Green Hat!? No way.

Picture from St Patrick's Day. They tried to force me to wear a green hat. I compromised. To my Caucasian friends: wearing a green hat is a big no no in Chinese culture. Anyway, I found my brows looking like my goatee. Someone commented that I don't have pictures, so I'm adding this one!

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And that's that...

I've been sworn to secrecy, okay!? Here are some thoughts.

I should have my camera with me at all times.
Airport lines are entertaining.
Weather is key at Grand Canyon.
Cab lines are easier to estimate.
Gambling is fun.
Eating is out of control.
Vegas shows are the best.
Sleeping is overrated.
Driving in snow is a Bostonian specialty.
Sand dunes at Death Valley are vastly overrated.
Gluttony should be the number one sin.
It was a good Spring Break.



I saw V for Vendetta tonight. Pretty good movie. Deep and interesting message. I don't think it is going to do well overall despite my witness of a full Sunday night screening.

Now, fear is an interesting element that the movie claims to dominate people's lives. I disagree. Fear has always had a very short term effect on our minds. WWI - oh the desvastation we ought to fear... it lasted 20 something years. SARS - the disease that made all HK residents wear a mask... well, while the city's overall hygiene improved, things are pretty much back to old times. 911 - so we've got more airport security, more lines, more self regulating media types... but hey, do you think we have more fear now than before?

The real enemy is ignorance. Because ignorance is long term, if not forever.


Well spent...!

There goes another $12,000... what happened this quarter? Let's see: quarter started, interviews started, got an offer, accepted an offer, final marketing paper on frozen dog food, quarter ended. Sweet, I paid $12,000 to experience five things!

I'm so looking forward to Spring quarter! What happens then anyway? Do we have so much free time we don't know what to do? Would we study hard? Oh the mystery!


Ultimate question

This is from a few weeks ago during Admit Weekend for GSB. I've been meaning to talk about this. An admit asked (I got this from my friend - an admit herself - who sat at the same table with this guy during lunch) "they say HBS trains great leaders, and GSB trains great people to work for them. What do you think about that comment?"

Hmmm... it really depends on who you ask.
Ted S: Chicago GSB is not for everyone
Julie M: Our students are doing great with recruiters
Rose M: I cannot comment on other schools
Eugene F: That's an efficient market
Dick T: That's not an efficient market
Roman W: Which accounting text book do they use?
Robert F: Does HBS have a Nobel Prize winner teaching business ethics? Do they teach ethics?
Facilitator: You need more LEAD training
IBG co-chairs: HBS graduates can't read accounting statements
MCG co-chairs: HBS graduates can't do a discounted cash flow analysis
Urban Enterprise co-chairs: Do they have a urban neighborhood to work with?

Bad Me: Did you get into HBS? Probably not because you're here having lunch with me. If that comment is true, then maybe that's an indication that they don't think you aren't going to be a good leader and that we think you are going to be a great follower. What was the comment again?

Good Me: The GSB cirriculum is all about flexibility. If you wanted to, you can always take classes that emphasize leadership. Leaders make themselves; they aren't made by this school or that school. I don't know anything about HBS classes, but GSB classes certainly include all areas of expertise. You can take the most sophisticated finance classes here, or you could take leadership classes that emphasize strategy and people. That's what's great about the GSB, it's all up to you.

A few days later (no joke), our marketing professor comments that "a great business person owns a BMW 7-series, a rolex, and a GSB analyst. Don't be that analyst."



Uh, yes, I think we should go, too

My trip back from SF. I knew I was going to be rocked because of the West Coast Midwest travel. My flight was scheduled to leave at 6:20pm, which would bring me back to Chicago at around 12:20am. Fair enough, considering that I'm using my miles to pay for the trip. Anyway, trouble was on its way when our flight was delayed coming into SF.

"We will now depart at 6:33pm"... "6:40pm" "6:45pm" "7:00pm". Do you wonder why all the small incriments? Maybe United thinks that we won't notice the smaller differences? Anyway, when we depart really doesn't concern me. When we ARRIVE, now that's a completely different animal. At 7:00pm, we were let into the plane. Per my experience, must get on fast so I have a place for my oversized carryon. And I found one right above my seat. Perfect. I sit down and start doing a Sudoku (I'm so addicted now).

And then came the panicky passengers and stewardess. It's always a bad sign when the plane is about 95% full, and people are refusing to move because they can't fit their carryons into the overhead bins. People started to raise their voices. And then came the steward: "can't you people sit down?" Gee, all that union training, and that's how you herd angry passengers? When it was all said and done, he took some luggage out to check in, and then proceeded to work on the overhead bin where my carryon was. I don't think this description does this justice: but he jumped up, grabed the top of the closing lid, and slammed it against my bag. Of course it wouldn't close, so he slams it again. I'm a bit speechless right now. Now's he's pressing. And pressing. And BANG. He BREAKS the lid! It's now hanging off a piece of metal.

