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Snowy London

Chủ đề trong 'Anh (English Club)' bởi wbguy, 03/02/2009.

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  1. wbguy

    wbguy Thành viên quen thuộc

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    Some pictures about London under my eyes... Enjoy
  2. wbguy

    wbguy Thành viên quen thuộc

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    Some pictures about London under my eyes... Enjoy
    Hmmm...
    It looks like that I cannot upload the pictures to this site, even I asked the guy from IT in London to give me his best and fastest router port to me. Here is the message that I got:
    Active Server Pages error ''ASP 0113''
    Script timed out
    /forum/UploadEngine.asp
    The maximum amount of time for a script to execute was exceeded. You can change this limit by specifying a new value for the property Server.ScriptTimeout or by changing the value in the IIS administration tools.

    It looks like one of the main server (www10) does not handle the bandwidth well, nor its backup (www3, www5, www2...). That is too bad. Definitely, those IT guys from TTVNOL should look more into the issues of how to handle growth, volume and traffic for the group...
    I took quite a few pictures from the trips that I went and visit the Imperial War Museum, the National Galery, the strip mall at Oxford Circus, Picadilly, the posh shops at Canary Wharf, before the white stuffs came down. With the biggest snowstorm in the last 18 years, I admire the Brits their coolness in handle the situation... The train schedule disrupted, no cab from the hotel to work, airports closed (London has 4 airports: Heathrow, City, Gatwick and Luton). It looks like my details for my work schedule need to be changed. I advise my colleage from Florida to go and make a reservation at another hotel near Heathrow on the night before his flight to go back to the States, otherwise there is another bigger strom come in today. Out of 11 members in my team, only 5 showed up, Steve - my on-site representative in London - & I decided to send them home since the 3 staff , out of 15, from customer did now show up neither. A lot of people have to walk (and bike in the snow!!!), to go to work. We sent them home early so that they can work from home.
    More later, I need to go back to work....
  3. mtt_2503

    mtt_2503 Thành viên mới

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    TTVNOL dạo này rất chậm. ko biết do mạng hay do máy nhà em T_T. Em vẫn thấy có người post ảnh lên trong topic BE.... ngày hôm qua thì phải. Bác vào box BE đấy, ấn reply xem đoạn code của người ta làm rồi thay link ảnh của họ bằng link ảnh của mình là được.Bác post ảnh cũng lưu ý quy định về post ảnh trong box ở topic dính phía trên.
    Hope this helps.
  4. wbguy

    wbguy Thành viên quen thuộc

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    In the last three days, I have seen a lot of this city. London, in my opinion, is like a woman at her middle stage in life. Not as young as Minneapolis, not as hip as San Francisco, as vibrant as Chicago, but she has her charm in her thirties. I consider New York City is an old lady in her fiftiesõ?Ư What a comparison, it is quite unfair for the New Yorkers, but that is my own opinion. (Grin on my face!). London has a lot to offer though. She has a stock for her free museums (not like Paris, Zurich, or Rome) for her citizens to appreciate the arts. In some areas, London is growing up (and sure, there are pains that come with its growth too). I was impressed with the expansion of Canary Wharf area, it is an outstanding location for business prowess, truly international. No wonder London is a top-notch city for her Footsie Index in the financial world. Many major banks in the US have it foothold here, and quite imposing too with its big signs. I am never getting bored with big citiesõ?Ư
    On Saturday, it was an exploratory day after I get off from the plane, straight from DFW, on the plane I sit by a British gentleman, and we became friend after 9 hrs of flight. He was an officer with British Army, went through his military training in Northern Ireland when he was at Sandhurst, the first Gulf War, and a stint in Sarawak - that famous school that I have some knowledge about it õ?" We had some common interests and the talks could go on if the flight is longer. It was nice of him to offer me two bottles of Chilean wines when we dined together on the plane. We exchanged our contacts and would try to meet again in a pub before I leave London. I learned a lot from himõ?Ư A wise and a quite a gentleman.
    To leave the Heathrow (LHR) airport, you can take the tube, it is cheaper, but slower, it would take 45 minutes to get to central London, but there is another train service with faster service to central London, go directly from LHR to Padington station. It takes only 15 minutes. I bought a round trip ticket for 31 GBP. From Padington station, then you can take the underground (they call the Tube) to go about town and its suburbs. The tube has concentric circles called zones, and the cost of ticket depend on going from a zone to another one. It is quite efficient and effective. It is cheaper if you buy a card called Oyster Card, and you can recharge the card with cre*** card too. You may consider to buy a ticket with unlimited trip for a day or three day or a week. It is fun to explore the city with the tube.
    I was able to see the Imperial War Museum (IWM). This year it offers new series on James Bond. I do not know the connection well, except that Mr. Bond work with MI5 or MI6, hence there are a lot of souvenirs and trinkets for it. I had watched a lot of movies and TV series from IWM, but this was my first time to visit the source. I believe they generate quality and meaningful produces about war. Some of its movies are quite poignant and good with its European flairs. With its reputation, I was take aback for the size of its buildings. Mainly, its has three stories, and an underground for its war time reconstruction and the Trench warfare of the World War I. You can go and feel about living con***ion in a submarine, a step to a Handley Page bomber to listen to conversation between its pilots and the fighter escorts. I think the most outstanding displays are the exprriences of Londonian children during the WWII, and the trench warfare. It is quite realistic with its urine smell pervaded throughout the tour. There is a small display of the Holocaust, but I did not have chance to see. Enough for war! Sure, there is a room display for war artists too. It makes your mind wander moreõ?Ư
  5. wbguy

    wbguy Thành viên quen thuộc

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    I thought I shared this URL link for the pictures of London recently... Has been busy working in the last 10 days. Enjoy the pics! Cheers

