June 30, 2007

I moved to Chicago exactly two years ago. A bit surprised to find myself still here. But even if I stay put, people come and go. Greg is going to London, even though he loves Toronto. Denise is not going to London, even though she says she will, even though her love is in Toronto. Who knows where my journey may or may not take me.

Passport Canada is officially evil. Twelve weeks later, I still don't have it. Had to cancel all my plans and most importantly missed Tonya's wedding. Cooked tofu and pork to cheer myself up.

June 28, 2007

If America were a stock, it would be a “buy”: an undervalued market leader, in need of new management.

June 27, 2007

Wednesday lunch, Trademasters meeting. Apparently I used ah/so/other filler words eight times during my table topic, which was to describe five things that I accomplished this week. 1. Rock climbing. 2. Visiting DAM. 3. Not complaining about serious flight delays. 4. Coming to Trademasters meeting despite serious flight delays. 5. Volunteering for table topics.

Wenesday evening, split a bottle of aged chianti with Bilal at Quartino, one of those places that make you want to book a one way flight to a Tuscan hamlet. We ordered prosciutto and aged asiago. I've only tried fresh asiago before; the aged stuff is parmesan-like and perfect for the chianti. But the condiments were my favorite: giardinera (vegetables in vinegar); mostarda (fruit in mustard); sweet and sour cucumbers; grape salad; fennel salad; and apricot-rosemary puree.

His favorite place in the world is Hong Kong, followed by the French Riviera. My favorite place in the world is Paris, followed by the Grand Canyon. I feel like I have been in love with Paris my entire life. Something about superficial intellectuality turns me on. Napping in the garden of Musee Rodin and watching people making out au bord de la seine only confirmed that love. But I have no intention of living there because reality would surely extinguish it. I've heard so many complaints about Paris, but his story about only being allowed into gay bars tops the list.

June 26, 2007

Friday, flew to Denver. Walked around the University of Colorado which looks like a resort. Met up with majka, my rock guide, and practiced falling.

Saturday, major adventure. As we approached the first flatiron, I was pretty intimidated. 1000 feet later, anything felt possible. Pictures coming soon.

Sunday, visited DAM (Denver Art Museum) and was blown away. Daniel Libeskind definitely practices architecture as a communicative art. I'm so sorry that I missed the opening of the new ROM. Stupid passport problems!

Tuesday, talked about option risk management at the Product Development Actuary Symposium.

June 16, 2007

CJ + I spent the day at adler planetarium, in search of black holes and pondering "what is forever". We popped by a used book store where I picked up an issue of Playboy from several decades ago. We found fresh cherries and dried figs at Whole Foods and I convinced him to try ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate.

Mariane Pearl: Terrorism is a psychological weapon, even though it uses physical means. Deny them fear, and they lose. I know that requires a lot of self-control, but if we don't exercise self-control, I don't think you can secure any kind of peace.

Finally uploaded canyon rim pictures from last fall.

June 15, 2007

When baby boomers were in midcareer and eager to build nest eggs, the mutual-fund, banking and brokerage industries swooped in and took advantage. Now the insurance industry is eyeing that huge pile of money, hoping to build a global business soothing anxiety over whether those nest eggs will last as boomers retire and live long.

China has tougher standards for fuel efficiency than America. Its cars use 6.9 litres to travel 100km (34 miles to the gallon) compared with 9.8 litres in America. By next year the Chinese standard will rise to 6.5 litres—a level America will take a decade to reach under the most ambitious plans.

General Musharraf became a darling of the press, giving candid interviews and shrugging off criticism as a healthy corrective. But the press has been highlighting Mr Chaudhry's unprecedented support, and the general, like his predecessors, has come to view it as part of his problem.

June 14, 2007

Thursday, 11 sunset miles. Can't believe Jeff has already secured a surfboard via Craiglist. I have too much going on in Chicago right now to go to Australia but so so so jealous! Picture of Kira Sheppard for no reason :)

Between pretending to shove each other into the lake (we might do it for real when he comes back in August and Lake Michigan is no longer lethally cold), we ran at a nice + easy 10 minutes per mile.

