Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Eagle Has Landed

I know. I'm being slack again. This time I have a good excuse. It's just been simply crazy making the move to Philly - (and staying sane). First impressions of Philly are positive. My nocturnal exploring has been fruitful and I have found a few dives which I like. Thus ends the first and most important part of my MBA experience. Lower down on the priority list, has been furnishing my apartment. Last week I almost broke down and cried like a little baby after being overwelmed with the plethora of colors, styles, patterns, and designs. Then for each of these laid the various projects: bedroom, living room, kitchen. I HATE SHOPPING.

It was on the verge of color-cordination overload that I realized the luxuries I have left behind. Usually, when I move, I always left the interior decor to either the female in my life at the time, or delegate to a team of eager female engineers, who all relished the challenge of spending someone else's money - even if for no personal gain. (Have scientists isolated this gene in females yet?)

Anyway, this whole shopping for furniture thing has totally fried my brain and has rendered me useless for my Calculus pre-test in two weeks. However, while strolling through K-mart, Marta Stewart came to the rescue like an angel from the fashion-challenges gods. And in one swipe of a credit card, I was transformed into a young hip dude with exquisite taste. Thank you Martha Stewart for your color coordinated treats, your tasteful linens and bathroom accessories. You are a darling to bachelors everywhere.

As is typical with the karmic irony of life, with every blessing comes a curse. Here goes: What the ^&*% is up with best buy?!?! I went to two different branches to shop for electronics for the crib. 95% of the items I requested were not in stock. Which leads me to ask - If you are all out...why the *(^* do you have these items displayed if you have none there??? Why do you have this massive 10,000 sq ft store when you are going to tell me to order it on the website for delivery 2 week later? Ditto with the furniture stores. If anyone out there plans to go into retail here is the forula based of best practices from my experiences thus far:

1. Go to Amazon.com and order one of everything
2. Lease a building 2 miles outside of the city near the post and display these items with half the sales force that you estimate
3. If someone is crazy enough to actually purchase anything - refer them to your website or amazon.com
4. If the customer does not seem enthusiastic, refer the customer to WalMart and inform them that they have cheaper stuff with the same performance and specifications.

Sorry of the rant. But it's a necessary evil for the sake of dealing with culture shock. Apart from my woes with furnishing the crib, I have been giving serious thoughs about my blogging future. While I enjoy blogging, and have met many interesting people both online and in real life, I am still ambivalent about whether I will in fact continue. Still thinking....

Anyway, since I am still contemplating a new direction for myself, and am still without cable, internet etc for the next week - I would appreciate any suggestions on good books worth reading. That is, anything but Harry Potter! - (note to FutureMBAGirl - :)) On the movie end of things, I was able to check out the Wedding Crashers. I have not laughed that hard since There's Something about Mary. Definitely worth the 6 bucks and candied sugary goodies.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Booya!

I wish I had more to blog about, but no such luck. Instead, I have faded into a placid obscurity. My most challenging projects to date have been queuing in the US Embassy for my F1 visa (see AttaGirl), chasing vaccinations and paperwork (BritChick), and making a spreadsheet in excel for my grandmother to organize the phone numbers of her church-cake-sale-homies.

Apart from the home improvement projects and the self-improvement binge, I am now hooked on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money on CNBC. Cramer is like the Jerry Springer of Wall Street viewing - over the top and just as addictive. There are cheesy graphics, cheap sound effects, and Crazy Cramer preaching the straight dope from the street. I can’t get enough.

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Housebroken

Thus far, my days consist of gym, yard work, laundry, stripping, sanding and building. I think I am being given an involuntary pre-pre-term in preparation for the student life. For the first time in years, I actually made up a budget, and even more surprising, I am sticking to it. Usually, at this time of the month, I become more aware of the impending paycheck slowly coursing through the company's financial veins en route to my chequing account. The reality just hit me that there is none coming - and so, the cash burn is officially on.

Apart from my domestic rediscovery, I feel like a stranger in my own country. Much has changed since I last lived here. On my previous visits home, I have been so consumed with errands and impending vacation plans, that I did not take the time to absorb the scenery. This time, things will be different. Last weekend, I decided to visit a different restuarant every other day, to become more au courrant with the local gourmet scene. My college buddies, took me on a club crawl to get reacquainted with the nightlife. Finally, today I had my first salsa lesson - and not too soon from the looks of things.

