Wednesday, September 26, 2007
2. I was the MD of a theoretical company that constructed a self parking car out of legos. We made sure it was extra cool by having it play Smoke on the Water while it backed up. It worked really well, though it needed to have multi-park functions and look a little cooler in order to be a big seller. We came in third. We could have done better if we'd made better sales projections. But it was really fun.
3. Finished and turned in my MMA paper.
4. Did a culture immersion experience, wherein half of us went to one room and were given one culture, and the others were taken into another and given a completely different one. We would then go in and try to figure out the rules of interaction. To fit in in our culture, you had to:
a) hug and touch each other all the time
b) laugh and smile a lot
c) greet each other with conversations about male relatives
d) play an odd card game that was like a friendly version of WAR, where the point was interacting and winning was gauche
e) chat a bit
f) sign a card and move to another
If anyone did anything other than this we kicked them out. And if they talked to one of us women without permission they got kicked out. And if they tried to win at the game we insulted them by showing them a card from our game.
The other culture spoke only in a strange jibberish language while competing ferociously in a strange form of rummy/go fish that seemed way too mentally taxing for my taste.
Funnily enough, neither of us were particularly successful at fitting into the other's rooms.
5. More business law. And had some guest speakers in the evening who are grads of my programme and now CEOs of companies here in the UK. And dinner at an Indian place with a few female friends.
6. More business law, wherein the lecturer kindly translated the word "aluminium" specially for me.
7. Next on the agenda - Leadership which, in addition to lectures, had us pairing off, blindfolding one person and then having the other person lead them around the building without talking or touching them. My partner and I started in the middle of a group of students on a coffee break who were at orientation for the coming year's full-time Supply Chain master's programme. They were staring open-mouthed at us. (Obviously, I wasn't the one with the blindfold.) My partner and I navigated the stairs extremely well, and were quite pleased with our ability to communicate using finger snaps and clapping.
8. Our Leadership lecturer bought us beers, which he owed because he was late to our first lecture back in June, and then I went to dinner with a bunch of my friends at a little pub in a nearby village.
Tomorrow: final business law sessions, a merger simulation exercise and turning in our GLB paper.
Friday: We have another round of crisis press conferences, wherein we'll be given case studies of some major corporate situation, have an hour to prep, and then conduct a 30 minute taped press conference where we're grilled by visiting media.
Saturday: A full day outside in the open air doing leadership tasks that will involve puzzle solving and other activities.
I feel kind of like I've gone to summer camp. Except it's freezing.
Monday, September 24, 2007
1) Research and paper writing for Globalization, Mergers and Acquisitions, Leadership and Business Law
2) TV breaks I take to stop my eye-twitch
3) Attending lectures.
You can have your choice. Which would you like to hear about? Personally, I've erred on the side of television but it's your call.
Besides. That way I get to gloat about all of the cool things you don't get on BBC Canada and BBC America.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
There's a great Sunday afternoon show called Come Dine with Me on More 4. I think the original actually airs on Channel 4 through the week, but I only see it here on Sunday afternoons plus you get all five hosts at once. The premise is that 5 strangers who like to cook and entertain are grouped together, and over five nights they each host the others for dinner...each night they then rate the other's hosting abilities on a scale of 1 - 10 and the one who has the highest score at the end of the week wins £1000. All sorts of people volunteer for this. Actors and drama types. Housewives. Society dames. Gay men. Cash-in-hand men who aspire to be posh. It's quite funny how they pair people, and how petty some of these folks can be.
Today, one of the hosts is a woman who has to be at least 80. She's one of those slightly stooped but young-acting granny types who has an elegance and propriety about her, except for the orangey hair and the lipstick that is slightly askew.
The rest of the group are 30 something Londoners. There is a kind of hippie-chick anthropologist 40 something woman, a friendly single guy who is a fishmonger by trade, an estate agent who seems to think he's a chef waiting to be discovered - and who is blatantly rude in his criticism of others, and a gay property surveyor. The four are quite the epicureans, whereas the granny is just nice.
