Archive for the 'b-school' Category

Farewell trusty HP 12c Financial Calculator!

It’s time to say goodbye to one of the best things I picked up while getting my MBA… my HP 12c ABA financial calculator. (Sigh.) This is a great calculator… but silly enough, I later ended up picking up a second financial calculator (a Texas Instruments Financial Calculator) which cost less and was the one that my finance professor used in class. I tried to keep up using the HP, but he went so fast, it was hard to keep up on the keystrokes with the HP (you enter information into the HP differently than the TI).

Anyway, I have no need for two financial calculators and since the TI is more practical for me, I’m listing my trusty HP12c on Amazon for sale.

Of course, I had to write up the item description joz-style. So here it is:

I used this calculator for two classes in business school and I got As in both classes! Thank you magic HP calculator! It works great and I’m going to miss it, but I have a second financial calculator that suits me slightly better. No defects or scratches, in like new condition. Comes with original pouch and the ever-important user guide/manual. Fast shipping!

Farewell, my trusty HP 12c! May you serve another business student/professional well!

UPDATE: It sold in less than 12 hours.

Total meltdown

Last night I had a total meltdown.

I could have not admitted it, not posted it to my blog and let the memory of it fade into the ether since the only witness to this was Yoshi. And Yoshi would have kept it private, too. But even though it’s totally humiliating, I can admit when I’m behaving like an absolute freakazoid, so here’s my confession of what happened.

After a long week of work, I headed home from the office after braving Friday night traffic in L.A. I had wanted to stop by Target on the way home to pick up a couple of items, but Yoshi said I should come straight home and we could go together to the Best Buy/Target closer to our home since I had something to return to Best Buy.

Actually, I need to back up.

When I graduated in April, I received a lot of wonderful gifts from my friends and family. My Bro and his gf were extremely generous and got me more than one gift. One was a new digital camera & memory card, which in itself was more than what I asked for (which was nothing). But then they also got me a Wii Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) dancepad and game… except that when they showed up for the dinner at graduation and saw the Wii we set up… with the DDR dancepad we already had, they were like “Oops! Sorry! I guess you’ll have to take it back to Best Buy!”

Fast forward 4 months later, the unopened DDR and the receipt are still sitting in our office in the same gift bag it came in. And DOH! The return policy says that we have 30 days to return or exchange it.

So I, not being the type of person who buys things and then returns them, didn’t really realize there was this policy, even though Yoshi tried to explain it to me. (Ok, ok. So I wasn’t listening when Yoshi was talking… my bad!)

Now four months later, we’re wondering if we can get a refund (doubtful) or hopefully store credit for something other than a second DDR dancepad and game.

So off we went to Target/Best Buy in West Hollywood on our Friday night (Whoo hoo! Don’t we live exciting lives?!). Yoshi dropped me off at Best Buy and headed to Target to start finding the things on our list. I stood in line at the Customer Service desk for a good fifteen minutes because the guys at the counter were evidently returning an XBox that had been opened and the Best Buy associate was (rightfully) going through the entire contents of the box to see that every component was still there. And there was another guy in front of me in line. And of course, there was only one register open.

I finally got to the counter and hoped for the best. I had the original receipt in hand and the still-in-plastic Wii DDR. Jose looked in the system and said, “Well, you’re lucky because the transaction is still in the system but I can’t give you a refund or even store credit. The only thing I can do for you is to give you an exchange for another item tonight.”

“Are you sure it has to be tonight?” I asked. “I literally don’t have any idea what I need to buy. I already have a Wii Fit, Wii Rockband, and all the games that I want to play right now. My living room is already full of Wii shit. I’m not going to be able to spend all that right now, I don’t think.”

Jose looked at me and said, “Well, how much longer? You can’t take another month on this. How about a week? Is that enough time to think about it?”

I shrugged. “I guess it will have to be,” I answered. “Thanks so much for your help.”

He made a note in the system that I could exchange the item for other merchandise for another week.

I called Yoshi, who was already wandering through the Target next door and explained the situation. Yoshi said, “Hey, since we’re here, let’s just figure out what to buy and make the exchanges today so we don’t have to come back another day. Besides, Target is open until 10 so I can just leave and we can come back after we’re done there.”

“Ok,” I said. And I waited for Yoshi to come over.

The Wii DDR dance pad cost $69.99 + tax, so we had to figure out what to buy at Best Buy that would cost roughly the same price. After the stress of worrying about whether or not I was going to be able to get anything from Best Buy, the stress of spending $70 seemed a lot preferable… at first.

Then, after wandering around Best Buy for 20 minutes and not seeing anything at that price point that we wanted, we were relegated to asking ridiculous questions like, “Do you want a new mouse?” “How about a new laptop cooling pad?” “Can I buy a new laptop? How about one that fits in my pocket?”

We didn’t really need anything and anything we did want to buy was out of stock or way out of the price range.

We decided that we didn’t need either a mouse or a cooling pad, but Yoshi needed a new USB hub ($18) and so we got that and kept wandering. I was still carrying my DDR in a giant party bag around the store. It was starting to get heavy.

After 40 minutes, I was really losing it. (I had started to lose it 20 minutes earlier when I had suggested a mouse.)

We went back to the Wii area and decided to buy a $19 Wii nunchuk since we haven’t seen our original nunchuk since my graduation party in April. If we find the original, then we’ll have two nunchuks to use.

About $30 to go.

Who knew it would be so hard for us to spend $30 at Best Buy?

We walked ’round and ’round and I decided I needed to get something to protect the new digital camera my Bro and his gf had given me for my birthday. After going through about 50 different camera cases, I found a cute little camera case for $15.

Just $15 more to spend.

I thought, “Well, since I am protecting my camera, maybe I should get something to protect my iPhone since it’s dented and scratched since I didn’t put it in a case or even any kind of skin on it.”

We went around to the iPhone accessories section and I was faced with a couple of dozen choices. To say that I was overwhelmed at this point is an understatement. Yoshi had already noticed that I was staring into space and mumbling to myself and was trying to pick up the pace.

