Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy holidays

Coming to you live from Sea-Tac airport.....

It's been a nice, relaxing week back in the Pacific Northwest for the holidays. Had a great Christmas with my family, got to see my friends (and how much their babies have grown!), check out my brother's new house (and see how much he's grown!), watch a bunch of movies, and basically hang out.

Highlight of the week may have been enjoying steak dinner, not once, but three times. My dad laughed at me when I scarfed down a monstrous t-bone my first night home. Steak is not in my grad student budget and it had been five months since I had red meat not of the ground chuck variety. My dad's advice: start dating some higher class guys who will buy you a steak! Sage advice from dear old Dad.

Hope the holidays have been good to everyone :) Have a wild, crazy, and prosperous New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Where the heck am I?

Ever wake up and have no clue where you are or what time it is? Happened to me this morning. Where am I? (Sweet home WA) Who's bed is this? (My old twin bed) What freaking time zone am I in? (Back in the old PST) It's no wonder that I woke up confused since it's the 3rd bed I've slept in over the past 4 days. (I would imagine this happens to consultants. Prostitues, too!)

Flew back from Vail on Monday, spent about 36 hours in Chicago, then flew home to Seattle for the holidays. 3 different time zones, 3 different beds/bedrooms, totally disoriented when my alarm went off this morning.

Vail was buckets o' fun. Pictures will have to wait til I get back to Chicago since I forgot the cable for my camera and can't upload them. Huge ski area, beautiful views from the top, incredible snow. It snowed all day the first day we skied (9 inches of fresh powder!) and the next day the sky cleared and WOW. We were there for a week and had plenty of time to ski and just hangout. My body was shot by the end of the week, my calves cramped beyond the point of return. The trip was worth every penny and I plan on going on ski trip again next year.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stick a fork in me...

I'm done. With my first quarter of my MBA at Chicago GSB.

Yeah, its been awhile. I've been busy and lazy as far as blogging is concerned. The problem is like letting dishes or laundry pile up. You don't do them for awhile, the pile gets so big and the task so daunting that you will continue to put it off until you run out of silverware or underwear and have no other choice. Same with blogging. Each week that passed was just that much more that I needed to update. But today I'm breaking the seal with a massive post, hopefully anybody still reading this won't be too bored. Just warning you though, I will be without my laptop for about a week coming soon, so I may not make another update til Christmastime. Anyway, on to the big show....


Microeconomics: Thank god my bid for Turbo Micro failed. Topel's "baby turbo" was more than enough to keep me occupied, and I was an Econ major! In one of the first couple classes, Topel told us that his Micro class would be different than anything we might have taken before and that's just the way its done at the University of Chicago. Sure, UofC is (or has been) home to the most influential modern economists and more Nobel Laureates than you can shake a stick at, but really...could it be that different? Seemed kind of arrogant to me. Turned out to be true. Things that were taught "take it as given, no need to prove it" in my Micro classes at WSU were completely broken down by Topel. He really focused on the theoretical and the "why" behind everything. Which made for interesting lectures, but when our group got to the problem sets....what?!? Figuring out how to apply the theoretical was left completely up to us to figure out. No easy task. But excellent preparation for future classes and work. Because UofC is Econ's Mecca, most (if not all) classes have some foundational economic aspect(s). Topel's Micro was an excellent "prepare you to think like an economist so you won't get your ass handed to you in the future."

Statistics: What can be said about Stats? It's icky, it's kinda boring, it's stuff I kinda remember from undergrad but usually have to look up in a book if I'm forced to use it. It's a foundation course, it's a chore you just gotta do. I refer to my professor as the Silver Fox. Bester has a head full of silver hair, but he's only 28 years old (!) and the guy is like the damn Energizer Bunny. He has so much energy and I really don't know how he does it. My class was Thursday 6-9, and it was the last of 3 sessions he would teach in a 24 hour period, yet he still managed to keep the energy up most of the time. He made it fun because his enthusiasm for the subject (and for teaching it at Chicago GSB) was both obvious and contagious. The problem sets and midterm were pretty fair and I usually scored above the mean, but the final kicked my ass. I rarely fail to finish a test but I did last night. Not a good feeling, until I started talking to my classmates and realized that very few people finished. We'll see how it turns out.

Operations Management: I wanted to put off Accounting and Marketing til Winter quarter because (a) I only wanted to take 3 classes and I wanted one to be case based but (b) I wanted to take Marketing from McGill and she was only teaching in Winter. So I chose to take Ops Management and get a breadth requirement done. Plus, I had never done anything like it so I figured it would be an interesting and different class to balance the previously travelled roads of Stats & Micro. I ended up really liking this class, taugh by Adelman. I mean, sure, the guy does tell bad jokes that no one but him laughs at, but I think he's a darn good case discussion facilitator. This class was a nice mix of quantitative & qualitative case work, and I really enjoyed the business process simulation we did in November. Overall, it was nice to look at business from an Ops perspective, something I had never really done before.

I think I managed to pull a B average, although I won't know for another week or so. As for next quarter, I got my perfect schedule....

  • Monday: No class
  • Tuesday: Accounting with Roulstone (morning), Marketing Strategy with McGill (afternoon)
  • Wednesday: Managing in Organizations with Wittenbrink (afternoon)
  • Thursday: No class
  • Friday: Competitive Strategy with Bertrand (afternoon)

Really looking forward to next quarter, should be fun and hard.

Career Stuff

Attended the handful of presentations of companies coming to campus that interest me. I will probably participate in on campus recruiting for 6-8 companies. Other than that, I've been working on my off-campus research, collecting information from websites, trying to find alumni to contact, etc. It's kind of daunting. I'm pretty sure I will end up playing chicken with my internship...meaning most of the companies I would really like to work for do just-in-time hiring so I probably won't have an internship secured until May. Could be stressful when a lot of other people start getting their offers from on-campus stuff in February/March. I will just have to stay focused and positive. I've got some things coming up that could be very helpful. A friend and I attend the Promotion Marketing Association Law Conference here in Chicago last week. They had a couple of interesting Sports Marketing panels and I made one good contact that I need to follow up on this weekend. In addition, the Employer Development office at Chicago GSB has been working on some new relationships with professional sports teams like the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Mariners! Very exciting stuff. I've actually been in contact with HR at the Mariners and I'm going to have an informational interview with them while I'm home for Christmas. Also, the Chicago Bulls are having a career fair with 25+ other Chicagoland sports teams and related businesses on December 20th, so I'm sticking around to attend that. It will probably be mostly for sales jobs, but it's worth a shot to go check it out and maybe make some good contacts. There's another job fair hosted by the NCAA in Indianapolis after the first of the year that I may try to attend as well.

Social/Fun Stuff/Weather

Still working out a lot and going out a lot. I love this city. I leave on Monday for a week in Vail on the Chicago GSB ski trip with about 100 of my classmates. I didn't do a Random Walk, so I'm really looking forward to a vacation and a week of pow-pow. It will probably be my only chance to snowboard this year since there is no "real" mountain anywhere near Chicago (those landfills converted to ski areas in Wisconsin don't count).

I'm attending a couple of holiday parties this weekend, and then my housemates and I are going to do family dinner Sunday night to celebrate Christmas early before we all head separate ways for the holidays. We did a full Thanksgiving dinner and had so much fun, we're going to do it again.

Last weekend, we tailgated with a bunch of friends at Soldier Field for the Bears/Packers game. We had a good time, but was cold! The weather has SUCKED. BIG TIME. Worst start to December in like 50 years for Chicago. It hasn't been above 32 degrees F since November 29th. This week, I had early morning finals on Tuesday and Wednesday and when I left my house at 6:30 am it was like 5 degrees, sub-zero with windchill. Then, last night as I'm taking my Stats final, a blizzard decided to roll in. I finished my test at 9:30 pm and had to dig my car out of 7 inches of snow. Took me about 15 minutes, then my drive home (normally 20 mintues) took 45 minutes. Plus, I have a rear wheel drive only SUV, so it's always fun to go around corners leading with the ass end of your vehicle. Fun times. My friend who used to work for UofC Law said that they never put pictures of campus in the snow in their recruiting publications because they don't want to reinforce how bad Chicago's winters are (even though campus is GORGEOUS in the snow). So, I apologize to the U of C if this post gives Chicago winter a bad name, but 2 years in San Diego made me soft and this sucks! It is supposed to warm up to the 40s this weekend so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, to really make it up to any readers I have left, here are some pics from my Chicago antics the past few weeks...

Our beautiful Thanksgiving table, turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, fresh cranberries, green beans, rolls, homemade pumpkin pie...we know how to do it right! And about 2 bottles of wine per person, plus after dinner Texas Hold 'Em and Trivial Pursuit.

Tailgating at Soldier Field with 2 out of 3 of my housemates. It's about 10:30 and 20 degrees here and we are *choosing* to spend the day outside (yep, no tickets to the game but someone brought a TV and we watched the game there...crazy, I know)

Yeah, tailgating for Bears' games is WAY more fun than tailgating for Chargers' games in sunny San Diego! /sarcasm

Whiskey keeps you warm. It's a fact.
Whaddya think...should I include this in my resume drop to Jim Beam?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Winter has arrived

First snowflakes of the season are falling right now. Today's forecasted high temp: 35 F. Current temp 33, wind chill 21.

