The House of Random Crap
A clearinghouse for my crazed, deviant, trivial, irreverant & occasionally reflective thoughts.

Saturday, November 29, 2003  

A letter to my dear friend, Lucky:

I can't begin to tell you how overjoyed I am to hear that you are preggers! I had to stop myself from crying; I am just so overcome with emotion. I know you don't want to make a big whoop about it, since it's only been a month and you are at that critical stage, but I am just so happy for you. I will definietly say a prayer to our Lord Buddha for the health of you and your baby (and the proud poppa as well; tell Wee we said "Hi!").

It's times like these when I think about how far we've come, and how long we've been friends. I've known you for 14 years now; you were truly one of the highlights of my college experience, and one of the true enduring friendships from those days. I haven't seen you for over 3 years now, and I am just so grateful that our friendship has survived the time and distance. I love you so much.

We're hoping to see you soon; my 5-year MBA class reunion is coming up next April (a 5-year high school reunion is enough to make you feel old, and a 5-year college reunion is all the worse, but a 5-year grad school reuinion? I think I'm about to go into menopause!), so Nicha and I hope to see you while we are in Chicago (though if you move back to Cali by then, it's ok, since we'll be out there too!). At any rate, I'm dying for you to meet Nicha; she's anxious to meet my hyperactive little pediatrician friend I keep talking about!

Again, congratulations! We are so excited for both or you, and can only imagine how much more excited the two of you must be.

From both of us to both of you, with all our love,

P.S. if you have a digital camera, please send pics! This photo from your hospital's webpage is the only recent picture we have of you since your wedding!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:11 PM |

I made a girl cry.

Last week, I blogged about me reviewing a personal statement for a girl (by which I mean, in my patronizing and chauvinistic way, a young woman recently graduated from university) who is applying for masters of law programs in the UK. As I mentioned, I savagely and completely ripped her essay apart, ultimately providing 3 pages of detailed comments of what she did wrong and how she could improve the essay. I knew this would elicit a strong reaction on her part, as Thais in general are a bit touchy and sensitive to direct, blunt, and lashing criticism, regardless of how constructive it may be.

This girl, er, woman is a friend of one of the analysts from my old company, who asked me if I would do him and his friend a favor by reviewing the essay. He (the analyst) knew that I had been involved with admissions in business school, am currently an alumni interviewer for said business school, and have reviewed numerous application essays over the year. He also knew I would offer an honest, no-bull-shit assessment. From what I was told, she was in complete shock, cried bitterly after reading my comments. She then called the analyst and verbally beat the crap out of him for subjecting her to the cruelty of his acquaintences. After she calmed down, she read through my comments again, and marvelled at the logic of most of my suggestions, and was motivated to completely scrap her draft and start from scratch.

I had an opportunity to meet this girl last night at the dinner hosted by my former company's senior partner. Judging from her attitude and gratitude, I would have never guessed that she had taken my comments the least bit badly. She gushed about how much happier and impressed she was with her new statements, and much more positive about her chance of admission. She was a very bubbly, upbeat person, with lots of passion and energy. I told her that before I met her, I had only her essay from which I could form an impression of her, and based on that profile, she came across as far less interesting than she really is (after all, it is hard to inspire when you talk about tax law!). It's a common mistake: a boring essay inaccurately reflects an otherwise fascinating personality. I didn't find out about her initial reaction until after the dinner; Nicha had the opportunity to chat with her and her analyst friend at length, and they mentioned the havok I wrought upon the poor girl's ego. I'm glad she rebounded and directed her energy towards improving her work rather than stewing and moping. I wish her the best of luck.

The dinner was alright, nothing particularly special. I had a chance to chat at length with not only the remaining partners, but with the analysts as well. I don't want to go into much details, but following my and Ami's departure, the morale amoung the junior professionals began to nose dive, and the client relationships and work have gone downhill. I expect that within the next year, the company will either be dismantled or take on a form entirely different from the one I left. Not that it really matters to me; I'm moved on to greener pastures.

Today, Ami and I were supposed to pitch to the new potential client that Nicha introduced us to, but they were a no show. We were sitting in the chairman's office for over a half hour past our scheduled appointment time before we got a call from the managing director who apologized profusely for missing the meeting and having to reschedule due to some last-minute emergency that required his and the chairman's attention. It was nice to have the time to take a long lunch with Ami, but frankly, I was peeved. I spent several days this week preparing my pitch, time that could have been spent getting ready for my next Thammasat lecture this Monday. I'm having an excruciatingly difficult time trying to organize the various e-commerce business models into a workable, sensible framework. I still have a great deal of research to do on web metrics, and I have to complete the case study on online dating and on Hot or Not. Incidentally, I currently score a 6.7 on 317 votes (me ugly!), while Nicha scores a 9.1 on 2,534 votes (she bee-YOO-tee-ful!), rapidly approaching the 10x votes I predicted she would have by the time I deliver the lecture. I really need to scramble, since Sunday afternoon is completely shot for the Thanksgiving party that Ami and I are putting together. Actually, Nicha has been handling most of the logistics, while Ami and I scrounged around for the 15 or so friends who will be joining us. Sooooo, back to work!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:07 AM |

Friday, November 28, 2003  

Taking a short work break as we approach the midnight hour to fill out this weeks Friday Five:

1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?
Only for books, music, videos, or electronics. Otherwise, I despise the shopping experience.

2. What was the last thing you purchased?
A chocolate cookie crunch ice cream smoothie from Dairy Queen (my after-dinner dessert).

3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?
In the store. I like the visceral experience.

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?
Yes. My brother Pete and I were started on $4 a week (early 80's) for stuff like vacuuming the house, emptying the waste baskets, and washing the dishes. (In America, this is known as a sweat shop, in Mexico, it is called una maquiladora)

5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?
John Grisham's "The King of Torts". It sucked.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:27 PM |

Wednesday, November 26, 2003  

I was gonna hit the sack, but I came across this on June's site, and my obsessive-compulsive nature won't let me sleep until I take a crack at it...

// Series One -- General Info:
-- Name: Paul
-- Birth date: October 20
-- Birthplace: Jersey City, NJ
-- Current Location: Bangkok, Thailand
-- Eye Color: dark brown
-- Hair Color: dark brown, slowly greying (boo hoo)
-- Righty or Lefty: right
-- Zodiac Sign: libra, year of the dog
-- Innie or Outtie: in

// Series Two - Describe...
-- Your heritage: thai-chinese-american
-- The shoes you wore today: brown leather moccasins
-- Your hair: short
-- Your eyes:: yes, two of them
-- Your weakness: filling out these frickin' surveys!!
-- Your fears: not getting enough sleep for my client meeting tomorrow
-- Your perfect pizza: stuffed spinach
-- One thing you'd like to achieve: get some sleep tonight

// Series Three - What is...
-- Your most overused phrase on aim: don't use aim, so i'm guessing none
-- Your thoughts first waking up: huh urrrrrrrrrhuhurrrgghhhhh.....?!?
-- The first feature you notice in the opposite sex: legs
-- Your best physical feature: gorgeous lymphatic system
-- Your bedtime: after 2 am lately
-- Your greatest fear: that this survey is actually getting LONGER
-- Your greatest accomplishment: to be determined...
-- Your most missed memory: my high school locker combination

// Series Four - You prefer...
-- Pepsi or coke: cherry coke!
-- McDonald's or Burger King: the king!
-- Single or group dates: any date will do; beggars can't be choosers
-- Adidas or Nike: reebok
-- Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Lipton
-- Chocolate or vanilla: chocolate
-- Cappuccino or coffee: cappuccino
-- Boxers or briefs: boxers

// Series Five - Do you...
-- Smoke: used to, like a chimney (still sneak a few every now and then)
-- Cuss: what the fuck do YOU think, shitface?
-- Sing well: in my dreams
-- Take a shower everyday: yup
-- Have a crush(es): yup
-- who are they: wife
-- Do you think you've been in love: i hope so, or the wife is gonna be pissed
-- Want to go to college: again? sure!
-- Like high school: it was so-so
-- Want to get married: again? nah
-- Type with your fingers on the right keys: fhjkdlsayuf
-- Think you're attractive: in the same dreams where i'm singing well
-- Think you're a health freak: nope
-- Get along with your parents: not at the moment
-- Play an instrument: used to play a little bass guitar (sexy!) and accordian (not so sexy!)