    http://s573.photobucket.com/albums/ss178/hlwbguy/London-Feb2009/

  6. wbguy

    wbguy Thành viên quen thuộc

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    Rời IWM, tôi chủ tâm đi coi National Gallery, tiện thể mua một vài món quà nghệ thuật cho những người mình yêu thích ở phía bên kia của Đại Tây Dương. National Galley ở Luân Đôn la một trong những viện nghệ thuật nổi tiếng nhất trên thế giới. Đa số những chương trình chính là về tranh ảnh và nghệ thuật hội họa, hơn là điêu khắc hoặc âm nhạc, mặc dù thỉnh thoảng cũng có những chương trình hòa tấu và âm nhạc. Trong tuần tôi đi thăm, có chương trình nhạc của Belle Shenkman Music programme, và thỉnh thoảng có những buổi hòa tấu vào buổi trưa.
    Chương trình chính là về tranh ảnh có từ thời Trung Cổ đến thời thế kỷ thứ 20. Đi coi tranh kỳ này như tôi thì cũng như là cưỡi ngựa xem hoa, kiểu tourist như mình thì chắc là không thưởng thức gì được cho sâu đậm cả. Không có thời giờ nghiên cứu trước, nên thôi thì đành theo thị hiếu, ít ra cũng biết cái gì, ở đâu, nghe người ta nói cái gì rồi sau này (khi thành ông già lụ khụ) sẽ từ từ xem kỹ hơn.
    Viện có một số (không nhiều lắm) những tranh ảnh của những danh họa của Ý, Tây Ban Nha, Pháp và Hoà Lan như: Leornard Da Vinci thì ai cũng biết, Micheolangelo và Titian là hai người mà tôi cũng thích xem tranh của họ, nhất là những tác phẩm hoặc những kiến trúc tại thành La Mã thì không chê vào đâu được, một số tranh của Velázquez về phụ nữ khỏa thân gợi lên những cảm giác và xúc động cá nhân qua những lần đi Tây Ban Nha, vào thành phố Tolédo để tìm những hứng cảm sâu đậm về đức chúa Jesus dưới con mắt của một người theo đạo Phật, và Valázquez đã để lại một vào ấn tượng này trong cuộc sống của mình. Ngoài ra còn có một số tranh siêu thực (hay là trừu tượng) của Picasso ?" Tôi thừa nhận là mình chưa cảm nhận được tranh của Picasso, mặc dù đã cố tình đọc thêm sách nhưng thôi, cũng đành chiu, chắc là do tôi không có khiếu thưởng thức hội họa- Một số tranh của thiên tài Van Gogh qua những bức tranh tĩnh hoặc những đóa hoa hướng dương màu nâu. Dĩ nhiên là tranh của Monet nữa, tranh của ông thì thường vẽ về vùng Normandie. Tấm tôi chủ tâm vào xem lần này là tấm ?~The Thames and The Partliament?T. Định mua 1 cái T-shirt với bức tranh đó, nhưng mà sao mắc thế. Nhưng về đến nhà lại tiếc là tại sao mình không mua? Tổng quát, đó là tranh của những danh họa chính ở thế giới thôi, mỗi một người thì cũng có khoảng chừng 5,6 tấm tiêu biểu của những họa sỹ này, có thể những bức tranh này quá đắt nên ngay cái National Gallery cũng không mua nổi chăng?
    Ngoài những tác phẩm của những tác gia quá nổi tiếng, National Gallery cũng có trình bày các tác phẩm của những họa sỹ đương thời, hoặc ít nổi tiếng, nhưng có thể được nổi tiếng sau này. Nói chung thì những xứ Âu Tây đều có những chương trình để yểm trợ cho việc phát triển văn học và nghệ thuật, và đề tài chính được nằm trong ngân sách không những ở cấp tỉnh mà còn ở cấp quận, và cũng không thiếu gì những Mạnh Thường Quân để trang trải cho những chi phí này. Và dĩ nhiên khi anh bỏ tiền ra để yểm trợ nghệ thuật thì cũng được khấu trừ thuế cuối năm, vui vẻ cả làng! Các nghệ sỹ mới ra trường hoặc mới ra lò, đều được xin những tài trợ để triển lãm hoặc xin làm con gà nhỏ trong làng nghệ thuật bang cách xin vào trong những chương trình tương tự như ?oArts Incubation? (?oChương trình Ấp trứng Nghệ thuật?) để cho các nghệ sỹ chỉ để ý đến việc phát triển nghệ thuật của mình thôi, còn vấn đề ăn ỏ thì có cơ quan bảo trợ rồi?Nghệ nhân của người ta là thế đó.
    Vào cửa National Gallery thì miễn phí, thỉnh thoảng có những chương trình đặ biệt, ví dụ như nếu mượn được những tranh của các Art Galleries của các quốc gia khác hoặc trao đổi với những bảo tàng viên nghệ thuật thì sẽ có trình diễn những tác phẩm mới, và khi vào có những tác phẩm này thì phải lấy phụ thu để phụ vào vấn đề chi phí cho bảo tàng viên.