I noticed that there were two Best Buy sales associates in the mobile phone section and I thought about asking for help. Except that they were both too busy flirting with a pretty girl in a short skirt to notice me standing there. This in itself wasn’t too bothersome, except that the pretty girl was talking a lot really loudly and she was a complete moron. “Oh, it’s Hollywood,” she cooed to the guys. “You know how it is here.”

I rolled my eyes and ignored the scene. I couldn’t hear what the guys were saying back to her, but I did hear her response… “that’s so GAY!” You know the way she said it. Like the way little boys say it on the playground not because they know what it means, but because they know it’s supposed to be “bad.”

I. Hate. That.

We were in a shopping center in WEST HOLLYWOOD for pete’s sake! That’s (almost) like standing in the Castro calling the guys there fags when you’re not one yourself.

And then she giggled loudly. And I looked back and I caught the eye of one of the guys. I must have given him the look o’ death because he meekly (and quickly) looked away and pretended like he was busy with the other customer… the pretty but incredibly stupid, stupid girl.

I was pissed. Not at any one thing in particular, but all the little things in combination. Everything was rubbing me the wrong way.

I got huffy. “I don’t want anything for my iPhone!” I declared loudly to Yoshi (who had also overheard that conversation) and I stomped away.

I was losing it rapidly.

“Just pick a DVD. Any DVD and we can be done with this,” I snapped at Yoshi. Now I was taking it out on someone who had not done anything to piss me off.

Saying “pick any DVD” was not really good suggestion because, well, it’s just not. So Yoshi was going through the aisles as quickly as possible, trying to find a single DVD that we didn’t have and wanted to own. Yoshi brilliantly remembered that of all the Harry Potter movies that are out on DVD, there was one that we don’t own (Prisoner of Azkaban) and every time I look at the DVD shelf, I go “Are we missing one? Which one are we missing?” and then I never remember the answer. Yoshi started looking for the Harry Potter section and I was half-following, near tears at this point because I just wanted out of the Best Buy. I caught up to Yoshi standing in front of the Harry Potter DVDs… Sorcerer’s Stone, Goblet of Fire… NO AZKABAN!

DAMMIT! The one DVD we were actually looking for… NOT THERE! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes… Yoshi told me to stand somewhere and just wait and was already trolling for another DVD. I ignored the instruction to wait and took two steps, turned to the right and saw LUST, CAUTION on the top shelf. I grabbed it. “How about this?” I asked, not caring about the answer. Yoshi diplomatically answered, “Have you even seen it? {No} Is it any good? {I dunno}” But I said, “It’s Ang Lee. I’ll take it. Let’s go.” And I started barreling back toward the Customer Service desk.

Luckily there was no line this time and Jose was still there. He smiled at me and I said, “I’ve been wandering around the store for over an hour to find stuff to buy!” And he nicely started the return and ringing me up. And I was babbling because I was still upset and annoyed at everything. I was huffing and puffing at Yoshi about the idiot sales guys in the mobile phone section and I said loudly, “Look, I didn’t really NEED help back there, but it would have been nice if just one of those guys had stopped flirting with the hot chick in the tiny skirt and OFFERED to help me.”

And Jose looked up from ringing me up and said, “Uh oh. Not this store, I hope…”

And Yoshi said, “Unfortunately, yeah. Back in the mobile phone section.”

Jose looked up and saw them still sitting there. “Oh I know who you’re talking about.” He turned around and whispered into the Manager’s ear, pointing back at the mobile phone section. And then he stepped back and seamlessly finished our transaction and said, “I’m sorry about that. I informed the manager of your troubles.” Wow. I didn’t mean to tattle on anyone, but I didn’t care. And Jose had been doubly nice to me already. I could feel the tears subsiding. I wasn’t going to burst into tears in public, thank god.

With that, our Best Buy adventure was over, so we stopped to drop our stuff of in the car and headed over to Target to get the things that we had originally come for before the entire Best Buy detour. Target was pretty uneventful but it was a little stressful because I was still looking around at 10 when they closed and all the lines at the cash registers were totally long. But after getting through there and having to go pay for parking and finding out the parking machines could not take credit cards but only cash and finding cash to pay for parking and then finally navigating through that crazy ass parking lot to finally, finally get home… yay home!

We walked up to our front door with our merchandise in hands, tired and weary and glad to be there.

I had made it home without crying… almost.

As Yoshi unlocked the front door and stepped in, I waited patiently on the front step, standing next to the light by the front door, where moths frequently like to congregate. I try to ignore them most of the time, but as I was walking toward the open front door, I saw it from the corner of my eye. It was coming straight at my face!

OMFG!!!!!!! THE MOTH IS DIVE BOMBING ME! I turned my body and my head to avoid it, but it had gained too much speed and it hit me square in the left temple.

OMG! OMG! OMG!

I HATE MOTHS! I HATE MOTHS SO MUCH! THEY SCARE THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF ME AND ONE TOUCHED ME ON MY FACE! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I tried not to scream. I was standing near a very echo-y stairwell which leads up to the front door of neighbors we really like. I started to whimper. Or at least that’s what I’m going to call it. I was making noises but I was really just trying to keep the screams in. And I was totally immobilized from the shock and horror of seeing an EVIL, EVIL MOTH FLYING RIGHT AT MY HEAD.

Yoshi turned around and was wondering what I was doing, still standing outside, facing the wrong direction and making strange noises.

“A moth… a moth… a moth FLEW INTO MY FACE!” I stammered out.

Yoshi knew better than to mock me this time, and pulled me into the house. “It’s ok, you’re ok…” Yoshi reassured me, closing and locking the front door behind me.

“IT TOUCHED MY FACE! A MOTH!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” I blurted out.

And then I lost it.

I started crying. Not just a couple of tears streaming down my face but full on blubbering and all the while muttering something about moths being evil and wanting to hurt me.

Because if it wasn’t completely obvious by now, I am totally completely, intensely, and unapologetically phobic of moths. I had made it all the way through the night of Best Buy hell and I was just about to walk into the safety and comfort of my home and the one thing that I just didn’t need at that moment was to get attacked by a moth on my doorstep.

