Jan
30
2008

The Sugar Daddy Returns

bya Phil at 11:27 PM

Hello all, this is Phil. The creator of this luxurious web page that is called something long. I’m here for a short post just to explain what I actually do. As you may know from Gabe, I’m in the computer business as a web developer. Countless words and phrases could attempt to explain the scientific and complicated algorithms that form the conglomerate that is my job, but I think this animated gif will explain more simply. A picture is worth a 1000… as they say…

Computers Suck

Categories: Uncategorized
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Jan
28
2008

Job Offers Galore

bya Gabrielle at 2:28 PM

People always say that once you’ve been offered a job, and you’ve accepted it, a half a dozen more will be laid at your feet.  Since being offered the job at USC(University of South Carolina) on Friday, I have been offered two different DSS(Department of Social Services) positions.

One was a Human Services Specialist in the food stamps department and the other was also a Human Services Specialist working in the Adult Protective Services department.  The one in the food stamps department only offered $20,248 a year.  I probably only would have taken that one if there were no other offers at the time.  The one in the ADS department was offering $28,000, a fairly nice sum of cash, but I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed old people with dementia trying to fight me.  I am all about helping people, but I don’t know how long I would have been able to do that.

USC hasn’t gotten my background check back in yet.  That should be coming in in the next fews days.  Once they get it, they will give me a definite start date.  I’ll be curious to hear whether or not I got the Blue Cross Blue Shields job.  I don’t really want it, I just want to find out what the salary is for the position.  They didn’t tell me in the interview and it wasn’t listed on their site either.

Well, I better get back to my cross stitching. I want to have this done before I start working. I’ll try thinking of another interesting China story.

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Jan
25
2008

Update: Employment

bya Gabrielle at 5:11 PM

I’M SO EXCITED, AND I JUST CAN’T HIDE IT!!!

I’M ABOUT TO LOSE CONTROL, AND I THINK I LIKE IT!!

Are you sitting down? Well, if you aren’t, plop your butt on a chair or a couch or something that has a surface. Float if you can. I don’t care.

I’ve been wanting to say this for a very, very, very long time, and today, I finally can.

I’VE GOT A JOB!!!

Go ahead, read the last sentence again, just in case you missed the key words. That’s right, I’ve got a job, and the best part is that it is the one job I really wanted. I can now shout from the roof tops that I am now an employee of the University of South Carolina as a Human Resources Specialist. That is of course, God willing, that my SLED background check comes back clean. There is no reason that is shouldn’t, but my friend Shaun said that a long time ago he got arrested and told the cops he was me. Since I know that was him just being funny, I know that come February 1st or 4th, I won’t be sleeping in like I’ve become accustomed to. Instead, I will be in pretty business attire, trying my hand in the employment office.

I’m so excited, I really am. When I got the call,I knew it was the University calling because my caller ID gave me the prefix of 777. I closed my eyes and said, “Please, God, let this be good news.”

The woman, who is soon to be my supervisor, I think, didn’t come right out and say that I had the job, so I thought it was going to be bad news. I couldn’t read her voice at all. And then those magical words filled my ears. “We would like to offer you the position.” I probably sounded way too excited. “Are you serious?!” I said. She informed me that she was, and I started screaming internally and jumping silently up and down on my couch.

When I closed my phone, I literally screamed, and then I cried, and then I screamed some more. And then I reopened my phone and started calling every human being I knew.

I’ll close this in saying thank you to all of those who wished me well. I really appreciate it. Now, I can start writing my own version of “The Office”. :)

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Jan
24
2008

Once Upon a Time in China Part 3: The Story of the Crazy Flower Lady

bya Gabrielle at 5:44 PM

Because this story comes from the very beginning of my China adventure, it is a bit fuzzy and a little hard to put into words. It was however, one of the funnier things that happened to me in China, and I will probably never forget it. Just in case this memory falls into the murky depths of my mind and I can’t ever retrieve it, I’m going to put it in to print.

Probably sometime in early September 2006

One night, in Fuyang, a group of us, Phil, Tim, Vanessa, Mayia, and myself, decided to peruse the streets to see what the city had to offer us after eating a dinner of noodles. We decided to start with the street that runs parallel to the Fuchun River. It is a pretty street to walk at night with all the lights of the businesses. In the months to come, we would walk this street often. It was the street that we would take to get to Champion Pizza(千尊比萨), one of our favorite western-like restaurants near the apartment, or to find a bar if the day called for a stiff drink.

We had only been walking for a few minutes when a woman stepped out of one of the bars lining the street. The situation seemed normal at first, but that quickly changed. Almost immediately, she recognized that we weren’t Chinese(not very difficult when there are only 8 or so westerners in a city of 600,000 Chinese) and started running toward us full speed.

It took us a minute to figure out what in the world she was shaking in the air all crazy like as she approached us. Finally, our eyes were able to focus and discovered it was a bundle of roses in her hand. She started in on this spiel that none of us could understand verbally, but her motions were pretty obvious. She wanted us to buy one of her roses really, really bad.

