Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Simple Night

After midnight, I was finally able to see the floor to my new kitchen - and what a great feeling that was to get the pots, pans, plates, and silverware put away in their new drawers and cupboards. As you might have guessed, I am in the middle of moving from the apartment in which I had stayed for the past year into a new townhouse that Wendy and I bought together just outside of Washington DC. Sitting at a tidy kitchen table with little more than the purring whir of my laptop computer, I am taking in the moment. Not so long ago, I was sprinting to the end of a whirlwind experience at IMD in Switzerland; now, I am savoring the fruits of my initiative back in the United States.

Perhaps this senstation comes from the fact that I have cleared through a bit under half of the boxes that came over in the move. Maybe it is the result of a surprise card that finally came delivered from the post office (thanks grandma for the sweet words!). But I think it is more fundamental than this. I am enjoying a simple night with nothing but a feeling of small promise fulfilled from years worth of striving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Moving on

It's nice to find a solitary moment to sit back, relax, and stare at a computer screen blankly like I am wont to do from time to time. Recently, such activity has been difficult due to a seemingly overwhelming barrage of time-consuming activities. Such as moving. For those that have done it enough to be able to call themselves "veterans", I salute you - moving is not much fun. And this is from someone that has moved over 10 times in the last 5 years!
Anyhow. I'm just about done now, except for those mind-numbing "odds and ends" from my old apartment. Oh yeah, and the cleaning of the old place before getting all the way into the new place. Hopefully, by the end of today I will officially moved in, which sets me up for the next wonderful task on the list - unpacking!
Ah yes, moving on is easy to do...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Commemorating Veteran's Day

It was an incredibly beautiful afternoon in DC, so it was only fitting - and absolutely vital - to go into the city and enjoy the day. Poignant, as it was, to visit on this day - Veteran's Day, a holiday which remembers the brave servicepeople that have given their time to the US Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. In these turbulent times when the US finds itself planted in many different theaters (as the military calls them) in many different operations, it is worthwhile to remember the sacrifices that some people make on behalf of others. It is the servicepeople who bear the brunt of decisions made by patricians of another color - be it blue or red - that pay the price for the virtues (and sins) of our country. I took this picture-perfect afternoon to remember those people caught in the shuffle and found it to be an afternoon well spent (pictures at this link).

[In honoring the US serviceperson, I also offer this blog entry, which has a first-hand take of what "the average US fighting man" is about today]

Friday, November 10, 2006

Afternoon Delight

Here I go
In light speed
Just like taxicabs
Blur in yellow
Down Broadway
Towards the only way
We can go
Downtown
Uptown
Midtown we are
Quickly I stop
For love in a pinch
Here I go again
Hello New York
Afternoon delight
With my hunny bunny :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

New York, New York

Some places have a mythology all their own. Say a name - Paris, Hong Kong, Casablanca - and instantly images conjure that lyrically describe a location. New York fits into that mold, a place of myth and legend much bigger than I could describe - but not for lack of trying. If you scan back through some of the earlier entries that I have made back in 2003 and 2004, you would see the paltry attempts at capturing this modern city's essence and pulse.

Oh bother - I will keep trying. Again, this week I return to the city for work, incidentally at the same time as Wendy. We will be sure to take advantage of the city, if even for a walk through the neighborhoods and boroughs that loom larger than life in film, television, and literature - SoHo, TriBeca, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Gramercy Park, Murray Hill, Downtown, Wall Street, Battery Park, Central Park, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Hell's Kitchen (ne' Clinton), Chelsea (ne' whatever you would like to call the "Castro" of NYC), Alphabet City, Lower East Side, Greenwich, NoLita, Little Italy, Chinatown, Midtown, and Times Square. And I'm not even getting into the up-and-comers: Astoria and Williamsburg and anywhere that starving artists and struggling newcomers to the city find themselves trying to eek out their New York experience.

All of it is good, all of it is grand - New York, New York here I come (again)!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Email avalanche

Email is the bane of my existence. Of all the various items that come at me during the day, it is that impervious pile of email that seems to be the last thing remaining by the time that I am ready to go home from work or log off my personal computer. Newsletters, flyers, announcements, e-cards, and junk mail to sift through, it is enough to send me batty. And that is before you get to friend emails, those wonderful gems with actual substance that lurk in the mix. Before you know it, you get caught up just cleaning out the junk in the inbox and don't have time to polish the gems, a pitiful state, indeed!

Oh bother - I hope my friends understand that I will get back to them as soon I can clear a path to wander into my inbox. If you are waiting for a reply for me, I'm sorry! I'll get back once I get that email avalanche under control.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chinese Proverb of the Day


If you want to know your past, look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future, look into your present actions.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

Sometimes, words cannot encapsulate cleanly what a person feels. Even with reams of effort and diligence, the meaning is lost in the imperfect shuffle of word choice and tense. Even still, a writer's first impulse is to capture something, however imperfect, to share on to the next person - or as those deep-seated impulses really push for, to leave on as legacy to the following generations.

Posterity is worthy for ambition's sake, but something simpler leaves me breathless before I try to ease into bed - that is, the fellow words of fellow writers who can - even for a small instant - capture a distinct feeling and a moment worth sharing. As I try to resurrect my own musings and find a voice buried amidst day-to-day work and personal life (who would have imagined the wonderful burdens of adulthood, like homes and weddings and relationships), I find a little bit of inspiration from others who also follow the same path. The timeless nature of the human experience can bring us together in ways that I will forever try to unravel.

Thanks, Michelle, for a little bit of inspiration in recounting your adventures in Spain from a year ago... it is wonderful to see life's journey working its own magic...

Monday, October 30, 2006

10% Citizen: Dealing with Iraq

My professor from IMD proposed that we should be 10% citizens - in other words, give 10% of our time to help build community and create a better world. If such a balance could exist, the world would be a better place.

I agree with the concept, and to that point I address a global topic worth thinking about and addressing in some form to find better solutions - dealing with Iraq:

I'm not an expert on oil, but I do know that established markets reach an equilibrium and balance based on stable market conditions - something that economists yearn for but businesspeople and situations never allow due to dynamic decision-making and changing market conditions. When instability occurs, speculators come in, businesspeople take advantage of the situation (for better or worse), and regulators & economists analyze six months on to see what actually happened.

