Thursday, March 30, 2006

Now i kow I have sung the praises of Craigs List before (I should mention that we did finally manage to sell our aquarium, and for a very decent price too), but I came accross this site today Housing Maps which is just awesome. It is basiclaly a combination of Google Maps and Craigs List Housing and shows where there are places for rent/ sale, with a bunch of filters to get down to what you really want to look for. Should come in very handy if we do end up moving to g to business school.

Today as it so often is was a beautiful sunny day in San Diego- after work I headed down the Sunset Cliffs- the sky was blue, the waves crashing and the breeze pleasant. I began to reflect again on whether I really want to go to Business School in another city. Using I've been looking at some of the average temps and the picture is not pretty- for most of the good business schools average temps are in the 50s or lower at this time of year, with plenty of inches of rain to make matters even less attractive. Distance learning certainly is seeming increasingly attractive at this point.
If it seems a little ridiculous to base ones major life choices on the weather then I should in fact add that I have further motivation. My wife is suddenly involved in a very active and upward climbing career, she is excited, ambitious and it would be difficult for me to drag her away. I therefore have been starting to think again about an online MBA . Apparently the way online MBAs simulate the usual classroom group work experiences is to team up online students to communicate through message boards, e-mail etc.- maybe even blogs could play apart. Judging by the "League of MBA Bloggers" there are a lot of internet loving MBA students out there so perhaps this could become increasingly common. It is even good practice for business as I believe affairs are going to be increasingly conducted in this manner. Still I'm not quite sure that this is really legitimate enough at this stage, and it could well end up being purely a waste of my time.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Today was spent 'Spring Cleaning' something I chose to spend my Sunday doing. As a kid, like any child I imagine I hated to clean and never really quite understood it, what was the point of cleaning when there were much more fun things to be doing, what was the point when things would just inevitably get messed up again, there was certainly no point in getting stressed or unhappy about cleaning, and any cleaning which had to be done was superficial- sweeping under rugs and hiding toys under the bed. I would clean when I had to, when my parents instructed me to, and never felt any personal concern over the cleanliness or tidiness of my possessions.
As I grew older responsibilities increased- there was more to clean- the car I had borrowed, the kitchen I had cooked in. I realized by this time it was important to some people that I did clean, but never felt it for myself- always I was cleaning at the bequest of others. This is a common trend even I think among college students- spring cleaning, like that which I did today, got done once, in every house I ever lived in college- and that was on the day before we moved out- so that we could get our damage deposit back in full. Again- cleaning for someone else- so little did we care about cleanliness that we left this huge effort until the very day that we could no longer benefit from the fruits of our labor.
Amazingly, now- having an apartment of my own- shared only with my wife- I actually feel the desire to clean for myself- I finally understand why it is people desire corners to be vacuumed, fridges to be scrubbed, and ovens to be cleaned... I feel much happier when the apartment is clean and take pride in it when it is. Perhaps there was a tragedy of the commons in my past student accommodation, or maybe something just changes with age. Still, however, there are remnants of my past motivations and mentality, and although I need my apartment to be clean for myself it generally gets done for the benefit of others- when we have guest to come and stay, when our friends come over to dinner- those are the days we will really work hard. On this particular occasion our spring cleaning coincides, not by chance, with a visit next week from my sister-in-law. We have spent the whole day scrubbing polishing, dusting and vacuuming, and I cannot help but see the irony that when I was 14 years old like her I didn't even understand the point of cleaning- ad certainly wouldn't notice such details as light switches, and the bottom drawer of a fridge.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Watched The Constant Gardener tonight. I will admit 2005 had some good films.......
It was a great movie, and raises a lot of thoughts and questions in my head- there is so much need in the world, what should I really be doing with my life. I know not to be too idealistic about the change an individual can make in the world but there are decisions to be made, especially at this stage in my life and I believe there are ones to be made that are better than others. I hope I can make the right ones.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I just came accross this site MBA Buzz , Pretty intersting guide plotting all apsects of you application in regards to your chance of getting into business school- the site looks at GPA, GMAT results, months of work experience, Extracirricula Age and how well you interview/ how good your essay is. It's had me fascinated for the past hour or so, checking out all the different combinations for different schools. The site needs some more data- currently there is not really enough to show any firm patterns- and I'm not entirely clear how they grade some of the aspects e.g. extracirricula- but it is a great idea nonetheless.
I have to say it gives me a lot of hope- I seem to be in the right boundaries for the schools I am currently looking at.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Well, as promised my review for V for Vendetta:

It was simply awesome..........

