A Punch in the Face

We punched them: Bulls beat Heat to be up 3-0. Red Sox send Yankees to their seventh straight loss. I have tickets for games 5 and 7, and I'm torn between the Bulls sweeping and me having the chance to watch game 5. One game at a time, I guess. (Oh, but I am very giddy for Detroit)

They punched me: I held two consecutive A-A hands and lost both all-ins (cash game, I re-bought). The first one the buy called my pre-flop raise with his 3-4 suited. He got lucky and hit a set of threes. The second one was against a pair of Jacks. Oh well, I could have quadrupled up, instead, I'm left with nothing and went home.

The Dirty Canuck spoke what was on my mind. The critical thinking shuts down after too little sleep, too much time pressure, too little focus, etc etc, and exposes us to various heuristic and rush to judgments. So why on earth does the McKinsey case challenge give us 2 days to figure out how 4 technologies can potentially change 100 companies? To see creativity under pressure? No, I'm not bitter.

The Real Punch in the Face: A friend of mine (AFoM) was punched in the face while getting take out in NYC. The drunk mumbled about China and Yao Ming, called AFoM a "slanty eye fuck", tried to spit in AFoM's face, double teamed AFoM with a friend after AFoM pushed him away, and finally punched AFoM as AFoM turned away, knocking AFoM to the ground. AFoM got up scratched and bruised and didn't call police.

Now, I have never encountered an outright racist, and I definitely haven't bumped into a drunk
one. My first reaction was WTF, Fucking Racist, and Why didn't you call police. I wonder how I would react under similar circumstances. I probably would have backed away like a wuss.


No longer a virgin!

That's right, I had my first Big Mac in my life! Courtesy of the Bulls scoring more than 100 points against the hapless Miami Heat (we raped them 107-89). By the way, here's a way to beat the Heat: put the ball in the hands of either Jason Williams or Antoine Walker and make sure you get the defensive rebound off their errant threes and jumpshots. Anyway, let's review the American foodmarks that I've experienced:
  • Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Wrigley's chewing gum, Wing Work Wings, In and Our Burgers, McD Hamburger/Cheeseburger/Fries, White Castle, KFC 30 piece bucket, Taco Bell, Anna's Taqueria, chop suey, flied lice, etc etc
So how on earth did I skip the Big Mac my entire life!? I have no idea. On to the experience... NOT. I actually didn't realize that the Big Mac was so small. I took a few bites and the thing was already half gone. A huge disappointment. Not recommended.

In other news, our Power and Influence group settled into a topic for our project - it will be about how GSB students build networks at school and how the system has failed to help us build an effective and diverse network. Our Strategy and Structure group will do a piece on Blockbuster. I'd rather do a project for our Pricing Strategy class, but efforts seems stalled and we might stay with the midterm.


Eating adventures

Oh well, I revert back to writing about food. Last Monday we visited the Tango Sur, an Argentinian steak house (9.5 on citysearch). As you can see, the picture is a bit blurry because the place was really dark. I'm going to start bringing a mini-tri pod to restaurants, as if carrying the big thing isn't crazy enough.

R2P2 and Chubecca / JJB ordered an Ox Tongue dish that of course fueled the discussion on how the Chinese eat anything that moves. Let me just clear it up. Yes, it's true, the Chinese eat anything that moves, and then some that don't. Let's move on. It was okay: too dry, no moist, but the texture wasn't bad and the taste was good. I wouldn't order it again though.

Entree was a chesse-filled steak. Now that was quality. I'll let the picture speak for itself. Overall, I'd say Tango Sur was pretty good considering the prices. Recommended!

Cheese filled Steak (Desi, you wrap the camera on the top of the ant with a rubber band and then the ant will guide you to the best angle to take a picture of the food - use a remote, you don't want to crush the ant)

Devon Seafood Grill (9.6 in citysearch - I'm including the scores now because PNGF says she won't do anything below a 9.5... or was it 9.0... I can't even remember) is a fairly new restaurant in the Chicago seafood scene. As with any seafood and sushi in Chicago, I recommend to proceed with caution. The oysters were a grave disappointment. They did not taste fresh and there was plenty of sand left in my west coast oyster. The east coast one fared a bit better, but it still didn't feel fresh. Can't wait to be in Boston for some real seafood.

Things turned for MUCH better for the other appetizers though. The Tuna Tar Tar was generously good and the Beef Carpaccio was exquisite. Nicely presented as well. The entree I had was the Talapia - I like to order something I haven't heard of from the menu to illustrate either my ignorance or adventurousness. The talapia (a white fish, whatever that means) was baked in a almond crust topped with berries and Spanish rice. Very tasty. The restaurant was large and had pretty good contemporary decor. Service was decent. Highly recommended (not the oyster though).

