Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Killing time in Acuna Mexico

I went from a business simulation in Irvine to an ERP Project in Acuna Mexico in the space of 24 hours. I went from cool and comfortable, to hot and sweaty. It was at least 101 with 95% humidity yesterday, and hotter today. My first night at the hotel in Del Rio was scary – I was visited by a brown tarantula with a body the size of my thumb. I woke to find it crawling in my chest hair. I screamed like a little girl, and then proceeded to smash it into a brown pulp. The hotel staff assured me my room was spider free when I returned from dinner. However I was not really able to sleep for some reason. Hmmm, I might be afraid of spiders; especially big hairy brown ones!


I ate at my first (and last) Sonic Burger on the road from San Antonio to Del Rio. The food was not very good at all.

I ate at my first (and last) Applebee’s. All I can say is, at least they have beer.

San Antonio is plastered with Go Spurs Go. What the hell is a Spur?

The road from San Antonio to Del Rio is a three hour speed trap – each town has its own shake down section. They will even pull you over if you are 3 miles over the posted limit. It is really a joke.

The inbound customs checkpoint in Mexico is unmanned. You just drive right through. It was most bizarre. Nobody cared that a car full of people just drove across the border and into Acuna. I am told that going back will be different. US Customs has been stopping people for up to an hour.

I had lunch at Johnny's Steakhouse in Acuna today. By American standards, it would not pass muster, but I loved the place. I had a nice t-bone and salad, with Diet Coke. My co-workers had similar meals. 6 of use ate for under $50 bucks. A funny moment occurred when our waitress tried to convince us that the ice in our glasses was “safe”. The meal ended 5 untouched glasses of ice. Alberto took a chance on lemonade, but he’s originally form Mexico so I think he’s immune.

More to follow with pictures tonight.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Business Policy Game - Day 2

It is Saturday morning. Day two of our business simulation is underway. We started with the news that a Tornado has hit area three and destroyed some of our distribution and sales facilities. We are partially covered, the losses will be significant.

I'll post our position soon...

Y5Q3 update @ 8:30
Stock price increased to $2 per share
We are firmly in 4th place and closing on 3rd
Team 1 continued its slide and may be going out of business

Noon update
We are going to loose - badly

3:00 update - Game over man
oh god, the stars....
stock price $1.83 (down from a high of $2.30)
our competitors:
  • $9.79
  • $46.43 <-- The winner (Team 4)
  • $32.76
  • $8.50
Market share: 6%

  • What did I learn? don't ever let Pete, Mike, Joe or Cesar run a business.
  • When you think you've hit bottom, look again, because you've just bounced.
  • I think we suck (at the game)

Thank god this is over, I go now to embrace by "C" for taking last place. Scotch to follow....

Group meeting at 3:30 - at least the teachers did not rub it in - I leave frustrated and tired.

Update: 10:00 p.m. After a nap nap – a slice of pie and a few games of AoE.

I have to ask myself. Was this fun? Did I learn anything? Did it help me understand how to build a business?

No, it was not fun. It was incredibly stressful and frustrating. I’ve spent nearly every waking moment available to me over the last three week getting ready for the test only to find ALL OF THE WORK was useless. Nothing in our strategy plan worked, it was a failure.

I learned that logic and reason have no place in the Business policy game – let me explain. We were selling single use disposable cameras at the highest quality level and with the most options. For one or two quarters we made some money, then our main competitor moved out of our competitive zone by offering a camera with high quality but low options. They priced it higher than our model and took our entire market share. We were left with almost no market to work with. We thought – how is it possible that a higher priced model with fewer options could outsell us, that does not make sense, right? Of course the instructors just waved their hands and send we were not aligned with them market. On the next round we changed our strategy to match our key competitor – this time with a new model, high quality, and less features, and for a lower price. We lost whatever market share we had left. It did not make sense.

