Sunday, December 16, 2007

Life in Bullets - A lot of firsts

"The intellect should be the servant of the heart, but not its slave" - Comte

A lot has happened over the last few months:

- I've worked as an investment banker for nearly 6 months

- I've fallen for Jess. We're currently planning on starting two business together. One has to do with art, and the other finance. I have a third in mine with regard to charity.

- I've realized that I want to become the investment banking client more than I want to be the investment banker. (I want to own the company, not work for it. I need to take risks and seed any entrepreneurial ideas I can be part of.)

- A part of me still loves Delilah. I think about her daily and the random adventures we had. I never thanked her for making such a monumental impact on my life. It isn't really fair to her that while she's the one who changed me so significantly since college, she doesn't get to see it, and I'm very sorry that she can't. I'm sorry for how everything turned out, and I miss her.

- I just got back from my first business trip to Colorado.

- I ordered room service for the first time. (Chocolate cake and ice cream)

- I gave a tour of an $8 million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills.

- I missed my first holiday party.

- I got my first moving violation.

- I drove in snow for the first time.

- I've been a lousy friend to Mike and Heather. I haven't spoken to my extended family for over 2 months. I miss my family and friends.

- I missed my first wedding.

- I was a pallbearer at my first funeral. (Same day as the wedding)

- I worked on Yom Kippur.

- I worked on Thanksgiving.

- I failed the CFA for a second time. (Probably)

- I made my first financial model.

- I wrote my first stock research report (still in progress)

- I channel surfed for the first time in 6 months last week.

- "More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." - Woody Allen

- I've never been more optimistic about people and the unexpected gifts in life. Thank you for being one of them.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Gravity Defied part I

"Success is getting what you want, and happiness is wanting what you get."

- W. Buffett

I'm absurdly happy; her name is Jess.

She meets the three criteria I'm looking for in a life partner:
1.) Jewish.
2.) Nurturing / Motherly / Wanting kids.
3.) Happy / Upbeat about life.

While I don't usually have enough time to plan or schedule formal dinner dates, she makes it work. For the last two months, Jess and I have gone on several brunch dates, exploring hidden culinary gems, while making life memories. My favorite so far has been the "Egg Scandia" at the Rose Cafe (fresh croissant with lox, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce with a blueberry muffin). Our brunch adventures also expands upon the list of restaurants I'd like to share with my out of town family. There's an ice cream shop I can't wait to take Heather to, and there are a few cafes near the Venice boardwalk that i have in mind for Mr. and Mrs. Banrock.

Jess also has awesome parents. They are very welcoming and I really enjoy spending time with them. Their house is beautiful and fitting for a famous screenplay writer. In the poker room next to library is "Dark Knight," the first multi-ball pinball machine. I wish my parents were as open minded as hers. My parents still haven't had her over for dinner but I guess that's the trade off for having "old school values," whatever that's supposed to mean. (I think it's a lousy excuse for being slow to welcome strangers into their lives. "The chains of habit are too light to be felt, until they're too heavy to be broken" -WB)

More to come....

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I know I should feel excited about the week ahead, but for some unexplained reason I'm getting a really nasty vibe. Something's coming....

Or maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's just the culmination of my sadness marked by the anniversary of our first date....

Or maybe I'm just a little loopy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Buffett Letter

That same summer I wrote a birthday letter to Buffett. July 18, 2003:

Mr. Warren E. Buffett
Chief Executive Officer
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
1440 Kiewit Plaza
Omaha, Nebraska 68131

Dear Mr. Buffett;

From the reaction of my friends, I guess it’s unusual to hang a picture of a seventy-two, and soon to be seventy-three year old man, on my wall. Unlike my friends who have pictures of sunbathing beach babes, I have chosen one of my heroes.

After working on a mid-term paper into the night, and chugging five of the six Cherry Cokes in a pack, I looked up to see my inspiration. While I’m trying my best to follow in your tracks, I haven’t yet figured out how you were able to procrastinate on papers and study Ben Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, all while setting the curve on class exams. I may wish otherwise, but I most certainly don’t have the brainpower to imitate your undergraduate habits, and as Yogi Berra said, “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.” Unable to answer the question myself, I gathered my courage and shareholder’s rights, sat in the second row of the annual Westco meeting and asked Mr. Munger the best way to follow his partner’s tracks. Your partner quipped that many young people ask how to become wealthy like him, only faster. Instead, slug it out, step-by-step everyday, suggested the Westco Chairman once the laughter subsided; this advice will do. True, your wealth probably won’t be achieved by someone with less candlepower but the wisdom is exact; everyone works according to their best light and, thankfully, the measure of our success doesn’t depend on a comparison with either you or Mr. Munger. Success depends on the careful execution of our life plan.

