Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Retrospectus

As 2008, comes to an end, it's interesting to take a look back at an year that went by way too fast.

January - The Fuzz and Whitney come to visit, much fun ensues. I get free tix to see Ozzy Osborne. It's fricking cold in D.C.

February - The cold drags on, but I do find out that I'm a Sloanie.

March - The Spitzer call-girl scandal breaks. I have an intense desire to be in the Strokes, and I start to improve in my music production skillz.

April - Visit my old stomping ground of Madison, WI, although my plane is rerouted to Green Bay that night due to lingering winter weather. Count my blessings of being in DC as Madison is fricking cold near the end of April. Good times ensue in Madison. I yearn for Thai Banana Pancakes. The Pope comes to DC, and I get really annoyed with Windows Vista.

May - Spring Kickball league takes off. I get to see my friend's band's music video get made. A huge typhoon hits Myanmar/Burma and that country's military junta shows off how crappy they are to their people. I lose 8 pounds after getting a horrible stomach bug and attend my first Radiohead concert in the midst of "Noah's flood" part 2.

June - My birthday is off the hook. Gas sky-rockets, Kobe loses and Celtics win the NBA

July - Get ready to move to Boston. Meet the owner of Leininkugel's Beer as I enjoy his brew. I leave my job. Going Away Party is a lot of fun, but I will miss my DC people and lifestyle a lot.

August - Move to Cambridge, after a huge amount of moving in difficulty, we're settled right as soon as pre-term starts, which leads into orientation.

September - Class starts, and it's intense.

October - I'm Link from Legend of Zelda for Halloween, class gets more intense, and throw in clubs and recruiting.

November - School officially takes over my life, Thanksgiving is scrumptious though.

December - I somehow survive the Core and actually do pretty well, go to Florida with Richie to visit Dave to take in some sun, and then come home to DC.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can't.... Wake... Up

For the past few days, despite me going to bed around 12, and setting my alarm for 9:30, which would get me over 9 hours of sleep, I can't wake up. I'll snooze until 11:30 or so, and even though I could keep on going, wake myself up to keep on prepping for interviews.

I don't know what's up, and I don't half like it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Freakish Weather

It's nearing the end of December in Washington D.C., which is usually known for a miserable combination of humidity and cold weather, which seeps through any amount of clothing layers worn. Yet, it's in the 60's and balmy outside. It feels more like a tropical rainforest than near New Years.

Global warming, or rather as T. Friedman would say, global weirding anyone?

On the bright side of our scarily changing world - I'll be able to go running outside for the second day in a row.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Feel the Burn

I lifted for the first time since September yesterday, and can barely lift my arms now. Oooh the burn... It feels good!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Personality Flowing Back

With so much to do this semester, I got to the point where I felt like an automaton. My task was to complete homework, team and club projects, and network, network, network.

Now, a little more than a week after being done - I can feel my personality flowing back as my shell shock subsides. Last night, for the first time, I truly felt like myself again.

I feel like doing other things again and not like just staring at a wall. Let's see where this goes...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Interesting Commentary re: America's Deteriorating Infrastructure

Here is an interesting article by Thomas Friedman putting into perspective what I've been seeing for years during my travels: America's infrastructure is quickly deteriorating. Our airports, trains, roads, and bridges are being left to grow outdated or insufficient with an increasing population while the rest of the world builds ever better and more modern facilities.

More depressing is the fact that there is no plan to renovate or rebuild much of anything.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Core is Over

Greetings from Miami. I finished three and a half of the most grueling months ever on Wednesday with my last final. Since then, life's been a whirlwind. Made it out to quite a bit of celebration of the Core being over, and then a few short hours later, I was out the door at 8:30 AM to catch a flight to Miami. I've since been here, recovering from the first semester on the beach.