In the end I had to go to the teachers and tell them we were almost out of business and did not know how to dig ourselves out the of the hole we were in. They “found some cash” which is instructor talk for a massive bail out, and had us adjust our variables a little bit. On the next go around – we made money. The thing is, we had almost identical numbers in the last go around and were massively cutting expenses when the instructor came in to advise us to spend more in certain areas. In other words – they threw some money and market share at us just so we could not fail out of the simulation. It was so frustrating.

Did this help me understand how to build a business? – Well no, not really. I spent two very frustrating games digging a hole deeper and deeper. Our instructors encouraged us to stay the course on our strategy, which just made things worse. I do not get along with the Strategy course instructor who lead the simulation, he does not like to hear contrary points of views; I am often contrary. It is kind of like arguing with a liberal – it can be very frustrating. Anyway – my pet theory is that my team did quite a bit to screw things up on our own and was helped along on the path to failure by a teacher with an anti Mojoey point of view.

Parting thought – I have four papers to write for this class tomorrow, and then I hit the road on a business trip. I need a full week to get over my anger and frustration at the “learning” experience I was just subjected too. I mean really, I already know how to fail; I was hoping to learn how to win or at least understand how to win. Christ - all I really learned is that I can depend on my teammates through thick and thin. Thanks for a good run Pete, Cesar and Mike!

Friday, June 24, 2005

It's gut check time

My business simulation starts in five minutes. It is a big part of my grade in Strategy, the capstone course for my MBA at Pepperdine. I am totally stressed; so is my team. We are in last place, our prospects suck, and we know that one team has already benefited from a little professor TLC.
Current stock price = .98
Current market share = 15%

More to follow:

***** Update at 8:00 ****
After 3 quarters
stock price $1.07 (second lowest)
Current market share = 15.2%
drop of 500K in cash reserves
Things are not looking good so far

***** Update at 11:00 ****

after 6 quarters
Stock price at $1.10 (tied for last)
up about 3000k in cash reserves
We are not in last place! and it does not look like the current last place team will not ever recover. Things are looking up.

We pick things up again at 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Stencil Art - Carson

This showed up a few days ago in Carson. I saw one more a little farther up the street.

I think it could be some kind of Panda, a very ugly Panda, but a Panda nonetheless.

The picture is heavily cropped - sorry; I was using a wide-angle lens from about 50 feet away.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I think he needs a truck

Gull on Pole

Wow - I actually had time to take a picture today. It's been what... a week now. All I do is go to work, go to school, study and sleep. Grad School is killing me.

I snapped this after a beer and some wings at Hooters in Long Beach this afternoon. Of course I'm posting this from study group...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Well... Yes!

Jonathan and Wife

I am horrible with names. I met Jonathan's wife for the first time at his going away party last night at Game Works. Her name did not stick, not even the first letter. Oh, well... there is little chance I will see her again.

Jonathan is the latest friend to leave my place of employment. I am going to miss him. He is smart and was good with our systems. It is hard to loose people with his skills. It will be hard to replace him.

Good luck Jonathan!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Groups Unite Against Military Recruiters

This article seems dumb to me, the article Groups unite against military recruiters is highly deceptive. The premise behind the arguments of those interviewed in the article is that recruiters are targeting kids who are not likely to go to college after graduation from High School. Those interviewed promote the idea that recruiting for the military is part is some kind reprehensible, racial motivated conspiracy to ensnare the less fortunate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who are not going on to college after graduation need a leg up or else they will enter a long cycle of working for Burger King until they realize it takes more than a High school diploma to make it in life. The Armed Services offer that leg up to hundreds of thousands of young men and women each year (just like they did to me many years ago). The real story here is that Representative McDermott (D) is actively against the war in Iraq and will do anything, including sabotaging recruitment efforts, to achieve his objective. Wake up America. People like McDermott play for the other team. Of course, the news media could try to provide some balance in their reporting on issues like this, but they are against the war too.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

My light

Photo Friday under Sport

Another Friggen Earthquake!

