Corporate America

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There is also here a Black guy that the bosses appear to hold in high esteem. I'm pretty sure it is well deserved and that he is very competent. He has been with them a long time and will have his own office once we get the larger offices next month.
His job is to watch over us, to make sure we don't steal any files, whatever, things like that. He also works on the website and other IT stuff. I would not be surprised if he was reading what I am writing now, and reporting it back to my bosses. I understand they need to take precautions, they after all had someone in the past stealing their database and starting his own company.
They don't need to be worried about me, I don't intend to steal anything from their organization, no files or database whatsoever. I would not know what to do with it and I have enough files from all my previous jobs to last me a lifetime. I don't even have the time to go through them. I have databases from previous jobs, but I never gave them to anyone and of course I would/could never use them. So what is the point?
If ever I start my own conference company, it will have to be about subjects for which I have a passion, so I will be motivated to get up in the morning to work: literature, theoretical physics, science fiction, space science and paranormal stuff.
I'm pretty sure conferences are where people meet to go on to accomplish great things. I believe that this company in L.A. had a great impact on so many start up companies in the U.S., this is something to be proud of (even if it was achieved in the name of profit). So conferences might help get things moving in the world, I just wished I could convince myself of that.
That's it, I'm fried. I did not have my meeting yet with my boss, but a new file has appeared on the network with two dozen more events, which I have missed in my hurried research, since last week he was insisting that I finish this on the same afternoon that he asked me. I would expect now to be told that my research was not very good, and that perhaps I was wasting my time.
The truth is that if two persons had done the same research independently and in parallel, they would both have come up with a different list of events. So hopefully they won't draw big conclusions out of this, or put me on the spot about these events I appear to have missed. Of course it does not make me feel any better. It is going to be a long three days!
It was horrible! The meeting went like this: thank you for your preliminary report that was indeed preliminary, it is all wrong since we found many similar events in the U.S. Well, perhaps he should not have asked me an instant report last week then! I have been able to elongate the timeline to Monday, so I would have the weekend to invent something, anything.
Unfortunately they don’t trust me (thankfully for them), so his wife did the same research in parallel. And now they both know I am incompetent. Though I can justify myself quite easily, ask anyone to write a report instantly without knowing anything about the subject, and ask him this report without any proper research, and this is what you get.
And the events she found, I found them all myself. I just did not include them from a lack of time, or they were in Europe or Africa, or they were workshops or training courses. I was told by the director to not include any of these in my last research. I did not even have the courage to tell him that. I took the shovel on my head like a good boy, I did not say anything, I was thinking of my survival. Surviving my three days before thanksgiving, that’s it.
Anyway, most of the conferences she found were completely off topic. That made me feel better, but I am apparently the only one who realizes that, because I am the only one who read them all.
Still, how could have I been so wrong? In just about all my conclusions? Is it possible that all that I have written, all those reports, are also completely wrong and based solely on what I think instead of facts? This is worrying. I failed like I never did before in my entire career in conferences.
If they had doubts about me before, now they have the full confirmation. I was the wrong guy, and it is more difficult to get rid of me now since I came all the way from London at their expense.
Perhaps I should make it easy for them. If I fail again, I will tell them that I’m going back. In the meantime, I will retain my check for the apartment until the very last day of the month, which is, unfortunately, next week. I have until then to make a complete fool of myself again, the sooner the better.
I would leave without regrets. This whole enterprise has been paved with mistakes from the start. I just simply cannot keep up with what they are asking. I need time, and time is not in abundance. I will again make a mistake. And I feel I have already past the point of no return.
Oh well, my month in L.A. has been very nice, now it’s time to seriously consider going home. And I won’t hesitate one second. If I lose one month on my lodging to break the contract, I will just have to lose it. And perhaps remain another month here writing full time, instead of working night and days in conferences.
And I swear, I will endeavor to never have another boss again. No more social hierarchy, I’m just not cut up for this. I will somehow have to find a way to be my own boss. Another impossible idea.
22 November 2005
Los Angeles, Film Industry, Depeche Mode Concert
It seems like a lifetime has passed since yesterday. I plugged myself onto the new Depeche Mode album this morning, on my phone, and I have been listening to it all day whenever I was not sitting at my desk.
I desperately needed some sort of escape to fight being alienated by this reality. And while I was walking in the sun in the Valley, looking at all the mountains around and listening to Nothing’s Impossible over and over again, I thought this is perfect, it could not be better.
