MBA Peregrinations

Charting the course of my travels through the MBA experience.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Finally in Chicago!

The past few days have been exciting and frustrating. I'm finally here in Chicago! The heat wave that hit ended last night with some serious rain, and today is sunny and gorgeous 80 F weather. Perfect for going out, except that I have nothing in my apartment (the movers have yet to show up) - all I have on me are the grubby clothes that I wore during the road trip.

I also realized the extent of my addiction to the internet. Although I should technically have internet access through my provider at home right now, the modem and router are sitting in a box with the rest of my stuff in a moving truck. So no internet access from home, which means I can't really find out where the local bank is or comparison shop for PDA cases without aimlessly walking about. Great excuse to explore, but really inefficient way to get stuff done. Couple the lack of internet with no stuff to unpack, and I've started to claw at the walls and cough up hairballs. I succumbed today and went to my local internet cafe, and I can feel my withdrawal shakes starting to subside as the browser windows open up...

So far, I'm digging my neighborhood. I walked to the movie theater a few nights ago, and there are countless places to eat within a 10 minute walk. I can also hop onto the 'L' in less than 5 minutes and take it downtown, which I did a few days ago to check out some shops (including the Apple store on Michigan Avenue). Now if only my stuff would get here...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Drivin' Cross Country

Here is the path:
California -> Arizona -> Nevada -> Utah -> Colorado -> Nebraska -> Iowa -> Illinois.

You find creative ways to pass the time on a road trip. There are only so many debates one can have about gay marriage or the revaluation of the Yuan before the conversation degenerates. I start to go stir-crazy being in the car all day, and have managed to see some strange sights and amuse myself in some less-than-intellectual ways...

- 'Pooning' other drivers and trying to avoid being 'pooned'. (definition: To 'poon' someone is to figuratively harpoon onto another driver breaking the speed limit. You end up going just as fast, but are behind and less likely to get caught speeding.)
- Passing by the town of Zzyzx in California near the Mojave Desert and thinking it was the strangest name I would see.
- Passing by the town of What Cheer in Iowa and being wrong.
- Seeing 'wireless internet' listed next to 'bathrooms' and 'vending machines' as one of the features at a rest stop.
- Guessing which fast-food joints one can find in the next podunk town. *shudder*
- Passenger singing loudly and obnoxiously to driver, and being threatened with 'Stop or so help me I will swerve, crash, and kill us both.'
- Being close enough to civilization to have a tower nearby and decent mobile phone reception, so that I can post this entry from a laptop while in the car on I-80.

Technically, the path should continue onto Indiana and then back to Illinois because I'm going to crash with a friend in South Bend tonight, and then drive to Chicago tomorrow. Almost there!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Road Trip

I am on the go once again. After a relatively painless experience with the movers (compared to many previous moves in which I did all of the moving on my own), I got in the car and started the long haul from the Bay Area to Chicago.

I'm taking the scenic route. After a long day of driving in some scary hot 115 F weather, I arrived in St. George, Utah. Wednesday involved a quick hike through the Narrows, and then a leisurely drive north through Zion National Park and southern Utah. The picture doesn't do justice to the beauty of this place - the craggy cliffs and sprawling grasslands are simply magnificent. Violet, sea green, sand, peach, and rust are just some of the hues that you see in the landscape - this region is very appropriately named 'Color Country'.

After a few hundred miles, a good night's rest was in order in a tiny town named Salina (not much else to do but sleep there). Today was spent covering another expanse of country in Utah and Colorado. Colorado has some lovely scenery as well, and rainstorms out here are exhilarating - lightning and thunder with pelting hard rain. A few miles away from the storm, you can see streaks of gray running down from the sky towards the ground - like an artist took a paintbrush and ran it down the length of the rainclouds to smear them towards the green earth.

I'm now in Denver, and after a drink with a friend (who is incidentally a GSB alum) and an expansive sushi dinner, I'm ready to crash. Tomorrow I hope to reach Des Moines. Just what my car needed before at least 2 years of baking and freezing Chicago weather, another 2000+ miles on the odometer...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Why Moving Sucks

Less than a week before moving to Chicago, and instead of packing, I'm posting...

