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Category Archives: Los Angeles

To me, the jury is still out on MBA admissions consultants.  The trend has been the industry’s friend however.

  • I know that several members of top 25 admissions committees have reached out to MBA admissions consulting companies over the last few seasons.
  • These admissions committees have shown that they are willing to collaborate with these consulting firms in order to help steer more students their way, with respect to the application process.

Here is a link to UCLA Anderson’s take on the industry I found while searching around on the intertubes.

UCLA Anderson seems to be a bit cautious on their blog.

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A random thought; I hope I get an invite to Daytum.com‘s private beta.

  • This site mimicks my belief in how reporting dashboard’s should look.
  • I would love to throw my data in to the mix and see how effectively I communicate my results based on a balanced scorecard approach (quality, production, customer service and financial performance). 

As my colleages may be able to tell, I am a huge fan of simple, concise and clear communication.  

  • I sincerely believe that communicating is something that everyone does but not necessarily well.  

At an organizational level, I believe that passive communication kills organizations and conversations for that matter. 

  • This is something I try to get across to my own colleagues.  
  • I hope I serve as the example. 🙂

I would encourage those of you reading this post  to also check out:

I think this could also serve as inspiration for:

  • The Chicago Booth PPT (Powerpoint) essay.
  • My Christmas cards this year.  How cool would it be to send out an annual report to your family as your Christmas or Holiday card?  
  • Pretty cool, if you ask me.  But then again, no one is asking me.

After years of living in West Los Angeles, I decided to compile my list of favorite dive bars and maybe a few dive restaurants. Having lived in the Midwest for almost 10 years I feel qualified to know and judge the real dive bars in my hood. I have also come up with a ranking system to determine the” realness” factor associated with each dive bar. Each bar below with be ranked in “Old Dudes” at the bar at any one time, with 5 bald heads being the max. As any dive bar aficionado knows, a legit dive bar is often empty with only a handful of “Old Dudes” in the place at any one time with as many as half of them asleep at any one time.
Here goes:

1. Philly West (http://www.phillywestbarandgrill.com/)

The food at Philly West is awesome. I recommend the chicken sandwich and the cheeseburger. The kitchen is open until 11 PM and the fries are great. Brian is the mainstay behind the bar. I miss Kim, one of the old bartenders, who left a few months ago. One thing is the free Christmas Eve spread that the owner Mark puts on for the regulars. It’s really a place where everyone knows your name. You would be surprised by some of the conversations that go in there; everything from post WWII occupied Japan to Marcel Proust.

“Old Dude” Rating – Full 5 Bald Heads

2. The Joker (http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-joker-santa-monica)

This place is also pretty “real” with respect to it’s dive barness. The only bartender I have ever seen in there is some older gentleman with a heavy English accent. I think it’s English. Do not try and bring the TV remote into the bathroom if you happen to have it on you (which I am not sure why). I almost saw the bartender drop some B’s on a patron for doing that. Also, I would not order food at this place. There is a pool table in the house as well.

“Old Dude” Rating – Four Bald Heads

3. Del’s Saloon (http://www.delssaloon.com/index.html)

Okay, if you click on the link, and view the pictures on the Del’s Saloon website, you might get the impression that this place could be filled with young, attractive 20 somethings. This is not the case. This place is divey and is great. Let me put it to you this way, if you want to eat at this place, you can bring your own food. They also open at 6 AM, which coincides with their happy hour, which is hardcore for LA.

“Old Dude” Rating – Four Bald Heads

4. San Francisco Saloon (http://www.yelp.com/biz/san-francisco-saloon-co-los-angeles)

This place is a little more on the nicer side of diveyness, if that is indeed possible.  While the SF Saloon may be a good place to start off the night at happy hour, it’s not really a place you want to end up at the end of the night, unless you are heading off to 4Play, located a few down.  The inside is old skool and everyone is made out of wood, expect for the TVs.

“Old Dude” Rating – Two and 1/2 Bald Heads

4. Karaoke Bleu (http://www.yelp.com/biz/karaoke-bleu-los-angeles)

This place is the best Japanese dive/karaoke bar in existence. It is hit or miss. Some nights it is packed, other nights the only thing going is some older Japanese gentlemen chilling and smoking cigarettes. It’s like something out of an old movie. The crowd is a mix of students and people from Japan. The drink pricing seems random and weird. The decor looks like something from an early 1980’s Miami dance club. There is something about this place though I love. Maybe it’s the wasabi peas.

“Old Dude” Rating – Three Bald Heads

6. Backstage (http://www.backstageculvercity.com/)

Okay, this is where the realness starts to end. There are simply too many young people that frequent Backstage to warrant a true dive bar rating. This place is always packed though and has the typical dive bar set up. It also has what I consider to be one of the greatest inventions since the Internet, which is Karaoke. This place is fun, packed and everyone is there to have a good time.