Hal Higdon (Saw him at the marathon clinic. Was star struck.) recommend that runners do their long runs anywhere from 45 to 90 seconds per mile slower than their marathon pace. 11 minutes per mile is kind of tedious but I'm gonna stick with it for my Saturday runs.

Afterwards, we headed over to Sushi Samba Rio. We started with Sambatini (a very mango-y mojito) and Sawagani (flash-fried japanese river crabs). They look like nachos, ne?

Then we shared two rolls, El Topo (salmon, jalapeño, shiso leaf, fresh melted mozzarella & crispy onion) and Pacific (king crab, avocado, asian pear, soy paper & wasabi-avocado crema). The asian pear juiced up the king crab and the soy paper was a nice touch. My favorite was the King Salmon Sashimi Seviche (guava, carrot & mojito sauce), an unexpectedly silky bitterness.

We stayed up till 3 am watching his favorite movie, happiness. Thinking about it made me unhappy for 3 days.

June 13, 2007

Wednesday lunch, attended Toastmasters meeting. Evaluated a great second speech from Xiao Hong based on the concept of Fortress Besieged (Wei Cheng). Also, I will be assuming the position of VP Education for the next twelve months.

How to give feedback from Toastmasters manual. To be most helpful, feedback should be given immediately after the behavior occurs.

1. Describe the specific behaviour that is bothering you. Don't try to analyze the reason behind the behaviour.

2. Explain the behaviour's effect.

3. Listen.

4. Ask for a change in behaviour.

5. Reaffirm person's ability to make the change.

6. End on a positive note

7. Follow up. If improvement occurs, be sure to praise the team member.

June 12, 2007

Saturday 6 am, first training run with CARA. 10 am, CJ + I volunteered with one brick. 2 pm, watched Ocean's Thirteen (hilarious but not impressive) while eating medium size popcorn. 5 pm, watched winged migration (super impressive) while eating extra large cherries. 9 pm, read Maxim. Apparently, when a guy reads a magazine, he does not complete questionnaires and use the scores to decide whether to dump his girlfriend for a hottie. It's a joke on how crazy women are.

Sunday, met up with Arvind, Jeff, Jeff's cousin Kate, Kate's fiance Lee for skydiving. The best part? The anticipation.

Tuesday, purchased Air Structure Triax+10 from Fleet Feet and pink running shorts from Victoria's Secret to match new shoes. Run, Wendy, Run!

Smiling @ Scott and I have a really flexible, independent relationship—mainly because we both liked being single.

June 11, 2007

Toronto has been pioneering the idea that instead of using electricity to power air conditioning, a useful supply of cold can be directly extracted from the environment. The three original Van der Rohe towers have the cooling units built-in between floors. The owner of the buildings is now working out how to convert the area previously occupied by the cooling units into office space—which in downtown Toronto is as precious as electricity.

Between 2000 and 2006, the number of murders in America went up by 7%. Were it not for Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, all of which notched many fewer, the increase would have been 11%.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, state police with flat-bottomed boats rescued 1,400 frozen embryos from a flooded hospital. One of the embryos thus rescued was born earlier this year. His name is Noah.

Pro-choice: Everyone in America has school choice, unless you're poor.

June 10, 2007

I do not agree with the following but such cute sayings!

‘Risk and you shall receive’

‘Where there’s a risk there’s a way’

‘Risk makes the world go round’

‘When you risk upon a star’

June 9, 2007

A sharia scholar gives fatwas, the final Islamic seal of approval, to financial instruments he deems sharia-compliant.

UN's World Food Programme and others are launching the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange (ECEX), which is being promoted as a prototype for other poor countries. ECEX draws inspiration from Chicago's original board of trad; in fact, conditions in modern Ethiopia are similar to those in 1848 Chicago.

Take a long jagged coastline, a collapsed state, a collection of powerful politicians and soldiers keen to make a buck or more and you have a drug peddler's paradise, Guinea-Bissau.

June 8, 2007

Thursday, purchased water-resistant wind-resistant jacket for my upcoming rock climbing trip from North Face, as well as smallish backpack with hip belt, as well as silver running shorts because a girl can never have too many pairs of running shorts. 10 windy miles with Jeff from Ohio to Irving park. Afterwards, I inhaled organic cereal with organic soya milk (everyone's so healthy) while he watched some reality TV show that involves ultimate fighting. I also had the opportunity to listen to a funny song about Kapil created by this guy that Jeff used to jam with.

