Friday, November 20, 2009

Here Without You

Continuing from yesterday's theme of storytelling and hitting the "WOW" moment, here's a slightly older clip that I've always enjoyed a lot.

The notion of storytelling is something that almost all of my courses here have emphasized, in one way or another. In Information Management, storytelling was presented as a way of managing and transmitting knowledge within an organization. In Accounting, we're encouraged to look beyond simple ratios and piece together the entire story of a company's performance from the various bits of financial data available. Marketing is all about the customer engagement story, and even Quantitative Methods... ok, I'd really be stretching it on that one. Still, it's a concept that has taken me a while to see, especially in terms of combining the discrete disciplines that we're being taught to get a better idea of the larger "story".

Storytelling is also something I picked up on Wednesday from Richard Sells, the Chief Innovation Officer of Electrolux who presented the story of the rise and challenges of Electrolux, where its been and where it is going. He was talking to us in the context of a customer insight project we're doing for Marketing, and one of the key points he emphasized to us during the presentation was the need to connect with our audience. In this case, the audience consisted of people who'd be affected by the move to a national "Smart Grid". We needed to look at both macro trends, as well as observing and talking to our audience to get a sense of what they needed, what they're priorities were. In reflecting on our group's presentation, I feel we could have done a better job of building the framework of a story within which to present our 'insights.' Granted, it was only a 3 minute presentation, but we should be able to improve for the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The "WOW" moment

I came across a brilliant talk today (thanks Yoshi) on digital footprints and the Web's Secret Stories. I believe everyone needs to see this talk, and play around with the tools mentioned in it.

Its very rare to come across something that, as soon as I see it, makes me go "Wow, that was incredible." An idea so new, so interesting, and yet so intuitive that it inspires and energizes me. A product, service, or technology that I want to actively talk about and share with other people (as I've already done with this on Facebook and Twitter, and am now blogging about). I guess in a way, its the rarity of the event that makes it special.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Walking the Unseen Trail, Owning a Beer Company

After slogging through some Marketing and Econ readings for this week, I decided to take a break and catch up on a few of the blogs I follow. I came across a great article on Brazen Careerist (a community I highly recommend), which made me realize that one of the barriers I face in updating my blog regularly is trying to come up with topics that others might find interesting. Reading David's comments made me think back on why I started this blog, what the Unseen Trail means to me.

This is one of my favourite pictures, and somehow seems to capture the essence of what I mean by the Unseen Trail. A shaft of light illuminates a distant, unknown goal, but the way there isn't clear. Reaching that goal will be arduous and complicated, yet ultimately rewarding.

At this point in my MBA, I've reached a level where I've finally become comfortable with the current level of ambiguity I'm facing over my post-MBA plans. I've forced myself to do more research, and learnt a bit more about my options. I've also started to find areas of business that I enjoy and want to focus on, as well as ways of pushing myself further in those fields. The trail ahead is still hidden, but the journey is becoming a bit easier.

Moving away from philosophical musings, here's another amusing read I came across. It basically talks about how two ad agencies enable random people to collectively own Pabst Brewing Company. The idea is really pushing the boundaries of crowd sourcing and social media, something I've been studying and researching seriously for some time now. It also raises some interesting possibilities for companies to generate financing from alternative sources, or for non-profits for that matter (think Kiva for example).

Are You Ready?

Interesting video promotion the continuing relevance of social media for business.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Integration Week - Thoughts

Readers of the Unseen Trail will have noticed that there has been a significant hiatus by the author. The short answer explaining this would be: Its an MBA! Or as one of my friends on the course said "Dude, how do you even have time to blog?" The long answer would be that in the last three weeks, I finished off Block 1, completed Integration Week (more in a bit) and took a week off to recuperate... I mean, review. Yeah, that's it. Anyways, now that the grind has started again, I thought I'd take some time to recap those manic few weeks.

Week 4 of Block 1 pretty much flew by - see previous post for a relatively accurate description thereof.