“I NEED A SHOWER!!!” I started to sob through my tears. Now that the front door was closed, I was getting louder and Yoshi took my hand and led me to the bathroom and turned on the shower.

And I got undressed and stepped into the shower with tears and snot streaming down my face, poisonous moth dust eating up the left side of my head.

“I FEEL LIKE A LOSER!” I whined, alternately feeling sorry for myself for being such a pathetic crybaby and feeling sorry for Yoshi for having to take care of such a pathetic crybaby.

I was still crying in the shower, but knowing that the evil moth dust was getting washed away made me feel a lot better.

“You’re not a loser,” said Yoshi, comforting me from outside the shower. “You just had a long, trying day.”

Even so, I still felt like a loser for throwing a tantrum like a two-year old, but I did feel a little better and stopped crying by the time I was done with my shower. And when I got out, Yoshi was waiting to wrap me up in a warm towel, give me a popsicle, and take me to bed.

Wow.

I’m one lucky girl, even if I am a crybaby.

I am supposed to get on stage in front my Mom on Mother’s Day and I am flipping the heck out.

So one of the crazy things I got involved with promptly after graduation is this Mother’s Day performance at the Pacific Asia Museum my friend Andrea Apuy is co-directing.

It’s called “Chinese American Stories: My Mother” and since it’s on Mother’s Day, I’ve invited my Mom to see it.

That’s right… I’m getting on stage and telling a story about my mother… with my Mom in the audience! Am I insane!? I feel as nervous as I did in second grade when I was forced to enter speech contests in Chinese School (more like pronunciation contests, because we’d recite poems and stories and stuff; not usually things we wrote ourselves) and had to speak on stage in front of my parents and all the parents of all the other students. Nerve-racking!

Except now I’m doing this supposedly willingly and of my own free will. I blame the decision on the delirium due to lost brain cells during my final semester of MBA school.

Anyway, I’ll be telling a story that has been previously told on this blog, but it’s a story that was meant to be read on the page (or screen, rather), so even though the story was already written, I’ve had to do a lot of “re-working” of this thing.

Oh yeah, there is a also great cast of Chinese Americans who will also share stories for and about their mothers, so it’s not just me who will be up there. (And Taiwanese American Joz will temporarily overlook being lumped in as a Chinese American, for this performance only.)

Here’s the cast listing:
Henry Ong
Judy Soo Hoo
Anna Gee
Marshall Wong
Linda Chong
Ann Lau
(Me)
Denesa Chan
Joyce F Liu
Ewan Chung
Andrea Apuy
Regina Cheng-Sheu
Elbert Traister
Howard Ho

If you come, it would be a great way to spend Mother’s Day afternoon. I suggest brunching in Old Town Pasadena, coming to the Museum and then wandering the Pacific Asia Museum for a bit before the 2pm performance.

Doesn’t that sound like a lovely way to spend an afternoon with Mom?

Flyer for May 11, 2008, Mother\'s Day performance

Chinese American Stories: My Mother”
Sunday, May 11, 2008 from 2-4pm
Mother’s Day Performance
A presentation of community, family and personal memories collected in a writing/oral history workshop by playwright Henry Ong.

Free with museum admission; call 626.449.2742 ext. 31 to RSVP.

Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101

Museum Admission
$7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors

Parking: Free parking is available in museum parking lot, located on corner of Los Robles and Union in Pasadena

  • Facebook Event Listing
  • Yelp Event Listing
  • Upcoming/Yahoo Event Listing
  • Image and info on Joz’s Flickr
  • Pimpage on L.A. Metblogs (formerly blogging.la) by Jason Burns
  • Pimpage on 8Asians by Ernie, who gives away the milk for free
  • School should always be this fun

    It has been a crazy few days.

    Outside of work, I have been incredibly busy with school since Wednesday night. Getting through today was another hurdle overcome before I graduate with my MBA in just a few short weeks. I can hardly believe it.

    This weekend (Friday from 4pm – 10pm & Saturday 7am – 5pm, no breaks) was our “Strategy Simulation” weekend session. The final class of our MBA program is a Strategic Management class designed to tie together all the elements of running a business. One of my teammates described this simulation project as equivalent to our thesis, which I guess is pretty true. Although we’ve been preparing for this weekend since the beginning of the semester (starting with the picking of our team), we intensified preparations for the weekend in the last two weeks, modeling our strategic plan using some crazy spreadsheets and tools to help us chart our way through the Sim. We had forecast two years worth of data and write an entire strategic plan. This paper was due on Friday, but we were cleaning it up through Thursday.

    But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

    I was on the most rockin’ team! This was probably one of the best, most effective, and (most importantly) most fun team I have been on in the entire program! My teammates really made the weekend so much fun. I really made the right choice in taking this particular class and getting into this group.

    Since there were 5 of us on the team, we each took primary responsibility for certain roles in the company: CEO + VPs of Finance, R&D/HR, Sales & Marketing, and Production. Even though I was a figurehead CEO, in actuality, we each took multiple roles so that we were all cross-functional and could step in if something happened to one of our teammates. We also did a heck of a lot of preparation in advance of the simulation which helped us. I have to say that our team really had some strong people and we really complimented each other’s skill sets.

    We were a strong team throughout the game, but by the end of the game, we were the clear leaders. So it absolutely helped to be winning the game; that’s always a great feeling.

    But the real reason this was so much fun was because of my teammates. It started a few weeks ago when we first met to discuss strategy and we got through our work quickly and then all went out to eat together. Team bonding is the best. We got along and didn’t disagree about much, and above all, we were in alignment with each other. As one of the professors said, our team had the “internal feng shui” going on.

    So even though we were all running ragged from working all week + having class on Thursday night + starting early on Friday night, we began the Sim by playing music in our classroom and dancing around like crazy fools.

    Our team, by the way, was 4 women + 1 guy. And the guy was our DJ (he actually IS a DJ). So to get our spirits and energy up, he provided the soundtrack to the entire weekend.

    This morning, we arrived at 7am to our classroom to find that he had hooked his laptop up to the speakers in the classroom and was blasting music to wake us all up. The professors (in the adjacent room) actually asked us to turn it down and to stop having so much fun.