// Series Six - in the past month, did/have you...
-- Drank alcohol: many times
-- Smoke(d): yes, but don't tell the wife!
-- Done a drug: yes, but those were prescribed
-- Made Out: yes
-- Go on a date: Yes
-- Eaten an entire box of Oreos: nope
-- Eaten sushi: Yes
-- Been on stage: does teaching in front of a class count?
-- Been dumped: nope
-- Gone skating: nope
-- Made homemade: i don't think so
-- Been in love: for longer than past six months
-- Gone skinny dipping: in the shower
-- Dyed your hair: no
-- Stolen anything: office supplies from my last employer

// Series Seven - Have you ever...
-- Played a game that required removal of clothing: no
-- If so, was it mixed company: n/a
-- Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: many many times
-- Been caught "doing something": many many things
-- Been called a tease: nope, though i AM a total man-slut...
-- Gotten beaten up: yup (but i give as good as i take!)
-- Shoplifted: yes
-- If so, did you get caught : yes
-- Changed who you were to fit in: yes

// Series Eight - The future:
-- Age you hope to be married: done!
-- Numbers and Names of Children: evanston (boy or girl), ethan (boy) and eric (boy)
-- Describe your Dream Wedding: not having to do it again
-- How do you want to die: in my sleep like my grandpa, not screaming like his passengers, jk!!
-- Where you want to go to college: for my second go as an undergrad? somewhere with a decent football team!
-- What do you want to be when you grow up: still trying to figure that out
-- What country would you most like to visit: czech republic

// Series Nine - The Opposite sex:
-- Best eye color? brown
-- Best hair color? black
-- Short or long hair?: long
-- Best height: 5'6" or shorter
-- Best weight: if she can pick me up, that's BAD!!
-- Best articles of clothing: optional
-- Best first date location: comedy club
-- Best first kiss location: on the mouth

// Series Ten - Number of:
-- Number of girls I have kissed in my life: 3
-- Number of girls you have made out with: 2
-- Number of girlfriends you've had: 2
-- Number of boys I have kissed: 0
-- Number of boys you have made out with: 0
-- Number of boyfriends you've had: 0 (excluding prison, right?)
-- Number of drugs taken illegally: 1 or 2
-- Number of people I could trust with my life: more than a few
-- Number of CDs that I own: lots
-- Number of piercings: used to have 3 or 4, long time closed
-- Number of tattoos: one
-- Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: at least once
-- Number of scars on my body: a few
-- Number of things in my past that I regret: too many to count, including staying up to take this survey

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 3:02 AM |

I'm not a Britney fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think you have to be to get a kick out of this site, courtesy of Technicolour Lover.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:42 AM |

Tuesday, November 25, 2003  

I had lunch with my new boss today. It was a sort of "pre-start day orientation" to let me know some of the deals the company is working on and the assignments he wants to staff me on. It was nice to chat with him again, since I haven't spoken to him since he first interviewed me. Even though I was extended an offer very informally by my friend Jim, it's nice to hear confirmation from the Big Guy (that's a pun, since the boss' name is literally Guy) that I am indeed employed at the company. I still have about 5 days to go before I start, and already my workload has started to pile up. The company has a general financial consulting mandate with one of Thailand's "eventually-to-be-privatized" state-owned enterprises, where it looks likely that I will be in charge of helping them develop their investor relations department. I do one small IR assignment for one of my last clients, and suddenly, I am the resident IR guru. Go figure. I have to say that the scope and impact of the work is a bit daunting, since this company will be one of Thailand's largest and most actively traded blue chips the instant it goes IPO, so the investor interest from the global markets will be significant. The upshot is that the department we help them build has to be of a global class.

It also looks like I'll be doing some mergers & acquisitions work for a large European client looking to boost its already notable profile here in Asia. Being the eager beaver that I am, I've thrown myself into a full scale analysis of the company, downloading every financial statement and piece of data I can find on the client's website, warming up my analytical models, and even asking Nicha to scrounge around ABN Amro's database for any equity research.

The distraction is a welcome one. I'm hitting some major writer's block trying to come up with my next Thammasat lecture presentation. The topic is e-commerce business models and web metrics, and I figure I have enough to cover about one-third of the 3-hour class. The online dating case study is falling into place, but the rest of it will depend on how I present and tie together the various business models. I've largely been able to avoid thinking about the lecture by cruising the forums at the Rice Bowl Journals and playing lots of Diablo II, but given my new project responsibilities, I think I need to bear down. It looks like it will be a rough weekend.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, I have to plan a few Thanksgiving festivities. Khun Akani, the senior partner at my former company, is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night which Nicha and I will be attending. Akani's parties are always a fun affair, so I expect a large buffet spread and some pleasant socializing. The real fun will come on Saturday, when Ami and I (and our women) throw a Thanksgiving dinner among our circle of friends. We were originally considering cooking the turkey ourselves (I learned how to cook a turkey in 2001, with surprisingly outstanding results), but events have conspired against us. Not only is my wife's best friend unable to host the dinner (she had the oven), but our collective laziness got the better of us: Villa (Bangkok's high-end grocery chain, with a large selection of wonderfully Western goods) not only sells turkeys, but will prepare them complete with trimmings for an extra $50. Spread the cost over 15 people and 10 hours of prep time, and we're talking 33 cents per hour per person.

Nicha just completed her 4th day in her new job at ABN Amro, and she loves it. She's learning a lot, and is excited about derivative sales. We have joked that the goal she should be aiming for is to be among the Top 3 Most Hated People in the treasury department. Nicha is the biggest sweetheart, but on the job, she's one of those driven, no-nonsense dragon ladies, the type of talented individual that gets noticed and rewarded for her work and earns the undying emnity and venom of those less-talented and envious individuals she passes by. I'm not singing her praises here, but merely pointing out that she has a very driven and ambitious mentality common among Western-bred bankers, but sorely lacking among the more genteel Thais. She has immediately clicked with the head of her sales desk as well as a senior trader at another desk, a man and woman (respectively) who have a similar drive and intensity. Both are highly regarded and deeply disliked by the others, and we're hoping Nicha takes the bronze. You go girl!!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:33 PM |

Sunday, November 23, 2003  

Found this joke on the Rice Bowl Journals forum, courtesy of Kiffer. Really made my day. That and the can 'o whoopass Cal opened on the Cardinal. woohhoohooo!! (Has that gotten annoying yet?).

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him, and as he sits, the waitress comes over and asks for their order. The man says, "I'll have a hamburger, fries and a coke," and turns to the ostrich. "What's yours?"

"I'll have the same," says the ostrich. A short time later the waitress returns with the order. "That will be $6.40 please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "I'll have a hamburger, fries and a coke," and the ostrich says, "I'll have the same."

Once again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change. This becomes a routine until late one evening, the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the waitress.

"No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and salad," says the man. "Same for me," says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress comes with the order and says, "That will be $12.62." Once again the man pulls exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress can't hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?"

"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and I found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, just put my hand in my pocket, and the right amount of money would always be there."

"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"

"That's right! Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.

The waitress asks, "One other thing, sir, what's with the ostrich?"

The man sighs and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say!"

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:29 PM |

It's silly, but when I was in college and law school, there were only 2 occasions when I would cry. One was when one of my family members would pass away (lost a cousin in college, and a grandfather in law school). The other times were when Cal lost critical football games (mostly Big Games, or as on one occasion, a loss to the Huskies that cost us a shot at the Rose Bowl). My friends and classmates always found this amusing. I'm not a huge sports nut by any means, and I'm not even the most foaming-at-the-mouth fanatic alum, but what can I say? I love Cal football. We lose, I cry.

We never won a Big Game in my 4 and a half years (5 football seasons) at Berkeley, and I grew bitter. So much so that when we evetually won back the Axe in '93, '96, and last year, I was overjoyed, but not overcome. I was happy, and that was that.

I don't know why today is any different, but I'm fighting back tears. Maybe because I'm pooped from catching a pre-dawn broadcast from the far side of the world. Maybe because I'm still a bit emotional over the recent loss of my cousin. Or maybe because everything else in my life seems to be coming together. I don't can't say for sure why. But it's the first time I've ever cried for a Big Game win, and I like it.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 8:16 AM |

Touchdown, BEARS!!!!! 28-10 with less than 2 minutes to go!! We won the Big Game!!! We won the Axe! I'm tired as hell and I don't give a rat's ass, I am soooooo fucking amped right now!!

In a small small teeny tiny gesture of good sportsmanship, I relate here a joke told to me by a Stanford grad. It's incredibly painful for a die hard True Blue such as myself, but I have to admit it's a damn funny joke:

A Cal grad walks into a bar and sees a Stanford grad with a little dog wearing a little doggy Stanford sweatshirt.

"Wow, you must be a hardcore fan to dress your dog up" remarks the Cal grad

"Not as big as little Cardinal here." replies the Stanford grad. "Lemme show you. Cardinal! Stanford just won the Big Game!!!"

The little dog jumps up on the bar, does 3 back flips, and starts barking out Stanford songs.

"Amazing!" observes the Cal grad "What does he do if Cal wins?"

Stanford grad shrugs, "I don't know. He's only 8 years old."
[it makes sense when you realize that Stanford held the Axe from 1985 to 1993, or 8 years]

Whoops! Stanford scores a final seconds touchdown. No biggie.

Final score 28-16. We got the Axe! We got the Axe! We got the AXE!!!! Looks like Insight Bowl in Phoenix or Las Vegas Bowl in (guess where?) Las Vegas. Let the party begin!! OJ and breakfast bars for everyone!!!!!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 7:03 AM |

Touchdown BEARS!!!!!!!! wooohhooohhooohoooo!!!! 21-10 with ~10 minutes to go! No fuck-ups, and Cal goes to a bowl game!!!!!! (Trojans down Bruins 47-15, Oregon upsets OSU 28-20)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 6:28 AM |


I woke up at 5:45 am just to catch the 106th BIG GAME between Cal and Stanford, only to discover that Yahoo! now charges a subscription fee to listen to college radio! So now I'm going through the rigamarole of downloading Real Player so I can catch the game on KALX. Hopefully, I can get this blasted thing up and running before the 2nd half...