A 5.3 Earthquake hit a few minutes ago. It looks like it was centered in the Riverside area. Here is a link to the US Geological survey info.

It's always great to be around newbies - I heard "it's the big one". Come on - 5.3 is like having somebody shake a table.


They downgraded the earthquake from a 5.3 to a 4.9 using a different scale.

I was thinking about the earthquake and my behavior this afternoon. I was alone in a conference room when the earthquake happened. After the initial movement, which felt like the a sudden movement of the ground forward about a foot and then a rapid spring like recovery back to the original position, I pushed my chair back from the table. I was planning to dive under the table if the next jolt qualified as an oh-my-god the world is ending type violent jolt (which you must experience yourself to understand). Instead, there was light shaking couple with a few small jolts. I played it cool…

I have been in a few bad earthquakes. It is fun to laugh at the small ones, but the big quakes are indescribably terrifying. The worst one I experience was not the strongest one I have ever been in, but is was the scariest. The 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake of 1987 is my personal benchmark. I was in a 100-year-old wood converted frame building known as the Nash Automobile building in El Segundo. When the earthquake shook, the ground moved violently, five adults tried to fit in one doorframe; the shaking was violent and continued for a long time. The lights went out, people started to scream, we smelt smoke… 20 minutes later, I made my way out of the building by following the walls with my hands while using a pen light. People were crying hysterically, some were calling for help. The building is massive; the size of a city block, some people remained missing in the building for up to an hour. A friend at the top of a 10-story earthquake safe building across the street was thrown 8 feet through the air as the building she was in rolled with the initial punch. The whole experience was humbling and scary. For a few brief moments, I thought I was going to die...

Romanizations and Translations of Japanese Songs

This great blog - Hillbilly Sings - provides translations of Japanese Songs. I have been meaning to write about it for weeks now, but have not found the time. The blog really is a hoot. I know Leslie Hillbilly. Besides being incredibly smart and interesting personally, she is exceptionally beautiful. Although you won't see that come across in her blog because she does not post pictures - only sweetly translated words.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Once I turn my brain on, only alcohol can really turn it off. Sleep should come by 3:00 a.m. if I really try hard.

I walk around in the dark

looking for something to shoot

Then I post it

A Wall of Trucks

I drove up the 91 to the 710 freeway this morning because the traffic was supposed to be light. Once on the 710 I hit a wall of trucks. The picture does not do the situation justice. The line up container trucks stretched several miles as they line up to go into the port of Long Beach. It is no wonder the 710 is suppose to be the most dangerous freeway in LA. With this kind of truck traffic, one slip and you end up Bantha fodder.

My buddy John had best stay off this freeway.

A Passing Train

I was driving south (quite fast), the train was going north; I shot from my window at arms length while trying to capture the train on the right. I shot the middle instead. I am not disappointed, I like the way the train cars frame the graffiti on the wall behind the train, and the differing levels of blur are appealing.

I Googled (ok – I yahooed) train graffiti and came up with a sight dedicated to this art form. It is called Visual Cancer - Very cool. I'm adding it to my blogroll.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Tsunami warning after 7.4 quake in northern California

Well this is a first for me, a real Tsunami Warning issued for all coastal regions of California and Mexico. the official warning reads:A tsunami warning is in effect for the coast areas from the Californian-Mexico border to the north tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia inclusive. This should make for a tense evening for our north facing coastal regions. for those of you who don't live here, 7.4 is BIG shaking, it is way up on the Exorcist scale, near head spinning levels with the potential for green vomit.

