Yesterday is History

Tomorrow is Mystery

February 28, 2008

Monday, our rock climbing class got cancelled so CJ and I went to see "No Country for Old Men". Supposedly, it's about a normal person finding himself tangled in a violent crime. But why would a normal person accept a lifetime of hiding and lying for a suitcase of money? Get your priorities straight.

Tuesday, dinner with Shirley and her parents at Seoul Food Cafe. It's always amazing to hear parents expressing their hopes and dreams for their children. Sigh.

Thursday, lunch with Fred and Eddie. They both want to return to HK, Fred for the lifestyle and Eddie for career opportunities. I'm sure there will be great opportunities but I love my life right now and it's hard to imagine having it anywhere else.

February 23, 2008

Finally uploaded my pictures from denver/boulder last June. The new blog layout is based on a neat piece from the Denver Art Museum constructed of eye glasses lenses. Intricate interplay of light creating drops of another universe.

Also sorted through pictures from my walk with CJ on the south side of Chicago. A child's birthday party. Guests splashing in a fountain. A butterfly on his foot, on my hand. The heat of summer.

Last, but not least, dad's pictures from the Chicago Marathon.

February 21, 2008

Wednesday, flew to Dallas (more precisely Grapevine) for Fellowship Admission Course. Forgot to bring a book to read so I considered picking up a Vault career guide or two. Since I am getting my FSA, it must be time for a new career. There were only two careers on the shelf, S&T (sales and trading) and consulting. After a moment of deliberation, I decided to grab the March edition of Vogue instead. In an interview, Barbara Walters indicates that she regrets not keeping a date book. Well, I'm keeping my blog, just in case I need to write an autobiography somewhere down the road :P She also says that she is not good at marriage. I couldn't help but wonder does blogging help with that as well?

February 19, 2008

Tuesday, met up with Linda (at lunch) and Jill (before dinner) to discuss their ideas for Young Women's Leadership Council. Afterwards, took the Brown line to Roscoe Village for some stand-up at Beat Kitchen with CJ.

ConsultingMag: It also helps to understand what expertise financial services firms are seeking from another service, their executive-search firms. Global Managing Director Rob Grandy leads Korn/Ferry International’s financial markets practice, and he’s noticed several shifts in preferences during recent months, including the following: Less demand for producer positions, and an overall decrease in searches from retail and commercial banks still grappling with the credit crisis. Less investment banker hiring among top-tier firms, and an increase in investment banker hiring among smaller, second- and third-tier firms. Very strong hiring in the insurance sector.

February 16, 2008

Wednesday, lunch at Shirley's. Her parents are visiting from China and made lots and lots yummy pork buns.

Thursday, dinner with CJ at Chopal. My first visit to Devon.

Saturday night, after a full day of cooking, the much anticipated Jenny and Wendy's housewarming party took place. Wheat crackers with sliced truffle. Smoked salmon cream cheese roll topped with green olive. Pineapple fried rice. Lemongrass shrimp. Korean bbq chicken. Wasabi salmon. Steamed asparagus with volcanic salt. Pad thai still in the kitchen :)

Sunday morning, five miles in puddles with Jim. As a result, we decided to refer to ourselves as the South Loop Leapers. Jeff joined us for brunch at Eleven. Lox & Latke was delish.

February 12, 2008

Last night, I took a cab home, as I accidentally wore my fall tights, instead of fleece-lined winter tights. I accidentally gave the driver 20 bucks instead of 10. He looked at me strangely, paused, then gave me 10 bucks back. Lots of good people in this world.

This morning, 5 miles in gentle snow. I was careful the entire way until I was about to cross Michigan Avenue and enter my building. Then, amidst a crowd alighting from the Metra, I fell on my butt. Signed up for 2008 Chicago marathon. Finding inspiration in 2007 race day photos.

This afternoon, a client called and said, "Thanks for validating the stochastic interest rate scenarios". I said, "Great! Is everything else going okay?" He said, "Yup." I didn't know how to respond, since people generally call me to tell me things are not okay. Random thank you's are always great.

February 10, 2008

Tampa Trip TBE

Thursday, saltwater boat trip. Walking mangrove trees. Wintering pelicans on sandy islands. Dolphins jumping in the wake. Stone crabs and sweet potatoes.