I cherish your teachings about character. For example, in my junior year of high school, I listed the traits that I found admirable and objectionable. Motivated by the fear of ruining a twenty-year reputation in five minutes, forging strong habits now becomes a bit easier. I’d rather read about other people’s blunders in the headlines, not my own. As a young man, practicing the right habits can be tough, but it is better to lay the foundation now than see the house tumble later. Like value investing, a successful character is the result of slow, patient attention; “faster” has nothing to do with it.”

So happy birthday, Mr. Buffett. A lifetime of patient investing in character and intrinsic value has yielded wealth, success and happiness. You’ve demonstrated the perfect mental model: Success is getting what you want, and happiness is wanting what you get. In my essay for the application to the University of California at Los Angeles, I compared your advice on the qualities of character to the teachings of another one of my heroes, basketball coach, John Wooden. I was accepted, and I’m tap dancing to each class.

Looking Back

I wrote this on July 3, 2003, the summer prior to starting UCLA. I was seventeen.

Losing Paradise

I’m losing paradise. As each day passes I’m one step closer to becoming a full-time college student. While the independence associated with entering a university is an exciting experience, the joys of childhood are left behind.

Despite the occasional order to clean my room or wash the dishes, my past seventeen years have seemed utopian. In an age of high divorce rates, domestic violence, and besieged family values, my parents carefully nurtured their children’s developing character. Accomplishments come easily swinging high above a secure parental safety net. As a child, the “menial” chores, cooking or laundry, seemed beneath my aspirations but perfectly suited to my parent’s indolent life. In my mind, high school was just as “tough” as my Dad’s work; perhaps he could work forever while I remained a child. Surprisingly, adulthood means shouldering menial chores that my parents have outgrown. So its “goodbye” to the safety net and “hello” university life, twenty page papers and cleaning my closet-sized dorm room.

With these newfound fears of independence, one quote by Abraham Lincoln relieves my mind: “ The worst thing you can do for those you love is the things they could and should do for themselves.” Lincoln was right; my university independence is best served if my parents are freed from the slavish devotion to my meals and laundry and allowed to relax with their own “menial” tasks.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I Think I'll Try Defying Gravity

I miss listening to her sing in the car.

I spoke with Heather this past weekend. I started complaining about my feelings for Delilah: "I hate the fact that there's someone out there that can completely shake-up my life."

Heather responded: There's a lot of things you can do in life, Charlie, but it's what you choose to do that defines you. If you let her mess up your life, that's your choice.

Timshel all over again. Heather is a great friend, but damn, she's smart too.

This is my life, and I'm choosing to dwell in the past rather than moving on. I don't think I'll ever be as enamored with anyone as much as I was with Delilah, but then again, we live in an Uncertain World.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

They were wrong...

Everyone told me that after three months the nausea would go away. Four months later and I still hug the toilet bowl when a memory of her pops up.

Over dinner my Dad told me that for Succoth, the Jewish holiday, my cousins went rowing in Central Park. I had to excuse myself, as I almost started crying at the table. The pond in Central Park was where I was going to propose to her.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Big Shit

"If dating a girl in the office is like shitting where you eat, I just pinched a loaf on the dining room table."

When Delilah and I were dating I had zero respect for her ex, aptly named, "Man-Whore." After splitting with Delilah, he went on to hook-up with many chicas. Up until now, I never understood how a guy could sleep with dozens of women, and look at himself straight in the morning. I understand now. He was trying to find happiness, and settled for sex. Believe me, the quest for happiness is even harder when you're used to loving someone who's perfect for you.

Since splitting with Delilah I've been with two wonderful, understanding, Jewish girls, "Chef" and "Shorty." They both respected the ridiculous hours I work, and wanted to make it work. In short, we went on a few dates, they tried the kool-aid, and they left even more thirsty. But here's the catch: I'm not ready to move on. I already told Chef that it wouldn't be fair to her if we dated seeing that I still had feelings for Delilah. Shorty works in my office, and told me today that I'm the "silver-lining in her life." I know the healthy thing is for me to give Shorty a fresh try, but everything reminds me of Delilah. I'm just not getting over her. I miss nearly everything about her. I even miss the way she brushed her hair.

It still upsets me so much that she wasn't willing to try to make it work, yet here it is two girls that I go on a few dates with are willing to overcome obstacles to try and build a relationship. But she wasn't. She wasn't willing to make it work. She said no because she didn't love me as much as I loved her.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

God Laughs

"Had my mother not died, there's a slim chance I would have been accepted to medical school." -My Dad

Paul died today. When I got home I cried thinking of the pain his wife and children must feel. Banrock's wedding is this Sunday, as is Paul's funeral.

"Men plan, God laughs."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Success is peace of mind from doing the best you can under the conditions that exist.

Paraphrasing John Wooden

She said no.

There was nothing more I could have offered.

I've done the best I can.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Why She's Worth It, A Few Reasons Why I Hope She Says 'Yes'

Given my willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to overcome a prior impasse, I left her a voice mail asking if we could get back together. It took me a few months to reach these conclusions and so I expect it'll take her at least a few days to reach her own. This is a major cross-roads in life, and I'm simultaneously excited about our potential future together and outright scared she'll say "no." While it's useful to document the thought process that has lead to these conclusions it also serves as a list for why I hope she says "yes." Bottom line is that I'm not asking her to marry me, I'm just saying that I'd like to keep dating without a deadline or a restricted potential.

