Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hala!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, directly following a staged reading of The Holy Qu'ran by the ghost of Jeffrey Ross Hyman, Jasper Friedman will read from and his pulp masterwork, Smash Faced Detectives.

ha ha!

I jest, Jasp –don't get riled. I'm actually digging your book. I just finished the last chapter. It's money good.

And I like Precisely! but precisely what, exactly?

& btw Annika –no offense taken. In fact, it was thoughtful of you to make any effort to learn something about my heritage. I do appreciate your sensitivity.

Although, perhaps your comments about the burka were not really sensitive, but on a fundamental level, I agree with you.

In the meantime, I have fortunately become less sensitive to the charms of Anita. Who knew she could be so fucking bossy. The truth is an entry level broadcast journalism position has more in common with waiting tables than you would think. Otherwise, I actually like the job a lot so far.

We raced all over Tower II today, which would have been fine if I wasn't also spending half the time in the elevator bobbing up and down sixty floors so I could keep someone in constant supply of perfectly hot lattes. Besides that, the actual interviews were fun. First we hit FKJ Asia-Pacific on Level 70, then visited Mitsubishi down on Level 33. That was followed by Bloomberg, which if you can believe it is just one floor above us (!) on Level 61. Then it was fucking back down to the third floor for me because I forgot to ask for extra cinnamon on the lady's foam.

I heard something funny today, tho– Everyone at Bloomberg jokes that when they moved in and had the electricians install production cables into the floors of their studios, they also installed eavesdropping devices wired to our ceiling. Although apparently some people at Al Jazeera don't think it's a joke, haha. Anita told me she swears she always sees this guy with a stethoscope going up to 61, and to quote: “He doesn't look like a doctor to me.”

You know, I wouldn't be surprised if it were true!

OK, but despite the constant coffee runs today, the really BIG news today is that I might have caught a very minor professional break, TBD, for what it's worth. Operations called a mandatory meeting tomorrow for all employees who do not appear on-air. That of course includes me. But depending on the shift one works, you can either attend an 8:30AM meeting, or one later in the evening meeting @ 5:30PM.

Daim thinks that Human Resources wants to give all of the behind-the-scenes staffers a primer on appropriate office behavior when interacting with on-air personalities. I think he called it: Dealing With Divas.

Regardless, both meetings interrupt our production schedule. Anita has already booked an 8:30AM and a 5:00 PM interview for tomorrow. So the only way to make them both happen is to juggle personnel between the two meetings.

The plan is for Anita and Daim to catch the 8:30AM AJI meeting, while I delay the interview, and then I'll just catch the afternoon meeting.

They think they'll be able to sneak out of the 8:30AM early enough to conduct the morning interview. But in order for that to work, they want me to head down to the thirty-sixth floor and stall for as long as possible. Sounds easy enough but I'm supposed to keep some guy from leaving via some combo of gregarious personality and my seasoned journalism skills.

cough cough.

Daim says not to worry about it and no problem, just talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger, that everyone in Malaysia saw TERMINATOR and that they love Arnold almost as much as they love Big Macs. Failing that, though, Anita authorized me to actually begin the interview (!), albeit with a series of bullshit preliminary questions.

Personally, I don't think the Schwarzenegger strategy is going to work, at least not any longer than five minutes.

Although, who knows, the interview subject is Tuan Haji Mahlil Omar, the Managing Director of KLCC Urusharta, which is responsible for the safety and security aspects of The Petronas Towers. Barring issues of national security here, that's about as serious a security job as it gets. The KLCC complex is essentially an impenetrable fortress, so there is no issue of lack security, in fact just the opposite. Anita simply wants Omar to explain, indeed, exactly how well managed and organized the safety measures at the Towers are.

The bullshit questions she wants me to start with will probably never get to air. They were composed only to buy her and Daim time. But I find them interesting anyway. They touch on the subject of form vs. function, in so far as it might apply to managing a building that everyone agrees is an architectural masterpiece. The towers, you may or might not know were designed by Cesar Pelli for the national energy company, Petroliam Nasional. Since I took some Art History as an under grad, I should be able to fake my way through it.

See, gotta ask the tough questions cause we're journalists. Not that I'm anywhere near being a journalist yet, but I carry a pencil and a cup of coffee, for other people, but still.

OK, BS though my role might be, I'm still pretty excited. I'm anxious and nauseous, too, to tell the truth, but since Anita wrote a pretty tight script for me to follow, what's the worst that could happen? I embarrass myself?

And no surprise, depite the fact that I was furious having to run coffee for Anita all day (she drinks more than I do, and I didn't think that was possible), I am still wild over her. But for all I know, when she throws what I take to be a doe eyed look my way she's probably actually thinking: 'Where did they find this idiot?'.

I wonder what my dad would say if we hooked up. Yeah he married a Catholic, but my mom converted. Annita is Hindi. I guess ours will be a vegetarian household. Oh, I'm completely aware I'm getting way ahead of myself.

You guys don't think it's too soon to ask her out for dinner, do you? Of course, it is, but I want to, anyway.

And I know you don't care but both the Brazilian and the French girls are left Kuala Lumpur today. Got me thinking that I need to move out, too, and find a real apartment. Hostel living gets old fast. Now I'm thinking Space Age Arabian Bachelor Pad –haha!

On a completely different subject: Jasper your previous statements expressing loyalty to both the United States and Israel is not just understandable, I currently find myself experiencing a bit of that myself. Anywhere outside New York, I'm a New Yorker; but in New York, I'm Lebanese. And here in Malaysia, the minute I open my mouth people label me simply as an American. Funny, right?

EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING is COMPLICATED, it seems.

OK, so, on that note, this concludes another broadcast day from Casa Embron, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If I have moment, I'll login and let you guys know how tomorrow's interview goes after I get through it–

Okay, yalla bye!

SIRAJ!