Although the decisions by the Bush administration to enter into its situation with Iraq was not fully about oil, the incursions that have followed have affected global oil prices due to the war's reduction of aggregate global oil supply, taking net 900k oil barrels off the market daily from Iraqi production - and more than this at the onset of the incursion. Granted, OPEC producers keep fairly close control of supply to match certain demand levels, but when a shock like Iraq occurs, markets react - first speculators that trade on future expected oil prices and then the big players in oil production.

Iraq contributed to the situation, along with political insurgency in Nigeria that slowed output from some pipelines in that country, Venezuela cutbacks on production from state-controlled enterprises, and impact from lost oil production in the Gulf of Mexico due to the affects of Hurricane Katrina on refineries in that region. Sure, it's not much, but added to the constrained environment that the world oil economy has been experiencing in terms of little production surplus in the aggregate global system, Iraq did contribue to the fluctuation in oil prices. Here is a link to some additional information on news releases and press reports in the US:
http://zfacts.com/p/361.html

What I believe is that oil was one of several reasons for decisions made about Iraq; I'll list some as a starting point for furthering discussion:
1) spreading of democratic ideals in a region that would help create better equality for women, political stability (a wish of the neocons), and overall economic growth
2) protection of Israel from regimes in the area that are threatening that country's security
3) foothold in the region and soem traction from which to better pursue the first two objectives
4) more direct pressure on Iran to help influence those political actors to come in line with international sentiments
5) assistance for Iraqis to overthrow Saddam and his history of oppression
6) longer-term, more secure access to oil reserves in the region and overall stability across global oil production to minimize future potential shocks to the system

Iraq is about oil in a broader sense, to guarantee aggregate supply in the longer term and necessarily exploit Iraqi oil reserves for American benefit in the near term; in fact, the Bush administration has advocated getting the oil fields up and running at more-than-full capacity to generate revenues for the Iraqi government to support its push into freedom from oppression and democratic ideals.

With that in mind, I think it is helpful to look forward in generating some solutions to better the current situation.

Here are a couple of solutions that come to mind:
-better education on the interests and perspectives of regional factions: Americans in particular need better understanding of the Sunni vs. Shia situation to better address competing groups
-more troop support for the region: unpopular in the US, but the Bush administration has committed more troops just last week to help stabilize the situation long enough to get competing parties to the table for further dialogue and understanding; as ludicrous as this may sound, more international support would go a long way towards helping the international situation

I encourage others to build on and contribute more to these starting thoughts in order to come up with a better stance on how to help create the best situation possible in Iraq moving forward.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Boy Scouts and Anti-Piracy

I had to comment on this bit of news that I came across today. The Boy Scouts of America (a little background here) has struck up a relationship with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) so that boy scouts can earn a patch in anti-piracy (press release here). That's right - little Johnny can be recognized as a good citizen for not ripping CD's and DVD's to his heart's content. And if he's real good and makes the grade, the MPAA will give him a tour of a real-live movie studio! Hip, hip, hooray kids!

Now before boys across the land get too excited about this one, it is only Los Angeles-area boy scouts who will get the chance to visit the movie studio, although all lads across the land can work to sport this 21st century badge of honor. As with all Boy Scout badges, there is some effort required to earn it; in this case, a boy needs to either create some sort of propaganda extolling the virtues of copyright or go online to uncover pirated content to share back with the troop leader.

It appears that the MPAA has found its policing efforts returning no results, so what do they do? Hire the whole of the Boy Scouts, of course! And all they need to pay is the holiest of currencies - the Boy Scout badge. I just hope it is copyrighted, lest those wily Boy Scouts go out and start pirating those badges too!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Better Luck Next Time

Last weekend was wonderful, going back to Ohio with Wendy, seeing the parents, and just chilling out. All good feelings - except for the UCLA football game. Now, I am not a sports fanatic, but I have a rooting interest in college football for Penn State (my father's tried-and-true alma mater) and UCLA (ah, so many years ago in Westwood now...). When Saturdays roll around in the fall, I keep my mobile phone close at hand - if I'm not in front of the television at some point - to keep tabs on game results. What happened over the last weekend was a cock-up of mammoth proportions, as UCLA went down to the wire and lost in stunning fashion to Notre Dame.

I also have to admit another thing - there is something about Notre Dame that really gets on my nerves. Maybe it is the rabid adoration of their fans and alumni. Maybe it is the "holier-than-thou" feeling that emanates from Touchdown Jesus and the lore of their football team. Maybe it is just plain frustration at not having a few more interesting football stories to tell about days gone way past (Notre Dame was America's team back in the 1950's, a legacy that seems to linger even when modern-day realities suggest differently). But that feeling is there, which compounded my feelings about last weekend's game.

In short, UCLA lost on a last-minute drive consisting of three Notre Dame plays culminating in a touchdown pass that found an elusive receiver shirking tackles like Donald Rumsfeld takes responsibility for the Iraq debacle. But that is beside the point. What I do know is that 20-odd seconds was all it took to wipe out 59 minutes of glorious football where UCLA was able to play convincingly well as to think it has a shot to win out the rest of its games and get into a very good bowl game. The reality is that I'll have to wait another year to feel like we've got a shot at the Pac-10 title.

Oh well, it's all in good fun anyway - better luck next time...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Remembering the Magic

It is already a few weeks on from that wonderful Disney World weekend with Wendy, and I am still remembering that fateful trip. All the icons - Cinderella's Castle, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, It's A Small World, Carrousel of Progress, and the rest - seem to seap into the subconscious and leave a small impression that carries forward. Sure, it is a series of amusement parks - Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, MGM Studios, and Animal Kingdom the quartet - but it has become a national institution. You can realize this by stepping back and watching the passersby, all those park visitors who come from Sheboygan and Fargo and St. Louis and Paris (Texas, that is - and France, too, for that matter); they are, for the most part, a perfect cross-section of Americana. I got that feeling from the market research volunteers that show up from time to time at the gates to ask for guests' zip codes and impressions they have of the park.