Here goes, in no particular order and non-inclusive:

Why She's Worth it,
A Few Reasons Why I Hope She Says 'Yes'

Several of my life hero's would make this decision. If Warren had been Jewish, knowing that Susie was the love of his life, I bet that he'd have converted. (What would Warren Do?)

I'm finally thinking about what I want and how I can achieve it rather than how I can make other people happy.

Maybe it's naive, but I believe love can prevail. If we're madly in love 30+ years from now, it's extremely unlikely that either of us will have regretted our decisions. (Not to say I won't experience occasional pings of nostalgia or sadness.)

When we broke up, this would have been a decision I had made for her. Given my clarifying thoughts over the last few months, this decision is just as much for her, as it is for me. I don't feel any bitterness or anger directed towards her and I'm certainly not having the Sex in the City moment where I'd want to yell "I gave-up Jesus for you," except in reverse.

I believe in raising good children in a moral family. This isn't limited to Judaism.

Despite my hesitancy to raise a non-Jewish family, I actually like Christianity. It's been a great moralizing force for civilization. Jewish people could learn a lot about being nicer to their neighbors. We got a little lost in self-preservation and money making. That's one trait I seem to have down fine and I don't think I'll have trouble passing it, and hopefully not the proceeds, onto my own children.

I want to marry a woman committed to teaching values of responsibility, love and kindness.

I have very fond memories of going to the Easter Sermon with her. I really liked the lessons that were taught that day and I feel that my kids could really benefit from hearing the same things:

A.) Charity
B.) Most the noise in life comes from the shallow end
C.) Love thy neighbor
D.) We don't live in a perfect world, but it doesn't mean we should hold ourselves to lower standards

I can't remember the last time I went to Synagogue and months later still remembered key highlights.

She knelt before praying. I'd want my kids to see that type of respect and devotion to a higher spirit.

I can say the Prayers, but I don't understand the words. How can I pass a religion to my own kids if I don't understand the words? I don't really speak a word of Hebrew. I mix up all the stories. I don't want to be more Jewish, and I'm not making the time to learn.

On Friday nights, I "bench" after the meal with my family singing Hebrew songs I don't really understand. I like the tunes, the family connection, and the amazing foods but the words are, yet again, lost on me. Are these tunes effectively any different than saying grace in English? The main connections I have are through cultural observances and reading the text, in English, on a weekly basis. Of which, I have two additional thoughts:

A.) I'd like to read both the old and new testament with my own kids. My decision doesn't really effect this.

B.) I'm sad that I'd lose my Jewish cultural experiences, but I'll also gain new Christian ones. The morning excitement of Christmas sounds amazing as I can see myself smiling over at Her while our kids open up gifts under the tree.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Garden of Eden

Honestly I'm scared. At the end of my senior year in college I realized that I didn't get enough of the life experiences I should have. I was always too worried about the immediate future that I couldn't think longer term. I never stopped to ask myself, will I regret these decisions two, five, ten or even twenty years from now? Since my senior year, I've been applying this time-acid test more frequently.

Investment banking is not easy, but will I regret working my ass off when I'm 25 or 30? I don't think so. I'll probably be happy that I put in my time, and paid my dues. Investment banking is a situation where the time-acid test works. But what if it doesn't? This is where it gets scary.

What if I know I'll regret a decision I'm actively making but I stick to it because the alternative is similarly terrible?

Finally when I realized that I should start living my life so I won't regret it, I'm forced to choose between mutually regrettable outcomes: Delilah or a Jewish family. I've walked away from Delilah, and I hate myself for doing it. I’m compromising personal happiness for religion. It’s the most difficult decision I’ve made in my life, and I'm starting to wonder if the reciprocal is just as bad.

I talked to Steve on the weekend and I told him I was seriously considering raising a non-Jewish family. If I made that decision, he asked, will I regret it when I’m 50? I responded, not as much as I’ll regret losing the love of my life at 21.

Now I’m really scared. Where do I go from here? Would She support me?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

You just learn to live with it? I hate lemonade.

"You never get over it. You just learn to live with it. When my Mom died I was seventeen.... You never get over it. You just learn to live with it." These were the words my Dad said to Paul's wife, Toby, and then repeated back to me.

Recently, my family went to visit a friend, Paul, in the Kaiser Permanente, Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Paul always treated my brother and I with kindness and was close to my parents. He was one of three people that attended my parents wedding and he was a medical school buddy with my Dad. Unfortunately, his cancer has spread across his body and made its way into his lungs and throat. He also has pneumonia. Outside his room I saw him with tubes in his arms and down his throat. It scared me. He didn't look anything like the way I knew him from childhood memories. I didn't recognize him without a smile on his face.

