Good Jury Duty Book? "Spreadsheet Modeling & Decision Analysis, 5e" by Cliff Ragsdale

12 Jun

It is one of the most boring books that I have ever, ever read in my life, and furthermore, since I haven’t touched real math since senior year of high school, it is quite challenging, and regularly hurts my liberal arts feelings.

However, I need to take this book with me because I will be forced to read it, locked down in the courtroom with no other alternatives. I’ve only done a third of the assigned reading.

God, graduate-level math really sucks.

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*Pow*, MBA B!tch! What Up?!!

8 Jun

Seriously, my friend Cornelius.

He cracks me the feck up, serious.

And the MBA conversations continue between yours truly, the MBA novice who is only halfway through her first trimester, and Cornelius, my friend who will graduate his program this week.

LoveMeDeux: This week one your fellow Anderson students told me about the “secret MBA handshake”.
Cornelius: ?
LoveMeDeux: I have no idea.
Cornelius: Me neither, and I’m an Anderson MBA too.
LoveMeDeux: She just said “Yeah well, it doesn’t matter if you’re Graziadio, we have the secret MBA handshake”
Cornelius: Alright…if she says so…
LoveMeDeux: Yeah. I’m like WTF? At the time I was like, “Uh, yeah..the secret handshake, right…”
LoveMeDeux: I don’t “get” MBA people.
Cornelius: ?
LoveMeDeux: It is almost like…a little arrogance? But “justified” arrogance?
Cornelius: Ok no. Cornelius’ MBA Rules.
LoveMeDeux: Ok, tell.
Cornelius: #1 – Any MBA student that tells you directly, or somehow implies, that his or her completion of an MBA has somehow made them better at any one of the following: 1) Project management, 2) Finance, 3) Leadership, 4) Sex, or 5) Any area related to life or business is lying to you.
LoveMeDeux: HAHAHaaaaaa!!!! I think that’s what she was implying with the secret handshake!
Cornelius: It’s the ultimate in MBA bullshit.
LoveMeDeux: It is! People act like they’re somewhat more entitled! Like they’re more equipped.
Cornelius: The only thing an MBA is allowed to say is that they completed a rather arduous application process that is more thorough than what companies have the time or interest in doing themselves. I challenge them all the time. I know what they learn, I know how they learn it. There are some of the skills good, yes. But show it!
Cornelius: Don’t just go *pow* MBA, bitch! What’s up!
LoveMeDeux: Seriously. Don’t act like God reached down & touched you.
Cornelius: If that happened, I’d expect to cum.
LoveMeDeux: OMFG!!!!!!! You are fucking hilarious!!!
Cornelius: Too sacrilegious?
LoveMeDeux: Nooo noo, that’s not what I’m laughing at! I’m laughing at the “MBA, bitch, what up!”
Cornelius: 🙂 You missed my witty banter.
LoveMeDeux: I did!!! I just saw you say it: “Pow! Mba bitch, what up!!” In your whiteboy way! That was amazing. Thank you, I totally lost it laughing.
Cornelius: Gracias! 🙂

*You* Be The Judge.

6 Jun

I just had a fight with my one of my best friends. We’ve been BFFs for going on 6 years and never had a fight until tonight. It’s a momentous occasion.

Sadly it is a fight that’s been borne of both of us neglecting addressing it, and tonight, it came to a head. Here are the facts, cold & simple:

On New Year’s Eve 2008/2009, I was with my BFF (He’s male) and some other friends at an trendyish LA bar.

There he met his current girlfriend, Linda.

When I saw him chatting with her and some other people, I went over to say hi and introduce myself, and I went to get a water, as the night was winding to an end, and I had to drive. A cold water right before I leave the bar always keeps me in good condition to drive home.

When I went up to talk to them, Linda (who, at the time, was just some other girl in the bar) scoffed at me. I shit you not, she SCOFFED at me. She did not tell me her name. She did not even look at me, aside from the original glance. I thought that was rude.

Then I realised that this girl didn’t realise I was my BFF’s friend and was with him partying that night. She might have thought that I was trying to hit on him?

