for fun

V-Day Contest

I'm participating so I thought I'd post the schedules & rules. :)

February 3, 2009 = Danielle Devon, Divinity in Chains
February 4, 2009 = T.A. Chase, Out of Bounds
February 5, 2009 = Rita Oberlies, The Catcher and the Lie
February 6, 2009 = Kimberly Nee, Eden's Pass
February 7, 2009 = Dawn Brown, Living Lies
February 8, 2009 = Lexi Adair, Rockstar
February 9, 2009 = Avery Beck, Sexy by Design
February 10, 2009 = Angelle Trieste, Devil Falls <-- this is me writing under another name!
February 11, 2009 = Lissa Matthews, Pink Buttercream Frosting
February 12, 2009 = Denise Belinda McDonald, Second Chances
February 13, 2009 = Kelly Jamieson, Friends with Benefits

The authors will be posting an excerpt from each of the above-listed stories here. And where they stop, you will begin. You will continue writing the story as you see it, or would like to see it, up to two-hundred and fifty words. A winner will be chosen from the entries each day, and at the end, on February 14, a grand prize winner will be chosen.

I Wants It

mood: feeling great
number of times I worked out this week: four! (miracle!)
number of oysters I had this week: sixteen

Got a good bit of writing done. The scenes aren't as fleshed out as I'd like, and I need to add more descriptions, etc., but they can come later.

Today's progress:

word count page count
previously written 29,045 143
newly written 4,386 21
total 33,431 146

And now...here's the revolutionary laptop I want. :mrgreen:

Many Things, Small and Big

I think Shiro's pregnant. Shiro and Kuro didn't mate on Thursday, like they were supposed to if Shira had been ovulating. Also they've been hoarding a ton of food, even though I always give them plenty to eat. Hero Material is absolutely thrilled that we're going to have baby hamsters. My feelings are a bit mixed. It was a bit weird to work on my sex demon romance synopsis on Sunday while Shiro and Kuro were...er...doing it. But the idea of babies...!

I need to do some research on how to take care of pregnant hamsters.

Last night, I was stunned to read that Citi is looking to sell off its assets and/or entire operation. I remember how flush and confident Citi bankers were when I was interviewing for my first job out of college. (I was applying to be an investment banker, but I ended up as a management consultant instead.)

Interestingly enough Ford and GM are selling and/or getting rid of some of their corporate jets after the House hearing. I guess Ford and GM felt very bad after the harsh words re: their extravagances despite their "liquidity" problems. Business Week had a more balanced view on this. I have to agree with some of the points made in there. Commercial airlines really suck, in terms of service and reliability. You can never know if your flight's leaving on time or not. The worst are the U.S.-based airlines. Per Japanese businessmen I know, Northwest first class is worse than ANA coach. (I have no idea since I've never used Northwest.)

BTW -- Hero Material and I tried to watch Revolver. Tried because t was the most horrible movie ever. I Love Your BlogWe just gave up. The protagonist's motivation was very weird, actions bad (meaning they made me yawn with boredom), plot nonexistent, and too many stupid people doing random things. Yawn.

Finally -- Lovely Debora gave me a "I Love Your Blog" award. Thanks, DD! :)

Now...I pass it along to: PBWriter and Plot Monkeys. It's sad, but that's all I have because the rest is all industry and/or finance-related blogs.

Corporate Profit v. Consumer Desire for Cheap Stuff

Business Week recently published an interesting article titled "Obama's Victory: A Consumer-Citizen Revolt":

This column is dedicated to the top managers of American business whose policies and practices helped ensure Barack Obama's victory. The mandate for change that sounded across this country is not limited to our new President and Congress. That bell also tolls for you. Obama's triumph was ignited in part by your failure to understand and respect your own consumers, customers, employees, and end users. The despair that fueled America's yearning for change and hope grew to maturity in your garden.

Millions of Americans heard President-elect Obama painfully recall his sense of frustration, powerlessness, and outrage when his mother's health insurer refused to cover her cancer treatments. Worse still, every one of them knew exactly how he felt. That long-simmering indignation is by now the defining experience of every consumer of health care, mortgages, insurance, travel, and financial services—the list goes on.

Obama was elected not only because many Americans feel betrayed and abandoned by their government but because those feelings finally converged with their sense of betrayal at the hands of Corporate America. Their experiences as consumers and as citizens joined to create a wave of revolt against the status quo—as occurred in the American Revolution. Be wary of those who counsel business as usual. This post-election period is a turning point for the business community. It demands an attitude of sober reappraisal and a disposition toward fundamental reinvention. If you don't do it, someone else will.

I found the article very interesting, although I'm not sure which came first. Is it the consumer need for cheap stuff or the corporate need (driven largely by investors) for profit? I think they feed off each other. In order to provide consumers with cheap stuff (which are now more disposable than ever before) made companies cut cost ruthlessly in order to make as much profit as possible. And as companies cut cost by laying off people and reducing wages, people's need for cheap stuff became stronger.

Speaking for myself, I don't expect companies to provide any help in case their products break before the warranty expires. So I buy from either:

  1. companies well-known for manufacturing reliable products, or
  2. companies with the cheapest products

The former is usually reserved for big ticket items like laptops, cars, TV, etc. The latter is reserved for little things like ballpoint pens, kitchen timers and notebooks or things that I can live without.

BTW -- I do expect and demand that big Japanese retailers do better than their American counterpart. For example, I buy a lot of electronics from a big regional chain store. Its service staff always provide great assistance when products they sold break down and facilitate the warranty process between their customers and manufacturers. Not to mention, its sales people know everything about the products they sell and are happy to spend however much time necessary to help you make the best purchase possible, even if you leave the store without buying anything. I don't have to waste my time surfing the net for information because somebody there will give me the answer I need to make a decision within a second. The store is not the cheapest in the city, but it earned my loyalty, and I absolutely adore shopping there.

Finally, something to make you laugh -- The Matrix Runs on Windows:

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