It's gap day. We pulled into Belleville yesterday evening after the trek south from Delta County. With the balance of the evening we watched "Devil Wears Prada" and made some simple rice and cheese dinner. Today has been lazy, odds-and-ends, trip prep with a few Christmas cookies and some football sprinkled on top. Now we've got everything set for a very early departure tomorrow morning for Kalamazoo and points west.
posted at 3:21 PM - comments
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
A mid-vacation update... starting with a trip north that was long due to circumstances but actually went pretty smoothly. We spent Saturday and Sunday morning in Stonington, walked the meadow and out to the lake to see two huge eagles at Grandskog, and then I headed 'into town' for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was back-and-forth, with two heaping celebratory dinners and family and gifts. Tuesday we headed over to the harbor for some skating, had a great dinner with Eric and Paula at the Stonehouse, and called it a day. Today started in Escanaba at breakfast with grandparents and then turned into sausage-making and a walk along the icy beach in Stonington.
posted at 7:53 PM - comments
Friday, December 22, 2006
Up early this morning to take care of domestic things: cleaning, clearing, dishes, and the creation of Joy of Cooking scalloped potatoes for the UHS staff holiday party. This is now a second-annual event, which meant even more fun, even more food, and even more UHS staff. Jenelle and I talked with Sosha quite a bit but made the rounds, socially and gastronomically speaking, departing before a poker game got started. At home we wrapped presents, chased Oliver until he couldn't run any more, and generally behaved like the first day of Christmas vacation. Tomorrow morning we're off early for the drive north and Christmas in the UP.
posted at 9:30 PM - comments
Thursday, December 21, 2006
My last day off at the end of a string of them. So, I slept in a bit with Ollie's help, hit the gym, wrapped up some mini-maintenance on the Jimmy, and watched a movie. I also spent some time getting stoked for the break, doing some setting up of wedding stuff, and etc. I think days when a list is all you can come up with are a sign of the truest form of mental holiday; I've summoned full mind power and only come up with a few tangential activities that have no connected meaning...that is a lazy day.
posted at 4:03 PM - comments
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I seem to have fallen into an odd cycle where today's post is about yesterday's happenings; that's no good. So! A fresh start with this morning, when I gathered the courage to boot up my old Quantex in search of music, pictures, and files from my previous life as a not-grad student. What a treasure trove! Among the finds: my correspondence with Jill & David, who housed me during freshman winter work, pictures of the Webb gang at Webbstock 2003 (young-looking, bunch, let me tell you!), and a mountain of mp3s that brought back plenty of memories of, alternately, heat balance and late nights in Stevenson Taylor Hall. I also did some laundry, an arts-and-crafts project with hot glue and my luggage, and some wedding stuff, but none of it was as interesting as re-listening to the sounds of an era since passed.
posted at 11:27 AM - comments
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The break between end of exams and Christmas after fall semester has got to be my favorite time of year. Without the crush of an upcoming move or the stress of a new job with a new company in a new place, these are some lazy days. I've got things to do, for sure... giving blood, some TMI SAB stuff, some wedding stuff, but these are not the kinds of things that you wake up early and stay up late to churn out.
On a programming note, I think we are all set (finally) with the site update. The archive format has changed to an index page - I liked having the entire archive available on every page, but the oppressive weight of history has started to make that impossible. It turns out that blogging across six years and archiving what's been said is not something that has been given a lot of thought.
Post-blog news from last night: we may have found a suitable wedding cocktail. Blue Lagoon...it's cool and refreshing and blue. It also goes perfectly with APHC and Christmas card writing and "Home Alone." We watched it, Macaulay Caulkin and everything. I'm not even sorry.
Not much to report on today, but we were at Target on our way to Jenelle's when we found Archer Farm's Tomato Cream Penne dinner kits, $3.49. We were exposed to Archer Farms in a major way at the tailgate to end all tailgates back on football day in October. AF is Target's private label, with reasonably low prices and high quality. So, in the interest of marketing science, we decided to see what $3.49 of packaged dinner gets you. And now we may never cook again. The taste was not stupendous and it was more work than a microwave dinner, but for $3.49 we didn't have to think about food planning, it was tasty, and there are enough leftovers for both of us to eat lunch tomorrow. It wasn't even awful for us, which was a pleasant surprise. Jenelle and I were talking and we agree that Target may take over the western world.
