Thursday, March 15, 2007

Drool-Stained Notes from an Accounting Conference

Today I'm gonna share my Accounting Seminar Experience from yesterday afternoon - Yer Welcome!

No time fer chit chat - i'm takin' a half day today so lets get goin' - i've got people to do and things to see...wait....reverse that

So the CFO was out yesterday and I there went to Deloitte Touche Ross Coopers Waterhouse Lyband and Co's "Staying Ahead of the Curve" presentation yesterday at The Four Seasons by myself - just the title of the presentation made me sleepy

The conference is an hour and the cocktails after are sposed to be an hour - i figure thats not a bad ratio - i'm pretty psyched.

I get there, pick up the materials and my name tag at a table outside the conference room, and walk in - about 60-70 peeps there - most were paired up...even some threesomes from same firm - here's the breakdown:

blacks (female) -1% of attendance
asians -6%
white males -59%
white female -34%
people who were wearing specs - 72%
games of tic tac toe i played with myself ending in a "tie" - 100% (174 in total)

By the way - though i didn't wear my nametag, i did keep it -- i figure that in a few years, I can sign that bad boy and sell it on Ebay fer some serious coin - it'll have a "kitschy" value as a piece of Harris Bloom before he became, ummm, Harris Bloom. umm, author/comedian/zombie - the bidding will start at a nickel

Anyhoo, the dude leading the seminar was up front, constantly checking his watch, prolly sweating more every minute that it was past the start time (they started late cause of traffic ...peeps were havin' trouble getting there) - his hairline started at the middle of his scalp (though he had thick hair thereafter...wierd) - he wore specs, and his tie went down to his crotch - naturally when he started tawkin', in adjusting the mic, it became dislodged and fell off...naturally.

He basically read what was contained in the handouts - here's an exerpt so y'all can walk in my shoes, if only fer a minute (or however long it takes ya to read this)...

"Many companies ("sponsors") utilize trusts or other legal entites (the "vehicles") as the issuer of trust-preferred securities. The structures have been marketed under a variety of names, including TOPRS, MIPS, and QUIPS. Under accounting rules in effect prior to FASB Interpretation No. 46, Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities (FIN 46), these vehicles have generally been consolidated by their sponsor. However, many of these vehicles will be variable interest entities (VIEs) as defined in FIN 46 and the sponsor that previously consolidated the vehicle would no longer do so if it is not the vehicle's primary beneficiary as defined in FIN 46."

I would type more of it for ya, but I the words are smudged by drool when I fell asleep soon thereafter.

Quite frankly, half the time they were tawkin' in a language I wasn't familiar with -From FASB to FIN to SFAS to AICPA, FSP, EITF, TOPRS, MIPS, QUIPS, VIE, SEC, CSE, NSMIA, etc - I hadn't heard so many acronyms since...hmmm, anyone? I'm blank

The most exciting part of his lecture occurred a few minutes after he told us that FASB was meeting about further deferring application of FIN 46 - he checked his Blackberry and reported that yes, indeed, it had been deferred - the crowd went CRAZY - folks were high-fiving each other - fireworks went off - it was bedlam - okay, they didn't go crazy - there were no fireworks - there was no bedlam at the news but it woulda been funny, huh?

Interestingly - FIN 47 will come out soon to clarify FIN 46 - basically intrepret the interpretation (i'm not kidding)...Not interesting? Moving on...

Next, the Regulatory Expert spoke - he had a voice so monotone, that he makes Ben Stein (Bueller?...Bueller?) sound like Sam Kinision - of course nothing he had to say that applied to my of course I spent the time rehearsing my first appearance on The Tonight Show...

