Saturday, July 31, 2010

The mystery of capital lives on

The Mystery of Capital In the summer of 2009, before my fellow members of the Class of 2011 and I began business school, we were asked/required to read Hernando de Soto's The Mystery of Capital. The author argues that, in emerging markets and former communist countries, legal reforms and property rights could bring the poor's "dead capital" into the larger economic system and benefit everyone in the process. It was a good read, but repetitive.

Oddly, despite Yale's relentless insistence that this book be read in its entirety before the start of school, we were never held accountable for having read it. It came up briefly in the fourth quarter during a class called State & Society. One person was cold-called to summarize the book. It wasn't me. I could've, though.

I thought the main idea of the book was interesting, and it's shaped the way I think about the free market and third-world countries. I mentioned all this to my dad, a staunch conservative, when he was visiting New Haven a couple months ago. I lent him the book. I have wondered since then whether he would decry it as too left-wing, even though I didn't pick up on any such leanings. It has some populist themes, but it also decidedly defends free markets. My dad has begun reading it and likes how it gets right to the point; he and I share this requirement of our books. What a milestone -- I lent my father a book, and he's reading it. Score one for getting serious.

Bank: A NovelMeanwhile, today I finished a satire written by an SOM grad about his time as an investment banker. I laughed aloud several times and feel like I got a worthwhile inside look at this world, and it makes me glad to not have embarked on such a soul-crushing career. I loved being a journalist. I have not a dime to show for my eight years, but it was a fun time. I never felt enslaved, to be sure. And not only was I not an i-banker, I wasn't ever even exposed to that as an option. In fact, here's a humiliating story about just how ignorant I was about this world: When I got to school and started to hear the term "i-banking," I assumed it stood for some new type of Internet banking, a la "iBanking." String me up and paint me dumb! It's been interesting meeting people from the Northeast who were in the financial industry, and when I ask how they got involved, it's a tale of inevitability -- "Well I went to Dartmouth and wanted to make money, so I got a job in finance. What else was I supposed to do?"

I'd never met anyone in the financial industry until about a year ago. Between high school, college and other areas of pre-MBA life, I knew people with a wide variety of job titles -- doctor, artist, psychologist, professor, engineer, lawyer, journalist (of course), prop designer, caterer, technical writer ... no investment bankers though. I don't even recall anyone even mentioning possibly doing such a thing. I guess where you grow up indeed shapes your worldview. And, I guess, that's obvious.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, yes, it's Mory's night

Kim and Ben 'Twas Mory's Night again at the Yale Club, which means there were giant chalices of colorful concoctions passed around. We shared laughs, and probably germs. Above is my SOM friend Kim and my AP co-worker (co-intern?) Ben.

RainSuch an evening brings me full circle, as today is the one-year anniversary of my first posting on this blog, marking the day I left Dallas in a terrible storm, with a car full of crap and only vague ideas about what business school would be like. I was re-reading some of those early posts and was grateful for the awesome personal record of details I'd forgotten. And who knows ... maybe some first-year student will find it and follow along day-by-day, using my experience as either a road map to success or a warning against failure.

I toast to another year of this particular adventure with a giant chalice of a colorful concoction.

John at Mory's Night at the Yale Club

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Should I have done law school?

Last night I met up with five people from my neighborhood and had a somewhat disappointing dinner at the new Indian place across the street from my apartment. In the hourlong window prior to that, I grabbed a drink with a fellow who I knew from the debate circuit ages ago in high school. Hadn't seem him in 13 years. He's a lawyer. Almost everybody from that circle is a lawyer. A few are broadcast journalists.

The path to choosing an MBA was hardly obvious; I had a lot of different thoughts about going back to school. I graduated from undergrad in 2001 and probably had my first serious thoughts about returning to school in 2005. That summer, I studied for the GRE and took it. At the time I was reviewing DVDs for the paper and thought I might want to be a movie critic, and I felt that to have an authoritative voice I should get a PhD in film studies, perhaps at NYU. In retrospect, that would have been an unwise move, as those jobs are rapidly disappearing.