The thing that really hurt me was that he didn’t stop to tell her, “Oh hey, this is my friend, she’s here with me tonight.” He actually ignored me, and said, “So…” and turned back to talk to Linda.

I told him that it hurt me. He sort of apologized to me about it. I got a sorry, but it was after I mentioned first that he hurt me, and it was via text. That kind of hurt too.

Then he started to date Linda, seriously.

I never asked him to break up with her. I never said anything about her, actually. But he knew how I felt about her–she was rude, and he was wrong to not have explained to her that I was his friend. He was wrong to have never bridged that issue and manage our friendship. He understood and agreed.

Time passes.

About a month ago, he moves from Chicago to San Diego, which is only a 2 hr drive from me.

He forgets to tell me, his supposed “BFF” that he moved to a place that’s 2 hrs from me. Suddenly, a week ago, I find out by way of another conversation that he has moved there.

The way I find out that he’s in San Diego? He calls this past weekend and says he’s driven up to LA for the weekend, and is going out to eat and drink with Sally, and where is a good place to eat in LA.

I’m sorry?

Why are you in LA? And why are you seeing Sally, an ex-girlfriend? When you told me years ago that you hated Sally, and that you only see her for one thing, and one thing only? And don’t you have a committed relationship with your girlfriend?

What?!

It makes me very sad that this is what’s happening. Less than 1 year ago, we would know each other’s whereabouts like the backs of our hands. Less than 1 year ago, I would be the one arranging his “Welcome back to California!” party.

Plus his whole “I’m dating Linda seriously, but on the other hand, Sally and I are going to be ‘hanging out'” thing just bothers the feck out of me. We are 29 year old, grown-ass adults…is it really the time to be practicing that brand of bullsh!t? Either break up with Linda, or stop seeing your “convenience” friends like Sally.

I don’t know. I try not to judge, but this is my BFF, here. I have always prided him on being a total gentleman, but I guess this is just disappointing me.

Tonight, he’s in downtown LA, at one of my favorite bars, but he’s with his other good friends, his sister, and Linda. I don’t want to cause a scene. I told him I’m sitting this one out. I told him I’m too pissed off, and I may start a fight if I went down there. I know my limitations, but even those are volatile and I may be prone to erupting into LoveMeHulk mode. We agreed that was smart. He said he needed to address me separately. He said we need to spend some time together, just the two of us, to talk this one out.

Do you understand the gravity of the situation? My BEST friend, whom I haven’t seen since January is in town, a mere 20 miles from me–probably only about 15 minutes on the road–and I am avoiding him. Does that make any sense?!

Tell me…am I just taking it too far? Am I being upset over nothing? I don’t know, I’m too entrenched in my own emotions, I can’t be a fair judge of them.

But I’ll say this. If I know that he is in town one more subsequent weekend, and he’s hanging out with his pseudogirlfriend or some other girl instead of taking the time to address this problem we have, I’m going to have to close this chapter of him in my life.

I just can’t handle any more neglect from someone who is supposed to be a best friend.

…But It Beats Working.

31 May

School is hell, but it beats working.

Oh Matt Groening, truer words have never been spoken.

I find myself in this kind of weird half-state a lot of times. Like, sometimes I really give a sh!t, and am scared sh!tless and dreading that whatever is taught in the next class period is something that I won’t understand.

Then I alternate between that and not really giving a sh!t, thinking “Oh well, if I don’t get it, then I’ll pass it next semester.”

Also, I freak out and write good papers two hours before they’re due…but some other times, I can’t be bothered, even though I know I really should be busting my butt on something.

Seriously, I don’t know where this range of emotions is coming from. I clearly need to work on this. Here’s a list:

  • Time management: Clearly, I have little to none in this arena of time management. I have come from a work environment that was working in a constant state of being reactionary. Which means I am still used to doing everything last minute, as I was given no real lead-time. Now that I have all this lead time, I really don’t know what to do with it.
  • Discipline: I sometimes succumb to having no discipline in my life. It’s literally been nearly a decade since I was a student last, and I have no disciplinary infrastructure, where I come home, do my homework, and go play. I need to self-enforce the idea of get up in the am, grab coffee and breakfast, hit the gym, shower, do some reading+homework, go home, make dinner, sleep. It is so hard, because when it comes down to it, I really just want to sleep in–and I end up kicking myself when it ends up being 5pm and I have read 4 pages out of this humongous chapter.
  • Quality(?): This is something I need to work with my classmates on, using them as a standard/reference, because oftentimes, I am finding that I have no idea what my profs expect from me. I’m feeling like, “Thanks for your übergeneric, seriously vague description in the syllabus of what you want from this paper, but what the heck is it that you really want?!”

