Sorebrek's Musings and Ramblings

In search of the holy grail of an MBA (class of 2008 hopeful), this space will hopefully chronicle the search and my other quixotic pursuits.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Just realized this blog was never formally put to rest. Ok, short version of what happened: got into (barely) Chicago GSB - amazing first year. Now 'amazing' also means bitter-sweet in my dictionary, but we will not go there. Just remember that anyone who tells you that it is not, is either hopelessly incapable of contending with reality or more likely is outrightly misleading you.
Anyway, yours truly is a worm in the big apple this summer - working for a PE shop - very improbable choice of a summer internship for me, but loving it so far.
I wonder if there are any readers left of this blog, but it was truly a blast kids. Couldn't have gone through the whole experience without this. Any bloggers from my generation reading this in NYC this summer? If so, we should go grab a drink. Cheers and good bye!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Adhaesit Pavimento Anima Mea

(My soul cleaveth to the dust)
I heard them say with sighs so deep that it
was hard to comprehend the words they spoke
Divine Comedy,
Dante Alighieri

The calls have gone out - no word from Chicago.

Update: This 'soul cleaving' business was quoted from the Divine Comedy cantica Purgatorio. The irony of it. Waitlisted.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dinged at Wharton

Monday, March 13, 2006

Undead At Kellogg

Minutes Before the Status Finally Changed

Yes, it is official - I belong in the land of the Kellogg undead - waitlisted! Ah, the agony of it. I noticed that my online status went 'unavailable', which I thought could mean only one thing - a resounding ding. Minutes later it changed to 'waitlisted'. Ayiyiiiieee.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Love And Other Maladies

I have been afflicted. Yes, no not by love. Well ok, you my readers are all too familiar with my quixotic love life; so I will admit: that too, but hold on. I'm serious now. I've been in bed since Saturday with fever chills, a teenager's voice and a pounding headache. It couldn't be the flu - no bodyaches or fatigue. Not the cold either. What could it be? Before you jump to conclusions I need to come clean and say that the only risky behavior I have engaged in in the near past is changing two lanes at the same time. So please don't go there.

Last night was the pinnacle of my woes: I had a date with the INS the next day to get my finger-prints re-taken so they can send me a replacement green card (some of you may remember that I lost this prized possession a couple of days before the GMAT). Very cool except that I couldn't find the appointment letter, my fever was raging, the toilet was blocked, the work document I was supposed to turn in by the next day was mysteriously corrupt and I was generally and specifically fucked. In the words of the indomitable Kramer: "Stick a fork in me Jerry. I'm done."

By around 1 in the morning I somehow manage to find the letter tucked very carefully under my pillow (lest I forget, you see). Fast forward to today: I wake up with an hour to spare! Now here is the best part: it is not enough that I cut my face shaving, I also managed to nick my finger. Yeah 'cry baby' you say, except I had to get my 'finger'-prints taken today, remember?

You Give Me Fever
Anyway, I arrive at the INS office in oak-town (barred and fenced and everything). I get past the token unfriendly guard, manage to get a token and find a place to sit down. I am now running scenarios in my head, including one that involves an altercation with an INS officer that predictably ends with me in an orange jump-suit in Gitmo. Just when I thought a cavity search would round out my day, an apparition floats in and in a mellifluous accent that reminded me at once of the spring-time streets of Barcelona and the vast emptiness of the Pampas, she calls my number. Until then, I had no idea that the number 672 could be, well, so intriguingly sensuous. I could hardly hear what she said, bars of Bach's 5th piano concerto were ringing in my ear, my fever was raging again, I was seeing things.

Boys and girls, if you didn't entirely sleep through your history lessons, you will remember that Helen of Troy was described to have had a face that could launch a thousand ships. Some geek like yours truly thus aptly came up with the concept of a milli-Helen. To be precise, while a Helen face could launch a thousand ships, a milli-Helen face is what it takes to launch 'one' ship. While the rest of the talent in the INS office could hardly launch an origami paper boat, she could have launched a whole armada - several hundred milli-Helens in wattage was this chica bonita. While she gently wiped my fingers clean and held them to the scanner, digitizing my digits, my stuffy nose gone, a quiet scent of vetiver enveloped me. Neruda flooded into my head: "I want to do to you what spring time does to the cherry trees".