OK! There we go! I must have woken up too late; it's at the start of the 4th quarter. Damn time zone differences; I could never get these things right.

Huzzah! Cal leads 14 to 10!!! If Cal wins and USC defeats UCLA (USC kicking ass 40-2 at the 4th), Cal will finish #5 in the Pac-10, giving us a chance at post-season play. If OSU beats Oregon (OSU trails 10 to 14 in the 3rd), our chances go up significantly.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 6:08 AM |

Saturday, November 22, 2003  

From today's Friday Five:

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.
Find a birthday present for my wife, find a Christmas present for my wife, shake this back spasm thingy that's driving me nuts, hit the golf greens, take an out-of-town vacation.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
Patty (my best friend from college), David (one of my closest childhood friends), Frank (same as David), Ken (colleague from our Hong Kong banking days), Christine (friend from my Singapore banking days)

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
Bareboat a yacht, scuba dive, improve my golf swing, make a strawberry cheesecake, ballroom dancing

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).
Charitable donations, get a PhD in history for the fun of it, start my own venture capital fund, get a boat, set aside nest eggs for me/brothers/folks

5. List five things you do that help you relax.
Listen to music, read, play violent computer games, watch movies, sleep

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:01 AM |

Friday, November 21, 2003  

I've made no secret that I think Matrix Revolutions "licks the sweat off a dead man's balls" (to quote Forrest Whitaker, Good Morning Vietnam). So in my continuing quest to bludgeon this film, here are some of my favorite critics' quotes (courtesy of Dave):

"So disappointing they may as well have bussed in Ewoks to save Zion."
-- Christopher Null, FILMCRITIC.COM

"Too bad the Wachowski brothers marry their mind-blowing visuals to some of the worst war movie cliches ever written."

"The Wachowskis... lean so heavily on concepts and designs from Aliens... that you half-expect to hear Bill Paxton wailing 'Game over, maaaaan!' in the background."

"Please someone, get me the blue pill. I want to forget that this ambitious and noteworthy series is ending so weakly."

"The final chapter in the Wachowski brothers' trilogy about stylish sunglasses, leather trenchcoats, freshly baked cookies and Wire Fu."
-- Jon Popick, PLANET SICK-BOY

"After all is said and done, I wish they would have left the trilogy to one."
-- Danny Minton, KBTV-NBC (BEAUMONT, TX)

"With The Matrix Revolutions, the Wachowski brothers have managed to pull off something nearly impossible. They've made a movie about the end of the world that leaves us entirely indifferent to the outcome."

"Reloaded was certainly a lumpy, gaseous treatise of a movie, but viewers of Revolutions may find themselves looking back on it fondly."

"How did something that started out so cool get so dorky?"
-- Manohla Dargis, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Louder, longer, more expensive and dumber than its predecessors, Revolutions is a mediocrity that will provide escapism only to those who head for the theater exits."

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 7:14 PM |

I came across a rather interesting compilation of Asian blog sites: The Rice Bowl Journals. It features about 3,400 blogs from Asians from the entire spectrum of ethnicities. I submitted my site for review yesterday and they just accepted my site for posting (ID #1202). The site's URL is, but for some reason, they like to tally each member's referrals, so the links on the hypertext above or the logo below will tack on a vote for me (whatever that means) while directing you to their main page.

Completely unrelated to the RBJ (as they like to call themselves) is the topic of Turkey. The synagogue bombings in Istanbul were bad enough, but to wake up and discover additional Al- Qaede bombs today was all the more depressing. The most recent blast hit the British consulate and sheared off the face of the HSBC Bank headquarters. Under normal circumstances, I would have simply shrugged at the news and said "What a pity." But I had the pleasure of travelling throughtout Turkey last year, and I absolutely fell in love with the country, especially Istanbul. In fact, I can picture vividly in my mind the location of the blast, since it is in the heart of one of the downtown districts. I even considered stopping by the HSBC (my bank in Hong Kong at the time) if I needed extra cash. The Turkish people are a deeply friendly, peaceful, and spiritual people, and to see this kind of violence inflicted upon such an astoundingly beautiful city and its citizens truly disheartens me.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:59 AM |

Every once in a blue moon, I get my act together and update the address book on my Palm Pilot. This is such a monumental undertaking, because not only am I sifting through all the business cards of various executives and yahoos that I've met over the past year, but I also go through the Kellogg alumni directory site and update the hundreds of profiles of classmates. If I wanted to give my hands and arms a break from blogging, this certainly wasn't the way to do it.

I figured since I'm about to call on both old and new clients next week before I dive into the new job, I had better get a bit organized. Plus, with Christmas just around the corner, I want to crank out my holiday mailing, which I've neglected over the past year or two. I've completed all the random business card stuff, and have gotten as far as "F" on the alumni directory. And to think: I've only been at it for about 4 hours!

Well, if you need a serious break from work and an even more serious laugh, check out Stealth Disco! Or for something a little more on the cool side, The Matrix in ASCII. (Both links courtesy of greengrl)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:46 AM |

Thursday, November 20, 2003  

We all get that sense of dread when we feel like we are getting too old, too fast, don't we? It's like that scene from "When Harry Met Sally" where Meg Ryan weeps over the fact that she's turning 40. Billy Crystal asks, "When?!?", Meg replies, "Someday...", and Billy counters, "In 8 years!!" No matter how young we are (or in my case, feel), there is always some deadline that makes us feel like we aren't as young as we like to think we are. I used to remember when I was in junior high, and as I rode home on my bike, I would sometimes cut through the nearby high school, all the time thinking "Wow, these students are soooo old!" Now I'm married, have nieces and nephews, and am twice as old as many of those high school students I used to think were geriatric.

I don't dwell on my age often, but every once in a while, you have that one incident or encounter where your age just slaps you in the face. I have been fortunate to have several. Here are some of my favorite rude awakenings:

1. When I was working in Silicon Valley, I volunteered as an alumni mentor to several undergraduate business majors at my alma mater. One day, I was discussing with one of my mentees about one of her major prerequisites: IDS (Interdisciplinary Studies) 110, a course on computing. I asked her what she did for her group term project. She said that each group had to create a website using HTML. I told her that it was interesting, and mentioned that when I took the class, groups had to create an interactive program using the Pascal programming language. She was perplexed. She asked me, "How come you didn't create web pages for your projects?". My reply: "Because HTML and the World Wide Web wasn't invented until 2 years after I graduated." Her response: a very sheepish "Oh." Ouchie for me.

2. I attended the alumni association mentor-mentee dinner at the end of the school year. I was chatting with some of the undergrads at my table when one of them asked the inevitable question: "When did you graduate from Cal?" After I told the student when I graduated, she unconsciously did the math, unintentionally aloud: "So when you graduated, I was in 5th grade..." I guess my face must have gone ashen or my jaw must have dropped, because the student realized her faux pas and began apologizing profusely: "Oh my God! I'm so sorry!" We couldn't help but share a laugh, but though I may be laughing on the outside, I am weeping on the inside. Another ouchie.

3. The other day, I was reading a review of Rush's latest live album, "Rush in Rio". Rush is one of my favorite all time bands, and in my wave of nostalgia, I was reminising about the album that got me interested in the band: "Power Windows". Then it hit me: this album (their 13th of 25) was released back in 1985; it's old enough to vote! And lest I forget, 80's power pop band Asia released their self-titled debut (and the first album/cassette I ever bought) back in 1982; this album is old enough to drink!

4. Shortly before I left my job at Salomon Smith Barney, several of the investment banking analysts and associates were taking out one of the senior analysts to lunch on his birthday. This analyst kept lamenting his old age, how he was turning 23 and didn't have yet have a girlfriend or had yet to accomplish any of his life's goals yada yada yada blah blah blah. Before I even realized what I was saying, I reminded the fellow, "Given our age difference, me being friends with a 23-year-old is like you hanging out with a 15-year-old, so don't whine to me about feeling old!" It didn't take long for either that epiphany to sink in, or for me to lose my appetite. Double ouchie with a little whimper on the side.

5. On the one rare occasion that I joined the analysts for a night at the Hong Kong dance clubs, I remember being the only one who not only didn't know the lyrics of the latest Britney Spear's single, but who couldn't even recognize one of her songs altogether. Imagine how dated I felt when the DJ moved into his "classics of the 80's" phase and I began reciting the words to such golden oldies like ACDC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and the B-52's "Rock Lobster". I'm glad I didn't slip on the floor and displace my hip.

6. Just last month, one of the investment banking analysts that worked for me at Salomon asked me for a letter of recommendation for graduate school. Mind you, not graduate programs like master of arts programs or medical school or law school, but for business school. For those unfamiliar, most MBA programs require several years of work experience. So not only am I old enough to write a letter of recommendation for a graduate school applicant, but for one who is already older than most newly minted lawyers. Depressing. Incidentally, my 10 year college reunion was last year, my high school 15 year anniversary was this year, and my 5-year business school reunion is next year (I tried to avoid mentioning my age, but I guess it ain't to hard top do the math with these none-too-subtle clues...). I can already feel my pants waistline creep up towards my arm pits, and I will no doubt be gumming my apple sauce any day now.

