Name: neener
School: USC Marshall School of Business
Status: Employed...finally
E-mail: Click here!
Reason for blogging: I'm incredibly self-absorbed.
I'm listening to...
::"Stay Beautiful," The Last Goodnight
::"Spaceman," The Killers
::"Green Light," John Legend
::"Superstar," Lupe Fiasco

I'm watching...
::The Office

I'm reading...
::Taiwan, A Political History, by Denny Roy
::The Devil and Miss Prym, by Paulo Coehlo

I've just seen...
::Slumdog Millionaire
::I Love You, Man
::The Reader
06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003
07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003
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09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003
10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003
11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
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03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
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06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
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10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
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10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
A Possible Theft?  
David Lebovitz, who I follow on Twitter, retweeted this today: "davidlebovitz: RT @drvino Somebody needs to alert Stonehenge that the missing slabs have been found masquerading as beds in my parents' guest room."

Sounds like drvino's parents stole my childhood mattress from my house.

Monday, June 29, 2009
Italian Tomato.  
(You might not get the reference if you haven't been to a Mitsuwa food court lately). I love I thought that this awning was so cute!

tomato awning

Sunday, June 28, 2009
I *Heart* Offal.  
Last week's Top Chef Masters' elimination challenge was to cook street food featuring offal for people at Universal Citywalk, which apparently is a representation of "middle America," whatever that means. The key proteins that the chefs had to work with were heart, tongue, tripe, and pig ears.

Right before the commercial break, they had a text-in contest where contestants just have to text their answer to this question: "Which of these offal choices is the most awful? Ear, tongue, stomach, or heart?"

My immediate response was, "I don't understand your question!" I grew up eating offal (Taiwanese people pretty much eat every part of the animal), and I think it's offal-ly DELICIOUS. Pig ears = crunchy goodness! Hearts = yummy in my tummy! Tripe = chewy fun! Mmmm...makes me want to go home and have Mom make me some chicken hearts.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009
Happy Father's Day!  
To commemorate Father's Day, I will recount a recent exchange around the family table.

Me: Have you ever eaten a baby kiwi?

Dad: The fruit or the bird?

(entire table bursts into laughter while Dad looks at us, confused)

Thanks, Dad!

More of the Same...But Better.  
On the way back from work, I decided to stop by Berkeley Bowl West, the recently-opened, long-awaited second branch of Berkeley Bowl, a very popular market in the area that boasts a stunningly great variety of produce.

I have never enjoyed the Berkeley Bowl shopping experience. Yes, their produce is awesome. I love their bulk grains and pasta section. I love the fact that I can buy almond meal for my pâte sucrée when I'm feeling too lazy to do all the blanching and processing. However, it is crowded, and the people who shop there are really annoying. They are self-righteous, inconsiderate, pointy-elbowed, and just terrible. I don't think they are always like this...I think that something about this market just turns people into aggressive douchebags. Thus it was with extreme caution that I approached this second branch.

berkeley bowl west facade

My first impression as I walked toward it was that the market was gynormous and that it had a really sleek look (thanks to architect Kava Massih). When I walked in, I was once again impressed with the size of the place. Because it's so large, the aisles are nice and wide, which I assume was designed to reduce the shopping cart traffic jams that are common at the original BB. The organic section is larger than the one at the original BB, and they carry more variety of produce. For example, I noticed right away that they had more potato varieties. So far, so good.

As I was looking at some strawberries, I got bumped by a shopping cart. I turned to look behind me...perhaps there were two carts trying to go down the aisle at the same time? Silly me. Of course that wasn't the case. The guy had had plenty of space (about two feet separated his cart from the shelves). He merely elected to steer into me. Of course, he offered no apology. Typical BB behavior.

I unluckily finished my shopping at the same time that everyone started lining up for the cashiers, so I had to stand in line for a bit. I've been well trained for insanely long lines at the original BB, so I was cool with that. The person in front of me was a typical original BB customer: earth-loving (reusable bags in hand), animal-loving (vegetarian products), and human-unfriendly (only acknowledging my existence to glare at me as I reached near her stuff to grab a divider for the conveyor belt).

All in all, I give Berkeley Bowl West a thumbs up. It's a little more sterile than the first in terms of character, but it's bigger, prettier, and with more parking: enough pros to keep my fury at bay while I deal with the self-centered customers I have come to know and intensely dislike.


Friday, June 12, 2009
A Helpful Hint.  
For people who are not that familiar with Excel are switching into a career where they will be working with Excel a lot, such as company finance, I highly recommend learning how to use "Paste Special..." function. For example, you can copy and paste just formats (instead of using the format painter button) or multiply everything by the same number or convert numbers stored as text into number format in only a few steps.

The reason I mention this is because I just had to work on a report with a coworker. We were trying to trace how some numbers were being calculated, and my coworker copied a cell from one workbook to another, went into the cell and added "=" in front of the number he had pasted and a "/1000" after, and pressed enter. Then he copied another cell from another workbook to another, went into the cell and added "=" in front of the number he had just pasted and a "/1000" after, and pressed enter. At this point, I realized that he was going to do this for every single one of the data points we were verifying. I started to feel an attack of "itchy mouse" syndrome, where I really, really, really wanted to grab the mouse out of his hand; at the same time, I felt bad because I had spent 15 of the last 20 minutes being pretty bossy, saying things like "You can do a lookup here" and "Just press F4." I did end up exercising self-restraint---after all, it wasn't like there were 50 cells---but it was still painful for me, since I absolutely detest tedious stuff such as this. Don't make your coworkers suffer the way I did.