My parents led the way into this room. My Dad and Mom helped him move his feet back unto his pillows. He was barely conscious, and had a blank stare that moved between the three of us. I felt like a scared kid. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to do, and my parents did everything. My parents kept on saying, "Keep on fighting, Paul. You're so strong. Keep on fighting." His eyes barely open, he stared straight into me. What do you do when you're staring into someone's death? I don't have an answer, so I forced a smile.

When my Pop Pop told me that my visit would be the last time I saw him, we cried, we hugged and we smiled. It still brings tears to my eyes, thinking about him slowly waving from the front porch with his sunken eyes. The same eyes, that Paul had.

What's equally sad is what Paul leaves behind. While the experience must be very painful for my parents, it's tragic that he leaves behind a wife and two daughters, one in college and the other in high school. While I believe or at least hope that the twenties is the most difficult period in my life as I define myself through work and the companion I choose, (the naive understanding of course is that afterwards is smooth sailing) what are you supposed to do when you have to reset your life at 55? I'm 21 and it certainly puts bitching about my life in perspective. I can't begin to imagine the fear and pain that Paul's wife, Toby is experiencing. What is she supposed to do? How can she "learn to live with it?" Empty chairs and empty tables all over again.


Generally, I like the question that when life tosses a lemon, or in this case, a crate of lemons, how do you make lemonade? I see what's going on with Paul and his family and it's beautiful to see their friends showing support. My parents are being true friends and they're a role model for the commitments I should show to my partners. In short, while it's certainly no cosmic balance, I'm actively reflecting on this tragic event to show my appreciation for friends and family. It's petty, but it's an attempt. My mom wanted to play cards with me last night, and I really didn't have time, but I did anyways. She "beat" me. I kissed her on the fore-head when I said goodnight. I said the Shema with my dad every night that I saw him this past week. Lastly, I was lucky enough to speak with my brother on Friday night and Banrock, soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Banrock, on Saturday.


I spoke to Banrock on Saturday and told him that I wasn't going to be able to make it to his wedding. I feel like shit about it. If you're not making the time for life partners, who are you supposed to do it for? For a list of reasons, I can't. But here's where the story gets interesting. Banrock responded, "Charlie, I missed a lot of weddings in my time. Next time your out in Manhattan, you'll toast us." Wow, another example of Banrock giving better than he gets.

What an amazing friend. Instead of saying, "oh what a shame," or "I can't believe you can't make it especially given that you said you would," he makes an effort to make me feel less rotten about it. I'm so lucky to have such great partners and role models, and I'll do whatever I can to keep them.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Got off the phone...

So I just got off the phone with Delilah. It hurt at first. I talked to my parents. Unfortunately, my Dad, is more than a little thick headed on the whole issue. However, my Mom did share a very interesting story. Before marrying, my parents dated for about five years in Manhattan. My Dad broke up with my Mom when he left for California. Main reason being that my Mom refused to trek westward without a marriage proposal. So they split. And they were split for about 4 months. My Mom was heartbroken and my Dad was a bachelor. Despite the way Adam Sandler portrays bachelorhood in the movies, in life it sucks. I could write a whole post on bachelorhood and it limits, but one image should do the trick: 30-year old men going to college bars hoping to get lucky. (In contrast, I hope to have a least two kids by the time I'm 30, and I'm not talking about hook-ups with consequences.) It's not a pretty sight and it seriously scares the shit out of me. Back to my parents...At this point, my Dad realized he was being an idiot, apparently it runs in the family, and knowing that my mom was very special and nurturing, proposed. Happily ever after.

Back to Modern Era

It was a delight hearing her voice. I enjoyed opening up to her, and I really enjoyed that she was honest with me. For example...

She was very upset with me and I definitely didn't expect it. I didn't realize how much I had offended her by canceling our graduation plans. She was supposed to attend my graduation breakfast, and I was supposed to attend her ceremony. Instead, I canceled on both accounts. I wish I had the emotional fortitude to have gone, but what she didn't realize was that I completely broke down the day she graduated. I mourned all day. I sobbed all day. I cried in the shower, and the one time I walked out of my room I cried sitting in the park. I don't know what else I could have done.

She also hinted at the fact that since breaking up it's become more clear to her that she wouldn't convert. While this was the part that initially hurt when I got off the phone, it crystallizes the limits of our relationship and now brings a broad smile to my face. Louis, I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Follow Up

Despite everything I've written about recognizing that Delilah's not the one for me, I still find myself hoping that she would convert. It's a thin line between missing her and everything else, but in truth, it's a blur. I miss everything we had and I'd do anything but convert to get it.

Having a partner is equal in importance to having a family. I can't sacrifice my family for her, and unfortunately, I can't ask her to do the same. Anything else, anything, would have been fair game. Whatever she'd want, I would have given. This emotional isolation is unbearable and I'm cracking at the seams. I need a partner, and we were perfect together.

I think I Love My Wife...