The four foodies serve all sorts of fancy fance food with coulis and infusions and essences. Granny served the following:
- tooth pick skewers of pineapple, cheese and olives, potato chips and prawn cocktail
- overcooked Chateaubriand because she doesn't like her meat undercooked, with roast potatoes
- a sherry trifle with lots of whipped cream and instant pudding and the full bottle of sherry (and cherries she salvaged from a can of fruit cocktail)
They were appalled. And that was before she decided to provide parlor entertainment by singing along to the My Fair Lady soundtrack in a warbly vibrato.
I love her.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I have a complete and total crush on Michael Palin. I've always thought he was handsome, but he has aged exceptionally well and he's wickedly funny and clever. Hubba hubba. His series of travelogues are some of my favourite shows, a bit of history, a bit of culture, a bit of pithy observation...and a wealth of stories and experiences that feed my wanderlust when I am forced to stay put by the challenges of day to day life.
Handsome. Articulate. Adventuresome. Funny. Land HO!
Bella Rossa shared this in the comments. (By the way, thanks, Bella. And welcome to Melinda June!) I'd known Charles II of Spain was a suspected inbred, but had never really looked at the chart. Oh my. Circles are very very bad.
Charles II is known in Spanish history as El Hechizado ("The Bewitched") from the popular belief — to which Charles himself subscribed — that his physical and mental disabilities were caused by "sorcery" rather than the much more likely cause: centuries of inbreeding within the Habsburg dynasty (in which first cousin and uncle/niece matches were commonly used to preserve a prosperous family's hold on its multifarious territories)...His great-great-great grandmother, Joanna I, (Joanna the Mad), mother of the Spanish King Charles I who was also Holy Roman Emperor Charles V — became completely insane early in life; the fear of a taint of insanity ran through the Habsburgs. Charles descended from Joanna a total of 14 times — twice as a great-great-great grandson, and 12 times further...
Charles II was the last of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty, physically disabled, mentally retarded and disfigured (possibly through affliction with mandibular prognathism — he was unable to chew). His tongue was so large that his speech could barely be understood, and he frequently drooled. He may also have suffered from the bone disease acromegaly. He was treated as virtually an infant in arms until he was ten years old. Fearing the frail child would be overtaxed, he was left entirely uneducated, and his indolence was indulged to such an extent that he was not even expected to be clean. When his half-brother John of Austria the Younger, a natural son of Philip IV, obtained power by exiling the queen mother from court, he insisted that at least the king's hair should be combed.
The only vigorous activity shown by Charles was shooting, which he occasionally indulged in the preserves of the Escorial.But I hear he was a Harvard MBA.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Tonight, actor John Hurt has learned that he's not only not related to Irish nobility, but rather is descended from a man with a talent for "spin and self promotion," whose father was on the take while working at the Customs Office and who ended up in debtor's prison. Oh. And he also found out his great grandparents were first cousins.
This is incredibly bad timing. I don't have extra money lying around, I am in the middle of an excruciatingly difficult time at both work and school, and I don't know where I'm going to be working post MBA, which means I am not in a position to sign a lease. The timing is hard to be worse, actually.
Luckily, my friend Nadine, who will be known as my personal savior from this point forward, has offered that I can move in with her so I don't have to start looking for a place until January. I will therefore vacate this place at the end of October and be a housemate until further notice. This means no visitors for awhile, but it also means that I can go back to worrying about how I'm going to get things done.
What a relief.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I changed into:
- a Walt Disney World t-shirt in dull sage green that is so worn there are holes around the stretched out collar, the stitching looks white at the seams, the letters are cracked and peeling and there's red paint in spots from when I helped my friend Kimmy paint her bathroom;
- a pair of flannel pjs that are way too big and way too short and have toasters and coffee pots and other silly things on them;
- a pair of thick green wool socks that I got at REI in Seattle when they opened the new store there along I5;
- my glasses.