Looking back, it's amazing that I got through everything I did. I really believe that I learned and accomplished a lot, although I see that all of that I undertook came at the cost of so many other things, like sleep, exercise and at times it felt like, sanity. I experienced a lot of success, but also, quite a bit of frustration at times. It is interesting though to note how much you can get done if you dedicate 99% of your waking hours to work.... I guess that's the secret behind a start-up. It is nice to be able to just lie on a beach.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Taking a breath

So, for the first time since I went to Iceland in what feels like a year ago, I took 1.5 days semi-off from projects, problem sets, and etc. This all makes me feel thankful for Thanksgiving, but also made me start thinking... what have I given up? I'm trying to maximize everything that I'm in school for - learning, networking, clubs, projects with companies, being successful overall... but there are only 24 hours in a day.

For the longest time, I've rolled out of bed, started to work, and been doing that until I put my head back down on my pillow. Even on the off chances I go out for a bit, my mind is still on what I've just spent the past 14 hours on. I don't have fun. Luckily, my friends still care enough to send me happy Thanksgiving emails or texts despite the fact that I've fallen off the face of the Earth. What happened to going to the gym, reading for pleasure, playing musical instruments, recording, and generally enjoying life. I have three more weeks to hold on for, less actually - and then back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Best late night after-class snack

So, after coming back from school at 10:30, like so many days before, I came upon a brownie with chocolate drizzled on it sold by Hershey's. Out of curiosity, I bought it, through it in the microwave, and voila, the best late night after-class snack ever... accompanied by a glass of milk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This feels good

Got home at 10:30 tonight from a 15 hour grad school day... Only difference, is that I have no homework to do tonight. How nice. This feels good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Social Networking Hits Argentina

Since I can remember, I've been traveling to Argentina to visit my family there. Something that has always struck me is how far behind the technology always was. When computers were already ubiquitous in the US, they were still a novelty there. I can still recall black and white TVs being widespread, etc...

In the past two weeks, I've been flooded with social networking invitations from my generation (not surprising), but also my parent's generation which is interesting. They seem to have a lot more adoption there among the baby-boomers than here in the US. It feels a little odd still, but I guess that that was all going to hit South America at some point.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Surviving Hell Week

It's been a while since I've posted, but once again, school has gotten the better of me. This past week in particular was hell!

Aside from having assignments due in every class, and more than 1 in some, there were recruiting events nearly every lunch and every evening. I'd be out of the house from 8AM-11PM, and when I'd get back, it was time to start the homework for the next day.

In one respect, the crazy workload was a surprisingly positive thing: it's amazing how focused you get when it's midnight, and you need to finish up something so you can get some hours of sleep. Kind of like, you don't know how far you can go unless you really push yourself to the extreme.

In any case, I'm looking at a four day weekend now, and trying to fight off the jaded numbness of burn out to keep up the good fight.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Perspective on today's Dow Action

Interesting article by Time magazine saying that even though the economic crisis is bad, the US is getting off pretty lightly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Iceland Redux

I'm at the end of midterms, and have my hardest one tomorrow, which concurrently is the one I've prepared for the least.

I finished off my travel blog for Iceland last night when I started hitting the point of diminishing returns: A Land of Extremes.

Enjoy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Hearty Welcome to The Land of Doom and Gloom

We set out on Friday night to Iceland. The trip wasn't that bad - only about 4.5 hours to get in. After making some party supply stops at the Duty Free, we were on a bus headed to Reykjavic by 7 AM in the morning or so.

We hit rush hour traffic, got to our hotel which is amazing, and then headed on a city tour. After viewing several areas that we cared about, and others that we didn't (like the Icelandic projects), we were introduced to the fatalism currently existing here. Although we knew how bad the economic situation is, the tour guide kept on highlighting the doom and gloom in everything we saw - building projects that no one knows when they'll be restarted, an exodus of foreign migrant workers, the fact that the usually lively streets were empty because no one wanted to walk around... This is ground zero for the credit crisis.

After all the gloomy discussion, we headed back to the hotel for a nap.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Leaving, On a Jet Plane

I'm about to head to out to Iceland tonight. I should be studying for my three midterms next week, but instead, I'll be doing a case study on a country about to go bankrupt amidst bars and glacier visits. Should be fun!