I only saw about five minutes of the movie but a great quote from it was:

"You can lose a lot of money by chasing women, but you'll never lose women by chasing money."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


When I let my mind drift, I have flashbacks of my Ex, “Delilah.” One school break, I drove down to Carlsbad, her home town. She was still working and I decided to surprise her. She was elated. While she didn’t get off work for at least another hour, I casually walked around the store while observing how she engaged customers. After she locked up, I practically jumped on her in a festering display of public affection. I was so enamored; it was one of the few times when she told me to hold off. After walking her to her car, I didn’t want to leave her. She understood, and she liked it. I was only too happy to give her my love, and she did the same for me.

Loving someone who loved me in return was one of the fullest "life" experiences I’ve had. (For future reference, now that it’s over, I can also say a few things: Bachelor life is over-rated and while I miss being in love, I know what to look forward to.) Remembering the emotions of loving someone higher than the sky is a memory I need to keep for a rainy day. It’s a great feeling and another reason to enjoy life.

While I’ve been having a lot of flashbacks of Delilah, I’m also forgetting them. I wish I could just write them all down, or copy them to a jump drive for later viewing. Unfortunately, I can’t. It makes me sad to think that a fleeting moment sitting on the toilet may be the last times I remember what was once a precious memory between lovers. Human nature is cruel: When I couldn’t forget these memories, they were too long and painful. Now that I’m starting to lose them, they’re too short and fading. Forgetting these are my true losses and as they said in "Swingers," I will miss the pain. The experiences are no different, but my emotions towards them have changed. They no longer reflect who I’ve lost, but how much I’ve gained.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I called my Ex today. I didn't like that I was spending my free time thinking about the fact that I was waiting for her to call. I'd rather just make the call and say to myself, I called because I'm curious to hear how you're doing but I understand if you don't call me back.

If she calls back, great, we talk for a half hour, we catch up and that's that. No, "we have to get together sometime," or " would you like to catch up over lunch?" I have no ulterior motive of getting back together. I'm not looking to meet her and I accept that we probably won't date again. At this point, my call is the same reason that I speak to my other Ex: She was once a love, it didn't work out, maybe she can be a friend.

Then again, I understand if she doesn't call back. She may still miss me or maybe she thinks I still have feelings for her. I have a lot of feelings, especially for our memories together, but I don't miss her anymore. I miss having a companion. I miss waking up next to someone. I miss having someone to call at anytime, high or low. She was a great companion, but she's not for me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Skot , My Ex, and a brief aside...

In my class of recently hired analysts there is a star pupil named "Skot."

Skot knows what he's supposed to do. Skot knows how to do it. And Skot does it very well.

In contrast, I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I don't know how to do it. And I'm certainly not doing it very well.

As I learn and catch up, I hope to follow John Wooden's model. To paraphrase: success is peace of mind in doing the best you can under the conditions that exist. That's all I can do.


On a different front, I've been thinking much clearer about my Ex. For example, if she were interested in what was going on in my life she'd call. This thought should allay any temptation to contact her or indirectly update her on my life through some online venue like facebook or email. Similarly, as tempted as I've been, I shouldn't call her because I don't want to settle on friendship. I left the last email and the ball is in her court. Lastly, and probably most important, just because I believe that we would have had a wonderful marriage if she converted doesn't mean she does. If she converted, and it wasn't a great cost to her and her family, she would have. We would soon be married, and I'd have the companion I'm looking for in life. Bottom line is that she believes it would hurt her and her family and I shouldn't wish that on her, especially since she was once a partner in my life.


I'm still semi-surprised that I think about her in my free time. Almost the second I get into my car on the drive back, she pops into my head. She also rents my mind in the down moments on the weekend. A small part of it is that thinking about my Ex is so different compared to what I do most of the day. I also think the demands of the job lead me to wanting a life partner even more than usual. At the end of a sixteen hour day, I'd love to decompress with a hug followed by a shower, a warm meal and talking over dessert. Maybe I miss the companionship more than the individual. After all, it's nice to cuddle and wake up next to a companion on a regular basis. In due time, not only will I have more life experiences, but I'll ultimately marry someone who makes me happy and hopefully, I can make proud.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Three Phases...

So far in my remembered life I've had two stages:

1. Nerd (Which was way too long)

2. Playboy / King (Which was way too short)

Now I've begun the third:


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Finished 2nd Wk and I'm acting like a Bitch

It's intense. The hours, the sleep and the meals. Every second counts. Like any other performance based job, you stay as late as you need to finish the project(s). Sleep can be compensated with Redbull. The meals, well, I feel like I'm degenerating every time; at the desk and wolfed in under 5 minutes.


At the same time, I'm turning into a machine. Soon I'll be a Financial Wizard. A lot will change over the next two years in the Analyst program. Where will I be? Buyside or sellside? Who will I be? Will I still miss Her? Will I have found someone else? Will I still be lonely? Looking back will I say to myself that I made worthwhile goals? Did I actually make good money? Am I closer to where ever I'm looking to go? Am I a better or bitter person?