I look ridiculous, but I'm curled up under a blanket on the couch so the neighbors can't see me if they look in the window.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
If you're a music person (and I know many of you are,) you really owe it to yourself to spend two hours a week listening to this show. It's available on demand here. The premise is that Stephen Merchant (who viewers of Extras and the British version of The Office will know as Darren Lamb (Andy's agent) and Oggy respectively,) sits in the studio with Harry, Sammy, Rufus and Dan and they bullshit and offer up songs that you are likely not to have heard or hear often. The music is great and the conversation is funny. Today, for instance, they are discussing Harry's rather anti-climactic proposal to his fiance this week and why chopsticks have endured when the Chinese are obviously aware of the fork. (Good question, frankly.) And I am regularly getting ideas for new and new to me music, which makes me and my iPod mixes much cooler. Today's playlist looks like this:
Concretes - You Can't Hurry Love
A Hawk And A Hacksaw - God Bless The Ottoman Empire
Veruca Salt - Volcano Girls
Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire - How Indiscreet
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Spread Your Love
Pigeon Hole Tracks
Richard Hawley - Serious
Babyshambles - Delivery
Sia - Buttons
Cocteau Twins - Cherry-Coloured Funk
Foo Fighters - The Pretender
The Connells - 74-75
Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Jurassic 5 - Concrete Schoolyard
Van Morrison - The Way Young Lovers Do
Iron And Wine - White Tooth Man
Left Banke - Pretty Ballerina
Primal Scream - Come Together
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
In the afternoon, we did four hours of Managing Strategic Innovation. The room was hot and smelled of acrid BO (which, sadly, we suspect came from one of the people in the room), so it was not the best foot forward for us. In this course, we have teams to work on projects during lectures, and so they formed their own team and analysed the case study. When we came back into the room to present our analyses, they took their turn. The neo-con did the talking. Between the accent and the content, I don't think any of us actually followed the train of thought, but at least he tried. The lecturer finally interrupted him for the sake of a timely finish.
When other B-schools visit, it is tradition to take them to dinner and entertain our guests. Unfortunately, England was playing South Africa in the Rugby World Cup so all of the men bonked off to the pub to neck beers and shout at the tv. This left the women in the group to take the Austrians out for the evening. I'd intended to go home and get a decent night's sleep, but my friend T got stuck coordinating things and couldn't find anyone to attend. I couldn't leave her by herself with four men for dinner...I mean, if they were nice it wouldn't be a problem, but if they were creeps it would suck. And it can be a lot of responsibility to engage four people with good but not perfect English in a dinner's worth of conversation by yourself. So I agreed to go with her.
We went to the Swan at Salford, a local gastropub that is always a decent option. Our dates for the evening were C and Ch from Tyrol and S and O from Innsbruck. O tried to explain that Tyrol was actually not Italy but occupied Austria. I laughed, thinking that was hyperbole. It wasn't. O demanded to know why I was laughing. He demanded to know how I could condone the fascist acquisition of a part of Austria's history. Oops. I guess I figured that fascist occupation would have been remedied after the war. I changed the subject.
I had a lovely conversation about art and travel with the Tyrolians. They were both deadly handsome. C had a mischievous twinkle in his eye and one of the finest profiles I've ever seen. Ch had one of those warm, luscious, eye-holding gazes that make you feel like you're the only woman in the room. And when he grinned there was a faint glint of braces shining through. Swoon.
We went through to dinner and I was seated by C and S, with O across the table. S looked very German with the blond hair and the tiny glasses. His English was perfect and he was an engaging conversationalist. He was a bit more formal than the others, but he made up for it with warmth and empathy in his chatter. I liked him immensely.