Several of my close friends (the fartsters my age) used to share an inside joke. When we would notice and comment on a particularly attractive or engaging female (much like the way retirees wish they were only 60 years younger when the come accross a particularly winsome babe), we always stop and ask ourselves: Is she pre- or post-Star Wars? After all, any girl born after Star Wars (circa 1977) is more than 7 years younger than me. Until I get into my 50's or 60's, that kind of age difference strikes me as a bit scandalous, like Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his 13-year old cousin Myra. Not that it matters: many people think Nicha looks like a student (one said that one of her pictures made her looked like she was 15!). I have no doubt she will still look like a co-ed by the time I hit retirement age, so I'm gonna be perceived as a dirt old man no matter what.

And speaking of Nicha, I luckily don't have to suffer this aging anxiety thing alone. Nicha is rail thin, so even the slightest weight gain is supposedly noticeable (not to me, mind you, but then again I am your typical unobservant, insensitive Cro Magnon). Just the other week, one of her co-workers from another floor had asked her if she was pregnant. To say she was displeased would be a gross understatement. It didn't help that I found this amusing. Sorry, babe! Incidentally, my brother Pete had some interesting things to say about this type of situation back on the 7th.

I guess what got me thinking about the old age thing is that I just finished critiquing a law school applicaiton personal statement for a friend of a friend, and the difficulty of it reminded my of the letter of recommendation I wrote and the essays I reviewed for my analyst last month. Actually, for some reason, I seem to be a much sought after reviewer and critic for people's essays. I think part of it is because I have a bit of a knack for prose and business writing, but also because people who know me well understand that I can never refuse to be generous with my time when it comes to friends. It guess I'd be tooting my own horn if I took some small credit in helping more than a few friends get into business and law school over the years, but I guess it's in my nature to take pride in others' accomplishments when I get to play a relatively significant part in their success. Anyways, this particular critique was a major pain in the ass, mainly because it was so horrendously written. I had typed up 3 full pages of constructive criticism before I simply burnt out. I was pretty blunt (if not downright harsh), but I hope this applicant has a thick skin (she'll need it if wants to study law in the west) and takes some of my advice to heart.

I'll probably spend the rest of the day working on my next Thammasat lecture after I take a short break and get in some pleasure reading. I've been doing a lot of it lately. In the last week or so, I ripped through a novel and a business book. The novel was John Grisham's "The King of Torts." It basically sucked. I don't know why I keep buying his novels. They keep disappointing me. The only 3 of his law-oriented novels I liked were "The Firm", "The Pelican Brief", and "The Runaway Jury" (the best of the three). The rest simply suck ass. Maybe I ought to try one of his non-legal books instead. Yesterday I finished Matt Haig's "Brand Failures: The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time". Being the banker/finance-type that I am, I generally have little interest or regard for marketing or branding issues, but I found this to be an outstanding read. Several of his brand failures were rather lame, but most were outstanding case studies of how great companies turned bad ideas or situations into horrible consequences. I've always been something of a history buff, and particularly enjoy reading about the history of companies and commerce (still thinking about writing that book on the history of Silicon Valley).

I just started into Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander". I was recommended this 20-book series by a classmate during our second year in business school. He raved endlessly about the series, but since there was no way my schedule would ever allow me the luxury of getting through one much less 20 books, I never got around to picking it up. However, with the movie out and with all the great reviews it has been getting, this is probably as good as time as any to at least read the first book. Despite the dense verbosity of the text, I'm actually enjoying the book. As I said, I'm a fan of history (and film-wise, of period pieces), and ever since I took up sailing, of all things maritime-related. I hear the authenticity of the movie is impeccable, and I tend to like most of Russell Crowe's films, so this is something to look forward too. For some reason, I can't seem to download the trailer, but if the file I'm downloading with Kazaa is the right one, I'll have a copy of the movie in about an hour (Buddha bless broadband!!). And speaking of trailers, I recently saw the trailers for Troy, Return of the King, and Shrek 2. All look to be excellent films.

Ok, I think I'm coming down with carpal tunnel syndrome, so I'm gonna lay off the keyboard for a while...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 3:25 PM |

It's almost 2:30 am. I should either be sleeping or doing work, instead of wasting time surfing the net and posting blogs. Just the nite owl in me. Actually, Ami told me that people are genetically pre-disposed to being either a morning person or a night person. I know better than to question him; not only is he a Stanford-educated, Harvard-trained medical doctor, but he's so freaking smart that he could feed me a line of pure manure and I'd believe him.

Anyways, my mind has turned towards more frivolous matters, so here are a couple of miscellaneous curios from June's site:

5 things that I'm wearing

1) boxer shorts
2) wedding ring
3) B.O.
4) nothing else; it's past 2 in the frickin' frackin' morning!
5) see #3

5 things I'm doing right now

1) not sleeping
2) not working
3) listening to ill-gotten mp3's
4) spacing out
5) trying to figure out what to write for #5

5 things I ate in the past 24 hours

1) bah-mee moo dang (egg noodles with roast pork)
2) yahm blah-dook foo (shredded fish salad)
3) sai-kraw (northeasten Thai sausage)
4) sah-koo sai moo (pork stuffed gelatinous-like balls; hard to describe!)
5) strawberry yogurt (or is it yoghurt?!? you say ketchup, I say catsup...)

5 things I already did today

1) declined a wedding invitation
2) ordered new business cards
3) checked my Hot or Not score at least a dozen times
4) posted at least 2 blogs
5) took my meds (pinched nerve-induced back spasms)

5 things I can hear right now

1) drums
2) keyboards
3) bass guitar
4) lead guitar
5) vocals (Van Halen rocks!)

5 things that are currently on my mind

1) my new job and new clients
2) my ever-sinking Hot or Not score
3) entry #4
4) entry #3
5) what to eat for breakfast in 7 hours

5 things I look for in a mate

1) laughs at my jokes
2) tells me she likes my cooking with a straight face
3) smarter than me
4) tolerant of my eccentricities
5) snores quieter than I do

5 things that I love

1) the better half
2) family & friends
3) music
4) sailing & skiing
5) new people, new places, new foods (that's technically 9 things, isn't it?)

"What's in a Name?"

P - You are very friendly and understanding.
A - You can be very quiet when you have something on your mind.
U - You feel like you have to equal up to people's standards.
L - Love is something you deeply believe in.

Yup, I would say these characterizations are fairly accurate

Try your name...

A - You can be very quiet when you have something on your mind.
B - You are always cautious when it comes to meeting new people.
C - You definitely have a partier side in you, dont be shy to show it.
D - You have trouble trusting people.
E - You are a very exciting person.
F - Everyone loves you.
G - You have excellent ways of viewing people.
H - You are not judgemental.
I - You are always smiling & making others smile.
J - Jealousy.
K - You like to try new things.
L - Love is something you deeply believe in.
M - Success comes easily to you.
N - You like to work, but you always want a break.
O - You are very open-minded.
P - You are very friendly and understanding.
Q - You are a hypocrite.
R - You are a social butterfly.
S - You are very broad-minded.
T - You have an attitude, a big one.
U - You feel like you have to equal up to people's standards.
V - You have a very good physical and looks.
W -You like your privacy .
X - You never let people tell you what to do .
Y - You cause a lot of trouble.
Z - You're always fighting with someone.

And before I call it a night, my Hot or Not update:

Me: 6.7 (63%) on 134 votes (a freakin' whole lotta 1's!)
Nicha: 8.8 (86%) on 222 votes

Nighty nite, y'all...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:26 AM |

Wednesday, November 19, 2003  

After a 2 week trial run, I officially signed up for a broadband account. Me so happy! It's not that I didn't want one before or wasn't willing to plunk down cash for one, but our apartment wasn't yet wired for it, so I was stuck with pokey dial-up, Thai-style. It was painful to go from my absolutely spendid Hong Kong DSL hook-up to Thailand's infuriatingly primitive telecom infrastructure. Buddha bless our beloved Prime Minister and protect his beloved telecom monopoly from evil consumer-benefitting competition! It's enough to make this former telecom banker tear his hair out.

But now, Hong Kong's most notorious media pirate is back, and all settled in the City of Angels. Muahahahahahaha!! [rubbing hands evilly and gleefully]. I tried downloading 3 episodes of the 4th season of The West Wing this time last year, but only managed to scrape together about a third to a half of any given episode. A few days of broadband and voilà, I got me some new episodes. Me so happy! Now I'm trying to get ahold of the rest of season 4 and start into season 5. By the way, my new iPod battery works great. Huzzah!

