Tuesday, January 18, 2011

China's set up shop in the Times Square Spectaculars until Feb 14

From the Wall Street Journal online today:
When many Americans think of China, they think of a rising rival accused of manipulating its currency and siphoning U.S. jobs. China's government wants them to think of sports stars, Internet entrepreneurs, and astronauts.

As President Hu Jintao begins his visit to the U.S. this week, China is blitzing America with a flashy television ad that mixes images of ordinary Chinese citizens with celebrities like NBA star Yao Ming, Web tycoon Jack Ma, and a quartet of fashion models. The minute-long video is scheduled to run on CNN

Full article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704678004576089881162633472.html

This Wall Street Journal Blog shows a photo of the ad space (yes, technically called a “spectacular”) and the video from YouTube is embedded.

My take on it:
I spent a lot of time in World Showcase in Epcot in college driving the boats between the countries for work… and I must say, it looks like this video is something Disney would put up in the China Pavilion in Epcot to explain China to foreigners. (And there has been a China pavilion in Epcot since 1982.) I think Disney does a good job of giving people an untainted opinion of the promise China holds for the world. So… I’m wondering why China spent the money on a Times Square spectacular (among other TV ad money) – I wonder who the true target audience is…. because the tourists in Times Square have all been to Disney World already. I can vouch for that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An August Morning in New York

Today's tea of choice - Earl Gray, medium size, from Au Bon Pain in downtown Brooklyn, right before a client meeting at 9:00am. (Do we really have to pay a different price for a large cup of tea, Au Bon Pain? You're charging me for more WATER.)

While most New Yorkers may not find their mornings to be very different from each others' mornings, I think anyone outside of this city will find our New Yorker mornings are different from yours. Here's an example from yesterday.

The background:
On Sunday night, I made a pact to go to bed at 10pm every night this week. I would get 8 hours of sleep, up at 6am... write in my journal (my morning pages), exercise (jog for 20 minutes outside with a stop into a little convenience store for a bottle of water for $1), take a shower, get ready, eat breakfast (so I don't eat at my desk anymore), and head out the door for a 45-minute commute via walking, stairclimbing, and subway.

Sunday night:
10:00pm - brushing my teeth. Proud I didn't turn the TV on today. Proud I went ot the Met by myself after church for a little while to see the Francis Bacon exhibit. Not proud I enjoyed the supermodel fashion exhibit more than the Francis Bacon exhibit.
10:10pm - in bed. not tired. took a 2 hour nap earlier. what was I thinking?
10:30pm - checked the clock. OK, ok... this is what's going to happen for a few days, but then it'll become a better routine.
10:31pm - ZZZzzzz.z......