    At 7:30am, we all collaborated in creating a “video advertisement” for our company with one teammate filming, two acting, me providing voice-over (which was later cut), and our DJ providing our soundtrack. While we were doing the Sim, our teammates edited the video together and then we sent it out to our class (competitors and professors) in the afternoon. (We thought about putting it on YouTube, but we decided we didn’t want that floating around on the intarweb). Everyone said it was hilarious, but we didn’t even care if they were laughing at us instead of with us. We had so much fun making the video. When we were tired and bored toward the end of the afternoon, we considered making another video, but we thought that might come off as obnoxious since we were winning by a lot at that point.

    At some point in the morning, we decided that our theme song was “Dancing Queen” (thanks, ABBA!) and so every time we got our results back and they were awesome, we would scream and dance to this song. Sometimes some of us (not me) would get up and dance on the tables. Sometimes we would create our own strobe lights by flipping the lights on and off while dancing. Once, one of the professors came into our room before we got our results, sat down and and waited for us to start dancing. He said that was one of the highlights of the weekend for him.

    He missed it when we began to start choreographing our dance moves later on in the day (instead of just dancing around randomly).

    That professor said it best in one of his first meetings with us (when we had already clearly been playing music and having fun)… he told us that he’d been visiting the other teams and there were some groups who were not getting along and arguing with each other, but then when he walked into our room, he could feel that we all were about love. We wanted to do well and learn, but above all we wanted to have good experience and I can say that we absolutely did.

    At the ending debrief, the professors kept commenting about how much fun the weekend was, making reference to our team, and saying things like, “It should be illegal for MBA students to be having so much fun during this!!!”

    Thanks and congrats to my teammates; we’re all one step closer to graduation now!!!

    So much happening, nothing reflected in the blog.

    Monday:
    -I can’t remember that far back.
    -Oh wait. Yes, I can. I got a manicure that night at this salon that I first went to TWELVE years ago. Can you believe the owner still remembers me and everything about me? To my credit, I also remembered everything about her and her daughters/family.
    -I don’t know what it is about me, but people tell me all kinds of things when I’ve only spent a little bit of time with them. I was shocked when she told me the story of how her brother-in-law had been visiting and had a massive brain hemorrhage and died. Naturally, I told her about my Dad as well, but wow.
    -Got home and caught the tail end of a meeting regarding a production of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES that Vox will be putting on, which our good friend Jeni is producing and directing. They almost convinced me to audition for a part, but then realized the date of the performance is on a class night. Whew! I got out of that one!

    Tuesday:
    -Car battery died in the parking structure at work. I discovered it as I was getting in the car to meet my friend Randall Park for dinner, so I had to push back our dinner time. I called AAA who showed up right away but BOO to the parking people at my building for making it a hassle for the AAA guy to get into the parking structure to come jump my car.
    -Dinner with Randy was awesome, but I was mentally exhausted from the car ordeal and didn’t make for good company. Sorry, Randy!

    Wednesday:
    -Had an 8am appointment in the morning. Wow, traffic sucks in the morning when you have to take the freeway.
    -After work, my teammate from school came over to work on a school assignment. She is totally cool beans.
    -As of Wednesday, I am exactly one month away from GRADUATION!!!

    Thursday:
    -Class tonight was about my favorite topics: executive compensation, corporate governance, greed, and of course, Enron!
    -I’m surprised my classmates put up with half the stuff that I say in class. Sometimes I am so damn opinionated, I cringe when I hear myself speak. I just can’t help myself sometimes, though. That said, I think a lot of what I said resonated with my classmates, so maybe it wasn’t all for naught.

    UPCOMING:
    -Dinner Friday night with some former business school classmates; most of them already graduated in December. I’m the straggler that’s still not yet done. (But I will be IN LESS THAN A MONTH!!! Did I mention… I’m GRADUATING soon!!!!)
    -Will be in San Jose/San Francisco this weekend. Looking forward to seeing Efi, Ernie, John, MJ, Brian, and who knows who else will be there. I generally don’t drink, but I am totally planning on getting bombed with Efi. We both have a lot to drink to.
    -Looking forward to the car time with Yoshi, both on the drive up and the drive back down.
    -We just saw Yoshi’s parents this past weekend when they came down to visit, but hopefully we’ll get to see one or both of them on this trip, as well.

    Yes, I do have a lot of that. (But no comment on the other thing.)

    So I was awakened not too long ago by my Mom’s friend RH (indeed, a really close family friend), who is helping us with a few things. When we talk it’s usually a frenetic conversation in Chinglish– both Chinese and English– depending on the topic.

    When we were done talking shop, she asked me how I was doing because I haven’t seen her for a while and she mentioned that she saw a recent picture of me and noticed that I had gained some weight since I last saw her. (Ahhh, there’s nothing like the blunt, tactless commentary that you’ll get from a close Taiwanese/Chinese lady friend. If it wasn’t absolutely true and obvious, I probably would have been pretty mad. Besides, it “comes from a good place,” just like it does when my Mom says similar things. Although after all these years of carping about my weight, my Mom has finally stopped with the fat comments.)

    The last time RH and I spent any time together was when my father was in the hospital. It has been about a year and a half since that time and I am not proud to say that I’ve gained something like 30 lbs since then.

    I blame it on a combination of not eating right (my fault), not exercising (my fault) and possibly a bit of the way my body is (always had trouble with weight regulation, not my fault, but this is probably the factor I have the least control over and that I blame the least for my weight gain).

    In the last two years, I have been working a full-time job + going to school full-time + lost my Dad and taken on a lot of family responsibility + learning how to deal with the grief of losing such a close loved one. Oh yeah, I don’t get a heck of a lot of sleep, either.

    The first two things alone (work + school) was enough to derail me a little bit from a relatively decent (not-quite-healthy-but-not-so-bad lifestyle), but the combination of all those things above really put me in a tailspin. I have been running around for a long time, not thinking about what I am putting into my body, not doing too much exercise, and definitely not sleeping enough to give myself the rest I so desperately need all the time.

    Ok, all that said, what does the title of my post mean?

