100 Things I Love

Man!  I must say, I wasn't expecting to write to you, my readers, so soon, but can I just say that what a relief it is not to be on the college hunt anymore?  Whew!

With all this time that has opened up in the evenings, what is a fella to do?  Well, you know me, I always have hobbies waiting out in the wings, ready to fill the void :-)  In this case, I FINALLY picked up my novel again, after months of being off the job.  Today has been very productive, although I'll admit that it has taken quite a while tonight to get the juices flowing.  That, and the girl next to me at the coffee shop is a bit distracting ;-) but hey, back to the book!

I've spent a good chunk of the evening rereading all my notes, charts, outlines, and rough drafts.  First, I just have to say, this thing is a lot better than I remembered.  I can't wait to share it!  I just hope the details flow as freely as they did before, as it has been a while.  Who cares, it's fiction, I can just make up stuff right?  That's part of the creative process haha.

Well, today has been pretty productive so far, but I'm on a short break for now.  I thought while I was taking it easy, I'd post one of my writing exercises I found.  If you can believe it (I'm sure you can), I bought a book on writing a book a while back, which I have since given up reading.  However, one of the cool exercises that it suggested was writing down 100 things that you love, and then using those in your novel, since you tend to write a lot more passionately about the things you love.

So what are my 100 things?  Here you go, enjoy!

1.    snow
2.    road trips
3.    exploring
4.    In-n-Out
5.    hiking
6.    biking
7.    telling stories
8.    being awkward
9.    sarcasm
10.  being on time/schedule
11.  finishing a project
12.  Michigan/Detroit
13.  thunderstorms, rain
14.  getting packages
15.  shopping
16.  computers
17.  fixing stuff
18.  manual labor
19.  clocks
20.  road signs
21.  traffic maps
22.  trying something new
23.  Frisbee
24.  Pandora
25.  fish/coral
26.  doing stuff for people
27.  gadgets
28.  spies
29.  modern history
30.  short lines
31.  rap/techno music
32.  errands
33.  being an early bird
34.  having good luck
35.  meeting people randomly
36.  Coney Island
37.  my beagle, Chase
38.  being green
39.  hanging out with friends
40.  guilding circuits
41.  figuring it out
42.  blogging
43.  impulse buying
44.  fortune cookies
45.  sushi
46.  fall
47.  Black Friday
48.  giving advice
49.  Craigslist
50.  cleaning
51.  navigating
52.  singing in the car
53.  multitasking
54.  flip-flops
55.  jeans
56.  getting a deal
57.  pulling a prank
58.  being sorry
59.  learning new things
60.  accents
61.  cars
62.  fog
63.  change
64.  random math
65.  a quiet landscape
66.  taking pictures
67.  seeing my family
68.  seeing old friends
69.  speeding (a little)
70.  tools
71.  avocados
72.  California
73.  binary
74.  cooking a good meal
75.  giving gifts
76.  compliments
77.  grilling
78.  socials / get-togethers (not parties)
79.  black
80.  my iPod
81.  the Internet
82.  technology
83.  blue eyes
84.  being a leader
85.  making decisions
86.  being exhausted
87.  other cultures
88.  being cozy on a cold day
89.  cutting grass
90.  Linux
91.  Sudoku
92.  news
93.  a cool breeze
94.  being surprised
95.  my grandma’s chicken soup
96.  picking blueberries
97.  making movies
98.  finding my way
99.  driving
100. sea air

I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I did again tonight.  I think there are some duplicates, but whatever.  Some of these things are REALLY random haha.

Alright, enough break time, back to work!  Not sure if I'll keep hanging out at the coffee shop or head back home to work on this, but I'm on a roll tonight.  That and let's just say I'm not to motivated to move my seat at the moment lol.

Until next time, stay classy readers!


