1
   

Iselin, New Jersey

 
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 11:27 am
How is your new job, Thomas?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 01:40 pm
Super-busy, but interesting. The colleagues are professionally competent, eager to help me adjust, and experts on the best restaurants for having lunch together. I was a little miffed that the only day I got off during the holidays was Christmas eve, but I do understand the formal justification for it: I'm only employed for two weeks in 2007, so I only have one holiday in 2007. (Let's see how the company goes along with the rules when they're un comfortable to it.)

I hope to test-drive a few cars and check out a few houses over the weekend. (The drive in your Honda Accura was very nice indeed, though I have to admit I paid more attention to my company, the landscape, and the place we visited than to your car. Clearly I must learn to set better, more American priorities. Twisted Evil)

More later this evening. Thanks for reminding me to update the thread. Everything is happening so fast these days!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 01:42 pm
LionTamerX wrote:
McTag wrote:
I've been reading Gary Steyngarth and I think you incomers, Thomas and Bernie, should absolutely read "The Russian Debutant's Handbook".

....And his other book which I read first and gave to my pal Tony to read and I can't remember its name right now but it's very good too.

When I am reading (I haven't finished it yet, and will be sad when I do) "T R D H" I can't help relating the hero's exploits and thoughts to Thomas in NJ. It's a hoot.


McTag is quite right about Gary Shteyngart... T R D H is a hoot, I'm just getting ready to read his other one, Absurdistan.

It's on my Amazon wishlist now, and I expect to order it soon.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 02:14 pm
Thomas wrote:
Super-busy, but interesting. The colleagues are professionally competent, eager to help me adjust, and experts on the best restaurants for having lunch together. I was a little miffed that the only day I got off during the holidays was Christmas eve, but I do understand the formal justification for it: I'm only employed for two weeks in 2007, so I only have one holiday in 2007. (Let's see how the company goes along with the rules when they're un comfortable to it.)

I hope to test-drive a few cars and check out a few houses over the weekend. (The drive in your Honda Accura was very nice indeed, though I have to admit I paid more attention to my company, the landscape, and the place we visited than to your car. Clearly I must learn to set better, more American priorities. Twisted Evil)

More later this evening. Thanks for reminding me to update the thread. Everything is happening so fast these days!


Good news, Thomas, glad you're settling in well.

I saw "The Big Lebowski" on HDD today- it was broadcast here recently, and I stored it up for a rainy day.

A fine film, with nice associations too.

Smile
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 04:43 pm
McTag wrote:
A fine film, with nice associations too.

Smile

Especially in its treatment of the German characters. The producers had me at "Ve ah nihilissts-- ve belief in nossink!"
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2007 10:49 pm
Weird cultural differences, part 13:
In my employer's American branch, everyone seems obsessed, not just with working -- people do work a lot -- but with appearing to work. All my colleagues leave their office doors open even when telephoning, which can be very distracting when you're sitting next office trying to concentrate. When they walk the through the floors, they usually have some paperwork under their arms, even when they return to their offices without having looked at it. Most conspicuously, they rarely seem to admit to going home early, or taking a day off. One day, I said something like: "someday during the holidays, I'm going to look at apartments in the morning and come in to work a little later. I need sunlight for looking at apartments." The colleague responded: "Good idea. Work from home and come in late." In my preliminary judgment, "work from home" is code for "not working", and "not working" is a taboo term that only newcomers like myself ever use.

Fortunately, it qualifies as "working" when you line for the copier, chatting about the new benefits plan, good places for lunch, gossip about new SNAFUs with the customer, and so forth.

Weird cultural differences, part 14:
Yesterday I bought a bottle of Listerine "Glacier Mint". That was the mouthwash our local Rite Aid had stocked in the highest quantity. And, being new to the country and its trademarks, I had no better criterion to choose my mouthwash by. So I bought this one.

I brought it home, brushed my teeth, took a sip of the mouthwash -- and immediately spit it out. Something was horribly wrong. But what? "Objectively", nothing seemed to be wrong with the taste. It tasted fresh but not too biting, "clean" but not too chemical. How else is a mouthwash supposed to taste?

Then it occured to me: The aroma that Listerine uses for its "Glacier Mint" is identical to that of German deodorant cubes. These things used to be sitting in practically every Germany urinal. until maybe the early 90s. I had been overwhelmed in some wicked Freudian manner by a memory from my childhood and youth.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2007 10:51 pm
Shocked
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2007 11:51 pm
Interesting, Thomas.