We were very polite and told her we didn’t want one(in Chinese) and then turned to continue on our way. She followed after us as though she had not heard a single word we had just said. After about a block, we realized this woman meant business, and that she wasn’t going to let us get away. We stopped and tried explaining again that we didn’t want the flower(again in Chinese – several times). She persisted. She even tried to put one of the flowers in Phil’s hand. He pushed it back toward her. She pushed back. We attempted to walk away again, this time a little faster, but she continued to follow us.

At this point, we were all laughing hysterically, at least Vanessa, Mayia, and I were. My eyes were even beginning to water. Just so you know, it takes a lot to make me laugh, and even more to make me laugh so hard that tears stream down my face. This was just about one of the funniest things I had ever seen. It’s funny now, just thinking about it, but maybe this is one of those instances where you have to be there to truly understand just how funny something was.

We ran, yes ran, a little ways, and the woman ran after us. Finally, Tim stopped and walked over to her and took one of the roses out of her hand. I thought he was just going to buy one to make her leave us alone – I doubt they were very expensive. Instead, he told her one more time(again in Chinese) that he did not want the flower and placed it on the ground in front of her. Tim turned and started walking toward us. We had made our way down the street by this point, but could still see what was going on.

The woman got very quiet for a second, looked down at the flower, and then bent down to pick it up. As though nothing had just happened, she added the flower to her bundle and started pleading with Tim to buy one again. I was like, “Wow, this woman has some determination!” The tears of laughter were really coming down at this point.

And that is when we decided we just had to run, really run, to get away from the crazy flower lady. Down the street we ran – one block, two block – and she still kept coming after us! I just could not believe it. Finally, somewhere around the third block, the woman stopped. We ran another block or so before we stopped ourselves just in case she caught her breath and decided to come after us some more.

When we finally felt the woman was really gone, we started walking and enjoying the lights and the river view. We laughed the rest of the night and told the story to the rest of our western friends when got home. We made sure to take a different route home, just in case we ran into the crazy flower lady again.

In case you are wondering, the locals had a good laugh as well. They of course knew what the woman was saying, and we could only assume. And that is the story of the crazy flower lady. I hope you enjoyed it.

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Jan
23
2008

Update: Unemployment

bya Gabrielle at 12:43 PM

One of these days, this update has to end.

Early this morning, I had an interview with another DSS location, this time for the position of an Adult Protection Services worker. The interview went fairly well and the pay isn’t bad. I could definitely live on $28,000 a year. I had to sign yet another SLED background check form. By the time I get a job, SLED is going to know me on a first name basis. They also wanted to get fingerprints, but the woman that does that sort of thing wasn’t there.  I’ll have to go back to have that done.  Before they can even offer me a job, they have to get the results back on the background and my fingerprints.

Well, I guess I passed my writing test because tomorrow, I have an interview with Blue Cross Blue Shields for the position of Instructional Writer I.  I was a little nervous when I got the call because the woman on the phone was a bit hesitant when she began talking to me.  I thought she was trying to figure out the best way to tell me that I failed and that I could retake the test in six months if I wished, but she was only double checking whom I would be interviewing with and where.  At this point, I have no idea what the salary for the position is or when they expect to fill it.  I’m just psyched that I have the opportunity to interview for the position.  I mean, I don’t know many other jobs that I qualify for out there that are directly related to my degree in English.  I just hope they don’t expect me to have a lot of professional writing experience.  I can write all day on just about anything, but my writing has never been my bread and butter.  I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.  I’ll be interested in what they have to say.

Hopefully, I’ll hear from USC this week and the news will be good.  I’ve got every finger, toe, and hair crossed.   If there is a psychic reading this post, can you please leave a comment telling me how all this is going to work out?  Thanks!

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Jan
22
2008

Cooking With Gabby Girl: Fudge Cookies

bya Gabrielle at 2:48 PM

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Well, as promised, I cooked my fudge cookies this past weekend and had Phil film me. This is my first attempt at a “cooking show”, so bare with me and don’t laugh too hard. All the thanks goes to Phil. He filmed and edited the entire thing. I hope you enjoy watching it. Oh, and even though the cookies look like little piles of poo, they taste like anything but. Heh. Now get in your kitchen and try making it for yourself! I will try to think of something else to cook for you guys soon.