“Old Dude” Rating – No Bald Heads

7. New Japan Also Takeout (http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/47198/)

I love the signage above New Japan. Not only does it say “New Japan”, it also has in cursive just below the name the wording “Also Takeout”. This place underwent a massive overhaul in 2004 that saw the replacing of its aquarium-like decor with a sleek all black look. The old cracked projection TV was also replaced which reduced its divey-ness but allowed you to actually, well, watch TV. This is also the only dive restaurant to make the list. If you want American chow, try the Delores diner down the street. It’s also divey.

This is pretty much all I can think of at this minute. I did find a good resource that I hope can also help point you in the right direction: The My Dive Bar Website http://www.mydivebar.com/lareviews.htm#westla

And: The World Dive Bar Tour Website http://www.worlddivebartour.com/v1/

I guess we have some homework to do.

There’s No Shame in Renting, Home Prices Will Fall

Homeguide123.com is a great site IMO.  I love the easy to understand information about home buying and the mortgage market in general.

I particularly like the article above.  As I think the mortgage failout will last another 18, I will continue to rent.  The aritcle above describes how there is no shame in this game.

A b-school colleague told me that once I went bespoke, or custom-made, with my work clothing that I would never going back to buying off the rack. I must admit, he was right.

I never really ever thought about seriously buying custom fit clothing for work. I guess I don’t know why as I have a 44 chest and a 32 waist. I figured it would be too expensive without really investigating it. It was went I went to buy a couple of suits that I began to realize that for about $600 I could get a custom suit made with a good super 120 wool.

Well, after soliciting some more fellow b-school opinions, I settled on Fit Wel custom clothing in Brentwood, Los Angeles. They measured, I ordered and waited about 4 weeks. When I finally received my suits and shirts, I tried them on and felt like a million bucks. I have never had clothes fit so well, well!

I will never go back to buying off the rack. Additionally, buying custom clothing is helping me with my transition to less is more. As I continue to simply my life by adopting GTD or reading the latest posting on zenhabits.net, I am realizing that I need to focus on having fewer things that declutter my life. So with my clothing, I am donating all the old and just having a few things. Additionally, as I am a traveling consultant, I only can take 5 shirts and pants on the road at any one time. So how many shirts, pants, suits do I really have. I can spend a little more on custom made, look better, feel better and continue to declutter my life.

So how can you get in on this? Go to a tailor, have them measure you, then find a reputable tailor from Hong Kong online.   I really like Cosmo Circle Custom Tailors in Hong Kong.  Send them your measurements. Buy a few shirts and see how you like them. I guarantee if this is done right, you will never go back to off the rack!

I love the UPS Store.  I pay them about $20 a month for my mailbox and I think it’s worth every penny.

As you all know by now, I am a consultant who travels 100% of the time.  I practically live in hotels and make it home to LA about 1 weekend a month.  I have also been living in LA for about 5 years.  In these last 5 years I have lived at 6 different addresses.  I knew it would be extremely hard to make sure all my mail made it to me in its entirety.

So what did I do?  As you probably guessed, I got a UPS Store mailbox.  Someone at the UPS store ensures my mail always makes it to my little mailbox and they sign for my packages  It’s a “life hack”.  I avoid missing mail, I avoid having my packages stolen, I avoid having to notify EVERYONE that I changed my address and most importantly I reduce the possibility of having my identity stolen.

If you’re on the road constantly, they will even box up and mail all your mail to your hotel or client site.  What’s not to love?

MizPee Home

I have yet to utilize this service to its fullest extent but I think its great you can locate a bathroom on the go via text message or via a WAP site.

I just had my car broken into as well…….

12 secrets your car insurer won’t tell you – MSN Money

So I have been looking to buy a small apartment building in LA.  I have tried all the usual suspects for my RE searches.  I started with themls.com and ventured on down the line with trulia.com.

However, the best site I have found for locating real estate in the LA area has to be ziprealty.com.  They have a great user interface that allows me to locate the highest number of 2-4 unit apartments buildings on the westside of LA.

Also, in LA, the seller pays RE agent fees when selling a property.  This can be as high as 6%.  Zip Realty will rebate a portion of this back to you, the buyer.  Good stuff, huh?

Check them out at www.ziprealty.com.

The Best Little Carwash in Downtown LA

If you’re working in the Bunker Hill area of downtown LA there is a great little carwash located below the YMCA that is on Hope Street. It actually located in the parking garage of the building that houses the YMCA on Hope Street. You have to drive down about 6 levels. Trust me, its there.

Well, what’s the big deal you ask?

The big deal is that you can get a carwash for $10 and pay $3 for all day parking validation. That is $13 for about the cheapest carwash and car parking you will get anywhere in downtown LA. The cheapest garaged parking that I know of around there is $9.90 at the World Trade Center. While the guy manning the toll booth is cool, he doesn’t wash your ride.