Today is the first day I've really truly missed San Diego. What have I gotten myself into? It's only November 16th!

Just the weather report for now, full update on school and life coming soon (I promise, KV!).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I forgot about tests

5 years out of school will do that to you. T minus 30 minutes til my first midterm (Business Statistics). I feel pretty much ready to unleash my stats prowess on this thing. Coming midterms include Operations Management Tuesday morning (open book/open note) and a rumored-to-be-brutal take home group midterm for Microeconomics due Nov 9th. (Seriously, the grapevine is saying the thing will take 20-30 hrs!)

I also had my midterm LEAD feedback session this afternoon. My facilitator and I had a nice discussion about my goals, how I'm progressing, how he and my peers feel I'm doing relative to my goals and the objectives of the course, and how that stacks up with how I think I'm doing. There are certainly some things I dislike about LEAD, but in general I've been really impressed with the content and presentation of the program and I think something to be gained for everyone.

This week has kinda sucked trying to get back on track. Just as I was getting into a rhythm school-wise, I take off for a long weekend in San Diego. The weekend was a lot of fun, although the sun failed to appear AT ALL during my time in SoCal. My friends' wedding was really nice, I got to see some old friends from Richmond, and I also had time to visit with my SD friends. Anyway, I had a boatload of homework and housework waiting for me when I got home Monday evening and I've been playing catch up ever since (and catch up is not easy when in B-school). I'm glad I'm not planning on going anywhere for Thanksgiving, because I would be in bad shape trying to play catch up right before finals.

Congrats to the World Series Champions, the Chicago White Sox! After a nervous September, those guys played lights out in October. Pretty magical run. I'm bummed I'm not going to be able to make it downtown tomorrow for the ticker tape parade.

Off to my test, wish me luck :)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Back in a suit

Since recruiting officially kicks off for first years today and I have three presentations to attend (Reebok, Pepsico/QTG, and Jim Beam), I had to pull my suit out of the back of my closet for the first time since MBA interviews. Today is going to be a long day. Met up with my Microecon study group at 8 am, then met with a 2nd year who interned at Nike for breakfast at 9 am. Now I'm trying to squeeze in some blogging and homework before the first presentation at 11:45. My last presentation will end this evening at 8 pm. Not sure when (if) I'll be able to work out today, let alone make sure all my homework is done for classes this week. I also need to get a head start on next week's readings and problem sets, since I'll be in San Diego Friday-Monday. I think I'll be lucky to average 5 hrs of sleep per night this week.

Life moves pretty fast here at the GSB. Recruiting is starting up, midterms will happen by the end of the month, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Wazzu was on a semester schedule, so this quarter schedule is a totally new concept for me. Plus, all my classes meet only once per week....that is only 10 sessions of class before finals!

As so many people have said, an MBA is all about time management. There are so many different things you can do in your two years at school. TOO MANY THINGS. It is physically impossible to do everything. I feel pretty fortunate that I realized this early on. I've perfected my ability to say no. If I get an email that is non-priority (i.e. about anything other than class, recruiting/networking specifically related to what I want to do, or the three clubs I joined), I don't let it linger in my inbox as a potential distraction. It gets deleted. Might I miss out on some fun stuff? Sure, but participating may have come at a cost to my priorities. I'm not willing to make that trade-off. MBA admissions officers aren't kidding when they say you should have a pretty good idea of what you'd like to do after your MBA coming in to the program. If I wasn't fairly certain of the industry & function I'd like to pursue, I think I'd be extremely overwhelmed right now.

Time management also means making time for "sanity" activities. For me, this means not letting my schedule sacrifice some quality time at the gym at least 5x per week. This means not attending every single GSB social event so that I can spend quality time with my non-GSB friends. This means scheduling myself some alone time, even if it's only 15 minutes, every day. This means keeping Saturday sacred for some quality time on my couch watching college football (even when the WSU Cougars decide to break my heart 3 weeks in a row).

That being said, let the recruiting insanity begin!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Holy crap

The White Sox are going to the World Series! Awesome. Going to try to get tickets when they go on sale Tuesday. Won't be in town for Game 1 or 2 (headed back to San Diego for a wedding), but it's worth a shot to get tickets to a possible Game 6 or 7. I can be an adopted Sox fan for the World Series, right? (Sorry M's)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I should be studying

But this weekend I've done everything but study. Yesterday was filled with college football viewing and reading a non-school related novel I couldn't put down. Last night, my friend and I hit the Vic Theater to see Jim Gaffigan do his stand up comedy act. Very, very funny, and the audience was totally into it because Comedy Central was there taping his act for a special to air in January.

Today I hit the gym, then my friend and I went and saw Proof. Excellent movie, I highly recommend it. Gwyneth Paltrow is amazing, she gave a raw and completely vulnerable performance. But she's not the only star of the movie. The University of Chicago also plays a big role, and the shots of campus (and the city) are beautiful.

I think I'm actually going to study now. Ops management homework awaits.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Shouldn't complain

I hardly have room to complain about my long day. My stats professor lectures from 8:30-11:30 am and does the same routine all over again from 6-9 pm. At least I get to sit and listen!

Long day ahead of me

Got out of bed at 6 am this morning so I could make it down to Hyde Park by 7:30 for the GSB Women's Welcome Back Breakfast. Way too early for my taste (but I understand they have to accommodate people with 8:30 class). I am not a morning person, but the breakfast and the company was worth getting out of bed so early.

I was up until midnight last night working on stats homework, then I called it quits knowing that I would have time today between the breakfast and my first class (LEAD @ 1:30) to finish it up. After LEAD, I'll have a break for dinner then Stats from 6-9. That is a nearly 14 hour day at HPC, gotta love it. I'm tired, it's been a long week. Don't think I'm gonna make it to TNDC ( Thursday Night Drinking Club) tonight. I'm glad I don't have class tomorrow. I can sleep in, hit the gym during the mid-morning lull, have some lunch, then come down to HPC in the afternoon for a group meeting and an appearance by Jack Welch (brought to campus by the GSB Distinguished Speaker Series committee).

Monday, October 03, 2005


Yeah, I know I suck. The past week and a half I've been telling myself anytime I have a spare 30 minutes I'll throw together I quick post to the blog, which is pretty much how I'll need to do it going forward if I'm going to keep this thing up. So Friday afternoon I have a break and sit down for a quick blog to find...Blogger down for maintenance! Just my luck.

Classes are going great. It's a completely different experience from undergrad. I'm so much more motivated to actually learn. What a difference a few years of life in the "real world" makes! Context is cool. Plus, if these three professors are any indication of the overall quality of the faculty, I think I'm in for a great two years. I never would have guessed that a three hour Thursday night statistics class could hold my attention. (Especially when planning to head to TNDC for beverage consumption and socializing immediately after class!)

I'm enjoying the group work; it certainly alleviates much of the pressure on the homework front. The only thing that sucks is schedule coordination. Location, class conflicts, etc. are an issue even with a group of only 3 or 4 people. I surrendered to the fact that although I only have classes three days a week, most weeks I'll be at Hyde Park Center Monday through Friday. Which is actually OK since I get a lot more work done here than I do at home, assuming I'm in a study room and not just hanging out in the Winter Garden. There are as many distractions in the Winter Garden as there are at home....way too easy to spend an hour or three socializing (which is nice in the rare event you have an hour to kill and nothing to do).

I am glad I was cheap and decided not to get a parking permit. I'm usually able to find a ride with a fellow north sider or my friend who works for the law school. If not, I drive myself down and to date I've had no problems finding street parking pretty much any time of day. It's easier early in the morning, of course, but even later in the day there are spots to be found as long as I allow myself time to find them.

First year recruiting doesn't start for another two weeks, but we are constantly being reminded to "mind the gap". Resume reviews, mocktail, explore more sessions, etc are all in full swing. I'm feeling pretty good about my resume, but I'll probably have a few more folks review it. I had a meeting with a career coach last week and I've got some tasks to follow up on in order to get a good start on my off campus search (since I'm not headed down the well trodden path to i-banking or consulting). The nice thing is that I've already found someone who has similar career interests to join forces with, and I'm getting involved in the entertainment & media club and much of the work I'll do for them will overlap nicely with my internship search.

I've got a group meeting for Microeconomics in 20 minutes and I need to look over the assignment again, so I'm off.

Monday, September 19, 2005


I just dropped $574 on books and course packs for Autumn Quarter!!! Talk about sticker shock, especially on the non-resellable course packs. Also, I'm wondering...the estimated cost of attendance (AKA our official budget that is used to determine our financial aid award) assumes a book budget for the year of $1650. $574 only covers 3 out of 10 courses I'll be taking this the math, that is going to be cutting it close, even taking textbook buyback into consideration. Guess it's a good thing I'm under what the budget allows for things like rent.