Monday, October 6, 2008

In summertime, the living was easy

This summer, I started planning a trip to Iceland over Columbus Day weekend. I leave late this week. I wasn't overly concerned when I found out that I'd take my first midterm 14 hours after I got back, and have to be prepared for two others.

Now that I'm living this.... erm.... not sure I feel the same way.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Economic Concern

Scene from the overflow in the Diebold lounge from a simulcasted panel being given in Sloan's biggest auditorium regarding the current economic crisis.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Need Halloween Costume Idea

This summer, life had seemed easy (for more ways than one), and I was dead set on being Tobias F√ľnke for Halloween. The Fuzz would come up from NYC to be my Lindsey.

Since she'll be coming earlier in the month, I don't think that'll be happening. I need a new costume idea.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tropical Boston

Following 3 straight days of rain, steam is rising from the puddles across Boston. It feels like being back in Southeast Asia - though thankfully, not as horribly hot.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Parking


If you thought that parking in a mall during Christmas season was tough.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quote of the night

The dearth of recent blogposts has been related to the advent of club kickoff week. Aside from the schedule that was impossibly hectic in the past two weeks, we've all been attending informational sessions to decide what clubs to join. Most of these events have featured pizza, and hats off to my classmate Kate for last night's quote of the night:

"After the third consecutive meal of pizza, I ran to Whole Foods as fast as I could, bought some vegetable and steamed them."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Need.... Balance

Aside from making it out on Friday and Saturday (necessary for sanity), I spent the whole weekend aside from eating and a run, working on schoolwork.

Good news - I've pretty much finished everything for the upcoming week.

Bad news - I didn't have a moment to myself, and didn't do anything aside from work when I wasn't out and about.... I could feel my life flowing down the sieve.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Starting to Surf The Tidal Wave

This past week, I was overwhelmed by work, and I didn't manage my time well... I went to several events on whims, like guest speakers and club presentations, and was under the gun to get work done the day before it was due....

So, now, I'm focusing on getting all the weeks work done this weekend - and have already been able to clear out work up to Wednesday. We'll see how this works, but, if I can keep a buffer, that'll make it easier to go to all these ad hoc events.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A (Nearly) Unwinnable Situation

Our first accounting homework is due tomorrow. We also had our first accounting class today. Interestingly, we covered NOTHING in class which has to do with the homework. We're just, supposed to figure it out from the book, I guess... I know enough to be dangerous, but don't have a full understanding on any of these concepts. My homework probably has a few things that are right, but is likely riddled with errors.

I'm disappointed with the Accounting department. I've heard from classmates in the other sections that this assignment was to get our feet wet and would be graded leniently, but, I didn't hear that directly from my Prof (who is also supposed to be amazing, but since he's the head of the department and has sanctioned this exercise in futility, I'm not impressed).

Frankly, I don't care even if that is the true story. We're allowed to ask the TA's questions piecemeal on an internet forum, which is OK for very focused questions, but I'm trying to get the general gist of a topic that is largely arbitrary, and that's not enough - I need to be taken through the concepts, and last I checked, that's why I'm required to take a class!

I'm here to learn how to do accounting, and turning in a problem set full of mistakes that I don't even know I made because I haven't been taught any of this isn't my idea of learning. I'm anxiously preparing for the hit to my grade and self-esteem. Thanks accounting department.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hitting the Wall

Not so bad, not so bad, wham! That was my week.

After a fun Friday night out, I realized that I had a mountain of work due starting on Monday. It took me over an hour just to get organized and figure out all I had to do. So, for the past 48 hours, with a brief respite with a Core Team dinner which was highly tasty, I have been doing school work.

I have to echo Kim on this one, DMD (Data Models and Decisions) has engulfed my life!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A student once again

Yesterday was the first day of class... Exciting.

This also represented the first major homework assignment, which after going through, and seeing that my numbers didn't quite add up how I expected, solicited feedback from my roommates. We ended up drawing and arguing the whole thing through on our recently installed white board until we figured out. Our collective efforts are proudly displayed to the right.