    So RH was asking me why I had gained so much weight so quickly. She was concerned about health issues, like did I have some sort of weird immunological disease or something. I told her I didn’t think so and just said that I wasn’t really taking care of myself or exercising, etc. She asked me a bunch more questions (Had I been to the doctor? What did they say? etc) and I answered them half-heartedly.

    Then she asked me something that got my attention.

    RH: “DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF SEX?” (in English)

    “WHAT?!” I asked in Chinese, really shocked by the mention of the subject. (I do NOT talk to my Mom about such things, so I am not going to go talking to her close friend about stuff like this. As far as my Mom likes to believe, I don’t even know what sex is and I’m not planning on changing that perception for a while!)

    RH: “I said, ‘Do you have a lot of sex?'” (she repeated in English)

    Joz: …

    I sat there dumbfounded in silence, which is pretty damn unusual for me. What the hell is she bringing this up for?! What the hell am I going to say?! How do I change the topic!?!?! Arrrrgh! So embarrassing!

    Since I didn’t answer for a bit (maybe like 10 seconds, which is an eternity, especially for a blabbermouth like me), she asked the question again:

    RH: “Did you hear what I asked?” (in Chinese)
    RH: “Do you have a lot of PRESSURE on you?” (in English.)

    Joz: “Pressure?” (in English)

    RH: “Yes, pressure. STRESS. Do you have a lot of STRESS?” (in English)

    OMG! She was asking me about STRESS, not SEX! Thank god!

    Joz: “Pressure? Oh yeah, I have lots of that. You know that.”

    RH: “You shouldn’t worry so much, try to relax and not to take on so much pressure. It’s not good for your body.” (in Chinese)

    Joz: “Yeah, I know.” (Joz changes the subject quickly)

    So to recap…

    Yes, I do have a lot of that. STRESS

    (But no comment on the other thing.) SEX

    Oh gawd I love these Chinglish conversations.

    PS – The last few days excepted, I have been eating better and have dropped 8-10 lbs since the beginning of the year. I’m working on it. Really, I am.

    I am a mess and going to bed.

    Today was my first day back at the office after a long weekend of fun and travel. Boy, was it hard to go back.

    The day started with my trying to leave the house and finding out that my car battery had died since I hadn’t moved my car in two weeks. And because I’m so awesome like that, I stole Yoshi’s car and took it to work, effectively leaving Yoshi stranded at home.

    After an hour-long conference call where I got debriefed on everything I had missed, I started to catch up on some paperwork sitting on my desk.

    At some point during the day, I got a message from a former classmate who asked me if I was going to see him in class tonight. “Oh crap!” I thought! “Classes start tonight!?!?”

    To be fair, I was technically enrolled in a class in OC that starts next week. However, there is a chance that I needed to take the class on Thursday nights (and that meant getting to class tonight). After much deliberation and also cajoling of my counselor (who has already changed my schedule approximately 5 times already in the last 3 weeks), I enrolled in a class in WLA for Thursday nights.

    That meant I pretty much had to take off early from work, go home and get my laptop, and then head across town to get to class on time. Class was not too painful, but I realized that I was started to feel stuffed up and the drugs (Yay, Day-Quil) I had taken earlier were wearing off. I started feeling like my head was really heavy and the thoughts were getting stuck somewhere between my brain and my mouth. So I tried to shut my trap.

    Anyway, by the time class was over and I had to drive home, I realized I really am getting sick. I called Dave to check in on him and was glad to have his verbal company with me on my drive home. It was hard to keep my head straight.

    Anyway, I got home and took more drugs (Yay, Ny-Quil!), took a hot shower (which cleared my sinuses), and then proceeded to poke myself in the left eye with my glasses while trying to put them on.

    Ow.

    I think it’s time for bed now.

    It’s the other side…

    …and it feels great!

    Yay for Winter Break! No more school for the rest of the year!

    The paper was finished on time (if not slightly early) and the presentation went well. Not super, but we didn’t crash and burn, as I’d (realistically) feared.

    So the question is what am I going to do with all my “free time?”

    First of all, I am going to SLEEP! (Oh sweet sleep, how have I missed you!)

    I also have a ton to do because I am going on vacation! A REAL VACATION WHERE I AM NOT EXPECTED TO WORK, STUDY OR ANYTHING OTHER THAN EAT AND HAVE FUN!

    So where am I going next week? See the map below…


    View Larger Map

    Of if you have a dopplr account, you can find my info there: jozjozjoz’s dopplr.

    24 hours from now, I will be done with school for the semester.

    Now, if I can just finish this paper and presentation, get multiple copies printed in color + bound, burn everything to CD, go to work and complete a day’s worth of work, drive my butt up to campus, and then (with my group) give the final presentation to the client.

    Hmm. Don’t think I’m going to get much sleep tonight.

    I’ve had SO much happen in the past week, no make that month, and I haven’t had time to blog about it. I hope that I don’t forget everything I meant to blog about. Oh well, can’t worry about that right now…

    See you on the other side!

    Crazy weekend

    It’s been a crazy weekend. I definitely did not have any time to rest up as I needed, but I knew that going in…

    On Friday afternoon, I had to be on the Westside to begin a 1-1/2 day “simulation weekend” for school. Basically, there were 5 teams of 6 people who were competing in this computerized simulation where each team was managing a corporation that sold a similar product (in our case it was disposable cameras).

    When my team was formed a few months ago, I became the CEO of our imaginary company. Before this simulation, our team had to write a 15 page paper outlining the strategy of our company and our plans in running it. We came up with a strategy which we all agreed to stick with, no matter what.

    Luckily, my team was filled with amazing people. I ended up having a wonderful time and despite a few bumps and hiccups along the way, we all got along for the most part and weren’t adversarial or argumentative. Evidently, this was unusual as the other teams reported fighting, etc.

    Throughout the two days, but especially on Saturday, our team was visited by 5 different professors (who were acting as members of our Board of Directors) who would come in and question what we were doing.