Many of the other GSB bloggers have covered the whole bidding process that played itself out last week, so I won't get into that other than to say I didn't spend a whole lot of time trying to game the system and I didn't bid too many points. I didn't get my first choice schedule, but I did get a schedule I like. Since we have LEAD during fall quarter, and I wanted to allow myself some time to get back my study habits, I decided to take 3 courses this quarter and 4 in winter quarter. I orginally thought I would get the three foundation courses out of the way this quarter (financial accounting, microeconomics, and statistics), but then I decided to put off accounting until winter quarter so I could mix in a case course with all the quant stuff. The first year herd seemed to be willing to spend a lot of points on Marketing Strategy, so I figured I'd go another route and try to get a less popular class and not spend any points (saving them for winter like a good little squirrel). I bid on a preferred schedule of turbo micro (with an alternate of baby micro), stats, and operations management (which counts toward a breadth requirement). I didn't get turbo micro (kinda bummed because the prof sounds awesome, but kinda relieved because it also sounds like a truckload of work...20+ hrs/wk!), and I didn't get the stats section I preferred.

Schedule looks something like:
Monday--no classes
Tuesday--Ops Mgmt 8:30-11:30 am, Career Essentials in the afternoon
Wednesday--Microeconomics 8:30-11:30 am
Thursday--LEAD 1:30-4:30 pm, Stats 6-9 pm, TNDC 9 pm til I pass out
Friday--no classes/recovery from TNDC/LPF

Even though I don't have classes Monday or Friday, I figure I'll be down in Hyde Park most of the day every day, but I like the flexibility it gives me if I need to go out of town for a weekend.

We are almost finished with CORE (AKA orientation) and I'm looking forward to starting classes. Tomorrow is the last day of CORE and it's Industry Immersion, a series of presentations and panel discussions to help us explore career options and begin the process of narrowing down target industries/functions/companies. Should be interesting, even though what I think I want to do doesn't really fit into any of the typical MBA career path buckets.

There's a lot of CORE that I'd like to recap, but I think I will do separate entries for the different modules as time allows this week (I should have some time since Wednesday & Friday are free days). This will likely include the diversity module (way better than expected), career services (not long enough), LEAD so far (better than expected).

I have to say, I've been having a great time so far. The GSB may have had a reputation as somewhat lacking in the fun department in the past, but the Class of 2007 does not fit that mold in the least. My classmates are always cooking up some kind of outing, adventure, night on the town, etc. I can tell that over the course of the next two years, balancing my social calendar and my academic calendar will be a challenge. Big time.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

First Week Summary

Short version: My liver is threatening to strike.

Long version: It has been a great first week, though it started a little rough. GSB Day 1 was long (as previously recapped by PowerYogi), especially with the post-birthday hangover. There was a lot of information to be communicated to all of us, I just wish it didn't come in the form of 550+ people in one room for 3.5 hrs after lunch with no breaks and not enough AC. I definitely have some ideas for how they might do this better next year and shared them with the GSB staff via the survey they sent out.

As for my fellow notch folks. Fun to meet so many new people, although having the same conversation five hundred times gets tiresome. (Where are you from? What were you doing before GSB? What are you planning to do?)

The rest of the week was quite an improvement over the first day. Wednesday was an early wake up call to make the trip up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for Leadership Outdoor Experience. I'll admit I had some reservations about the 3 day trip. I was worried it was going to be very rah-rah-cheesy, and there were elements of that, but I honestly had a great time. We did all of the daytime activities in our cohorts, and the smaller groups made it easier to get to know people. There was your usual high & low ropes courses, team building puzzle type activities, but also an afternoon of free time to play softball, volleyball, soccer, cards, hang by the pool, take a nap, etc. Lake Geneva is really pretty and we were staying at a lodge type place. The whole time I was there, I kept thinking that I was at Kellerman's (the Catskills resort in the movie Dirty Dancing).

In the evenings, there were games, dancing, karoke, etc. And lots of beer (plus whatever booze people were smart enough to pack in their overnight bags). The socializing kicked into high gear around 9 pm each night and continued into the wee hours of the morning (I went to bed at 3:30 am on Wednesday night/Thurs morn, 4:30 am on Thursday/Friday).

Needless to say, a week of averaging 4.5 hrs of sleep a night sucked the life out of me. I bonked on Friday when I got home. I don't normally nap, and I slept like the dead between 3 pm and 7 pm Friday afternoon/evening. I was supposed to meet up with the WSU alumni group to watch the WSU-Nevada game that night, but I just didn't have it in me.

The week wasn't over though. My housemates and I hosted a party last night. I'm the only GSBer in the house, so between the four of us, we had a wide variety and constant flow of people. I had a great time and I think everybody else did too. We had a ton beer & booze, and while there is still a bunch left, we drank A LOT last night.

So today I'm cleaning and trying to recover. It has been a long week. I think I need to take a week off from the sauce or my organs are likely to go on strike. GSB orientation (aka CORE) continues tomorrow with a curriculum overview and an introduction to the class bidding system. I've got some ideas for what I'd like my schedule to look like and I'm hoping tomorrow will help firm those up. I'm also hoping I'll be able to figure out the whole bidding strategy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Off to my first day of school

Wish me luck :)

(BTW, just a little hungover from the birthday madness, but not too bad)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Final week of freedom

This is it. The last hurrah. A week from today, Chicago GSB will own me. Until then, I'm going to be lazy. Sleep in. Do something, do nothing, whatever I feel like.

August in Chicago, free as a bird, is cool.

My Wazzu friends and I had a friend/sorority sister in town from Seattle this past weekend. Fun stuff, pics below. We did the John Hancock tower, Millenium Park, shopping on the mile, etc. But the coolest thing was meeting up some guys my friend T knows and going on their sailboat for a sunset sail along the shore of the city.

Sunset Sail

View from the Ladies Room, Signature Lounge, John Hancock Tower

Skyline & Us in the reflection of the MP Bean

Millenium Park "Bean"

Wazzu ladies night out in Chicago

This weekend should be fun too. It's a holiday weekend and it's my birthday weekend. My birthday falls on Labor Day this year, just like it did 28 years ago...yep, Mama labored on Labor Day. Anyway, we've got another Wazzu friend coming in from Seattle, we're going to the White Sox/Tigers game on Sunday, then Jimmy Buffet @ Wrigley Field on Monday. I will be spending my birthday, AKA the day before school starts, in Margaritaville...God help me :)

Oh and I forgot to mention....WSU Cougar Football kicks off this week! It's the most wonderful time of the year. My boys play Idaho Thursday evening. Fox Sports NW is going to be carrying the game live, and I'm determined to find a bar in this city that's got it. Go Cougs!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Just say no to the uniform

Very funny spoof on the button down striped shirt. Guys in Chicago sure seem to love them.

Yes, I know I'm a slacker blogger. Update coming soon. Having too much fun to blog.

BTW, thoughts and prayers with the people stuck in the path of Hurricane Katrina. Sounds like the worst case scenario could happen, which is really bleak. New Orleans is such a great city. The potential loss of life and history is staggering. Godspeed, NOLA.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Summer in the city

Another beautiful weekend in Chicago (with the exception of some nasty thunderstorms late Friday night). This weekend was the Air and Water Show. I had been hearing the planes practicing early in the week so it was neat to see it all come together. A friend of mine is into sailing, and the crew she normally goes with was competing this weekend. (She didn't bumped because she's the rookie on the team). Anyway, another friend and I went with her to the after race party at the Chicago Yacht Club. It was a fun night, awesome view of the city & lake, great band, interesting people, and a fantastic fireworks show to end the night. Well, not exactly...we came back to the neighborhood for more drinks and I think we were all a little hungover this morning!

Didn't end up going wakeboarding last Thursday due to sketchy weather, but I have plans to go tomorrow. The guys I'm meeting up with live on a semi-private lake about 70 miles west of where I live (Lake Holiday). It will be cooler tomorrow (in the 70s as opposed to 80s/90s) but should be thunderstorms!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I love my neighborhood

There's a Starbucks at the corner, a too-good-to-be-so-close ice cream joint, the cleaners, a bagel place, a sandwich spot, several bars, a convenience store, and a nail salon...all within two blocks of my apartment. 6 blocks to the gym, 6 blocks to Wrigley Field.... It's a beautiful thing.

Got a ton of errands done today. Made my first trip down to Hyde Park, did ok with the navigation, bit of a challenge to find parking, but I was able to get my U of C ID, sign up for parking, and drop off my immunization record, all within about an hour. I headed back north to Michigan Ave so I could sign over my first (not yet born) child in exchange for the beautiful 12 in Powerbook from which I'm currently blogging. So *sooooo* worth it (sorry first-not-yet born child). Got all the desired accessories and took advantage of the free iPod mini deal (which I will be giving to my friend since I already have a 20 gig I an awesome friend or what?)

Date tonight (he's taking me to his favorite Italian joint) and tomorrow I'm getting out of the city to explore rural Illinois and hook up with some new wakeboarding peeps. Hopefully gas prices will be under $3 when I get out of the metro Chicago area.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The good life

I'm kinda liking this unemployed no responsibilities no cares thing.