Thursday, June 11, 2009
Another Random Thought.  
Why is it that the only picture the media has of Euna Lee, one of the reporters that was sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea, is a poor quality photo that looks like (1) she took it of herself from an old camera phone and (2) it was possibly cropped from a saucy photo she was sending to a significant other? They couldn't find any other photo? Really?

Thursday, June 04, 2009
Random Thoughts.  
Just some things that came into my head while I watched Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

During 1st Half:

Walton?! Six points! Really?

Oh, now GM is running ads in Transformers 2 movie ads...if they weren't in such a sorry state, I'd just ignore that bit of cross-marketing. Now it just looks sad.

Damn, Kobe is on fire. The guy can play, I'll give him that.

During Half Time Show:

Are they playing some crazy Chinese music in the background during the half time break? Why?

My recap of the "Kobe-Magic Conversation" would be pretty concise. Magic to Kobe: I wuv you!

During 2nd Half:

Bynum, you look so surprised about that foul. I totally believe you. Maybe you can go into acting after your basketball career is over.

Is Howard's deltoid muscle bigger than my head?

Argh! Stop it with the Prius commercials with the human Legos that wear unitards and wave their hands around! It's creeping me out!

I don't know, Coors...I'm pretty sure that my current method of determining if things are cold, i.e. feeling them with my hands, is pretty effective.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009
"Smoldering," That's Me.  
You might think that "smoldering" is obviously a great word to describe me. That's because when you see the world "smoldering," you probably think of "sexy," "sensual," and other words that perfectly depict me. So it's not a surprise to me that it might be a surprise to you that I'm not talking about my undeniable attractiveness today. Don't feel bad, it's an understandable mistake.

No, today, I am talking about my smoldering fury. Usually, I am civil and polite, my anger slowly burning within. But there are times when life throws fuel on the coals of my wrath, and when that happens, don't get burned by the flames of my rage! (I'll stop there because I don't want to whip out the thesaurus for more synonyms of "fury." And yes, my vocabulary is severely limited.)

There has been much fuel of late, my friends. Much fuel. And the only thing to do is let it burn. This means I am forced to call out all the things/people that fanned the flames.

WaMu/Chase (or whatever you're calling yourself these days): I fully supported you through your troubled times, but now I am pissed at you. Pissed. The first time you hit me with a return fee because there was an issue with a check I deposited, I let that slide. Mistakes happen. You told me there was something illegible on the check. I took care of it, didn't I? I got another check. A legible one. And then you hit me again with a return fee when you couldn't process the second check. So, it turns out when you said that there was something illegible on the check, that wasn't the reason the first check didn't go through. Dammit, I did what you asked and now you're penalizing me again because you didn't give me the right info? But you weren't done with me, were you? No, then you had to make me go through your stupid automated telephone system that is idiotically set up so that if a person doesn't remember their telephone access code, they can't access their account at all. You couldn't have multiple ways to access your account, say by providing two sets of identifying information like a SSN or a DOB, could you? What if it was an emergency? Your customers would be f*ed. Yeah, I dropped the F-bomb (kinda)! You forced me to enter random access codes over and over and over again until by some stroke of luck, I figured out my stupid access code. And THEN, when I finally got to a real person, I had to listen to some detailed, lame ass explanation about bank fees. I have an MBA, okay? I sat through activity-based costing. I know why there is a fee! But I also sat through marketing, and perhaps you would like to know something about customer service and how it's not nice to slap a loyal customer with a fee TWICE for the same damn thing. You better tread carefully around me from now on, WaMu/Chase.

And Microsoft Excel, what the heck do you think you are doing? I thought we were friends, but now I'm not so sure. Why do you have to be so disrespectful of my time? Oh, sure, people love to throw around the "user error" explanation, and I've done my share of that. But, really? After working against the clock to update the most tedious report I have ever had the displeasure to be responsible for, after the hours I spent copying and researching journal entries, after all the modifications I made to streamline what I could of this twisted process, you decide that when I do the responsible thing and save my file, you're just gonna make all the tabs in my workbook magically disappear. And no, all you Excel nerds, the sheets were not hidden. They were gone. A workbook without any worksheets. Oh, that's just hilarious. Is that amusement on my face or hysteria? Take a wild guess.

Oh, and I can't forget you, coworkers. My dear, dear coworkers. When I am checking my work email from home minutes before I have to leave for the courthouse because I am doing my civic duty (i.e., jury duty) and see an urgent request for some reporting which I then quickly forward to the person who trained me on similar reporting with the question, "Do you think you can do this if they can't wait til tomorrow?", is it absolutely necessary for said person to forward my message to their manager and somehow imply that I am saddling them with work that is no longer their responsibility? Is it necessary for this incident to spark off an email chain with my manager regarding the necessity of building "back up processes" which includes a grudging "we can do this for you this time because it's urgent"? Listen to me, people. Let's try not to be such douchebags. If you can't do something for me, you can tell me or find an easy workaround (which you eventually did). You don't have to be so douche-baggy about it. You don't have to imply that I'm some kind of unreliable twit and gripe and gripe and gripe. I apologize for not having a backup for an ad hoc request when the only other person in my group is as new as me, and frankly, it's not unreasonable of me to forward the ad hoc request to the person most acquainted with the requester and in the best position to gauge how to fulfill the request. Douchebaggery, politics, and the marking of territory. Feel free to do it except when I'm involved. Don't make me school you!

Whew. I'm tired. I think the flames have died down a bit. Until the next time...

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EBITAS (noun):
Abbreviation for "Earnings Before Income Tax, Amortization, and SGARA." Next week, find out what SGARA is.

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