Jay Leno - Please join me in welcoming best-selling author...Harris Matthew Bloom
Moi - How's it goin'?
JL - I'm doin' well - not as good as you though!
Moi - I loves my peeps -
JL - So yer book just leapfrogged Harry Potter in the Most Purchased Books in History List...and, from what we hear, it's gonna pass The Bible sometime next does that make you feel?
Moi - I'm pretty excited...though to clarify, that's just The New Testament...The Old Testament will take a few more years But I'll get you...oh yes, I shall.
JL - Ummm, okay...what else is new?
Moi - Well, I've got a book reading in the area tomorrow
JL - Ya might as well plug it while yer here...where's it gonna be?
Moi - I really dont have to since it's been sold out for months...but it's gonna be at The Rose Bowl, in Pasadena
JL - It's sold out?!?
Moi - All 100,238 seats...what can I say? (I look to crowd while I shrug my shoulders...the crowd chants my name)
JL - I also hear there's a movie in the works Can yu please stop chanting his name? It's tough to conduct the interview Can you control them?
Moi - Okay guys...I 'preciate it the love but I'm already late for my personal Kaballah instruction with Madonna so if you please, keep it down a bit
JL - thanks...about the movie you have?
Moi - A movie? Try fer each of my stories

".....and now that I've finished rambling on about Regulatory Accounting, please join us in the foyer for cocktails and appetizers."

If it were just cocktails, I prolly woulda just left. I'm not a big drinker and I prolly woulda been forced to make small tawk, or worse Accounting Tawk, with my brethren....but the promise of food hooked me.

Since I was seated at the back of the room, I was first at the bar. I got a glass of Cabernet, and noticed the great selection of Mixed Nuts in bowls - cashews, macadamia, pitachio's (no shells!), walnuts - after all, this was The Four Seasons - So I plopped down at a chair at a table that had a few bowls of them - mind you, there were only two tables there and being a netwroking kinda thing, and not a bar-mitzvah, no one else there i was, drinking my wine, eating my nuts, and watching people tawk. I felt a bit silly so I took out some of the materials they gave out and pretending to read while I drank my wine and ate my nuts. Someone wlaked over and actually asked me if she could take some nuts...
"May I?"
"Sure, if I eat any more, I'm gonna puke." She smiled and walked away, never to look in my direction again.

I went up to get another glass of wine...ate some nuts at the bar and then sat back down at The Bloom Table. People there musta thought I was a Very Important Person as every once in a while I would furiously scribble on a pad.

"My Lord...that guy over there can't even take a second to enjoy a cocktail party, they musta thought. Who is he, he must be someone important."

I decided I ate enuf nuts and about to leave when, as the erstwhile narrator of The Wonder Years would say,..."And then it happened."

Waiters came out with towering towers (i'm quite the writer) of appetizers.... Shrimps so large, Godzilla woulda turned tail if he came across one in the Sea of Japan...Crab Cakes so full of crab, I thought they forgot the stuffing...Salmon Puffs so light but tasty, I coulda eaten a tray by myself (which I think I did)...Chicken Satay with an Orange Ginger dressing Chickeny, I ...I ...I get the idea.

Of course every time the server came over to me, I'd take one (or two) of whatever he was pushin' PLUS a napkin...since they always extended one after you took an app. So I was now sitting at The Bloom Table, solo (apparently there were no other Blooms there...everyone else was still standing...even the other table was empty), with an empty bowl that used to have nuts in it, one empty glass, and a half drunk glass of wine, several of the unedible shrimp thingies (dunno what they're called) and THIRTY SEVEN used, balled-up napkins - i promptly picked up my backpack, my glass of wine, and walked to the other unused table, and ate and drank some more before leaving.

What did I learn at this conference, you ask?

I learned that I've grown...I've grown in that the "Old Harris" woulda definately left and not partaken in the majestic spread that was layed (uh huh huh huh, he said "layed") before him - his sense of embarrassment was much too strong...but now, I can no longer feel embarrassed or alone -even if by myself in a crowded room - well, not as long as I have gastronomic delights like Mixed Nuts and Huge Shrimp to keep me company.

Rock On,