Friday, freshwater kayak trip. Almost hit an alligator with my paddle. Baby alligator getting a ride on the mum. Tandem kayak got stuck in a mangrove tunnel. Tried to figure out who is steering and who is not, on more than one level.

Saturday, Jim joined us for Busch Gardens, an Africa-themed amusement park. Practically no lines at rides. Made eye contact during the three seconds before freefall. Vehicle sank into the river on the safari. Dinner at Columbia surrounded by fantastic decor and painting of Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza. Rhythmic flamenco music and dance. Blew out the lamp but could not blow out the candles, on my first try. Walked through main street in Ybor (E-Bore) with fancy tattoo shops and edgy art shows.

Sunday, 5 miles along Bayshore Boulevard, among the marathoners. Great weather, even greater spirit. Lunch at the Fourth Shrimp Store in St Pete. Afternoon at the piers where CJ fished with locals. Sail boats towed in a row on the brilliant blue sea.

My new nickname is PomPom, the portable navigation system.

February 4, 2008

Sunday, seven miles with Jim. He talked about this book called "Why beautiful people have more daughters", some interesting evolutionary psychology stuff. To celebrate my first weekend in Chicago not working since, I don't even know when, I finished sorting pictures from my Quebec trip.

Monday, interview dinner with Sam at mk. The artichoke + jicama soup was crisp and lovely. The lobster component of whitefish + lobster was smooth and tender but I have yet to encounter whitefish that I really enjoy. When I asked the interviewee what he is looking for in his next work environment, he responded, "Really smart people." If that very question is posed to me, I would say, "Really smart people that share their ideas."

Insurance: A plan without mandates, broadly resembling the Obama plan, would cover 23 million of those currently uninsured, at a taxpayer cost of $102 billion per year. An otherwise identical plan with mandates would cover 45 million of the uninsured — essentially everyone — at a taxpayer cost of $124 billion. Over all, the Obama-type plan would cost $4,400 per newly insured person, the Clinton-type plan only $2,700.

February 2, 2008

Tuesday, lunch with Chin Chern at Sepia. She talked about her vacation in South Africa and the state of the VA market. Love love love the bitter sweet chocolate crepe!

Friday, financial risk management practice meeting at the Union League Club. Ken talked history, from the dark ages to the age of globalization. Sam discussed the future, our push towards outsourcing as well as global domination.

Saturday, potluck at ELF (Eddie, Lin, Fred's place). I brought peanut chicken, sweet sour cabbage, CJ + wine. The fulltimers played charade against the interns. Our first choice was Monica Lewinsky, the most famous intern ever. Tracy and Shahan can read each other's mind.

January 27, 2008

Friday, dinner with Shirley, Fiona and Jenny at hot chocolate. Jenny is in love with this place and ordered her favorite cup of hot chocolate. Appetizer: spinach salad; salty pretzel + cheese fondue. Entree: tender ribs in wine reduction; white fish; pasta. We tried the banana dessert but chocolate #1 is still the best (unbelievable rich, every single time).

Met up with CJ for a late night iO show. The volunteer picked to describe his day and therefore provide a starting point of the improv actors turned to be an over dramatic Columbia theatre student named Joe, who pays 9 bucks per slice of pizza. We also got a couple things at pleasure chest :)

Sunday AM: 6 warm miles, yes warm, along the lakeshore with Jim. Blue skies. Dazzling lake and cityscape. What more can one ask for?

Sunday PM: salsa class with CJ. We usually take the class taught by Miguel but this time Angel instructed. He's great and pays a lot of attention to the basics.

Turn pattern of the day: cross over and cross hands; shoulder to shoulder move where we both turn; cross over; open arms wide on 5 and pause; cross over; step 1 2, turn turn turn.

January 25, 2008

National Geographic Adventure: September 2007. Chicago is the best city to live and play.

The lakefront is immaculate, 25,000 trees are planted annually, wind and solar power are in abundance, and one million square feet (92,903 square kilometers) of sky-high gardens are within city limits—more green rooftops than in all other U.S. cities combined.

Times UK: January 2008. New York is full. Chicago has space. The Big Apple’s little Apple store has queues so long, they’ve hired bouncers; there’s an Apple store in Chicago as big as a ballroom.