Monday morning:
6:00am - alarm goes off to classical music radio station. REALLY LOUD. Neighbors-can-hear-it-loud because the air conditioner window unit is so loud that I cannot hear the radio if the alarm goes off and the air conditioner is running. Snooze.
6:10am - alarm again. OkOkokookokok..... I'm up. I'm UP.
6:11am - to the kitchen table. Write three page sin my journal about nothing. This is supposed to clear my head and make me ready for the day. unfortunately, it all is mostly about everyhting I need to accomplish at work for the day. I ask myself, "Can I bill my journaling time because of this?"
6:30am - into jogging clothes. Out the door with a dollar bill and my house key. have no idea why my feet don't think twice about starting to run as soon as I hit the sidewalk at the bottom of my stoop. I'll bet the nieghbors are glad I left the apartment, so I'm out and about making noise instead of making noise above and below them. Who invented damn squeeking wooden floors anyway?
6:40am - made it to the convenience store for my bottle of water. I'm seriously rethinking the mart I've chosen. The men behind the counter don't made nasty flirty comments to me, which is nice, but the place has a grill in it, and they make breakfast sandwiches, and there is no air conditioning. I could really use a small blast of air after jogging for my first ten minutes. But I don't get one. Opening the door to the refrigerator to where the water is stored is almost more refreshing than drinking the water itself. I have become a regular in the morning at this store, so I don't wait in line, throw my dollar bill on the counter and leave.
6:55am - run past another little convenience store. Two women sitting outside holding what looks like pizza boxes, dressed in black dresses from the Middle East with their heads covered... where you can only see their eyes through a little slit in the headdress. I am three feet from them, boobs bouncing up and down, in tight jogging clothes, and wave and say, "HI!" I crack myself up. No answer from them, of course. They just watch me run by.
7:10am - finally reach the corner of 25th Ave and 44th St where a store has a "grand opening" line of streamers above my head across the sidewalk. I consider this my finish line. As most other places, this "grand opening" will be going on for years, so I'm happy to use it as my goal each day.
7:15am - back home. Hop in the shower. Think about what i'm planning to wear and if it requires shaving my legs or not. I've got no idea yet. Big wigs in the office today.... hmm.... it's going to be hot... no idea. Figure this out later. SHIT. I've been in here 10 minutes already. Can't the bed make itself when I'm out for a jog?
7:30am - makeup, dry my hair while reading a list of things to remember about why I need to instill more creativity in my life. The list is taped to the wall at the bottom, so I can read it while I dry my hair up-side-down, as any curly-haired person should do.
7:40am - choosing pants, white shirt, little brown jacket to wear over top, and a pair of shoes that are fashionable but not good for days when i have to walk a lot.
7:45am - out the door with a bag of books to return to people, movies to return ot the library, masking tape to keep in my drawer at work. Also carrying a purse which includes my cell phone, my metropass, my keys, an umbrella, ponytail holders, a pen (if I'm lucky), kleenex (in case of a good sneeze or a Starbucks toilet with no toilet paper), two books, a report to read on the train for a 9:30am meeting, and a pair of flipflops. Also carrying a lunchbag containing a chicken breast, rice and quinoa with butternut squash, almonds, cranberries, nutmeg, and ginger, tomatoes, scrambled eggs with feta cheese, and carrots I peeled and slivered myself for a snack. It's going to be a long day.
7:46am - stick the letter in the mailbox that's a check for my friend Laura to repay her for using her credit card on our recent trip to Iceland. Iceland... wouldn't it be nice to have that temperature today? Note this is the second check I've sent Laura. I cannot believe I'm organized enough to get the little kinds of things like this done in a day.
7:47am - It's too hot for this jacket. Sweating already - and this is coming from someone who doesn't sweat a whole lot. Now I've got another thing to carry.
7:50am - saw Chinese people in the park doing Tai Chi with swords. This is something new.
7:51am - nearly got hit in the head with a pop fly baseball from a kid who is being pitched to by his father on the other side of a 30-ft fence. it hits the car near me instead. If only it had hit me.. a reason to call in sick.
7:52am - walk past a little subaru station wagon form the 90s that has clearly been set on fire. Strange how it is sitting between two cars that have not evidence of being near high heat. This means people have let this car sit there, and continue to just park next to it if the space is open.
8:08am - YAY! I'm at the subway. With every step into the underground, the temperature increases by 1 degree. I stop halfway down to grab my metropass in the pocket of my purse. Takes too long to grab the metropass, and as I've approaching the turnstile, I find that the V train is now pulling away fro the platform. The next train will be an R train, and then another V train, so I'm looking at at least 8 minutes on the sweltering platform. I'm carrying too much stuff to pull anything out to read. Happy I don't have a wet umbrella to deal with today. Luckily found a seat on a bench for the time being. Decide to pull out the report to be read for the 9:30am meeting anyway. I've got a 10:30am meeting that I'm leading for 16 people. I need to prepare a report myself when I get ot the fofice. We have people coming in from the UK today, so I want to be at the office early for a change.... I can make it to the office by 8:45am today, yay!
8:17am - V Train arrives. I get a seat! How in the world does that happen? I look aroudn me and wonder how long the people around me took to put together their outfit today... wondering how much sleep they got last night.... wondering how many kids they needed to get ready this morning as well.... wondering what's in their lunch bags... wondering how many years they have been taking this same train.... wondering why they switched the V to the oldest subway cars in the system. I liked the newer generation cars better. There are more seats on the newer generation cars. Giving us the old cars makes me feel underappreciated, like poeple who take the V don't count and shouldn't get the nice stuff. Not to mention the seats are only along the walls of the cars, and there are no diveres, which means I slide into the people on each side of me with every start and stop. We need those stickers from the bottom of the bathtub to be on our pants pockets in New York.
8:30am - cross into Manhattan. Lexington stop. Half the people exit.
8:38am - 50th St Rockefeller Center. Lots of people exit. What looks to be a homeless, skinny, clean and wearing a "Patterson Pride" blue t-shirt, black man enters my car and starts singing Berstein's works in Latin and Ave Maria among other pieces. His pitch is unwavering and perfect. he's singin falsetto as the train rumbles along the track. He quotes where each piece is found in the composer's repertoire. He is the only one who claps when he is finished. Nearly no one gives the man money. I try to picture him in different setting, with different clothes, wodnering how much people would like to hear him if they paid for a ticket instead of having it dropped in their laps unwillingly on the train. it's not entertainment for some. Unwelcome on most morning commutes.
8:42am - 42nd St Bryant Park. pick my jacket back on. It's cold now.
8:45am - 34th St Hearld Square
8:50am - door still open. close them damn it. Let's go. No one makes a sound in the subway. No one complains. "Due to an earlier incident, we are being held in the station. Please be patient." OK... is this a problem on the V/F track or the B/D Express track? I can make it to the office more quickly if I grab a B or D train. I close my reading material, grab all my stuff. Walk out of the train car. No B train coming. No D train coming. Ahhhk.... ! V train stil sitting here. I'm walking over to the R train connection in this station on another platform. Even though it makes many more stops and drops me two blocks from my office. (The B, D and V train drops off right in front of my office).
9:00am - on the R train platform. My feet hurt. I'm sweating again. I'm carrying so much stuff, including food, and I'm hungry. Ironic that I have a bunch of food with me, but I cannot eat any of it because it would be too complicated to pull it out. I walk to the center of the R train platform, because the stairs to the sidewalk at the stop where I will end up are in the middle of the platform. and watch a man play with the sound art... which we cannot hear because the trains are so loud this morning. I sit down on a bench and wait for the R train. I pull out a book.... Julia Child's My Life in France. Not the best reading material if you're hungry, by the way.
9:04am - R train arrives. I wonder if the V train ever left... if switching trains at 34th Street was worth the trouble and the blisters on the feet.
9:08am - Prince Street. I'm amazed at how many people exit this train at this stop. I had no idea so many people work in SoHo. I am reminded why I don't take the train to this stop other days.. to much of a crowd to get up the stairs. Only two blocks to walk over cobblestone streets, crowded sidewalks, and airvents (walk on my tiptoes because I'm in heels today!).
9:15am - In the elevator at the office. Sweating and mad. No matter what time I arrive, it appears that I meant to arrive at this time! BUT I DIDN'T! Ahhh...! New York.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Take a tea break with me

