Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Doing Vegas the Right (and Wrong) Way

Every time I get back from Vegas, I tell myself, "Arun, you amazing guy you - Vegas is fun, but instead of coming here every year, go somewhere new!"

In theory, this sounds like a brilliant plan each time I say this to myself, but every year, someone, or something comes up where I would be an idiot not to go. Generally, I make it a rule to avoid such situations of idiocy.

So this year, again I had no such plans of visiting Las Vegas. I've been four times, and sure each time has been filled with chaos and adventure, but how about saving my time and money, and doing something different?

Then I found out about the "Super Duper MBA Vegas Weekend of Madness"(not the official name, but I find this more descriptive) that happens every year in Vegas. Basically, Caesar's Palace puts on a huge poker tournament + festivities for MBA students around the world to come and enjoy.

I was skeptical at first, until I started getting emails from people who have been before:

"You HAVE to GO!"
"Event of the YEAR!"
"Can't MISS weekend!"

Ok, I'm convinced.

Rule number 212 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness" states: "Thou shalt not pass up awesome opportunities or adventures when phrases like 'can't miss' are tossed around"

I'm not one to break my own rules, so as you can see, I had no choice but to book a flight.

So why is this weekend so great you ask? Well for starters, the deal is unbelievable. For $70, you are entered into a Poker Tournament on Friday (cash prizes for the top 20 finishers), a two hour dinner event with Open bar on Friday, and an open bar at a club on Saturday.

Yes, you heard that right. In the city with probably the most expensive drinks in the country, we are drinking for FREE both nights. Suffice it to say, no one was drinking anything less than Patron, Belvedere, and Jack Daniels for the entire weekend, and an hour into every event, no one felt ANY pain ;)

Seriously, it's worth entering an MBA program just for this trip alone.

On Saturday, while watching football at a sports bar in New York New York, we actually ran into the "Lingerie Bowl Girls" who apparently play football in, well, lingerie at half time during the Super Bowl. That's some of em in the picture up top.

But wait...if you've read the title carefully, you're probably wondering, "Gee Arun, this sounds like an amazing trip of awesomeness that I'm extremely jealous of, but what's this about the 'wrong way'?"

Good Question.

So the original plan was for a bunch of us to get this 2500 square foot suite in Caesar's palace. It would have been a bunch of us running amuck in this awesome suite having a lot of fun...But then, at the last minute, people started bailing for cheaper options. At that point, I thought the Presidential Suite might be a little much for me (but, then again, I have always thought of myself as rather presidential).

At that point, our options were limited and I left it in Jeff's hands to book us a room. Unfortunately, with only a couple of days before departure, there wasn't much in terms of selection.

Welcome to Imperial Palace - possibly (for lack of a better, more PG word) the luxury slum of Vegas.

So we walk in, and immediately I know I don't belong...lets just say the tenants of "I.P." (I refuse to call this place a "palace") aren't exactly lookers (yes, materialistic and judgmental, I know, but you weren't there, and we all know how amazing I think I look).

We are greeted by a broken automatic front door which meant all weekend, people were bumping into each other going in and out of the exit.
Check-in took forever, and once we finally checked in we made our way to the "Capri" tower which was not in the same building as the rest.

I got excited thinking the "Capri" must be the luxury tower of I.P. Maybe this place won't be so bad after all!

Welp, we make our way through some building with stained carpets and wreaking of cigarette smoke. Totally disgusting. We're searching for our room and finally see a sign that directs us through another door.

Now we are OUTSIDE. On one side is what looks like motel rooms, and on the other is a parking structure with car alarms resounding. At the end of the walkway, we see our rooms.

We didn't even walk in. We marched back to the front desk and "upgraded" to a room in the main tower. Of course, only one of the three elevators worked which means it took like 20 minutes to actually catch an elevator with enough space to squeeze a couple more people in.

The funny part is, during the initial check-in (before we had seen the room) Jeff was joking to our friend Carlos that we may have to "slum-it in the room next to them" to which the check-in clerk scoffed, "Huh! They are NOT slums!"