I'm pretty bad at cards, but the UHS gang got together for a poker night at Johnny's in Dearborn and we played along. It was a really fun gathering that lasted and stayed fun well into the evening. My card playing is still bad but I do feel like I know some of Jenelle's coworkers a bit better and as a side bonus we both had a great time hearing about Johnny's trip to Malta last summer.
Today was bizarre because Jenelle had an early doctor's appointment, but we were still tired and wanting a lazy weekend when she returned, so we took a long late-morning nap. In the afternoon (evening according to the clock) we went to Ann Arbor for some final gift shopping and holiday out-and-abouting before retiring to 409b for APHC and snacks for dinner and Christmas-card writing.
Rarely has there ever been so much drama associated with turning in a test. I mentioned that we had to submit via email; I finished early and hit 'send' about 13 minutes before the end of class. Then I powered down, packed up, and headed home. Somewhere between a celebratory stop at btb and Huron Towers it dawned on me that it might take longer than a few seconds to send an email and attachment - had I allowed enough time for the message to clear my outbox? NO! There it was, like a bloated email exam thing, sitting in Outlook. I hoofed up to Art & Architecture and resent, hoping for the most lenient and understanding response to my now 19 minutes late exam. The response came in about six minutes: "No problem. Have a good break."
Yesterday during my studying I distracted myself with the funniest of Michigan's student publications: The Every Three Weekly. In the editorial section, where they usually slam people for writing and asking "why do you make fun of uGg boots?" there was, instead, a rather serious piece about the b-school's pesky habit of throwing away the E3W stack as soon as it arrived, apparently because it was offensive to some students. This makes me sad; for all the drama we've had about diversity, for all the school's emphasis on variance of opinion, for all the talking about embracing everyone's views, to reverse field and throw away a satirical newspaper is pathetic. Everything that has ever been printed is, by definition, offensive and discriminatory to someone. Maybe if it is offensive to you there is an alternate point of view to consider? My SES was lampooned on those pages, what can you do? Yes you get angry, but in fact perhaps there is some truth to the stereotypes that are published there - get over it. Even more troubling is a request, in the anonymously forwarded email chain, to keep campus "family friendly" and that includes E3W and football programs because they featured an ad for Deja Vu (you may be able to guess what type of business is conducted at Deja Vu... I'll give you a hint: I'm not going to link to their website). In all fairness, if we are going to cleanse the campus to the point that 3"x3" ads featuring women in bikinis are too offensive, then we all might as well have chosen Ivys and put on our sweater vests. (And lock ourselves in well-lit rooms with no windows or media, safely away from those cretins from LS&A who want to destroy our little community with their filth.)
My first, last, and only final exam (or any exam, for that matter) of Fall 2006 is from 7-9 this evening in one of Ross's cramped old classrooms. The subject is World Economy. Time allotted: 120 minutes. Materials: all class materials, laptop. Submission: via email. I'm so ready to be done with this thing because it represents testing on an inherently untestable subject. If a person is really worried about how exchange rates in Thailand might affect a huge corporation like GM, they probably aren't going to sit down and puke out 18 minutes worth of basic theory. The only other method of evaluating learning, though, appears to be a take home case study, which regular readers will know that I detest. (In fact, on the list of things I dislike 'take home exams' slide in right behind 'eating formerly living things who spent their lives immersed in water.') So, I'm resigned to take the exam, show what I do or do not know, and be finished with Fall 2006 at 9:05pm.
posted at 1:42 PM - comments
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A week back or so I said I'd talk football later. Later has arrived.