Today, Nicha and I, along with my compadres Ami & Brook, went to a lunch meeting with her brother's boss, the owner of a large gold refinery and trading company. In addition to his gold interests, he owns a newly licensed investment banking and securities firm. While the bank has its trading, research and IPO teams in place (ironically, managed by Brook's and my old boss from our Morgan Grenfell days), he still needs to develop the bank's M&A advisory capabilities. He also runs a separate principal investment fund on the side, and is looking for advisors who can not only execute deals rapidly under pressure (my area of expertise), but also work with investee companies to either improve, restructure, or rebuild it as need be (Ami's specialty). It was supposed to be an introductory meeting with the business group patriarch and his lieutenant, but it turned into a 2 and a half discussion over means in which we could all work together. Nicha was pleased as punch that she got to be power broker for a day, Ami was intrigued to find a potential souce of investment for his venture fund, I'm happy that I might secure my first client for my new company (more on that below), and Brook was no doubt glad to get out of the office for an afternoon, all the while gathering intelligence on a competing family investment group. A fairly productive day.

Oh yeah, I'm semi-officially hired. The start-up investment bank I keep talking about has more or less confirmed a start date for me on Decmber 1st. Strangely enough, I haven't even spoken with the managing director once since my interview with him months ago. I've been interacting on and off through my Kellogg classmate Jim who recruited me. Anyways, the company is called Imprimis Limited. I have no idea what that means or the symbolism/imagry it's supposed to evoke, but I'll be sure to ask. The BBC just came out with a very good article about an amusing website that spoofs "nonsense" company names like Lucent, Accenture, Aviva, etc. I suppose we can add Imprimis to the list. But hell, it's my new home, so I love it.

Also on the new job front, Nicha has left Bangkok Bank after 8 years with the company. Damn. I can't remember the last time I was anywhere for 8 years! In fact, I lived in my family's Tustin, CA home for only 7 years, the longest stretch I've been in one place; nothing else comes close. Anyways, she got all weepy and nostalgic last week. Ironically, she's only moving a block away to ABN Amro. It's a great move for her, since she moves from rinky-dink local bank to huge global collossus. I think the international exposure will do her good, and greatly enhance her skills and profile. Plus, if I decide to ever go back to Hong Kong or even take a job back in the states, having a global bank on her resume will make it easy to find a job outside Thailand. She starts her new job tomorrow, so she's fast asleep so she can wake up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. She's not so much nervous as she is excited. She's by far one of the most talented and driven executives in the Treasury department, and will no doubt be a very hard person to replace, but frankly, she needs the challenge that a more international bank can give her. They will be sending to Amsterdam for training, and she will become well-versed in the more exotic derivative instruments, an area that she has been particularly interested in since her exchange days at Kellogg. Good luck, babe!

And while we're on the topic of my better half, she has already accumulated 160 votes and a rating of 8.8 (I honestly though she would score much higher, but then again, I'm not the most unbiased opinion around). For my part, I have only 122 votes, despite my 2-day headstart. I've taken the opportunity to scrutinize both the male and female pics, and it seems to me that the women slightly outnumber the men, but the comparison seems to prove that men visit and vote in greater numbers than the ladies. I expect Nicha will have 10x the votes I do by the time I deliver my lecture in 11 days. Incidentally, after dipping as low as 6.9, my score has recovered to an ego-comforting 7.2. Me so happy!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:58 PM |

As part of my academic research on Hot or Not (and because it's so damn fun), I have posted Nicha's picture, over much protestation on her part. Tough, babe. It's for my work! She absolutely hates this picture (it's a picture of her getting her hair and make-up done before our Irvine wedding reception), but I told her that's the point. I think it portrays her attractively, and if it scores high, then fine. But if she scores low, then it doesn't matter much because she doesn't think the picture is a good one. If you click on her picture, you can rate her. If you rate her high, maybe she won't be as pissed at me, and I will owe you big time =).

As for me, I expect she will score quite well, and I think she will accumulate significantly more votes than I am, despite my 2-3 day headstart. Incidentally, my rating has now fallen to 7.0 (66% hotter than other men) off of 109 votes. A lot of people gave me 1's, but I don't think it's me. James told me that some visitors tend to click 1 on every pic just to scroll through the site looking for pics of hot guys/gals. The learned this when they saw that most averages were unusually low, and had to devise an algorithm that accounts for relative ratings based on the distributions and variances of ratings, rather than just the straight mathematical means. So I figure I'm just a victim here...=)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:22 AM |

Tuesday, November 18, 2003  

As always, it's feast or famine with me: you either don't hear from me for weeks on end, or you get a flood of blogs at once. Well, I'm in a chatty mood, so I may still have several blogs yet to go before the end of the day.

I've spent most of this afternoon going through my playlist on my iPod, deleting old songs, adding new ones, and I realized I only had 2 songs from Chicago. So I powered up Kazaa and commenced to flesh out my collection of Chicago songs. Yes, believe it or not, the guy who ranted about hard rock and punk music 3 blogs ago likes jazzy, syrupy power ballads. I grew up with Chicago and always liked their stuff. In fact, Nicha and I caught them in concert during our trip to Vegas in September (more on that later...maybe). One thing that always bugged the hell out of me was their uber-classic "25 or 6 to 4". Like many fans, I kept wondering what the hell the song title and the lyrics meant. See if you can't figure it out:

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Flashing lights against the sky
Giving up I close my eyes
Sitting cross-legged on the floor
Twenty-five or six to four

Staring blindly into space
Getting up to splash my face
Wanting just to stay awake
Wond'ring how much I can take
Should I try to do some more
Twenty-five or six to four

Feeling like I ought to sleep
Spinning room is sinking deep
Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Twenty-five or six to four
Twenty-five or six to four

So while I was downloading the song, I searched the web for a decent answer. I came across numerous bulletin board entries that theorized that it was a song about doing drugs. One even suggested that the song referred to the ratio of powdered sugar to pure heroin, with the cut being 25 or 26 parts sugar to 4 parts heroin. I don't know squat about heroin, but given that the song came out in the 70's, it seemed a reasonable explanation in light of the prevailing drug culture of that decade, until another fan reminded us all pointedly:

"I never really thought that Chicago would be into heroin though, most bands that get into heroin don't end up making 30 albums. They also don't turn into soft rock ballad pussies either."

Too true. Too true.

Well, after much more web surfing, I found the answer on a much-trusted site: The Straight Dope. Here's what it has to say:

Dear Straight Dope:

I have searched several music sources and asked numerous individuals for the answer to the following question. Obviously you are my best bet as your book series now occupies the shelves previously held by my Britannica. What the heck does 25 or 6 to 4 mean in the song by Chicago (previously Chicago Transit Authority--everything seems shorter these days)? Any help is appreciated, oh wise Cecil and/or research staff. --Dennis Wilson, P.E., Omaha

SDSTAFF Songbird replies:

It's always wise to leave such big things in our hands, Dennis.

Big Thing, incidentally, was the band name used by Robert Lamm, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, Lee Loughnane, Terry Kath and Danny Seraphine when they first got together. After some mild success, they opened for a band called The Exceptions for two weeks. When The Exceptions' bassist (a guy named Peter Cetera) heard the Big Thing's new sound, he took exception to his own band and joined Big Thing.

When the group's sound really began to come together, they changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority and cut an album. Then the real CTA objected to the name, so they shortened it for their second album to the now familiar Chicago.

The song "25 or 6 to 4" appeared on "Chicago II" and was written by organist/vocalist Robert Lamm. The title and lyrics have puzzled many since it appeared in 1970. Some say it's a drug reference, suggesting a unit of measurement involving the quantity of joints that can be rolled from a what-used-to-be dime bag. Some feel it's about looking for spiritual revelation, undergoing a mysterious soul-searching journey.

Perhaps you're too young to recall that in the late '60s and '70s it was a popular parlour game--if not quite an intellectual pursuit--to read hidden messages and double meanings into song lyrics. Many people thought "Hey Jude" was about shooting heroin. Just about everything Bob Dylan wrote went through hours of scrutiny by his fans. Did you ever check into the "Hotel California" by the Eagles? Many of the Rolling Stones songs were supposedly about drugs, though it's hard to ignore the more explicit meanings ("You make a dead man come.") What about "I Am the Walrus," which was supposedly written on an acid trip about Paul McCartney's greatly exaggerated and rumored demise? Goo goo g'joob, baby.

Lamm says it's simpler than that. "The song is about writing a song. It's not mystical," he says. Take a look at some of the lyrics:

Waiting for the break of day--He's been up all night and now it's getting close to sunrise.
Searching for something to say--Trying to think of song lyrics.
Flashing lights against the sky--Perhaps stars or the traditional flashing neon hotel sign.
Giving up I close my eyes--He's exhausted and his eyes hurt from being open too long, so he closes them.
Staring blindly into space--This expression can be seen often on the faces of writers and reporters. Trust me.
Getting up to splash my face--Something you do when you're trying to stay awake, though a good cup of Starbuck's does wonders for Cecil and me.
Wanting just to stay awake, wondering how much I can take--How far can he push himself to get the song done?
Should I try to do some more?--This is the line that makes many think it's a drug song. But it is just as easily construed as a frustrated writer wondering if he should try to do some more lyrics/songwriting.

As for the curious title, Lamm says, "It's just a reference to the time of day"--as in "waiting for the break of day" at 25 or (2)6 minutes to 4 a.m. (3:35 or 3:34 a.m.)