    Trong tuần, bảo tàng viên cũng có những chương trình giáo dục con em để biết thêm về cách thưởng thức những tác phẩm này. Tôi thấy có những lớp dạy vẽ cho những người lớn tuổi. Và trong ngày, cũng có ít nhất là 2 hoặc 3 tours miễn phí để giới thiệu những tác phẩm. Hèn chi mà dân Tây Âu sớm biết hưởng thụ sự phong phú của văn hóa, phát triển tư duy sớm hơn. Đi về các xứ Á châu thì mình cũng khó biết làm thé nào để biết thêm về văn hóa cả, có ai hỏi mình thử về tiến trình nghệ thuật từ khi khai quốc đến bây giờ thì cũng chịu thôi. Khó mà hình dung được nghệ thuật hoặc đặc trưng văn hóa, vì ít khi nào thấy hoặc được học hỏi cho đến nơi đến chốn. Có những người bạn Mỹ trắng hỏi tôi về đến Sài Gòn thì coi cái gì thì tôi chỉ biết nghẹn ngào cười thôi chỉ tay thì vào trong cái nhà trắng lớn nhất ở Sài Gòn mà coi cho đỡ buồn vậy nghe!!! Ôi quê hương muôn thuả với 4000 năm văn hiến?
    Rời Viện nghệ thuật National Gallery, tôi định đi xem thêm 1 vài cảnh quan nữa, trước khi nhập cuộc làm việc ngày mai, vào ngày Chủ Nhật!! Nhưng khi đến trạm xe điện ngầm Bank, đó là trạm mà mọi người nên tránh vì bất tiện để chuyển xe, nhất là những du khách hoặc là du học sinh, kệ nệ với những cái valises nặng mà phải đi lên đi xuống những tam cấp cao. Tôi có thấy 1 cô du học sinh nhỏ người nhưng lại kệ nệ với 1 cái valise to tướng, lại thêm 2, 3 xách tay nữa, mặt mày đỏ kè vì phải vất vả với những đồ đạc lỉnh kỉnh. Tôi thấy cũng có 1 vài phụ nữ người Anh giúp khiêng, nhưng tôi đoán biết la hành lý chắc là nặng lắm, và hơn nữa những người này vội vã trên đường về nhà. Tôi đứng lại, tỏ lời để giúp, thì cô ta nhận lời ngay. Thôi thì mình có thời giờ thì làm 1 việc thiện vậy. Khiêng 1 valise tôi cũng không khiêng nỗi, phải vác trên lưng sau khi tôi đưa cái back pack của tôi cho cô ta mang, tôi đưa cô ta đến 2 trạm xe điện ngầm nữa, rồi đến trạm Paddington để lấy xe lửa nổi (over-ground train) để đi về phi trường Heathrow. Trời cũng có mắt để rồi đến phiên mình đóng vai trò của cô bé kia trong một hoàn cảnh ngặc nghèo hơn và lạnh lẽo hơn ngay trong ngày thứ Hai bão tuyết?
    Đi như vậy là hết một ngày ở Luân Đôn thứ bảy, vẫn chưa buồn ngủ, mặc dù trên máy bay cũng không được ngủ nhiều lắm. Trở về khách sạn tôi gọi điện thoại cho một vài người bạn thân và chuẩn bị cho một ngày mới?dù ngày mai?có dự báo rằng thời tiết có một trận bão lớn sắp đến. Chiều đến là trời đã trở lạnh?Tôi tiên đoán rằng chuyến đi Luân Đôn này không phải dễ ăn như những chuyến đi khác, quá nhiều khúc mắt và?những điều uẩn khúc.Tôi có nói với boss trưới khi đi l à ?oI have butterflies in my stomach?. Chỉ được một điểm là mình hưởng được thêm sự phục vụ và cảnh chăn êm, nệm ấm của tập đoàn Marriott ở Docklands.
    SNOW, WORK, WORK, DRINK, WORK?
    Trong chuyến đi Luân Đôn kỳ này, vừa đi làm vừa định đi chơi để biết rõ thêm về thành phố Luân Đôn và một thành phố phụ cận như Hải Quân của Hải Quân Hoàng gia Anh (Royal Navy) Portsmouth chẳng hạn. Đây là một chuyến đi đầy thử thách đối với tôi, vì có nhiều điều mình không biết hoặc không nắm vững vấn đề, mặc dù đã bàn tham mưu và các bạn đồng nghiệp ở bên Anh và bên Áo về tình hình của khách hàng. Trước đó 2 tháng thì người sếp tôi cũng đã qua thăm một vài lần và biết được ý định và ý muốn của khách hàng rồi, bây giờ chỉ gọi cho đúng người qua để chiều khách và áp dụng một số nguyên tắc, và tạo một mẫu chuẩn, những quy trình mới để thực hiện cho những khách hàng khác trong tương lai gần.