Au Contraire, mon frere.

Calling it a slum was probably a nicer term...these were more like "projects".

I was so embarrassed by our abode, that when people asked where we were staying I'd simply point in the direction of I.P. (which was conveniently located right across from Caesar's Palace), and respond, "We're staying at the Palace!"

But at least now I've seen another side of Vegas. Not everyone can afford the best of the best (including me) but if there's two things you should take away from this post, they are this: 1) NEVER stay at I.P. and 2) join an MBA program to go to this event next year.

And next year I'm definitely getting the damn suite.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010 Evaluation and 2011 Goals

To be honest, I've been kind of dreading writing this post. Why? Well because as I've gotten older, I find my personal need for making resolutions gets less and less.

A big reason for this is that, at this point in time, my life is totally unpredictable. Honestly, I couldn't tell you what I'll be doing in three months, let alone the rest of the year. I mean, I have a vague idea, but the whole point of making successful resolutions is to be specific.

Also, my goals tend to change as the year wears on. January is just another month for me. I never look at the new year in terms of a "clean slate." To me, the symbolism of January is just the same as July (except for January symbolizes frigid cold and July symbolizes warmth, the beach, and summer vacation).

That being said, it is fun making a short list of goals and then going back and evaluating last year's goals to see how I've done.


1. Take an Amazing International Trip
Ok, I think it's pretty obvious that I deserve a 10/10 on this one. I traveled literally around the world and explored France, China, and Australia. One of the most amazing things I've ever done, and the trip definitely made me want to travel a LOT more (as well as never want to eat Duck Brain ever again).

2. Grow the Social Charmer
This was pretty much a total failure. In the last year, I've tweaked a few things and continued to send newsletters, but in all honesty, I didn't accomplish what I set out to do. I have TONS of ideas of features and products I want to add, but time has been a MAJOR crunch recently. I'll give myself a 1/10 on this.

3. Join More Activities
10/10! I'm back on the track of awesomeness (but let's be fair...when am I ever off the track of awesomeness ;) I think joining an MBA program is a pretty major activity. In addition, I started volunteering at the San Diego Braille Institute, joined a tennis club, and am a Rady School of Management Ambassador. I've made a ton of new friends this year and my social life has been MORE than fulfilled.

4. Develop Another Business Plan.
Hmmmm....probably 5/10 here. While I DO have a new business idea as well as an additional book idea that I'd like to get published, that's where the progress has stopped. The key is to move these ideas towards some type of fruition which I haven't done.

And now for this year:


1. Narrow Career Focus
I pretty much know the general direction I want to go in, but I am hoping to narrow this to something more specific, be it a commitment to a business plan, or a step towards becoming "Dr. Arun" (BTW, how awesome does "Dr. Arun" sound? I may have to get a PhD if for no other reason than having an awesome professional prefix). This is a tough goal to define, and an even tougher one to say "tomorrow I'm going to work on this goal" because it's something that requires experience to develop. Additionally, I know I NEVER want to work in a 9-5 corporate type job ever again. So I guess the goal is then to pursue experiential opportunities which will narrow my career focus.

2. Post More Frequently
This last year, I severely neglected posting on this blog. It's funny because this blog has actually opened up a LOT of doors for me personally which is something I never expected to happen when I first started it. This year, I am going to make sure I post at LEAST twice per month, and hopefully more.

3. Start Implementing New Cash Flow Ideas
This is basically a fancy way of saying "Get My Ass In Gear and Start My New Book Idea and Actually Develop a Viable Business Plan". I really want to realize these and I know exactly what I want to write's just a matter of putting pen to paper (or, in this case, finger to keyboard) and writing it. It's daunting because, writing a book is a hell of an effort, especially knowing that getting published is incredibly difficult. But, I need to look at the product as a personal accomplishment more than a purely monetary device.

And I think that'll do it! Again, because of the lack of regularity in my life, time is at a premium, and my goals are constantly evolving. I can't promise that I'll make it 100%, but I can tell you that every week, I'll work towards realizing each of these goals.

It's time to DOMINATE 2011 ;)