I think we can take Lamm's word for the whole thing. Because, when it's that early in the morning, does anybody really know what time it is?

[Addendum: I don't feel like such a wussy for being a Chicago fan anymore. I just found a cover version of "25 or 6 to 4" by Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil. Not a bad version either...]

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:26 PM |

hownowlisacow's site has an interesting discourse on Thai surnames, which I post verbatim below:

Why many Thais have a long surname

Lots of foreigners have asked me about the length of Thais' surnames. For example my last name is NI-RAT-PAT-TA-NA-SAI. Perhaps, I should write about this matter. Usually, the native Thai folks, have quite a short surname.. for example - BOONMEE, SRISAI, etc. However, most of the people who have the long last name are the subsequent generation of Chinese Immigrant. In order to have better understanding, let's look back to the society's history.

Many years ago, when China mainland transformed the countries political system from a Monarchy to Communist, lots of Chinese left the country seeking a new life opportunity. Many of them selected Thailand as their destination. They started a new life in the Kingdom with prosperity. They still kept their identity by using their Chinese name. Thereafter, their kids, the following generation, were born with a Thai Name. However, they still used a Chinese last name like Tang, Lim, Ng, etc. They then came to realise that it was not localized enough to have a Thai name with a Chinese last name. They began to apply for a Thai last name. That is the starting point of this story. When you go to apply for Thai last name, the regulation for registration of the new last name is as follows:

1.. The applicants submit 5 alternatives to the government officer. Each one has a maximum of 10 Thai characters.

2.. The officer will search in the data base for identical last names. The law does allow identical last names to those existing already So hopefully, one of your 5 alternatives will be unique and can be used.

3.. About one month later, you will check with the officer. If there is any duplication, you need to create the new one and resubmit it again. If not the case, you can use the real NEW last name. Since we have a lot of immigrant Chinese, subsequent applicants have to create a new name that has a low probability of duplication. Thus, the new surnames just get longer and longer.

So next time, if you see Thais who have long surname, you may want to ask them whether they are Chinese.

I think one point this essay fails to eloborate on is the Americanization of Thai and Thai-Chinese surnames, in which surnames 8-16 letters long are shortened to 3-5 letters by lopping off the back-end. Much of this can be attributed to the waves of Thai doctors who immigrated the U.S. in a massive medical brain drain in the late 60's and early 70's. Many doctors like my father felt that it was more comfortable for their American patients to be able to interact with a doctor whose name they could pronounce. Additionally, a shorter name is simply far more convenient oon a day-to-day basis. My family shrunk ARKKRAPRIDI to ARK about 27 years ago. One of the more interesting results of this is that while many Asian names in their original form make it easy to distinguish nationality (i.e. it's easy to spot a Japanese name vs a Thai name vs an Indonesian name, and so on), I find it difficult to pick out a Thai based on a shortened version of their name. I recall the many times I've met people on the phone who had no idea that the Paul Ark on the other side was Asian much less Thai. When I was working in Singapore, the wife of my Dutch boss originally thought that the Paul ARk working for her husband was also Dutch, since Ark sounds somewhat Dutch (according to her). It came as a shock that the image of a 6' tall blond Dutchman turned out to be a 5'6" Thai guy. Even those who eventually discover that I'm Asian still can't quite figure out the etymology of "Ark"; is it Chinese? Filipino? Surely not Korean? While I find the ambiguity of my last name to be amusing, I often find it advantageous. I'd rather deal with people on a more substantive basis, rather then have then form a predisposition towards me based on my nationality and ethnicity. I'm proud to be Thai, and damn proud to be American, but I am first and foremost proud to be me, and want people to look at that first.

Anyways, a very informative essay indeed.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:25 AM |

According to the Drink-o-meter (link courtesy of June and Lisa), I am rated:

Homer Simpson: Mmmmm beer. The cause of - and the solution to - all of life's problems. But we know at heart you are just a family person. Not a bad effort though. Amount spent = $14,586.19

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:02 AM |

I've started listenting to Matchbox Twenty a lot more lately, mainly because Nicha is starting to get hooked on it (I have a tape of their 1st album stashed in her car, which she has been listening to lately on her commutes). I was in a big MB20 phase this time last year while I was waiting for their 3rd album to come out, and am playing their albums in my quiet moments. I have noticed that I've tended to listen to a lot of MB20 when I start a new job. When I started at Salomon Smith Barney, at Tonson Capital, and now at Imprimis, I was deep into MB20. Maybe I just find their stuff so energetic and optimistic (though I wouldn't necessarily call Rob Thomas' mood optimistic on most of his songs, but what the hell, it brings a smile to my face). I think I'll make the group my official "start a new job" band.

Also, I've been listening to some of today's nouveau-punk bands. Not a fan of Avril, but I like the stuff that Good Charlotte, The Ataris, Sum 41, and Busted are cranking out. And of course, that just brings back the nostalgia for the older Greenday and Offspring stuff and the ever classic Ramones and Clash material. Still listening to Linkin Park on and off, and rediscovering old favorites in Fishbone and Sponge. I think the harder-edged stuff may soon take a back seat though, since I tend to listen to the more mellow stuff like Tonic and Toad the Wet Sprocket when I get into my MB20 modes. I'm starting to get into the mood for Rush nowadays too.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:21 AM |

Monday, November 17, 2003  

I am such a happy camper. For the last year and a half, I have been a proud owner of a1st generation iPod. While the 2nd gen ones are undeniably cooler, I like to fancy myself on the cutting edge of technology, and being one of the very first in my hemisphere to own one was a status symbol that still warms my shallow and vain heart (I got mine before they released the Windows version, but managed to cobble enough hacker-ware to get the Mac version working on my Windows machine, that's how nerdy-cool I be). Anyways, one of the major failings of the iPods is its internal battery. Not only can you not use it on an extended cross-Pacific flight (since you gotta recharge it), but the internal battery has a tendency to die out after 12-18 months. Well, my time had come, and I figured my options were either to spend an arm and leg to send it to Apple for servicing, or just get a new MP3 player (with all the new hard drive players coming to market, I wasn't starved for alternatives, but I just love my iPod for its elegant simplicity).

Luckily, after a very short web search, I stumbled across, which carries a do-it-yourself battery replacement kit. I found several independent articles and reviews that mentioned how easy it was to use this kit to crack open the case and replace the battery yourself. So I threw caution to the wind and dished out my $90 ($60 plus $30 international shipping). I got the kit today (just a few days after placing my order), and nervously prepped for "surgery". I was a bit nervous about totally effing up my pod, but figured it was worth risking $90 (and potentially clusterfucking my player) rather than writing the thing off-hand and shelling out another $300-$400 for a new player. As you no doubt guessed, it went off without a hitch, good as new! I have to wait until it's fully charged to confirm that the new battery will give me 8-10 hours play time (instead of the less than 1 hour I was getting with the old battery), but I'm confident all is well with the universe again.

Halleluyah!! I can't live without my tunes.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:48 PM |

Very funny picture! (Courtesy of fellow Bangkokian Lynn)

Well, as of my last login, I now rate an 8.6 on HotOrNot, or more luscious than 84% of the men on the site. Automatically, I'm skeptical. Either the site is rigged beyond belief, or many chicks have a very bizzare idea of what passes for good looking nowadays. I like having my ego stroked, but not my chain yanked. Then again, I have always proved popular with large, husky caucasian men in San Francisco's Castro district (How do I know this? That's a story for another time...), so maybe I am a stud-puppy.

This morning, I got to take a break from teaching, since Ami stepped up to the plate to teach the Thammasat kiddies all about the crash. I always enjoy watching him present, not just because I always learn something new and interesting, and not just because he's a natural teacher, but because no matter what the topic, his lectures always descends into an impassioned rant and withering railing against our beloved (insert dripping sarcasm here) prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. It's fun for me because not only do I tend to agree with Ami politically and philosophically, but Ami is without a doubt the smartest brainiac I know, and he always manages to find a new and entertaining way to skewer Thaksin's politics and achievements.

My break from teaching extends another 2 weeks, and since I don't start my new job until December, I've turned my attention towards the holidays. Ove the weekend, Nicha and I invited several friends (Ami, Nueng, Joe, Simon, and Brook) to Tony Roma's for dinner). A few weeks earlier, I was there with Ami, Simon, and George, and I put my business card into the fishbowl for their monthly drawing, and managed to win a Baht 1,000 dinner voucher (about 24 greenbacks), so we decided to share the wealth. Well, given the number of American-born or educated among the group, our attention naturally turned to whether we ought to have a Thanksgiving party. The best Thanksgivings I've ever had were spent in foreign countries (Thailand, England, Hong Kong), so I wanted to make sure that we didn't pass up a prime partying opportunity. Also, I wanted to sort out what to do over the Christmas and New Year's holiday. Normally, I head over to my mom's cousin's house where they usually throw a slam-bang dinner and party, but this year, the problem is figuring out what not to do. One of my oldest Thai friends Cherry is visiting Thailand over the holidays with her hubby Jeff. They booked a large suite at shi-shi seaside spa resort Aleenta (where Becks and Posh stayed during their visit), and invited to Nicha and I to stay with them. I'm sort of tempted, because the resort was founded by a good friend Anchalika and her mother, and Anchalika has been bugging me to visit her little venture. I also received a wedding invitation from Edith, a colleague of mine from my banking days in Hong Kong. She and her beau Teck are planning a massive diving/golfing/go-karting vacation in Malaysia (and that pesky little wedding reception in the middle). And over ribs, Simon and Ami outlined their plans to rent out a small B&B-type resort in Hua Hin and chill on the beach for a few days. Wish I could do all three!