Tuna Tar Tar

Beef Carpaccio


Lessons learned from Antoine Walker

Predictably, the Bulls won the game against the Miami Heat in the first game 96-91. Great game. The refs tried to take the game away from the players by saddling PJ and Kirk with 4 fouls early, then reversed sides to foul out Shaq and call five fouls on Wade in the second half. I think we also just witnessed the great Luol Deng becoming a real player. I have no idea he shot 51.7 percent (!!!) from the field in the regular season. Anyway, this is not the reason I am posting.

In the momentum turning third quarter, a particular sequence that led to the above picture was as such:
  1. Antoine Walker engages in 1-on-1, drives the basket, and shoots a fade away jumper
  2. He gets blocked cleanly by Tyrus Thomas
  3. Antoine being Antoine, he complained to the refs as he jogged back on defense, presumably because he though that either he was bumped or that it was goal tending
  4. Meanwhile, his man Thomas ran full speed down court to receive an alley-oop dunk
  5. Timeout, Miami
  6. The above picture is poor Antoine sitting on the bench as the Miami coaches device something to stop the Bulls momentum.
Now, I have watched many Celtics games while in Boston and I found the above sequence completely predictable. Why does Antoine keep doing this? Making bad 1-on-1 judgments, bitching to the refs, leaving his man running wild, and then sulking as he returns to the bench. He has immense talent: big man who can dribble, pass, and shoot open threes. So what happened?

Whenever he hits a bad streak, he seems to forget that the objective of the game is to win at the end. He gets so focused on his own failures that he tries everything to rectify it... by trying too hard, bitching too much, and then blaming himself for the team's failure. Look, Antoine, maybe when Dino Radja was your second fiddle, you can take it all on. But you are playing with Shaq and Wade! Lighten up! Focus on the team.

And that, my friends, is my weak attempt to link NBA to MBA. My first job out of GSB will feature me as someone like an Antoine Walker - a compliment to a good team. I need to focus on the team and not just my own work.

Author's note: although I would love Antoine to read my blog, I hope he won't learn from it. His failure is key to the Bulls' victories.


More Good News!

Red Sox came back in the bottom of the 8th to beat the Yankees. Against Rivera no less. A-Rod is locked in - his annual April special. According to Thaler, his performance will only come down. Oh yeah.

Um, this video made me laugh so freaking hard. Can't wait till someone charges Dice-K.

I played poker for the first time this quarter and won some money. I felt I played quite well all night, though it started with making one mistake against 2R on my first hand - I blame rust... but she player her flush draw quite well and I didn't raise her enough on the turn when I hit a top pair. That hand set the tone for the early going as I struggled on middle hands and misplayed good hands.

It got better in the middle as my hands slowly improved. Pocket dueces (no pre-flop raise and hit a set on the flop) and jacks both netted big returns. I tried to mix up my pre-flop raise a little bit - it helped some middle hands win small pots.

My last hand was pocket rockets. After a decent raise (10 on 1-2 blinds), there were three to the flop, and the flop came Qs-8s-5c (something like that). First person raised 50 (!) and the second person called (!!!!!). What the hell? What happened to my pocket rockets!? At this point... I thought:
  • Not two pair... wouldn't have called my raise with Q-8. 2 outs for them.
  • Probably not Q-A/K as they would have raised pre-flop; if Q, has to be Q-J/10. 2 outs.
  • Flush draw is a possibility, but since they called my raise, and Qs is on the board, maybe Ks-Js or something similar. 9 outs.
  • Straight draw would be odd. J-10. 4 outs.
  • Straight-Flush draw. 13 outs.
Well, I decided that I was ahead and I wanted to avoid any draws, so I re-raised 100. First raiser went away after much thought (probably a draw) and the second person called only because he only had 6 left. Straight draw with J-9. Why did he call the pre-flop raise!?

Oh well, I won the pot and ended on a high note. =)

Tequila Buddy, more happy stories for ya!

And I go watch the Bulls lay the smackdown on the Miami Heat tomorrow.

Happy Post

Tequila buddy bumped into me and commented that my blog seemed dramatic. My life is fine. There will always be little speed bumps on the way!

She also requested a happy post; I will gladly oblidge.