I looked at several grad programs, including this one that I still occasionally regret passing up: an MFA in film music composition at North Carolina School of the Arts. I even sent in some music and spoke to the director, who seemed to like my stuff and encouraged me to apply. Ultimately, though, I wasn't convinced that the students coming out of the program could get real jobs. But part of me always wonders whether I should have given this a try.

I kept on working, moving to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and eventually the back-to-school bug bit me again. In about 2007, I decided I wanted to do something more serious, analytical and lucrative, because my job had become everything I said I would not tolerate -- mundane and low-paying, with terrible hours. I looked at law schools and business schools. I decided on business school for a few reasons. (1) Most of the lawyers I knew didn't seem to particularly like their jobs, (2) Business school had more math, (3) The MBA seemed more versatile, (4) I don't care that much about law, really, (5) Everyone kept blaming journalism's problems on a "broken business model," so I figured that, somehow, there would be career opportunities out there for people with business educations and journalism backgrounds. So I took the GMAT and started hunting for the right MBA program.

I might have enjoyed law school. I like logic, argumentation, philosophy and ethics. But I don't particularly care much about what's legal and what's not. I also can't see myself being a lawyer ... it seems too serious, with too much responsibility, too much stress, too many hours. My dad was a lawyer.

Business school may not have been the ideal fit either, I admit. But I don't think you grow in this world by doing what's easy, or even what fits. I'd rather challenge myself and learn than just reinforce skills and tendencies I already have. That's the theory behind physical exercise -- it's more comfortable to sit and do nothing, but to get stronger you need to do the exercises that are hard and may at first feel a little strange. That, for me, is what my first year at school has been ... working muscles and pushing my limits. Anyway, it remains to be seen where the MBA will take me. Maybe in 5 years I'll be writing about my experience transitioning from the business world to the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inception and that back-to-school feeling

An image from Inception I didn't particularly like Inception. I'm entitled to my opinion. I felt it relied on excessive exposition to set up the bizarre rules required to frame an extended action sequence that was goofy and inconsequential. But I would gladly relive the experience simply for the hand holding; and it's a really long movie.

Meanwhile, speaking of juvenile feelings and behaviors, I for the first time today got just a twinge of excitement about returning to school, as I spent some time catching up on e-mails and dealing with highly neglected school-related requests, such as updating my resume, doing some club-leader tasks and re-browsing the course listings because I didn't get into one of the classes I bid for. C'est la vie on that one. When I was little, as each summer came to a close I felt a mix of dread and excitement at the thought of a new schoolyear. I usually had the same thoughts: "This year is going to be harder than any other, and I'm not sure I can do it. But I'm going to get really organized and stay on top of things like never before! And it will be nice to see my friends, meet new teachers and learn new things." I'm 31 and have basically all the same thoughts about going back to school that I had when I was 5.

My home -- which isn't really my home, but is just my temporary summer home -- has taken on the odor of a cabin, thanks to a leak in the A/C that managed to soak the bedroom floor. I am eager to see how quickly the owner responds, since he has a vested interest, as the floor to this apartment is the ceiling to his restaurant. No sign of him yet, though.

Today at work I was pleased with myself because I got to apply some statistical modeling know-how to create a formula that might help salespeople determine a range of prices for certain products. Until now I've been unable to do that due to things not worth getting into here, but I was glad to apply those tricks and contribute something concrete. It's a good place to work, with an important mission, so I'm always glad to be there.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Celebrating 66% completion with a gimlet

Brian Time is of the essence as I round the corner on the 2/3 point in my New York City summer. I have four weeks remaining at the AP. There is, thus, (mostly self-imposed) pressure to wrap-up the various projects I'm juggling, as well as (similarly mostly self-imposed) pressure to soak up the city.