    Công việc tương đối khá phức tap: Bên phía ta: Tôi sẽ là người đại diện cho hãng để điều hành công tác và kiêm nhiệm vụ technical advisor và chịu trách nhiệm về vấn đề kỹ thuật, tôi sẽ có một anh đồng nghiệp tên là Steve với chức vụ Head of UK Operations. Công việc xong thì tôi sẽ trở lại Hoa Kỳ những Steve sẽ ở lại mà chịu đòn của khách hàng. Đây gọi là mượn đầu heo nấu cháo, nên đơn vị thực hiện công trình lại là một công ty khác ở bên Anh mà chúng tôi đã giao khoán công trình cho. Đơn vị này là một công ty có nhiều năm kinh nghiệm về thực hiện công tác này mà anh Steve đã chọn từ 3 công ty khác. Sẽ có 8 kỹ sư và 1 kỹ sư trưởng trong toán đó sẽ làm việc với tôi: Tất cả những vấn đề kỹ thuật máy móc và software của công tác này thì lại thuộc sở hữu của một công ty khác ở Florida, công ty đó nhỏ thôi, chừng 20-25 nhân viên, cho nên người huấn luyện các kỹ sư của công ty outsource là ông Joe, CEO của hãng đó. Ông Joe sẽ bay từ Florida và sẽ gặp tôi ở phi trường Heathrow, rồi sẽ trở về khách sạn gần chúng tôi để dễ ăn uống và làm việc. Tôi biết ông Joe hơn 2 năm qua và cũng thực hiện một vài công tác chung từ trước. Như vậy phía bên ta thì chỉ có 3 công ty liên đới với nhau. Phối hợp mọi người để thực hiện một mục đích chung cũng tương đối khó rồi.
    Bên khách hàng: Cũng không đơn giản gì cho lắm: Công ty chính mà chúng tôi giao kèo là một đại công ty ở Anh Quốc, công ty này ngược lại cũng out-source cho một công ty khác, một đại công ty ở bên Hoa Kỳ, để lo vấn đề tổ chức, điều hành và liên lạc với những công ty như chúng tôi để thực hiện những công việc hệ trọng này. Cho nên bên khách hàng có tới 2 công ty mà chúng tôi phải nhận diện được nhân viên tiếp xúc với mình, các managers và senior managers để làm việc hàng ngày và nhất là các anh senior VP ký thầu?và hiểu rõ nhu cầu của hai công ty này.
    Nói tóm lại, sẽ có 5 công ty quốc tế liên đới với nhau để thực hiện một công việc chung tại Luân Đôn, cho nên vấn đề điều hành, liên lạc, biết được ai là ai, làm điều gì, máy móc, các chỉ tiêu (processes, procedures), các mốc, ăn ở, báo cáo, yểm trợ?đều phải được hoạch định định kỳ, không thôi thì dễ đưa đến hiểu lầm và công tác đi đến chỗ bế tắc hoặc không thành. Vấn đề huấn luyện kỹ thuật và áp dụng kỹ thuật, thông thường là phần ít nhức đầu nhất trong một công tác như thế này, những việc nhức đầu nhất là tài chính, hiểu lầm, thời gian tính, và?nhân sự. Hơn nữa, mỗi công ty đều có một mục đích?làm tiền khác nhau, nên phối hợp để làm chung cũng càng nhiều điều tế nhị và khéo léo. Phía sau lưng của mỗi công ty đều có một phân bộ lo về vấn đề kỹ thuật hoặc tài chính để yểm trợ. Trước khi đi, tôi đã ước đoán được số tiền mà mình phải tiêu, đã được chấp nhận vì lần này thì khách hàng trả tiền cho tôi và anh Steve.
    Trước khi máy bay hạ cánh ở phi trường Heathrow, thì anh Steve text báo cho tôi biết là vì bận những hợp đồng với các khách hàng lớn khác, anh ta chỉ đến được giúp tôi một ngày thôi, còn những ngày còn lại thì anh ta phải chạy lo cho các khách hàng sắp có khác. Nên tôi sẽ có người on-site manager đại diện cho công tác này?Tôi cũng không ngờ sẽ có ngày mình sẽ ăn?quả tạ như lần này. Chỉ có nước cắn răng chịu đòn thôi qua cái kinh nghiệm international business như thế này!!! No bus, no cabs, no trains, not even bike?thì làm ăn gì được. Mỗi ngày chậm trễ thì công ty bên tôi bị phạt nặng vì tôi chậm trễ công trình. Và với thời buổi này thì không công ty nào muốn bị hao tài thêm cả?Một cái bẫy to mà mình đang đi vào mà không biết?
    Tối thứ bảy tôi ráng đi tìm loại bia Kronenburg để mà uống cho đỡ thèm, vì bên Mỹ không có. Bia Kronenburg sau này dã được đổi tiên thành bia 1664. Bia bên Anh thì mắc thật, ít nhất là gấp đôi so với giá tiền bia bên Mỹ, rượu chát thì giá ngang ngửa thôi, tuy nhiên tìm một chai rượu đỏ của vùng Sonoma ở Calif thì cũng đỏ con mắt? Thức ăn của người Anh thì chẳng có gì gọi là khoái khẩu cả, tiêu biểu là fish and chip, mấy thức ăn này thì chịu thôi, khô khan, chắc là không ngửi được. Thôi chắc cũng ráng bỏ thời giờ để mà đi cái nhà hàng Dockmaster?Ts House cũng ở gần khách sạn để thưởng thức món ăn Ấn Độ có gì mới lạ không, cũng để nhớ đến những ngày lang thang ở Bangalore làm cho TATA Consultancy. Vậy mà cái nhà hàng này cũng có thể được lên một sao của Michelin rồi đó. À tối hôm đó tôi cũng đánh mất cái mũ len của UIC rồi, thôi thì cũng được đi, chấm dứt cho một kỷ niệm đắng chát không hay ho gì lắm, move on!
  7. wbguy