Friday, moved into new office in the southwest corner of the building. Check out my postcard collection. Thanks everyone for sending them!

In the evening, did the Ravinia thing with Ali, Shahan, Shahan's mum, Yiding and Yiding's friends. It was quite different from outdoor concerts in Millennium Park but in a good way. Lots of wine and candles.

It is cynical for middle-income countries to avoid paying their fair share of drug-discovery costs. In doing so, they risk provoking a backlash from Americans who will, in effect, have to pay more as a result. But things may not get that ugly, thanks to the growing influence of innovators in developing countries themselves.

The pension-fund industry has enjoyed the reverse of the “perfect storm” it suffered in 2000-02, when both stockmarkets and bond yields fell sharply. According to Milliman, the aggregate pension deficit of the leading 100 final-salary schemes had almost disappeared at the end of 2006.

June 7, 2007

Learning first-hand of the soaring demand for waste paper that could be recycled into packaging material, Cheung Yan opened a business in Hong Kong in 1985, scouring dumps for raw material. She then realised that the pickings were infinitely greater in America and moved temporarily to Los Angeles, despite not speaking English. “Vision and methods”, she says, matter more than language.

Hillary loves Bill and Bill loves Bill, so they have something in common. They also had a “secret pact of ambition”: a plan that he would be president for eight years and she would be president for another eight. Whether this is true or not, it fails the test of a truly sensational scoop by not being even slightly surprising.

At a Republican presidential debate, several candidates said they would consider pardoning Lewis “Scooter” Libby, noting that he was convicted in a case where no underlying crime was proven. A bit like Bill Clinton, as they didn't add.

June 6, 2007

Tuesday, celebrated Tom's second day with Chris O and Arvind at n9ne. Took a break from being healthy and indulged in tuna tartare and lobster cones as well as surf & turf. In the evening, super energetic I&R committee meeting. Of all the CFW meetups, these are my favorites!

Two really great tennis classes this week but I have decided to drop tennis at the end of the month to do more running.

June 5, 2007

“People always say hedge funds charge an arm and a leg. We make sure we give that back.” Chris Heasman of Lazards was speaking at a recent rock concert helping to raise money for A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO), a charity that provides children in the developing world with prosthetic limbs.

In Europe the best-known hedge-fund charity is ARK (Absolute Return for Kids). Established in 2002, it provides AIDS treatment in Africa, helps children escape from abusive orphanages in eastern Europe and finances education in Britain.

June 4, 2007

When Brangelina comes calling, we'll be in the mob trying to ask them questions. If Michael Moore is arrested by the U.S. government (as we suspect he hopes), we'll let you know.

At the start of each screening, we hope for epiphanies. For Wong Kar Wai, a film is not one big thing — not the Hollywood notion of movies as snowballing sagas of a world in jeopardy and the heroes who save it — but many little things, an accretion of textured images and vagrant impulses.

She orders blueberry pie and he falls a little in love with her loneliness.

The (perhaps imagined) kiss of a (possibly sleeping) woman.

June 3, 2007

Friday, went shopping for Rose Geranium & Citrus body oil.

Saturday, Cubs game with CJ. Lou Piniella showed again that he has no current equal for flamboyant temper tantrums.

Sunday, potluck dinner with Rachael & Kimberly.

Tracking: genographic project

June 2, 2007

Regina Herzlinger wants a national system which requires individuals to buy health insurance, with help in the form of tax breaks for all punters, and subsidies for the poorest. She wants insurance prices to be risk-adjusted and hospitals to be free to charge what they like so they can offer new services as the market demands. Most importantly, she wants the government to demand transparency of price and quality from this notoriously murky industry.

Marcia Angell argues instead for a single-payer system, insisting that “private insurers compete not by offering better health care, but by avoiding high-risk individuals, limiting services for those they do cover, and, whenever possible, shifting costs.”

June 1, 2007

you said facts are boring
i said language is confusing

you said jokes are amusing
i said laughter is amazing

you said skies are raining
i said spring is growing

you said we are growing
i said ...

Photo: This morning, On my window sill