Archive for January, 2009


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Uno de mis amigos told me about the Paris Syndrome as we made our way home down the dirty, dark rues of Fontainebleau.  The street lights in about a quarter of the town were out, making the already creepy town where every street feels like a back alley feel even creepier.  I now have an adorable bike which makes my commute much more pleasant because I no longer run the risk of stepping into dog shit and I don’t have to yield narrow sidewalks to tempestuous French people who don’t respond to words like “bonjour” or “merci” or “pardon”.  

The Paris Syndrome was first reported in 2004 among Japanese tourists who suffered psychotic episodes when their image of Paris did not jibe with the reality they encountered upon visiting Paris.  Some even had to be hospitalized as a result.  True story!


All this made me think that I might be Japanese.  


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Guy at party: “You know… I feel like I haven’t met any smart people at INSEAD”

Wow.  Really?  This comment is quite interesting to me, so I’d like to break it down:

1) Would a smart person actually say something like this out loud?  Should we assume it was a in fact a really dumb person making the comment.  He came to INSEAD (from a small northern European continental nation that will remain nameless) hoping to be uplifted to a higher intellectual level by his fellow classmates and he’s lamenting the fact that people here are just as dumb as he is.  It’s a possibility.  

2) He really hasn’t met any smart people.  Perhaps he is quite antisocial and has so far only had conversations with 5 people on campus.  Assuming a binomial distribution and given the sample size of 5 and assuming the incidence of dumb people on campus as 1 in every 25 (to be generous), we can use the big scary tricky formula that Theos would rather you not use because you’re in business school and fomulas are confusing (and you should just use the z-table even though you have no idea what it means…) to determine that the chances of our protagonist not having met a smart person in the 5 he socialized with is 5!/(0!)(5!) x (1/25)^5 x (24/25)^0 or simply (1/25)^5 – so quite small.  Once Theos confuses us (and himself) about confidence intervals we’ll be able to say how safely we can rule out the possibility that our friend hasn’t met any smart people.  

 3) The third possibility is that our friend has not yet figured out that ‘smart’ and ‘good at business’, while not mutually exclusive, do not overlap entirely – and someone who can’t rock UDJ can perhaps coordinate a huge deal involving 5 countries.  Since he thinks himself to be quite smart, perhaps someone ought to show him a Venn diagram to further explain how this could be so.  

PS.  You’re welcome for the UDJ review.

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Rocking it Old Skool

nikos-on-europe[photo credit goes to Nick B.  Thanks!]

Um… can we talk about how cool Nikos Vettas is?   

The dude is keeping it real – old skool.  No fancypants PowerPoints with zooming transitions for him.  No clipart or embedded video.  Nope.  None of this writing on your Tablet PC projected overhead.  That’s for the new kids on the block.  Nikos rocks it with good ole transparencies on the projector (that I’m guessing is about 5 years my senior).  

The guy uses chalk.  Not  scent-free markers on 3M sticky post-it pads on an easel.  CHALK on a blackboard!  You know, like back in middle school!    

None of this touchy-feely, you-are-unique, there-are-no-stupid-questions, new-agey molly-coddling.  You ask a stupid question, and he lets you know it.  Like back in the day when your evil first grade teacher made you stand up to answer a question and keep standing until someone else answered the question right.  Well, minus the standing.   

His presentation skills are quite to the contrary of what our friend at Bain & Co was hired to tell us to do (which was IMHO 3 hours of my life that I’ll never get back).

And yet he manages to keep the whole class engaged, cracking up, participating.  Maybe even learning.  

I love it.  He’s so retro that he’s cool.  

PS. Care to share your favorite Nikos quotes?  Post me a comment!

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a convo

my roommate: you going to Fleuri?  it’s like a real chateau.  

me: no.

my roommate: oh, c’mon.  you have to come.  you’re already dressed up.  it’s like 300 years old!

me: nope.  I’ve calculated the net present value of going to the party, and it’s positively not worth going.  


my roommate: man, I hope there are some interesting people there.  and um, by interesting i mean ‘good looking’ and by people I mean ‘chicks’

me: I’m gonna blog about this.

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7:45 snooze alarm 7:53 snooze alarm 8:01 snooze alarm, turn on lights, why the f*****ck is it still dark here at 8am?  why can i not get to bed before 1:30am?  8:09 drag ass out of bed.  first decision of the day: brush teeth or check e-mail first?  8:33 leave house.  all those good intentions (wearing makeup, looking presentable, not wearing hoodies to class) fall by the wayside.  you’d rather get that extra 5 minutes of sleep.  lots of layers: check.  umbrella: check. 8:45 pass through town market, running late.  get stuck ogling a display of scallops in their shells with that orange thing still attached (you wonder if that’s edible.  better check with Larousse Gastronomique).  You stare at a pile of skinned, freaky rabbits, and drool by an ice-bed of glistening spiky sea urchins.   delight in stereotypes at the market: old ladies in kerchiefs with wicker baskets.  everyone with baguette in hand. 8:59 barely make it to class on time.  classroom is freezing cold.  the coffee in your INSEAD mug is also cold and tastes like piss.  why can’t they brew warm, decent coffee?  9:25 fight to stay awake by taking copious notes.  poke neighbor to keep him awake.  9:33 fight to stay awake by asking clarification on an accounting fine point you could care less about.  12:00 lunch @ the cafeteria (oh, excuse moi: restaurant!)  note salmon as the entree you need not have again.  unintentionally sit next to a d-bag who wants it to make it his personal goal that you come to Tavers next weekend in red but leave wearing green.  you want to tell him that he should really trim those hideous nails before he propositions anyone.  2:00 food coma setting in.  you realize that pre-reading was a bad idea as the class is gonna cover it again at an excruciatingly slow pace.    5:35 talk on something or other.  nb: you only go to the ones that don’t require dress-up.  you have every intention of listening, but you bring your computer anyways and end up spending the hour online.  you’re a chick, so you can multitask alright.  7:28 gym.  sauna.  so nice.  8:32 walk home.  try not to get stuck on how miserable fbl is after dark and how no one ever makes eye-contact on the street unless it is reproachful because you walked into the crosswalk when they were turning.  9:00 home is a mess.  the cleaning lady hasn’t come.  or she did, but did not clean.  it’s unclear.  what she did do was turn off all the heaters in the common areas, so it’s freezing.  sweet.  9:30 do some pre-reading for something or other.  realize you’ve been staring at the same paragraph for 20 minutes and still don’t know what it says.  10:46 call mom.  mom tries to trouble shoot your problem.  you’re don’t want to be unthankful, but you would rather she just listen when you bitch.  she reminds you of how you tend to make rash decisions when you’re upset.  you know that she’s right.  you promise her not to buy any real estate in Fontainebleau.  11:00 skype the boy.  promise him you’re not even gonna go to Tavers.  bitch about landlord.  boy doesn’t try to trouble shoot.  knows better.  sends you a funny Jon Stewart video of George Bush’s press tour about how great his presidency has been.  it’s sort of funny.  it’s mostly sad.    11:17 go to le shaker, the gay bar of Fonty that tries to look like a swank city bar.  you shake it, make nice with some folks, introduce yourself to someone you’ve already met who turns out to be in your section.  make excuses about how you’re bad with faces/names/paying attention.  1:00 go home. everyone else is still out, so that makes you an L7 weanie.  1:30 go to sleep 

7:45 repeat.

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