I whispered to her about ships that were launched for love and the port-gate scandal. About the Taj Mahal in moonlight and nightlife in oak-town. About Mitterand's last meal and cheap Korean BBQs for lunch. About Vargas Llosa quotes and Berkeley bumper stickers. About Chagall's unexpected exile in Russia and the travails of a green-card holder. I could have spent the rest of my application season crooning into her ears while she finger-printed me. But like all good things, it had to end. But I wanted it to end on a high note. So when she handed me the feedback form, smiled beaming a few hundred milli-Helens in my direction, even though I was dying from within, I refused to look into her eyes. I marked the form, dropped it into the box and walked away without looking back. I had graded her 'excellent' on all counts. No shit. You see, I wanted it to be the first and last time we would ever hold hands.

Fingers Of Love
While we're on fingers and love, let me tell you about Schumann and his piano concerto in A minor. Some of you may remember that catching a performance of this particular concerto was on my list of things to do by April, ding or bing. As it so happens, quite fortuitously, Davies Symphony Hall in SF featured Alan Gilbert conducting this most romantic of all concertos.

But I digress. On to Schumann. This Schumann dude is one hell of an interesting character. He wanted to be the absolute best rockstar pianist there is to be. Slight problem, he was already around thirty and dudes like Mozart had already cast a long shadow having performed for the Empress of Austria at age six (insert IWMI, MBACutie and other child prodigy montages here). Undaunted, our man practised ten hours a day. In order to strengthen his ring finger, he wore a contraption called a chiroplast. Unfortunately, this apparatus turned out to be like the admission consultant who managed to change a bing into a ding. The thing is, the thingamagie not only didn't help his playing, it screwed his fingers for good.

The point is, change a few details here and there and this is the story of most of our lives - sometimes monumental, sometimes pedestrian, sometime lackadaisical, sometimes coruscating. Always remember that the worst of your miseries make for some of the best jokes for others. The Germans even have a word for it - Schadenfreude. The trick is to learn to laugh at oneself - take me for instance - my whole life is a tragic joke - tragic to me and joke to others :-)

So now Schumann turns to composing. Well, he also turns to Clara, his teacher's daughter, tens of years his junior, a virtuoso pianist in her own right. Ungrateful bastard - but titillating nonetheless ;-) Anyway, long story short, the concerto is a love letter to Clara - the first chords spell her name, or thereabout. What I like about the work is that it is not just a self-absorbed romantic work a la Liszt. It talks about dark undercurrents; you see Schumann had taken a young Brahms under his wings and Brahms and Clara would develop a passionate, arguably platonic relationship that would culminate in the two of them burning the latter works of Schumann, composed while he had descended into lunacy. A lot runs beneath with this piece.

After a series of fidgety and restless dates succumbing less to the music and more to the thought of the lobster bisque dinner afterwards, I had resolved that I would not take another date to a concert. My next female companion to a concert will be my daughter, if that phenomenon will ever happen, that is. Any way, I went alone and it was worth it: there was a melancholy that went beyond death, an ardent fervor, the sense of loss that comes from knowing of emotions that one will never feel, and an unquenchable thirst. So I went out during the break and got myself a Diet Pepsi. Anyway, it was the perfect union of piano and orchestra - tender love-making with fingers. Took me a few blocks of walking around Van Ness before I could steady my nerves enough to drive back - ooh mama!

For those of you who want to catch this, tonight is a repeat performance at 8 PM Pacific. 102.1 KDFC is broadcasting live and on their website.

Mission Chi
Enough already and get to the MBA part, is what most of you are saying, eh? Ok, so I interviewed a few weeks back on the Chicago campus. The interviewer was, get this, an Israeli commando! Sweet guy though. He made me feel comfortable and asked mostly the usual questions. He then challenged me a couple of times with obviously contentious topics. I had figured that there was no right answer any way and so I let myself go - making up shit on the go. So far so good, but then I had to live up to my reputation, right? So I launched into a full-throated Chicago love song and did a full orchestra thing on the Levy Institute, except that this Levy institute happens to be Kellogg's department of entrepreneurship. Nice work Sorebrek! I might as well have rolled a couple of C notes into a spliff and smoked it during the interview - my interviewer would've been more impressed. The worst part is, I really really (picture me saying this like a teenage valley girl) really really love Chicago. I fit like Ben Stiller's green leotard at the Academy awards. Seriously kids, this is one school I think I belong to - love the students, atmosphere, facilities, the flexibility, everything. Oh well.

