Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chuckling nervously

"I just thought it was weird, just because you and I have been working so many hours together on this Hendricks account, and now you're popping up in my dreams," said Pagano, chuckling nervously and taking a single step back. "Ha, no, totally G-rated."
—"Dream About You Not Sexual, Coworker Reports," The Onion

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Few companies, indeed, are more secretive than Apple, or as punitive to those who dare violate the company’s rules on keeping tight control over information. Employees have been fired for leaking news tidbits to outsiders, and the company has been known to spread disinformation about product plans to its own workers.

“They make everyone super, super paranoid about security,” said Mark Hamblin, who worked on the touch-screen technology for the iPhone and left Apple last year. “I have never seen anything else like it at another company..."

Secrecy at Apple is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture. Employees working on top-secret projects must pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices, according to one former employee who worked in such areas. Work spaces are typically monitored by security cameras, this employee said. Some Apple workers in the most critical product-testing rooms must cover up devices with black cloaks when they are working on them, and turn on a red warning light when devices are unmasked so that everyone knows to be extra-careful, he said.

—“Apple's Management Obsessed With Secrecy,” NYT

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Korea Society panel, 7/1

On Wednesday, July 1, I'll be appearing on a panel at The Korea Society in New York, along with novelists Janice Y.K. Lee (The Piano Teacher) and Sung J. Woo (Everything Asian). There's a reception at 6; the panel, followed by Q&A, starts at 6:30.

The topic? "New Currents in Korean American Literature: The Origin and the Distance."

The official info:

A growing number of Korean American authors have found both critical and commercial success in the past decade. Does this "literary wave" mean that Americans of Korean origin have successfully moved from the margins to the mainstream of American literature, writing simply as a "writers" and not as "ethnic writers?" Join us for a literary conversation with novelists Ed Park, Janice Y.K. Lee, and Sung J. Woo, as they discuss issues of acculturation, isolation, cultural alienation, race and class, in relation to their own works.

$10 for members and students, $20 for nonmembers
(Walk-in registration will incur an additional charge of $5.)
Buy tickets
For more information or to register for the program, contact Patrick Clair at 212-759-7525, ext. 328, or
emailThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

About the Authors

Ed Park is a founding editor of The Believer, a four-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. His novel, Personal Days (Random House, 2008), was a finalist for the PEN Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize. He writes a monthly book-review column for the Los Angeles Times and contributes to many other publications, including the New York Times, Bookforum, and Modern Painters. He was an editor and writer at The Village Voice for many years, where he was also the editor of the Voice Literary Supplement. Park teaches creative writing at Columbia University.

Janice Y. K. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong, where she currently lives, and went to boarding school in the United States before attending Harvard College. A graduate of Hunter College's MFA program and a freelance writer, she is a former features editor at Elle and Mirabella magazines in New York. Her critically acclaimed first novel, The Piano Teacher, a New York Times bestseller and Richard and Judy Summer Read pick. The book will be published in 23 languages.

Sung J. Woo’s short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and KoreAm Journal. His debut novel, Everything Asian (Thomas Dunne Books, 2009) has received praises from the Christian Science Monitor, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews. His short story “Limits” was an Editor’s Choice winner in Carve Magazine’s 2008 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. A graduate of Cornell University with an MFA from New York University, he lives in Washington, New Jersey.

The Korea Society
950 Third Avenue @ 57th Street, 8th Floor
(Building entrance on SW corner of
Third Avenue and 57th Street)

It looks like a game of Missile Command

The Geography of Jobs

(via the Rumpus)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Extra-strength anvil

"I was at IBM for five years; I don't know how much work I did," Foxworthy said.

The comedian, who said he used to make prank phone calls to his boss at work to lure him back and forth from his desk, had this tongue-in-cheek advice for people about how far to take things on the job:

"You don't really want to get fired; you want to have a job. But you don't want to do it well, because you're going to be promoted, and that's a lot of pressure. Who can have any fun with that kind of anvil hanging over your head?"

The lost Ark

"This reminded me of a slightly darker Douglas Coupland."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Straight man

"I almost wet my pants reading that. It was so funny." —Richard Russo on Personal Days, at BEA

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Life is sharp

"Here's a novel for anyone who feels alienated at work (ie most of us)....Park's eye for the minutiae of office life is sharp: self-Googling, computers that won't correctly format CVs that shouldn't be being written; sexual tensions; smokers who stub out their fags when the boss comes to join them; the Good Starbucks and the Bad Starbucks. That self-conscious, ironic obsession with the trivial that smart metropolitan Americans do so well is much in evidence. (Wherever did the absurd myth that they don't do irony spring from?) This is as funny as Seinfeld." —The Independent

Friday, June 5, 2009


The infinity building, 2009 version:

(Julieta Cervantes for NYT)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

What do you do?

Alain de Botton:

Beyond the page, work remains at the center of our identities. It is hard to have a conversation with a stranger for more than a few minutes before needing to ask, "What do you do?"—for herein lie clues not only to monetary status, but more broadly to one's entire outlook and character. The literary silence is puzzling and regrettable, for it denies us the chance collectively to honor the excitement of work as well as to reconcile ourselves (through laughter and tragedy) to its inequities. —The Boston Globe

We got your "ambitious new literature of the office right here," bub!

(Via The Elegant Variation)