Just a momentary thought, but I dwell for long enough to savor the memories. I'm sure Walt Disney anticipated this sensation, as his creativity - along with the creativity of his imagineers - would thrive on this reaction of sensory recall. Remembering the magic is fun over and over again as the memories return for happy interludes of a few days at the Magic Kingdom and beyond.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Have No Fear

Some days can be tough. Little sleep, heavy thinking, pressure situations, and unforseen circumstances can bring us down when we least need the heat. And when we cannot stand the heat, we are told to "get out of the kitchen" - or so the expression goes. It is in such a moment that I find myself today, being called out by my manager in a meeting for veering dangerously close to the land of nap time. It is ok because I explained my long hours of driving this weekend and odds & ends that come from buying a house and planning a wedding. Still, it is good to take stock of a situation before it gets out of control.
The one thing that I will not do, though, is to let this all-consuming march into a new life get me down. Sure, it is tiring - but it is also fun to change gears and open a new chapter. What I will not do is freak out and lose my mind. I figure one simple thing - have no fear and the good times will inevitably follow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Singin' in the Rain...


...I'm singin' in the rain / what a glorious feeling / and I'm happy again...

For some reason, I feel like Gene Kelly dancing with an umbrella in the classic 1952 film, "Singin' In The Rain"; I just got engaged a few weeks ago at Disney World, I've had a few nice trips traveling around the area the last couple of weekends (Williamsburg and the Penn State-Michigan college football game), and now I am working on some cutting-edge strategies for my company. This feeling is a far cry from certain feelings over the last few years - where was I going? What did I want to do? What would it look like? Now that all these things are starting to take shape, I am contented with the results - and it only gets better from here. So there you go - the drizzle cannot get me down. I'm singin', singin' in the rain...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When You Wish Upon a Star

I'm exhausted yet very happy. After a beautiful, amazing weekend at Disney World, I am four hours by car removed from my home and typing away quietly in an empty office after 7:30pm. I am almost done for the day and certainly done from a weekend of veritable excitement.
Why the sentiment? Simple - I got engaged this weekend in a storybook fashion (Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom). Yes, I am a sopping romantic, and yes - my girlfriend (I mean, fiancee' - imagine that!) did say yes. I have the pictures from the weekend to prove it.
That leaves me sitting at this desk. I'm just checking in and keeping too busy to notice all the changes happening around me. It's all good, though - when you wish upon a star, magic does happen.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Countdown to Disney

When I was in the fifth grade, I went on a family trip to Disney World to experience the magic of, well, the Magic Kingdom. Funny how I can still remember frolicking in the park on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. For a boy of 11 years young, this was great stuff to light up the imagination.
Perhaps I had let myself get too old, as I put away those memories in a box labeled "long ago childhood" and forgot about it. Thankfully, Wendy brought up that box again. From the earliest days that we knew each other, she expressed quite an interest in all things Mickey, and we have been planning and planning to go. And now that my inner child is back out of the box, I figured the present is as good a time as any to build on those memories.
It turns out that prices were too good to pass up, and our two-year anniversary fell in the following week, so we're going to Disney World! I cannot wait to frolick in the park again and make some new memories. Leaving on a jet plane tomorrow, it's now a countdown to Disney.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Day, Another Slide

Some of you might relate to the daily agony that is modern corporate life. Our digital world comes replete with fancy tools that allow anyone with a computer to create all kinds of fancy documents and publications. Of course, in comes the business manager who uses these tools to help spur economic activity. That usually means that any number of fancy-tooled employees with half a brain are asked to produce any number of reports, presentations, briefings, and white papers to sate the desire for information on corporate initiatives and operating performance.

This is all fine and good. Progress is what some call this novel ability to digitally communicate. What we have not remembered, however, are the old-fashioned principles of moderation and prudence. You see, there was once a time in an analog world far, far away when people physically approached each other to talk face-to-face and engaged in iterative dialogue. Talked things out. Let ideas seep into the sub-conscious and stew a bit before deliberation. Of course, I over-simplify. Of course, human beings have applauded and bemoaned their technological inventions from the start of the modern age (read up on the doomsday talk surrounding Alexander Graham Bell's first exhibition of the telephone back in the late 19th century). But somewhere, a line must be drawn - and I choose to draw it in my little monologue before the superfluous powerpoint presentation.

Perhaps it is because this inocuous little Microsoft invention for displaying images and light "decorative" text for purposes of display and communication has become the bane of my existence. Ah, yes, it is the tool of choice for the discerning senior executive who wants to "cut to the chase" and "get real" about her strategic options. Action items anyone? You can capture those devilish little project killers on one slide. State of the industry? Another slide. How about competitive pressures? Knock yourself out with three slides! Before you know it, another 20 slides have gone by and the requests keep on coming. But what does that stack of powerpoint slides collectively mean, exactly?

Who knows. By this time, no one seems to care - just fix that bullet on slide 3 and re-color slide 9's chart to suggest more aggressive market response (red is good, I should say). Then, tie a bow on that deck because it is done - and make some space for the next three decks coming through! I wonder if anyone actually reads this stuff and if I could just slip in some random bullet point on slide 16, if the executives would even notice. I doubt it because I hardly notice the revisions myself - but then again, there was a vicious rumor that circled at some other employer that someone who tried that trick got a nice treat when the president discovered the gaffe mid-sentence at a well-attended analyst conference. Something about women's trousers for a software company. But I digress from the latest train wreck on my desk - that killer of a 25-page deck that needs to get done pronto for the next chairman's meeting. Another day, another slide - I should get back to the communication at hand.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Get out to vote

Today is primary day in the United States, the day when candidates are selected to represent their parties in the election day on the first tuesday in November. Since this is what is called a mid-term election - ie. the interim period between presidential elections - the campaign activity is much more subdued. This is the time when certain senate seats get vacated, some politicians retire, and others look to run for school board or county executive. Don't tell these local and state politicians that this off-cycle election is not important - the results directly impact their livelihood for the next couple of years.
Perhaps my post is mundane in mentioning the news for today; after all, these are politicians of minimal importance globally and voter turn-out will likely reflect that thought; 25-30% voter turn-out would be considered normal. But I think there is something important about getting involved in the political process, even at the most basic level of participation. Voting is essential to sharing the voice of the public so that politicians do better reflect what the public wants in terms of government services and public policy. Ideal, I know - but so are thoughts of freedom and democracy. And the path forward to support such a system requires people to make their voice heard and get out to vote.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just Another Day