I don't want to be a friendless, money machine. Despite my intentions, that's just the way my life seems to be heading. K, H, J, and C are all on or leaving to the East. I call H at least once a week and she rarely returns my call. I guess she no longer wants to talk to me. That's what I get for being brutally honest and I regret it. C, my middle school chum is moving off to Virginia. Virginia? Seriously? Wow, I'm not going to see him for a long time. M is preparing for "professional" school. It takes a lot of work but I think he can do it. K is going to get married in Sept but I don't even know if I can make it to his wedding b/c there's a holiday the day before and work is unlikely to let me off the hook. Lastly, She and I are still in the "radio silence" phase.


Last night I dreamed that we got back together. It was raining and we where in the countryside. Nothing sensual. She seemed to say "Yes, for the rest of your life I'm going to be with you...your partner and companion." Morning was brutal.


Three Motrin later, followed by two walks in the park, and I'm ready for Sunday. Work in the morning and if I have free time, CFA. In reality, I shouldn't be bitching. I have an amazing job. It's tough, but I'm very well paid and I'm learning a lot. Perhaps it would be easier if I didn't realize I was changing.


To paraphrase Munger, there's nothing worse than self-pity. I need to get over it, and keep on chugging.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Elysian Fields

My whole family is there. My wife, children, parents, in-laws, and siblings. It's a weekend afternoon and we sit on a red and white checkered towel. It's a delicious picnic. Our recently born daughter, the younger of two, cries when her mother hands her to me. I beam as I hold her and look into her beautiful face. I make a joke to Wife saying, " She was with you, and now she's stuck with me. Can you really blame her for crying?" She's heard it before, but she still laughs and smiles. She's heard all my little phrases but she still enjoys them. She's as happy as I am to have our family here today in the park. The sun is warm, the shade is refreshing and the ocean breeze is paradise.


It's lovely to watch our parents play with our children. It gives us a moment to eat and drink. We're sitting on the grass next to each other with our legs stretched out in front of us and our supporting arms straight behind. She sits beside me. I turn my neck to the left and we both lean in. I whisper into her ear, "I love you." She rights Herself and turns to look at me. She's beaming. She's heard it a million times before, but each time is as true as the first. I love Her unconditionally. We baby kiss. We are expecting another in 8 months.

Monday, July 09, 2007

It's going to be ok...

I need to choose which outcome will occur, and live by it.


The choice is made...

She is not coming back.

I will not call her.

I will probably never see her again.

Act accordingly.

Friday, July 06, 2007

3 Comforts, 3 Outcomes, 2 Thoughts


1. I will be alone throughout my life, but I should never feel lonely. I am blessed with friends and family who share mutual love.

2. I will someday meet and marry a beautiful woman who will be everything I want in a partner.

3. If She doesn't come back, it was for the better. We would have had a failed and strained marriage given our religious and cultural impasse.


1. She starts dating, and eventually finds someone that she can settle down with. While many dates are losers, she doesn't consider coming back to me because leaving her family culture would be too much of a sacrifice. It's the same reason I don't go back to her. I start work. She starts work. She forgets about me, I forget about her. Work helps me forget. I move on after seeing that she moved on.


Everyone is happy.

2. She starts dating. Within a month or two, she even sleeps with a hunk. She recognizes the consequences and wonders if she'll call me like she promised. She doesn't. It was good and she enjoyed it. They'll do it again. He's not perfect, but hey, neither is she. They're not perfect together. He becomes her official "boyfriend." Slowly, his annoyances wear on her. She realizes that I'm worth the sacrifice. She says yet again, that we're "perfect for each other" and she calls me. She cries that she missed me. I cry and tell her that I missed her. I have to get over the fact that she slept with someone else. I do. We book tickets to New York. I save my salary to buy her the ring she deserves. We marry. Everyone is happy.

3. She starts dating. Three months of dating losers and she gives up. Three months of not talking to me and she realizes that I'm worth the family sacrifice. She calls me. Everyone is happy. (For completeness I'd suggest a fourth possibility where she comes back but I've already forgotten her, but I don't want to be ridiculous. I'm only including realistic scenarios.)


1. Number 1 is the most likely scenario. At this time, I don't know how I end up happy. But it doens't matter yet. At least she does. I doubt this will be on my mind once I start work. At this time I'm very sad.

2. Somehow, no matter what, everyone ends up happy.... Yeah, and I'm the next Warren Buffett... I think this is absolute bullshit. Maybe one day it'll come true, but today's not that day and tomorrow's not looking so good either.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Eventually you start to say...

"Tis better to have loved and lost, then to have never loved at all."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007



It's been 5 days since I spoke to Her. I quit, cold-turkey, and it's extremely difficult going through life without Her. We both made this decision; she won't leave her family and I refuse to leave mine. I wish this wasn't so hard but I still miss Her and I love Her.

The last seven months were the best in my life. It was my opportunity to have the college experience I never had. It was amazing. The next two years, I aim to tap the potential of how much I can learn as a banker.