I spent the rest of the night after work trying to figure out a way to go see Depeche Mode in concert at the Staples Center. Could not find a ticket on craigslist under $100, which was well located for me to go get it. I contacted a few people, they have not contacted me back. I finally decided to take the bus and buy a ticket from a tout.
After being unable to figure out how to use the transport system in Los Angeles (have I really lost that many brain cells since my arrival in L.A. that I can’t even conceptualize how to take a damn bus?), and after understanding that I would arrive an hour and a half late at the concert, I had to abandon the idea. It would have been so nice.
So I spent the night watching Depeche Mode videos and debating with an Indian in India why I think the speed of light is relative and not constant, and why I believe we could go faster than the speed of light. One of my most un-famous reports about theoretical physics, still one of my most visited page though. I wasted my time explaining that there are no real barriers and that many things are already going faster than the speed of light from our point of view. How geeky and sad can you get?
And considering how wrong I had been two days ago with my report, I was suddenly convinced that all my theories were off the mark. His questions were hard, but ultimately I spent the time to think about why I thought these things, and thankfully I still think the same.
It has been ten years now, with over 300 correspondents and perhaps 3,000 emails, all designed to convince me that I was wrong, and I am still convinced that I am right. At least no one was able to do a little research on the Internet, find a few more events I had missed, and destroy all my findings and conclusions in less than five minutes. Maybe it was an isolated incident and I should not think about it anymore.
I did tell my boyfriend though that I was ready to come back, and that before paying my rent, I will be talking to the woman who hired me. In an instant in his mind I was already back in England. I know I will go over these hurdles and things will eventually stabilize. I hope anyway, that’s the plan.
However again today I found a way to not shine so much. I took the whole day to print over 2,000 pages of all these events found on the Internet. My boss did say to print only the relevant ones, but which ones are they? I don’t know! They all looked very relevant to me. So I printed them all and wasted the whole day. We were supposed to have our meeting at 7 am this morning (well 8 am since that is the time I arrive in the office, unlike everyone else there). I’m sure tomorrow will be as bad.
At the end of the day my boss was peeing in the public toilet, in one of those awkward moments, and I was splashing water over my face… I left without saying a word. Gosh, right there you had the perfect picture to describe my life since I arrived in Los Angeles.
And now, after watching all those Depeche Mode videos, I feel like writing a whole successful and inspired album. But hey, I am a writer, and writing film scripts or novels or blogs, does not seem to me to be so adequate.
I will not be transporting anyone anywhere else, I will not touch them in an emotional way. I cannot have any impact on anyone whatsoever, not even myself when I read my things. And this is becoming more than frustrating. I wish I could take a life off and learn music and do something for a change.
The closest I have been to music is with my poetry, which I have been told by some grand-ma that it has caused a few suicides. Oh, so I can reach people emotionally then, great news! I should get back to what I can do, poetry.
I’m not so motivated now, but I would have certainly written a few dark pages tonight, the darkest ones in a long time. On my way back from work, walking around the Valley, I wanted to scream out what had been contained under pressure inside of me for the last few days and weeks. I thought I was going to split and that a nuclear bomb was about to explode. I would have loved Los Angeles then, I tell you.
I have not started my usual fictional book that I am always writing in parallel to my journal/blog. I’m getting tired, I have written so many now, and still only one of them has been published, and the worst thing is that it was quite a success. No other publishers can see that, I have not told anyone, not sent any other books to publishers. Never had the time, the money, the energy.
No more of these books published, means no motivation to write another one. I should at least put my last one online, it is still too soon after my last job, many people could recognize themselves.
Still, I wonder what I would have written tonight if I had started another one of those dark poetry books. I should start thinking about a title, it is always a great help. The last one was great, if I may say so myself. Working in Westminster, Intelligence not Required. No one has ever read it yet, I finished it less than a week before I moved out of Westminster and London, less than a month ago.
I investigated tonight where I could put this blog, found Wil Wheaton’s blog and LA Blog. They don’t recruit. I cannot use any of my other websites, I could be too easily retraced. Not that I am saying much anyway, but I could hurt the people around me and change my working relationship with them beyond saving. I can’t afford it, everything at the moment depends on these relationships, which are going down the toilet anyway on their own.
I will have to investigate free websites. Which reminds me, someone wishes to buy my main website, not sure if he wants the content as well or just the URL. Fascinating how quickly I was happy to sell it. I would accept peanuts for it, I want to get rid of it. I can no longer be associated with anarchists, I never was anyway except via the title of my website. You understand now why I wish to remain anonymous. I do reach out, unfortunately.