New York has buildings. Chicago has architecture. In the 1920s, city ordinance laws stipulated that above 262ft (the 24th floor), all buildings have to be stepped back to just one-quarter of their footprint. So in Chicago, you can now see over the shoulder of the world’s tallest building in 1920 to the world’s tallest building in 1999.

January 24, 2008

Monday, 6 some what less chilly miles with Jim. Yes, I'm attempting to be optimistic.

Wednesday, 5 more miles. I'm very thankful that I can show up at work at noon. There is no way I can run outside at 7 am under current conditions. In the evening, full council meeting where we discussed grant making. Afterwards, Karen, Melissa A, Sheeba, Joanne had dinner at Star of Siam. Beef in green curry (apparently the recipe of the prime minister of Thailand) was super yummy.

Who’s Cuddly Now? Law Firms: That is also the message behind changes at Chapman & Cutler, a midsize firm in Chicago, which rolled out a two-tier pay scale in September. Associates can choose to bill 2,000 hours a year and be paid accordingly. Those who would like to see their families a little more can opt for 1,850 billable hours. Both groups will have a chance to become partner, albeit at different paces. Given the choice, more than half took the reduced schedule.

Are men smarter than women? No. But they sure think they are. An analysis of some 30 studies by British researcher Adrian Furnham, a professor of psychology at University College London, shows that men and women are fairly equal overall in terms of IQ. But women, it seems, underestimate their own candlepower (and that of women in general), while men overestimate theirs.

January 20, 2008

Saturday AM: 5 very very very chilly miles, which inspired me to purchase new winter running tights.

Saturday PM: salsa class with CJ. Given the temperature outside, we walked around Water Tower, nibbled on Wow Bao and purchased a Swarovski necklace. Caught there will be blood, beautiful but oh so depressing.

Sunday: watched Sicko at Sarita's place with Kate, Carrie B, Melissa A. I didn't realize that it was a comparative study of the American healthcare system with that of Canada, Britain, France & Cuba. Hilarious and touching!

Shirley is starting her coop term with us on Monday. Yay!

January 18, 2008

Wednesday, another fun, fun I&R meeting. My involvement with Chicago Foundation for Women has been one of the most satisfying things since arriving in Chicago. I really enjoy having a leadership role based on stimulating discussions, as opposed to bossing people around. We are getting lots of thoughtful new members and they are enthusiastically volunteering to do this and that. Looking forward to our event on March 1.

Friday, ran 5 miles outside with my Smurf hat. Hey, looking like a Smurf is better than looking like a bank robber. Very icy but loving it!

January 16, 2008

Jenny makes breakfast.

January 13, 2008

Sunday morning, run 6 miles outside with my new running gloves. It was a bit tough since I slacked off for a few weeks.

In the evening, CJ picked me up before the Cowboys/Giants game ended. I was like, huh? He was like, I can't stand watching it anymore! We played two games of pool at Green Door, followed by silly salsa dancing at Buzz.

January 10, 2008

In praise of nerds: Parents are partly to blame. Jockish parents may teach their children jockish ways. But nerdish parents are often just as culpable. Their indifference or high-mindedness can inadvertently bring misery on their children.

January 8, 2008

Got new passport. Yay!

View from our beautiful apartment.

January 5, 2008

For Christmas, CJ gave me a copy of Adbusters No. 75. I like this comment from Carl Hoffbauer: "Have faith? Let's stop using a word whose premise is belief without reason. Have spirit. Have reason. Have ovaries. Have balls."

Financial Times: Candidates will presumably require a willingness to serve the motherland without too much concern for remuneration, which will not compare with that of investment banks or private equity firms. For a Chinese citizen returning from overseas, the opportunity to work for such an important, high-profile, ministry-level government department is far more valuable than any bonus. Wall Street and London are filled with talented Chinese expatriates who would jump at a chance to work for CIC, if only for the contacts to be made in government and business.

January 3, 2008

Off track: THE city's average commute is not quite America's longest (that honour goes to New York), but in one respect Chicago is unrivalled: the bitterness and passion of the argument surrounding its public-transport system.

A black and white case: Today, never-married, childless, university-educated American women of between 40 and 64 earn $7,000 a year more than similar men.

January 1, 2008

Lost my passport. Nay!