John and Kristin On Friday night I enjoyed my sixth consecutive free dinner (meals on AP Sunday-Wednesday, free happy-hour buffet at the Yale Club on Thursday, a friend's home cookin' on Friday), and then on Saturday met up with my friend Kristin for the best gimlet I've ever had, at Sidecar, and I'm not just saying that because the bartender cooked my free dinner the night before. We then had sushi nearby and had a great time trying to stay awake past 11.

Today will be a first for me in New York: seeing a movie. Enough people have told me Inception is amazing that, fine, they win. To prepare, I have purchased my tickets on Fandango and was pleased to see a new (to me, at least) option that allows you to receive your tickets on your mobile phone. Since I didn't bring my printer with me, this was handy. I will see whether it works or whether I am tossed out the door. Then it's dinner at the Yale Club.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Internship vs. Internship

Sandy and Ben, two other MBA interns at the AP Our intern summit wrapped up officially last night with dinner at Peking Duck House in Chinatown. Don't let the name of the restaurant fool you -- it's Chinese food.

The internship program at the Associated Press has three divisions: business, technology and editorial. During the summit, we business associates were the oldest folks in the room -- at least the 7 of 10 of us pursuing graduate degrees. Some of my fellow "closer to 30 than 20" comrades are pictured above. Note the lack of wide-eyed youthful awe.

This marks the second time I have claimed the prestigious title of Summer Intern, the first being nine years ago, when I was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund copy editing intern at the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio. Due to a combination of my own naivete, what one could argue were shortcomings of the program itself, and the fact that after 10 weeks I found virtually nothing nice to say about Columbus, this was not an experience I cherish. But it was still valuable, if for no other reason because it showed me that, to get the kind of newsroom experience I wanted, I needed to go to a smaller paper. That's what led me to my first full-time job at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, where I ended up staying, happily, for nearly five years.

Smaller companies can be a great fit for some. The Caller-Times had a family atmosphere, and it was easy to exert influence, take risks and learn. Bigger companies, like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (my next paper), can have their advantages, too. They have more resources and tend to be more surefooted. There were things I was able to do at the Star-Telegram I wouldn't have been able to do at the Caller-Times, and vice versa. I wouldn't say one is a better workplace than the other; it just depends on what kind of person you are and what you're interested in doing.

The AP is, of course, a very large global company, but the department in which I work is small. So I have freedom and autonomy as well as resources and support. It's a nice mix. I think I made a good choice.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

There's an AP for that

Jazz is played at Blue Water Grill The meat of our two-day intern summit at AP is over, the second day of which was capped off with a fantastic dinner, set to jazz, at Blue Water Grill near Union Square. We got to learn a great deal about AP's operations and spend time with leaders from all types of arms of the company, including news, technology, security, legal, sports, business, strategy, research, photo, entertainment ... just about anything you could name. As we were told, a lot of employees don't even get that kind of access and experience, so the interns were very fortunate to get to do so.

Today it's back to work, followed by a farewell dinner in Chinatown followed by karaoke, an annual tradition for the intern summit. My supervisor welcomed a new baby into the world yesterday. I'm very excited for him. This may also mean I've been pushed out of the nest a bit at work, so we'll see today how that starts to play out. I have more than enough on my plate that keeping busy won't be an issue, and I'm working with another supervisor based in Chicago.

Brian Back to the whole jazz dinner thing, this was followed by after-dinner cocktails at a whiskey bar called the Rye House, a very fun experience because my companion's many talents include tending bar. This exposed me to new and rather unusual spirits and drinks, and it underlines what I've said before about one of my favorite and most surprising outcomes of this summer -- meeting new people and drawing on their expertise and stories. People who aren't afraid of cliches call this broadening your horizons. But my point is that the city is such a worldwide destination and supports so many kinds of careers that you end up being exposed to people from all around the world who have a wide variety of interesting jobs and interests.

Have I mentioned I'd like to stay? Or return, at least.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Governors Island

John, Brian and Jay Had a great Sunday on Governors Island, which is south of Manhattan, popular among bicyclists and accessible for free by ferry. My friend Sara invited me to her friend Peter's picnic, where I met friendly people and continue to be impressed by the kinds of occupations that folks can pull off as full-time jobs in New York. Like opera singer.