Integration Week was a very different story. The aim is to "Integrate the three disciplines together" through a series of time-constrained exercises. However, for me Integration Week was more about learning to work together as teams, being able to divide up tasks quickly and then later integrate individual work into the group report / presentation. Over and over. Throughout the week we were focusing on analysing a single company, through the three different lenses of Accounting, Quantative Methods, and Information Management. Monday we had four hours to prepare a presentation with an accounting focus; while those four hours sped away, it seemed like a huge luxury later in the week since we only had two hours to prep on Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day we also had to give a 5 minute presentation along with our written report, which was another good takeaway from the week overall. It really gave people who are not comfortable presenting opportunities to get comfortable with the process, as well as enough situations for everyone to participate. We also started moving away from "Death By PowerPoint" by using different presentation techniques such as a News Interview.

Thursday flipped up the game again. In the morning we spent an hour or so making collages about how to integrate information. To be honest, I didn't see the point of this particular exercise, but then again, I haven't been much for collages at any point. The second half of the day was given over to making a two minute commercial on a topic none of us had seen before. We had five hours to decide on a message, a style, storyboard, shoot, and edit. Got off to a slightly slow start, but once we hit our stride we really managed to get it together. I don't think we left ourselves enough time to edit, so the finished product was a little rough, but we were all pretty happy with the result.

On a side note, we didn't finish in the top 5 videos shown that day, but a lot of people told us later that they really enjoyed our video, and that we were robbed. Ahhh, artistic genius is often appreciated by the masses but rejected by the critics. After the judging, the entire class (along with a few professors) went out for drinks to a local pub, and proceeded to drink perhaps a little more than they should have. Overall though, it was a great evening, incredibly relaxing after the hectic week / month, and a great way to unwind, and share experiences and thoughts.

So, to kind of wrap up, what did I think of the first Block of my Cass MBA? Good in parts, frustrating in parts, and challenging in parts. I think the course overall was perhaps a little slow to get up and running, but I can understand that is more to ease people in a bit and get them used to what is expected. I'm looking forward to the increased challenge in Block 2, stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Now with MBA Comics...

Readers of Unseen Trail will have noticed that there have been no updates for the last week and a half (at least, those of you not doing the MBA with me). Let's just say that if I thought the course was intensive before, I had no idea what I was smoking. Block 1 has literally sped by, and before any of us have quite got a handle on what's happening, it's almost ended. I hope I'm not the only one floundering around a bit, trying to figure out what I've actually learnt in this period... it feels like nothing, and yet I'm somewhat comfortable discussing concepts such as return on capital employed, depreciation, z scores, and even weaving. The pace of the MBA I think can best be summed by the response I give to the question "How's the MBA going?"

Seriously though, it's not that bad, it's mostly about time management at this stage, and learning effective ways of handling assignments in the group. My group had a meeting on Wednesday to analyze how we did on the last QM assignment, figure out how to improve, peer feedback (the gloves were off on that one...), etc. It seems to have helped us in the new assignments that we've now got, but still room for improvement. I think I'm not finding it as tough because I'm consistently trying to explain the concepts to myself / others, and that process helps me figure out how to understand things in my own head. On the other hand, exams aren't till December, so lets see if I manage to retain anything.

On Saturday, Arati and I went to Golders Green Park for a couple of hours. It was a really nice outing, very relaxing. The park is pretty nice, a bit small but still pleasant. Unfortunately winter seems to be sweeping in quickly, so not sure how many more outdoor excursions we'll be able to manage. I think a lot of these places, such as Hampstead Heath, Isle of White, etc., will have to wait until the spring. In the meantime, museums and shows abound, and shall be visited.

One of the things I really miss about Delhi is the driving. I know, sounds crazy what with the traffic, crowds, manic drivers, road rage, etc, but I still miss it. I loved driving, the sense of total freedom and escape it offered. Getting out on the weekend, driving around Delhi, visiting friends, going to malls, talking to Arati during the drive, etc, was a blast. I haven't driven for over two months now, and the concept is beginning to feel almost alien, almost like I've forgotten how to.

On the plus side, no more breakdowns in the monsoon. Yay!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Indian and an Italian walk into a bar...

