Monday, March 31, 2008

Cherry Blossom Girl

My friend from work and I took a daytrip to our nation's capital for the cherry blossom festival. Frankly, it was a bit of a letdown from last year. When I made the same sojourn on Good Friday last year, the place was almost empty. This year, you could hardly keep up a good pace around the Tidal Basin with all the people. The ethnically dressed children performing "God Bless the USA" in sign language was cute tho. It's amazing that the A, when performed, looks very much like the Black Panther salute.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


My Blackberry Pearl died this week. In its place, I now have a Curve. Even though it has a full keyboard, the keys are quite small. Hope I can keep my nails long now just to type! Definitely better than the predictive text that never quite caught on to what I would frequently type.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

'Tis the Season, Whatever the Reason

Just want to wish my loved ones a happy

vernal equinox (a/k/a Spring)
Nowruz (Persian New Year)
Purim - yeay for Esther and hamentaschen
(Gregorian) Easter - feels a little early, but that's ok
a great weekend, especially if you're in finance since markets were closed yesterday

Even if you're not Christian, there is an important message to be gleaned from the Passion of Jesus. Jesus was executed for turning things on their head and challenging the status quo. I'm not focusing on his Son-of-God shtick, but rather the two commandments he preached - love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Compared with the Ten Commandments and the 613-odd mitzvaot laid out in the Torah, that is very simple yet also vague and leaves a lot of room for questions and judgment calls. It's hard to rejig one's life to two basic concepts after having so much structure and law. The point is, it's very easy to get defensive or dismissive of a new concept or idea. Instead of quashing it, try to explore it and embrace it.

[This would make a good post on Kehilla - hint hint]

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Body Count in the House

Here comes another recession. Everyone has been denying and playing down the poor economic conditions in the US and elsewhere, but now the fit is hitting the shan, and the shoes are starting to drop - jobs are hemorrhaging. This is the part that scares and saddens me the most, when friends and loved ones through no fault of their own find themselves without employment. More than increased prices and plummeting housing rates, this removes some degree of certainty for the future and can leave people feeling hopeless. In addition, it makes those left behind feel insecure and conflicted about their position. The last time this happened for me was after 9/11; cuts were brutal and made those of us (including me) feel weird about having survived when friends had not. I am not seeing it in my company, and particularly in my department (I guess people always need IT), but in the past month it's not looking good for those who have already been let go and those feeling the heat:

MorganStanley - 1
Lehman Brothers - 1
Citigroup - 1?
Bear Sterns - 2?

Time to ruminate a little: on the way home from Florida last month, my rowmate and I saw a package containing human remains waiting to be loaded onto the plane. It felt a little creepy, but it also got me reminding myself of a core value. Life is not necessarily about the great job and gobs of money. As we see, those things can enable people to be happy in some ways, but they are fickle and fleeting. I admit, I like having a well-paying job and being able to support and entertain myself without much second thought. However, my goal is to have my life flash before my eyes before they close and think about the wonderful experiences I shared with others and how much they have meant to me. If anything, the one element I most appreciate about my career is the fantastic people I have met along the way, especially those with whom I socialize and keep in touch. This helps keep me grounded especially in times like these.

To those of you out there that have received the dreaded pink slip, or have survived thus far, hang in there. It gets better; it always does (eventually).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dog Barking, Can't Fly Without Umbrella

Twice in the past month, I have placed calls to colleagues in Australia and had someone answer with a non-English-speaking accent who mumbles some unintelligible gibberish, puts the phone down, and then nothing except for a barking dog and a television in the background. Apparently this is a major hack of the mobile network. It's a recording that is cleverly timed to sound like someone really has answered the phone. Plus, it appears to have spread to the UK. If you think you've reached this rogue recording, don't say anything, just listen.

After scouring blogs and the news sources, it seems that this has not hit the blogosphere quite yet. If I find any updates on it will post.

Makes you want to check your minutes usage, eh?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Everybody Duty Free Tonight

While cleaning my apartment, I came across the receipt from my pre-flight shopping at Montreal Trudeau Airport. My cashier's name was Wang Chung - I sh*t you not. Given his age, I think he was born before the party-starting 80's tune was released. Here's proof.