Have I mentioned that I love all four of my classes this quarter? Love them. I am now fully convinced that the key to enjoying the GSB MBA is to take good professors and worry less about the material. I have four professors on steriods (in descending order, Epley, Dube, and a tie between Menon and Bothner) and auditing one on depressants (Thaler). The steriod users bring energy to the class. And energy is exactly what the class needs to fuel a case discussion. Thaler is a bit overrated - he snaps every now and then and the class gets exciting, but he is mostly laid back and very deliberate in his delivery.

It is admit weekend at the GSB. If there's one advice I can give, it is to take good professors. Class material is nothing when the professor isn't good.

Gun free zone creates violence?

What a dumb ass. In the words of our OB classes, he is making statements with availability bias and egocentric bias.


Open and Honest

Hokies, be strong.

It's been a while since I last blogged about something serious. Wait... I'm never serious.

Oh but I am. I've always been a proponent of being as open and as honest as possible with people. In the cynical world that we live in, obviously this can't be true all the time. The topic of whether the benefits of telling the truth outweigh the costs of hurting people you love and care about came up between my friend and me. Fascinating debate really. Since I am a proponent of being open, I think for the most part the benefits do outweigh the costs. But I can see things going the other way as well.

Our little debate led to the establishment of a secret blog site. What if one has this secret blog to vent and put all his or her darkest secret on it. He or she will be able to let out some steam and whatever, maybe even live a better life. But our focus is whether this secret blog would ever be released in the very distant future... which would certainly hurt a lot of people... or would it hurt more if those people found out themselves?

Which brings me to a current situation in which I am a "victim." A good friend of mine is not open and honest with me. (Yup, and somehow I find out) I think I know the reason on why she isn't honest, and I think I understand where she is coming from. Ah, hell, I sympathize with her cause, really. But at the same time, I am quite hurt. I'd rather hear the truth and be hurt that way. Finding out through a backdoor channel is never pleasant.


Movie and then some

Saw 300 in an IMAX theater. Not recommended. Unless you want to see two hours of six packs. Or blood splattering all over (blood drops, really, but what do I know...). Or slow mo love making. Or slow mo anything. In fact, I think the movie is about 30 minutes long but they slow mo everything and it became a two hour movie. Visually stunning though. Still, not recommended.

Just thought I should share this... gotta love the media. Thanks to Koala Blogger for bringing this to my attention.

From WSJ: Thanks to Chicago offered a bid that hinges on building new facilities, mostly situated around the downtown lakefront and nearby parks. The centerpiece would be an 80,000-seat, $366 million temporary Olympic stadium that would be built in historic Washington Park. (This park is just by the University of Chicago's campus)

My comment: LOL... the HISTORIC WASHINGTON PARK! One park that we had a BSCIT event to clean the damn thing up... one park that I would never walk through... one park that when I walked through it, I found needles on the ground... and we're might have the Olympics there! Someone call Daley! Clean the city!


McKinsey is Evil

Man, the McKinsey "case challenge" was a fucking waste of my time. I hope they read this post.

So, a couple of weeks ago, McKinsey Business Technology (BTO) sent a very intriguing email:

Teams of 3-5 MBAs from Berkeley Haas, Chicago GSB, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, and Wharton will show how a breakthrough technology could transform one of the world's leading companies.

Note that HBS isn't on the list because I think they called the bluff from McKinsey. Anyway, our team was interested in "breakthrough technologies", so we signed up. Of course, the $10,000 school prize and $20,000 national prize didn't hurt either.

The night we got our question, it was the following: apply one of the four technologies to a Fortune 100 company and show improvement in revenue and productivity. The four technologies - user generated content, constant WIFI, virtual worlds, and smart networks - being four things that I've heard of and used already.

It was a fucking scam to generate great ideas and then use them to pitch to clients (it can't get any more obvious than that, really). Which is fine, I guess... kudos to the person who thought of this idea. Anyway, we goofed around the whole day and came up with some trashy presentation before calling it a day. Anyway, someone asked me how the case challenge was, which inspired an unintended poem:

it's just a place where McK generates pitches
that's why we call those consultant bitches

It also inspired the Lam Chart:


Vietnamese Food Review

After the Buffet trip and before the McKinsey debacle, I had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, which PNGF called "the only Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago that I will ever dine at." Well then. Hai Yen, here I come.