Into week 2 and the pace is really starting to pick up. Group assignments are coming in, and we need to be on the ball to make sure they get done. Meanwhile, reading for some of the other classes is piling up (ex. six 10+ page PDFs for IM to read tonight), but I'm finding myself spending too much time on Quantitative Methods. I guess this makes sense since it’s the "hardest" subject this block, but I think it’s more because I'm still in a reactive mode, rather than proactive... reading the chapters after classes / on the weekends. Let’s see how much I can catch up with this weekend; ideally I'd like to spend some time reading the next chapter, because I know regression is going to be pretty tough. I spent a part of last Sunday helping a classmate revise some previous QM material, and found that that process really helped clarify my own understanding of the topics, maybe will continue that this weekend as well.

Our group work is getting better as we go along, and I think we'll be a lot more effective in the future. Since this the first assignment and we all want to do well, there's a bit too much flailing around, which I'm definitely guilty of as well. One of my group members made a good suggestion, to sit down after we've handed in the assignment and review our performance, how we can improve in the future, how each person performed, etc. We've been doing similar peer reviews for other activities, and it’s really helped. Today was also the first meeting of SASCO, the student activities committee for the MBA. Bounced around a lot of good ideas, how we may want to structure the events / committee, budgets, etc. Honestly, I'm a bit wary of how much time it may end up consuming, but still, I think it’s a great opportunity to get people involved, allow the various wives / partners to interact with the MBA class, organize fun evenings to relax.

So, our group was working on our QM case study today, pasting charts from Excel into Word, writing up analysis, etc. I pasted in the first chart, and was about to move on when my Italian colleague said "No no no, it does not look right, you should paste it in bitmap format." To which my response was "But bitmap takes up too much space and memory, I think this looks ok." We discussed it for a bit, compared both the Excel table and the Bitmap image (along with JPEG and GIF). I will admit that the Bitmap image did look the clearest and of the best quality, but found the stereotypical reactions pretty amusing. I mean, you really can't script it better, the Italian from the textile industry talking about image quality and the Indian IT guy talking about technical specifications. We ended up going with the Bitmaps, and I think its one of the best examples thus far of what I'm really enjoying about the course. I'm learning so much from my peers in so many different ways, and I think a big part of that is keeping my mind open and trying to pick up on the different ways we all approach problems. It truly is "buono".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

True Roots

Enjoyable Indian ad - we truly are like that only.

Leveraging Skills Learned from Past Jobs When Interviewing for Your Next Job

Interesting article that popped up on Reader today, and one that echoes several things that we've discussed at Cass. For many of us looking at switching jobs, one of the key elements is going to be the ability to translate our old skills and experiences into ones suitable for a new career, and effectively communicating the same through CVs, interviews, etc. The Career Transition workshop this week and the online self-assesment applications have actually helped me see some of these things, in that they've allowed me to look at previous experiences not in terms of specific events, but rather as a part of broader themes. For example, one thing I realized was that during my time at my former company, I built up a level of expertise in a paticular domain . While the specifics of the expertise may not be relevant to my next job, the fact that I have the proven ability to learn new information and apply it to different situations successfully is definately relevant.

This viewpoint was enhanced during the CV editing session. I had a very technical-oriented CV, with a lot of industry specific jargon that I wasn't able to translate into everyday language, a fact pointed out to me by a couple of very helpful ladies in class. Working with the CV consultant not only helped me fix the mechanical details of the CV, but also shift my thinking / PoV. While I'm still not sure exactly sure which career or industry I want to target post-MBA, at least now I can think about positioning myself appropriately by using previous experiences as strong foundations for change.

On a totally different note, had a great discussion at lunch today with a fellow MBA student from the video game industry, who's worked on at least one game that I've enjoyed in the past. We talked about both past and future games, how the industry works, what it takes to break into it as a professional, etc. As someone who's played a lot of games (Arati would probably say to many...), it was pretty cool to get an insider's point-of-view on it. For example, the current shift towards micro-payments fuelled MMOs and the age demographics involved in it isn't something I'd thought about, but made a lot of sense as we discussed it. I think that's one of the things I'm enjoying most about this program, the sheer diversity of people to talk to and learn from. In another instance, I was talking to an Aussie who'd had issues with IT companies unable to deliver a quality product, and was able to provide some insight on the subject from a vendor's perspective.