The self improvement binge continues...

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

A South Beach Tale

The IceMan sits under the tarp of the pool bar sulking over the Miami Monsoon, which is plaguing South Beach. Amidst the deluge, the following unfolds…


Concierge:

Welcome to our lovely hotel. I hope you are having a good time so far. Please meet Arlene – our local tropical storm.

*smile and brief pause*

Arlene, this is IceMan…IceMan, please meet Arlene.

Arlene:
Nice meeting you IceMan. ooOOooo…cool shades.

IceMan07:
Thanks. You suck.

Arlene:
Excuse me? Is that how you speak to women that you just met, and whom I might add complimented you? No wonder you’re single.

IceMan07:
Quite the contrary, I am a perfect gentleman. I just don’t get along well with people you purposefully set out to ruin my vacation.

Arlene:
You give me too much credit. How did a little old girl like me do something like that?

IceMan07:
Well I came over here expecting some sun and fun and instead was greeted by dark clouds, wind gusts, and an almost empty beach. In all, just an all around cluster-#$^* amidst torrential rains.

Arlene:
*giggles*
Well, that’s not what it looked like to me. As a matter of fact, I helped your sorry ass!

IceMan07:
Normally I would have told you to go screw yourself, then make an equally obscene exit, but my curiosity is getting the better of me. How pray tell, by chasing all the scantily clad hotties from the beach, did you enhance my vacation experience?

Arlene:
*rolling eyes*
Men! Okay, try to stay with me now. Was that not you outside the ocean drive starbucks smoking a cigar and sipping a double cappuchino?

IceMan07:
*laughs snobbishly*
Yeah, so you’re comparing coffee to eye candy?

Arlene:
Okay, hang-on. Was that not you at the Clevelander chatting up a storm with the 2pm crowd? Was that not you at the Mango Bar sipping coronas and mojitos? Wasn’t it you who got summoned to take a twirl with the lounge singer? How about poolside at the hotel? Whose digits were those that got scribbled at the back of your receipt while complaining about the weather? Where did you go for dinner? Who with?

*confident pause*

MmmmHmmm. I rest my case.

IceMan07:
*staring down at his shoes*
Well. You have a point. *regaining composure now* But this is all circumstantial rather than cause and effect as you’re suggesting. I must admit, things did not turn out as bad as they could have.

Arlene:
Should I consider that an apology?

IceMan07:
You can do with it what you like darling. (infused with sarcasm). Anyway, as much as I like chatting with deviant weather patterns, I have a flight to catch. It was good meeting you.

Arlene:
Same here. Have a nice flight. I notice that your flight plan puts you very close to me. So we might see each other again sooner then you think. *evil grin*

IceMan07:
I hope you don’t take it personally, but I sincerely hope not. But, please take it easy on the US Gulf Coast. Energy prices are high enough, housing is expensive enough, and we're still getting over Ivan, Gibert and Andrew.

Arlene:
I’ll try, but you know these things are out of my control. You take care.

IceMan07:
I hear ya. Ciao bella.

*SCENE*

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Bienvenido a Miami


SoBe 8am
Originally uploaded by IceMan07.
Due to another delay from an undisclosed airline, I arrived in Miami at 6:45 am instead of the scheduled 10pm the prior night.

I explained the reason for my delay, and the kind front desk manager wacked 50% off of the night that I missed, and then upgraded me from a bargain basement regular room to an ocean-view suite. I love the effort. Someone else might not have even bothered.

Two words describe SoBe this morning - Quiet and Cloudy. I'll take a nap now, see how things progress, then roam about the old stomping grounds later on.

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Last Day in Vegas

It's my last day in Vegas, and like the spoilt brat in the toys u us aisles, I am pouting. I don't wanna leave :(. To add salt to the wound, SoBe looks like it's going to be drenched in rain during the two days that I'm there. To cheer myself up, I decided to do Poweryogi's Travel Type Indicator. It's official...I'm a "Travel Yup" - see details below. Hmmm Bali, Jakarta, Vegas, Miami....sounds about right.