Michigan is number two. Should have been number one with the chances they had in Columbus, but penalties and underutilization of #20 cost us. Comparing schedules, margin of victory, whatever, gets you nowhere in this sport because there are few common demominators. The only thing that matters is that Michigan played to within 3 points of OSU at OSU, locking in the #2 spot. Thus, my beef with the BCS is that it was manipulated to get a new matchup in the title game. Where does human manipulation stop? This year it's one vs three; next it's Heisman hopeful vs Heisman hopeful, then who knows what the BCS will 'crown.' However, this mess sets up Michigan being number two perfectly if we win and the Gators get roundly trounced, which I expect they will.
The consolation prize is the Rose Bowl. Ol' Keith Jackson called it 'The Granddaddy of them all' and so it is. In the football tradition I grew up around, Michigan is meant to go to the Rose Bowl and face a Pac-10 powerhouse, and that's what we've got. So, while I'd love to play for the national title and still think we deserved a shot, I'm happy to head to Pasadena, put on some maize and blue and watch USC and Michigan duke it out. "We are SC!" vs "Go Blue!" "Fight On" vs "The Victors." This is old-school football, an old-school bowl game, and I'll take my lumps and get fired up to take in the spectacle and a heck of a football game. Since Keith Jackson won't be there to say it I will: Whooaaaaaaa Nelly!
Ross Goss in the Monroe Street Journal had a little tidbit that I took as a sign that apocalypse in upon us and that I chose poorly: a group of future investment bankers were treated to a ride from Ann Arbor to Charlotte aboard a bank's G550 corporate jet. Manufacturing? DOH! What the heck was I thinking? Manucturers make jets, i-bankers buy them, ride in them, and make the millions when the companies who own one decide to merge with companies who own more than one.
My group's supply chain management paper about revenue (yield) management in the sports industry came together rather smoothly through a volley of emails this morning, along with plans to gather for dinner tomorrow. I studied for World Econ some, too, along with random internet surfing and a talk about strategic sourcing at Target. I wavered significantly about attending the Target talk, but ultimately I figured that 15 months from now I'd be pretty stoked to have the chance to hear such a thing so I'd better recognize.
Clark Griswold just sang "Meli Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day..." in his head, marking the true arrival of the holiday season. Jenelle and I celebrated yesterday with our annual holiday day on the town. Ann Arbor was its festive seasonal best and we made the rounds with a horde of other people who couldn't resist being out and about on a beautifully cold sunny day. Then today, another lazy Sunday. Jenelle made French toast and we both made hay on school work before some leftovers and pommegranate seed yogurt granola dessert. The tree is lit and it feels like the holidays.
posted at 9:13 PM - comments
Friday, December 08, 2006
Alarm clock, space shuttle news. Coffee perking, celery in a bag, Clif Bar. Chase Ollie around. Run cat run. Laundry. SOS. Off campus search = self directed search. MTrek meeting/web meeting. Errands. NAME presentation, see weird ships, exchange cards, go far. Friday afternoon grocery store, home to fourth floor. Salad, steak, toast, and broccolli. Glass of wine, just in time. Hockey! Bleh. Sieve sieve goalie. Play defense! Where's Mike Valenti when you need him? Ice cream. Bed.
posted at 10:45 PM - comments
Thursday, December 07, 2006
All has gone quiet on the recruiting front and the IPD front, so there's a new feeling of free time. Today was a great example of that; I found myself at home in the middle of the day with some casual pre-studying to do and leftover soup for lunch. TMI hosted a somewhat joyless holiday doings in the early evening, with breadsticks and pizza and cake all around. We talked IPD at my table and I learned of the upcoming hiatus of one of my team members. Then I headed to Belleville for an evening with the tree and Jenelle and Ollie.
posted at 7:10 PM - comments
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Another round of scolding started my day; nothing wears me down quite like having to sit and be warned about the perils of arriving late. Baaaahhhhggghhh. I just want to go to class, be taught, and leave - no stories about board members being fired for taking phone calls or angry bosses giving promotions to other people.
The balance of the day has been kind of a push. I got the revenue management model that I built yesterday into presentable shape and wrote about what I'd found, but didn't get around to the homeworks that I'm supposed to do for my own benefit for ST503. Instead I elected to head home, sit on the couch and read a case and do the last(!) one pager for Supply Chain. It's simply stunning how fast the months of October and November came and went, but here we are in early December with the semester winding down.