O, on the other hand, talked about kissing exhaust pipes. It took a bit of clarification to understand he was talking about people who smoke. His companions were on their way out for a cigarette, and he was touting the benefits of being a non-smoker. He would taste sweet and lovely. His friends would taste like ashtrays. He told a delightful story about the extraordinarily beautiful woman that he'd decided to kiss, only to find out she tasted like a tail pipe. I asked how he knew what a tail pipe tasted like. C laughed heartily at this. He explained that this is why they all hate O. I figured he must be joking. I mean, would you actually tell a stranger that you hated a colleague while your colleague was sitting next to you taking part in the conversation?
Turns out they would. O assured me it was true. When the others got back, I asked them if they really hated O. Without hesitation they said, "Absolutely. He is...(how you say)...a big asshole."
Huh. I guess I'd picked up on that, but didn't think I should bring it up.
As the evening went on, we had lively conversations about politics and taxes and economics and how to develop policies (both national and corporate) that are both economically sound AND humane. S showed great pathos, much wisdom. Ch got dreamier by the minute, with his high morale convictions and sanguine humour. O got more beady-eyed and petty by the minute...apparently everyone who doesn't work in Austria is living the high life on his dime, and women don't have to make as much since they aren't the heads of households and all those ethnics keep moving to Austria for welfare and then take their jobs. And he does not apologise for his love of sexy, beautiful, sexy women. Not one bit. (Did I mention he likes the sexy, sexy women?)
C kept leaning over and whispering in my ear, "See, this is why we hate him."
Yup. I see.
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I am very glad I went along. When dinner was through, T and the boys returned to campus with a text message to notify the rugby fans that it was time to share the hosting when they got back, and I drove home for a bit of reading and that sleep I'd been hoping for. I was tempted to head back to campus myself, what with engaging S, charming C and disarmingly handsome Ch still in the mood for chatting and drinking, but I figured that no amount of conversation was worth dealing with O.
I mean, he loves the sexy, sexy women and, as illustrated below, I am a HOT CHICK. Better safe than sorry.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I am itchy tonight with a racing mind, thinking of the pressures and the possibilities. So I did what all diligent students due the night before they go back to classes. I had a cocktail, packed my lunch and laid my clothes out so I'm ready in the morning.
OK. So maybe the kiddies should have a Shirley Temple or apple juice instead of the bourbon. Though the bourbon would calm them down and keep them quiet. Anyway, you get the idea.
Now for that good night's sleep.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
|You Are Definitely a Hot Chick|
While your little black book isn't as thick as Paris Hilton's...
You get the most dates of any girl you know
It's your whole five star package that attracts men -
Your looks, your charm, and your ability tie a cherry with your tongue.
And that led to this:
|You're a Part Time Maneater|
While you're not a black widow, you've definitely left a few guys feeling used and abused.
You're only out for fun, but sometimes you get a little carried away with your flirting.
Cute guys tend to make you lose control. You really can't help it!
You're a good girl at heart... you just can't help but let your bad girl side out sometimes!
|Your Famous Movie Kiss is from The Empire Strikes Back|
"Captain, being held by you isn't quite enough to get me excited."
|You Are 32% Paranoid Schizophrenic|
You're pretty grounded, though you have your occasional paranoid moments.
Just make sure to ignore those voices in your head!
|You Are a Night Person|
For you, there's nothing worse than having to get up and moving early.
In fact, you probably don't hit your peak until well after the sun has set.
So if your struggling to make it on a normal schedule, realize it's not your fault.
You just weren't meant to do anything during the day!
|You are Bettie Page|
Girl next door with a wild streak
You're a famous beauty - with a unique look
And the people who like you are cultish about it
|Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading|
You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.
You understand people better than they would like to be understood.
Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.
You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!
Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done
Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now
And most importantly:
|You Scored an A|
You got 10/10 questions correct.
It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.
If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.
And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.
Plus I'm too cheap to pay the fee.
