General Tso vs. Colonel Sanders…Who Wins?

We’ve asked it a million times…who is General Tso and how did he come up with such a great chicken recipe? 

According to Wikipedia (insert disclaimer here about Wikipedia not being the most reliable source):

General Tso was a Chinese statesman and military leader. He was born in Wenjialong, north of Changsha in Hunan province in the waning years of the Qing Dynasty.
He served with brilliant distinction during China’s most important (and
the world’s largest-scaled at the time) civil war, the 14-year-long
Taiping Rebellion,
in which it is estimated at least 20 million people lost their lives.
He was also known for being a voracious consumer of amounts of diced,
fried chicken, which eventually led to the creation of the common
Chinese American dish known as General Chows Chicken”. The
in General Tso is sometimes misspelled “Cho” in English, probably due
to Cantonese influence. The correct pronunciation of the name in
Mandarin is
[tsuɔ tsʊŋtʰɑŋ].

I took a look at his military history and it seems like he actually led some volunteer forces and had success at driving out rebels from various cities.  For the most part, his distinction came later as a statesman, but he definitely had success as a military leader early in his career. 

Colonel Sanders on the other hand:
Sanders was born in Henryville, Indiana.
His father died when he was six years old, and since his mother worked,
he was required to cook for his family. He dropped out of school in
seventh grade. During his teen years, Sanders worked many jobs,
steamboat driver, insurance salesman, railroad firefighter, farmer, and enlisted in the Army as a private in 1918, although he spent his entire service in Cuba; after all, the war was almost over before he got there.
At the age of 40, Sanders cooked chicken dishes and others for people who stopped at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky.
Since he did not have a restaurant, he served customers in his living
quarters in the service station. Eventually, his local popularity grew,
and Sanders moved to a
motel and restaurant that seated 142 people and worked as the chef. Over the next nine years, he perfected his method of cooking chicken. Furthermore, he made use of a pressure fryer that allowed the chicken to be cooked much faster than by pan-frying.
He was given the honorary title “Kentucky Colonel” in 1935 by Governor Ruby Laffoon.
Sanders chose to call himself “Colonel” and to dress in a stereotypical
“Southern gentleman” costume as a way of self-promotion.

Colonel Sanders never saw any military action and spent his time in Cuba where there wasn’t any battles being fought.  He never achieved rank of colonel, he just got the name for his chicken cooking prowess. 

Who Wins the Battle?  General Tso wins actual military battle, but if they faced each other in a culinary challenge, the Colonel wins. 

Pullover…No Its A Cardigan, But Thanks For Noticing

A couple weeks ago I was pulled over.  I wasn’t speeding so I was a little surprised when I saw the flashing lights behind me. 

The cop walked up to my driver side window and asked me, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” 

This is the same question I have been asked every time I have been pulled over.  I guess in cop school they have a whole class around the importance of asking that question.  Think about it, its a very interesting question.  It would be like smacking someone in the back of the head and asking that person if they knew why you smacked them. 

I said, “I have no idea officer, I don’t think I was speeding”.  At this point, he was probably thinking, “Damn it, he didn’t mention anything about drugs in the trunk of the car or illegally transporting monkeys across state lines.” 

I wonder how many people have fallen for that trick, how many people has volunteered incriminating information to police officers, I mean, there must be a lot of you suckers out there if they ask the question every time.

I was pulled over for having a registration that expired.  I never received any mailing that notified me of an expired registration, so I was shocked that it had expired.  He gave me a ticket for $54 and told me to get it renewed as soon as possible, he said he should have my car towed right now, but he was going to let me drive it away. 

On the job front, things are inching along.  I’m still moving forward with all the companies that I mentioned last time, but they are just not as motivated to seal the deal in one day as I am.  Everyone is saying that I should have something in my hand by early next week.  Hooray!  If all these job offers fall through, I will be disappointed, these are great opportunities in Princeton and Horsham.  By all indications, I feel confident that at least 1 of the 3 opportunities will come to fruition. 

When you have a job, you wish you could stay home, when you don’t have a job, you get really excited about the prospects of having one.  I think the couple of days when I have a job offer, but I’m not actually working will be a nice blissful experience. 

My softball team opens up this Sunday, our team is taking a more competitive approach this year.  I’ll let you all know how we do, but if we make it to the Championships, I want a huge turnout!

Death, Resurrection, and Softball

A couple days before Easter my x box 360 died.  The power lights are normally green, but when I was done playing, all the lights turned to red and it became unresponsive.  This is not very uncommon for the first batch of x boxes (I bought my x box on launch day in November 2005).   The problem is so uncommon, x box has extended the warranty to cover any problems that ever occur with the initial batch of x boxes.  I called 1-800-4my-xbox and the customer service people are sending me prepaid postage shipping boxes to send my xbox in and they’ll fix it for free. 

On the job front, I have two companies that I’m in the very last stages of interviewing with.  One is in Horsham and one is in Princeton.  Every time I think I am done interviewing, they make me go to another round of interviews.  I’ve met with the account team and then they want me to meet with the creative teams, then they want me to meet with the clients, it’s a very exhaustive process.  Yesterday, I met with 5 people.  I cannot wait for these interviews to be done with.  I thought that I’d definitely have a job offer in my hand by the end of this week, but both companies have added another round of interviews, so it’s looking like an offer will be delayed to the following week. 

Our first softball game is this Sunday.  I cannot wait to get out there and play.  I just received the box of jerseys yesterday.  I’ll attach some pics of me modeling the jerseys. 

I want to have a little celebration to hand out the jerseys, does anybody want to go to Big Heads on Friday night to pass out the new jerseys?