    wbguy Thành viên quen thuộc

    Tham gia ngày:
    21/09/2003
    Bài viết:
    219
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    0
    Sunday
    As usual, I got up early to do some walking/jogging at a new location, to smell new fresh air, to look at the river Thames in the early morning in the wintry time. Landscape offers different perspectives when there is no people around you. It was tranquil and serene. The Thames hardly moves. There are some die hard seagulls standing on flotsams slowly passed by. Any location, the physical arrangement reflects the mental and the spirit state of the local people. Looking at things I wonder why they are there. Canary Wharf is a nice place and quite modern. It is served as a banking hub for London. They provide a lot of conveniences for people who work there, several shopping malls, groceries, fast food stalls, a lot of up scale, trendy restaurants and the prevalent scene of pubs. As a 5 star hotel, the Marriott at Dockland has its own restaurant and a few bars.
    I intended to do a breakfast there when I was back to the hotel, but when I got there Steve with Joe at the passenger seat were already there. They were early to pick me up to go to the branch office for the training of 10 engineers from the out-source company. Even though, I apologized to Steve of not being in proper clothing. Rushing upstairs, I changed to the formal suit-and-tie for the first encounter with the engineer group. I do not need to, but I thought it would create a good impression for them for the first encounter, never known what you may get into or whom you are going to see, I just want to be polite and respectful. In a previous conversation between Steve, Joe & I, on the dress code, we understood that no Jeans pants for this type of work at the customer site.
    Steve has a nice Audi car, quite compact, not too fancy, but solid and functional. I think it maneuver well in the same class of a Lexus, an Infiniti, or even a BMW. Steve does not drive to work though, he took the train, if necessary. Most of the guys (there is 1 gal in that office) come to the office only 1 or 2 day a week for meetings, otherwise they would be at customer sitê? I made the same mistake of walking to the driver seat as I usually do in the US, the driving wheel is on the right hand side of the car? Joe was happy to see me, we shook hands like long-lost friends, and exchanged pleasantries, peppered with some US jokes that Steve would vaguely guess what we so joyful talked about. Joe was more formal than me, with grey long coat, button-down, fit the image of a CEO. Joe is a Floridian. I never like Florida with its humid, torrid heat in the summer. I prefer the bitter cold and snow rather than the heat, very unusual for a thin-skinned Asian?
    Steve drove us around, then to central London, and gave us a view of the city, a short history of the locality, then on to the corporate office for training. It is interesting that driving to Central London during the weekday costs a lot of money. It cost 8 GBP if you drive your car into an area of 8 square miles, they have cameras to take the car license plate, and you need to pay the fee within 24 hrs at a gas station or a convenient store. The fee would increase if you do not pay in that period. During the weekday, the street are packed, it is quite troublesome to drive in London, or Paris, or Rome. I drove in Paris before, with the biggest minivan that I could find, but in UK, with the driving on the left side, I prefer to be a passenger. The roads are winding and accident-prone. It is too narrow (as compare with what we have in the US). I think the US roads are designed for other gentler gender, and in UK, or in Europe in general, for those with a car racing mentality. No wonder that Europeans are winning more and more at Formula One racing.
    Steve took us to a non descriptive café near the office for a full breakfast since we three anticipated there would be a long day ahead. I had shipped the equipment ahead from my home in California, hence it is just a matter to re-check the equipment and making sure that they are functional and ready for the training. In general, I like the offices in the US than in UK, they are wider, designed with business functions in mind, and ? changed quite often to meet the needs of new environment, new corporate images, especially in Silicon valley. Definitely the parking lot are big and spacious? People how learn who to drive a car would take their cars to corporate parking lot for practice in US. There is no way that you can do that in Europe. My thinking is: Practically there is no parking lot in Central London, parking space, yes, parking lot, nô?
    I set up the equipment, then tested them out, I asked Joe for the new version of the software that he so proudly boasted. I discussed with him on the testing methodology, the testing cycle, and also the benchmark tests that he had with the new version. I was careful, but I was wrong not pressing him further in using the current version. We downloaded it on all of the machines, did some tests and it looked ok. When the group of engineers came, they all came by train and in a big group. That is another different from the US. In US each person will drive their own car, and will come at different time. Steve introduced Joe and myself to everyone and vice versa. Via their names, I guessed that they or their family had been in this land for many generation. There were Armstrong, Langley, McDermott, Corrie, Bellingham, Beber, McDonough, Murray and Wilson. I tried to memorize their names and their faces, at least their first name, to make sure that I could address them later on the first name basis. For sure, they all had a hard time to pronounce my Vietnamese name, and my last name as well. I have a way to correct people to say my name correctly, and ask them to pronounce it the way that I would like to hear - When I became a US citizen, I did not want me to became another John or Dave or Henry or Tony or whatever name... It does not fit my style. Heck, there is nothing wrong with my name, people will get used to it, eventually. I left my name the way it is since I feel that is my name and it is true me. As a matter of fact, I fought many valiant fistfights in elementary and middle schools when other kids called my name, or another bad version of it, in vain. I like to be on an equal playing field with everyone that I came into contact with my life, and my name is part of that game.
    I grew up with my name and very comfortable to say it aloud. Changing my name in the middle of my life does not sound right. I consider that my parents gave me a name to live, and as a token of grace and respect to my parents, I will keep that name. I feel strongly about my name, and who knows, someday, I could become a very famous person, and I do have a brand of my name on the things that associated with me, then I don?Tt need to change my name back, a bemusing thought ?" For sure, the engineers all had hard time to pronounce it, so what? I went that experience in my life before, now it is their turn to learn for the fun of it! I gave a small talk about my technical background, and I want them to make sure that they know who I am and who is running the show, tentatively, for the next 10 days. They all kept silent when I asked for question - No reply. I think they need me to show my mettle in actions than in words. I admitted that I had to listen careful to their strong brogue (like Irish accent) or bogger. I need to learn my language lessons here as well, and learn it fast to win their hearts and minds, otherwise things may go out of control easily. To take on a new group of men (they all white, by the way) with different backgrounds, different strengths and weakness, speak a language that is ?~slightly?T more standard than the language that I know, teach them a new technical skill and mold them into a homologous, ready-to-fight killer team would take special skills in leadership and management, in that order.
    The training session from Joe was lousy and full of loopholes, I was incensed inside myself throughout the training session, but I keep my face straight to the group. I tried to be helpful and friendly, but that is not enough. The new software is a new version that Joe want to implement for European market, and they are not fully tested yet. Steve was not happy neither, and he showed his tempers to Joe, it was not the first and it was not the last neither, as he showed it to me several days later. Frankly, I was worried and disappointed since this is the software that we were going to use for the next 9 days on this project. Joe was planning to be in London for 3 days for any technical support then fly back, then I would inherit the issues. No matter whose mistakes, Steve & I will be the ones who were accountable and responsible. After the training, we evaluated the students, and according to their feedbacks, it was a ? disaster! Now the trap was wide open and ready to catch its first victim. To make it worse, all three of us have strong personalities as well.