News reports today will trumpet words commemorating a tragedy of immense proportions as symbolic buildings in Washington DC and New York City were ripped open and torn apart. In the United States, the day of 911 has taken its own shape as a second Memorial Day, remembered chiefly to appease the psychological pain that has seeped into a national consciousness that no longer feels utterly removed from the rest of the world. Since that fateful day five years ago, Americans hear more about Islam, Pakistan, and a whole series of internationally minded topics than they did before (whether they actually know more as a collective public is a debatable point). And since that fateful day, a whole number of other activities carried out by the US government have placed this country within a new context in world affairs that will affect nearly everyone on the planet for years to come.
Dramatic words, I should say. Closer to home, it is my sister's birthday (poor thing that others around her consider it such a downer day). It is raining gently as I look out towards the windows in my office building in semi-rural Maryland. I hear that the weather in New York City is eerily similar to the conditions on the day that the World Trade Center buildings fell. I guess it is just as well. Although today is just another day, something does feel a bit different as the news reports on 911 memorials continue to gush forward.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Long and Winding Road

Funny that it has been over three weeks since I have last posted an entry - that is just about the amount of time that I have spent looking at houses. Over the course of the last month, amidst calls of distress and alarm in US real estate markets, under barrage of advice from family and colleagues, amongst slippery real estate professionals, somehow I ended up deciding to buy a house. With my girlfriend. All the way in :)
If you would have asked me a year ago what I would think about making such a decision, I would have told you to whisk your insane notions off the doorstep. Then again, times do change - and people change, too. That goes for Wendy and I, who have decided to put a tick in the "grown-up" column and jump feet first into homeownership. Years of traveling and milling about the globe have taken care of the wanderlust; now, I am excited to be a bit more domesticated.
For those that know me, a long and winding road, indeed - but I like where it's headed. And, of course, there is no place like home...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another Day in the Books

The business world is literally highjacked with metaphors and expressions, something that seems wholly unique to the white-collar office environment. I cannot speak for all environments - factory, school, home, and "out" - but I can speak for offices in which I have worked that have "put lipstick on the pig", "played hardball", "played the field", "stuck to the knitting", and other such expressions that allude my memory in the moment. No worries - the other laundry bin of quotables will come to me and others in a meeting when the proper moment arises - and everyone agrees to the right usage. There is hardly ever debate as to this point, only proper usage - and an alien tongue to those who may not have experienced the phenomenon.
I quickly ponder over this thought as I pack up my computer for the day. I saw a picture of a pig putting on lipstick that prompted the thought. Another day in the books leaves this comment lurking in my mind and the office culture that supports it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

In the Moment


The mundane of the every day is often fertile ground for artists to mine for either surreal re-interpretation or worship through an idealization of the common form. Case in point - I was flipping through some of the older photos I had on my hard drive in order to organize and archive them. I came across a few pictures from 2003 that I took in Australia that showed a coffee cup sitting solitary on the table, with a spinning camera giving motion to the saucer on which it sat. With the blur of the surrounding table and setting, the cup sits poised and extraordinary, with a slight residue of fine coffee beans and candied sugar on the bottom. Perhaps I have gone too far to describe something so simple as a finished cup of coffee, but I still remember that moment at the cafe' where the picture was taken; sitting with friends, there was a lull in conversation. At that point, I looked at the cup and realized the beauty in the experience that lasted only as brief as it took for me to whirl out my camera and snap a photo.
Alas, that moment and the experiences that followed were profound and lasting; all I have left for today is that photo to link back to an abundance of memories. In the moment, there is so much more waiting for discovery than we give attention to realize.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

China in Pictures

It only takes a couple weeks of work to blur the memories of a well-worn holiday. For me, this year was China and visiting Wendy's family; two weeks of tropical heat, horrid humidity, and all the best spicy food you can muster. Wuhan, Xi'an, and finally Beijing and the Great Wall - it was a wonderful trip. The trouble is that it is now a distant memory as I am back in the "daily grind" of meetings, presentations, action items, and email email email. Still, there are the photos from my trip.

Click on the link for China in pictures.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Musical Nostalgia

I had a bout of musical nostalgia this afternoon as I was listening to Rufus Wainwright and compiling a powerpoint presentation for work. Two years ago, I remember the CD's of this self-styled (and modish) modern-day troubador. He was (and, I presume, continues to be) an "inside" kind of star with celebrities and hipsters (they like what is "hot" before us mortals do) for classical and dramatically-infused pop melodies. Those style-makers viewed him as "getting" pop like not many other contemporaries did; I just happened to like the songs, even if some were adopted as funkified dance anthems in gay clubs (convenient that Rufus is also gay, so he did not mind the mixing). Anyhow, I remember Rufus for his musical companionship in some turbulent NYC days, dealing as he did in his album "Want One" with regrettably lost loves and solemnness for the life he led on the road; I felt the same in those days as a consultant traversing the US between NYC and San Francisco. He also sang with aching beauty for what life could be and what life entailed over the horizon; I had the same pangs and hoped for the best even through the ambiguities and eccentric notions of fate and opportunity.

Now, I am on the other side, past days wrapping up in Manhattan, galloping through the Swiss Alps to expand the mind, and deposited on the other side of those incredible studies with much less turbulence in the Washington DC area. Still, there is Rufus on my hard drive, and he comforts me with words and melodies that meant so much in those days. Emerging from my musical nostalgia, I hope that he has prospered and found the same joys as I have since our shared experiences together in the Big Apple.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Better Left Unsaid

I have an interest in blogs. Perhaps it was the school assignment last year that we completed to get a sense of what this blog phenomenon - and customer dialogue in general - had to do with companies. I thought at the time that blogs would be more than a passing fad but less than a public groundswell that they seem to have become with the growth of fashionably coined "social networking sites" of personal recollections, comments, and naughty (and not-so-naughty) photos. Now, I have my own blog, which has been hidden from public view or dormant (depending on the time period in question) over the last three years. Back in the public domain, this is the place for jotting down some thoughts and sharing them with the world. If, of course, the world finds enough curiosity to read on...