Turns out that I had eaten at this restaurant before with SY. Except that last time I ordered the requisite Pho, which wasn't bad but not that great especially compared to the great Pho I had in Boston. This time around, PNGF was clearly in charge, as she browsed through the menu and told me what I should eat. I love these dining experiences - it's like me bringing Americans to a Chinese restaurant and saving them from the General Gao's Chicken, pu-pu platter, and moo shu dishes. Anyway, on to the food:

Vietnamese Grilled Beef (Thit Nuong)

Shrimp Balls on Sugar Cane Stick (Chao Tom)

Grilled Pork wrapped in Lot Leaves (Bo La Lot) - not the most flattering look, but they are damn good (I tried to fudge with the picture... they just are this way)

Yup, I wrapped my own spring roll - I'm an expert now


Visiting Omaha

Wow, I actually met Warren Buffet... the guy is quite a show man and loves to be in the center of attention. Surprising... I thought he'd be more reserved. Some highlights:
  • The Dirty Canuck had an interesting morning (2nd post, I think)
  • Responding to a question regarding giving to charities: he gives back to society because he has taken from society... and he should keep the wealth because society can't produce the returns he can.
  • On how we should appreciate life: if 1000 random people on Earth were assigned to you and you have to pick one of them to become, you wouldn't play the game. That would mean you are in the top 0.01% of satisfied with your own life. Think about that.
  • The requisite do what you like advice and don't do it for money.
  • This is a low light actually: Gorat's, which was supposed to be WB's favorite restaurant, served me a very very very disappointing steak. The baked potato is good though... uh... yeah...
  • The line to take a picture with Warren (yup, we on a first name basis now)... yours truly was #66...
  • Monthly parking in downtown Omaha costs $45 (it's outdoors... indoors is more expensive, I was told. Apparently, a 3-star hotel right in the middle of downtown also costs $45.
  • Blah blah blah
Overall, I enjoyed the trip. Once I got back, I had to attend a McKinsey case competition, which is a complete scam (Xie Xie A has this to say). Will get to this in my next post.


Time to procrastinate...

While in my pricing strategy class, I came across this funny travel route from NY to Paris, courtesy of the Sports Guy.

Here's a fascinating article on how greatness can go unnoticed when not in context, courtesy of both Freakenomics and Managing in Organizations class.

Speaking of Freakenomics, last weeks Brown Bag Series had Kevin "Genius Award" Murphy talking about the benefits of inequality and attacked some of the follies of proposed solutions such as progressive taxes. He was introduced by Steve Levitt. The prior Brown Bag Series was Nobel laureate Gary Becker talking about paid immigration. Fascinating topics. No articles though. Yet I digress.

Alright, back to Strategy and Structure. I can't wait to see how Saturn is going to fight the Hondas and Toyotas (and Hyundais!)... NOT.

Tomorrow, I go meet Warren Buffet. This will be fun!



上一個禮拜四是清明節... 但我完全忘了.

暑假的時候, 雖然我七月二十三號會在歐洲某處, 但我不會忘記的.


Fogo Finally!

I cannot believe I have not been to Fogo de Chao. This place is freaking awesome. Last quarter when I worked on Orion's Mind, one of my teammates was a Brazilian. He said he would only go to Fogo de Chao for authentic Brazilian food.

The meat was of course great. Pictured here is the house special. I loved it. The lamp chops , fillet mignon, the sirloin, and rib eye were also very good. A bit fatty was the beef rib, which I had last. Good thing it didn't come first.

Dessert was a chocolate cake which was basically a molten chocolate cake... except that the whole cake felt like molten. Yummy.

But honestly, the best part of the meal was the bread. I couldn't decide which one was better, Fogo de Chao or De la Costa. At the end, I went with Fogo: it had the best bread I've had and I kept wanting more even after dessert.

I went to a concert for BB King. That man is 81 and he is still commanding the stage like no other. Amazing time... though my legs got real sore towards the end.


I'm so sorry!

Weather Gods, forgive me for saying that Winter is over. Please don't snow on me. DOH! Freaking Chicago. It snowed on Wed, ten got very cold the last few days.

Watched Prison Break season 2 finale on Tuesday night. What a fucking disappointment. I'm boycotting the rest of the seasons, just like I did 24 after its season 2. The idea of a finale is to have a climax in which the protagonist achieves some level of victory and faces some level of (unexpected) difficulty so that viewers will be intrigued by the ending and hopefully beg for season 3. Prison Break fails to convert on either way.

