Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I regret overloading my schedule. I now have two part time jobs and I’m trying to give as much time to the new second one in case something goes awry with job #1. The director at job #1 has fired several dedicated employees and forced a few out by making them miserable. Also, I’m having fun with my second job for the U.S. Census so I rather like the work and people involved.

On Friday night at almost midnight my mother had to go to the hospital as she had a painful tightness in her chest. When you’re in your 80s (or probably even in your 50s), that is scary. Luckily, her stress test had normal results and there’s no heart problem. What a relief! I will mention that on Saturday I had been assigned to work for the Census. I had all the training materials in my car so I had to go to our workplace. My supervisor was very understanding and got someone over to take over the training.

I watched Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Funeral this week. It’s got lots of bawdy humor so it’s a guilty pleasure, but I did laugh out loud and needed to this week.

My father bought a new car. He’s been mulling that over for two years. His old car was faithful, but just not performing well lately. Well, the car he’s gotten is very sleek and high tech. The problem is we don’t know how to get all the features to work. Often the voice activated features respond with unintended results. For example, when dad asked the car to turn on the radio, it turned on the heat.

My University of the People courses are winding down. Next week is finals week. The required College Success Course has been a waste of time. I’ve written that I don’t think they should assume all students need an 8 week course on note-taking and how to cite. I had to write a 500 word response on what I learned and what skills I’ll apply this week, one of several essays that are hard to write because none of the content is new. I had to be honest and said that I hadn’t learned anything new so we’ll see what sort of grade that gets me. It galls me to waste time. I could have used that time to job hunt or do my own writing. Time is more precious than money right now for me.

My computer class is fun and challenging. I’ve definitely learned in this course, but I miss having a teacher’s response to a question. There’s no live sessions and the teacher seems to sign on just once or twice a week so when you’re puzzling over what to do and want to ask, “Why does this work, but that doesn’t?” you’re not getting an answer. That can happen with a live teacher in a classroom, when the teacher isn’t a good teacher. Nonetheless it’s always frustrating.

I’d write a bit more, but I’ve got to get to my computer homework. Anyone good with Python? I wouldn’t mind a tutor.

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Except . . .

I don’t speak much Spanish.

Screen Shot 2019-07-19 at 7.48.10 PM

私はスペイン語を話しません.
Saya tidak bisa bahasa spanyol.
Je ne parle pas espagnol.

There’s nothing, nada, in my resume that indicates that I speak Spanish.
I would expect a job site to do better.

Word of the Week

Ghosting (n.) the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

Perhaps you’ve learned that people are ending personal relationships by just disappearing, but I was surprised by a BBC article on a new trend of people leaving their job without communicating to their employer. I understand it can be tough to talk with a overbearing boss, but it’s something a mature person recognizes it’s necessary and actually good for him or her to do as it builds courage.

Again, Japan is featured, but I understand that because until now, in Japan you stayed in a job for life so they aren’t used to having to quit and as a vertical society bosses do have a power that they don’t in the West.

I am more surprised by ghosting in the West. Here’s a passage from the article:

Chris Yoko, who runs a web design company in the US state of Virginia, had a bizarre experience with a contractor who was meant to be completing a digital project from home.

“This guy had just started with us – he seemed like a good fit, seemed like a genuinely good guy. We get him started with a pretty simple project by our standards. He agreed, [but] Thursday comes along – there’s nothing there.”

Multiple emails and phone messages got no response. The man missed another meeting on the project. In the end, amid total silence from the contractor, the work was given to someone else.

A short while later, a man purporting to be a friend of the contractor got in touch via email. He said the man had died in a car accident and requested some tax files that the family needed. But something felt off, so Yoko checked the contractor’s Twitter account.

On social media, it appeared the contractor was very much alive. In fact, he’d just responded to a tweet from a cousin about attending a family gathering.

“He replied to this person with a picture of himself with a handle of whiskey in his hand saying: ‘Not only am I coming but I’m bringing this’,” says Yoko. “I screenshotted that and forwarded it to the guy and said: ‘Hey some good news, looks like he’s just fine!’.”

What do you think of ghosting?

Tokyo Chorus

ozu tokyo chorus

In 1931 Ozu made Tokyo Chorus, a silent movie about a salary man who promises his son a bicycle when he gets his bonus. From the early school scenes we see the hero has a problem with authority and can be a troublemaker.

Anticipating the father’s bonus all is sunny at home. However, the hero speaks up for an older colleague who was unjustly fired and winds up losing his job at an insurance agency. He doesn’t know how to break this to his family, life is changing and hard times lie ahead. (Remember the downside to life long employment is it’s awfully hard to find a job as a mid-level professional. There are no openings.) He tries to satisfy his son with a scooter, but it doesn’t satisfy. The other kids have bikes and the son, who gets very bratty in a very realistic way, won’t accept anything less.

The film shows the man trying to find work, but without luck. Then his daughter gets ill and has to go to the hospital. It’s sad when we see how he had to pay the hospital bill. Throughout the film his wife is long suffering. She’s a serious woman who’s married a man who often can’t control himself. At times he unwittingly humiliates her, but she never gets angry. She seems to understand that won’t help and believe that endurance is the key to survival.

The film captures the humiliation of unemployment, for the ex-worker and those around him so truly.

The film is well paced and kept my interest. It’s further evidence that silent films can say more than many talkies. Often the characters speak, but we don’t get cards saying what was said. That’s okay because we can infer the dialog and in that way the film is universal. The actors, particularly the hero, who’s played by  Okada, Tokihiko is very likable and expressive. According to imdb.com, he died a couple years after making this film. It’s a shame because he could have had a long career.