I unpack a little each day (a lot initially, now it has slowed to a trickle. I need to finish my kitchen, hang my pictures, and sort through my papers/books)

I work out with my friend (who is a personal trainer at my new gym 6 blocks from here. She is kicking my ass into shape, and free personal training is the best kind. The gym is huge, it's close, and it's right next to Whole Foods, so I can enjoy their salad bar after my workout. Perfect.)

I go to baseball games (White Sox-M's weekend before last, Cubs-Cards this past weekend. My friend and I went to Thursday's game at Wrigley. We scalped OK tickets for $40, but met a guy during the rain delay that provided us with a free upgrade to much better seats, 10 rows up from first base. Wrigley has so much character. I still can't believe it's only 6 blocks away from my apartment)

I meet up with friends new and old (it's nice living in the same building as my friends from WSU. It's also nice meeting their friends, I'm definitely going to have a good cross section of GSB and non-GSB friends. I also had fun meeting my classmates at last week's happy hours, and look forward to meeting more this week. Plus, I've been meeting some really fun guys. I had a date last Friday and I have a date tomorrow. Both are fun guys, although I don't see a future with either, but they don't take no for an answer when they know I'm not gainfully employed!)

Why am I in Chicago again? Oh, that's! T-minus 21 days...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Just my luck

The Mariners of course won on Friday night, but lose the game that I actually attended Saturday night (and subsequently lost this afternoon...the White Sox are good, the M's not so good). Oh well, the weather was perfect, we had a nice tailgate before the game, and after the game was a fantastic fireworks show. I was impressed, it was better than some 4th of July stuff I've seen.

Can't wait for my stuff to get here tomorrow, I'm dying to unpack and I'm so excited to sleep in my own bed for the first time in 4 months.

As Le Voyageur points out, pre-pre-term socializing has already begun. This week should be fun, I'm looking forward to meeting more people. But lucky for me, I've already got most of my pre-term assignments done. Plus, I received the curriculum guide on Friday, so I've been browsing through it and starting to make a master plan of classes I'd like to take, the order in which they need to be taken, and getting a rough idea of what my schedule may look like this fall (rather, what I hope it will look like assuming I bid well).

Friday, August 05, 2005

My grill is where bugs go to die

After ~2200 miles, the front of my Pathfinder is a bug graveyard. I must have wiped out at least...oh... 0.0001% of the bug population on the I-90 corridor.

I have arrived in Chicago (yesterday around 3:30 pm CDT). As much as I love my SUV, I hope I don't have to get into it again for at least a week.

I left my hometown Sunday afternoon and stayed with a friend in Seattle that night. She highlighted my hair (I'm *really* blonde right now, I love it), then we went to dinner at a new place on Lake Union ( was fantastic). Got an early start Monday and rolled into Butte MT in the early evening. My best friend from Wazzu grew up there and her dad still lives there, so I crashed at his place. Started early again on Tuesday and crossed the continental divide just outside of Butte around 7:30 am MDT.

Tuesday's drive was really pretty, all part of the country I hadn't seen before. The NE portion of Wyoming/SW portion of South Dakota is really specatular. I was planning to stay in Rapid City SD that night and had plenty of time to get there, so I took a side trip to see Devil's Tower (which is pretty cool). It was nice to get off the interstate for awhile, except when I needed to use the restroom while in the middle of nowhere. On the interstate, there are rest areas and/or gas stations at reasonable intervals, but not so on the state highways. I ended up stopping in Aladdin WY, population 15, at a little trading post. Their public restroom was an old school outhouse. Not a porta-potty, an outhouse. Better than having to go bare-assed on the side of the road for everyone to see, but gross none the less. Given my camping background, I would have rather gone in the woods, but there wasn't anything to hide behind on the side of the road.

When I rolled through Sturgis SD, I finally realized why I was seeing so many bikers on the road. The annual world famous motorcycle rally starts this weekend. There were even more bikers on the road heading toward Sturgis the following two days. Not just bikes, but bikes in tow behind trucks and some fancy schmancy motorhomes. I'm telling ya, it looks like those folks know how to party, that might be an event I have to go to at some point in my life, just to see it. Mardi gras, biker style. Although you have to wonder about the sanity of folks who ride a motorcycle at 85 mph without a helmet (chances of surviving a bike crash at that speed with no helmet being nearly zero and all).

Wednesday morning I went and checked out Mount Rushmore. It was impressive but what was more striking was looking out to the east of the Black Hills and realizing how flat it gets. The rest of South Dakota was pretty boring. I stopped in the town of Wall for gas, but I did not make it to Wall Drug. Billboards every half mile leading up to Wall were an annoying "something to look at" so I boycotted. I spent Wednesday night in Albert Lea MN, then made my final push to Chicago Thursday.

I thought the scenery in Minnesota & Wisconsin right around the Mississippi River was really pretty. Green, rolling hills, lots of waterways and lakes, etc. Further into Wisconsin, I laughed when I saw the Cascade Mountain ski area. As someone who grew up in the foothills of the real Cascade Mountains, it was a pretty funny joke. I should be careful about cracking on Wisconsin though because that is where my new roommate grew up!

By the time I hit O'Hare, the traffic was awful and it was hotter than Hades. In the trench of I-90 in bumper-to-bumper traffic, my outside temperature gauge registered as high as 109. YUCK!

But anyway, I'm here, I made it in one piece, and I'm looking forward to a month of getting settled and having some fun. Saturday my friends and I are going to the White Sox-Mariners game, Sunday we're going to go see Wedding Crashers, and Monday I will finally get to start unpacking since that is when United Van Lines is going to deliver my stuff out of storage. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed again!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Couple of checks off the to-do list

Completed my self-evaluation for LEAD. Put together a preliminary version of my new resume. It's weird to be putting the GSB on it when I have yet to attend my first class.

My Pathfinder is in the shop today getting all tuned up for next week's 2100 mile trip (oil lube filter, tire rotation, brakes etc). My '02 is going to roll 40K somewhere in Montana! The car cover I ordered came in yesterday (to protect my baby since my parking spot is under the El track...maybe it'll deter the theives too, but that's probably wishful thinking). Bought a 2005 US Road Atlas and I've been checking out the construction hot spots online. Looks like there's a bit on roads in and around Yellowstone and since that's a pretty major side trip, I think I'll skip it.

I think I've got pretty much everything wrapped up at work now, just doing a final proofread of the manual I created. 4 months went by a lot faster than I thought it would back in April.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Excuses, excuses

I've got a million of them for why its been so long since I blogged.

1. My replacement started last week so I've been super busy at work training her and trying to make sure things are in order for my departure. It's going well so far. Last week I had to spend a lot more time "driving", then watching over her shoulder as she drove. This week she's working mostly on her own while I finish up some special projects and catch up on chores that I've put off due to interviews, like filing/organizing/etc.

2. My evenings have been filled with watching the Tour de, and procrastinating on the task of packing. Now that the Tour is over, I'll have to get more creative with my procrastination. My room is a disaster and I'm not looking forward to taming the beast. I think I need to do another round of purging with a couple more trips to goodwill & the dump.

4. I also need to get my ass in gear making sure that all of my papers are in order and that I'm caught up on my to-do list. The financial aid stuff is in the bag (I've already had some paperwork sent back to me), my immunization records are ready to be sent, and I just enrolled in health insurance for the next year. I still need to finish up all of the tasks for pre-term (aka LEAD). I've done the Myers-Briggs personality test thingy (for what must be the 10th time in my life) and another standardized "intersts" type test, but I need to complete my self assessment, make sure my 360 feedback providers do their part (3 of 5 are done), get a draft resume uploaded to career services, etc etc.

5. Then there's the move. I am officially on the lease as of August 1st, which is the day I plan to depart Washington. I'm in the process of planning my road trip, trying to figure out which sights I can see, where I can stay, and how I can make it work so that the drive time for each day is reasonable (read: in the vicinity of 10 hrs). I'd like to drive through Yellowstone if possible (never been) and I definitely want to see Mount Rushmore (also never been), but we'll see how it works out. I need to call my friend and see if it may be possible for me to crash at her dad's place in Butte, MT. That would eliminate one night in a hotel, although it may mess up my objective of ~10 hrs driving a day. We'll see how it works out. I'd like to arrive in Chicago by August 5th at the latest, so I can be in town when the Seattle Mariners play the Chicago White Sox. Then I will have my furniture and other misc crap delivered out of storage on August 8th. I called today to get that scheduled but my "move coordinator" hasn't called me back yet. I hope that day will work, I don't think I can go much longer without my own bed. Sleeping on my 15 year old twin mattress for the past 4 months has not been kind to my back.