You know what makes me nervous? Getting e-mails about assignment due dates and submission guidelines, when we haven't recieved the assignment yet. Oh well, up on Google Calender it goes. Does anyone know a good way of showing Google Calendar on the Windows Vista Desktop?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Anyone else feeling overwhelmed by data these days? I'm trying to keep updated with stuff on Google Reader, but am just finding it impossible to read everything. I know that I have too many feeds subscribed, but feel that I'll miss something important if I unsubscribe. As it is, I've got more sites that accumulate and coalate date (SlashDot, for instance), rather than those that generate fresh content themselves. Other peoples' coping strategies welcome.

One example of this would be the Financial Times newspaper. Before starting the MBA, I figured it would be a good idea to get it everyday, keep up with important business news in the City, etc. I really enjoyed it for the week before my course started; its a great paper, highly condensed, well written for the most part. However, since the 7th, I've barely had time to read one on the weekend, and am considering cancelling the subscription at the end of the month. Since I live about an hour away from the Cass campus, I need to leave the house around 7:15 to get to school for the 9 AM time (the extra 45 mins is budgeting for the unexpected joys and suprises of the Northern Line).

Today was a Career Transition workshop, where we went back to the basics of looking at what motivates us, what we find interesting and stimulating about potential jobs, and ideally what we'd like to have in our future careers. We also examined our own career timelines, and tried to identify the what and why of the various peaks and drops, and the transitions through them. I found it pretty stimulating, and got a lot out of it. Admitedly, the post-lunch session flagged a bit, but then eh. I seem to be lining up towards a particular career path,based on my interests, experiences, and skillset, but at the same time don't want to settle for the most obvious choice.

Everyone Woke Up Today

Induction period over, first day of actual classes, and work suddenly became serious. 2 hours of accounting, followed by 4 hours of probability during QUantative Methods. I have some accounting reading for Thursday's class, Quant problems for Wednesday, and the first groupwork assignment for Quant as well. Plenty of time left, right? Well yes, except that I had a networking event this evening till 8:30 (which meant I got home by 9:30), tomorrow have a careers workshop all day (with a CV session tossed in for good measure), drinks with one of Arati's cousins on Wednesday evening, and group meetings on Thursday and Friday for coursework review and the Quant project. Which basically means tomorrow I'll need to finish up the QM work and reading before leaving Cass, finish up the Accounting prep on Wednesday before drinks (and maybe after?), then see how it goes from there. Oh, and sign up for a few more personal development workshops before they're filled up. Fun fun? I think today people really came to appreciate the high-intensity nature of the session.

So, I haven't posted thus far about how life at Cass is going, since I've been busy trying to adjust to being back in the academic grind again. The last two weeks have basically flown past, and I'm only now catching up on all the stuff we've done. In terms of course content, the Induction was basically meant as a way for us to get introduced to the concepts and expectations of the MBA, get our minds thinking along new lines, and become familliar with the facilities and opportunities that Cass offers. More importantly however, it was a chance for all of us to get to know each other, and become comfortable in our groups. The batch is an amazing group of people; 30 nationalities, and a wide variety of backgrounds and ages. For example, my group has one person each from England, Wales, Canada, Russia, the US, Lebanon, Italy, and India (c'est moi).

One of the most enjoyable parts of the course so far has definately been the Portsmouth weekend. We went down to the Naval Base there, and engaged in two days of intense leadership and teambuilding activities. We were broken down into different groups, and learnt a lot about each other during the process. On a personal note, I found that our group really evolved during the entire process, progressing from strong individual tendancies during the initial stages, to really working well and cohesively as a team in the later stages. If you haven't done such exercies yourself, you may have a tendancy to scoff at them, but if you go through it with an open mind and a good group, you can get a huge amount out of it.