Any search with a French word in it leads straight to my website, as many of my previous managers found out in time. Funny, their names never highlighted any web page. It’s like none of them ever existed. Someone one day in a thousand years will look at all the crap published on the Internet, and would not find one single reference to any of the people I worked with in my whole life. I guess we cannot all be filled with vanity and have an Ego the size of a small planet. Fortunately.
So finally a lot happened today. What else? A woman called, from where I live, she is part of the management. I thought she was calling to let me know that I could not rent this studio, that my name was blacklisted by an obscure bank lost in the North of Canada (practically in North Pole). And since Canada is just another American State, as I said before, they had access to it.
Thankfully she just wanted to convince me to rent my studio for much longer, to which I answered that I had already signed the papers to do so. Great communication. I should have known that in the U.S., when they call, it is to sell you something, even the very thing you just bought. That could revolutionize capitalism actually, great concept. It could save America.
My publisher contacted me, to tell me I was his hero because I was in L.A. Nice how powerful the imagination can be, when in fact I am just about to die of boredom in between my four walls.
I did go see a movie yesterday though, and not any movie, a preview for free, so we can tell them it’s crap just before they release it anyway. It is true that last time I went to see such a movie in London, a few years ago, we destroyed it so badly, they never released it. Rosanna Arquette as Marylyn Monroe, no wonder it was never released.
Yesterday it was Juliet Lewis and the actress from Alias, a boring story, but I was in the right frame of mind for it, I was desperate for anything that could change my mind from my recent nightmare. So I said it was excellent, they did not keep me after the film so I could destroy it better, like they did in London. Anyway, I had nothing to say.
I wonder how many movies are never released every year. Maybe actors work harder than I initially thought. Must be frustrating to have worked a few months on a film which will never see the light of day. I guess you then have no right to say you appeared in that movie, since it actually never existed.
Many people who worked on the film were there in the cinema, including directors, producers, etc. One of them was fat and annoying, he looked like a bastard, and reminded me a bit of my actual boss, though my boss comes across as a nice guy.
It drove me insane that this could be the type of people I would work with in the movie industry. People with no imagination, permanently in a bad mood. We should call them life and creativity destroyers. And why would these people have anything to do with films? It is a mystery to me. I admit that I could be wrong, maybe he is a teddy bear and he is responsible for most great movies I have seen recently. I doubt it.
One of the actors was also in the room, but I don’t know his name. I remember his face though from other films. Here in L.A., everyone know the name of every actor, they have seen every single film on the market and every television series. You can talk about all these things as if they had a life of their own. It is after all their main industry, perhaps their only one. So this is serious business.
They all seem to be or have been involved in that industry, except my two bosses. They are an anomaly. I don’t understand why they have started a business in L.A. which was not related to cinema or television. I guess the odd one will always exist. They must be the only conference company in town, in the whole state of California in fact. Still, I’m here because of them.
Perhaps I dreamt them up in my wish to move here and they did not exist before my arrival. It would explain the mystery. I wished to move here, I created that company and it became reality. However, why would have I created so many problems and less than ideal conditions? Because then, I would not have anything to blog about, I guess. It was certainly done on a subconscious level, that’s for sure.
I forgot to tell you something quite interesting about the idea that I might have created this whole reality in order to move here. And how my creation could be as limited as a film. It is like in the movie Thirteenth Floor (if you live in L.A., I know you have seen this film), when the guy reaches the end of his world at the end of a road, and suddenly the walls are electronics, like on a holodeck in Star Trek. He suddenly realizes that his reality is not real, it is a virtual world.
Well, when I rented that car and decided to follow Sherman Way all the way to the end, something strange happened, something so unexpected, I thought I was actually in a bad movie. One where people are in a car and the background image is a loop, and the same things come back over and over again.
Every block had the same shops and restaurants, and I could never tell if I was going anywhere or if somehow I was stuck in a time loop, covering the same block over and over again. It was astonishing.
I had never experienced such a thing, it must be the most boring street in the world, except for a part where there are palm trees on each side of the road. But then again, it goes on forever and the apartments at the back all look similar from one block to another. There was no personality, interesting architecture or character anywhere on that street which seemed to go on forever.
I’m sorry if I insult a few people here, but come on, I lived in Paris and London for far too long to not be stunned by such an artificial way of building a city. These straight roads forming a perfect battleship grid, are heartless and sad. Especially when there is no character, no architecture, nothing to make it different from the next block or other area of the city. All right, perhaps this is the suburb after all, you can’t expect too much from the suburbs, but my, even the suburbs in Prague don’t look so clinical, aseptic and devoid of life.