    After the group of engineers departed, Steve, Joe & I cleaned up the mess that we created, and started to worry various things, each in his own mind. Among the three of us, I felt that I was the guy who knows this software quite well and I can provide the training, when I requested the on-site technical support from Joê?Ts company, I specifically asked for Tim, who worked with me in Chicago on a similar project, but Joe showed up at the last moment. I thought Joe want to be here because he want to go to London. I discussed with Steve about Joe skills. I know that he is the boss of this own company, and he can call the shots, but for this job Tim is a better option!!! This does not meant that I disrespect Joe or ostracize him. I dined with him almost every night and treated him like an older friend or brother. We both fond of l drinking red wine and dine fancy foods. I began to have a plan in my mind about Joe after the training tonight. We left the office close to 8:00 PM on a Sunday night in London. What a day, I just spent my second day in London and so many things happened and things are curvy, wavering like the streets of London! My feet are not on the ground yet.
    Steve took Joe & myself to a good restaurant in Canary Wharf. I ordered some Brazilian beers and steaks to dine, while Steve and Joe had chicken. Then we discussed the plan for tomorrow. I decided to take charge of reloading and setting up all of the machines when I went back to my room. We chatted and shared our views about life, work, economy, politics? Steve was surprised to know that I was one of the ?~boat peoplê?T, a truly migrant worker! After the dinner, Steve dropped me off the hotel around 9:30 PM, then I went straight to my room to start the work immediately. The Brazilian beers did have some effects on my head, in the beginning, but once I realized that something was terribly wrong, the beer dissipated, I called Joe at his hotel around 11:30 PM, then we worked together on the net until 1:30 AM, Joe was getting too tired, I told him to go to bed so that, at least, one of us could hold the fort tomorrow? The snow started to fall harder as I was looking through the window to the Thames river...
    I worked until 3:30 AM, then took a short nap for 15 minutes, then worked again? until 6:20 AM. I was concerned that the equipment might not work properly when I give them to the engineers. A 15 minute pause is a nuisance, and a 1 hour stoppage is a disaster. I spent time to check and recheck the equipment and labeled them in a systematic way. I did not have much time left. My team needed to be at customer site at 9:00 AM on Monday. I went to bed between 6:20 AM and 7:20 AM for another nap. I got up, cleaned up the mess of equipment, took a shower then go down for a breakfast. I need to reward myself since I was up almost continuously for 22 hours and I predicted that I would have another long, long day ahead. I did not know that this first day work habit would establish the working rhythm every day for many days to come while I was in London.. Hectic days and sleepless nights for sure. I needed to focus to find final good outcome for this trip, otherwise I could be in a very hot seat when I am back to the States. A lot of things are at stake here: Money, energies, opportunities, company name & my reputation. This is just one of 5 projects that I currently undertake. Worse, it is one of my babes!
    Monday
    I went down to the Curve restaurant for a quick breakfast. It turned out that this was one of the best omelets that I ever had. I picked out the choices, making sure that there was no onions or any strong herbs that may subject my customers to unpleasant breath. The cook there was the best. I took time to watch the cook to see how he did it since I want to learn and to do the same thing. The breakfast was quite pricey though, about $33 USD for a breakfast, but the foods were excellent, especially the smoke salmon with caper. I took a lot of fruits and some excellent meats. It was quite romantic to sit at a window looking out the white snow, gleaming in sunlight, pure white like sugar, and its quietness. A fireplace with crackling oak woods is the best? But in reality I needed to go to the office at soon as possible.
    There are many types of hotels in London, or in the States, but there are only a handful of hotels that know how to treat business people right. I would say that Marriott chain is one of the business hotel types. The desk to work, the phone placement, the network is in good order and ready to use. I always order an extra refrigerator for my favorite drinks. When they give you a receipt for the room stay, if they forget to give you an envelop, and you ask for one, the receptionist will ask the receipt back, fold it neatly in 3 sections, and put in the envelop before giving it back to you. That what I call services and pay attention to the details. The bed is so good that once I slide into its 600 thread count blanket, then I would fall asleep in less than 5 minutes. If I need something, the concierge will go out of their way to help you? In London, they even have their own version of the underground train map on a slick paper, very nice. There is a price for everything in this world, if you can afford it, or somebody pays it for you. Enjoy it whenever you can. Usually there are 6 soft pillows in a bed for you to sand bagging your body. My idea of boutique hotel went down to the tube in this kind of panic, maniac driven environment. I need a familiar place to regroup my thought and concentrate on practical solutions.
    When I am ready to go to work at 8:30 AM, the office that I planned to go to work only around 3 miles away, with a pair of Timberline shoes and a box of 9 handheld computers that would cost $15,000 USD and a laptop to be used as the admin machine with its docking stations & cables. I checked the concierge: Definitely, there was no train running, no bus service for sure. I asked them to call for me a cab, but they told me that I have to wait for at least 2 hrs before a cab may appear, since the highway was also closed. I did not have my snow hat, only a pair of wool gloves. Fool me, but I do have a hard head to do things, if it needs to be done. At least two or three persons at the hotel asked me not to go, but I decided to go anyway. They drew me a detail map. Looking at the clock, and the map, I decided to walk to the office, I try to memorize the map details because chance of getting lost was greater than chance to go to the right placê? then I set out to a cold and could be a very dangerous journey with a big box to carry in front of me. I was aware of the fact, but my only thinking was I need to go to the office at all cost.
    When I walked out of the hotel door, the northern winds slammed into my face hard, it almost blew off my eye glasses. I used to live in Minnesota before, and I have skied in high mountains, in Davos, in Chamonix, Colorado, Vermont, New Hamshire, Lake Tahoe... hence I know what is the cold about, exposure to frost bite in 5 minutes could kill you easily, and hypothermia is a constant threat for your extremities. If it is too cold, you do not feel anything to your hands or your feet, even they are cut of your body. Except my Timberline shoes and a winter jacket, I was not prepared well for this kind of snow, in general, but luckily, the UK snow has a lot of moisture, not dry like those from Mid West, and it is best to walk during the time snow is falling since it still warm and has an insulate effect. I carelessly considered this kind of weather was nothing to challenge me, physically.
    In the street, there is no one, literally, no onê? I have to go through hidden alleys, cut corners, my hands were red and start to feel cold, and my feet the same way, the socks that I have are not the best neither for winter. I could feel the coldness slowly soaking into my toes. The street signs were covered with snow, adding more difficulties to my mental sufferings. I had gone though a winter survival training course before, hence it helped. Anyhow, taking a class and going through the real life experience are two distinct, different things that I should know.
    After struggling for 30 minutes, I was able to make only ¼ of the way, very painful, and ? cold. The thought, that I could die in the cold within ½ mile from the 5 star, swanky hotel that I just took a breakfast, occurred to me few times. I was exhausted, but sweating profusely at the same time since I have to carry that heavy box?My ears were frozen, and I remember that I could hardly talk neither since my lips were stiff. I could feel that my two legs were like the two ice sticks, very hard to control. I was tumbling on the small path of slippery snow. I want to try to call Steve to come to help me, but I did not, I thought he was in the same precarious situation like me, so why I need to bother him, and as the same time, I was foolishly felt that I need to go through such experience in London. I could go back to the hotel and call someone and make an excuse about the snow storm, but that thought came and gone fast by, I needed to press on toward the office. Sure I could be easily accused to be dumb and reckless in such situation.
    I stopped by a house on the way, rested for 5 minutes at the front port, then moved on. My worst fear is the paper box could be wet, and will collapsed or become mushy, and everything would fell of the box, the water would soak the handheld computers and damage them? My project could end at any moment. For a moment, it snowed then it stopped, then the sky started to become clearer, there are some sunshine, but the winds and the snow flakes were still howling and swirling around mê?
    Được wbguy sửa chữa / chuyển vào 02:36 ngày 20/02/2009
  8. spypcworld