6. On top of all that...I'm just too busy having fun with family and friends in my final throes of pre-school life in Washington. This past weekend my folks and I went camping near Plain, WA (aka Middle of Nowhere). Their friends have some property on the Wentachee River. It was nice to see a bunch of their friends that I've known forever but haven't seen in 5+ years. The weather was awesome and Saturday we did a 2+ hr float down the river in tubes and rafts with plenty of beer. This week I plan to hang out with my local girlfriends, do a sort of ladies night this weekend (they'll get their husbands to babysit while we tear up this town). We're also going to have dinner and play cards with my grandparents on Thursday (our family favorite is Chicago Rummy). Sunday I'll probably head down to Seattle to stay with a friend so as to avoid Monday morning traffic.

So yeah, that pretty much sums up why I've been a slack blogger. Can't promise it's going to be much better for the next couple of weeks, although my new roommate is getting everything in order to make sure we're hooked up with high speed internet. Oh, forgot to add that I also need to get around to buying a new laptop. My current one is a 3 year old Compaq model that I've already had to reformat once and the keys are not working so well lately. I need to do some online research with my dad tonight, who has recently expressed interest in providing some financial assistance in the technology department of my b-school adventure. Sweet! Although he's making noise like he's going to try to talk me out of the laptop I've had my heart set on for the past couple of months, the Apple 12-in Powerbook. Don't you go thinking I'm a follower on this little trend of MBA bloggers going Mac, I've been talking/thinking about this one for awhile. The Powerbook is one bad ass machine, IMO.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Never a dull moment

An honest-to-goodness D-list former reality TV star came into our office today. Not as a client either (read: as a debtor). No joke. Due to privacy concerns I can't tell you who, but man, I wish I could because it's a good one!

After conducting 20 agonizing interviews in the past week, I've hired my replacement and she starts Monday morning. What a relief. In a small business where each person's role is critical, transition & training time is essential to business continuity. I have a personal interest in ensuring a smooth transition since it's my family's business, so I've been really worried about getting someone on and making sure I have at least two weeks of overlap for training. *fingers crossed* I'll get the new gal up to speed in short order and my last day at work will be July 29th. I think I've also got a new receptionist lined up, too. I am thrilled to be done interviewing. It's exhausting and there is a massive pile of work on my desk and I'm hoping I'll be able to make a dent in it tomorrow.

It's been a stressful week and I de-stressed this evening with some wakeboarding and some beer. Just what the doctor ordered. Now I'm off to rendezvous with Tivo to catch up with Stage 12 of Le Tour De France and today's episode of The Daily Show.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Shot in the arm

Literally & figuratively.

Saturday I went to our long time family doctor's office to pick up my immunization history for school. I had called earlier in the week and asked them to make a note on there if I needed I tetanus shot. I was pretty sure that I did. However, I had no idea how badly I needed it. Assuming you need them every 10 years as suggested (and as required by the University of Chicago) I was 13 years overdue. Yes folks, the last time yours truly got a tetanus shot was 1982. Don't ask me how I fell through the cracks, I have no clue. I guess I assumed that the family doc had kept me up to date since I saw him throughout undergrad, and I figured I'd err on the side of caution as an adult and get a booster shot if I ever cut myself. Wrong. $20 and a shot in the arm later, I'm now immunized and ready to learn, according to the sheet I'm sending off to the health folks at U of C.

A couple of weeks ago, I reminded my folks that it was almost July and therefore almost time for me to be wrapping up my work for them and start heading east. I think it snuck up on all of us. So I've been working like crazy, trying to make sure all of the manuals related to my tasks are updated and easy to follow. I've got a couple of projects that may have to wait, but I could possibly do them remotely from Chicago before school starts (or they might end up as good class projects, who knows). I'm also sorting through all of the applications we received in response to our classified ad and online listing. We had three interviews Friday, two today, and this afternoon I'll schedule more for later this week. My ideal scenario is to get my replacement and a new receptionist hired by the end of the week, hopefully have them start a week from today, so I can get a full two weeks of training with them before the end of the month. My preferred last day here is July 29, and I hope to be arriving in Chicago by the first weekend of August. Will that actually happen? Depends on how things go with interviews this week and when our chosen ones can start. I've got my fingers crossed! (But I set that July 29th milestone knowing full well that it could be pushed back two weeks... and I'd rather July 29th get pushed back to August 12th, than August 12th get pushed back to August 26th...that would suck.)

BTW, to anyone else who's gone through the b-school app process then been involved in hiring...are you now way more critical of resumes & interviews? At times I'm asking myself "are these truly bad applications, or are my standards out of control?!?" Anyone?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Got my fix, finally

Went wakeboarding for the first time since I moved back to Washington. After three months, it felt awesome to get back on the water, in spite of the fact that conditions sucked. Thanks to the holiday weekend and better than expected weather, everyone who owns a boat or PWC was on the water this weekend. We were on the water from about 8 pm until there was no light left (probably well beyond what is legal) and it was still pretty rough. But no matter, I went wakeboarding!!

I met up with some guys I met on a wakeboarding website, Wakeworld. If you don't own a boat (or have a close friend with a boat) and you want to ride, you have to hop online to find people with boats who have extra room or need a third. When I lived in Virginia, I had a close friend with a boat so I had a permanent hook-up for pulls. But when I moved to San Diego, I had to network my way to pulls and ended up finding some pretty reliable ones. It's always a little weird going to meet people for the first time, but so far I've only had positive experiences. The wakeboarding community is a pretty chill group of people and most folks are happy to have another boarder on the boat (especially a chick who boards). It's a very social activity. These guys I met up with on Sunday had a house on Lake Stevens and a dock with 3 tournament wakeboard boats tied up (we're talking $150K+ worth of boats). They also had a keg tapped and the BBQ fired up all day. In other words...heaven on earth!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Refuse to Lose 10th Anniversary

Also known as the 10th Anniversary of the summer that I (and the rest of the Pacific Northwest) fell in love with the Seattle Mariners and Major League Baseball.

Fox Sports Northwest just replayed Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series between the Mariners and the Yankees. Brought back a lot of memories. That was such an awesome summer. No one thought the M's had a chance at making the playoffs. Instead they had a pretty magical run through September, and won their first ever AL West championship in a fantastic one game playoff with the Angels. They lost the first two games in New York (Game 2 in 15 innings), and had to win 3 straight in Seattle to advance to the ALCS. Thus began the "Refuse to Lose" campaign.

The series had a great cast of characters, in both dugouts. For the Mariners...Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr, Jay Buehner, Randy Johnson (who came in as a reliever in Game 5), Tino Martinez, Joey Cora, and a 20-year-old pre-sellout rookie named Alex Rodriguez. For the Yanks, the old guard of Wade Boggs & Don Mattingly, with Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, David Cone, and a couple of rookies...Mariano Rivera & Derek Jeter. There were also some first class mullets on display thanks to Randy Johnson & Norm Charlton!

Game 5 was wall-to-wall excitement through 11 innings. Every time the Yanks scored, the M's found a way to match it. 5-4 Yanks going into the bottom of the 11th, with the heart of the Seattle batting order coming to the plate. Cora gets on by the skin of his teeth with a lead off bunt, then Griffey gets a walk. Up comes Edgar, coming off a grand slam in game 4, and he just rips a shot to the left field corner to bring home Cora & Griffey. Pan-de-fricken-monium, the place goes bonkers.

A baseball town is born. The road is paved for Safeco Field, record-setting attendance, Ichiro, and 116 wins in 2001. But we're all still waiting and hoping for a World Series championship. Someday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Not a happy camper

Of course the weather decided to go straight into the crapper as soon as I had plans to go wakeboarding. Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor.

I guess I should go to the gym and work out after work. But when you were hoping to spend the evening on the lake, the prospect of sweating it out on a cardio machine surrounded by meat heads is not all that enticing.

So it goes.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Love summer in the Pacific Northwest. Today was ridiculously beautiful. Clear blue skies, no smog, 80 degrees. It's almost 9 pm and the sun won't set for another half hour. Just awesome.

And I had to work.

And I haven't been wakeboarding in more than two months.

I am *jonesin* for some time on the water, y'all. And I may be in luck tomorrow if the weather stays nice. My dad introduced me this evening to a friend of his that lives on Lake Samish. He keeps his boat wet all summer and his son wakeboards. I'm putting my gear in my car tomorrow and I will be praying for an evening session on a glassy lake.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tough Chick

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you set a big goal, aren't afraid of hard work, and face challenges with a "bring it on" attitude. Exhibit A: Danielle Fisher, a local girl who recently became the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits (the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents). Very, very cool. You can learn more about her journey at her website, in our local paper, or tomorrow morning (Friday 6/17) on the Today show.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

One year

Hard to believe I’ve been at this blogging thing for a year now. It was about 15 months ago that I began working in earnest towards my goal of enrolling in an MBA program, a goal that I set 6 years ago. And in just 3 short months, I’ll be back in school starting the next phase of my goal…completing my program and pursuing my dream career. Pretty damn cool when you stop and think about it. I’m really glad I have my blog, so that I can read back and reflect on what has transpired. It’s also been very rewarding to be part of the online community.