The highlight of the weekend - by far- was the DRIU, the Damage Repair Instructional Unit. This basically represents a ship's room, which is damaged and taking on water. You have to work together as a team to repair the damage and stop the water flow. Except that the water is about 18 degrees, around 5.5 feet deep, and the room is constantly swaying; one moment the water level is around your knees, the next you're pressed up against the ceiling trying to catch your breath while trying to control large pieces of wood, wedges, hammers, and flailing bodies. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Within the last couple of weeks, I've really come to appreciate my decision to come to Cass. Part of the reason for this is that we had to examine our reasons for doing an MBA, and especially a Cass MBA as part of our Introduction to Strategy lecture. I think that the focus on exploring and developing an individual's entire skill set, the emphasis on learning by doing rather than mostly theory, and the large component that groupwork plays in grades forces you to adapt and learn quickly how to excel in team environments. Then again, it'll be interesting to see how enthusiastic I am about the high intensity workload in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cross Posting - Answers revealed

At the outset, let me state my goal:

1) I'm now using Twitter, Facebook, Blogger (obviously), and may use LJ occassionally.
2) If I post a Blog update, I have to manually post a link on Facebook.
3) If I tweet, I'd like to set the same message on FaceBook.
4) I'm lazy.

Here's my solution:

1) Connect Facebook to twitter, so that tweets update you status message.
2) Use twitterfeed to automatically tweet your blog posts (which in turn will update FaceBook...).
3) Enjoy.

Cross Posting like a fiend

So, I'm trying to integrate how to cross-post / cross-read multiple social networking applications. Basically, twitter, Facebook, and Blogger for now, and will check about LiveJournal / LinkedIn in a bit. Any ideas welcome.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pune, New York, and Pants

Back in Delhi, and missing Pune a bit. The vacation was amazing, exactly what we both needed. Arati's folks were incredibly nice, warm, caring, and really made me appreciate how good it is to be a son-in-law. No seriously, I went beer-great food-sleep-whiskey-great food-sleep almost every day. One of the best nights was going out to a restaurant called Flags, which has very high quality international cuisine. We had mushroom bruschetta and fried calamari for appetizers; Arati and her dad had fish as a main course, and mom-in-law and I split chicken fajitas and bangers and mash. At this point, I was really full, since I'd had a beer with the meal, and a couple at home before we went out. Unfortunately, the waiter brought the dessert menu, and I saw the brownie and ice cream option. I really shouldn't have but I did... it came out on a sizzler platter with chocolate sauce on the side. It was amazing... and I couldn't finish it. I really couldn't. Its the first time I've been defeated by food in a long time... but its a defeat I thoroughly enjoyed. Came home and crashed out, didn't eat breakfast or lunch the next day.

Spent a lot of time with Arati's nani and dog Bagheera, which was one of the main objectives we had for this trip. Baggy is 15, which is pretty old, and since we're off to the UK for at least a year, we may not see him again. However, he's had a pretty sweet life, and is relatively healthy for his age; c'est la vie I guess.

In Pune we also had the chance to attend a pre-departure briefing organized by the British Council for students going to the UK. While a lot of the stuff we knew, we also got a few very useful tips which we hadn't thought about, such as keeping lists of everything that is in your suitcases, checking with airlines directly about extra baggage, etc. We also met a few alumni from various UK universities, and had a chance to pick their brains about various issues about studying and living in England. Best piece of advice: never wear a football jersey.

Pune also means Mahjong; we played on two nights and I got schooled what good each time. The first night I blame on lack of knowledge, and the second on lack of luck. I won three hands over a period of almost 6 hours, but was calling on about 15 hands. Just no love. Arati and her mom won most of the hands, but her dad won all the big pots. I think I need to stick to poker, at least I have some luck in that.

One evening, Arati and I went out with her mom and nani to see the film New York. Personally, I thought it was pretty nice. A lot of it was over dramatized in Bollywood style, and Katrina Kaif was pretty annoying, but some of the concepts it dealt with were well thought out. The three male actors did jobs well, and I continued to be impressed with John Abraham's evolution as an actor. I think the movie also struck a bit of a personal note with me, since I was there on 9/11. New York echoed some of the fears I - and I suspect a lot of students like me - had at the time of randomly being picked up. I'd have preferred to have seen the complexities of the situation dealt with in more detail, and a more balanced presentation of the American perspective, but still enjoyed the movie.

