Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk who was also a prolific writer and thinker. This only made my disappointment more poignant.


Oh, I had some tasty SPAM for dinner. SPAM stir fry with tomatoes, zucchini, onions and mushrooms. That was real tasty on rice with some great finadeni. Yum.

I think I mentioned I love food. Even SPAM on occasion.


Cracked a tough nut in Excel this evening. Arrays powerful things, but the sorcery behind the formulas befuddles me at times. I struggled for about two hours to nail one error that was tossing all my arrays into chaos. Turned out the problem lay in the VLOOKUP function that feeds data into a range, which is reference by the array. Took a while to track down that problem. I can go to sleep now and polish off the project first thing tomorrow at work. That is cool.


Mmm, that was some good eating. Ph�’s is a really good restaurant. I’ve been eating there for at least five years, and I love the food. Their fresh lumpia is excellent. Huong and Phuong are great cooks, and their brother Sang is a good waiter. I am never disappointed with their food.

I noticed that I am writing about restaurants a great deal. Hmm, maybe I eat out too much. Or maybe I just love to eat. I will endeavour to write about other topics in the future though.