On and On Until the Break of Dawn

It’s been a crazy week.  I had interviews with 3 different companies on Monday, I met with 1 company on Tuesday, but interviewed with 4 people, and I have a big interview in Princeton today where I’ll be meeting with 4 people.  All in all, the interviews are going well.  I have some great leads and I’ve made it past the initial round with multiple companies.  I’m still hoping that all of this is resolved by month’s end. 

The front runners are located in the following 3 locations:

  1. Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia
  2. In Horsham on Horsham Road
  3. Princeton

All 3 of these locations are pretty cool and 2 of the 3 would offer a much easier commute.  If I worked in Philly, I’d take the train which help cut down my carbon footprint. 

Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me.

On the softball front, we start out with a double header on March 30th, that’s just a little over a week away!  It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.  I ordered great jerseys and I’ll post a picture of me modeling it when they arrive. 

I really expected my time off to be more of a vacation, but it’s been pretty hectic with all the interviews (7 companies this week). 

I managed to watch American Gangster last night.  I thought the movie was excellent because it was based on a true story.  But it doesn’t come close to The Departed.  I’d take The Departed over American Gangster any day.  Right now as I type, Winston is grabbing DVDs off the shelves and throwing them all over our living room. 

Speaking of Winston, the other day he picked up my Xbox headset and put it on my head, then he grabbed my controller and handed it to me.  My wife said that it is an indication that I may play too much, but I saw it as a sign that he wanted me to play more.

Day 6

Howdy folks!  It’s been six days since I got the bad news, but things have been pretty positive around the house.  I’ve been fortunate enough to go on 5 interviews in 6 days.  It’s been really hectic and an amazing experience.  I’m learning about so many different companies and I’m improving my skills as an interviewee.  A lot of companies have been a little weird and to be honest, I haven’t interviewed for my dream job yet, but there are a couple coming up that I am really excited about. 

The support from friends and family has been overwhelming.  A lot of old colleagues have put in good words for me and have found great opportunities for me to explore.  In a weird way, it’s like going to your own funeral, you see all the people showing up and offering great words on your behalf, I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. 

So, six days have gone by and I still haven’t had time to hang out at the pool and sip Margaritas, it’s been pretty damn hectic.  I’ve been lucky enough to take some breaks and go on some long walks with Winston.  I’m not a complainer, I see the reality and I find the opportunity and the blessings, I feel very lucky to have this time with Winston and I am loving each day that I do not have to drive close to 3 hours to and from Parsippany. 

There’s lots of good leads out there and I think something is going to shake out soon. 

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright

About two weeks ago, my boss came into my office and said, “The US and Global teams have not renewed their contracts with us yet.  The drug has not been profitable for Novartis and it would not surprise me if they stopped promoting it.  These accounts are who pay your pay check, if I were you I would look for a job in the event that they do not renew their contracts”. 

This was pretty shocking news, I’ve never had a negative comment from my boss or client, I’ve always been incredibly dedicated to my job and I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility by managing both the US and Global accounts.  I couldn’t believe how vulnerable I was at that moment. 

I immediately reached out to friends in the industry, searched Monster, and scheduled a bunch of interviews.  Last week I had the chance to interview with 3 different companies and I think they went pretty well. 

Yesterday, my boss stopped back into my office and said, “Remember that conversation we had about a week and a half ago?” and I said, “Yeah, does this mean I am getting laid off today?”, he said, “Yes”.

It really shocked me, I mean, I had a warning that this day was coming, but, it shocked the heck out of me.  All my focus went to one thing, Jaclyn.  I was so nervous that she’d think that I was a loser, that I was not taken my work seriously enough, that I could have done more, etc. 

Bill said, “Look, there’s nothing you could have done.  You grew the business and the clients have nothing but great things to say about you.  It’s just that we don’t have any other brands within our agency that can take you on”. 

I had to meet with the HR person and sign a release that made me agree not to sue the company, steal it’s clients, or just do something crazy.  If I signed the form, I would receive a small severance package that would buy me about 1 month’s time to comfortably look for a job.

I signed the form and went into my office to pack up my belongings.  I grabbed a couple of pictures of Jaclyn and Winston and threw them into a box and walked out of the building into the pouring rain.  It was pouring rain!  It was like a freaking movie!  It just doesn’t get much more depressing than that.

Well, there’s a ray of light.  I had a second round of interviews with one of the companies that I met with last week.  I think the interviews went really well, but the president of the company really challenged me and asked some really tough questions.  I think I have 50/50 odds that I get the job. 

I also have an interview with a company in Princeton on Thursday. 

Hopefully, one of these opportunities yields a job and then I get paid on top of my severance package and all’s good in the world of Deem. 

I’m also going to look for jobs in PA, even if they are lesser paying and outside the pharma industry.  It’s my chance to start over, I have a blank canvas and look forward to seeing where I end up.

So, I got home last night and broke the news to Jaclyn.  It was really tough, she was nervous and a little scared, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized that we’d be absolutely fine.  She trusts me, she knows that I will do whatever it takes to make sure we are safe, happy, and healthy. 

She did cry a little, but she cried for me, she knows how hard I work and how seriously I take my responsibility as husband and father.  It meant the world to me. 

If you scroll down, reread the top of the Backlog entry from February 26, I knew my time was short with TLM, I was running around like crazy to schedule interviews, but I knew that I’d always be able to sleep at night if I knew I was trying my hardest and had family to support me.  Yesterday confirmed these thoughts and I look forward to figuring out where to go from here. 

I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening, but if anyone has any great ideas, I’d love to hear them.