So tell us, how was your first Christmas in the USA? I'm sure it must have been quite different for you.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2007 11:52 pm
Thomas wrote:
Weird cultural differences, part 13:
In my employer's American branch, everyone seems obsessed, not just with working -- people do work a lot -- but with appearing to work. All my colleagues leave their office doors open even when telephoning, which can be very distracting when you're sitting next office trying to concentrate. When they walk the through the floors, they usually have some paperwork under their arms, even when they return to their offices without having looked at it. Most conspicuously, they rarely seem to admit to going home early, or taking a day off. One day, I said something like: "someday during the holidays, I'm going to look at apartments in the morning and come in to work a little later. I need sunlight for looking at apartments." The colleague responded: "Good idea. Work from home and come in late." In my preliminary judgment, "work from home" is code for "not working", and "not working" is a taboo term that only newcomers like myself ever use.

Fortunately, it qualifies as "working" when you line for the copier, chatting about the new benefits plan, good places for lunch, gossip about new SNAFUs with the customer, and so forth.

Weird cultural differences, part 14:
Yesterday I bought a bottle of Listerine "Glacier Mint". That was the mouthwash our local Rite Aid had stocked in the highest quantity. And, being new to the country and its trademarks, I had no better criterion to choose my mouthwash by. So I bought this one.

I brought it home, brushed my teeth, took a sip of the mouthwash -- and immediately spit it out. Something was horribly wrong. But what? "Objectively", nothing seemed to be wrong with the taste. It tasted fresh but not too biting, "clean" but not too chemical. How else is a mouthwash supposed to taste?

Then it occured to me: The aroma that Listerine uses for its "Glacier Mint" is identical to that of German deodorant cubes. These things used to be sitting in practically every Germany urinal. until maybe the early 90s. I had been overwhelmed in some wicked Freudian manner by a memory from my childhood and youth.



Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

So...in your subconscious, you were drinking pee?




Oh dear, dearie dearie me.
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2007 11:36 am
Listerine probably stocked up on those German deodorant cubes. Good idea, doncha think?
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2007 01:00 pm
Thomas, try the Listerine Orange Blast.

I want to see what type of German cleaning product that tastes like.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2007 01:38 pm
The Romans used urine and sand to brush their teeth back in the day, so mebbe your listerine association wasn't off the mark. Rather, it may reflect a noble (if despotic) heritage.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 03:40 pm
Any news, Thomas? Car? Apartment?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 05:05 pm
mouthwash sampling fatigue?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 09:52 pm
Eva wrote:
So tell us, how was your first Christmas in the USA? I'm sure it must have been quite different for you.

Surprisingly, it wasn't. The process is almost identical. Same presents. Same tree -- except that my family uses a real tree with real candles, as I think do most German families. Similar rituals about dinner, unpacking presents, going to Church, and so forth.

One interesting discovery was "Hark the herald angels singing". I was surprised I didn't know it, because the music was written by Mendelssohn, one of Germany's most distinguished composers. After coming home from my Christmas trip, I Googled the song. It turns out that Mendelssohn didn't compose it as a Christmas song. He composed it as part of a cantata to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Johannes Gutenberg inventing the printing press. The English Methodists must then have coopted Mendelssohn's secular melody for John Wesley's text, which had until then been sung to some different melody.

This wasn't the only coopted melody I heard in the Methodist service I attended with my friends on December 25th. The other one belonged to a song about how god is love etc., and was copied from Marlene Dietrich's Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt. Dietrich first sang that song in Sternberg's movie Der Blaue Engel which marked her breakthrough into the movie business, and in which she played a rather cynical slut. I found it amusing and ironic to hear her melody in a Christmas song.

But these are details. Apart from these details, Christmas in America is pretty much like Christmas in Germany.

Diane wrote:
Listerine probably stocked up on those German deodorant cubes. Good idea, doncha think?

It's certainly a clever business idea. (Dr Pepper had it too: its taste is identical to the smell of German portaloo deodorant.)

Chai wrote:
Thomas, try the Listerine Orange Blast.

It's on my to-do list now; I'll report back to you!

patiodog wrote:
The Romans used urine and sand to brush their teeth back in the day, so mebbe your listerine association wasn't off the mark. Rather, it may reflect a noble (if despotic) heritage.

There are many reasons why the Romans were one of humanity's great civilizations. This wasn't one of them. (I admit I could use a slave though. Way too much work!)

Walter Hinteler wrote:
Any news, Thomas? Car? Apartment?

Yes to both! Cool I took possession of my car yesterday, signed my rental contract today, and will move in on February 1st.

ehBeth wrote:
mouthwash sampling fatigue?

Never! Mouthwash sampling is the purpose of my life! How could I ever get fatigued by it?
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 10:00 pm
ehBeth wrote:
mouthwash sampling fatigue?


You is a very funny girl.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 10:02 pm
Quote:
I took possession of my car yesterday

What are you possessing?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 10:51 pm
blatham wrote:
Quote:
I took possession of my car yesterday

What are you possessing?

Mercedes C240, four wheel drive, white, with beige interior.

In other words, my inner German chauvinist won.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 10:52 pm
Probably a little C-Star.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2008 10:53 pm
That was either a very apt prediction or a very quick response, Jane!
0 Replies
 
 

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