The hilarious thing is, despite the fact that I feel like I’m internally struggling with all these huge “problems”, I have been asked several times during the trimester already, “Hey, what do we have due in this class today?” That just cracks me up, because I was the student in elementary school through to undergrad asking my classmates, “Do we have anything due in __?!”

I guess the fact that I am paranoid and overcompensating for my nervousness of being a student again makes me “appear” to be in charge. Ha!

A Slightly Irrational, Very Fundamental Shift.

20 May

For the 6 months after being laid off, all I wanted, and rather badly, was a job.

I wanted a job so I could feel stable again. So I could have health insurance. So I could put more money away in my CD. So I could fly to NYC or SF to visit friends, or just plain go shopping.

But aside from the emotional implications of having a job, which mainly meant gaining stability back, what we were talking about was the money. I wanted a job for the money. Because money meant that I could do things, pay for things I wanted, but maybe didn’t necessarily need.

But ever since the week of May 4th–the week I became a grad student again–it’s not the money that I want. The stability that I need to function, I will lean on my family for.

Now, all that I want, that I desire, and obsess over, is a grade.

Yes friends, now, all that I want is a C or better in my Quantitative Analysis course. That’s all I want. (I got my Organizational Behavior class covered, yo, it’s like a given that I’ll get an A in that class. I love it too much to get anything close to a B.)

Isn’t it funny how life changes overnight? Now, I couldn’t really give a shit about money, or getting a job.

Funnily enough, despite the fact that I stopped applying for jobs about a month ago, last week I got called back for a job interview, for a job I’d actually be pretty damned good at doing. But walking out of that 4-person panel interview, suddenly I got a bit disgusted.

Two of the four panel members were kind of rude and stiff. (Later, a fellow classmate of mine told me that she had a similar experience interviewing for the current job she has, totally rude people, and that she thought she didn’t get it.) All I could think as I went back to my car was,

“How could these people be so rude! As if that job was as important as my Quant grade?!! Don’t these people get what’s truly at stake?!”

[I know it was totally irrational, but that’s why this is being written on my blog, and not anywhere else.] The point is, I just realised my brain made a fundamental shift–I didn’t want to deal with their emotional bullshit, because it only served to aggravate me when I had “bigger” things on my mind than their interdepartmental shite.

This blog entry is written neither to illustrate how stressed out I am, nor to illustrate how irrational I’m becoming. Au contraire, I’m almost being an anthropologist examining the innards of my own brain, a brain that is slowly taking on a cultural shift that I myself am almost not in charge of. It again illustrates how being laid off was a mixed blessing, because at the age of 28, I feel I’d much rather be concerned with my Quant grade, than some arbitrary job that will probably end up being a dead end.

Regarding the job, now I wonder what I would do if I were offered the position. Six months ago, I would have jumped on it. Now, I’m not so sure.

And if Murphy’s Law has any say in it, just you watch, I’ll be offered this job.

It Takes Time To Get Back Into It.

14 May

Cornelius is a trusted friend of mine who has finished his master’s degree. He is old hat at the academic experience now, and I am just about falling apart at the beginning of mine. Tonight the subject is about our respective degrees, and then this exchange occurs:

LoveMeDeux: Ooh what a relief! I only need to read 4 pages! Why am I so disorganized?
Cornelius: lol LoveMeDeux, LoveMeDeux.
LoveMeDeux: What?
Cornelius: It takes time to get back into it.
LoveMeDeux: I thought I needed to read the whoooolllle chapter. But it’s only 4 pages.
Cornelius: Remember you’ve been out of school for awhile.
LoveMeDeux: Okay, 8 pages. But better than like 30! Eeeh LoveMeDeux is exciteds!
Cornelius: Oh boy.