The writing was very clever--though really that's a compliment to the original comic book (who apparently was very displeased with having his comic book transformed into a film). The acting was extremely impressive by Weaving, Portman and others. The plot had some clever twists, the Wachowski brothers (Matrix) added some great action--especially at the end in a scene unavoidably reminiscent of the final scene in the first Matrix. Finally, the film contained a pertinent theme to these times (not to say its parallel to these times, but it certainly an intriguing time for such a film to be made) and I loved the libertarian undercurrents. Best movie I've seen in over a year (which reminds me how awful a year 2005 was for movies).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So its starting to get around that time I should really start doing my taxes. As I fill out the forms I can't help but come face-to-face with the reality that I should be saving for retirement, if not now, then soon--at least that's what all old people seem to say. I try to rationalize that I don't really have to until I get a real career job, but by the time I apply for, work towards, and receive an MBA, I'll be in the latter half of my twenties with a substantial student loan to pay. I guess that's not sooo bad, but I definately need to make sure I keep it in mind.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Prison Break returns tonight- very exciting- What with a fantastic West Wing on last night, and 24 on right after Prison Break it looks like a good couple of days for TV.

My wife was given free movie tix at work today- we should be heading out to see V for Vendetta tommorrow or Wednesday- I'll give my thoughts once we do- looks like its gonna be a good one.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

When I first came to San Diego the idea I had in my mind for the future was to open and run my own restaurant. I decided the best way to do this would be to get some experience in the restaurant industry and so signed up for an internship with a seemingly great chef from whom I hoped t learn some of the tricks of the trade. The cuisine looked interesting and my style of cooking and it seemed like such an amazing opportunity that when he offered me the chance of extending my internship into a paid position (with lots of room for upwards movement) I promptly quit my well paying day job to embark on this line of research. The outcome was dreadful- primarily due to the personality of the chef who after a few weeks showed his true colors as a narcissistic megalomaniac with absolutely no flair for business. In this restaurant the customers certainly did not come first (nor I might add did the staff), everything from the kitchen to the front of house was about appeasing the chef’s own ego. The menu changed daily- an idea he liked but which did not work well for repeat customers, especially when often the daily change was just not a great selection of food. The hours were awful – not good for a married man and certainly terrible looking to the future when I will have kids in the equation- this is perhaps why none of the other staff members were in any way attached. The pay was also appaling- in a city where we already have to pay the “sun tax” it would be nice if wages could keep up a little bit, and worst of all I learned nothing whatsoever about the restaurant industry, except perhaps a few things “not to do”. Needless to say this restaurant was struggling not even filling up on weekends.
I left this horrific situation a few months ago and had all but abandoned the idea of a career in the restaurant industry due to my experiences. However, on entering a newly opened establishment earlier this week I was reminded on how different things can be. This place has only been opened 2 months and already they are having to turn customers away. The two restaurants do not even compare- one is friendly and warm, the other cold and haughty, one is reasonably priced wonderful cuisine, the other is barely affordable and very hit and miss. My experience lately has been that in order to become a good restaurateur you are most likely to exceed if you are primarily a business man who loves food, than if you are a chef who wants to make some money.

With this thought I decided to not completely give up on my dream of opening a restaurant, but feel that the business school route is going to be a much more effective one than working my way up the ranks in the back of a kitchen.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Have a bit of free time today and I've been browsing some of the other MBA applicant blogs on the web. This is the time of year where some of the top Business schools like Wharton and Georgetown make their decisions. It suddenly struck me that this will be me next year- suddenly that seems very soon, and I am a little overwhelmed with all I will have to have done by that time- study for the GMAT, take the GMAT, get letters of recommendation, apply to business school- not to mention some pretty huge decisions such as whether to my MBA online or attend a school- if I do attend a school where are my wife and I willing to move to. I am hugely grateful at this time of slight panic for all the amazing support that is open to me by form of the internet- in particular The League of MBA Bloggers which is such a fantastic resource full of people like myself going through the exact same decisions and difficulties in addition to all those Business Students who have already been there, done that and can help out with our little queries and concerns. It makes me extremely glad to be living in the age that I am when all this support is so easily available.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I've spent the past few days trying to sell our old aquarium. We posted on Craigs List earlier in the month and got very little response- after putting the price down slightly however, we are suddenly inundated with calls and e-mails. I'm not sure whether it was the price decrease alone which did this or the plea that "this must go soon" that whipped potential buyers up into a frenzy to be that lucky one and get in first to steal it away.
Despite the rapid response rate we do still have a large aquarium stand, hood and tank sitting in our lounge- this is much to our displeasure, but to the delight of our kittens who think that a transparent glass box is the perfect place for them to hide.
Craig's List was our saviour when we first moved down here- nearly every piece of furniture in our house came from the list with some really amazing deals- I got my first job from the list and my wife found many volunteer oppertunities there. I really hope it can take off around the world and remain as low cost as it currently is. We are a wasteful country and it is a wonderful way of making one man's waste another man's treasure without having to resort to the inconvienience of thrift stores etc.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