Give me six months and if I'm still single I'll try match.com. I'll need blog fodder once I graduate.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I gave a big phooey to this idea. I am confident that I will find someone in my own time in my own way, and until then I enjoy my own company just fine. But last night under the fog of jet lag I checked out eHarmony and they let me register for free and the next thing you know Lee in Chicago wants to meet me. As do seven others. And this is in one day. I have not paid the rather sizable fee so I can't see too many details in their profile, but thus far they seem like family-loving, physically fit, earnest types who like to take long romantic walks and want to pamper me. None of this is bad in and of itself, but where is the style? Where is the zing? Where is that sumpin' sumpin'? Give me a fat guy with a wicked sense of humor and a kind heart over a hand-holding, exercising nurturer any day of the week. And two of them don't even read. You've got to be kidding me. Where's your curiosity, for God's sake?
So I changed a few things in my profile. I've warned off closed minded boor/bores and homophobes. I've demanded they laugh at my jokes and play pranks on their friends. I've ruled out people who can't cook or spell. I told them I can't live without a good kosher dill. And that the one thing I wish people would notice about me when they meet me is that I'm cross-eyed.
Okay, eMatchmaker. NOW make me a match.
Monday, September 10, 2007
But tonight I bought a "perfectly ripened mini watermelon" at Waitrose. It is delicious. AND it is seedless. Flavourful, sweet, juicy and melt-in-the mouth perfect.
Come to England, Bob. The watermelon is fine. Though it's probably from Spain.
Mom took me back up to Minneapolis on Friday (or more specifically Hampton where my friend Tim met us and drove me the rest of the way.) Went to Red's Savoy Inn for pizza and a few Grain Belt Premiums, and then headed to the bar at Mancini's Char House where there was a bitchin' live band with 50 year old guys in Hawaiian shirts and a buxom red-headed singer. They were AWESOME. They could not have been more predictable if they tried...we took a few guesses as to what they'd play and they hit every single one...Proud Mary with a bit of shimmy, Respect, a little Rolling Stones, Born In The USA, Old Time Rock n' Roll and Brown Eyed Girl. Randy people in their fifties and sixties doing a wicked groove to some fine fine tunes is a GREAT way to spend an evening. God bless America!
Spent Saturday morning with my friend KB, and then headed to the airport for my flight. My friend Brad was on his way to Germany for the day (yes, for the day, as he was on a mileage run,) and so he came to the airport a few hours early and got me in to the Northwest Airlines WorldClub, where we drank and snacked and chatted until I had to leave. He even walked me to my gate (though to be fair, what else was there to do with another three hours to kill?). It's much better being in airports with someone else. I had greasy Chinese food at O'Hare, but there was no one to bitch to about it's awfulness...and somehow I don't believe that the nice Portuguese guy sharing my table wanted to hear it.
I tried to sleep on the flight but had very little luck, even with a couple of Advil PMs. We got to London about 45 minutes early, and my Iris Scan immigration let me bypass the lines and head straight to baggage claim. I even made an airport friend with another Iris-Scan expat who could jump the lines but then had to wait for his luggage. He was cute, so I didn't mind killing five minutes with him before my bags showed up, plus he helped me get them off the belt and they were heavy. I was out in my car on the M25 before my flight was even due to land. Stopped for an Egg McMuffin and coffee, came home and went straight to bed. I broke the cardinal rule of jetlag avoidance and slept until 3 pm. I think Brad called me from Germany before he flew back home, but I don't really remember. There are text messages, though, so I must have been awake.
Got up long enough to scrounge some hot dogs out of the freezer, watch Bend It Like Beckham, talk to my friend Bethany and then to head back to sleep. If I get a full night's sleep tonight it will be a miracle. But here's hoping.
Now I have two and a half months left to do the following:
- Finish my individual globalisation project
- Start and finish my group globalisation project
- Complete a Business Law course in one week
- Write one paper analysing my leadership style and another analysing my personal development over the course of the year
- Work with teammates to respond to an acquisition offer in the next two weeks, and also draft a personal learning statement on the experience
- Do 160 hours of in-company consultation about strategic innovation
- Work a full-time job
- Find a new one