Yeah, oh boy is right. I wonder what Cornelius thinks of me, flailing around in the deep blue MBA sea, barely treading the choppy waters all around? In my mind, Cornelius is hanging out, drifting along in his inner tube, RayBan Wayfarers planted on his face, daiquiri with umbrella in hand.

The only hope is that one day, I will get my own inner tube, and my own set of Wayfarers. I’ll order a strawberry daiquiri.

Nice To Meet You. Stressbucket*, Class of 2011.

13 May

I have always been a bucket of stress*.

Our buckets of stress are always a little bit full in our lives. Unless you live in a monastery in the hills of Tibet, surrounded by monks enveloping you in their peaceful ways, you are going to have some stress in your life as a given. Whether it’s a phone bill, or the threat of getting laid off, a family who is ill, or a broken-down car. I get it.

And for me, stress is at a constant, medium-level in my bucket. I know that it is just an aspect of my personality, and I know that I probably run best at this stressed out level. It’s as if I feel the pressure factor makes me propel myself forward. If I go to the gym, or relax and go see a film, or do something fun with friends, a small release valve appears and lets a little bit of stress go at a time.

Yesterday, however, something happened that has made my stressbucket overfloweth.

I started off my Tuesday with a great day at traffic court–haha, I know, traffic court?! Basically, I had a hold on my driver’s license due to lack of proof of insurance, and though the accusing police officer showed, both he himself and the bailiff dismissed it due to my valid proof of insurance and the extenuating circumstances.

But yesterday evening, I attended my second math class, more specifically Quantitative Analysis for Business. I knew that as a liberal arts major, the math involved in getting an MBA degree was going to be nasty, but I was not expecting to feel nauseous.

Yes, indeed. I felt like I was going to vomit.

I could see it happening.

Sitting there, in class, I felt the urge wash over me and I mentally mapped out how quickly I could do it if I had to make a dash for the ladies’ room.

At breaktime, a classmate wanted to talk to me about the assignment due in the Organizational Behaviour class that we were also taking together, and I know I made no sense in our conversation. I just kind of zoned out on the poor guy, and I feel badly. (And dangit, he is very cute, too. You know that something is very very wrong with LoveMeDeux when her mojo is impaired..!) I felt horrible. So this morning, I decided to speak with my academic advisor.

“Listen, I have had students who couldn’t even understand how to log into WaveNet (our online one-stop shop for students) take and pass this class.”

This made me feel better, but not that much better. I’m certain I’m an average student, but I don’t feel great knowing that there are those who are slightly lower than me who passed by the skin of their teeth. I mean, feck! I want to do well in this class, not just barely eke out a pass. Next person I called was my professor himself, who said:

“I have had Theatre Arts majors who haven’t taken math since high school pass this class. And the tests aren’t even worth that much in my class!”

That made me feel a little better. At least this prof is willing to work with me. And yes, I know it’s possible for me to take and pass this class with an okay grade. But sitting in that class last night, while freaking out, I actually pinged like crazy between the thoughts of,

“What if I belong in a J.D. program instead of an MBA?” to
“Is it too late to save face and drop this entire MBA program?” to
No, I’m sure I can get through this!”

I settled on the last one because I am not a fecking quitter. I AM NOT! But how does one get away from the pure anxiety and manic feeling associated with stressbucket mode to be able to relax and get through situations like this?

Oh wow, if I had the answer to that, I’d be the Dalai Lama’s BFF.

But I think that that will be the true lesson in my MBA experience. Not how to manage a underperforming department or provide brilliant leadership in a major Fortune 500 company. Not how to take game theory and apply it to forecast financial returns. Not any of that.

No. For me, it will be how to manage the stress, how to manage the anxiety and battle through it to get to my diploma at the other end of the tunnel. But I want tell you:

I held it, I did. I pressed down the overwhelming physical urge–but as soon as I made it to the parking garage after class last night, and as soon as I managed to lock myself safely away in my car–I threw up.

________________
*I prefer saying “Stressbucket” as opposed to “Stressball”, because “Stressbucket” is more accurate terminology.