10 minutes later, the pilot comes to inspect the damage, the destroyer disappeared (I'm really wondering what happened to him... back to the story) and a United maintenance guy shows up. With duct tape. Got to love the duct tape technology. He ended up taking the entire lid away (not before, naturally, really trying to break it while pieces of plastic and metal flew into horrified passengers). And my carryon? Sir, you have to check it in.

We're off at 7:45pm, finally! And scheduled for a 1:30am arrival! Yay! Me being me, this of course is not the end of things.

I was waiting for my bag when I noticed the taxi line growing exponentially. So I went out to give it a look, asked how long the line was and so on. And then I found myself locked out of the airport! Apparently some doors are locked from the inside to make sure security is okay. So I had to take this big 10 minute detour to get back inside the terminal. Meanwhile, the clock just hit 2:00am.

After a lot of yelling and screaming (people trying to cut lines at the taxi stand, so on and so forth), I finally get on a cab. "Sir, would you like to share a ride and save $15?" Certainly! Girl gets in after me. Big Fat guy gets in the front. And a forth guy loaded his stuff and squeezed into the back seat. The driver gets in and asks for the destination... and then the forth guy suddenly says "fuck this" and gets off the cab. He swears at the driver and says he will take his own cab. The driver takes the beating and helps to get his luggage out... and proceeds back into the mob to look for a person with similar destinations. 2:30 am.

Finally, he gives up and says "I think we should go." Amen, brother, amen.



Some of the highlights:
Nicole Kidman - always stunning; Ben Stiller - HILARIOUS!; Naomi Watts - wow; Its hard out here for a pimp - rappers "saying" thank you; Zhang Ziyi - she's so cute; Jennifer Gartner - this is evil, but I wish she did fall down... ; Uma Thurman - there's something about that smile; Dustin Hoffman - always liked his improvs; Jack Nicholson - time to take medicine, dude.

Undoubtedly, Brokeback Mountain and Crash were the talk of the Oscars. I find this years Oscars to be one of the best in the last few years. I mean, Gladiator as Best Picture!? Anyway, back to our stars this year.

Brokeback Mountain... I don't know if I discussed this on my blog, but I really liked the movie. Calling it a "Gay Cowboy" movie is such a shame. Dare I say that it transcends sexual orientation... the movie is about love and the obstacles that (cannot) prevent people from loving. Unfortunately, ignorance is always among us.

Speaking of ignorance, I have ro re-re-re-recommend Crash. I remember watching it with my girlfriend and I was so moved by the movie that I am still talking about it now - almost a year later! Anyway, regardless of the debate of "Brokeback vs. Crash," I think Crash is by far the more important film of the two.

A couple of comments: I agree with Best Director and Best Picture. Brokeback Mountain was done stunningly. Is that a word, by the way? I hope that Crash will be shown more often to generations to come. It deserves Best Picture. And the general theme of this years' Oscars seems to be the politically charged films that were nominated. Clearly, current world affairs have really led to production of these films. While the Vietnam Wars led to a bunch of war movies discussing the moral of wars and the men in it, the last fews years (post-911, post-Bush re-election, current-phobia) have finally let to some films that are more critical of what is happening in the world.

Finally, a work out!

Man, I am really out of shape. This is my second workout in the last seven days. And my legs are still sore from my first time... I think I need two weeks to recover.


"I'm feeling a bit gassy today"

Ah, the dilemma in life.

What should I, as the driver, do when one of my passengers says "I'm feeling a bit gassy today"?
Open the window in sub-zero Chicago weather?
Kick him or her off the car?
"Hold it in, damn it!"?

Somewhere, there is a business story to be told. (Thank you GSB.) Clearly my passenger knew before he or she enter my car that there was a problem by saying "today." Clearly the problem has already surfaced, or else he or she would not have stated his or her (ALRIGHT, it's a HE. HE. HE. HE. I'm sick of this he or she stuff) problem. Clearly this is something that probably can only be slightly contained. Not too clear is how bad the problem is...

What could have been done differently?
"Manage expectations" - tell the boss (me the driver) of the problem before it comes out (pardon the pun).
"Expect the worst" - don't say "a bit"... say "very" in case it comes out worse than you thought
"Refer to the problem" - including "I" may cause personal attacks.
"Offer solution" - even if its impossible, at least it seems genuine.

Solution: "Sorry, my isn't working well today. It is going to be a rough ride home today. I don't mind taking the train home by myself."