- You can never pack everything up until the last minute, which requires frenetic packing at the last minute.
- Packing at the last minute requires keeping stuff that you should toss, and tossing stuff that you want to keep.
- You forgot to pack the paintings, remove the nails holding them up, and patch the holes in the wall before you packed the tools and plaster.
- If you're an internet junkie like me, your brain prevents your body from packing up the compy until a few hours before the movers show up.
- Liquids are in danger of leaking, so friends get the vodka.
- You can't clean much until the boxes and furniture are gone, and then end up giving yourself a headache from sniffing copious amounts of Lysol on your continuous 6-hour cleaning spree.
- By the time you're done cleaning, you feel like taking a long shower and can't - the soap, towels, and clothes that don't smell like Lysol are all packed and gone.
- For weeks before, you are culinarily challenged to create exciting and creative new delicacies using the shredded coconut and sliced cheese left in the fridge.
- For weeks after, you are stuck unpacking boxes of crap and thinking 'Why didn't I just toss this?'.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Geeking Out

A few days ago, I ordered a new PDA. I found that Techbargains and The Gadgeteer were very useful in my research. Perusing the user reviews and comparing prices led me to pick the Palm Tungsten E2. Its a slim device, the user interface looks great, decent memory and processor speed, and I don't need a camera in my PDA just yet. I also took a look around at cases, and stumbled upon the luxury cases made by Vaja. They are beautiful, but I didn't order one. Surfing at 3 am made me loopy enough to consider a case that costs half the price of the bloody PDA, but luckily common sense (and the thought of my student budget) kicked in.

I also decided to make the big switch and buy a Mac. I'm a bit worried that I'll be spending too much time understanding the new OS when I should be getting work done. But after some quality time at the Apple store and conversations with numerous people, I'm ready to dive in. Reminder to self, sign up for the Mac users support group at the GSB.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terror in London

On September 9, 2001, I was watching the sun set between the twin towers of the World Trade Center from my room across the street at the Millenium Hilton in Manhattan. Two days later, I felt blessed to have been one of the last people on Earth to see such a sight and live to tell about it. But I also felt physically ill at the thought of those that did not escape the terrorist attacks, and the incredibly painful and senseless loss that the friends and families of those killed would come to feel once the shock wore off. This morning, many in London are feeling that same shock and loss. My heart goes out to you.

Someone opined to me that this will cause the Brits to withdraw from helping the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. I disagreed, believing that Blair would not let this affect his pledge to support democracy in the Middle East. We'll see how it pans out soon enough...

Saturday, July 02, 2005


I was tagged a while ago by EMC India, but am just now getting around to posting on it. The last 5 books I've read are:

1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown - Do I even need to describe it? Everyone and their mother has read this one.

2. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie - Finally got around to reading this, and Rushdie is a lyricist. He is one of those authors that can take you to a place that is inexplicably clear and muddled all at once. It flowed perfectly until you reached that precipice, but you look back and think 'Damn, there is only a fog of words behind me. How did he get me here?'

3. Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert - I enjoyed the concept of Heretics and appreciated how Frank pulled elements from the original Dune so artfully. But its difficult to keep continuity (and my interest) after the 3000 years of 'The Tyrant'.

4. Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert - The last book in the 6 book series of Dune was anticlimactic. All of them went downhill after the original.

5. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown - I succumbed to another Dan Brown novel while in Europe (the selection of English language novels in small towns in Northern Croatia are rather limited). Gripping read as usual, but the storyline of dashing male protagonist and female sidekick fighting the forces of evil seems to be a theme (that will get stale fast) in his novels.

The book I'm currently reading is neither by Frank nor Dan. I've had enough of those two for a while. And I will refrain from tagging other bloggers - I'm just too lazy to find others that haven't already been tagged and I don't wanna be a pest.