Ultimately, I may have to pass on the Malaysia wedding. I want to go, since I really love Edith and Teck, and our good friend Ken may be flying in from Germany for this, but I don't think neither Nicha or I will be able to break away for a week during the first month of our new jobs. Also, I want to attend my 5-year business school reunion next year, so I need to save up vacation time. I just found out this morning that Warren, a ex-expat from our Bangkok heyday will be getting married in Lubbock, Texas shortly after the Kellogg reunion, so that just gives me additional reason to skip Malaysia in favor of Texas (I like combo vacations; my idea of synergy!).

These active social calendars are killing me; I hate being popular!!!! jk =P

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:46 PM |

One of the lectures that I'm putting together for my Thammasat University e-commerce class is an examination of online personals and dating sites. Why? Well, supposedly, with the exception of porn and gambling, consumers spend more money on online dating/personals than any other Internet content ($228 million in 2002). I want to focus specifically on Hot or Not as a case study, a site I'm sure most people by now are very familiar with (especially if you specialize in anti-productive time-killers like me). Anyways, I think this is an interesting site for two reasons: first, it is the only online "meet" market that has a huge entertainment component (the view & rate aspect) in addition to the personals, and also one of the co-founders James is a good friend of mine from our days at London Business School.

Up until now, I've been reluctant to subject my image to the cruelty of strangers, but now that I am looking at the site from a more academic and empirical perspective, I have relented and have posted my pic to be ruthlessly savaged; such is the price for academic research and enlightenedment. If you are so inclined, click on my picture above to rate me, and please be kind. (Unless you rate me a 1 like I did, you can only bring up my average =).

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:49 AM |

Friday, November 14, 2003  

Any Footloose fans out there?


College Holding First Dance in 143 Years
Thu Nov 13, 2:17 PM ET
By DON BABWIN, Associated Press Writer

WHEATON, Ill. - As many as 1,200 students at Wheaton College will gather in the gym Friday night for the first real dance in the Christian school's 143-year history.

Which explains why students in recent days have been seeking out classmates who know this stuff and looking for places where they can practice. And it explains why on Monday night and Tuesday night, dozens of students packed a room on campus for a quick dance lesson.

Andy Morgan, one of the students at the lesson, said he figured he was in no danger of embarrassing himself. He went to a high school that did not permit dancing. And when it came time to pick a college, he settled on a school that had not allowed social dancing since the war. The Civil War.

"I've had a great excuse all my life," 21-year-old Morgan said.

Not anymore.

"It's crunch time," said 20-year-old Steve Paulus, sounding more like he was talking about cramming for a final than learning to hold his own when the swing band the Rhythm Rockets take the stage.

"We are kind of trying to downplay it because it really is another event," said Bethany Jones, a student leader and organizer of the dance. "But on the other hand, we do realize it is historic. It is a big deal."

Part of the reason is that change, any change, does not come quickly or without great deliberation at this quiet campus 25 miles outside Chicago.

It was not until the 1960s that the school lifted the rule prohibiting students from going to movies. For generations, students were barred from dancing — on campus or off — unless it was with members of the same sex or a square dance. It was not until the 1990s that students and faculty were permitted to dance with spouses or relatives at family events such as weddings.

Nine months ago, the school lifted the ban altogether, freeing students to cut the rug on campus or off, at Chicago clubs or other places. (Wheaton also eased its ban on alcohol and smoking for faculty and staff. They can now drink and light up off campus, as long as it is not in front of undergraduates.)

Under the new set of rules, called the Community Covenant, students may dance, but should avoid behavior "which may be immodest, sinfully erotic or harmfully violent."

Judging by what happened Monday night, meeting those criteria will not be a problem. There was no slithering going on, only students, some about as rigid as rakes, watching their feet as they tried to master some basic steps.

"They had a lot of fun, but they kind of approached it from almost an academic standpoint," said Rich Nickel, a local dance instructor who helped get the students ready for the Rhythm Rockets' lineup, which will feature such standards as "Sentimental Journey" and "Sunny Side of the Street."

Students say they have been amazed by all the attention the dance has generated. News organizations have descended on the campus, and students have been swamped with calls and e-mails from friends and family.

"They want to know if Wheaton is going all liberal, falling apart," Morgan said.

While some students say all the attention is ridiculous, others, like Jones, said it will ultimately prove positive for Wheaton, whose most famous graduate is probably the Rev. Billy Graham.

"It is really going to improve the outlook the rest of the world has of our students," the 21-year-old said. "It makes Wheaton into a place where people don't do so much thinking about what we aren't allowed to do."

Graham Claybrook, a senior, agreed: "It will be nice to be able to tell my friends that I go to a college that is fairly normal."

Administration officials say that lifting the dance ban will help get students ready to deal with the real world after they graduate.

"Students need to learn how to make responsible choices," said Sam Shellhamer, vice president for student development. "We want to make students learn how to think critically, be discerning and learn how to make wise choices."

Shellhamer said there has been concern among some alumni, but for the most part, the reaction has been positive.

Laurelyn Claybrook, Graham Claybrook's mother and a 1973 graduate, applauded the move. "I just hated to see the amount of energy spent fussing over whether dancing was OK or not OK," she said.

Besides, she joked, there may not be all that much for anyone to be concerned about: "They MAY dance at Wheaton. Whether they CAN dance is another question."

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:31 PM |

Wednesday, November 12, 2003  

Like he did for Matrix Reloaded, Ken Mondschein of Corporate Mofo was kind enough to try and make sense of Revolutions. And as before, given all the theological, pseudo-intellectual mambo jambo, I am no more enlightened than I was before. But I appreciate the effort, as well as his sardonic comments. In the end, Revolution still blows.

Instead of posting the whole damn thing on my site, just click here to read.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:50 AM |

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  

Time to lighten the mood with another online quiz (courtesy of Jen). I particularly like this one, since I like to fancy myself as something of an amateur connoisseur of art.

M.C. Escher
Congratulations!! You are M.C. ESCHER.
Your drawings often depict images, which seem to be
feasible, but logically cannot exist.
You are happiest when you are exercising your mind.
You live your life very sensibly. Your friends
turn to you when they need advice from someone
who knows how to remove emotional prejudice
from a situation.

Which famous artist most reflects your personality?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:54 AM |

Monday, November 10, 2003  

Today was my first full lecture for my Thammasat University E-Commerce course, and I have to say I was rather pleased with the results. Last week, I only spoke for half the class, but managed to put 2 of the 16 students asleep. I must have made some kind of impression this time around, since the number of students jumped up to 22 students, all of whom managed to stay awake and even look engaged. I spent the first 20 minutes talking about current topics in e-commerce, in particular search engines and Microsoft's intent to get into the search business (including current overtures to possibly acquire Google). One cutting edge topic we discussed was the emergence of Dipsie, a new company whose browser (to be released next July) promises far superior search capability than Google's search algorithms. For the remaining 2 and a half hours, I lectured on the "History of Silicon Valley, the Internet, and Electronic Commerce." It was an incredibly fascinating topic that I enjoyed researching, and one I think that the students enjoyed. I even played them Apple's groundbreaking "1984" commercial that launched the Macintosh and was broadcast only once (during the 1984 Superbowl). I was completely amazed that none of the students in the class even knew where Silicon Valley was located, not even the state. All in all a great lecture. I was also startled to find how little material there is out there that relates any sort of history of Silicon Valley. As crazy as it may sound, I'm considering fleshing out the lecture and perhaps write a book on the topic.

On Monday evenings I usually train the analysts at Tonson Capital. Even though I no longer work there, I want to leave the analysts with at least some rudimentary skills at valuation and deal screening. My session tonight was cancelled, so instead of heading home, I decided to catch a showing of Matrix Revolutions. Putting it delicately, it was basically a piece of cinematic whale shit. It was like the Wachowski Brothers took a humongoid crap on celluloid, sold off rights to video games and fast food tie-ins, and passed off the entire monstrosity as a remotely reputable piece of entertainment. God damn it was so awful. I wasn't too pleased with Reloaded, but Revolution was a huge step down. The sheer indignancy I felt when George Lucas raped the Star Wars franchise with his Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks schlock was nothing compared to what I felt after the Wachowskis utterly annihilated the Matrix trilogy. Don't even rent it. Wait for someone else stupid enough to buy or rent it and then go ahead and borrow it (assuming you have nothing better to do that night, like picking shit clumps out of your anal hairs).