We also did some shopping, but I have to ask, what the f... is up with men's pants and jeans? I mean seriously, when did men's jeans become about sparkly patterns, rainbow labels, and high waistbands? Or cargo pants that look like office slacks? Or formal pants so shiny that you can use them as a substitute for disco balls? The shop assistants these days are also such a frustrating lot. "Hi, do you have plain, simple, casual jeans?" **Baffled Expression** "Like the one's I'm currently wearing?" **Quick Glance Down, Pivot, pull out closest pair of jeans with nice big shiny star in sequins on the left leg, Display** "Sigh." Eventually managed to find a couple of nice Wranglers, but it was a pain.

Pune Pictures

Monday, July 13, 2009

Unemployment and Pune

So, on Friday I finished almost three years at my company. It was a sort of bittersweet moment, since I've been through so much there, and overall enjoyed my work a lot. Wrapped up the handover process, fired off a few last e-mails, did a final product release, and then fini. So, as of now, I'm officially unemployed, and can begin the process of adjusting to the MBA.

Saturday morning we arrived in Pune to spend 9 days or so with the in-laws. After the sweltering, humid, and oppressive climate Delhi is experiencing, landing at Pune and hearing the pilot say "... the outside temperatue is 25 degrees" was such a blessed relief. The weather here is amazing... cloudy, drizzle, cool. The city itself seems much smaller and in a way more intimate than Delhi, but that may just be an outsider's point of view. There are also quite a few golf courses right next to main raods, and its a pleasure seeing the lush green fairways as you drive past. Arati's dad is threatening to take me out for a round on Wednesday... since I last played almost 8-9 years ago, this fills me with fear. Oh well, the worst that will happen is that Arati and the various caddies will get a good laugh, and a relaxing walk around the fairway when we stop every 50 odd feet for me to hit the next shot.

The house here is lovely, and there is an incredibly relaxed feeling of being on vacation, without the work stress. Or should be anyway, I'm still dreaming about the office, and stressing a bit. It will take me some time to convince myself that its not my responsibility anymore, but having invested so much into the product, I still feel a bit responsible. Spent a lot of time chatting with Arati's parents and Nani, and their black, veteran spaniel Bagheera, who was incredibly excited to see Arati again, and hung around with her all the time Saturday. By Sunday, he was tired out, and spent most of the day asleep. Last night went out to a dinner organized by Arati's folks, so that all their Pune friends who couldn't make it to the wedding could meet us. Relatively pleasent evening at the Bombay Sappers mess, which has some nice lawns and the golf course where aforementioned Wednesday Doom is to happen.

At the airport while waiting for the flight on Saturday, picked up an interesting book, The Complete MBA for Dummies. I know, I know, but still, the Dummies series of books is great, and I wanted some basic, clear cut prep material. I'm also catching up on my Google Reader, which is slow because a) I have way too many subscriptions and b) the internet here is painfully slow. Can't to anything about the latter, but will be sorting out the former into stuff I'm actually interested in following regularly (which is still far too many, but eh).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Doing the Hundred

I'd just like to say that I totally called it last time: Lakers did take it in Game 5. I think it marks the end of an incredible run for them, where Kob really matured as a player and a leader. Its been great following the game this year, though I'm a bit disappointed that KG couldn't make it into the playoffs.. Lakers - Celtics rematch would have been amazing. I'm not sure how much gas the Big Three have left, or how James is going to react next season, but it'll be great to watch I'm sure.

I think what I miss most about Karate is just getting lost in the movements, not thinking but living in the pure physical sensations. Each day was about pushing yourself to the limit, and then a little bit beyond. I'm incredibly inflexible, can't touch my toes, and thus have had major problems with martial arts. However, I've also enjoyed all of them a lot, and perhaps Karate the most so far. Shotokan Karate, from what I've read and certainly experienced, is incredibly tough, and its training exercises are designed to really push you. Most days were a brutal struggle, going through one grueling exercise after another. It never really got easier, since one we reached a certain level of comfort, our sensei would immediately throw a new combination at us, a different way of moving and reacting, which we'd then practice. By the end of the first 20 minutes your body ached, by the end of the next 20 you were struggling for breath, and towards the end you could barely go through the motions. But you did, over and over.