In other news I met with that doyen of bloggers, Mr. Daily Travails, who I promptly managed to latch on to for most of the day - sorry and thanks at once DT. But then nothing had prepared me for the wunderkind, the uber-blogger, the CNN celebrity, the vanquisher of the GSB, the Harvard 911 correspondent, the spirit of the Winter Garden, none other than the POWWWWER YOGGGIIIII! As I would later learn, the levitating seer has made himself quite a reputation at GSB, rising above the mundanities of plebian convention. Seriously guys, watch out for this guru - he is on to something - I have a good feeling and I'm seldom wrong about it. And a good time he knows, as was evidenced by our expedition into Ukraine Town and several other fine drinking establishments, so much so that I just had enough time to get back to the hotel, hit the shower and jump on my morning plane back to SF. In summary, I only have this to say: if by the unlikely happenstance that the Sorebrek were to join forces with the Yogi in Chi-town, fear o women of Chicago, fear. No even better - tremble!! I'm already getting visions of the Yogi and the Brek cruising the streets of Chicago in a black Monte Carlo, a la Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in Training Day. Then Yogi pats me on the back commending my modest success at scoring a hottie's number and congratulates me with the words: "Lauuave Fightaaa". I shudder to think!

I will be remiss in my duty if I failed to mention IWMI, who was interviewing the same day as I was. Sorry, I was interviewing the same day as IWMI :-)

Blogger's Lollapalooza
This has been a long-winded post, but I just want to thank all the bloggers who showed up for the get-together. It was a fuckin' blast. In keeping with some ancient beer-drinking ritual, Marina wanted attendees to bring a pink umbrella. Instead, I wore a pink shirt. The women-folk were vastly relieved at my assertion that unlike umbrellas, I would not open my shirt in public. But seriously guys, I think the event was a major success. Why do I think so? It is a landmark event when:
  • Pupstar's blogging style has changed irreparably
  • IWMI's second drink is not water
  • An unnamed 3-year non-smoker falls off the wagon
  • Marina chases cough medication with Pinot
Brass tacks:
Well, will it be the sonorous Chinese gong sound of a Bing or will it be the Tom-&-Jerry-hammer-on-Tom's-head reverberating sound of a Ding? The next two weeks folks, the next two weeks. Fingers and pinky toes crossed.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Date Accompli

The thing that I hate about long distance relationships is how much it opens up the field to games. There's so much whining, pining and neediness. You ask her out and you hear nothing from her for days. Your feelings of insecurity manifest in fearsome forms. Has she dumped you for the I-banker hunk? You gripe about it to friends who cannot bear to hear one more word from you on the topic. On impulse you jump on a plane to go talk to her, hoping to persuade her and she treats you like you were just another contestant on the Bachelorette show. And just when you're ready to move on, ready to settle into a loser Valentine's day, she writes back. Yes Wharton finally gets back - and it is not a DWI!

So I get busy and schedule an interview with a local alum in the city - one that meets my three criteria. Last Monday I come out of the interview thinking I aced it. I had the answers pat down; hell, this is my third interview - I could do these while getting a lap-dance. I was a machine, an automaton - Why MBA, Why W etc. flew out like I was Socrates on weed. Why, I could even engage in a discourse on the architectural influences on Huntsman hall like it were St. Peter's Basilica. I threw in a good measure of gaiety, there were the appropriate pauses. "You know that is an interesting question. I can think of several instances, but I think I'm gonna go with the one that relates most to the Wharton Learning Team experience." I was on a roll. For all of 15 minutes. Then I reran the whole thing in my head. How stupid could I be. There was zero connection with the interviewer, a sweet school marm type. On retrospect I think I should've taken more time talking her into taking off her glasses and the chop-sticks (or pencil is it?) she had in her well-coiffed bun. But alas, I am so charmless, it was just wishful thinking. To give you an idea of the tone of the interview, here's an excerpt plucked from towards the end of the interview:

Sorebrek: What is it that you specifically took away from the Wharton experience that is helping you in your day-to-day job as a rocket scientist?
Interviewer: (pause) NOTHING! (pause, stare, the next-question-please look)
(Sorebrek now gasping for air like an asthmatic fish.)
Interviewer: Well, if you ask me to single out a case-study session that I used in my job today, I can't do it.
(She must have picked up on the body language or something - I was groping around the table for my eye-balls that had popped out of their sockets on her first response.)