    Also, between Friday night and Saturday morning, we were given an assignment to come up with two marketing campaigns in a mini-competition to gain a competitive advantage that would be factored into the game. Therefore, I stayed up for most of the night Friday night (I slept for about two hours) working on a campaign which ended up tying for second place. (Yay! Better than nothing!)

    Anyway, by the end of the long day on Saturday, our corporation ended up winning the simulation by a long shot. Out company was in first place by almost every measure. It was a really good feeling to do so well and I have to give credit to my teammates for pulling through in their decisions.

    Other than the temporary pride of winning the simulation, we don’t even get graded on the class (it’s pass/no pass), but it was still cool to win.

    After getting home on Saturday night, I sat down on the couch and fell asleep (fully clothed and with my contacts in again) and didn’t wake up until 7am when I decided it was too cold to be sleeping on the couch and finally went to bed until 10am.

    When I woke up on Sunday, I had a zillion things to do because I had to get my stuff together in order to be out of the house for a couple of days. I recently got my second promotion in 3 months and my new-new boss was coming into Newport Beach from Florida for a week long strategic leadership meeting with my old-new boss (her new boss). My old-new boss said that I should come down and meet my new-new boss for dinner on Sunday and spend the night at the hotel so I could meet with her early in the morning without having to brave traffic. Since tomorrow is a holiday, Yoshi was able to join me and we took a leisurely drive down to OC, stopping briefly at my parents house, and then on down to the hotel.

    We had a late lunch at Fashion Island and then we went back up to the room when I was able to take a quick nap before heading down to have a nice dinner with my new-new boss. We ended up having a lovely dinner at Roy’s, a wonderful “Hawaiian Fusion” restaurant. I had the baby wedge salad to start, then the Classic Trio: Hibachi Grilled Salmon (Citrus Ponzu Sauce), Blackened Island Ahi (Spicy Soy Mustard Buttter, Sizzling Soy Vinaigrette), & Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish. As if that wasn’t enough, we shared a warm Macadamia & Almond Caramel Tart Baked in a Shortbread Crust served à la Mode.. Yum-my!

    Anyway, after that I had to get a bunch of work done and now that it’s 2am, I’m finally getting a moment to blog about my busy weekend. I knew this was coming, so I am very glad I took Friday morning to visit Grandma in the hospital, especially because it turned out she had moved to a private room to get more care. I guess her condition worsened a bit, so here’s hoping that the weekend has been good to her since I won’t be able to get out there until Tuesday night after class.

    I can’t wait for this semester to end (second week of December). For some reason my workload this term has seemed torturous, but with the Simulation weekend over, that’s a big load off my back. The next couple of weeks are going to be tough and I’m hoping I can squeeze in the time to see Grandma despite it all.

    “Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Fourth time around

    It’s almost 6pm, I’m late for class, I’m going to be stuck in traffic, and I haven’t seen a single Halloween costume all day (been stuck at my desk).

    Aside from my Grandma being in the hospital, I’m just not in a Halloween-y mode.

    But it’s becoming a Halloween tradition on my blog to recycle this Halloween story. To anyone who has already read it, I hope you’ll read it again. To any first timers, I hope you enjoy.

    Happy Halloween.

    Joz at the pumpkin patch in 1984.  I like how my eyes are closed in this shot.  (How did 20 years go by so quickly?!)When we were kids, we learned about a lot of American traditions for the first time on television or in school. Since our parents came to the United States only a couple of years before I was born, they learned about American holidays pretty much at the same time my brother and I did.

    Halloween was something fun and exciting because my Mom understood the concept of “dress up” and although she claimed that she didn’t know how to sew, she always came up with costumes for us for Halloween so we could go trick-or-treating and come home with a bag full of candy that we were later not allowed to eat, since it would “rot our teeth out of our mouths.”

    Since we weren’t allowed to eat the candy we got from trick-or-treating, often the strategy was to send us out early & to give away the candy that we had received earlier in the evening. We didn’t mind; that was just the way we did things.

    As we got old enough to go to school (and have neighbor kids in the same classes with us), we began to become concerned about what candy was being given away at our front door. One year, my Mom informed us that our cousins were planning to come to our neighborhood so we could all go trick-or-treating together. Although this was exciting, it also meant that Mom would actually have to prepare treats in advance for my Dad to pass out while we were out.

    I still remember how horrifying it was when Mom returned from the supermarket, proudly announcing that she had purchased “the BEST trick-or-treat goodies” for the neighborhood kids.

    My Bro and I excited went through the grocery bags but we didn’t find any Smarties, M&Ms, candy corn, or little Snickers bars.

    “What? Where? Mom?”
    Continue reading ‘“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Fourth time around’

    Blur of a Weekend

    -Yoshi was sick all weekend. Boo!

    -On Friday I started to feel ucky so I left work early. Mom and Bro came over in the afternoon since we had to do something together on Friday. Mom and I went to visit Grandma shortly in the evening and we went grocery shopping together. Mom and Bro stayed at my place until almost 11. We watched the episode of Bizarre Foods episode that Andrew Zimmern did in Taiwan. Woot to Andrew Zimmern for describing Taiwan as an “independent nation” during the episode.

    -Mom, Bro, and I went on Saturday morning to visit my Dad’s ashes together. We didn’t stay long, but it meant a lot for us to all be together again.

    -Spent all Saturday afternoon working on a class project for school. It’s a tough project and I’m frustrated at the slow pace at which everything on it is progressing.

    -Had dinner Saturday night with Mom, Bro, and Bro’s gf. This was the first time Mom met Bro’s gf, but I think it went pretty well. Second time in a week that I dined at Olive Garden, after not having it for many, many years. Yoshi couldn’t join because of aforementioned sickness.

    -Sunday: Woke up and watched a little TV. I worked the auction and came home to watch a little more TV and then actually do some work. I didn’t play the Wii today, but I made Pro at Wii Tennis earlier in the weekend, after only having the Wii for a week. It will probably take me a long time to master the other sports. I’m quite terrible at them, especially golf.

    -Oh yeah. It’s nice having Mom back.

    What happens when I wake up at 4am because it’s raining outside?

    First, I go to the bathroom, because, WOW! That’s a lotta water out there…

    Then, I wake Yoshi up and go, “Listen! It’s raining hard!”