And then once in a while, so rarely that you couldn't remember the last time it happened, everything would just click. You wouldn't have to think about the next movement, it came instinctively. Your kai would be this primeval roar that came from deep, unknown part of your soul, a primitive challenge to your own body to move harder, faster, with more power and force than you believe yourself capable of. Sensei would pickup on your mood, and push you more. The class would pickup on your mood, and move with you, feeding your rush, forcing you to be better. Those classes never seemed to end, and when they did, you stood back, not tired, but amazed at the adrenalin and rush. There was always a price to pay the next day in protesting muscles and sore joints, but for a brief moment, you stepped outside your day-to-day life of thinking, analyzing, and communicating, to just be.

Hundred Count: 6,6,4,4,7

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Start Walking

Freedom!!! While I don't recommend channeling Mel Gibson on a daily basis, there are times when it is appropriate. Handed in my resignation letter on Thursday evening, and so glad I did. I was supposed to go to Sao Paulo for a week's workshop, but since that got canceled at the last minute, freedom came a couple of weeks early. Friday was spent in an internal shifting of the office work area, and I also wound up the last couple of pieces of code that I was responsible for. Will have to work out my handover activities and transition plan with PM on Monday, but have now started the processes of distancing myself from the company's activities.

However, I do have a lot to occupy myself with, since the MBA at Cass Business School (London) starts in only three months. Plans and activities for loans, visas, packing, shifting, etc are proceeding apace, but there are always those niggling little details that you tend to forget about till the last minute. Spent yesterday afternoon having lunch with the grandparents, which is a weekly ritual Arati and I have come to appreciate and enjoy. The 1 hour drive in the heat there, however, we do not enjoy. I really need to get my car battery charged; I should buy a new one, but since I'm going to be selling it soon, I can't see the advantage in that investment. Note to self: take pictures of said car.

Last night organized another poker party at home. A couple of new faces this time, who were first taught the game, then proceeded to school people in it. Aru actually broke even for possibly the first time; poor guy actually brought a bunch of change expecting to have to buy in a lot. Ordered in biryani from Deez, with homemade raita, champagne, and lots of beer. Good time had by all. I did pretty well in the game, unfortunately, Arati didn't; oh well, she funded me a bit last time, so I guess we're even by now. I've discovered Facebook poker as well, which I suspect is not a positive development, since I don't really need an additional way of distracting myself from work.

On a totally different topic, Star Trek is awesome. Far and away the best ST movie ever, and in a sense, one of the best movies I've ever seen. It was a great reboot, and all the actors really took the roles and ran with them, paying homage to the original while making it their own. Quinto's "Live long and prosper" line at the beginning for the "IT" moment for me, when he totally nailed the character and the interpretation. I thought he was channeling Samuel L. Jackson a bit there, and I almost expected him to complete the line Shaft-style. Pike was brilliant, bringing the arrogance and swagger the role needs without it feeling forced or annoying. I'm not sure I can say the same for Karl Urban, a few of the lines felt a bit pushed, but still had the funniest moment in the movie. Overall, I think most of us can't wait for the next one.

I'm pretty kicked about the fact that in the last few years, some amazing, entertaining stuff is being put out. Dark Knight, ST, Iron Man, and Kung Fu Panda. Really looking forward to this summer's releases; will have to get the most out of them since London isn't the cheapest place to go see movies. Wolverine looks to be fun / not-too-deep; it hasn't released in India yet so I'm trying not to let online reviews bias me. Transformers 2 is going to be hardcore though, and I'm really hoping the IndianCallCenterGuy has a repeat role. The first time I saw it in a theater, I had funnily enough gone with a bunch of call-center people, who cracked up completely at that scene.

Oh, and I'm totally calling the Lakers to take it next game.