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Making the Grade

Wow, that was a whirlwind week!  Just got back from visiting the last 3 out of the 4 grad schools I applied to.  Alright, so what's the verdict?  Well, I definitely am glad I went, since it's that "gut feeling" that brought me to a great school like Cal Poly 5 years ago, and I think it is the most important part of choosing a school.  Academics, rankings, blah blah blah...none of it means jack if you personally don't feel a school is right for you.  That's why I went out of my way to travel to each place and meet with people.  That and, well, it gave me an excuse to go on a mini vacation to 3 cool places!

Each of these schools is very different, but I decided that as a good engineer, I can't just decide the whole thing based on my instinct.  Okay, well maybe like half of it is instinct.  The other half?  Pros and cons, data, and other analyses that I've written up and amassed over this trip.

So here we go.  Before any of these schools graded me, I decided I would grade THEM, using some basic categories.  Of course, I'm a push over as a teacher, so I gave out As and Bs only lol.  Let's see how they fared, shall we?

Campus SizeB
Research / ProfessorsA-
Outdoor ActivitiesA
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherA
Being "Green"A

Campus SizeA
Research / ProfessorsB
Outdoor ActivitiesB
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherA-
Being "Green"B-

Georgia Tech
Campus SizeB
Research / ProfessorsA-
Outdoor ActivitiesB-
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherB-
Being "Green"A-

Campus SizeA
Research / ProfessorsA
Outdoor ActivitiesA-
Surrounding Area / Environment / WeatherA
Being "Green"A

I know, I know, these categories could probably use a little explanation.  Well hey, I have it all written out for myself, but I don't feel like writing it up here lol.  If you look closely at all these grades, you can see UW was the top choice after the initial grade.

But who won the "gut feeling award"?  Well, that one went to UW as well!  The campus was absolutely beautiful, not mention Seattle is an awesome city.  Yes, it rains, I know, but I was loving the 30 degree weather.  Reminds me of home.  I feel like having a little more weather will be a good thing.  Of course, I can't exercise as much, but now that I'm outfitted to bike in the rain, I think I'll make due :-)  I spent one day just exploring neighborhoods, and it was a blast!  There are so many cool little places around town, not to mention the awesome U-District right by campus.

You know, it's funny, but in many ways I see Seattle as my SF.  I mean there are TONS of hills, electric buses running on wires, and the city even has it's Castro district in West Capitol Hill.  It's also great that it has that big city feel, but you can drive a few minutes and be out of town really fast.  Finally, a chance to get my chance to live in a city and be within a few miles of hiking!

What if it's not quite for me?  Well, I see this journey in my life as a two-year trial period.  At the end of my grad school career, maybe I'll stay, maybe I'll move back to the Bay, who knows. 

Ah, the many ways I'm gonna miss it.  All the great friends, roomies and connections I've made, I really have grown to love the area.  However, it's always been a goal of mine to get my MS, and by golly I'm going to do it!  I mean, this is the third year I've applied to colleges and my GRE scores are getting a little dusty, so I figured it was time to go.

Alright, alright, so the verdict is...


So there you have it, the cat's outta the bag.  I plan on moving to Seattle this fall and spending the next few years grabbing my MSEE and enjoying the rain :-P

What's next?  Housing? Financial aid? I'm taking a rest!  I've been working full tilt since I came back from Europe, writing essays, filling out apps, talking with professors and traveling.  Frankly, I'm beat.  I am so happy to just be complete with everything.  Now I actually will have time to work on my circuit board hobby and even my book!  Not to mention the celebrations that can now begin.  Sweet :-)

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm amazed how much I can accomplish when I start churning my wheels.  Europe...grad school...who know's what's next?  I'm excited to see what new adventures come with grad school, and I'm excited to see what next big thing I take on.

Until next time folks, thanks for checking in, I will catch y'all later!


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The Big 'IF'

Are you going to grad school? So where will it be?  What's my top choice? Etc, etc...

Well, it's no big secret that I am looking at grad schools, THAT question I can answer.  As to all the other questions floating around about the big decision for this fall, those are going to just have to linger a little longer.  Truth is, I really don't have a true ranking yet of the schools I've applied to.  Sure, I've compared programs, housing, and other school info, but you really can't tell until you actually go there and "feel" that it's the right place.  You know what I mean?