Enter the masses into media, such as social networking is wont to do. This raises an issue - does the common man and woman have the decency and discretion on what they write in these cyber pages? For most of the rest of the media world, there are standards and censorship and mores that are generally respected (albeit some followed more closely than others). Head out to MySpace or whoever else the "cool kids" are using (Bebo, Facebook, Xanga, Livejournal, Orkut, etc.), and you will find all kinds of comments, inside jokes, bold statments, and personal remarks. Some of it is not "fit to print", although it is all there for the world to see in cyberland.

My interest in blogs brings along this random comment - perhaps some could benefit from remembering what the media types have known for decades. Which is that some things are better left unsaid.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Happy Bastille Day!

To all the French and francophones out there, jour de bastille heureux!

Friday, July 14, 2006

My Fortune Today Is...

... :) You will always have good luck in your personal affairs. :)

-As written on the Chinese fortune that mysteriously appeared from my pocket this morning

A Day of Mourning

I got an email from a friend a couple of days ago that apologized for the actions of Israel in Palestine and now Lebanon against Hamas and Hezbollah respectively. I had a pang of sorrow strike me in reading his note and then the replies from other friends in Lebanon and Egypt about the escalating craziness of the situation. For those outside of that world, it is hard to fathom the deep-seated feelings of culture, pride, hurt, and anger surrounding Israeli-Arab relations; those feelings go back far beyond the 1949 creation of modern Israel and the 1967 six-day war between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
Now, it seems that the eye of the storm - the Israel-Palestine issue - has started to pick up storm clouds again. When I think about the impending war that almost seems inevitable to break out as the hours pass, I feel sadness for the detrimental effects this will have on the region and the worrying effects it will have on my friends. For this, I find myself in a day of mourning.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dispatch from China: A Day of Rest

Another day, another computer screen. In between, there is rest, a shower, some journaling, a few meals, and some relaxation before the World Cup matches this evening. I had a chance to witness the first half of the Argentina:Germany match last night before my stamina gave in to dreary eyes and the wicker mattress. After an emotional burst of activity to start the match, it settled into an Argentine dribbling affront to the German's preferred attacking style. I figured what would result from the first half, the stuff that played out while I was dreaming. Although I cannot understand Chinese, I can understand visual highlights on the television and had a chance to witness the final outcome with an Asian flavor. It turned out to be an instant classic, some great chances on goal, both sides breaking through, then a tie to carry over into penalty kicks that fell into high drama. The end result: a German victory that surely led to some great fun across Germany last night.

In curious form, the Chinese get all of this madness and take it to a new level. World Cup fever is everywhere, even though China factored no chance of even qualifying for the final tournament. In fact, I am resting partly as a result of the concern by Wendy's family that the cab drivers - all huge World Cup fanatics - would be in poor form from very late nights watching World Cup matches to take us out to the Three Rivers Gorge to check out the largest dam in the world. I have seen World Cup banners, insignias, advertisements, and paraphenalia across my journeys thus far, punctuating the fact that China includes itself with the outside world as much as the outside world looks on curiously at China.

I should not be surprised- there is nothing that I have experienced thus far that would suggest otherwise. As for the rest of the World Cup, it appears to be shaping up to be a bout of traditional powers (Germany & Italy through to the semifinals, Brazil, England, France, and Portugal remaining) that will be well worth watching. I guess it is a good thing that I am resting this afternoon - more potential that I will be able to last into the second half of the first match tonight between England and Portugal!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Dispatch from China: Wuhan in the Heat

I have a moment to catch my breath in the back room of Wendy's grandparents' apartment nestled on the campus of Wuhan University. Sitting underneath an air conditioner that spits out misty coolness into the room in which I am sitting, I am trying to avoid the 40 degrees Celsius (roughly 108 degrees Farenheit) heat and stifling humidity that clings to everything that finds itself outside. The body becomes infused with sweat and stickiness after days of this condition and acquires a slight immunity to the resulting discomfort upon a few days of acclimation; there are not blast furnaces of central air conditioners firing up billows of cool air into buildings. What one finds in various buildings and residences are relatively lightweight units dotting walls around various rooms where foot traffic is most dense, neatly dispersing cool air as necessary with a lilting hum of efficiency; I sit in such an environment collecting a few thoughts.

What I have discovered in my brief time in China is a country that the world has failed to fully appreciate in its ascendence to global prominence. Over the past thirty years, China has opened its doors with policies followed by the governing communist party to offer a new kind of economic program - call it a capitalist head with a socialist heart. From what I have seen in a few days in Wuhan as well as a quick trip out to Xi'an to see the Terra Cotta Army, it seems to be working; as far as I can tell, there is nothing but progress and growth and optimism. If I compare this trip to a brief sojourn that I had to Delhi and northern India in 2004, China is definitely a big step ahead in terms of infrastructure, accomodations, general development, and overall wealth. As far as I am concerned, China is already "developed" and competitive with the best that the G7 economies has to offer.

That being said, some interesting notions come to mind. China has reached its current levels of economic activity from a small base back in the 1970's, meaning that every doubling of GDP over that period has come from a slight starting point, albeit increasingly bigger in these days after such a period of sustained growth. Now China has a full head of steam, which will make the next 10-15 years of sustained growth more challenging in reaching the same levels.

But growth brings along other complications, namely the vibrancy and chaos of markets that lead to growth. This chaos is tied up with notions of freedom and transparency which indirectly lead to regulated market activity and price-setting - but also information that leads to disruption that spurs the future growth opportunities. This all tends to occur within investment and boom-bust cycles that typically follow a peak-valley curve, oscillating through time as the economy trajects upward. Considering these dynamics, China seems poised somewhere along the peak-valley continuum as perhaps its own greatest ally and worst enemy in itself, depending on the state of the government.

Sitting in this air-conditioned room in Wuhan today, it appears that China is its greatest ally - notwithstanding reports regarding human rights, political dissent, and other nuances of societal friction; you can see this clearly when compared against seeming peers such as India and Russia. But with all the optimism and aspiration that I feel here (you can see it in the billboards, modish branding efforts, and general feel of shopping districts and family gatherings), there is an unknown point where the potential ruptures that I listed above will come to bear. In the meantime, it is literally and figuratively hot here - and nowhere more than Wuhan. I will bask in the scaling temperatures as much as I can bear to get a better sense of what today's China is all about.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Go East

Finally, I am heading to China. Of all the countries that I had recently been able to visit (thus crossing off my "to-do" list) - India, Korea, Russia - I had still not visited the country with the biggest myths of them all. Until now.