When things go badly for a university, they really just pour it on. Michigan's lost a legendary coach, a legendary football game, and a shot at the national championship. Just when it seemed time for some positive Wolverine press, the New York Times ran an article today with a 4 column, above-the-fold color photo of a prostitute...wearing a maize and blue jacket with "Wolverines" written on the sleeves. Teeeerific.
I spent a good chunk of today behaving like a normal MBA student - making a financial model, doing sensitivity analysis on it, writing up conclusions, sharing with the group. It feels natural now to do this stuff, which I think is testament to the rigor of the course. I think it could also be that business is easier, in technical terms, than engineering. Here the analysis is easy and the conclusions/recommendations are hard, with engineering the analysis is the tough part but often leads to easy conclusions. Tomorrow I'll be behaving like an MBA student working towards finals. It is nice to be back at school, around that electric buzz that Ross has, rather than toiling away in the wood shop. I think I missed it.
Monday after BCS selection in my final year of grad school means that I spent much of today looking at kayak.com. The year's first real snow fell, accumulating less than an inch but tinting Ann Arbor white and making for some fun driving. In the afternoon I met with a perspective TMI student, pitching the school and sharing the ups and downs of the program. Jenelle and I had pesto for dinner then spent about an hour booking travel to all over, including the first hotel stay for our honeymoon. There was work to be done, though, so we hunkered down and graded and read, respectively, while big snowflakes filled the view out the windows.
posted at 9:31 PM - comments
Sunday, December 03, 2006
A pretty solid weekend unfolded around here beginning shortly after the last post was submitted on Friday afternoon. Jenelle arrived a short time after that and we rang in the end of the week with some artichoke dip that she whipped up and pita chips. Our evening included a depressing hockey game that Michigan lost to Western by a couple of goals; before all that happened, though, we had Blimpy Burger and a Pizza Bob shake. Yummy on both counts.
Saturday didn't feel like one when we rolled out of Huron Towers at 6:30, but streaking north on a sunny cold day did feel like a day off. Our destination was Potter's Bakery in Traverse City- the last leg on our tour of vendors. We met with the owner, who is (and behaved like) a real business person, and solidified plans for the cake. With our final vendor selected (!) (hurray) (!) we visited Sutton's Bay, had a celebratory lunch at hip downtown sandwich spot Mustard's, and then saddled up and headed home. In the evening we tuned in for football (yeah USC, boo Arkansas) and then downed a ton more artichoke dip and were finished.
Today has been lazy: plenty of bowl-trajectory tracking, trip planning, and school work. Some future day there will be an ornry post about the college football postseason, but there are 3,803,275 other posts about that today so I won't go there. Instead, I'll play 'catch the milk ring' with Ollie.
Quite a lazy old day, as advertised. I slept in - Ollie joined me in this endeavour, which just makes it better and cuter - and then spent much of the day puttering around doing not much. I did dishes. I watched more of a birthday gift. I looked at wedding.xls (our wedding is now largely planned on a 9-tab excel spreadsheet). I monitored weather to the north ahead of our trip in that direction tomorrow. I talked to Dad. I talked to Robin. I talked to Jenelle. I played "My Humps" on the stereo just to hear the bass thumping.
Results from the trade show rolled in this afternoon and confirmed my fear: people were a little too into the product class to consider which products stigmatize users, which they'd like on their counter, and which represents the best value to an actual person. So, high five's hedge against this didn't go too well. I guess this is something about an artificial trade show that is hard to judge, making it hard to predict demand. All-in-all we did OK because of high margins and low sales expectations.
On a totally unrelated note: the fourth floor (fifth, really) isn't high by architectural standards, but for a residence it is pretty lofty. I really like living at this level because the tops of trees bend just below line of sight and the weather is a bit more perceptible. Birds glide by on the wind, which rips around the corner of the building and creates a great howling on a cold December day like this one.