Two interesting bits of people-watching -- loads of island-goers were dressed up in formal 1920s attire for a dance/jazz party. They must have been hot, but it was surreal to see. And while waiting for Sara near the line for the ferry, I saw Randy Harrison, who played Justin on "Queer as Folk." He walked right by, so close I could have tripped him. I tried to be stealthy and take a picture without seeming like I was doing so, but the results were disappointing.

After the island, I attended a dinner for all the AP interns, who have gathered from around the country for a summit this week. In what I might call a minor misjudgment on the part of whoever organized the dinner, there were many free pitchers of sangria floating around, and this led to fun and a not-so-fresh-feeling this morning; and we had to be at AP at 8! Oh, and one of the first items on the agenda -- a Q&A with the president and CEO.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Roll me home

A very happy birthday to my friend A.J.

Friends and I celebrated this fellow's 29th at Plataforma Churrascaria Rodizio, a meatiful eatery very similar to, but not as good as, my beloved Texas de Brazil. It begins with a mostly cold buffet that would be more than enough to eat, but of course it doesn't stop there. Carnivorous peddlers offer you meat after meat after meat. And you order loads of hot sides. It is absurd. I am full.

Gotta rest up. Supposed to go back out momentarily. Will it happen? ...

Itchin' for my kitchen

The kitchen in my sublet apartment I'm taking this morning off to clean, rest, read and catch up on e-mails that need attention, all of which help me with the most important goal of all: to temporarily plug up the cracked dam to my financial reservoir (aka to stop spending money).

The nicest room in the apartment I'm subletting is the kitchen. Unfortunately, I barely use it, because the only meal I'm usually at home for is breakfast, and in the rare instance I am home around dinner, I have no food to cook, which means I need to go to the store, and if I'm going to do that, I might as well just get take-out. See the cycle?

Also, the kitchen is the farthest room from my bedroom, which is the only room that has an A/C unit. That means the kitchen is hot. I have no desire to stand in it, sauteing chicken or boiling rice. I think I've used the stove three times this summer -- twice for soup, once for eggs. This is very unlike me, because I usually like to cook, but it's just not fitting into the routine.

Thus, I tend to use the kitchen only for breakfast, which is to say I pour milk over cereal, slice a banana if I have one, and perhaps microwave a mug of water for tea. Despite having lots of neat knives, mixers and a crock pot, this kitchen somehow lacks both a coffee maker and a toaster, all of which rather limit my breakfast options. I do own these things, back in New Haven, but I haven't been back there to grab them since I arrived in New York, and I don't see myself doing so.

Anyway, none of that is terribly interesting, but neither is this morning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don't make me go back

Quentin and Mark, from SOMThursday night was so fun I could hardly stand it. It was regular weekly happy hour at the Yale Club, but it was particularly well-attended by SOM-ers, giving me a great opportunity for lively conversation and pictures that make me smile, such as the one above. Although I've spent a great deal of time this summer catching up with old friends, I'll be booked with wall-to-wall SOM stuff tomorrow -- an afternoon birthday lunch, and then a birthday party for two people in the evening.

John MetzI am not the least bit keen for the summer to end, even though I (a) have much more to learn about business, and (b) feel at times that I'm living at a pace that is not sustainable. I've noticed the pattern -- I'll go out five, six, seven nights in a row, then (like tonight) decide to stay in (although I am not yet home ... worked late). I'm trying to cram in as much big cityness as possible before going back to New Haven, a city that with each passing day seems less and less and less appealing.

Work, incidentally, continues to go well. Next Monday and Tuesday, I'll be taking a break from my normal tasks to participate in a summit for interns, who are coming from throughout the country for this. Not quite as exciting for those of us already here. It looks like it will be a series of speakers, training, meals and so forth. I like mingling with journalists of barely legal drinking age, so it should be a good time.