    Then Yoshi asks says groggily, “Yeah, it’s raining. Why are you awake?”

    Then, I say, “Because I heard it rain and then I had to pee.”

    Then Yoshi says, “Great, now I have to go, too.” And gets up to go.

    Then Yoshi doesn’t return right away and I hear futzing in the office. Yoshi is taking the fan out of the window because rain was getting it wet and rain was coming through the window.

    Then I go and take the fan out of the window in the den. Same reason.

    Then we both go back to bed.

    But I can’t sleep now, so I get up.

    And Yoshi goes back to sleep.

    And then I get down with my nerdly meteorological self and make a post on blogging.la about how there is a drought in L.A.

    Now it’s 7:30 and I’m tired. I might take a nap before all my meetings (group projects for school) start up today.

    *poof!*

    Homework be done!

    *looks around*

    Did it work?

    Aw, phooey. It didn’t.

    I guess I have to do homework the old-fashioned way… doh.

    Class tonight

    So I’ve now officially finished my first week of classes, but I still have one more class that doesn’t meet until two weeks from now. This is going to be a busy trimester school-wise… not like I’ve had any that weren’t busy.

    Most of the people I started the program with are graduating come this December. As I had planned, I will finish in April 2008.

    Not that I ever really got into the guts of any of my classes on my blog (boring), but I probably won’t be talking that much about what I’m doing except in broad, broad terms. My Monday night class is Information Process & Systems and my Wednesday night class is Marketing Consulting (E2B). E2B stands for Education to Business, which basically means we are one of those annoying groups of business school students who go into a real business to (try to) solve (or at least address) a real business problem for the company. I could probably mention the company that we are working with, but that woulD be about It. So doN‘t Even, You know, ask me. Because I had to sign an NDA and seriously, no joke, I can’t talk about it online, not even privately.

    I think it was funny that we were specifically asked to not go and blog any confidential or advance information we receive… not that I would start doing that after so many years of blogging.

    But anyway.

    Lots of work to come.

    Wish me luck… but don’t mention the company!

    Favorite phrase actually used in class (not by me)

    “You can give a monkey some nunchucks but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to use them well.”

    Used during a discussion about the appropriate use of IT systems.

    Heh.

    My vacation is officially over

    Tomorrow (Monday), I go back to work. I only got two days off of work, but since I was in Tampa at the beginning of last week, I haven’t been in the office for over a week.

    I also start classes again. I have classes Mondays and Wednesday nights, plus another class that happens over the course of two weekends.

    Yikes!

    Tonight, I loaded in my assignments and class meetings, etc into my calendar. Very depressing to see my calendar get loaded up with all kinds of school related things.

    I feel the stress starting already…

    So much happening, yet so little to report.

    Let’s see:

    -Slowly progressing on HP7; should be done before the end of the week. I’m about halfway through now.

    -Mom called this morning around the time I was supposed to be getting ready for work and we talked for 20 min. Last week we had sent her a package and she’d let me know that she received it. I sent her some pictures, mostly old pictures, but a couple of new ones. She said that the one of me and Yoshi (taken in a photo booth a few months ago in Santa Cruz) made her laugh.

    -Work is work. I’m finally starting to feel situated in the new gig even though it’s been more than a month. Usually I fall right in and hit the ground running.

    -Today was Freecycle/Craigslist day. There was a bunch of old furniture I needed to get rid of (this was not my personal furniture). One of the loveseats I gave away (the brown one) belonged to my grandparents. The guy who picked it up couldn’t get over why I was giving away such a nice piece of furniture. It was a nicely made piece of furniture and I was a little sad to get rid of my grandparents’ stuff, but at least it felt good to know it was going to get new life with someone who appreciated it. (If you’re curious about what I gave away, check out the pix on flickr: coffee table, end table/cabinet, brown loveseat, purple and teal loveseat. Actually the coffee table set cleaned up pretty nicely after I took all the junk off of it.) Anyway, I couldn’t believe how many responses I got for all this stuff and the best part was that I knew that this stuff wasn’t just ending up in a landfill & that someone else was going to get use out of it. And everyone who I made appointments with to come pick stuff up showed up on time and followed directions (bring someone to help carry down the stairs). Rawk!

    -Went carb crazy today. Had lunch at Fabiolus today and had an order of Penne alla Siciliana (my favorite). Then for dinner stopped by Noodle World and got two orders of rice noodles to go for me and Yoshi. Also got a frozen Lychee slushee drink, too. Yum.

    -Got my grade for my Business Law class… whoo hoo! An A-! In this case, I am pleased about the A- because knowing the grading scale, it was an uphill battle to even get an A- and an A is damn nearly impossible. (Still upset about the A- in Marketing, though). Unfortunately, getting another A- (instead of an A) drops my GPA down still further to a 3.900. My semester GPA is a horrid 3.700. Yikes! If I had just taken classes with some other professors, I know I would have gotten two solid As. Oh well. That’s life. I’m actually quite glad I didn’t get the B+ in Biz Law, though. I can still say I’ve gotten all As in grad school. (A-s are still As!)

    Here’s to an A day tomorrow! (We are taking a company fieldtrip to the Arclight and watching the Bourne Ultimatum tomorrow afternoon!)

    Another long day.

    Even though I’m on “summer vacation,” I’m not really getting much time to rest on my laurels.

    The only good thing is that I don’t have to read any more Business Law or Marketing textbooks for a while and I can spend my time catching up on Harry Potter instead.

    I got my grade back from Marketing and got a disappointing A-. This brings my GPA down even further to 3.925. Blah. I’m scared to get my Law grade back because I struggled with those quizzes all semester. It’s not like me to not get solid “As” so this is frustrating; especially since I spent so much time, effort, and energy on both classes.

    Bleh. I don’t want to think about it anymore; I’m so disappointed.