GMAT prep is going well, and I feel with a bit of hard work I can certainly get a decent grade. So now that I am feeling more confident in that arena I ask myself (and anyone else out there who might give me some decent advice) - what are the other things I need to do to get into a decent business school?
My resume I think is fairly good- I have a lot of varied volunteer experience, some interesting work experience, skills hobbies etc. How much though is it important that the resume shows an aim toward business school- should I have clear ambitions and show how I have been working towards them over the past few years? I also wonder whether it is an advantage or disadvantage to come to business school 2 years after graduating college rather than going straight on...

The other area of concern is references- my wife after going to a pretty small university with an even smaller "family like" environmental sciences department got to know some of her professors very well and can rely on these references for years to come. I however was not so lucky- there were rare occasions when my classes were small enough for me to make a good relationship with the professor in charge- however these relationships were never enough to last for years, and having spent my final year of college in England it has already been a year and a half since I was last at my alma mater. I am now trying to work on some professional recommendations- but feel that currently I am at a loss for anything stunning- anything that is going to put me above other similarly qualified individuals.

So, any advice from current MBA students would be much appreciated- I have a few months to work on this and am willing to do whatever it takes.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I was shocked today whilst watching the news at a brief "entertainment poll" which was being conducted, the type they have every week on the news I guess.
Today Michale Jackson was forced to close his Neverland Ranch due to having not paid his staff since January. The poll asked do you feel sorry for Michael Jackson, I was absolutely stunned and I confess a little horrified when the results came back that 96 % of people did not feel sorry for the man, and only a measly 4% in fact did.

After these results we heard many personal comments as to why no sympathy was given- the reasons were all superficially rational and understandable- however I disagree completley, and i remain saddened by this display of public opinion. Whatever became of compassion, or dare I say it forgiveness. Now there are those I am sure who believe certain crimes of Michael Jackson and find them to be unforgivable- however compassion should still remain, compassion should be there come what may. Whether you believe Mr Jackson committed a crime ro you do not, whether you like his character or strongly dislike it , whether you forgive him his past behavoir or not this does not affect the simple fact that we should feel compassion to all our fellow human beings, we should feel pity and sorrow for those who are in need of it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Looking on the jobs section of Craig's List today I came across this post: Wanted- GMAT tutor $25 an hour.....

So my question is this: can a tutor for the GMAT really be valued at $25/ hour? What exactly is it that a tutor does that a study guide cannot do? Are tutors really shown to be helpful in standardized tests like the GMAT- especially when we are all old enough at this stage to put the work in if we want to- its not like back in the days of the SATs when your parents got you a tutor out of desperation that you might study for a couple of hours a week.

But then again maybe that is it- are people just so unmotivated that the only way they can get themselves to study is to have a tutor with them in the room. It reminds me of another funny Craig's List post- predictably listed just after Christmas. A girl wished for a work out partner- she would pay this person $15/hour just to come and work out with her- well actually she even said that the so called work out partner need not actually work out with her, but just need to make sure she got out of bed and did a couple of hours an exercise. Bizarre- it really is a very discouraging aspect of our country that we cannot even be bothered to work for things that we ourselves want- not even things we really need, just things we want. Having lived in Brazil where people work and work for things they may never even have the opportunity to achieve the distinction is stark and unnerving.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Google Shares fell today again, as did ebay. The dot coms are not looking so great and I was so hopeful before...

Oh well at least my portfolio is pretty varied.

