Work Xmas party

The day after Huaweis Xmas party, it was time for an Xmas party at my work. For as long as I have worked there I have never heard of such a party. So I went there to hang out with some of my colleagues.

It started around 17:00 but we came there after 17:30 and by then the whole corridor was packed with people eating, drinking and talking. It was a nice way to mingle with hundreds of known and unknown. Most of them were unknown to me, but if we had this a little more frequently then soon it would be a totally different thing. I believe this is good for the atmosphere at a workplace so I would like to see this maybe twice a year.

We were offered some small plate with different pieces of food. Not much at all so I wish they had some bread to fill the belly with. But there was candy here and there so I ate quite a lot of chocolate. With the food we had the option of beer, wine or water. I think I had at least five glasses of wine so I got a bit drunk, but at a party like this most people need to get a bit drunk to create the friendly atmosphere to get people to talk to each others.

During the evening a choir walked down the corridor and stopped here and there to sing some Xmas songs. They were quite good. Better than me at least... :P

The party was supposed to end at 19:00 and by that time they started to clear off all the food and drinks. Many of us were not ready to go home yet so we stayed and talked to after 20:00. By then most people were gone and my friends went downtown to keep the party going in some bar. I went home to Girlwing to help her prepare for our guests from England that will come in the weekend.

I think it was fun and it was good to see people I work with in a relaxed situation. I really home we will do the same for next Xmas.


HuaWei X-mas Party

A couple of days ago I got an invitation to Huawei´s X-mas party at the Chinese Embassy in Sweden. As I was told the dress code was "Business Casual". I thought about this for a while and came up with the idea that for some people this will mean to wear a full suite with tie, because this is what is expected of them in their office. For others this will mean a nice sweater with a shirt under it. The only suite I have is about ten years old and only worn during friends weddings. So I was not so keen of wearing a suit, but a nice sweater and a shirt is something I can wear to dress up. I quite often wear this at work but I felt it was needed to buy something new.

So I went to the store and asked for help to match up something good for me. I am not afraid of something colorful so I got a nice red sweater and a blue/gray shirt to have under it. With this I wore a pair of beautiful black trousers and pair of shiny black shoes. I was so handsome.

The party started at 16:00 with mingle and simple Chinese performance. I could not leave work that early but I got on the subway at about 16:30. On the way I took this picture of the invitation card.
Notice that the R.S.V.P is 18th Nov and I got the invitation late on the 8th Dec. No big deal... Just check out the invitation... I think it is fun that I was invited at all.

About 17:15 I arrived at the embassy with some other of Huawei´s customers and one of the employees that I know. That felt good so I knew that I was going in the right direction. In the entrance of the gates to Chinese territory inside the embassy there were some security guards and employees of Huawei. I knew one of them since before so there was no problem for me to enter. I didn't even have to show my invitation card, but I showed it anyway just for the fun of it. He just waved to me and smiled and I walked in to the Chinese land.

Soon I entered the main building and welcoming me was my sweet Girlwing who for the moment worked with greeting all the guests. I was directed to hang of my clothes in the employee area. Then I walked around among the guests and looking to see if there was anyone I ever met before during my life as a Remedy ARS Consultant. I didn't see any familiar faces from that time. I was hoping too much. Most of the people were purchase managers, CEOs and similar people responsible for decisions about purchasing telecommunication equipment. Not much close to the people that is responsible for IT support and IT process tools. Another thing that struck me that everybody were wearing a dark suite, with a discrete tie. Hmmm.. I am not wearing a suite.... I am wearing a nice read sweater. I was standing out very clear from the crowd. Oh shit... Actually I didn't care that much about this... but instead I was feeling sorry for all the people being so stiff, boring and imagine less. I was expecting some people to wear suite but I didn't expect everybody to wear that. What does "Business Casual" mean really?

Girlwing introduced me to some customers she met through her work and I talked to some of her colleagues. I also watched when some calligraphy artists were writing some of the customers names with Chinese characters. There was also a person there making Chinese tea in the proper way for the customers to taste.