What I haven’t done yet, and what I promised to do awhile ago, is a review of my application process and the outcome. I think this is the perfect time do it since it was around this time last year that my preparations began, and maybe those preparing for Fall 2006 applications will find a post-mortem of my application process useful. What I am not going to do is tell people what to do or give advice. Every applicant is unique and so should be his or her application strategy. What worked for me may not work for others, and vice versa. I’m just going to use this post to do a sort of self-assessment, and I think in another year-in-review post I’ll link to the highlights & lowlights. I didn’t participate in any feedback sessions so these thoughts are all just my opinions.

What I did well:

1. Rocked the GMAT. I took it during my senior year of undergrad and I think that definitely worked in my favor. I was in the studying/school frame of mind, I had time and energy to take full practice tests (the most critical piece of my GMAT prep), and material was fresh in my mind. I’m not sure that I could post the same score today, in fact I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t. Five years of corporate life may have added to my practical experience, but it’s been a bit of a brain drain on the other facets of knowledge. I’m also glad I didn’t have to worry about studying for and taking the test while researching programs, drafting essays, and working 50 hours a week. There are just not enough hours in the day.

2. Got involved with things that interest me and stayed involved. This applies both professionally and personally. I sought out new and different projects at work, but I stuck with the same employer, one that’s know for a rigorous hiring process and good development programs. I stayed involved with my sorority, volunteering for leadership positions that would help fill in the management gap in my profile since I have no formal people management experience.

3. Supported my goals with a backbone. What I mean by that is I’m dreaming big, but I have realistic expectations for an MBA’s role in the process of getting there and I demonstrated a clear understanding of the challenges I’ll be facing. My big goal is broken into smaller goals, which are further broken down into specific activities and experiences I’ll need to get where I’m going, particularly those that can be obtained by completing an MBA program.

4. Visited the programs I was interested in, or at least attended every information session possible. When people said it was an important way to differentiate the programs, I didn’t realize how important until I was deciding between admission offers and could reflect back on my *personal* experiences, not just the experiences of others or the pretty brochures the programs sent me.

5. Didn’t allow too many cooks in the kitchen. Sure, I was seeking advice from anyone who had knowledge about MBA programs and I was addicted to reading the blogs and the MBA forums. I also got an application strategy consultation from Clear Admit fairly early in the process, which helped me to figure out what to focus on and how I should position myself. Filling out their questionnaire alone went a long way toward helping me get a coherent train of thought for my applications. But when it came time to actually write each application, it was pretty much me and only me. I sought my mom’s proofreading help, but specifically asked her to focus on just the spelling and grammar because I wanted my applications to be my voice, my story, without outside influence.

6. Didn’t over-prepare for interviews. I hate canned answers and I hate sounding like a robot. All I did for each interview was read over my resume and my application essays the night before and the day of my interview. That’s it. It kept me sounding natural and it also kept me from stressing out too much or over-analyzing.

What I could have done better:

1. Eliminated procrastination. I should have set a better application schedule from the get-go and stuck to it. I definitely rushed some elements. When I start up at the GSB in the fall, I need to get a handle on my predilection for frittering away time in the face of a big project.

2. Completed my back-up application first (McCombs), rather than one of my top choices (Kellogg). Reading back over my applications and remembering back on my interviews, which Kellogg was my first completed for both, my first ones were my weakest ones.

3. Sucked it up and completed 6 applications in the first round, instead of stubbornly holding onto the limit of 5 I placed on myself. I would have been better off if my Wharton app had been in with all my others, and it was my procrastination and laziness that got the better of me.

4. Not have gone into my Wharton visit & interview somewhat cocky and apathetic. It took place after my scholarship news from Chicago & UCLA Anderson, and I really liked both of those programs and felt pretty certain I would end up at one or the other no matter what happened with Wharton. Even so, I should have gone into my Wharton trip with a better attitude and a more open mind, instead of undermining my application the way I did. That was stupid.

5. Not let my shing in 2000 mess with my confidence and cause me to play it too safe. Looking back, I probably should have skipped the apps to McCombs & Haas and instead gambled on HBS and/or Stanford.

6. Saved more money over the past 5 years. Sure, I’ve been putting plenty away in my 401k, but this process requires cash money…a lot of it. My cash savings is pretty much spoken for at this point, between application fees, school visits, moving expenses, etc etc. There’s not much left over for fun things like pre-MBA travel. I feel a bit like I’m missing out and that sucks. At least I’ve been pretty good about paying off my debt and I’ll be headed to school with no car payment and a very low revolving credit card balance.

Anyway, that’s the good, the bad, and the ugly as far as I’m concerned. All-in-all, I think everything turned out A-O-K and I’m really looking forward to the next two years at Chicago GSB.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Jeez, everywhere I turn I'm reading about somebody else's worldly travels. There are so many bloggers traveling this summer before school (Iceman, PowerYogi, DirtyMartini, and Le Voyageur, to name a few), and I'm getting travelogue emails from an Indian friend who is headed to NYU Stern in the fall but is currently kicking it with some German chicks in Cuba. I am green with envy. I wish I had saved more time & money for travel this summer. Not just for fun and the experience, but so that I have a more interesting answer to the question everyone will be asking in the fall "What did you do over the summer?" than "Well, I lived with mom & dad, worked with mom & dad, and got fat from all of the home cooking."

But in the nick of time, I get an email from the Chicago GSB '07 Yahoo Group. Evidently, the Ski Club is planning a ski/snowboarding trip for the winter holiday break. Cool, that's right up my alley. To Vail. For a week. For under a grand. Woo-freaking-hoo. This is exactly why I asked for a little more money than my personal budget required on my loan applications, because I may have missed out on summer traveling but I sure as hell will be traveling during winter & spring break.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I have great timing

Just found out this afternoon that my former employer is closing the San Diego office, sometime between Q3 2005 and Q1 2006. Although I may have missed out on some severence $$$ that may have helped during school, I'm not sure exactly what my eligibility would have been (since my impending departure was already widely known), so rather than being bummed, I'm happy as hell not to be there as the shit is hitting the fan. Many of us saw the need for the shit to hit the fan and figured it was eventually going to happen, we just didn't know exactly when the execs were going to nut up and pull the plug. I've talked to my friends who are impacted, and most feel confident that things will work out OK for them. It sounds like they are consolidating non-redundant functions to another office (in a cheaper location than San Diego) and eliminating redundant functions. So there are opportunities to transfer offices, assuming you're willing to leave San Diego. Anyway, IMO, it's the right business decision and it's about time they did it.

A little severence to subsidize school would have been nice though...

Update: the official press release, the AP's blurb, and the local take. Talked to more people last night, sounds like there were good things about the way the company handled it and not so good things. It also sounds like they cut severence to a third of what it used to be. I might have been eligible for two months. Yeah, I'm glad I left when I did, my sanity is worth more than two months. My heart goes out to those who lost their jobs, I hope everyone is able to land on their feet.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Another check off the to-do list

Finished my financial aid application. I feel like I should have signed it in blood. Those are big numbers, even with the scholarship, this is some massive debt about to hit my credit report. Keep repeating the mantra...I'm making an investment in myself that will pay off in the long run. And I'm going to have a whole lot of fun in the process!

Saw two movies this weekend. Went to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with a friend on Friday night. Somewhat disappointing, but an OK chick flick. I enjoyed three of the four plot lines. The fourth sucked out much of my enjoyment of the movie. Went with my folks to see the latest installment of Star Wars this evening. I enjoyed it, despite the typical Lucus hokey dialogue and subpar acting. The story was good and I liked seeing the overall Star Wars tale come full circle.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I hate chain letters and their brethern

Thanks a lot, Dave :) I've been tagged. At least it's a subject I like.

-Total number of books owned: No way to say for sure, since my cache of hardbacks & paperbacks is in storage in Chicago, with the exception of the few titles I planned to read this summer and a couple of textbooks I planned to revisit in preparation for b-school (as if that's really going to happen). I would guesstimate my library is around 250.

-Last book I purchased: For someone else, The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss, a board book for my friend's son for his first birthday party this afternoon. For myself, God's Politics by Jim Wallis, a book I picked up at Costco based on a recommendation from my hairdresser. I really like his ideas, but it's not a book I can read in one sitting, so I'm reading it a chapter or two at a time in between other books.

-Last book I read: Since I traveled this past week (and I always read more when traveling) I've read two. Like Dave, I read State of Fear by Michael Crichton on the way to Chicago, based on a recommendation from my dad (plus he had a hardcover copy so I didn't have to buy it). I liked it, it was a fast read and I liked his critique of the media/propaganda circus. Coming back to Seattle, I read The Enemy by Lee Child. It was just OK. The plot was pretty good and I liked the twists (although I saw a couple coming, which takes some of the fun out of it). What I didn't like was the actual writing/language. It was done in the first person, and I've found that with first person books, I either love it or hate it depending on the primary character's voice and the way the author writes that voice. I could see some of the reasons behind why the author wrote him the way he did, but I didn't find myself enjoying it or really rooting for him. I just wanted to know what happens next and that kept me turning the pages.