Your travel type: Travel Yup

The Travel Yup likes exotic and adventurous travel, but prefers big cities with fast paced life. He has a keen interest in other cultures and always brings home a few souvenirs.

Shopping in Bangkok, getting a tailor made suite in Kuala Lumpur, that's the kind of thing the Travel Yup is into. Even though he likes to get away, he prefers his travels to be comfortable.

top destinations:

Beirut
New York
Amsterdam

stay away from:

Hampi
Ciudad Perdida
Darien Gap
get your own travel profile

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tagged in Las Vegas


IMG_0348
Originally uploaded by IceMan07.
I made it to Las Vegas in one piece. Armed with the tips from my fellow MBA Bloggers, I am exploring this adult playground with gusto. While I am all for the city's self proclaimed mantra - what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas - a few things stand out:

1. Ususally I suffer from really terrible jetlag whenever I fly over to the US. This time, the transition was seamless.

2. I am hardly gambling. So far I have visited the blackjack tables only twice. There is just so much to do that I have not even thought about gambling. I think the hotels made the right decision, moving from the cheap subsidized hotel rates to the full service model where, even if people don't hit the casinos much, they can still make money on such customers.

3. On a lazy Sunday, I decided to teeter on the line of metrosexuality and spring for the works: a massage, a manicure/pedicure and a facial at the hotel spa. I can now understand why women go bonkers for this stuff. The pampering was definitely rejuvenating. Now I have the ultimate gift idea for the ladies, well, apart from jewelry.

In all, the IceMan *heart* Las Vegas, and I am happy that I have a viable alternative to South Beach as a favorite vacation spot.

On the MBA side of things, I have been tagged by AttaGirl on my last 5 books read. So, here they are in reverse chronologial order:

1. Berkshire Hathaway's Letters to the Shareholders - 1977 to 2004 - Warren Buffet
2. The Broker - John Grisham
3. Barbarians at the Gate - Brian Burrough
4. The Rules of Work - The unspoken truth about getting ahead in business - Richard Templar
5. The Art of War - Sun Tzu


So, in turn, I'll tag a mix of students, prospectives, and non MBA bloggers: Aregon23, Future MBA Girl, Mark & Jie, mbafarbe, Steph

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Don't Cry for me Indonesia

I officially had my last day of work on Tuesday 31st May, 2004. After I completed my formalities, packing, and shipping, I was off to a farewell tour of Indonesia spanning from Bali to Jakarta. Thus ended an era. A few coworkers and friends surprised me on Friday night by showing up in Jakarta for one last night on the town. We said farewell in a club crawl spanning the Dragon Fly, B.A.T.S., Tiga Puluh and of course, the Stadium. And so it all ended like it began - a Friday night escapade of the Jakarta club scene. I returned to my hotel at 05:30 am, just in time to shower and catch my flight to Vegas at 07:30 :) .

I have moved quite alot throughout my career, and have found that the old adage is quite true. Home is where the heart is. Just like any home there were good times and bad. In my almost three years in Indonesia, Have have been no more than 2 blocks away from two terrorist attacks. The bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta - (was having lunch nearby), and the attack on the Australian Embassy - (was delivering a presentation to 20+ seminar attendees). The last and most devastating tragedy we all remember quite well - the earthquake and tsunami, which devastated South East Asia.

Keeping with the time tested cliches, another adage says that there is a silver lining behind every dark cloud. Again, another truth. Personally, Indonesia provided fertile soil for my own personal growth - a comfortable life, substancial professional achievements, two heart wrenching romances, and of course, admission to 2 fantastic MBA programs. I hope that I was able to be - (buzzword alert) - a net contributor (/buzzword alert) throughout. Of all the activities in which I partook, I enjoyed working with the kids the most. Working directly with the kids, was in retrospect, more fulfilling than the gala fundraisier scene where I think I spent more of my time, or than cutting a check.

I will definitely cherish the memories, and hope that the lessons learnt throughout, will enhance my character in the future. If I ever get the opportunity to return in the future, I will snap it up in a hearbeat. (Recruiters! Are you listening? 2007 - mark your calendar. I'll be at DIP week, and the career fair at Wharton)

To Indonesia with love. Thanks for the memories. Terima Kasi Banyak

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