The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

On the way to get my 3rd term grades

I discovered this joke from the head of Duke's CCMBA IT department:

An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. "Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night."

"Have you tried counting sheep?"

"That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it."

And 24 hours from now, I'll be somewhere over Minnesota on my way to Shanghai...

Shocking—to a Cubs fan

I think I can get used to having an association with a national champion team of some kind, which in my life hasn't happened since 1998:

The Duke Blue Devils officially were the last team standing Monday night, the only team on the podium with the championship trophy in hand.

Duke claimed its fourth NCAA championship but the first for any of its current players with a 61-59 victory over hometown favorite Butler in front of 70,000-plus fans at Lucas Oil Stadium.


The Blue Devils won with defense. Holding the Bulldogs to 34 percent shooting and contesting every possession as tenaciously as Butler, which allowed 60 points for the first time since February. Zoubek, the 7-foot-1 center, finished with two blocks, 10 rebounds and too many altered shots to count, but also came out to trap the Butler guards and disrupt an offense that was already struggling.

Now if only the Cubs can win a game. At the moment, they're 161 games out of first place, which isn't the worst they've ever been.

Update: I suppose I have to mention this as another reason to be thankful I'm a Dukie:

ATLANTA — The Cubs are marketing the 2010 season as "Year One," referring to the first year of the Ricketts family ownership. But on the first day of Year One, the Cubs suffered their worst Opening Day defeat in 126 years, losing 16-5 to Atlanta before 53,081 at Turner Field.

I mean, day-um.

No rest for the weary

Yesterday I expressed more relief than dread after finishing my Term 3 finals. Dread just won:

Subject: FedEx Shipment Notification

[Redacted] of Duke Fuqua School of Business sent David Braverman 1 FedEx Express Saver package(s).

This shipment is scheduled to be sent on 03/29/2010.

Oh. Joy. The Term 4 books are coming.


Respite? I wish

I've just finished my final exams for Duke CCMBA Term 3. Total time: 10.8 hours on statistics, 8.2 hours for marketing, 4.9 hours sobbing quietly at my desk about not having studied more.

As the program has six terms, in a sane universe this would mean I'm half-way done with my MBA. Sadly, I'm not even done with Term 3 yet. And anyway the end of Term 3, officially April 7th, isn't really the half-way point.

First, I have the Delhi Culture Dash video to produce. My team has succeeded mightily with a divide-and-conquer approach, so for each the three projects that remain in Term 3 (two, technically, being term 4 projects due before term 4 officially starts), we have one project author and one reviewer. I volunteered for the video project when the entire team thought it was due April 6th. It's actually due Thursday. I'm guessing this is another 10 hours of work. Good thing I have all that time to do it, otherwise I'd continue sobbing at my desk.

Second, Term 6 will really be two terms. During the residency we have four classes, then after the residency we have two 6-week distance periods, with two sets of finals.

Third, the chronological midpoint of the program is actually April 11th.[1] So, really, we're almost there, though I suspect the psychological midpoint will be April 25th, when we leave Shanghai. Or maybe December 12th, the day before the thing ends.

Sorry about that. I may have spent too much time doing statistics this weekend. I will now retire to the pub, with The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy, which I need to finish reading (for Global Markets and Institutions) before next week.

[1] The program officially started with Term 1 pre-reading on 8 August 2009; our last final exam is due 13 December 2010; that's 492 days; so 246 days after August 8th is April 11th. QED. If you use the first day of the London residency, August 15th, as the starting point, the midpoint is April 14th.

Last video from Delhi

I mentioned that the traffic and chaos in Delhi just seems to work most of the time. Sometimes, however—as when 60 bicycle rickshaws try to make a right turn through traffic at the same time—it doesn't:

I'm curious what everyone is saying...though I can guess.

Delhi residency, day 8

I am pooped.

The third residency is over, and I've got a 7am flight out of Delhi tomorrow. This being Delhi, that means I have to get up around 3:45am to meet one of my classmates at 4:30—and that might be cutting it close. That means I'll leave the hotel around 10pm London time and arrive there around 9am, and somehow I'll have to stay awake for the rest of the day. I don't usually sleep on airplanes, but tomorrow morning I think I'll make an exception, whether I want to or not.

I almost forgot: Nandan Nilekani spoke to us Wednesday evening. Once I get all of India sorted out in my head I may write a bit more about him:

For the moment, I'll just wander aimlessly for a few hours until I fall asleep. I think that's the limit of what my brain can handle right now.

Another walk around Delhi

Apparently, Chandni Chowk (चाँदनी चौक) is closed Fridays in observance of the Islamic Sabbath. The formal shopping center, anyway. I'm willing to bet the actual street and neighborhood of the same name remained open this afternoon, but I could not convince my auto-rickshaw driver to take me there. I couldn't seem to break the language and cultural barriers separating him from an understanding that I just wanted to walk around without actually going in anywhere. In fact, I spent a lot of time this afternoon trying to convince people—mostly taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers, surprise—that my entire purpose was to walk around in Delhi without a fixed destination.

So, I let the guy take me to a carpet shop, and after spending a couple of minutes getting hard-sell from the salespeople inside I left. Wouldn't you know, the driver thoughtfully waited for me outside, and followed me down the street suggesting all manner of temples and shops he would happily take me to.

At some point he gave up, and let me take photos in peace. Here follows a quorum:

In New York people say you can get anything you want, any time of day. New York hasn't got anything on Delhi's entrepreneurs:

Continuing the walk:

One out of two isn't bad:

This I can't quite interpret. I think it means, put your green and red garbage in the green can, and put your blue garbage in the blue can. This leaves me curious where the yellow, teal, and chartreuse garbage goes:

Our residency ends tomorrow afternoon, and with the exception of the post-residency party and the trip out to the airport (Sunday morning at 4:30), I may not have another opportunity to leave the hotel. That's too bad. I hope we have a more open schedule when we go to Shanghai in April.

I will make it a priority to return to India in the next few years. Next time I'll do more of the tourist stuff.

Delhi Culture Dash exercise

Our team scored a coup, which I'll keep under wraps for now. In the meantime, I'm going to make my own way over to Chandni Chowk. I just have to see it again.

More, with photos, later today.