Five books that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):
-The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay: Race relations, poverty, coming of age, perseverance & triumph...this book covers it all and it's a great story. Plus, I love books set in foreign places.
-Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: A fairy-tale-esque romantic novel slash cookbook. Kind of a fable. Better than the movie, I've read it at least 5 times.
-The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George: The first historic fiction book I ever read that got me hooked on the genre. I'm blown away by the amount of research she did to stay accurate to the history while giving us a fictional insider's perspective on the man who had 6 wives (and beheaded two of them!)
-What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles: The ultimate career planning & job hunting book, updated annually.
-The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: I love all of his books, and they remind me of being a kid and visiting my grandparents (who gave me & my brother The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic, and Where the Sidewalk Ends). This one is my favorite because of it's message about giving and loving unconditionally.

On that note, I'm going to *give* everyone a break and not tag anybody. But it's not a purely altruistic move, because as I stated from the outset...I hate chain letters and the like. So really I'm being a spoil-sport and breaking the chain. Neaner, neaner.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Living arrangements for the fall? Check!

Back from Chicago. Another great visit, can't wait to move there in August (actual date still TBD). Toured the potential apartment, met the potential's going to work out fabulously! The place is huge, and while it's very near the "L" (read: you can hear the trains, it's the one drawback of the place, but it didn't keep me awake), the amenities, location, and price cannot be beat. And my roomie and I are a good match. So I'm really relieved to have that figured out, definitely worth the trip.

Now I just have to finalize my budget and get that darn financial aid paperwork out the door ASAP!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Contender

I've been religiously watching The Contender for the past few months. It's a great show. The boxers are all likeable, entertaining people who you want to root for, and the storytelling & editing is fantastic, signature Mark Burnett (see also: Survivor & The Apprentice). The Contender season finale Tuesday night featured two great fights. My summary wouldn't do it justice, so I'll just link to my favorite sports columnist for a summary of the finale, and a column he wrote earlier in the season (subscription required). I really hope this show returns for another season. And if you haven't caught an episode yet, try to catch the re-runs on MSNBC.

Frustration is...

trying to teach your mother how to format an Excel spreadsheet. Especially when she would rather you just wrote down a detailed list of instructions. She'd rather just blindly follow a recipe than actually learn the how & why behind each step for future use. That way when the shit inevitably hits the fan, and she can't get it bolded & aligned exactly the same way, she can blame your crappy incomplete instructions and absolve herself.

My latest pet peeve: People who click the mouse once, and when it doesn't produce their desired result, click-click-click twenty times rapid fire style and act surprised when the result is something undesirable.

I love my mom :)

Monday, May 23, 2005

You got served

In my family's debt collection business, we make every effort to work with consumers (aka debtors) to help them pay their bills. But when all of our efforts have failed and the consumer isn't acting in good faith to handle their debt, we use legal means to resolve the issue. If we have a judgment against them, we're always on the lookout for an asset, such as a bank account or wages to garnish. Today, I served writs of garnishment to a few banks. That's the part of the business I really enjoy...finding people that don't want to be found, and finding assets they don't want us to find. Then I get to swoop in with a bank garnishment, yee haw. People don't realize how much dishonored checks and past due accounts can damage the bottom line of a small business, and I think it's cool that we're able to help these businesses recover their bad debt. Some people see bill collectors as the bad guys; I see the more heroic aspects of the role.

On that note, I'd like to clear up a few preconceived notions about bill collectors. I don't own a set of brass knuckles, I don't know how to break kneecaps, and my dad's name is not Guido.

I'm so disappointed

Since I'll be in Chicago this weekend, I'm going to miss the Sasquatch Research Conference. Damn. Those fury fellas are out there somewhere, I'm tellin ya. One in particular shows up regularly at Key Arena, and he puts down a mean 360 dunk.

I was up in bigfoot country on Saturday, hanging out with my friend's family in upper Skagit County in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. We had a BBQ and rode their quads all over the property around Baker Dam. It's pretty creepy to hang out at the base of a dam, thinking about what would happen if it failed. It was fun to get up there again, it's so pretty and I hadn't been up to Baker Lake since a kegger during my senior year of high school. Plus, it just feels good to get dirty and get some fresh air.

Picture of Baker Lake, courtesy of the USFS.

I realize that one thing I'm really going to miss living in Chicago is mountains. As someone who grew up in the shadows of the Cascades, it was a bit unsettling to look out from the top of the John Hancock tower and see how flat as a pancake that part of the country is. Everywhere I've lived to date has been mountainous, or at least hilly...Western Washington, SE Washington, Central Virginia, Southern California (you could see mountains when the smog wasn't too bad). It'll be weird. Thank goodness there's a big body of water nearby, otherwise I'd be completely out of my element.

Mt. Baker from Bayview-Edison Road in the Skagit Valley. Photo by: Wade B Clark Jr, November 11, 2003.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

MBA Applicant Bloggies

Best of Blogging

Much like high school "superlatives", Clear Admit recently conducted a survey to recognize the best of blogging among this year's MBA applicant bloggers. Yours truly was nominated, and I let them know what blogs and posts I enjoyed the most and found the most useful. Clear Admit released the results today and I would like to say kudos to the cream of the crop. I was not surprised to see Dave, PowerYogi, & Brit-Chick leading the charge. For the full results, click here.

I think every MBA blog adds an invaluable new voice and perspective to this process. Each blog has little gems of information and support to make a process, that is normally stressful, competitive, and lonely, quite the opposite. I found priceless advice, insider info, support, and a laugh when needed, through the MBA applicant blogs. I have no doubt they helped me put together a more competitve application, not to mention maintain my sanity while awaiting decisions. Thanks bloggers!

Let me say that I was very pleased to be nominated, then very surprised and very flattered to finish in the Top 5 overall. I really enjoy writing this thing and hope to continue doing so for a long time. The fact that people actually enjoy reading this stuff is just icing on the cake. Thanks :)

Proof that I'm living in a small town

I played bingo tonight. No joke. For the second time since I moved home no less. My friend J and her family go once a month for birthday bingo (if it's your birthday month, you get a lucky number and each time it's called you get $5). I didn't win jack. J didn't win at bingo either, but she coaxed $30 out of the penny slots. Fun times...really, it is kinda fun because we get goofy and get shushed by the old ladies.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Memorial Weekend Plans

Booked my ticket to Chicago for Memorial Weekend to figure out my living
situation, hang out with friends, catch a game at Wrigley, etc. Should be fun, although it means missing out on the annual family & friends camping trip that I haven't been on 5 years (and I was kinda looking forward to going again). My parents have a big group of friends from high school & college that we've been camping with at least twice a year since forever (we're talking 10-15 families). Everybody used to be in tents, then as their incomes improved, most upgraded to motorhomes. We kids stayed in tents, of course, to get away from our lame parents during our teen years. Our parents would play cards and get drunk, and we'd get
drunk on whatever we could smuggle into our tents. We were bad kids :)

My mom and I went out to Thai food and a movie last night. We saw Kingdom of Heaven. We both thought it was pretty good. Ridley Scott was definitely making a not-so-subtle commentary on the current quagmire in the Middle East. Worth seeing in the theaters for the war scenes on the big screen with surround sound, so long as you're prepared for the barbarity of Medieval warfare.

I'm off to shop for my dad's birthday. He wears golf/polo shirts *all*the*time and the few favorites he keeps in rotation are just gross. Grease stains, faded shoulders, etc. He's looking pretty schlepy these days so my mom and I are only buying him clothes for his birthday.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Finally, we have a series

After watching my Sonics get destroyed by San Antonio (both on the scoreboard and with injuries) in the first two games of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals, I was just hoping for a close game last night. They delivered that, and a win. It was close down to the wire and I was completely stressed out. Literally, my heart was trying to pound its way out of my chest. I was so wired that it took me a good 2 hrs after the end of the game to mellow out enough to go to sleep.

My grandma had back surgery this morning, and so far it sounds like this one was a success. She has been suffering from chronic back/nerve pain for almost 2 years now and her last surgery did almost nothing to improve the situation. She'll be 77 next month and surgery at her age is no joke. My grandpa called the office this morning to report that she came through with flying colors and the surgeon felt he found (& fixed) the real underlying problem this time. I hope he's right because it must be miserable to be in that kind of pain all the time. My mom and I are headed to the hospital after work for a visit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Chicago apartment hunt

Based on my two trips to Chicago, I've determined that I would most enjoy living on the north side of the city, even though that means commuting down to Hyde Park for class. I need nightlife and neighborhoods that have lots of personality, and I was really drawn to Lakeview & Lincoln Park. Plus, all the GSBers say everyone that doesn't live on the north side in 1Y moves up there in 2Y, so why not eliminate the additional move. I'm not into high rise living (feels too much like a dorm or hotel, in my opinion) so I've been looking at mid-rises, flats, rehabbed brownstones, and the like. All online mind you. Couple of sites I've found useful (not just for Chicago):

MBA Properties A free apartment locator service specifically for MBA students. Available for Columbia/NYU, Harvard/MIT, Kellogg/Chicago GSB, & Miami. You fill out a questionaire, they narrow down a list of properties that meet your needs, and they either take you on a tour if you're in town, or you can do a virtual tour online/over email. They also have a database you can search on your own. They seem like really cool people, and a current GSB student used them last year and gave them a strong endorsement.