After meeting my girlfriend 1.5 years ago, I figured at some point that I would make it back to her homeland. Wendy was born in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China and lived there for the first 7 years of her life; now, we are going back to visit her family, the majority of whom stayed behind to witness firsthand the economic miracle that the country has experienced ever since the Open Door Policy of the 1970's turned the economy towards quasi-capitalism. It will be my first experience of this country whose breathless media reports shroud it in industry and mystery.


Studying last year at IMD, I was constantly reminded of the economic growth that the Asia Pacific region had been experiencing firsthand over the last decade - and in particular, China. With estimates of 5-8% annual growth into the forseeable future, the prosperity that was hauling millions of people into the middle class on a yearly basis was just beginning. The counsel our professors gave us, being a global business school, was to go east and join in the greatest prosperity of our time. I played with the notion for a quick moment before heading back to the US. Still, the idea lingered from last year...

So, with tourist bags in tow, I figured it was time to experience it firsthand. With all the wide-eyed wonder of a child's first experiences, I will go and discover Wendy's homeland through the eyes of the modern Chinese. From Wuhan to X'ian (the first imperial capital of China) to today's capital of Beijing, I hope to put those breathless media reports into context. Go east, I shall, for a couple weeks of myth-busting.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Connected

I should have known that at some point I would be "found" online. Over the past few months, friends far and wide have showed up again through the miracle of the internet, finding various tidbits online of my comings and goings over the last couple of years. Granted, I have not been all that diligent in getting back to everyone - I'll blame my own work ethic in too many hours at the offic and dealing with the loss of personal time and the gain of a wonderful girlfriend - but I have appreciated the discovery of each person along the way.

In this brave new world (I seem to hear this more often these days - would Mssr. Huxley be smug in his grave?), we can run only so far as our access to the internet allows. Perhaps the future will bring us closer together - going forward, it seems that we will all be connected.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

World Cup Fever

I suppose that I am somewhat lonely in the US. Sitting on my couch and watching the climactic finish to the Germany-Poland match with my girlfriend, I had a strange tingling sensation at the nape of my neck - and no, it was not the touch of my girlfriend. It was the harrowing experience of watching two shots go off the cross-bar in the final minutes, punctuated by an offsides call against the Germans who were desperate for a goal to break the 0-0 tie. After 90+ minutes of action, finally a strike broke through from substitute Oliver Neuville, whose well-footed sliding kick made all the difference in the World Cup for Germany.

Captivated by the action in Germany's first round victory, I was engulfed a world so far away from where I was sitting, far away from my day-to-day life outside of Washington DC. Not so long ago, I was close to the action, living in the middle of Europe and engaged in the global discussions that surrounded what the rest of the world was talking about. Now, I am engaged in a quasi-insular American life, driving to work with NPR turned on and turned off by the machinations of senatorial proceedings in the Capitol building within the Beltway.

Still, I am connected, even if it is just through the television. And although I cannot share my excitement with many other people, by virtue of the fact that my workplace is about as American as it gets and far removed from the world's greatest sporting event, I can celebrate the joy with everyone else outside of the US of the world's best players vying for supremacy. I am caught up in the great art of this game called futbol, and I have World Cup fever.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Imagine Technology

As I work in wireless and spend my days exploring the potential of new applications and services for a virtual mobile world, I am learning to stay up on new developments in technology. One of these areas is the concept of "always-connected" applications that give you the ability to be in touch with others from almost anywhere on any device. Case in point: I am testing the posting of blog entries from my email application. I will have no idea if this makes it to the pervasive OpenRoadworks blog or not, but presumably it will end up there with more conventional posts. Also, in the process, I should be receiving the same posting to my mobile phone where I can read anything that I post moving forward wherever I might be with my phone.

Imagine that - always being connected to everyone and everything (including yourself, for that matter) wherever you might be. Imagine life with these new tools - imagine technology.

Friday, June 02, 2006

What Days May Come

Tonight, the muggy air of the DC outskirts where I live is charged with the clean scent of nitrogen trails from the lightning bolts that earlier sparked through the sky. As the night blossoms into an envelope of hanging humidity, I tread lightly from my apartment to the common rubbish bin; my steps bring struggle as suck in this air. In that moment, I am transported in mind to thinking about my loved ones who are far away from here as well as friends that are even further scattered across the globe. Here am I, wonting to reach out again to a life that I once lived and once struggled through in making sense of the kaleidoscope of experiences rushing past me. Now, I am domesticated and contented with the knowledge that I have what I want and know what I need.

Yet something tells me that this is a temporal experience, a fitting segue between the life I used to lead and the life that lays ahead. Just like this humid envelope engulfs my senses, I am also choked by the lethargy of this moment and subdued from fighting the next great fight of life. Dramatic, I know - but hyperbole is warranted as I try to scrape the cobwebs away from dreams that lie dormant and waiting for my curiosity and attention. I can use my next great trip to China in a few weeks as wake-up call to emerge from this night into the days of summer's imminent promise of searing heat and bold colors. What days may come when such moments carry dreams again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Second Wind

Whatever I have to say has left me at this moment as I silently digest lunch at my desk and face the prospect of another few hours at work before I'm done. After a series of thinking conversations that have stretched me beyond my capacity to function properly at work, I am coasting in a moment of lackadaisical review of my email. Pretty soon, I will get up from my desk for a tasty shot of espresso that will certainly awaken my inner animus and give it flight for thought. From food coma back to productivity - pretty soon I'll get that second wind.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Down on the Range

The feeling is altogether fulfilling when a golf ball ascends into the air on a majestic, backspinning arc that launches like a rocket and hangs lazily in the clouds before landing softly out in the distance. Every so often, golfers know this feeling of triumph - flush is how the shot is described, with all the other supporting adjectives that sum up its lovely result. I would have traded my first round of golf for a few of these flush shots, as I found my game utterly rusted over and decaying after a year of almost non-play. Usually, I keep my game in relative maintenance, making the links at least 4-5 times during the year (my former life as a consultant severely limited my playing capacity to that amount). But a year abroad in Switzerland killed my momentum and kept me far, far away from anything related to the rough and bunkers of a golf course.