I'm stuck in a highrise in the OC for now so no worries for me, but I think I'll avoid the coast road home. My friend Pete, sitting to my left at them moment, has a nice ride home to Huntington Beach tonight. I wonder how well he will sleep tonight.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Nutball Altert: Pray for Katie

Pray for Katie: is a website chronicling the horrible cancer experiences of a 12-year-old named Katie's Wernecke of Agua Dulce, Texas. Katie has Hodgkin’s disease. She completed chemotherapy and was scheduled to begin additional radiation therapy when her parents determined she was in remission and no longer needed additional treatment. Her parents refused the radiation treatment and accused the doctors of experimenting with Katie in some bizarre medical test. The State of Texas did not agree. CPS took Katie away from her parents after a nation wide Amber Alert was issued to find her. Apparently, Katie’s parents were trying to protect her from further treatments by hiding her on a family ranch in rural Texas.

Why a nutball post? Two reasons really. First, the real reasons the Wernecke’s do not want treatment for their daughter is because they are members of the Worldwide Church of God. Members have not believed in the use of medicine to treat illnesses since the issuance of the Armstrong healing doctrine (they don’t even take aspirin). The second reason they are on the nutball list is that they are lying by directing readers of their blog. They claim they are saving their daughter from unneeded and questionable medical treatments while appealing to Christians the world over to pray for Katie. It is quintessential nutball behavior.

There is no doubt that Katie needs help (even prayer if you believe in that). Keep her in your thoughts; she is a beautiful little girl who is going through a parent created hell at the moment. Too bad her parents are nutballs.

Earthquake in Los Angeles

This morning at about 8:40 we felt a small earthquake here in Buena Park. The earthquake started with a small sharp jolt that was followed by 15 to 20 seconds of rolling. I judge quakes by the Exorcist/Jolly Jumper scale, on one end all hell brakes loose, pictures fly off the walls, freeways collapse, and the power goes out. On the other end of the scale is the Jolly Jumper type earthquake where you look around and say, is somebody shaking the bed? This earthquake was a Jolly Jumper.

The news is saying it was a 5.6 quake located in Riverside County near Palm Springs. This means that later in the day the various news teams will scramble to interviewing the inhabitants of various trailer parks located near the epicenter. I am not sure there are any houses in the 909.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Freeway bridge, Long Beach

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Dutch-Muslim Culture War

I came across a great OpEd piece in the Nation today. The article profiles the efforts of Dutch activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her “crusade” for women’s rights in the culturally closed Muslim communities in the Netherlands. I am convinced that when history is written for this first decade of the new millennium, Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be held up in the same light as we American’s view Caesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony, or even a shade like the great Martin Luther King. My point is, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is on an altruistic mission – when Islam kills her, there will be an outcry, she will be elevated to cultural sainthood, and her contribution to women’s rights will be realized. That is... if the Netherlands survives the coming culture war with Islam.

I have been watching Hirsi Ali since Theo van Gogh, her Dutch collaborator on the film Submission, was slaughtered on a public street five months ago. Her campaign is courageous, her cause is just, and she speaks the truth about Islam “the religion of peace” as only a Muslim can. I hope the world listens.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I want one

Greedo Never Fired has a very cool design for a tee shirt called AT AT A BOY! It is up for a vote at, (if you can find it) drop by and give it some support. I think this design might catch the eye of Lucas - I hope the creator does not get sued.

What does the blog name Greedo Never Fired refer to? - I'm a Star Wars geek so I should know. In the original Star Wars Hans Solo kills Greedo before he could get a shot off. Lucas changed the film in subsequent releases to change Solo's image. (o.k. so my buddy John gave me the scoop a few weeks ago...)


Sunset Guardians

The LOTR figures guard my TV while watching sunset each evening - the Star Wars Figures are so jealous.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Graffiti: 405 fwy at the Palo Verde exit

Mondays kill me. First comes a long day at work, followed by a long commute to school, then four hours of lecture, followed by another long commute home. It makes for a 16-hour day at a minimum. The bad news is that I must do it all over again in the morning.