Feeling quite accomplished, I headed out to a barbecue/party near Central Square.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Come Sail Away

Today, I finally made good on one of the things that I'd been looking to do: MIT offers free sailing classes, and I love boats and water, but hadn't gotten around to getting to a class yet with everything else going on.

We were given around 3 hours of instruction, and then put into the boats. We found out afterwards, that the conditions out there were super-challenging today - hard wind that was changing direction every few minutes. The dinghy was tough to control - every time we trimmed the sail, the boat would catch the wind so fiercely that it would threaten to capsize (that did happen to several people).

It was after a few of those tries that my partner in the boat let me know that she had water phobias and was starting to panic... a few minutes later, she was in a panic. Unfortunately, with no accelaration from the wind, we were stuck in the water... And every time we tried to accelarate the boat would threaten to capsize until we got going (turning the boats is actually one of the hardest things to do). Finally, one of our classmates who is a volunteer came over on a motorboat and authoritatively told me to take over doing both sailing responsibilities - steering (which I had been doing), and trimming the sail to make it catch the wind and power the craft. I was able to sail back to the dock by myself - which was pretty challenging but fun and a great learning experience, though my landing wasn't so smooth once I got there.

We were referred to materials to review to become more proficient in sailing, and after we have a good idea of what's going on, we can go and take out a boat whenever. I'd love to do it, but that puts into question, do I have enough time to add this to my plate with everything else?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

CEOs and Beer Games

Thursday heralded the end of orientation. It had been a crazy week - 12-14 hours a day of constant activity. The day opened with a session with the CEO who was the protagonist of the case we'd read earlier in the week. He explained more detail on the situation, gave us the low-down of what had gone on after the case had ended, and took our questions. Then he gave us his 6 pieces of advice for running a company - and this is from a guy that ran a multi-billion dollar company - unreal.

We ended orientation by playing the Beer Game, which actually doesn't involve drinking beer. It's ultimately a market-psychological experiment that always repeats itself with similar results, and predicates that ultimately, you will not totally trust the other players, and create an inefficient market. My partner and I came up with a strategy to follow to make sure that her and I wouldn't panic at any moment, and it worked well, but the other teams weren't so fruitful... Fascinating game. I want to play again!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Team Building in The Woods

Whew, yet another whirlwind set of days. Orientation was in full swing. Tuesday found us dissecting values, and then working on our first case to get into the Case Method groove, which will consitute about 30% of our classwork. It had been about 5 years since I had done any case-work, and I was admittedly, very rusty. It also felt bizarre being back in the "classroom".

The big highlight of the week though was our time out in the woods at the Warren Center, doing team mind puzzles, raft building, and a ropes course. It had been probably a decade, if not more since I had done something like this, and I think that I wasn't mature enough then to really grasp everything... but I felt like this day was invaluable... Sure enough, I felt that many of my personality traits were revealed, some bad, some good.

Experientially, I was put into a project management role during one of the activities, and felt in my comfort zone, like I was back in the middle of a hospital go-live from my Epic days - barking orders and directing multiple activities all at one. Then, there were others where I was like a fish out of water, like one challenger where I was blind-folded through the whole thing, and had to rely on my other teammates to direct me through the woods, and then go through what seemed like a very complex activity.

A big highlight for me also was making it to the top of the Giants Ladder. I felt like I could make it up a few rungs with no issue, but the top one had only 1 rope to grab on to for 4 people, and just seemed freaky. The three other people climbing and I bonded instantly on the ladder, and we all made it up with awesome teamwork. I hate to sound so hokey, but when you're hanging on some unstable logs 2 stories up, you really get to know people quick.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, and was ready to do even more activities. I still made it out on Thursday night to the bars with tons of other classmates, but hit the wall and had to make a beeline out to crash for the night.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Survival

Made it through Day 1 of MBA Orientation - heard speeches from the MIT Pres, Sloan Dean, and others; met our cohorts and our core team, and then went to a variety of sessions spanning from MIT Life and Team Building to Finance and Entrepreneurship. The night was capped off with an amazing Clam Bake that featured steamed lobsters to go around aside from clams and a raw bar. Exhausted now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pic from the Barbeque

This is the only aerial shot I've been able to find. This is just a small section of our driveway, and our living room was pretty full as well. This must have been taken in the respite I got from grilling duties towards the end of the night.