The End. A Beginning...


It's Thursday of finals week in Spring quarter. Girls are wearing summer dresses and despite the heat, there's a cooling breeze. Mike and I are going out tonight to party. It feels like this may be the first time we actually party like college kids. He has no MCAT to study for, and I have no job interviews. While I'm very excited about tonight, it feels like I'm unsuccessfully chasing a forgotten dream. The kids have gone home, the party is over and finally I'm ready for the life I chose to avoid.

I entered college striving to be better than everyone else. I didn't party, I didn't drink, and I aced my classes. I'm graduating with a 3.9 GPA, a job, and a few life partners. With these accolades, many would say, "mission accomplished." I'd say I barely tapped the potential. While Heather and Mike are both life-long friends, I didn't meet enough people. Most of my time was spent sober in my dormroom trying to improve my mind. From these past few months I've realized there's just as much to learn from life experiences as there's from books. She once said, "I'm a better man," for having not been irresponsible during my college years. I hope She's right.

While I can't redo these last four years, I can strive for more life experiences in the future. While investment banking isn't known for easy hours, my free time spent away from studying the CFA should be dedicated towards enriching my life memories: Explore Los Angeles, date, have fun and make more friendships. My dreams of family, and material comfort will be even richer if I pursue these goals.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Lord's Struggle...

Chapter 14, verse 2

"If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this Wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this Land to die by the sword? Our wives and young children will be taken captive! Is it not better for us to return to Egypt?"
So they said to one another, "Let us appoint a leader and let us return to Egypt!"

Verse 11

Hashem said to Moses, "How long will this people provoke Me, and how long will they not have faith in Me, despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with the plague and annihilate them, and I shall make you a greater and more powerful nation than they."

Moses said to Hashem, "Then Egypt, from whose midst You brought up this nation with Your power, will hear, and they will say about the inhabitants of this Land, 'They have heard that You, Hashem, are in the midst of this people -- that You, Hashem, appeared eye to eye and Your cloud stands over them, and that in a pillar of cloud You go before them by day and in a pillar of fire at night -- yet You killed this people like a single man!' Then the natios that heard of Your fame will say, 'Because Hashem lacked the ability to bring this people to the Land that He had sworn to give them, He slaughtered them in the Wilderness.' And now -- may the strength of my Lord be magnified as You have spoken, saying, 'Hashem, Slow to Anger, Abundant in Kindness, Forgiver of Iniquity and Willful Sin, and Who cleanses -- but does not cleanse completely, recalling the iniquity of parents upon children to the third and fourth generations' -- forgive now the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your kindness and as You have forgiven this people from Egypt until now."



In this portion The Lord is upset with a very fickle people. Despite perpetual miracles, the people lack faith. The Lord has two polar choices. At first, in a fit of rage, the inclination is to destroy the people and restart with Moses. The other choice is to react, "slow to anger" and forgive the people. While in the end a compromise is chosen, as the people are simultaneously forgiven to live, and condemned to wandering, what can we learn from the Lord's Struggle?

Is Holiness achieved through forgiveness? Is Holiness achieved through choosing the harder, and often emotionally constrained path? Perhaps curbing our emotions brings us one step closer to a righteous life. We were created in the Lord's Image, and we too must struggle with our emotions.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


On June 3rd, at 1:45 PM, we finally broke up.

The last seven months were beautiful. Truly among my happiest. It's a funny thing what people do for religion...

Now, with a seemingly insurmountable temptation to share word of both love and sorrow, I must remember what drove us to our separation: an impasse. I believe in raising a Jewish family, and she is not willing to convert.


I read this in "The Templeton Plan," back in either late middle or early high school. On page 51:

Author Jacob Korsaren gave this advice: "If you are poor, work. If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities, work. If you are happy, work. Idleness gives room for doubts and fear. If disappointments come, keep right on working. If sorrow overwhelms you and loved ones seem not true, work. If health is threatened, work. When faith falters and reason fails, just work. When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead, work. Work as if your life were in peril. It really is. No matter what ails you, work. Work faithfully -- work with faith. Work is the greatest remedy available for both mental and physical afflictions."

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Commencement Address at USC law. Starts approx min 43 and may only work on internet explorer...

Some Mungerisms:

"Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty."

