Friday, December 30, 2005

Limos in Philly

There's a billboard in the philly airport on your way into baggage claim that warns you against taking unlicensed limos from the airport. It says something like "Don't risk it" and it has two photos of people clutching their heads as if they are in pain.

Do unlicensed limo drivers give you migraines?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Desert Rose

A few things have happened to me since I've been in the desert. I've eaten twice my bodyweight in delicious food. I've won $120 gambling at an Indian casino. I've had the chance to catch up with some old friends from the Bay Area as well as spend some QT with the family.

But most importantly, I got to encounter a good deal of fauna.

Since I arrived in the desert, I've seen roadrunners, jackrabbits, cottontail rabits, egrets, ducks, quail, bluebelly lizards, scorpions, crickets, and I just had the chance to evict a brown spider the size of a silver dollar from my bedroom. I literally heard this creature before I saw it, much like my beloved Philly mice.

I love being back in California, the desert in particular. The air smells good here. At night, you can see a zillion stars. The jagged mountains that jut out of the Coachella Valley are beautiful, particularly as the sun begins to set and the shadows are a stark contrast against the light brown rocks. But I have to admit that I'm beginning to feel like an east coast city girl as I squeal in fear at each animal I encounter.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Festivus

Some blurry pictures from the lights in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square, just two blocks from my house.

Friday, December 23, 2005

All the Leaves Are Brown

I left my Philadelphia brownstone at 4:30 this morning. It's now 3:00 PST, and I am in Palm Desert, where the outside temp is about 80 degrees.

I am hoping to do a bit of blogging over my break. This seems like the right time to reflect on things, seeing as how I'm now 1/4 of the way through my MBA experience. I have to say the most striking thing is I'm already aware that it's going by way too fast. That's not to say that everything is 100% super happy fun joy all the time. But I am sure that this is one of the most exhilarating experiences I'll have in my life, and that these two years are now 25% done.

So in short-- I am done with finals, I am back in California, I did survive my first semester (deceptively, it was both my first semester and my first two quarters), and Philadelphia is very cold but not nearly as snowy as I always imagined the east coast to be.

Finally, congrats to frequent commenter Swalker, part of the batch of newly admitted class of '08ers who got his good news on Thursday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

High School

I just did something I haven’t done since high school, which is attempt to see how poorly I can do on a final and still pass the class.  Of course, in high school I would try to see how poorly I could do on the final and still get an A in the class.  Here, there’s no such thing as an “A” and there’s a curve so all my calculations are moot.  But I am doing well in the class, hopefully I can master leases enough to do OK.


Can you tell I’m not enjoying studying for accounting?


On Julie’s study mix RIGHT NOW:


Gold Digger

Holding out for a Hero

Santa Monica


Scar Tissue

Song Beneath the Song



God Only Knows

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Sarah McLachlan/Barenaked Ladies version- my fave carol ever)

Everybody Got Their Something

C’mon C’mon

Your Woman

The Passenger

American Dreaming

Meet Virginia

Thank You Lord, For Sending Me The F Train



Here’s my thing on accounting: the textbook they gave us (nay, sold us, for about $130 no less) is completely useless.  It doesn’t even cover the topics we do in the second half of the class, and the coverage it provides in the first half is too basic to be of any use.  This leaves us with the lecture notes and practice tests as learning materials; the lecture notes are too high level and vague to provide any direction, and the practice tests are pretty near impossible (which is fair, as the real tests are as well) and the answer keys provide next to no explanation so you can’t even really learn from that. 


I rarely have much to say in course evaluations, but I wrote on both sides of my accounting one.  This is a hard topic and they are failing to give us the materials needed to study.


Three hours until I try to do better on a test than at least 10% of my classmates.



Ghost Library

During finals week, I basically live in our fine arts library.  It’s this beautiful giant red building with high windows and beautiful brick walls with stone flourishes throughout.  It also has great tables and good lighting.  This week it was packed, as one might expect.  However, yesterday it was at about 25% its normal capacity.  This wasn’t totally shocking, people are slowly finishing finals and fleeing beautiful Philadelphia for the break.  However, we first years (the ones not bright enough to waive accounting) have our hardest final at 6pm tonight.  Which basically means that we’re still in it to win it.  I turned up at the library today, and there was a sign up saying it’s closing at 5pm (it’s usually open until midnight).  I walked in and there are literally ten people in the whole place, eight of whom are my classmates and two of whom appear to be random TA’s grading final papers.