It's 3pm on a Friday. And the daily reminder just popped up on my Microsoft Outlook that it's tea time. Why did I set this reminder? A few reasons.... I'm not English, so I don't have an internal clock that says, "It's 4pm. Time for tea." And..... I realized I get engrossed in my work and don't take breaks. And when I did take breaks, I was EATING... and really I just need to find some other fixation than the free bagels and cream cheese in the kitchen here at work.

When I was in college, I worked in Walt Disney World on the College Program, where I was paired up with 5 other girls to live in an apartment. I lived there for three semesters... so count 'em up, yes... that's 15 roommates in about a year's time. One of those roommates was from Scotland - Tracy. (She had an internal clock for tea.) She would ask me some afternoons if I wanted to try a "wee cup of tea". I gave it a go, and for about 6 years - until I finished college - I thought that Lipton tea was just lovely. Now I know better. Lipton is only acceptable when we're in the middle of the woods camping and we were packing to please everyone.

I'm no longer a poor college student, and I can afford to make good trips to interesting places, so I have become a self-proclaimed tea snob. (The photo on today's posting is one I took of a tea field on the side of a road in Hangzhou, China. I literally had to said, "STOP! I want that photo." It was raining, the cabbie pulled over, I took the shot, and jumped back int he car.) I live in New York City now, and there is plenty of multi-cultural stuff going on here. When I'm not traveling and buying tea for trip souvenirs, I can go tea shopping here too. I get tea for gifts and I think it's fun to get all the accessories too. But honestly, I don't use all of that crap unless the tea requires it. I use the same tea mug every day at my desk for tea. But I've got loads of loose tea of all price ranges sitting here on my desk.

When I can take the time, and sit down with my cup of tea at my desk, I'm going to take a break... let you know what kind of tea I'm drinking, how I made it, where I bought it, whether it's good or not... and I'll spill whatever kind of stories that day's tea break conjures up in my head too. So grab a cup of tea and enjoy.