For instance, during my junior and senior year of high school, I visited colleges all over the US, from Virginia to Pennsylvania to California.  I'll tell ya, I really had my doubts about Poly at first.  I went through high school competing to be at the top, and I figured I just HAD to go to the #1 or #2 major school in the country in order to get a good education and a decent job.  Well, after going to SLO and meeting Dr. Meyers (ah Len, I miss your stories of red and black trees) and seeing how nice of a campus and how dedicated they were to teaching you practical knowledge through their "Learn by Doing" attitude, I was determined that if I got in I'd go.  That and it gave me a chance to escape from GP and all my competition, a stupid factor I know, but just WAIT until you hear some of my factors I have this time round :-)  I got it, and westward went, and I've never regretted it!

Anyways, I learned how valuable visiting a place is and "feeling" like it's the right fit.  So this time around, I'm doing it all over again!  I'm super excited for next week, when I'll be travelling to West Lafayette, Atlanta and Seattle to visit all these places at once.  Not only do I get to go on a cool trip to visit places all over the country, I'll FINALLY have that answer!  Oh, and I got into GT, which is great!  It feels really good to get accepted so early by the highest ranked school on my list (not that rankings are the only factor :-).  Hopefully, after next week, I can give y'all a better answer to all those questions (that is, if you care :-P )

Alright, alright, I do have SOME idea of where I'd like to go, I'm the man with a plan, remember?  It's just a little bit more fluid at the moment lol.  I'd like to stay closer to the west coast, just because that's where I'd like to end up someday (not that I'm settling down yet lol), and it'd be easier to get a job out here if I was living here too.  I'm really excited to see what UW has to offer; I really could see myself living in Seattle and what better way to start out there than going to school in the city?

What about California, it's the greatest place in the world right?  Well, I do love the Bay Area, and it's going to be really hard to leave all my friends.  However, I do feel it's time to move on.  I feel like I do this every few years, pick up and move, which might not be the best, but I feel like now is the best time in my life to ship off since I'm still young.  Maybe I'll be back; the home of greentech is here :-)  UCSB would be the cheapest by far, but there's also the threat of budget cuts and hiked tuition.  I guess we'll just have to see...

It's funny, thinking about how tough this choice could be between these 4, so I decided to come up with some really ridiculous tie breakers, just like my "get as far away from GP" rule for undergrad.  So far, here are a few (in no particular order):

  • In a big city (always wanted to live in one to try it) - (+) for GT and UW
  • Has 4G coverage (stupid yes, but at least they're with it) - not sure yet, guessing (+) GT and UW again
  • There's a Panera (I like the UP2 deal, alright?) - all of em have one, so no tie breaker there
    • Score!  There's Jimmy Johns in IN and GA!  (+) for Purdue and GT - again, yes, it's silly
  • Is "green" (yea, it's just a buzzword, and hard to measure too) - guessing Cali will take the cake
  • Lots of biking and hiking potential - (-) on the cities, although Seattle should be nice
  • Has weather (defined as more than a "rainy" and "sunny" season) - (+) UW and Purdue, (-) on UCSB and I'm guessing since the ATL shuts down when it snows, GT might lose a point there
  • Does not have a > 90% male population (oh wait, you mean San Jose's not one of my cities?) - nevermind, I think any college will be an improvement :-)
  • And the list continues...
Hmm....well, you can probably tell how I'm slanting now, BUT I just need to force myself to wait until after the trip to call it.  Oh, the silly ways we make "informed" decisions haha.  To be honest, in the end it will be one tiny, unique experiences from this trip (or the trip to UCSB) that will ultimately make up my mind and dramatically shift my life for the next few years.  Funny, huh?

Well until I make up my mind, enjoy your week and your Valentine's Day (I don't practice :-P) and stay tuned for updates from my college tour!


P.S.  In case you were trying to guess the campuses in the photos above, they are (left to right, top to bottom): Purdue, GT, UCSB and UW.  Goodnight!

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