Found this great link today for sticky notes on the desktop- you can change the color and everything!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


One of the things I never fail to come back to in my deliberations about Business School is whether or not this is a move that will make me happy. Is a career in business a good path to contentment. My father is a doctor- my parents-in-law are teachers and my wife works for an environmental non-profit. These are all careers that seem to be deeply fulfilling - and whilst of course every job has its downsides these are areas where I do not feel one would need to lay awake at night racking one's conscience. I seriously worry sometimes if supporting, well actually, promoting consumerism
in this society of us would not lead me to feel rather down on myself.
This dilemma was brought to my mind today when I came across an article on MSN rather crudely and somewhat misleadingly entitled "Money can make you happier". the article centers around a report by Professor Andrew Oswald of Warwick university- the outcome of which basically states that Once a country gets fairly rich , further economic growth does not seem to make its citizens any happier. This is the country as a whole which fails to become happier- however the article goes on to explain that in every society it is the richer people who are happier. The reasons for this are many and varied but the point i found most interesting in the article was the idea of autonomy and independence being strong indicators of happiness- and therefore the self employed are amongst the most contented members of society.

The article confirms what I had long thought- if I could run my own business, do well at it succeed, produce something amazing out of nothing then I stand a pretty good chance of being happy. If however I end up working in some multinational business in an office block people above me, people below then my moral scruples are far more likely to catch up with me.

Check out the article

Monday, March 06, 2006

Practice, Practice, Practice, is what I have been told to do. And so I have tried, and tried- but living next door to a car wash, a car wach nonetheless that is constantly undergoing construction and reconstrucion, is making my practice just a little more tricky.
I have heard you should study for the GMAT with a distraction in place- just in case there is a similar distraction in the exam room- however I very much doubt there will be a jackhammer in the exam room.
To counter the issue I usually reserve GMAT study until the weekends- but alas I am being attacked on all fronts- new neighbors have just moved in- neighbors with a laugh that makes my skin shiver every time it is heard. Evidently there is hilarious television non-stop on the weekends....
Just when I think all is at peace and quiet has fallen Hermes the annoying obnoxious one of our kitten brothers will apparantly decide that this is time for him to crawl out of his basket and take up residence on my prep book.

These distractions are tough- especially when the sun is shinign outside and a walk in the peaceful park is only minutes away.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The GMAT........

So I have been starting to think about the GMAT and starting to take some practise tests. First of all I'm not too sure about standardised testing, I don't think it's a way I actually shine through, when really honestly i think I should ;-) I mean it makes a lot of sense for Law School- there is a very specific type of mind which is going to make a good lawyer- there are definitely qualities which are going to be pretty analogous throughout those at the top. However it seems to me that to make it in business there are a variety of avenues you can take to success, and I'm not too sure that the GMAT covers them all. That being said- I want to go to business school and therfore I have to do what is required. So far I'm doing well at the quantitative section and the verbal section- but I'm having some trouble with the analytical writing. Is this a common pattern most people find? I would appreciate any advice as to how to imporve my socres in this section. I've been working on the premise that I should take 10 full practice tests at home and then should be ready to take the real thing. Would people advise this as a good idea? Is it also advisible to take an external practice test.

Yeesh I can't believe that i am back studying- i only jsut graduated, i thought I might have some peace for a while!

Oh well- it'll be worth it 20 years down the line....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

So yesterday was mardi gras- and I must say we missed the whole thing. There were 2 parties here in San Diego one downtown and one in Hillcrest- the price seemed incredibly steep to me- upwards of $25 just to attend. Somehow it seems wrong that one should have to pay to get into a "Street Party", but then again the setup has to be paid fo somehow and I don't really think that all the tax payers should give money just so the young people can get drunk outside. I don't know- regardless we did not attend.
Next comes St. Patrick’s day- I can't believe all the rubbish they are selling in the stores- I mean is a green beer mug really necessary to have a good time? Maybe this is something I would care more about if I was in fact Irish....... perhaps.
My wife was asked today by a guy she met where she was from. "England" she replied (admittedly in her totally Americanized accent)- "Oh me too" answered the guy, and then proceeded to ramble on somewhat about the Battle of Hastings and a small hamlet in the UK named Jennings- allegedly named after this guy's family. Needless to say my wife was a little confused- "No, I mean I am REALLY from England, as in 6 months ago and still have my passport, not 200 years ago my family came across the ocean.........."
What is it about us Americans that we are so proud of our citizenship and yet so desperate to attribute our roots to elsewhere.