I snapped this picture on my afternoon drive to school. It looks like the Long Beach crew was at it again over the weekend. I bet this one lasts at least a week. I love the color work; it looks like a Photoshop gradient. I think I have seen this artists’ work before, perhaps in other parts of the city.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Los Angeles Photoblogging

I shot this on the steps of the Los Angeles Main Library. I've put it up in honor of join Los Angeles From a quick review of my fellow photobloggers I can honestly say that I am not worthy. These LA based photographers are good.

Quote of the week: Schweitzer

Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.

- Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Cinderella Man - a good movie!

My wife and I saw Cinderella Man last night. It really was a great movie. We were captivated duiring the whole movie. The fight scenes were great, they made my wife cringe and me happy I did not choose boxing as a profession.

I found a good link to some origninal photo's from the Braddock versus Baer title fight at the Chicago Tribune. Both fighters were ugly.

I also found a good summary of Braddock's fight record. He had over 80 fights, the vast majority of which he won.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Pigeon, it's what's for dinner

His father was so proud!

Fishing Derby - Cerritos

I took my son to a catfishing derby in Cerritos this morning. Two fish in five minutes - a new record for my son.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Crack Attack

I had another adventure today in beautiful downtown Carson. I normally take my camera with me everywhere I go. Today was no exception. I was using a 300mm, which I use mainly for hunting signage and bumper stickers, so I was snapping pic’s whenever I saw something interesting. While I was sitting in line at the drive-up window of Carl’s Jr., I noticed this lady standing across the street at a bus stop. She looked like a tweaker. Her movements were jerky; she was swaying back and forth, and she looked to be starting at the sun. I picked up my camera and shot about 10 frames. On the tenth frame, I noticed that she made eye contact…

I did not expect her response; she yelled and then ran across four lanes of traffic towards my truck. As she drew closer, I could hear she was yelling - “you owed me”. I rolled my window up as she came close. She banged on my window while demanding $20 because I had taken her picture. She seemed lucid, but pissed off. I got my food and drove off without paying. I normally talk to my subjects. Sometimes I buy lunch, sometimes I just talk. This time I drove off. Her behavior was scary

When I looked at my shots, I realized she had a CD player in her hands and was listening to music. Her tweaking may have been dancing (bad dancing), but then again, her behavior was not exactly normal, so maybe…

Thursday, June 02, 2005

One from the garden

How screwed up is this?

What kind of a screwed up country will not allow women to drive cars?Apparently Saudi Arabia is very screwed up. They think that banning women from driving will prevent sexual temptation, so instead they have strange men drive the women everyplace they need to go. Does this make any kind of sense, any, any at all?
"Driving by women leads to evil," Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to the Al-Watan daily. "Can you imagine what it would be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men."
Don’t Saudi men have any control? If a woman asks a Saudi man for help, does it normally result in illicit sex.? My god, this is so stupid. It sounds like simple repression to me. By keeping women wrapped in blankets and stuck in a house, men rule.

At one point in the article, Al-Zulfa suggested:
...that only women over age 35 or 40 be allowed to drive — unchaperoned on city streets but accompanied by a male guardian on highways.
What he really suggested is that they should let the old ugly women drive. Perhaps they could drive the pretty ones around so they don’t have to interact with men at all?

Do Saudis go postal?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Spacializer - very cool

Spacializer - a visual sound mixer. I played for an hour. It was so much fun and work safe too!

New pics at Bumper Reader

I put up a bunch of new bumber sticker pictures at my other blog, Enjoy!

Kansas Board of Ed Bans All Theories From Classroom

I love satire, I really do!

Among the theories besides evolution that would be eliminated from the curriculum by the Kansas Board of Education's ruling are the theories of gravity, special and general relativity, quantum mechanics, acoustic theory, plate tectonics, algorithmic information theory, computation theory, graph theory, number theory, and probability theory. Critical theory and literary theory would also be banished, effectively removing virtually all books from the curriculum as well.

Quote of the week

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."

— Sinclair Lewis

I love L.A.

Every day the graffiti army works its magic.