Home go I.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You've got to have friends

Kale's hand on a glass of Sangria I'm a very lucky person, and I appreciate my luck. I do. I've got several friends in the New York area from high school, college and beyond. I've enjoyed spending time with them.

But, at the end of the day, when I come home to Sunnyside, Queens, there just aren't people I know. That's changing. I'm striking up conversations. Now I know a photographer, an accountant and a special ed teacher, for example. Sounds like the beginning of a joke, as we do indeed walk into a bar.

Not knowing people in your neighborhood isn't healthy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The strangest store I've ever seen

B&H My right earbud broke recently, and anyone who regularly takes the subway knows it's important to have a working set of headphones. Regardless, I'd been wanting some for quite a while -- a quality pair that would block out noise and sound better than what came with my iPhone, which isn't saying much.

It was suggested -- by someone I met at a party who had a sophisticated-looking pair of headphones -- that I go to B&H, which has a location next to my office. This was a far cry from the Fort Worth-area Best Buy experience I'm used to. Almost everyone who works there is a Hasidic Jew, and throughout the store is an elaborate, Jetsons-like web of conveyor belts and elevators moving products every which way. Those are both a bit unexpected, but trumping both is the 12-step program that awaits one who wishes to make a purchase:

1. Find the area with the products you want.

2. Test the products.

3. Get the serial number of the product you want.

4. Find an employee.

5. Give the employee the serial number.

6. Receive a printout from the employee.

7. Go into a line.

8. Hand someone the printout and receive a new printout.

9. Take the new printout to the cashier's line.

10. Pay, and get a new printout.

11. Take the new printout to the line where you pick up the product.

12. Pick up the product.

And, when you're someone like me, there are twice as many steps because I'm too dumb to figure this kind of thing out without direction, so I always end up in the wrong line at the wrong time. But, what really matters is that I love my new headphones!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I crossed a bridge, and I liked it

View from the Brooklyn BridgeLena, one of my best friends from college, has a New York bucket list. One item on it was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which we did this afternoon. We have many great pictures, but I think this one gives the best perspective of being up there.

Lena eats a bridge.On the other end of the bridge, we had a bit of fun in DUMBO, having a great brunch at Vinegar Hill House and coffee at Almondine Bakery. There's also a nice park over there called Empire Fulton Ferry, where Lena, as you can see, decided to eat the Manhattan Bridge, which is next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Or was.

Anyway, I had a somewhat vague New York bucket list when I moved here. Now I'm halfway through and would like to write one out -- just some things I ought to do before the summer's over. Could be as specific as see the Statue of Liberty or as vague as to try a liquor I've never had, or go see a magician perform, or rescue a baby rat from the subway tracks. I am open to suggestions.

Also, I liked this placard on a bench in City Hall Park, which is in Manhattan near the base of the bridge. I just feel it's nicely put:

I like economical usages of words. Nothing immediately relevant comes up when I Google Christopher Kerst, though. I wonder who he was.

Let me tell you Astoria

Meghan attacks her dinner On Friday night I attended a rooftop party at a friend's building in an area of Brooklyn known as DUMBO, which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. That was my first time there -- it seems a little rough with pockets of coolness and beauty. His building and apartment were both beautiful. I may be returning to that general area today if my plans to walk the Brooklyn Bridge come together. That's one of those things people like to do, or to say they've done. And it should be relatively pleasant today -- sunny, high of 87.

In other new-neighborhood exploration adventures, I spent last evening with some SOM friends in Astoria, which is in Queens (where I live). It's a cute-sounding name but didn't strike me as the cutest-looking place, although my experience was limited to roughly 10 blocks. We grabbed a beer at McCann's while waiting an hour for our table at Taverna Kyclades, a Greek seafood restaurant. It was pretty excellent, and the portions were huge. Above you can see my friend Meghan ready to attack her fish. Afterward we swung into another Irish pub whose name I don't remember.