Also, below is a video I found from the Faint concert I went to:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Non-stop Activity


The past few days have been a blur. Too much to do, and every minute chock full of activity. Besides continuing with Finance, Accounting, Econ, and Finance review, there have been numerous social events and happy hours. Additionally on Wednesday, I made it to see the Faint. They were great, but only played for about 75 minutes! At 11 on the dot, the venue turned on the lights, and that was the end of that - amazing.

The highlight though has been a party that we hosted on Thursday - ultimately 130 to 150 people made it over, and our place was somehow able to hold everyone. I was a grilling machine, trying to feed all those mouths, and though hectic, it all worked out. All of this has tired me out big time, as was evidenced by a three hour nap yesterday when I got back from class - I just couldn't take it anymore!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Smartening a Phone

Today, I figured out how to get Gmail and Facebook on my regular phone, in effect, turning it into a Smartphone without a QWERTY pad. That in turn made me feel smart. Now, to see if I can sync it to my MIT mail and calendar.

A surpising new hair accessory

Now that I'm biking to school, I had to make a vital decision: style vs. safety. Though afraid that my hair would be ruined for full days of pre-term revision class fun, meeting new classmates for the first time; the overwhelming fact that my Murphy's luck would kick in the first time I neglected to wear a helmet made me veer to the geeky, but secure side.

Miraculously, I've found that my helmet actually makes my hair better! It feels silkier, and as my hair is usually out of control a la Harry Potter, the initial pressure on my scalp in the morning somehow manages to hold it in place. Possible 100K idea here if I can figure out how to remarket this as the opposite of curlers.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Second days are always better

After re-doing many Calculus derivatives problems over again after coming back from a late impromptu happy hour, I felt a lot more comfortable with Day 1 of pre-term. Today, things seemed a lot easier... Perhaps my math wheels have started turning. Probably, it was that a lot of the material covered today was either relevant from the news, or from my GMAT prep. I found myself in the position of explaining things to others... interesting.

Back to school

Yesterday was the first day of pre-term. I rolled in with very little sleep from still having cleaned up from last night's grill test run at 7:45, and from 8-3, was bombarded with Accounting, Calc, Econ, and Finance.

Good news - Econ knowledge ain't bad.

Bad news - I could hear the rust grating off in my brain as I attempted to do Calculus after several years.

I'll be back tomorrow morning at 8 for more.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Boy meets grill

We just put our grill together yesterday and gave it a test run... This is all in preparation for hosting 80+ people for a pre-term grill-out on Thursday. The Argentine in me is on cloud 9... This thing is a monster with a bunch of grilling fine tuning... probably as much as I could have gotten without building my own into the building like they do in Argentina.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I got wheels!

I now have a viable mode of transportation other than my legs. For the first time, I will be using a bike to get to places. I feel very environmentally friendly at the moment.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Demand is a beautiful thing

Interesting CNN article here. Apparently, there is so much pent up demand for electric cars which is being unmet by car manufacturers, that a bunch of DIYers are taking matters into their own hands and building their own. Sound like the early adopters are ready. Let's see which car manufacturer is the first with a commercially sound product.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Putting Faces to Names

Yesterday, I went to a pre-pre-term gathering at at one of the hangouts "Sloanie bars", and was confronted with a huge crowd of unknown faces. I felt like I knew a fair amount of students from the summer gatherings of DC-based Sloanies and the AdMIT weekend I attended, but apparently I was mistaken.