This place is officially a ghost town, and we are officially the saddest people on the planet for having our hardest final on the last day of the test period.  I would’ve studied so much harder for this if it were my first exam.  Since it’s my last, I lost momentum. My finals literally went from easiest to hardest, and there’s no way to maintain the focus you need to take the last final last.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Managing People Named Dirk

Seriously, I just took a final that was the most miserable test-taking experience of my life. And I’ve taken some bad tests. I was warned by second years that this would be the case, but it was just a joke. Imagine a class with a 300 page bulkpack comprising about 24 articles, each with about two major theories on ‘how to manage people’, a packet of articles (given to us three days in advance) about how great it is to work at IKEA, and then a test for which we have two hours with seven questions, each of which reads something like, “Applying three frameworks from this class, discuss how you would improve IKEA’s mentorship program.” It was icky. Open book open note is no fun when there’s this much content and questions you could write about for days. Why this was seen as a good in-class exercise rather than a take-home exam or even a well thought out final paper is beyond me.

OPIM and Accounting, my two hardest finals, remain. Pray for me.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


One final down, three to go (plus a paper). You know what that means-- I've been locked up in conference rooms writing a script! Oh, I mean I've been studying hard. Actually, we're done writing until after the break, so now the studying begins in earnest.

After my first final, we experienced my new favorite weather phenomenon: freezing rain. It combines the discomfort of 'wet' with the unpleasantness of 'cold', removing the 'at least it's not too cold' element of normal rain and the 'ooh, this is pretty and soft' of snow. It also led to a completely frozen sidewalk, particularly on the Walnut Street bridge I and about ten people decided to walk across after our post-final margarita fest.

I fell early and hard. I have several giant bruises to show for it. After that I was assigned a 'minder', and the guys would rotate who had to walk with me vs. who could try ice skating across the bridge. By my count, we had two people careen off the curb into parked cars, three near falls, and one guy did the splits.

I love the east coast!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I have a bed now! Just as an FYI, for those who were concerned.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


It seems like just yesterday I was on the eve of finals week, and here they are again. This time is weird because I only have one final this week and it's not til Thursday, and it's not my really hard one (I have two of those, actually, and they're the last ones I have!). But in the meantime, I have plenty of activities to fill my time. They are (in order):

1. Finally send out thank you notes for my birthday presents (sorry, everyone)
2. Get a new bed-- Ikea tomorrow, and I roped in a magical elf to help me put it together.
3. Rewrite a whole bunch of follies crap-- we had our first readthrough with the cast today, and it was very illuminating. So now's the time when the writers get into a panic and start trying to fix everything that didn't work. I should point out I've spent the past three days locked up with the writers, and we went to the follies holiday party last night. My 'real' friends are starting to send out a search party, which basically means they feel like the rest of you people. Maybe they need to start reading the blog. Speaking of which, I have officially been outed-- Swalker, Big Gay Clay is in the follies cast, and he brought up my blog when I met him last night at the party. Fortunately he (1) was falling down drunk when he informed me and (b) probably doesn't really care/know how to find it. But shhhh, everyone, especially those who come to visit!
4. Clean this apartment. It's like an accounting notebook exploded in here.

Finally, there is snow everywhere. And guess what, kids-- it's not just cold and pretty. It's also really hard to walk on. I will be falling plenty this winter.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I applied!

Today, I applied for nine jobs.  I haven’t applied for a job in three years, so it feels really strange.  But my letters and resumes are in, I’m sure I’ll discover glaring typos in about a week’s time.


Tomorrow we have interview boot camp and then I’m writing Follies for the rest of the day, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday including a cast read through.  This weekend also includes two Accounting final review sessions (optimized to conflict with other things I want to do and ridiculously early given that final is my last one, on the 21st).  And at some point, I’d really like to get a bed.