    Anyway, Yoshi and I spent the day doing more work on our never-ending project (don’t ask) and then (even though we were already exhausted) we went to a friend’s “welcome home” party in the Inland Empire. Our friend is finally home from the hospital after a few months recovering from a horrendous waterskiing accident on the Colorado River. I don’t really know the details of what happened but the upshot is that her left leg was so mangled in this accident that they couldn’t save it; they had to amputate below her left knee. She was airlifted to a hospital in Vegas where she had to have numerous surgeries and 18 transfusions. Anyway, she’s recovered enough to go home and her family threw a party so her friends could come visit. A lot of our friends had gone out to Vegas to visit her in the hospital but we’ve been so swamped we weren’t able to see her until tonight.

    It was really odd to see her minus part of her leg, but she was in good spirits and happy to see everyone. And she let people (not me) try out her wheelchair while she was sitting on the couch. Of course, we’re just glad to see her home, healing, and in a good mood. She’s a total goofball, but with such a life-changing event like that, she seems much more grounded than she was before. I totally admire her spirit and was glad we went to see her. Plus I met a few cool people there, too. (The hour+ drive home back to L.A. sucked, though.)

    Anyway, all this activity all day basically meant no real progress on Harry Potter 7; I’m only on page 150 or so. I actually started reading HP7 (in bed) last night after finishing and blogging about HP6. Yoshi rolled over at 3:30am and gave me an evil glare and said, “Put the book away and go to sleep.” Whoa. Something about that look told me Yoshi meant, “I am not kidding; I’m going to punch you if you don’t turn the light out RIGHT NOW.” I sheepishly shut my book and turned out the light.

    And with that, I must go to bed again. Of course, I’m taking my HP7 with me, but who knows how many pages I can get through before I get “the look” from Yoshi again…

    Had a wonderful time tonight at the Hollywood Bowl…

    Since we didn’t subscribe to the Hollywood Bowl this year (too much going on; no time for social life or fun) I was expecting that we wouldn’t get up there at all.

    Since I did some volunteer work a few months ago for East West Players (during my Spring Break), I got ahold of 4 free tickets for tonight’s performance at the Bowl: Sarah Chang plays Bruch (Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1).

    Yoshi and I met up with Professor Eric & his lovebug (don’t know how I should to refer to Eric’s sweetie pie) at Hollywood & Highland and then caught the shuttle up to the Bowl. We spread out a blanket and had a nice picnic dinner before catching a great performance of classical music with the L.A. Phil (Brahms: Academic Festival Overture; Schumann: Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish”). The only disappointing thing was that Sarah Chang ONLY played Bruch; nothing else. But at least we got out of there pretty early so I won’t be a total zombie when I go to work tomorrow.

    I have been neglecting my blog but a quick update on school (like you care). I did OK (not great) on my most recent Biz Law quiz on Monday night; just one more to go until a short summer break. I stayed late to talk to my Law prof after class. Despite how poorly I’m doing in class, I really enjoy the lectures and wanted to talk to her about a few topics. The next morning she gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in doing some research for something she’s publishing. I said that I was and have plans to stay late after class on Monday to discuss. (I know, I’m a nerd. Taking on research on my summer break.)

    We (OutOutBlogger and I) spent most of the past week working on our Marketing Plan (a document that was about 65 pages long by the end of it) + the corresponding 50+ slide presentation. Let’s just say that it was a lot of work put together in a short amount of time and I am very, very grateful that OutOutBlogger was on my team. I honestly can’t say the same about the other two team members, though. Luckily, the Marketing class is now officially over and we just await our grades for the Marketing Plan and for the class itself. While I think we put together a great Marketing Plan, I’d been averaging an A- in the class up until this point. I thought that I killer Marketing Plan would secure an A… but that was until I got my final exam result. It was not pretty. I guess the class did not do well as a whole; despite us all getting 20 free bonus points to start with (everyone could choose 10 two point questions not to answer and get automatic credit on the exam), the professor gave everyone another 10% added to their score after he was done scoring everything (because everyone had done so poorly). In other words, a 70% was automatically bumped to an 80%. Let’s just say that after the 10% was added, I barely had a B. So now I don’t know if I got an A in the class; though I hope I did. I really worked my patootie off for that Marketing Plan and hope that the prof realizes it.

    One Weekend Gone

    Much progress made on Marketing paper and presentation for Tuesday. And yet we are still not done.

    Reading and preparation for Law Quiz neglected for Monday.

    Guess what I’m going to be doing tomorrow?

    Whoa tired.

    Stayed at the office tonight til almost 11pm working on the group project due on Tuesday.

    OutOutBlogger and I are going to work most of the day tomorrow on it, but I wanted to do as much as I could to it to get it closer to a finished state.

    Unforunately, we’re still a ways away.

    I know this post was poorly written, but I think I did a better job on the paper… well, I hope, anyway…

    Yay. One final down.

    Had a Biz Law quiz yesterday and got an 18 out of 20. Hooray for a B+! (Sad, so sad)

    Had a Marketing final exam tonight. Hooray for multiple choice exams. Hopefully I did better on this exam than I did on my midterm.

    I still have a big Biz Law quiz next Monday (covers well over 100 pages of material) and then our final Marketing Plan and presentation are next Tuesday night.

    You would think that I’d be out of the woods by then, but I’m not.

    The Monday after that, I have one more Biz Law quiz.

    And then relief: finally a short summer break! (Trying to figure out if I can take some time off to travel, though. It remains to be seen.)

    I’m still at the office

    I’m not doing work-work, though. Yeah, I know, it’s almost midnight. But I’m done now, so I’m leaving soon.

    I was so behind in schoolwork, I decided to stay here and take advantage of the quiet and air-conditioning to get some stuff done.

    That, and the new fancy schmancy Keurig premium coffee maker downstairs. It’s actually on loan to us on a trial basis for a few weeks, but if people like it, I bet we will keep it.

    Funny enough, I wrote a paper on the Harvard Business School case study about this product, so it’s really amusing that this machine is at my work. The “trial program” was their strategy in getting into more offices.

    I wonder if it will work here???

    Give me a…

    …”woot woot” for getting a perfect 20 out of 20 on my Biz Law quiz tonight!

    Finally!

    Now if I can just do somewhere near an A in my Marketing midterm tomorrow night, I will be very happy. (Until my next set of tests and quizzes, that is.)




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