Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Remember, remember

Another thing that pisses me off about the American ways is their date format. Their date is written backwards.

It's never really been a problem to me because all the Americans I've met used the date format verbally so where I would say fifth of April, they would say April fifth, which doesn't cause confusion.

The problem arises in writing, specifically with the numerical format. Everywhere else, 5/4/1988 would be fifth of April. In America, that would be fourth of May. That makes no sense. Granted, sense is relative, so what makes sense to you doesn't necessarily have to make sense to me blah blah blah. But common sense is actually very objective, and it dictates that we have to arrange things in a certain ascending/descending order to make life simpler. Days accumulate into a month and months accumulate into a year, so on and so forth. Thus, it is absolutely logical for the date format to be dd/mm/yyyy, now isn't it? In descending order, that would be yyyy/mm/dd, which would look strange, but still acceptable. But mm/dd/yyyy is just bizarre.

Why am I ranting about this all of a sudden?

Well, I was applying for an intern position at this American company, and the deadline for the application was 8/11/2012, meaning I still have a week and a half to submit it. After tweaking my resume (tweaking here doesn't mean embellishing it, it just means modifying it in a way that highlights the skills sought after by the company) and writing an eloquent cover letter, it hit me that I might have read the deadline date wrongly. Which, of course, I did. The deadline was actually on the 11th of August, a month and a half ago, so I'm way overdue.

Since I had gone through the trouble of modifying my resume and writing a cover letter, I decided to just submit my application anyway. I bet all the current applicants suck, so the position is still vacant and when they see my application they'll suddenly realize that their saviour is here, their knight in shining armour.

I've been sending out a lot of resumes to North American aerospace companies recently, and I don't really know why. I can't really afford to fly there, and I don't have a single clue about the accommodation. I'm not even sure if those are paid internships I applied for.

I just figured that I needed to change air. Europe has been fun, but America, that would be something new and exciting. I guess I'm becoming an adrenaline junkie. I always feel the need to be under pressure, because challenge makes everything so much more meaningful. I'll have to double my effort to get to where I want to go and to experience new, exciting stuff.

So I decided to just send my resume to hundreds of companies in the US and Canada because I believe in the laws of probability. The more you put out there, the higher the chance of something good getting back to you, whatever it may be.

But still, their date format sucks balls. Imagine how flat and lifeless the famous quote would be if Guy Fawkes were American: "Remember, remember, November the fifth."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Asian soup

Saying that the Germans eat a lot of pork would be an understatement. Germans are obsessed with pork. Pork is their drug. At the supermarket you'd have a small section for poultry, a tiny section for seafood, and like 3 whole aisles for all kinds of pork. Okay I might be exaggerating, but not by that much.

The Germans are so smart that even if pork didn't exist, they would have invented it anyway. That is how much they love this meat.

In our cafeteria, we have a salad bar and 6 dishes you can choose from. You can be pretty sure to have at least 3 pork dishes, 1 soup dish, and 1 vegetarian dish. If I'm lucky, the last dish would be fish. On my unluckiest day, the last dish is also pork, so I'd have to go for the veggie dish or worse, the salad bar. The only good thing about the salad bar is that it's self-service, so to make my money's worth, I'd pile up all kinds of greens and tuna and corn and red beans in my bowl until it looks like I'm about to hibernate for the winter, and I don't even like red beans.

So the other day I went to the cafeteria and saw "Asian soup" on the menu. I was intrigued. One soup that represents 60% of the human population, encompassing thousands of lands and cultures, from the Mongolians to the Persians, from Vanuatu to Kuwait, from Kamchatka to Uttar Pradesh. One soup to rule them all. The Asian soup.

"This must be a very good soup," I whispered to myself. So I decided to take it.

The soup was murky, so I couldn't really see what was in it. All I knew was that there was no meat in it, so it certainly didn't contain any pork.

Then came the moment of truth: the taste test. I closed my eyes, took a spoonful of it and sipped, expecting to embark upon a gastronomic journey across a multitude of exotic cultures with layovers in the desert of Jordan, on the high mountains of Bhutan, under a papaya tree in front of Angkor Wat, deep into the rainforest of the Borneo, in the wilderness of Fiji, and in front of a mosque in Turkmenistan.

Well, I was utterly disappointed.

The spoonful of shit I just put in my mouth was so called the Asian soup because it had rice in it. Yeah, they put some rice in a soup, and decided to name it "Asian soup". The Germans could have engineered a coconut tree into a space shuttle, but they seem not to be able to grasp the simple fact that Asia is so motherfking ginormous that it's impossible to blend and strain all of us into one soup. The funniest thing is, I'm pretty certain that the "Asian soup" I have eaten cannot even be found anywhere in Asia, try as you may.

If the tables were turned and I were to make a "European soup", I wouldn't even know where to start, because the name itself would make zero sense. What do you put in a European soup? Maybe three teaspoons of economic crisis, an ounce of unreliable currency, and a dollop of dwindling younger population to sustain the workforce?

Yeah, now if only there were a supermarket where I can buy those ingredients for my soup.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

At the risk of sounding like a spoilt brat...

I hate money.

Judging by the way I spend money, one wouldn't have the impression that I hate it. But I actually do. I hate money. Or rather, I hate it that I need so much of it to live, that my happiness actually depends on it. I've always seen myself as a prudent spender, but this year I came to a sudden realisation that I am actually a terrible spender.

I'm happiest when I'm travelling, and that needs money. A lot of it. I also like good food, and good food is usually not the cheapest. I hate making early decisions because I change my mind like I change clothes. If there's one thing I've learnt about myself, it's that I can never be set in stone about anything, because even my mind has a mind of its own. So I always wait for the last minute to decide on something, which is a very expensive habit. A last minute flight ticket or hotel reservation cost a fortune. A last minute change of plans almost always involves money.

I've always told myself I should be more careful with my spending, but like all expert procrastinators, I'd end up saying, "Yeah, maybe later" and swipe that damn card anyway.

Now I'm living in a place surrounded by nature, with fruit farms as far as the eye can see, and it's virtually impossible to spend more than 5 euros a day. But somehow I'm still always broke.

I guess I'm set in my ways. I am and will always be a big spender, and I have to stop being in denial about it. I need money to be happy.

Which is why I hate it. I hate it that I love it.

Stupid capitalism. (When all else fails, blame capitalism.)