Google Maps + Craigslist = Awesome What a genius idea. This is a great way to see exactly where the listings are so it's easier to eliminate apartments that are totally wrong and really zero in on apartments that are near your favorite places/landmarks.

However, I've done this research and now I've had a golden opportunity fall in my lap. My friends who live in Lakeview just moved into a new place that they love. It's a three flat of two bedroom apartments. The landlord lives on the bottom floor, they live in the middle, and two women live on the top floor. Turns out one of the gals upstairs is engaged and just bought a condo with her fiancee. They need to fill her spot around August 1st. It's a big two bedroom about 3 blocks from Wrigley Field, it has a sun deck, and my share would be $750-800/mo including partial utilities AND PARKING. This is a fantastic deal, too good to pass up. I had assumed I'd be living alone, I've been doing that the past 3 years and I figured it'd be easier and maybe worth the expense. This little opportunity has me rethinking that. My potential roommate is also a sports nut, has her MBA from Mizzou, and is a corp auditor who is traveling 60% of the time. In other words, PERFECT. Maybe too good to be true. So I'm trying to find a cheap ticekt to get to Chicago for Memorial Weekend, hang out with my friends, meet their upstairs neighbors & landlord, check the place out, and see what happens. If it's a match, then I'm done. If it's not, I can spend the weekend checking out other places too.

Haven't blogged much about financing my MBA, probably because I don't find it that fun/interesting. It's just one more hoop to jump through, and U of Chicago has made it pretty easy. U of C has their own loan program that has competitive rates, low to no fees, and it's very very simple. And the GSB Financial Aid officer rocks. So I'm not worried about it. I just wish they'd release the final figures for 2005-2006 tuition so I can finish my budget and send off my loan paperwork. Word is tuition will increase from the 36K neighborhood to the 38K neighborhood. Lovely.

I suppose I'm overdue in writing a "lessons learned from the application process" blog to sort of summarize my experience, where and why I think I succeeded/failed, etc, especially since applicants for Fall 2006 are sure to be gearing up soon. Maybe I'll put something together for my blogiversary in June, a retrospective of the year's highlights and lowlights. I'll also probably try to figure out the direction of this blog now that I'm no longer an MBA applicant. Is this an MBA blog, about my specific program and/or course of study and/or career track? Is it a personal diary with no limits? Is it a way to keep my friends and family up to date? Is it for entertainment purposes, or just a brain dump and a way for me to keep a written history of my life? I'm not sure yet, but it's something I'm thinking about, as are many of this year's MBA applicant bloggers. It'll be interesting to see where our paths lead, beyond just the programs we'll be attending in the fall.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Saturday afternoon, I judged tryouts for my high school’s dance team, a team I was on all four years of HS. I’ve only been back to my high school a handful of times since I graduated 9 years ago. (Crap…that means it’s reunion time next summer…note to self: start the diet now.) It was a trip. I first tried out for the team as an eighth grader THIRTEEN YEARS AGO! Doesn’t seem like that long ago. It made me miss being part of a team, dancing all the time, learning & perfecting new routines, performing at games, going to camp & competitions, etc. We had such a good time.

My friend J also judged, and during a break told me she had someone she wanted to set me up with. This is the friend who is hoping I meet someone local this summer, fall in love, and never leave….0.0001% chance of that happening. Anyway, I’m open to being set up, going on dates with new boys is fun, so I ask her what he’s like. “Well, he’s single, he’s a cop, he’s single, he’s not hot but he’s not bad looking, he’s single, he has a 14 year old kid, he’s single, I think he’s taller than you, he’s single, he’s friends with my neighbor (whom J can’t stand?), he’s nice, and oh, he’s single.” So other than the fact that he’s single, are there any compelling reasons why you think we’d be a good match? Thanks, but no thanks. I know it’s weird to be almost 28 and never married here in our pretty little valley, but getting out of the valley means your taste in men becomes a lot more discriminating. Being single and having steady employment are only two of the many minimum requirements to get on this ride. And the older I get, the more discriminating I get. Ladies, repeat after me…there is nothing wrong with being single. It’s fun to date and enjoy your 20’s with friends. Why hurry up the rest of your life, it’ll come soon enough.

As for my concern with the valley rumor mill, turns out it’s not unfounded. My friend J told me that one of my good friends from high school K (whom I ran into at the gym a couple weeks ago) even asked her if there was more to the story of me being home than what I told her. Ah, life in a small town…is it August yet?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Family biz

Last night, my dad & I left the office around 5 pm while my mom worked late. (Our commute is about 25 miles and they both have company cars. I ride with one or the other, so I'm at the mercy of their schedules.) Anyway, I came in this morning to find that the things I left on my desk had been moved. My mom felt compelled, for whatever reason, to "tidy up" my desk. Not that it was untidy, mind you. I had a couple of small piles of work in progress, nothing with information on it that couldn't be left no stretch of the imagination did it need to be "tidy'd up" by my mother.

Meanwhile, both of my dad's offices here have been declared disaster areas. We're working on applying for federal aid so we can begin the clean-up and reconstruction process. (Yes, he needs TWO offices for all of his clutter.)

This is what you get when two people who are complete opposites (a middle child who is anal about organization & process, the other an only child who lives & dies by the hang loose/organization be damned philosophy) have been married for 33 years and have run a business together for the last 15. Frankly, I don't know how they've managed not to kill each other by now. They certainly drive each other crazy, and are on track to driving me crazy before I leave for Chicago.

Such is my life for the next few months.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Runaway Bride

Here's the latest article about her on for those who haven't heard.

My theory: She met someone (online or somewhere) and rather than break off her engagement like a normal person, she decided to runaway with the new person. So she changes her hair and hops a bus to rendezvous in Las Vegas. Only something went foul with the rendezvous (either the person she was meeting didn't meet her expectations, or she didn't his/hers, either way someone wanted out) so she had to go back to Plan B, AKA the dude she was supposed to marry. But she can't go back without an explanation that doesn't lay the guilt on her, so she concocts the kidnapper story...only she's in way over her head at this point since her actions indicate premeditation. Whoops.

Why do people insist on taking the hard way out, creating layer after layer of deceit? Wouldn't it have been simpler and kinder to all involved to be honest and say, look, I have doubts/cold feet, let's postpone? Her poor family. All the quotes from the family & church friends have been pretty kind to her; I think it was a town member who said he was glad she was safe but that this was an act of the most extreme selfishness. I agree. I hope the district attorney sends her the bill, and I hope her family makes HER pay for it (and the wedding bills).

Radio stations

Another interesting aspect of my move from So-Cal to Western WA...

In San Diego, I had a selection of radio stations that included San Diego/Tijuana crossovers that featured a mix of English, Spanish, and Spanglish. They were also required to play the Mexican National Anthem a couple of times a day (usually in the wee hours) and announce their call letters in Spanish. Now, I live closer to Vancouver than Seattle so I have a selection of Canadian stations to choose from. I get to hear the temperature forecast in degrees centigrade, hear "about" pronounced "aboot" and I have options in Chinese and French.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

My not-so-little little brother

Just got home from Bellevue. My parents and I spent the weekend down there watching my younger brother & his girlfriend compete at the Emerald Cup. It is the premier bodybuilding competition in the Pacific NW. It was his first show ever, and his girlfriend's second, and while neither of them won, they both did really well and had a lot of fun.

My brother has been wanting to do this for several years and has been working really hard towards this show over the past 12 months (kinda like me & b-school). He's about 6'3" and by Christmas he had bulked up to about 285 lbs, then in January he started dieting to lean down for this show. He weighed in this weekend around 240 and looked absolutely shredded. He's still got work ahead of him, and at 25 years old, he's just a baby in the sport...he's only just begun.

I'm so proud of him. He has come a long ways since his high school days. We used to be very different people (I'm the typical oldest child overachiever, he's the rebelious youngest child), but as time goes on we've become more alike. We may have different goals, but we have the same drive now. He has bad knees like me. When he was in school, attending classes & doing homework were simply a means to the end of participating in sports. When he blew out his knee, his days of football, basketball & soccer were pretty much done, so there was no point to school as far as he was concerned. He bummed around doing odd jobs & manual labor, but in the past couple of years he's found his home in the gym, and is now the general manager of a beautiful fitness club and is on track to be a district manager. Plus it's given him a great outlet & the contacts to pursue his bodybuilding dream. He's very ambitious and works hard toward his goals. It's an inspiration.

I'm off to the gym!

PS--My brother can kick your brother's ass ;)
PPS--Another funny/random run-in (small world part 2)--the guy who won last year's Emerald Cup Light Heavy & Overall Men's championship was there last night--it's a guy who was in my freshman biology class at WSU, I was in a study group with him. I remember him having to eat plain tuna & brown rice, nice to see he stuck with it and had some success.

My "Little" Brother, Emerald Cup Body Building Competition, Super Heavy Weight Division, ready for quarter turns Posted by Hello

Back double bicep Posted by Hello

Front bicept & chest Posted by Hello