We have a Google board that many2010 Sloanies have been connected into (and generates 100s of emails a day), and I feel like I've gotten to know many of the frequent posters... It was interesting going around the room, meeting people, asking for their last name, and figuring out that they're the ones that wrote the amazing breakdown of the US sub prime mortgage crisis, or the person who had given spot-on restaurant recommendations in Boston, etc. The best was bumping into some of the people who I had corresponded with on the side, based on their posts, and finally putting the face to the name.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It can be done!

Although he may be oversimplifying a bit, Thomas Friedman details a case study of Denmark's energy strategy, which has led them to be completely independent from the Middle East's petroleum.

Denmark accomplished this through government intervention in setting the stage for making innovation in the energy field competitive, and then let their domestic entrepreneurs and markets take off. This has also positively affected their unemployment rate as Denmark is becoming a front runner in alternative energy technology and is turning it's market view towards the rest of the world.

Denmark is significantly smaller than the US, China, India, and many other of the top petroleum importers, but still, if they can do it, there's no reason others can't.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Soggy Boston

It's rained pretty heavily every day in Boston since we arrived in the middle of the night a week ago. Luckily, as I'm still setting up the apartment, this has made me feel better about the dashed illusions I had of playing tennis every day until pre-term.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Neverending Unpack

This is day 5 or so of unpacking. I've lost count. Our apartment was in bad shape when we moved in. There is a significant amount of damage, like a broken screen door, broken windows, broken light fixtures, etc. Aside from that, the place was absolutely filthy, and some of the previous tenants stuff was still in there. We didn't feel like touching anything until a professional cleaner came in.

This has slowed us down quite a bit, and half of the stuff is still broken. After multiple calls to the property manager, we may get new contractors, because the ones that are working for us are pretty unreliable, barely speak English, and as I usually am understood pretty well by Portuguese speakers (and vice versa), I think that they're pretending to not understand my Spanish.

The place is still a huge work in progress. There probably won't be many more posts until we've set everything up. There goes my expectations of effortless days of exploring and tennis before pre-term started.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Electric Slide

Here's an interesting article about technologies being developed to capture the energy that humans create when moving and turning it into electricity. Aside from some gyms in Hong Kong and Portland, there's a dance club in Rotterdam, NL, that has crystals under the floor which rub against eachother when people atop them dance. I wonder how much the Thriller dance would generate?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Finally made it

The drive to Philly was uneventful, there was no one on the road. Assuming that the ride would be as effortless as my roommate driving his scooter up the U-Haul ramp (pictured on left), we even felt the luxury to drive out for cheese steaks. And then we discovered the traffic disaster that is the US eastern seaboard. 2 hours of traffic bypassing New York, and then another 2.5 hours in separate incidents in Connecticut got us into Cambridge at 12:30AM, when we were supposed to be in around 8.

Luckily, one of our classmates was open to helping us move in at that time, and help he did! We finished moving in at 3 (without him, we wouldn't have made it before day-break), dropped off the U-Haul by 4AM, and I finally hit the sack at 5AM. After a few hours of sleep, I was back up, working all day to unpack and set things up. We made a dent, but there's so much more to be done. This whole 48 hours feels like one long alien continuum.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You know a space is big when it echoes

The 26' U-Haul we got may have been a bit too much. My stuff, and one of my roommates things are in there, and we haven't even taken up half the truck.

Tomorrow, we're off early in the morning. First, to Philly to pick up roommate number 3 and pack his stuff in, and then on to Cambridge.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Packing


"It's always darkest right before dawn"
- Harvey Dent

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last Day of Work

After a few meetings, tieing up a bunch of loose ends and cleaning out my area, I rode off into the sunset... Well, not really.

It still hasn't sunk in that I won't be back the next day, or next week. Now, packing galore awaits.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Prologue...

It's starting to sink in... I'm going back to school, this time, for an MBA at the Sloan School of Management at MIT. After four years out in the working world, I'm jumping back in. I'll once again have to brush up on Calc, Stats, Accounting and Econ. But first, I have to move from DC to Boston... That's happening this weekend. There's so much to do before then...