Alas, now I have a "normal" job and some time (relatively) on my hands - but I have not put my skills to the test. Until this weekend. At which point, I decided that I was very far from what constitutes a golf game. So before I left my old hometown, I settled myself down in front of a bucket of balls, loosened my hands, practiced a bit of a shoulder turn, and just pounded golf balls. There, amidst the rubble of jerky leg movements and bobbing torso lunges, I found the remnants of a golf swing. Down on the range, I feel that my game might come back sometime this summer.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Powerpoint

As a business manager that has spent quite a bit of time working in consulting and strategy, it is only appropriate that I wax poetically on Microsoft Powerpoint. It seems that every day of my working life, I find myself launching this inocuous program with the orange icon in the corner containing the cut-out circle graph and bullet point lines (most people don't even take a hard look at the icon!). I cannot call myself a Microsoft evangelist, but I can call myself a Powerpoint junkie. Moving lines across the screen. Opening new text boxes. Forming graphics. Framing bullet points. Underline. Bold. Italic. Cut. Re-arrange slides. Storyboard. Insert images. Draw lines. Cut again. Storyboard? Quotes. Bold some more. Cut some more. Storyboard. Storyboard. Storyboard...

Ah, well - it is a trusted friend, for sure. I just needed a moment's break from building slides in order to gain my sanity again. Now, back to work - back to powerpoint!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sneaking in some writing

I am in between meetings at work. I have a few minutes to spare. I have had a burning desire to release some words from my proverbial pen, but I have either been too tired, lazy, or busy to make time to do so. Funny how a year ago, I would have somehow found the time to make my words appear - thanks to my obligation to the IMD MBA diary. But now, I am only obligated to myself, my family & friends, and my work - and the story is very different.

So, I made time today to put fingers to keys and make some words happen. Even if it is only five minutes of such blathering. I hope that the future finds many more posts with many more interesting things to say than just this post about aligned obligations. It's a start, I suppose (but did I not say the same thing about a month ago???); alas, I have at least made a point in sneaking in some writing.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Shiny, Happy People


Hard to imagine that a year ago, I was "trapped" in an IMD business school "dungeon" with these fascinating people. But on a picture-perfect, sunny Sunday afternoon, Jaffar, Priya, myself, and Daniel had the chance to enjoy a smashingly lazy lunch and rambling dialogue on the state of world affairs. Thanks to the house of Dave & Dave, we had a place to meet deep in Columbia Heights, a DC neighborhood undergoing the gentrification that is common in some neighborhoods within major US cities. And thanks to Priya's partner Lee, we were put into a wonderful food coma by the combination of chilled gazpacho, barbecued lamb & pork, grilled vegetables, and refreshing sorbet.

As hard as it was to imagine our condition a year previously, it was just as easy to see that see that these people will be friends for a long time to come. Out of the dungeon a year on from IMD and into the sunshine of a lazy Sunday, we have become shiny, happy people ready for the next challenge.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Loch Ness Monster

Tonight I feel like the Loch Ness Monster. After almost two months of blogging inactivity, I emerge from a series of never-ending workdays, business trips, weekend travels, and sweet, brief moments of laziness to write this entry. No less than a few months ago, I was crafting daily missives that captured the world around me. These days, though, I have trouble getting a three-word reply out of my email inbox at the office. Something has to give. So tonight, as I lay myself down to sleep, I pause and pen a few words to remind myself that the world at large beckons beyond the myopia that surrounds my settling into a new lifestyle of obligations and relationships and so-called adulthood. Somewhere out there lurks another life and another being that captures the imagination and elevates the spirit beyond the here and now. Somewhere out there lurks the person I want to be outside of the office in a settled life that expands on the day-to-day responsibilities. Somewhere out there lurks the Loch Ness Monster that I might someday become - and I give myself a few minutes this evening for a sighting.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar hang-over

As I sit in my office on a Monday morning, anticipating the avalance of action items, meetings, and travel appointments to thunder down upon my head, I cannot help but think back just 12 hours earlier when I curled up on the couch to watch the Oscars. Professedly, this was never quite a part of my routine, to sit and watch typical primtime fare on television (other activites used to take precedence in my single life). But now that I am in a more serious relationship, these activities are becoming habitual. In fact, for the first time in my adult life, I even watch a television show on a regular basis (anyone else watch Grey's Anatomy on Sunday evenings?).

Anyway, I become distracted with the slowly moving avalanche - out of the email replies and back into the title of this blog entry - Oscar hang-over! Last night, seeing all those women of film and the arts prancing in stunning evening gowns and bejeweled with the best that modern jewelers can muster, I can only think about how far away from that life that I am. In the safety of my own home, I witnessed the spectacle in high-definition television (you can see just how well that starlet make-up artists apply their craft on Hollywood's most gravity-defying deities) and wondered aloud how much one dress cost as opposed to another - and who looked better than the rest. This morning, I cannot remember so much except that Philip Seymour Hoffman deservedly won an Oscar (I think he is a brilliant actor - watch anything that he has been in) and I am having an Oscar hang-over considering my weekly routine is overcoming me and becoming anything but glamorous. Still, my newfound habits with girlfriend in tow and weekday dinners at home are quite satisfying and probably feel a whole lot better than the real hang-overs that the stars will be feeling this morning scattered about the Los Angeles basin and wherever their crazy parties took them last night. I guess that perspective is helpful when the glitz and glamour blind all other considerations.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Talking to my Baby

She is irrestible to me. For all those that know me, they know that I mad about my girlfriend. Mad is the operative word, as I enter a different state when her voice beckons me. Come rain or shine, good sense and bad scents, she is there at my side, co-collaborateur and sidekick. A point of harassment, a word of encouragement - all these things are part of our normal dialogues that carry on and on and on. I cannot get enough, even when she uses her special expressions that defy standard english convention. Her fluency becomes my language, as slowly her expressions seep into mine. Soon, I am changed and speaking in tongues; later, I will be dancing in my dreams with the girl that charms me.
Talking to my baby is fun and nourishing - her words will carry me to sleep and those wonderful dreams...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Whatever Happened to the Weekend?