I really reached a point in my mind of a deep sense of disorientation, wondering if this was life, existence, the same shops and restaurants and gas stations over and over again, multiplied to the infinity to satisfy our needs. Funny how I don’t need much these days to go into a spin and reach complete existential crisis mode. I must be more fragile than I thought.
Then the whole concept of art and design made so much sense in my mind, and this idea of regeneration of areas which appear to have lost their will to live and to be distinctive and different.
We should bomb Sherman Way, and build something else which would go in all directions, like this blog, like my brain. Of course, you don’t have to do that right now, it is just a suggestion, you can dismiss it, I will just have to avoid Sherman Way. I’ll take the 101 instead in the future, if I want to reach North Hollywood.
I think Los Angeles needs a bit more anarchy in its town planning and architecture. Funny, I’m working on a conference about PPP, something which probably is meaningless to you. It is however something Bush has talked about many times, guess you only listen to him when he talks about wars or elections.
PPP means Public-Private Partnership. It is a way for governments to let the private sector build everything which would normally be paid for by the people. In return, the private investors get millions and billions in the long term via rent, tolls, other financial benefits.
They always get much more than what it would have actually cost if the government had put the money to build it in the first place. However the government does not need money to get the program or project going, and since Bush has no money for that, then PPP is very popular.
It should have one great advantage though, hopefully the private sector will finally build some interesting infrastructures, something we might actually want to look at, instead of making us feel like running away to Europe whenever we wish to see anything worth looking at.
Sorry for saying it, but I think London is a much better city to live in than Los Angeles. However, don’t worry, Los Angeles is a much better city to live in than any city in Canada.
Of course, I did not have the time to start living in L.A. yet, I’ve been stuck in the Valley for a month now. And my failure to get out of it tonight to go to a Depeche Mode concert makes it even worse. In time, maybe I will get to appreciate L.A. as most others do, I hope I get the chance.
23 November 2005
Last day in the office before thanksgiving and my chance to visit L.A.
I am back at work for my third day before thanksgiving. I thought I would not have survived it, however so far so good. It is 9h14, my boss has not jumped on me yet, has not told me that everything I had done took forever and was all wrong, and he has not asked me to do something else within an unrealistic time frame.
I am pretty sure he is brewing at the moment and any second now all of what I was hoping was not going to happen today will suddenly happen and ruin my last day in the office before the holiday.
I found a way at work to write in English without being detected. I usually pick an Excel file I always use, save it under the same name but with mh at the end for Mycroft Holmes, and I write in the column DZ, row 500. I don't even make the column or the row wider, I mainly write at the top where we should be inserting equations.
If ever they were to look at my files, there is no way they would be able to spot the few words they could see in column DZ row 500. And then I move the file to a floppy disk, so the file is never being deleted on my system. There is a copy however in my History, and I need to delete it as soon as I finish working on the file. I also need to remember to close the file whilst the cursor is back at A1, since these Excel files remember where you were last time you saved them.
At 9h I went downstairs to the Café to buy a toasted egg sandwich from the little Chinese woman. The sandwiches are not as good as in London where I used to work, however it reminds me of my old daily routine in London every morning for the past year. The sandwich is also three times more expensive, but I don't mind. She is nice and we need to support her and her shop.
I never took the time in the last 4 weeks to go and buy a sandwich, only three times in fact I did so. Because I was so on edge at work, or working so hard in total panic mode to try to do something as quickly as humanly possible... I am always frightened that either the director or my boss will come around and ask me to go in their office. No one should live like that and I wonder if this will change or not in time.
It is weird that he has not called me in the office yet, I am starting to feel guilty. I might go and see him in 20 minutes to ask if I should start calling people, maybe I should go now. It would not surprise me if he were to say at some point today: what, you have not started to call all these people yet? What have you done all day?
In fact, what I have done this morning is to read about the Trans-Texas Corridor, and what that is goes something like this: "The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is a proposed multi-use, statewide network of transportation routes in Texas that will incorporate existing and new highways, railways and utility right-of-ways."
And as if that was not boring enough, I went on to read the 824 pages document of SAFETEA-LU, which means: "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users." It is the Public Law 109–59, 109th Congress, to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes.
If I did not feel like shooting myself before, I certainly do now!
Last night I was in such a mood, I drank myself to death and could not sleep until 4 am. I was feeling bad for having abandoned Stephen and the cats, and how they appear to suffer terribly now that I am gone. I also cried, and I have to stop myself right now. I sincerely hope he will be able to work here and that we will be happy in this company, or else eventually I will have to go back to London, and I hope that it won't be too late then.

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