Nonetheless, I have learned many valuable lessons from Prison Break:
10. If you are a pretty doctor, you should not work in a prison. This is not negotiable. Nor should you respond to some fat cop who just tried to hit on you. This is also not negotiable.
9. When your life is in danger, it might be a good idea to let people know where you will be. Or, of course, you could venture into danger yourself and then get killed. Why not.
8. Actually, it might be better to call the police; even though they are incompetent, on your own, you probably are more incompetent.
7. Trusting the mob boss and a child pedophile is a great idea if you need to escape from prison... NOT.
6. Handcuffing yourself to another person (especially the protagonist) and swallowing the key means there's only one way to get you off - say goodbye to your hand.
5. If you have a gun, don't just point it at someone; use it. The idea is to neutralize the other person, like shoot his calf or something, or force him to tie himself up, rather than wait for the other party to grab your gun.
4. When Blackmailed by others, don't just oblige. Use your phone to record the conversation. It's really just one button.
3. If you get arrested, ask to go to Fox River. I hear the security there is lax and the warden needs someone to help him build the Taj Mahal model for his anniversary.
2. When in doubt, work for "The Company"... the other jobs suck.
1. "You'll have to trust me" translates as "I'm going to screw you later"


How do you feel about the last quarter?

This is how I feel:

Anyway... last week's visit by the Hong Kong Commissioner got me thinking about comparing living in the US and HK again. One of the reason that companies prefer HK to Shanghai and Beijing, alleged by the HK Commissioner, is that of human capital. Specifically, ex-pats prefer to be in Hong Kong. Why? Because of quality of life: convenience, safety, international city, good entry point before being totally East Asian, and education. The last point, in my opinion, will be most significant. International schools in HK are far superior to those in China, so it you're an ex-pat and you have family, you would prefer HK.

Sadly, local schools can't really compare and aren't of consideration for any ex-pats. Hong Kong's education system is still as screwed up as it was fifteen years ago. They don't know which language to teach in (despite research that has shown the clear benefit of mother tongue education), they don't know what to teach, they force feed facts rather than facilitate thinking, they focus on memory rather than application, etc etc. Fundamentals are good for most students, but if they are thrown into the real world, it takes time to adjust.

Managing in Organizations, Managerial Decision Making, and Power and Influence are three organizational behavior classes that are very similar. In fact, I think I can go to one and learn all three! I'm only taking MiO and PaI right now, but I think I'm going to audit MDM just to finish the holy trinity.

Monday in P and I: with power, you can send short and spell-check-less emails; focusing on one thing only often gives you illusions about your lack of power or knowledge, asking is power, power acquired unintentionally seems more powerful than those collected intentionally, there are situational reasons for many things rather than dispositional reasons.

Tuesday in M in O: all of the above (I tell you, the similarities are scary) + negativity dominance, actor/observer bias, confirmation bias, and omission neglect. The combined conclusion? The most incompetent people are the most overconfident. (This statement, by the way, may suffer from both confirmation bias and omission neglect!) Well well... I guess I am sometimes quite incompetent.

Yup, and that last statement is a direct result of confirmation bias. haha!

Winter is over, but there's still ice...!

It's just ice in the United Center and AMC River East. (By the way, there are rumors that snow may appear on Wednesday. I'm going to ignore that.

PNGF and I went to a Blackhawks game because the tickets were free. Standard Microeconomics predict when the price goes to zero, the demand for the tickets should be very large. Well, reality is quite different (opportunity costs not considered obviously): the stadium was at best half full. But they did beat the Blue Jackets. Anyway, I find Hockey a fun game to watch live... it's fast and violent and there's lots of action.

Blades of Glory was much better. A 1045 showing didn't deter those who wanted a good time at the theaters. It was a full house. The movie was hysterical. Wedding Crasher-esque! The success of this movie is that the very premise of male pair skating is funny. Even at places where it wasn't funny at all, people still laughed. For example, at the beginning of the movie, we see a kid skating. And the theater just started to laugh. Good stuff. Highly recommended if you want to have a good laugh. Don't eat too much beforehand, your stomach might hurt.


Blog improvements...

A while ago, I've mentioned the map, which is very cool to have. I'm not sure which one surprises me more: Nigeria or Iceland.

I've tried to organize my posts through labels, as you can see at the bottom of selected posts as well as to the right of this post. Hopefully that can help you navigate some entries better.

I use Google Reader to read blogs. Instead of the sites of individual blogs, I've made them into list of posts that I find interesting, i.e. the "My Readings" link also on the right.

That's about it for now. I'm trying to change my own website a little bit. Right now, all the dots on the map look the same... but some dots are different. Most dots are travel logs, which is the reason I started the website in the first place. But Boston and Chicago are really places that I lived in, while Death Valley and Holland City have only pictures. I want them to look different. Any suggestions??