The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Longest day yet (London residency day 4)

I haven't known the day of the week for a few days now, and after today I'm even less sure. My laptop tells me Tuesday.

Since I have about an hour of reading yet, then a class at 8:00 (it's 23:15 now), I will simply post this photo and write about building a raft and climbing a wall sometime later.

EEEEIE (London residency day 3)

The results are in, and for the fifth or sixth time in 15 years I've gotten the same result on a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. As expected, this result had some movement at the edges—I'm closer to the center on both Introversion-Extraversion and Thinking-Feeling than on my last test—but my overall type hasn't changed.

Notice, however, that I'm in business school. Business schools in general are overwhelmingly Extraverted. I am not. This, believe it or not, is one of the reasons I'm here. The title of this post refers to the composition of my team: 5 Extraverts and me. (Be careful what you wish for...) Fortunately I'm not so far on the Introverted scale that my head will actually explode, but I am acutely aware of working against my preference, especially in group meetings. My best guess at my team's types: ESTJ, ESTJ, ESTP, ENTJ, ESTP, INTP.[1]

I'm the INTP.

After using it for 15 years, I've found Myers-Briggs helps predict and resolve differences in temperament. For example: knowing that we're all Thinkers means we have to pay close attention not only to the human dimension in our group projects, but also it means we need to think through our group process. And: in an ideal world the rest of the group would understand what I need as an Introvert, but the 5-1 ratio combined with the absence of any Feelers means, really, I'm on my own. The most worrying potential clash comes from convincing the Extraverted Sensors that my iNtuition (I showed up more iNtuitive this time around than ever before) can actually help the group. We've already had two group meetings in which I perceived a conflict on the S-N fault line. Note, though, that being iNtuitive, I have a bias towards finding structural answers when more prosaic ones may be correct. The Sensors, I'm willing to bet, no such general issue, if they saw any issue at all, and they've already forgotten about it while I'm up here writing a blog entry analyzing it.

I would like to have had more opportunity to talk with my team about how we can use the MBTI to make a smoother go at things, but the residency is just too compressed. Perhaps we will, though. Like a good Perceiver I'll wait for the right opportunity.

[1] I might be wrong on one of the Ss and one of the Ps; also, two of the Es seem more to the center. We haven't all shared our results yet.

Crickets (London residency day 2)

School has started. Even though we had an easy day today, I'm knackered, and I still have to revise for tomorrow morning's classes. We did our first team project today, a scavenger hunt of sorts for our Global Markets class that had us wandering the neighborhood around the hotel looking for the prices and origins of a few consumer products. We'll repeat the exercise in each of the next four cities. It turns out you can buy a toothbrush at Tesco's for 54p, a 100-gram Cadbury's bar for £1.30, and an "I Love London" 100% cotton T-shirt made in Turkey for £8. The exercise will probably seem more interesting when we repeat it in Dubai, Delhi, Shanghai, and St. Petersburg. (For some reason we won't repeat the exercise in Durham.)

Off to study. Posting may slow down considerably until the 28th. This is, after all, a slow day, and this is the best I can do.

More photos from Amberley (London residency, Day 1)

More from yesterday. First, The Bridge Inn, where I had lunch and and after-hike pint:

Second, you may wonder what a stile is. It's a fence with a board sticking through it that humans can get over easily and cows cannot. Of course, any determined bovine can simply knock through it, but most aren't that determined. Here's an example:

Finally, a house in the village of Amberley. Yes, people actually live in houses like this in England:

I will now, in 15 minutes, start the CCMBA. Wish me luck.

Pity about the weather (London residency, Day 0)

Yesterday, the temperature in London got up to 25°C under sunny skies. Londoners panicked and fled into the streets. After getting my Oyster Card sorted, I joined the terrified masses and walked from Piccadilly Circus back to the Tower Bridge, 7 km according to Google Maps.

Start:

Finish:

Today I'm going to flee the city (the weather forecast is for more of the same) and head into Sussex, to the site of the infamous Cow Attack of 1992, to see if this bridge is still there:

Full report later today.

Little adjustments (London residency, Day -1)

I've arrived in London after an enjoyable flight and a remarkably speedy trip through baggage and customs. I've also had a shower and a kip, and I'm about to leave the hotel and actually enjoy the city for a bit.