I've noticed that, throughout the city and its boroughs, "Irish" pubs tend to be operated and staffed by the Irish. Back in Texas, an "Irish pub" usually just meant the sign was green and they had Irish beer on the menu and sports on TV. I'm still a little startled when I hear the accent coming from behind the bar ... I think, "Ha! That's cute. How quaint and authentic." I think I'm part Irish, so it makes me eyes smile.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

MBAs and capitalism

A frame from Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story When I tell people where I go to school and what I'm studying, my conservative friends (and my entire family) wonder if I'm getting fed left-wing propaganda, because it's Yale, while my liberal friends assume I'm getting fed right-wing propaganda, because it's business school. I detect neither type, but then again the best propaganda isn't detectable as such.

Thanks to a spare afternoon and a Netflix recommendation, I watched Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story." As I did with "Fahrenheit 911" and "Sicko," I like these movies because they unapologetically present a viewpoint stemming from a particular ideology, which I much prefer to a pretense of "unbias" that's disguising an agenda. Everyone is entitled to his opinion, and Moore is a pretty good film-maker insofar as arousing outrage, although this was the weakest of the three I mentioned. He's not necessarily the best at being comprehensive or even logical all the time, and I'm not sure he knew what point he was trying to make here, ultimately. But that doesn't mean all his opinions should be dismissed.

Anyway, capitalism is an interesting subject, and one whose benefits and problems fill many, many books. My opinion, for what it's worth, is pretty balanced. From a logistic and pragmatic perspective, I think capitalism provides an efficient way to match buyers and sellers, resulting in higher-quality affordable things that improve our lives, and, in doing so, rewarding hard work and talent. I vaule all that. But I also have other values, like doing things for others while expecting nothing in return. There are behaviors condoned in a capitalist system that don't jibe with values such as this.

Some blame capitalism for the financial crisis, but I don't think capitalism caused the financial crisis, I believe that greed did. And greed is not borne from capitalism or any other ism. It's borne from desire, which is intrinsic. Overcoming that desire requires a certain level of enlightenment that the general public has not attained; I certainly haven't. So the key to a better world is to have values that are more important to us than money. If we can get there, it shouldn't matter what ism we adopt for our economy, although capitalism, by virtue of being efficient and theoretically self-fueled, seems like a good choice for a marketplace that will serve us.

This says it all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Texas Hill Country in NYC?

Musicians perform at Hill CountryDisclaimer: At my last job, I reviewed restaurants.

I met up with some guys from SOM to have dinner and drinks at Hill Country, a purportedly authentic Texas barbecue restaurant.

It got some things right -- serving a variety of meats by the pound (or rib, or link) on paper and a side selection that included pinto beans and potato salad. The brisket had a great flavor but had too many inedible fatty pieces, and the sausage was too spicy although actually better than what I tended to get in Texas. But the sides were what threw me off the authenticity train: mac & cheese that was actually penne, mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, corn pudding, collard greens that tasted sweet and hickory-like. Seems a little like North Carolina barbecue to me. Nothing wrong with that, but after having Texas barbecue numerous times while living there, this joint seemed pretty Yankee (with Yankee prices to boot ... my bill was $30). I'd like to take another Texan there sometime to get another opinion.

Meanwhile, this weekend is full of several good plans that include a rooftop party and Greek dining. And it's pay day. So bring it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You know you drank too much when ...

What the? We all have too much to drink from time to time. (I like to try to convince myself that this is true, even though it isn't.) And New York City makes it all too easy to go overboard because it's full of fun places and there's no need to drive.

Not sure if you had a wild, late night? There are many signs that arise in the morning, even beyond a hangover, or the fact you're asking whether you had a wild, late night, as if you don't remember back that far. For me, the real sign is when I look at the photos on my phone and see something like what's above. In a way it's kind of beautiful! But it is not the work of a sober man.