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Jan
18
2008

Update: Unemployment

bya Gabrielle at 4:41 PM

As I see it, I am the closest to landing a job since I first started looking in September.  I had my second interview with University of South Carolina today, and I think it went about as well as it could have. It was a rather interesting interview.  I met the woman I had my initial interview with and she drove me to the office where I was to meet the person who would be conducting my second interview.   It was a first for me, having someone drive me to another location.    It wasn’t very far.  We just had to drive a few blocks down the street.  Basically, she wanted this second person to talk to me and the other remaining candidate before she made her final decision.  We talked for about 50 or so minutes about my strengths, weaknesses, why I wanted the job, a little about my past jobs, a little about my China experience and a few other odds and ends.  He had me sign a few documents.  You know, the one that says if you get hired and we find out you lied, we’ll fire you, and we are going to do a background check on you, if you are hiding anything, we’ll found out about it!  Heh, I’ve got nothing to hide. I have a blog for crying out loud.  :)

Yesterday, I went and had my interview at the Agape English Language Institute.  The guy is not even sure whether or not he will need someone, but if he does, he’ll find out in the beginning of March.  It would only be for 21 hours a week and he may be able to pay up to $15 an hour.  If you do the math, that would be $16,380 a year before taxes.  I just don’t know if this option is going to work out or not.  Plus, I don’t think there are any benefits.  If it was a full time position, it would be a completely different story.  Also, he asked me a question that I have never, ever been asked in an interview.  He asked me what my religion was.  I wanted to say, hey, that’s illegal, you can’t ask me that.  I really didn’t care though.  It didn’t offend me or anything.  I just thought it was a very awkward question.   I told him that I was raised Christian, and then he wanted to know what denomination I was.  I said that I was a Baptist and thought his religious questions were over, but no, he wanted to know if I had a church home in the area.  I was like, gees, do you want to know when I was baptized, too?  He was asking all of these questions because he wants all the students to be surrounded by people with good values and morals.  That’s understandable, but that question is still illegal!  Grr.

I haven’t heard back from any of the DSS locations or Blue Cross Blue Shields.  I guess I’ll hear from them one way or another soon.  I feel really good about the USC position though.  I haven’t felt this positive about a job yet, so maybe it’s a sign or something.  I’ll supposedly find out next week who they chose – me or the other girl.  I’m gonna attach my phone to my hip and jump each and every time that it rings.  If I get the job, I’ll start either February 1st or 15th.  Things are looking up, though, I guess.  Now, if only things will fall into place.

Well, sushi is calling, I better get going.  Thank you all for your words of encouragement and good wishes.  I appreciate it.  One of these days I’ll get a job, and I’ll be able to change the title of these posts to Update: Employed.  Heh.  That would be nice.

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Jan
17
2008

Welcome to Earth

bya Gabrielle at 11:04 PM

Name: Seth Aryln Cook

Born: 01-16-2008

Time: 2:41 am

Length: 22 inches

Weight: 9 lbs 5 oz

Seth Aryln Cook

Seth dreaming of what it will be like to one day rule this blue planet .

Seth Aryln Cook

Seth reminiscing good ole’ days in the womb.

Seth Aryln Cook

“This is the cheek I want embossed on the coin you make in my honor,” Seth said. “Yes, I know I am beautiful, thank you.”

Categories: Uncategorized
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Jan
17
2008

Check This Out: Peer-See

bya Gabrielle at 12:02 AM

I usually leave links to blogs I like and visit over to the right, and let my visitors choose if they too want to take a gander. However, today I was perusing those blogs and came across a post that totally made my day. This could be because I can relate to it after my year and three day stint in China(I love saying that), but I think just about anyone can read it and laugh. If you have never been to China, this post paints a perfect picture of just how crazy China can get. And when I say crazy, I don’t mean a bad crazy. It’s the kind of crazy that makes you get up every day because you can never fully expect what the day has in store for you.

This particular post is about Emily having to return a breast pump back to Jusco, a high end retail food store chain in China. Emily is currently living in Qingdao, China with her husband, Joshua, and their baby, Artemis. As I have said many times on this blog, nothing in China is easy. Returning a breast pump, as you can imagine, is no exception. It is funny though. It’s one for the books, that’s for sure. I thank her for sharing.

Well, I don’t want to jibber jabber all day. I’ll let her post do all the talking. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Just follow the links below.

If you want to go directly to the post, click here.

Or if you want to go to the blog, click here. You should at least go to the blog and check it out.

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Jan
16
2008

Coming Soon to a Computer Near You: Cooking with Gabby Girl

bya Gabrielle at 8:50 PM

Your eyes have not deceived you. You read the title of this post right. This Maniac is indeed going to start, or at least attempt to start her own cooking show. No, my unemployment has not made me go mad. I was mad way before I became jobless. : ) So, why you ask? Well, it’s simple. I’ve got this fancy new camera that I haven’t used at all lately, and a bunch of yummy recipes that I think people would like to munch on. Plus, Phil volunteered to be my camera man. Well, actually, I begged, and he finally agreed. So, if you throw all of those wonderful reasons together, you’ll get the same answer I did. Why not? That’s more of a question than an answer, but you understand.

I hope to film my very first episode this weekend after I help Phil move into his new apartment, but I am not going to promise anything. I think I will start with what I know best – cookies and other types of sweets. I’m a mean, green, baking machine, baby! If things go well, I may venture into dinners and what not. I guess only time will tell. So, stay tuned. Soon, I will be showing you all how to make one of my favorite quick treats – fudge cookies. My mouth is salivating just thinking about them. They are so good that they are impossible to keep in my house. My brother keeps eating them all.

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