Even though in the Land of Uk "one mustn't grumble," one can certainly make ill-tempered observations:

  • Carrying a heavy bag down stairs is a much different proposition than carrying it up. And the Tube stop at Tower Hill has about 50 steps up and no escalators. As the difference between taking the Tube (£3.80) and a taxi (£75.00) is enormous, I will merely grin and enjoy the exercise.
  • My T-Mobile G1 is not allowing me to connect to any UK mobile providers, including, it must be pointed out, T-Mobile. The phone has three bands and certainly can connect, it just doesn't want to. T-Mobile Online Chat Mechanical Turk "Paison" is "researching the issue," but it means that I'm doing an online chat with T-Mobile rather than wandering London.
  • Once outside the hotel, I have to go to Piccadilly Circus to set up my Oyster Card (a stored-value card that works on the Tube and other parts of London transit) for auto top-up. I could do this online, except their online form doesn't accept international addresses, even though my account is an international account. It's stupid programming. Fortunately I have enough on my Oyster Card to get to Piccadilly Circus, and if Paison can research the issue faster, I can get there before the travel centerre closes in four hours.
  • Should I manage to get my Oyster card working, which requires leaving the hotel, which requires Paison to tell me how T-Mobile will let me give them more money, I have to buy two neckties. Why? Because all of my neckties are in my closet. In Chicago. Because my checklist for things to pack included many things, but even when packing my suit, my Oxford shirts, and even my cufflinks, I neglected to pack ties. Yeah. I'm in the Advanced Program.

OK, while typing this Paison figured out what setting in T-Mobile's computers was wrong, so my phone is working, having mysteriously connected itself to T-Mobile's UK network. I will now sally forth into this alien world and practice speaking the local language...

Quick update: I blamed Oyster's Website for the difficulty I had setting up my card. No, actually, the problem came from my bank's fraud detection department. They saw two charges from the U.K. and just blocked the card, knowing that I'd call them eventually. Keep in mind, my bank processed the charge for the airplane tickets (that included the itinerary, don't ask me why), and processed a charge last night at O'Hare, and could not draw a straight line between these things and a charge this morning for my hotel in London. But, hey, better safe than sorry, especially when you (i.e., the bank) have unlimited liability for fraudulent charges and I (i.e., me) have none. My inconvenience is your loss prevention.

Right. I really am leaving this hotel now.

Quick update redux: Nope, it was Oyster after all. They can't verify my postcode. Off to Piccadilly.

London Residency, Day -2

I need to buy a smaller bag.

I learned this checking in at O'Hare a few minutes ago. It turns out, American Airlines has a 32-kilo limit on each checked bag. However, if your bag wieghs more than 22.7 kg, they charge you $50 for the overweight.

My bag weighed 33 kg until I removed my one-kilo Financial Accounting binder—just the binder, not the textbook, workbook, or CD—and rearranged my other two bags to distribute the weight better. The final score: Checked bag, 31.7 kg on the nose; carry-on bag, 7.7 kg; backpack, 8 kg; doctor visit co-pay, $10.

So, once I get to London and, a few hours later, recover from schlepping 48 kg of baggage up the steps of the Tower Hill Tube stop, I may pop 'round to Oxford Street and get a new bag. Because, see, the bag I have at home that would have perfectly fit the bill is inconveniently still at home.

Another thing: when did American start putting winglets on Boeing 767s? Look:

Quick follow-up to people who aren't pilots: This week's "Ask the Pilot" has an explanation of winglets. He also has a description of Princess Juliana Airport as well, which is the reason I visited Sint Maarten last winter.

The waiting is the hardest part

I've packed, my house is in order, the forklift (needed to get my bag, and its half-ton of books, down to the curb) has arrived. But my flight doesn't leave for more than four hours. So, do I kill time at O'Hare, or at home?

O'Hare, I think. That, at least, removes some of the uncertainty from the trip.

Next report from London.

Some good, some bad, some wet

First, on the 45th anniversary of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act into law, Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Second, John Hughes died this afternoon. He was 59.

Third, Britain has had unusually squishy summer, which only matters because I'm spending the entire last half of August there. Oh, it also matters to anyone trying to fly out of the U.K.

Quick hits

Lots to do for the next, oh, 17 months, so I thought I'd get started. My first Duke box arrived today, containing 6 kg of books, course packets, handouts, and more books, all of which have to be read by August 15th. Fortunately I have a few extra hours each day to do all this (I use them to sleep right now, so they're kind of wasted).

Just a couple news stories of note today:

  • President Obama gave an hour-long press conference yesterday in which he spent 50 minutes discussing the single most important domestic-policy issue in the U.S. right now, health care. Since health care policy is complex, full of compromises, difficult to understand, and absolutely imperative to fix, the network talking heads spent all their time today discussing a stupid Cambridge, Mass., police officer who made an ill-advised arrest Monday. This, in turn, is why network talking heads are useless. I can't wait to see Jon Stewart's take.
  • Mark Buehrle, who plays for the other Chicago baseball team, threw a perfect game this afternoon, the 2nd club history and only the 16th time ever in the major leagues. (A perfect game is one in which none of the offensive players gets on base by any means.)
  • Finally, Gidget the Chihuahua, aka the Taco Bell dog, died yesterday at 15.

Back to work...