Things weren't a total loss on the movie front. My regular pirated DVD vendor is back on Silom Road after being briefly shut down by police raids. I've been eyeing the Indiana Jones box set for weeks, but was loathe to shell out the Baht 2,500 (60 bucks) for the set. Luckily, the pirate-vendor had copies for Baht 800 ($19), so I was all over that. The quality of the three films is outstanding, but unfortunately I can't get the special features disk to work. Funnily enough, it says that the disk's region isn't compatible with my DVD player. The funny part is that it's a multi-regional player I bought when I was in Hong Kong, so there shouldn't be a disk out there that it can't play (except for the ones with the regional coding enhancements). But if I can play the 3 films, I can't figure out why the 4th disk doesn't work. Oh well. I'll go exchange it later this week.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:50 PM |

Friday, November 07, 2003  

[Amendment: I want to thank Pete for scanning and posting this picture of Je Suong and Woody at my request. I attended their wedding on Christmas Day in 1998, and everytime I think of them, this is the picture that has always come to my mind].

Today was undoubtedly the saddest day of my life. I just got back from a day-long excursion to northeastern city Khon Kaen where I attended my cousin's funeral service and cremation.

I have always been amazed that as I got older, I never found myself in a situation where I had to attend a funeral. I knew it was inevitable that I would eventually be attending my first one, but for it to be my cousin, for someone still so young, is so mindnumbing to me.

My aunt called us last night to let us know that there would be a service, and asked if we were free to go. Nicha had to work, but there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to say goodbye to Je Suong. I got up extremely early today and headed over to the airport to wait for the rest of my relatives who would be going. Despite the sad circumstances that brought her back from France, I was happy to see Je Soung's older sister Je Hoong there. I hadn't seen her since I paid a visit to her, her hubby, and her young son when I was in London on study exchange.

At the temple, we spent most of the afternoon in prayers. When I approached the coffin, I saw Je Soung's husband Woody, I could feel myself welling up. By the time I lit my incense and was saying my prayers, I had lost it, and just started crying. That was pretty much all I did that afternoon, bouncing back and forth between somber and stoic to uncontrollable sobbing. Most of my cousins were in just as bad a shape. Half the time, just seeing one of my cousins break down was enough to get me going again.

I was glad to finally see Je Soung's young boy. He was so playful and energetic. While I'm glad he is too young to fully understand that mom won't be coming back, I pity him that he will grow up without really knowing her. I'm glad Woody has something of Je Suong left in his life.

I think seeing Je Suong's body before the cremation was one of the most profound and disturbing moments of my life. I had never seen a dead body before. For some reason, I always expected a funeral corpse to look at peace, But she didn't look peaceful. She just looked dead, and that really bothered me. I still can't belive she's gone. I miss her so much.

One of the songs that has always managed to touch me is Live's reincarnation-themed song "Lightning Crashes". Singer/songwriter Edward Kowalczyk had written the song in rememberanbce of a friend who had died in a car accident, and now I can't help but think of Je Soung when I hear or think about the lyrics. I imagine I will always be thinking of her when I hear the song now.

Lightning Crashes
by Live

Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes
The confusion sets in
Before the doctor can even close the door

Lightning crashes, an old mother dies
Her intentions fall to the floor
The angel closes her eyes
The confusion that was hers
Belongs now, to the baby down the hall

Oh now feel it comin' back again
Like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin' from the center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
This moment she's been waiting for
The angel opens her eyes
Pale blue colored iris,
Presents the circle
And puts the glory out to hide, hide

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:10 AM |

Tuesday, November 04, 2003  

In addition to all the work I've been doing, 2 key milestones passed by during my "silence of the blogs." One was my 33rd birthday, which was utterly miserable. Why? Because I came down with a not-so-mild case of food poisoning (she's in a state of denial, but it was in fact Nicha's tuna fish sandwich that did me in). I spent 4 days (of which my b-day was one of the middle 2) bouncing back and forth between a fetal position in bed or crapping my liquified guts out on the crapper. When Nicha asked me what I wanted most for my birthday, I replied with a completely straight face: "to be able to eat solid food." On a more pleasant note, my darling niece Jessie had her first birthday (with big birthday bash!), learned how to walk, and experienced her first Halloween. That's her in the Chinese empress outfit (complete with cap and pony tail) my folks bought for her during their recent trip to China. Such a cutie pie.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:37 PM |

I'm wiped out. A lot of that is bacause of my workload, but mostly bacause my cousin's passing has really strung me out. I had to keep it all together yesterday because of the classes I was teaching and my client meeting. But after last night's blog and after chatting with my brother Don for a while, I curled up on the bed and cried like crazy. I cried so hard that my nose started to bleed. I can't remember that last time I ever broke down like that. To her credit, Nicha was great. Just having her hug me made me feel infintely better.

Today, I paid a visit to a doctor specializing in muscle conditions and physical therapy. Ove the past few months, my arm and back has been a bit sore, but in the last week, it's started to blow up into a full-fledged muscle spasm. It hasn't incapacitated me, but the pain is certainly making my quality of life a shitty one. He said it was likely due to my work and sleeping posture, but also because of all the stress and tension related to my work. Ironically, I just came off of vacation 2 months ago, and I've loved the work I've done lately.

Speaking of which, so much has changed on the work front. I resigned from Tonson Capital at the beginning of October. Frankly, I felt that the company was moving in a direction I neither was interested in or believed in. The senior partners had always treated advisory work as the unloved stepchild of the business, and used my M&A advice as a loss-leading throwaway service to raise funds from clients to manage. If that wasn't bad enough, we really don't provide the value-added analytics and advice on the asset management side that would justify the scandalous profit share we've wrangled from our client. Every one of my efforts to instill some sort of analytical infrastructure and discipline has been thwarted. Nowadays, they're getting a clue, and though they tried their damndest to keep me on board, it was just too little too late.

Another big reason for leaving was that the other junior partner Ami has also left the firm. Since he was my closest friend in the company (and one of the closest I have outside the company), I didn't relish coming into the office with out him to crack jokes with. He broke off and is starting his own business development consultancy, and was allowed to take his main client with him. I'm currently freelancing for Ami doing M&A advisory for his clients, with pays a much higher daily rate that I was getting at Tonson for far less time. As for me, in December I will be joining a start-up investment bank run by a crew of expat bankers, one of who is a Kellogg classmate Jim who recruited me. I expect this experience will be far more exciting and definitely more along the line of what I want to do than what I did for Tonson.

In the meantime, I've been keeping inordinately busy. Jim's dad is a shareholder in one of the privately listed film studios here in Thailand. The studio had been family owned and managed since the beginning, and a brother-sister team in the 2nd generation has just finished they U.S. schooling and taken jobs at the company, being groomed to eventually take over the business. Jim referred me to them because they are smart kids, but in dire need to some rigorous and analytical skills as they try and take over and reshape the business, and he knows that I enjoy teaching (and that I put together several rudimentary MBA-type classes for the Tonson analysts). For me, the chance to influence a new generations of executives who wants to succeed through superior business judgement rather than exploit connections or use underhanded/irrational tactics is an appealing proposition. Ironically, when I first met with them (Amy & Joe) over coffee, we chatted at length about how they were constantly fielding calls by local investment banks about taking their company public. They were almost convinced that they needed to list, and that if they didn't take advantage of the hot stock market, they'd miss the boat. Jim had briefed me beforehand on this, and we are of the same mind that an IPO was the worst idea. In my opinion, local Thai investment banks are mostly made up of two-bit shysters, hucksters, and snake oil salesmen. They're out for a quick percentage and good advice & integrity be damned. What attracted me to Jim's company in the first place was the desire to provide top-notch advice in the client's best interest, and not our own. For the next few weeks after that, I played the anti-banker, explaining to Amy and Joe why the didn't necessarily need to list their company, and the things they ought to first do financially and strategically before even thinking about the listing. They really appreciate the free and honest advice (as well as the training courses I've been giving them). In return, they teach me about the film industry. I think in the very long term, when Amy & Joe finally assume decision-making authority, I will be in a position to act as a trusted adviser (or as I like to position myself, consigliere =).

On top of all that, this Thammasat University class. One of the Tonson Capital managers who has done work for both me and Ami is something of a technophile. He not only appears in a technology-focused segment on one of Thailand daily morning shows, but he and his sister run their own business selling downloadable cell phone content (ringtones, etc). Their father is a marketing professor at Thammasat. For my non-Thai blog readers (all 2 of you =), TU is one of Thailand most presitigious universities. A professor in the department was slated to teach a course on e-commerce, but left on sabbatical at the last minute, so Mark's dad was scrambling to put together anything resembling a course in a matter of 3 weeks. He recruited Mark to lend his experience as an entrepreneur, and Mark recruited Ami and I as guest lecturers. The four of us met last week, where I presented my thoughts on a course syllabus and structure, which Mark's dad promptly adopted. I amso showed him what I envisieged to be a first lecture, a history of Silicon Valley, the Internet, and e-commerce. He absloutely loved it, and asked my to present an informal case study for the opening class (which opened yesterday). Putting the material together has been a great deal of fun. After a week of research, I gain such an in depth understanding of the forces that shaped the valley and Internet technology. I think that the combination of interesting and enlightning trivia and my super slick Powerpoint animations should make for an engaging class. Then again, the fact that 2 of the 16 students nodded off during my lecture isn't the most promising sign...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:25 PM |
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