So far the party looked like a western party with some Chinese details. So now it was time to continue in a Chinese way. That means that everybody should do something together. Usually that involves everybody listening to speeches or watching performances. So everybody goes in to a room filled with chairs, just like in a theater, in front of a stage. First we watched a short tourist advertisement movie about Beijing. It was interesting for me with many beautiful scenes. This movie was probably the embassy's idea.

Then there was some performances. Here I think they did a mistake of NOT informing the audience that they didn't bring the best performers they could find in China. Instead they had asked some young Chinese students who for the moment are studying in universities here in Sweden. In Asia it is impolite to say "No" so off course they participate if their country asks them to perform for the Swedish customers.

In China it is very common that the parents pay a lot of money and energy to get their kids educated. It is also very common that the kids get some extra education to play some instrument, dancing, calligraphy or playing weiqi. So many student are skilled in those arts. So we got the opportunity to enjoy some traditional instruments by these student. They were very skilled but it was obvious that they were not professionals. In the dancing acts there was one girl that was very good while the others didn't really match up to her skill. There were also two singing acts and here came the second mistake in my opinion. They sang in English. Hey, we Swedes are quite good in English and we know how these songs are supposed to be sung. But it was cute... I only wish that they had sung in Chinese. In that way we would have no idea if they made any mistakes, and it would be more in theme with the traditional Chinese instruments that were played in other acts.

The funnies thing with the whole act were the two presenters that talked between the acts. Especially the girl. She had no idea of her lines and she had to look in the note hidden in her hand all the time. At one moment when the male presenter asked her "Do you like to see movies" and she looked at the note and hesitated for two seconds and then said "Of course". Was that so hard to remember? ;)

Anyway I enjoyed the show and I understood quite soon what the deal was, but I was afraid that many in the audience didn't get it and thought that it was bad. It was obvious that the students didn't get so much time to practice before the show so I hope they were pleased with what they delivered. All credits too you all!

The performance took a while and now we was starving. As soon is was over everybody had to leave the room so they could remove all the chairs and make the room ready for the food. It was an Asian buffet. So tasty! It almost felt as I was back in China. Someone said it was the embassy's chef who had made all the food. If he did... Good chef! And it was a lot of food. After everybody had eaten about two thirds of the food was still left. I was so hungry and focused on the food so I forgot to take any picture of it. :P

After everybody was filled with Chinese food it was time to round things off with a great show of fireworks. This was the most amazing fireworks show I ever witnessed this close. The whole show took about 30 minutes or something like that. The last five minutes there were some really big pieces. The ground shook of the explosion when the rockets left the ground. The alarms of several of the embassy's cars went of "wee wee wee wee". Several seconds of nothing... and then the most amazing colors and lights lit up the sky. Again and again and again. I am still amazed... 8)

When the show was over and we walked out from the embassy, the police came and checked out what was happening. Probably someone had called them about explosions over at the embassies. I am not surprised... :)


New workplace

Now I have moved to a new workplace. Down to the dungeons, far away from the coffee machine. It is a room for 24 persons and so far we are 14 here. There have been no actions taken to reduce the noise from people talking and the wall paint is a sharp orange color from the 70th. We probably have to live with the ugly colors, but I heard that there is some hope for getting some noise reduction in the form of plants and soft screens.

During planning everybody was fighting to get a window seat, except me. I picked the seat far away from the windows in the back of the room. I am a bit more light sensitive than my colleagues and I don't want to annoy them, and me, by pulling down the shades every day.

In the picture here, you can see my small workspace. People tease me for my big fat monitor. I am almost the only one at work still using a CRT. But I am picky about the resolution. I am using 1600x1200 and if I take an 19" LCD that they offer I will get a resolution of 1280x1024. So I rather let them tease me and wait until I can get the LCD displays with 1920x1200 resolution. They exist in the market but it takes a good while until my work decides to bring them in. Actually last week I saw that they now offer 26" LCD widescreens. 26" is a lot... 24" or less would be enough. I will ask my boss and see what she will say about it. The small LCD to the right in the picture is not mine. It was put there by mistake. I let it be for now...

On my big fat screen you can see a pro weiqi game. It is my screen-saver program sgfsaver that is replaying the weiqi pro games on random. On my small laptop screen you can see an old background image I made using povray. It say "ARS". Actually it is not my default background... I put it there only for the picture. :)