Many of you are probably aware that the Northeast has been having what the locals call a heat wave, but what back in Texas we would call a typical summer day. Of course, unlike in Texas, in New York one does a lot of walking and subway-riding, perhaps in suits, and this makes for a disgusting outcome. One of my trains today was un-air-conditioned; fortunately it's a train I only take for one stop. But I did think that if I had stayed in it for another two minutes I would have died.

A positive outcome of the heat is that it's a great conversation-starter. People were striking up chit-chats with me and others all day, waiting for the subway, walking down the street, standing in an elevator, standing in a line, whatever. It was super, actually. One likes to make that human connection.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Jersey Shore weekend

4th of July in Long Branch, NJ My friends Aminah, Carolyn, Paul and I spent a fantastic weekend at the Jersey Shore, soaking up rays and liquor primarily in Long Beach and Bradley Beach. Not much of what we encountered resembled the show, but I say that never having really watched the show.

There was much to love. For two nights in a row we feasted on what was nothing short of an amazing happy hour at a place called Sirena -- some of the best appetizer food I've ever had, and fantastic white peach sangrias. The beaches were nice -- well-kept, crowded but not irritatingly rowdy. The 4th of July festivities were awesome; delicious vended food for miles and the best fireworks display I can remember. And, of course, there were a great many attractive specimens to enjoy. Anyway, it was just a great time overall.

We stayed at a cheap, sketchy hotel. How sketchy? Let's see. (a) It appeared to be the permanent residence of many young Asians who would linger all day in the lobby, wearing uniforms, and get picked up and dropped off in un-marked vans. (b) Coming back on Sunday night, we walked in on two people having full-on intercourse on the stairs. (c) The continental breakfast consisted of Corn Flakes, Cheerios, the worst bagels I've ever had, rock-hard butter for those bagels, and the worst coffee I've ever had. I could go on and on, really. We had many laughs over it.

Pop, injured.Meanwhile, my father, who lives in Florida, had a nasty fall over the holiday weekend. He tripped and smashed his head on a table and had to go to the hospital. This is the picture my mom sent. It could, of course, be a lot worse. Having aging parents is ... well, it's never dull.

Tomorrow it's back to work, and it looks like some fun plans are lining up for the weekend. I'm approaching the midpoint of my summer in New York!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Another old friend with another glass of wine

Sara Tonight I had lots of fun reuniting with Sara, a friend from high school who I hadn't seen in more than 10 years. She's married and has a little girl.

Then two of my friends from SOM came in and are in the other room ... it's time for sleep, because we're getting up bright and early to hit the beach for the weekend!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Have some catch-up with those friends

Lena A fun aspect of the summer has been catching up with old friends. So old I still call them by names they haven't gone by in years.

One such friend is Lena, now Jalene, and we had a wonderful reunion last night at the Yale Club. Lena was one of my nearest and dearest at Duke; she's getting a master's now, and that's why she's in New York for the summer. I need to be spending more time at the YC because it's such a beautiful facility. We had a drink at happy hour, did the outdoor rooftop dining (since it was a perfect night), and then had a nightcap in the lounge, which had portraits of the presidents who've attended Yale. On one level, I laugh at myself for having no business being in a place like that. Then again, I am there legitimately; it's not like I snuck in. So, fake it till you make it? Maybe you don't have an opportunity to fake it till you have, to some extent, made it.

Yesterday was also my first session with a personal trainer at work, and I am s-o-r-e this morning, which is embarrassing because I was a pretty fit fellow a few years ago. The struggle I went through yesterday to do some simple exercises underlines how much I need to make this a priority. That won't be easy to do when school starts up again, but it needs to happen. Fitness is something you can't really fake till you make; you just have to do it.

Work is going well from my view, and I'll soon have a more definitive notion of whether it's going well from my supervisors' view because it's appraisal time! The interns do a self-evaluation every four weeks (so three times), as do their bosses. I appreciate formalities like this, actually, because they present conversation opportunities. I'm glad the AP really has a formal program for business interns; I have several friends working at places where they are the only MBA intern, and that can require a lot of self-direction if the people there aren't sure what to do with you.