Too Many Pumpkins!

I spent Sunday afternoon with Gold Cohort, barbecuing delicious meats and carving pumpkins. Stephanie, our resident pumpkin-guru, was nice enough to go over the basics of carving.

Step 1: Cut a circle around the stem and remove the top
Step 2: Clean out the seeds and gunk; roast the seeds for later
Step 3: Draw a face on the pumpkin with a sharpie
Step 4: Carve the face with a serrated knife

Many of the international students were unfamiliar with American Halloween traditions. So we attempted to explain why American children like to carve scary faces on the side of a large orange squash.

A quick search on Wikipedia revealed that the jack-o’-lantern originated in old Ireland. Originally, children carved turnips and cabbage stems. However, when people immigrated to America, they discovered pumpkins were not only more abundant but also easier to carve. Thus began the tradition of the jack-o’-lantern.

The flickering flame inside the jack-o’-lantern supposedly resembles the strange lights found over peat bogs and cemeteries. In folklore, a man named Jack managed to trap the Devil in a tree and solicited a promise that his soul would never go to hell. However, Jack’s soul was too sinful to enter heaven. So when Jack died, his soul wandered the Earth, unable to find a resting place. The flame inside the jack-o’-lantern is Jack’s soul.

The rest of the night was a little hazy. We drank beer and ate roasted pumpkin seeds. A good time was had by all.

Fall-B is just beginning and the workload is sure to increase. Hopefully, people will have free time for more hangouts next weekend.


The bestest cohort, Gold, had a reunion on Friday for those members in the class of 2007. We descended upon the Japan Center, located in San Francisco’s Japan Town.

First stop was Juban Yakiniku for some Japanese-style Korean BBQ. What was supposed to be a group of 20-something, including significant others, became an overwhelming group that took over half the restaurant.

We took this opportunity to smile, laugh, and enjoy a terrific evening with our original cohort members. As always, Gold events are fantastic, and we had a wonderful time.

After a good two hours of Gold-spirited conversation, we paid the $1600 bill and moved upstairs to a karaoke bar. Sure that’s a lot of money, but the food was worth it! Deeeelicious! Then consider our group size, and the bill was much more reasonable, AND we got the MBAA to kick in some cash money for us. So that was nice. Anyway… karaoke.

The bar had been reserved for our private use and no sooner had we arrived than the first trio of singers was belting out a song.

With our song book in Japanese, I took a chance and ordered the #3 Japanese song of 1949. When my turn came, I grabbed the infamous Taku (fourth photo, in the Gold shirt) and we hit the stage.

Neither of us having heard the song, and with my complete non-fluency in Japanese, we gave it our best shot. Taku pulled out an awesome rendition of who knows what and I filled in the pauses by “translating” the song. And by translating, I mean sang a love ballad about Taku, using the woman on the karaoke video as inspiration. Taku stole the moment and had the place rolling out of their chairs. That guy is too funny, and we will all miss him dearly.

With some work to do this weekend, I headed home after a few songs. Quick cab ride to the Civic Center and I was BART bound.

I decided to wait at the tail end of the car when I saw my first… BART party? One of the cars had been taken over by a group of folks dressed in 70’s hippie gear. Full on afro wigs, long flowing dresses, beads, and paisley prints. As the train zipped through the station, the lights in the car were flashing on and off, with everyone jumping and dancing in the air.

The combination of the lights, thumping bass from their music source and their jumping, and the horizontal movement to the car made for an unexpected and pleasant view. The car was too far down the station for any investigating, but it seemed, in my brief look, to be an amazing party.

I knew I missed something during my time here.

(Thanks to Zhe Xu, far right bottom photo, for the pictures.)

—Colin C.

A Berkeley Moment

Several protesters are holding up in the oaks outside Memorial Stadium (across from Haas), hoping to prevent UC Berkeley from removing several oaks for a new athletic facility and parking lot. A fellow student was overheard saying “Dude… I’ve finally had my Berkeley moment.” I do hope there’s a way to have it all.

On a lighter note, my Marketing Plan and Corp Fi final are off my plate. On to the next set of projects. Not too fast, though… I have a HaasWeek celebratory dinner tomorrow night and the MBAA Holiday Party on Saturday.

I was a bit hesitant signing up for Corporate Finance. It seemed beyond my scope, seeing how the Coast Guard doesn’t regularly issue debt or equity, but I figured it would be good to learn. Boy was I right, but who knew valuing debt for an unconstrained firm (amortization table people!), cranking out a European call option by hand with the Black-Scholes formula, or discussing violations of Modigliani-Miller assumptions would be so interesting? (Or that I’d be blogging about it?)

I’m not surprised, however, that someone did a Marketing Plan on Playboy (and submitted it all wrapped in plastic). Bet the research was tough on that one.

Oh, did I mention GOLD won the Big Games? Just checking.

—Colin C.

Big Games

Before the Big Game, in which Cal will give Stanford a horrible thrashing, we’ve got the Second Annual Big Games, a series of cohort competitions during the lunch break where members of both classes come together and battle it out in the name of honor.

Gold, by far the greatest and best cohort of all time, will be victorious, regardless of the final stats.

Each day, Monday – Thursday, belongs to a certain cohort. All members of the cohort wear their cohort shirt and run the event for the day. The shirts provide another way to identify and bond with fellow cohort members of the other class.

As part of the physical events, including a piggyback race that I wouldn’t miss, there’s a glove and hat drive to provide essential body warmers for those in need.


—Colin C.