I also wanted to share that I ate at the ‘best’ (quotations because I have not enough data to fairly judge for myself—this was basically the Chez Panisse or French Laundry of Philly, which would be on everyone’s list) restaurant in Philadelphia.  It’s called Le Bec Fin, and you have your choice between a six course meal and a ten course meal.  We went six, and it was absolutely incredible.  Here’s what we got:


Grilled foie gras with butternut squash and a little piece of savory French toast (which was actually on the ten course menu, but we begged.  The slices of foie gras were huge and there were multiple.  Before you write in angry letters about goose cruelty, I ordered it because you duck lovers are going to take it off our menus soon enough so I may as well enjoy it while I can.)

Black sea bass with squash three ways, toasted pumpkin seeds, and fresh verbena emulsion (How do I love squash?  Let me count the ways!)

Pennsylvania rack of lamb,flageolet beans casserole, natural jus flavored with thyme

A selection of fresh cheeses—this restaurant is the reason I can get Red Hawk in Philly (the gourmet cheese shop is their supplier), so I had a knowing smile on my face when the cheese cart  wheeled up.  However, as the fromager (made up word, I don’t know the real one) went through them all, I realized they had a French washed-rind cow’s milk cheese, not Red Hawk.  I said something and he said they were out, which implies that the Red Hawk shopping spree I went on when I got my 10% off card for the cheese shop is affecting the Philly dining scene.  Who knew?  I did have Humboldt fog, and about six other yummy cheeses.  There was no limit to how many we could try.

Sorbet- I went lemon basil

Dessert- Like the cheese, they were into quantity.  There were maybe 15 different cakes to choose from, I chose two, and they shook their heads at me and gave me a plate with about six little tastes of different things.


Overall, it was tres delish.  The foie gras was transcendent, but it’s hard to mess that up.  The lamb was outstanding.  The place was overall hilariously old school, with flowery wallpaper and a mustachioed waiter.



And Bingo Was His Name-O

I've somehow become Cohort gamemaster on top of social chair. Since word of the week has escalated, and tomorrow is the last day of class for the semester, I crafted the below Bingo card for our last class. Wish us luck-- this could get ugly. About five of us have a side game going of betting on who will talk (points for frequency), who will not talk, who will be tardy, and how many times certain cohortmates will perpetrate their increasingly annoying specific habits. It's such fun to be 13 again.

And yes, I'm basically done with my cover letters. However, our career website has crashed for the night so I'm off to bed and I'll upload them later (they're due by midnight Thursday night/Friday morning).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cover Me

I'm sitting up writing 8 cover letters for my first resume drops tomorrow. Once I do this, I hear basically nothing for over a month, making this officially more nerve-wracking than applying to business school.

What's great is they suggest you tailor not only your letters but your RESUME for each company. I could understand that if I were applying to radically different types of jobs (banking AND marketing, for instance), but I'm not sure how different I could make my resume for Hershey vs. Kraft (Hobbies: Chocolate vs. Hobbies: Macaroni and Cheese?). However, I did just strike on one when I discovered one recruiter has the first name Claudine. I almost never use my middle name, but you'd better believe it went back into my resume and signature for that particular job.

Surviving the Storm

As those of you who watched Monday Night Football know, I finally lived through my first northeastern snowstorm. It snowed about 5 inches on Monday night, and I have to say it was quite beautiful. It was also not nearly as cold as it was on Saturday when I thought I might have to stay inside for the rest of the winter.

Not much of the snow is left on the ground now, except on some of the lawns around campus. On the one outside of our building, people built a snowman which has now been decapitated.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I went to prom!

My mom wanted to know how I looked in my dress, since it was a birthday present. Here you go, Mom!

Let it snow!

It snowed last time for the first time since I got here. It was soooo pretty! Unfortunately, today it's raning. I guess this is the 'wintry mix' I've been dreading.

I was in a writers' meeting yesterday and people started talking about the incoming storm, and I was asking questions about what to expect. Suddenly, one of the head writers said, "Wait, have you ever lived on the east coast?" I said no. The whole room shook their heads sadly, and basically told me that everything I've been dreading about winter is nothing compared to what it's really going to be like.

Off to buy a new coat!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Some Birfday Pics

The birthday blowout was much fun. We were able to negotiate drink specials and everything, and the bar was deliciously divy (townies in trucker caps). All in all, a good time. Tonight is 'winter ball'-- that's right, kids, I'm going to Prom!