"Assandoity"- To paraphrase, it means to sit on your ass and just do it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

East of Eden

Banrock recommended Steinbeck's East of Eden and I absolutely loved it. The following are several passages I thorougly enjoyed:

"The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on man." (pg. 629)

"And I feel that a man is a very important thing -- maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed -- because 'Thou mayest.'" (pg. 630)

American society?:

"Maybe everyone is too rich. I have noticed that there is no dissatisfaction like that of the rich. Feed a man, clothe him, put him in a good house, and he will die of despair." (pg. 635)

"'Thou mayest rule over sin,' Lee. That's it. I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name you a dozen who were not, and they are the ones the world lives by. It is true of the spirit as it is ture of battles -- only the winners are remembered. Surely, most men are destroyed, but there are others who like pillars of fire guide frightened men through the darkness. 'Thou mayest, Thou mayest!'What glory! It is true that we are weak and sick and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would, millenniums ago, have disappeared from the face of tthe earth. A few remnants of fossilized jawbone, some broken teeth in strata of limesone, would be the only mark man would have left of his existence in the world. But the choice, Lee, the choice of winning! I had never understood it or accepted it before. Do you see now why I told Adam tonight? I exercised the choice. Maybe I was wrong but by telling him I also forced him to live or get off the pot." (pg. 635-636)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Yesterday, the Prom I Never Had...

Remember how angry you were at Her. Too drunk to turnaround the evening, she only offers excuses now. "I was trying to relieve the tension. I was trying to make it easier." And you put up with this crap because you love her and you ask her if she does the same: "sometimes." Sometimes? Are you out of your fucking mind? Despite the mild hangover she's starting to play a little nicer in the morning. "I've always loved you. I just didn't know what I was saying." Then she wonders why I'm "difficult to talk to" over breakfast. I buy her breakfast after the night from hell, and I'm difficult to talk to? Wow-ee, imagine that. She woke me up at 5:40 AM to find her cell phone, and then at 6:30 she tells me I should go back to sleep after venting about frustrations from the night before. Surprisingly, I can't sleep. She was supposed to text her Mom when she got back to her apartment. Apparently, I'm not the only one she disappoints.

We lie in bed. She tells me: "You're suppressing you're feelings." How about this: you may have just disappointed me for the last time? How's that sound? For a few moments, I'm ready to break up. It's the warmest feeling I've had in the last 24 hours. She doesn't understand why I'm smiling. Honestly, is this child supposed to be my life partner? My friend? She fucked up big time.

Earlier that week, I planned a date in Hollywood. We have an amazing chocolate malt shake and peppermint sundae. We watch a movie I promised we would see together that was no longer playing pretty much everywhere else. I keep it a surprise until arrival and we both have a blast. To top it off, we both laugh like kids: It's a Disney flick in 3D!

Yesterday, everything had been planned by someone else: transportation, location, and food, yet she blows it, big time. Drunk before arrival, obnoxious after. She's falling asleep at the table. Her head keeps bobbing. Now she's nauseous. She goes to the bathroom three times in the first hour. She says she's feeling sick. Ten minutes later, no, I'm not feeling sick, I'm actually just really confused about our relationship.


Really? Wow, fantastic timing. Why don't we wait until Formal to discuss whatever has been worrying you? So there I am, dead sober, standing in the rain, she just canceled on a cab that arrived for her, we're having an issue about our relationship and then she tells me "you make everything an uphill battle." This was supposed to be the prom I never had. It meant a lot to both of us and she blew it.


The next morning, I drop her off, probably late to class. Originally, I couldn't pull out of her driveway because her roommate's friend's car is blocking mine. Luckily, she has a key. Wait a second, you guessed it, another fuck up. She can't start the car. "Do you mind waiting until I come back from class?..Why do you look angry? Why are you..."

I'm sore. She knows. Will I talk to her later, "possibly." Asking for an apology isn't going to do us any good. She's loose with apologies. This time, I don't ask for an apology. "Don't call me until you're ready to move forward with an upbeat view of our relationship. Or, if you want to end it."


Half hour later, I get a text message: Does texting count as calling?


Saturday, April 21, 2007


Maybe a bit extreme but Pascal once said:

"All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone."

I should read more instead of thinking about what I'm missing. Spending $25+ bar hopping seems a bit overrated in my book. Is that really a good way to meet people?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Einstein on Religion from Time Mag.

"Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion."

"The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man."

Schopenhauer once said: "A man can do as he wills, but not will as he wills."

Seneca Quotes...

"A single example of extravagance or greed does a lot of harm -- an intimate who leads a pampered life gradually makes on soft and flabby; a wealthy neighbor provokes cravings in one; a companion with a malicious nature tends to rub off some of his rust even on someone of an innocent and open-hearted nature -- what then do you imagine the effect on a person's character is when the assault comes from the world at large? You must inevitably either hate or imitate the world. But the right thing is to shun both courses: you should neither become like the bad because they are many, nor be an enemy of the many because they are unlike you. Retire into yourself as much as you can. Associate with people whom are likely to improve you."

"Inwardly everything should be different but our outward face should conform with the crowd."

"A balanced combination of the two attitudes is what we want; the active man should be able to take things easily, while the man who is inclined towards repose should be capable of action."

Quoting Hecato:'If you wish to be loved, love.'

Solon's Warning...

"The observation of the numerous misfortunes that attend all conditions forbids us to grow insolent upon our present enjoyments, or to admire a man's happiness that may yet, in course of time, suffer change. For the uncertain future has yet to come, with all variety of future; and him only to whom the divinity has [guaranteed] continued happiness until the end we may call happy."