Before I knew it, I was back in the office for another week of strategies and business models. From the nostalgia of bygone-era social clubs to the not-yet-imagined world of future technologies, I am zooming in between rapid-fire moments that rush by like the wind. I would have thought that a year abroad at one of the most intense graduate programs in the world would be enough to make me settle into a "simpler life", but that daydream was not meant to be. It's just a matter of facing reality, that life continues to exert its inexplicable control over stresses and delights and that define passing moments. The thought is too much for a Monday morning, but it does beg the question - whatever happened to the weekend?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The City

After a bit of travel and work-a-day life, I am back for a weekend in the city. Of all the places that I have been that evoke urban living, there is still nothing quite like Manhattan. With its serpentine avenues that carve out through tall buildings like grand canyons and shabby chic neighborhoods that feel strangely familiar from countless scenes in television and film, the city is always inviting for the next adventure. This time, it is a classic New York wedding at the University Club, surrounded by turn-of-the-century splendor and high society social climbers - F. Scott Fitzgerald would be collecting pages of field notes for likely sequel to "The Great Gatsby".

Perhaps I am too romantic in my view of this place that I used to call home; after all, the temperatures have dropped, and I have not been able to enjoy as much of the city as I usually do lurking indoors. Still, a return to this fabled place reminds me of the memories that I have accumulated here and the days that will undoubtedly follow in this place that I shall always refer to as just "the City".

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Motivation and inspiration

Once upon a time, the pen was my albatross. Come hell or high water, I would don my writing cap to craft a day's worth of dispatch to a global readership interested in the mundane business of management studies. I had no time, I was far removed from anything related to the "real world" (although my studies were "real world, real learning"), and I was chronically fatigued. Still, that old foe time made room for my elusive friend inspiration and voila' - a daily diary entry was born. Just one year, and I can look back to see my work sitting idle on the back pages of a graduate school website as a reminder of what I used to do.

This evening, I sit in quietude, soaking in a new life and re-setting my habits and thought patterns for another life. I have crossed the chasm of my youth, headstrong into adulthood and carrying a whole new set of expectations for myself. I am refocusing, and (relatively) I have all the time in the world. However, I don't seem to find the time in writing my daily dispatches - and why is that?

Alas, I have seeped back into a good, old American lifestyle - one that permits busy-ness and comfort beyond the gritty joys of daily life. I write this perched luxuriously on a sofa that sucks me into its cushions, sitting listlessly between tasks on my to-do list. I have temptation to get up for a dollop of ice cream with all kinds of sinful additives. Reflecting on my life in these days, I stopped for this once to wake up to my reality - and I realize one simple thing. The real difference between last year and this year is little more than a difference in motivation and inspiration.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

Living just outside of Washington DC puts me in a special place to watch tonight's State of the Union address. Just miles south from here, deep in the heart of Capitol Hill, President George Bush lights his speech in unusually clear words from a podium surrounded by all the top government officials that the United States can muster. Republicans (many), Democrats (fewer), Supreme Court judges, senators, special diplomats, cabinet members, and others more privileged respond to the president's words in applause, rises from the bench, silent disdain, furtive glances, and various other postures marking the volleys. Talk of war and terror, foreign policy, economy, and other topics that fill cafes and public spaces are the paint by which George Bush sprays his canvas. In the moment, there is surrounding silence, clarity of spirit, and resounding focus on this one moment that places politics at the center of primetime television and living rooms.

There is not agreement in this moment, however. Scanning the crowded quorum shows shaking heads, smirks, mischievous smiles, forced clapping, and other forms of resistance. There are many listening - some with open ears - and many more thinking about the outcomes of promises and comments littered near the podium floor. From that point, the debate continues once the Capitol Building falls silent and all the politicans go home. At that point, the state of the union will find its true state, wandering the streets of cities festering with people who make this country home.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Best Laid Plans...

It's amazing what a difference a year makes. On this unseasonably warm day in New Jersey (low 60's at the high end of January is nothing short of extraordinary), I am sitting in a hotel room and pondering life on the other side of the chasm. Never mind that I feel like more of a grown-up now, one month and some on from finishing my graduate studies. The student life is now but a figment of my imagination, a hallucination from the days I lived in the dungeon corridors of a building far, far away in Switzerland.

Tomorrow is my current reality. I will be meeting nearly all the staff of my newly joined department in an "all-hands" meeting, the annual meet-and-greet festival of powerpoint presentations and team-building exercises that kicks off a (hopefully) successful year. I am sure by the time this event comes around again next year, the world will look ever different, with a new set of thoughts and feelings to tide me over on such an evening - but for now I am digesting my newfound state. I feared that I would have these pangs of indescribable boredom coming back into the country after a year of international stimulation and exploration. It turns out that I am as happy as I could have imagined and disengaged for indescribable reasons. Who knows why?

I guess that a year on, I have gotten what I wished for, and now new wishes are begging to fall from my dreams. The trouble is, those new dreams have not descended from the heavens to paint my nights vivid with what's next in an ever-turning life. For now, I am contented and calm - not something to complain about but not something that feels like a continuing step along the evolutionary path of life. Who knows what the coming days will bring, but here's to dreams that carry them forward.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Back At It Again

I promised myself in the new year that I would maintain diligence in my thinking and writing. Every day, I promised myself, would be for discovery and artistic rumination, culminating in a cornucopia of ideas for stories and prose. One year being forced to write a daily diary entry would seem to ingrain the kind of work ethic and routing that would make this easy as pie, right? Already a couple of weeks into the new year, I am behind - but definitely not out of it. With a new place to hang my hat and a new door on which to hang my name placard, I am finally off and running into a new life. And what a brilliant errand it is to make something out of nothing more than packing, moving, and starting a new job.

So, here I am, back at it again in the "real world" and wondering what this new year will bring in a world with which I have lost touch over the past six years. I am sprouting roots and experiencing the growing pains that comes with sprouting. In the meantime, I am slowly seeping into the transition process and letting the days do with me as they like. Because when the days are done with me, I will have my day - and the satisfaction that will come with my emergence should pay for all the frustrations I feel back in the "normal life". At least this is a start in the right direction.