    spypcworld Thành viên quen thuộc

    Tham gia ngày:
    04/12/2002
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    good job!
    anh có ảnh chân dung nào không up lên đi :D
    Được spypcworld sửa chữa / chuyển vào 02:00 ngày 22/02/2009
  9. anything4u

    anything4u Thành viên mới

    Tham gia ngày:
    16/06/2008
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    Where''s pic ?
  10. wbguy

    wbguy Thành viên quen thuộc

    Tham gia ngày:
    21/09/2003
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    219
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    (For those who asked for my picõ?Ư I donõ?Tt think it adds any value to this story, so I skipped. Cheers)
    I walked pass a housing complex, I guessed it was a mixed neighborhood from the look outside, even in the white snow, and I noticed that there was a black man walking behind me at a pace that faster me. When he reached me, he looked at me, with the pity eyes, who is this crazy, dumb Asian man who is walking in this *!#$#% weather. I could read his thought through his quizzical eyes. He asked me: õ?oCan I help you to carry that box?õ?, for sure his accent does not come from the British isle, sound more like East Indian person. I replied fast õ?oIt is ok, I can handle itõ? even I die for any help to carry that heavy box. He kelp walking with me, at the same pace that I have. There were a lot of thoughts in my mind, õ?oI need to handle this guyõ? or õ?ohow to get out this situationõ? õ?oIt could be worseõ?õ?Ư I donõ?Tt want my name to be on the front page of any newspaper or on the TV evening news. ùS. I did not exchange eye contacts at first, it was a quick blurr.
    After we walked for a while, he made another offer, but I declined again. Then I started to strike a conversation with him in a friendly tone, try to gauge him to a certain comforting level. Some discreet eye contacts. I do not want any trouble. My survival instincts came up fast in my mind, I did have a plan if he made any õ?~wrongõ?T move. Believe it or not, I was mugged before with a knife at my throat when I came home late from an University extension class, I was able to get away with it, and got the assailants arrested in the States. I found out more about the place that he live, the school that he goes to, about his family living con***ion in UK, intercrossed with the nasty weather, traffics...
    I guessed that it turned out that he was not that bad. The box was getting heavier to a degree that he noticed that I did need helpõ?Ư I made a decision then to give him the box to carry, but my eyes constantly fixated on the box and his movement. Frankly, I was waiting for something bad to happen. I found out that his name is Samedul, a Bangladeshi. Actually, he was on the way back home after tutoring English for immigrantsõ?T children. He was great, and was truly my savior during the last leg of the trip to go to the office. He was familiar with the area, hence the street name issue was not a problem for us at all. I forgot my problems with the cold ... I remember that he offered his pair of gloves to me, but I stubbornly, gently declined. We talked about many things about lifeõ?Ư I asked him for me to take two snapshots of him, a wonderful guy.
    When we both got to the office lobby, I saw Joe. Joe greeted me and his eyes have some concern about Samedul. I told Joe the story, and then Joe asked me to give some money to Samedul, I felt very offended. I hit back at Joe at in a higher tone and I thought he got the ideasõ?ƯI thank you Samedul copiously, and ask him to give me the email address as well as his phone. He reluctantly gave it to me. I walked Samedul to the front door, shook his hand, and we departed. I told myself to do something for him, even I need to bring a gift to his housing complex during this trip. A wonderful thing happened to me that I never forget on this trip. Kind acts from strangers still happen in this world.
    The office building was very nice and modern, a lot of glasses around. I got checked into security at the front gate, another access, then another visual check. Luckily, my name was there. Steve had prepped me about the security protocol before this trip, but I did not expect like this stringent. For the first day, it took good 45 minutes to get to the õ?~officeõ?T, not counting the time for orientation (they call õ?~inductionõ?T here). For the subsequent days, I need to add 10-15 minutes to my schedule to go through the same procedure againõ?Ư Donõ?Tt ask me why they wanted to do that. The first two days, Joe & I preferred to skip lunch rather than to go out to eat then went through the security hassle when coming back. I noticed that there was a very attractive girl at the reception desk. Even she sat at her desk, I could tell that she is tall and slender, and with long hair. Looking at her eyes, what a beauty with the deep agate blue! I introduced myself to her, glanced at her and smiled. She was polite, reserved, but at the same time, have a sweet English voice that was very captivating. We carried a short conversation, then I went back to the lounge. At times, I secretly looked at her well balanced, oval face with a simple inner joy. I like her! I forgot all about the cold and the tempest raging outside. õ?oThis is a true bonus for this drudgery tripõ?, my demure thought.
    With the ascent of hi tech, I feel, London, as well as many cities around the world (Science-based Industrial Park in Taiwan, Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech park in China, Sophia-Antipolis and the areas around Toulouse in France, Hyderabad Tech Park and south Bangalore area in Indiaõ?Ư) are trying to duplicate the model of technology zones or tech parks that the US has been creating. Around London, Canary Wharf is part of that complex development around Docklands. There are a lot of banking, telecom and some pharmaceutical representation there. The equation is still not complete though. Nowhere it is near the completeness of Silicon valley and Boston Corridor Route 128 with the closeness of advanced industries, government and institutions of higher-learningõ?Ư It is a great alchemy for creativity and new products.
    When my team was assembled, only 7 of us were there, around noon time. From the customerõ?Ts side, only 3 showed up. Two of the key contacts were stuck somewhere in the train system. It was a big hall. I took the advantage by setting up my shop and went through the procedures with the rest of the engineers for the works I did earlier in the morning. I wanted them to be more familiar with the tool, and cranked out any problems that the new software was introduced. I was tired and it showed, my eyes were bloodshot and droopyõ?Ư In the US, I could take time off then could go to my private car, set up the clock then doze off, but not in London.
    The snow started to fall again, Steve & I decided to let the engineers go around 2:30 PM since they may have chances to catch some underground routes that it still run, we did not want them to walk home. We did not accomplish anything for the first day since we did not have the right contact on the customer side. On TV they announced that the next day there will be another big storm coming, and recommended people not go outõ?Ư