The whole event reinforced my apprehensions about Wharton. I had gone up to Philly recently. There is an eldritch electricity in the air; unhealthy tension is rife. Kids running around like headless chicken; six jobs under the belt, yet a hungry piranha. This is not a case of sour grapes, I have said it before offline to several of you. My Wharton ding is fait accompli - I am not holding my breath on W. You see, being a Yeti it is hard enough for you to get into any top-10 even with a 780, Ivy 4.0, bird-flu cure and spare-time walking on water. A luke-warm interview is the kiss of death.

On to less(?) dismal tidings. For you vicarious readers, I did have a real date, in fact one last night. I should've known when she suggested Labyrinth. Turned out to be Goth heaven. I was sitting there nursing my watered down Martini and wishing that the eerie dude in the leather pants and matching lipstick would stop his freaky dance moves and slither back behind the Starbucks counter or wherever it is he came out from behind. And to top it, I was getting hit on like Harry Whittington by Cheney's bird-shot - wrong target guys. I feigned epilepsy and started foaming at my mouth which finally convinced my date that it was time to leave. On the way back, I suggested that the next time we go to the Addam's Family Farm. She gave me the whole Medusa-stare thing, quietly switched on the car's map light, opened her bag, pulled out a stick of lipstick that looked like a round of buckshot, listlessly applied it to her lips and then with a surprising agility, parted her legs in the cool air of the car and drew a thick red line on my white seat - thigh to thigh. Maybe it was Maybelline, maybe it was the Marybelle Line, but for the second time in a week I went asthmatic fish.

I wish this whole debacle would just end. I am waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats having dreamt that I was cast into the waitlist purgatory. Oh please dingeuthanize me. I have even started suckling on the dark one's teats: yes, I have started reading the BusinessWeek forums! Oh the humanity!

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by men and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die. (a ding metaphor?)
The Kraken, Lord Alfred Tennyson

With the application festivities winding down, I have been able to focus on my life's true calling - vegetating and drinking. For instance, take the last weekend. I work from home on Fridays - mostly on my googling skills. By Saturday I feel I would grow roots into my arm-chair. I plan a radical overhaul of my schedule. I walk across the room and settle on the couch for the rest of the weekend! I am screening calls. Right now I hate all my friends for no apparent reason - in fact I realize that I hate all of humanity. So I decide to go see the whales in Monterey. I always had this picture of me, the whales, the gulls and the surf. But I end up with a boatful of noisy kids. I want to feed them to the orcas.

In a sea of yellow veldt grass I walk, wobbly, fourteen and naked. Solemn oboists in deathly black stare right through me. I wander into woodwind players, all long-lost friends. In the tall swaying grass I see the first violins. I walk disoriented among string players - violists their faces set in concentration and bassists their flaxen hair flying - all oblivious of me. All except a wild-eyed cellist who will never smile. I strain to listen. My little heart races and panics. I sense every note, I feel the ominous minor key, but the music, the music I cannot hear. All that Stradivari and not a whisper. Suddenly in a series of pained arpeggios, I hear the master sigh in the finale of the 40th. Happy birthday Wolfgang!

I woke up with a start to see a pair of green eyes glaring at me. Percy (Persephone) hates visitors, but no more than I hate cats. In a mist of alcohol breath, she and I stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Then Her Feline Grace ambled over to Abigail, nestled in the crook of her arm, closed her eyes and shut me out. I love cats.

Groggy, I woke up to unfamiliar surroundings. I was lying on the floor in Abby's living room. Crumpled on their couch, she and her boyfriend looked like entangled contortionists who were too tired to free themselves from an awkward stunt. It was still dark outside, there was a ouija board on the floor, burnt incense in the air and an open window. More bodies were strewn around.

How exactly I got there still remains a mystery. There is a vague memory of a drinking game, but beyond that everything is a haze. Yes, I am ready for school. All I need is an admit.