    Joe & I checked the software again, it looked like that both of us did some serious mistakes in configuring the handheld computers, but we could not figure it out. Joe called his top engineering developers in Florida and they advise me to re-configure all the computers again. Steve needed to go home early too since his house is 2 hour away from the office. Joe & I stayed until the security kicked both of us out around 6:00 PM. Joe took me to an European restaurant to dine. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was quite full. A waitress came to greet us, I guessed she knew Joe from previous night when she addressed Joeõ?Ts last name. She proposed that we waited for 10, 15 minutes for a special table that overlooked the Thames for a better view. There were some empty tables near the bar, but Joe & I decided to wait for that special table. We went back to the bar, we intended to order a drink, but the girl brought us some water while waitingõ?Ư I know some hotel-restaurants in Europe that they would reserve a specific table for you during the time you stay, so whenever you go down to dine, the table is always available for you. Quite a convenient and autocratic way to dine!
    We both looked at the wine list then discussed seriously what bottle that we should have for the night. With his age, I could order something that would knock him off quickly. He needed it after such a day like today. I still had another long night ahead. We asked the waitress more on wine specifics, but she did not know much neither. We settled on a Burgundy since I had visited that area a few years ago on a camping trip. I tried to be a gracious host for Joe tonight. For foods, I took the lamb rack and Joe took some Italian pastas. Joe is a second-generation Italian, quite verboseõ?Ư We talked about business for the day, and also the plan that he has in future with his product. I gave my honest insights into his products, and the people that he has in his company. I know most of his key people. Tomorrow night, on Tuesday, Joe had an appointment to see some investors for his private business. We also discussed other matters with fun natures. Joe expressed his liking for my previous works and my tenacity in adverse situation of what I went through today. It was a good meal and good service. Between Joeõ?T jokes and my quips, the waitress kept us in good company with her good laugh. For tips, we put 10% of the total bill for the waitress. I understand that was very generous for UK standard.
    From Joeõ?Ts hotel, I bought a two small bottles of good vintage and some prociuttos Parma then I walked home in the cold with the smell of red wine. I usually do not drink much, maybe two beers a week, but when I am in Europe, then I could be a gluttonous with exotic culinary, smelly and pungent cheese, and good vintage wines. On the way back to my hotel, I saw a bunch of kids throwing snow balls at each others, I joined them for 10 minutes. It was fun with the yellings and rough actions, and õ?Ư sweaty. I got my clothing soaked. When I got to the hotel, after a quick cleanup, I jumped in the bed, and slept soundly until 1:30 AM. Pulled the cap of a Clos Saint-Michel 2005 ChÂteauneuf-du-Pape bottle, I sipped the wine with those delicious prociuttos, then started to answer work emails from the States, from Australia, from Austria and some personal emailsõ?Ư With a daily dose of 40-50 work messages made me into a lethargic state. After the emails, then system configuration, I worked until 4:50 AM or 5:00 AM, then went back to sleep again until the hotel woke me up around 6:30 AM. I think I was working for another 16-17 hours on that day. Too much work!
    The software still not worked as well as expected and the result was nil, nada. I did not email to my boss neither. My boss is a strategic person. Once he gave me the responsibility to do for something, then I can do whichever way that I feel fit on a tactical level. I do not have to tell him until a project is over or I need his help or his support. I like this kind of American mentality in management. No micromanagement, please! I am blessed to have such a boss since it make a big different in my career growth and development, and my mental state. For example, while I was in London, he did call me a few times, and left messages, but nothing about the project or its results, he was concerned for my well-beings, of time which I spent more than necessary on the project, of the problems of the snow and also he offered his availability if I ever needed him. He also covered for me with all of the escalation emails on other projects that I am responsible for. A wonderful boss. Money cannot buy this kind of person!!! I feel extremely loyal to him.
    I was also informed by Steve that his boss, Ian, will be coming to London on Wednesday to pay a visit to this project. Ian is a quite powerful person in the company that I work for. I met him several times at corporate functions in the States. A serious guy, very technical and managing his European team very well. He dresses simple and has a quiet demeanor, but donõ?Tt be fool by his guise. His steel eyes could poke right to your heart effortlessly and his questions would catch you off-guard.. His eyes remind me those of Steve McQueen. Last year and the year before, when I just started with this company, Ian and his UK team awarded me with the nickname õ?~Assassinõ?T, must be for a good reason at the company sales conference. It looks like the Brits have a dramatized way to label people with sanguine words, even in a civilized circumstanceõ?Ư Prince Harry got in trouble and had to go through sensitive training during the first week I was in UK for a similar reason.
    When the bigwig in the region spend 2 hours by train to come and pay a visit a project and the team, I should have better known that he did not come to visit his local henchman Steve. My presence here should be a raison dõ?Têtre or something to that effect. What else was there? I would better be (well) prepared. Ian had asked my boss specifically my name to be put on this project a while back - This project is a prototype for a bigger project that I may involve next month, also in Europe, under his aegis - after I did a demo for the whole Sales team in Arizona last October. Now, this snow storm may blanklet and may wipe out everything that I had planned, my reputation included. I am not sure if I can take him to a good Vietnamese restaurant in London to discuss business under such circumstances, as I told him before. I need a provident help to fight my way out of this mess in the same way the 6th Army of Von Paulus from Stalingrad, maybe with the motto õ?~Nulla tra***io, nullus recessusõ?T??? as I joked with othersõ?Ư
    Được wbguy sửa chữa / chuyển vào 09:15 ngày 23/02/2009

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