b 4.0
Friday, September 28, 2007
Blogging in the lightning round at this stage of the week. It was a long one; when the 4:30 call was over this afternoon I was ready to split in a major way. I'm still like 15 hours short of consulting and probably 30 short of i-banking, which leads me to believe that those careers must not be purely financially motivated. Certainly there lots of reasons to like working more than 50 hours a week... I'm not sure money is one of them.

We used our wedding-gift grill to make burgers and potatoes tonight. Now we're listening to Rodriguez e Gabriela and about to start reading the books we picked out at the LML last night.

Thursday, September 27, 2007
This has been the week when things took off. My phone has started ringing constantly, I am up to dozens of emails a day, and it's hard to find time to get any done at my desk. In short, awesome. Days are flying by and I'm really liking the work and the job.

Long days mean shorter nights, though, and Jenelle hasn't been feeling too well this week, which has made things even quieter. We hit the library, though, for our first checking-out-books visit and stocked up for a weekend when we're pretty clearly hardly going to read at all. Paninis for dinner and the return of The Office reminded us of Thursdays in Belleville when I'd come screaming in from this presentation or that class just in time to catch the episode and start reading tomorrow's cases.

Sunday, September 23, 2007
Centralia, PA, was recently featured in Smithsonian magazine, we found out when Mom called while we were there. The reason for its fame: an underground coal fire started in 1962 when the town's burning trash ignited a vein of coal, forcing the abandonment of nearly all buildings. Today there were a few remaining residents on the streets, more than a few curious passers-by, and one old sewer grate with smoke coming out of it:
Fire in the hole.  Centralia PA

Centralia was really just one bullet point on the itinerary of a busy, fun day. We got up early and hauled rocks to complete our yard/air-conditioning-compressor project. Then we went over to Rodale for a few laps on our Rollerblades... then off towards central PA, over Blue Mountain, through mining towns, past decrepit mining buildings, and back again. On the way home we stopped at remote Tuscarora State Park for a picnic along the only lake (really the only body of water of any significance) we saw all day.

Just to recap and make sure nobody gets left out, yesterday we had a good time with our new neighborhood friends at a 30th birthday party. It wound down early enough in the evening that we came home and relaxed upstairs, did some laundry, and felt like our weekend was already three days long.

Saturday, September 22, 2007
We awoke to a very strange noise this morning. Best I can describe it was like a neighbor spraying their hose into a 50-gallon Rubbermaid garbage can lying on its side - only louder. I opened the blinds and didn't see any neighbors doing this, so ran to the other side of the house and was amazed to find that the noise was coming from the burner of a very low-flying hot air balloon. We were nearly on the news, I think, and it was a memorable way to start the day anyway. In total we saw five balloons, hovering above Macungie in a rainy mist. I'm sure it wasn't the riders' choice of weather but for us on the ground it created this ethereal technicolor effect to the fog.

Yesterday evening we both wanted to crash in a major way after busy, tiring workweeks, but instead we did errands we didn't want to spill into the weekend. Dress shopping for an upcoming, music shopping for everyday, and a little activity I like to call "don't blame me Miss Big Box Returns Clerk I don't know why the coupon isn't working." We had leftover meatloaf for dinner - so good - and then just relaxed.

I remember one time after a particularly good football game, Engadine perhaps, Chad Parrett was all excited about going to Green Bay to get new tires for his truck. I couldn't understand why, after rushing for over 300 yards, somebody would be so excited about tires. Dad reminded me that tires are probably expensive and a pretty big deal, no matter how mundane they might seem. I mention this because we did the first load of wash/dry in our new laundry room and now I know how Chad felt. Appliances might be mundane, but they are a expensive and a big deal.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
For the first time in my life I wish my laptop had one of those little built-in webcam do-dads. We're in the loft, Ollie is asleep on the floor and Jenelle is asleep on the couch. The windows are open and it is cool and dark and quiet outside. When I reread these posts in a few years I'm sure the loft will seem like old hat, but this is just a great, great space.

It might be getting greater, soon, with the addition of a worksurface purchased for nearly nothing at an employee sale. Now we are just one leg and three brackets away from having a bit of storage and a place for a microwave (movie theater popcorn, anyone?) and a snack bar. We've got great ideas for the whole house, but this is one room that I think we'll be especially deliberate about.

Work is picking up. My hours are creeping from pre-MBA to moderate-MBA levels, and for the first time I'm starting to feel like somebody would call (or email, who are we kidding) if I didn't show up in the morning. Both initiatives of my project are taking off, which is exciting, and I've got my foot in the door on another project. This is the part of work that I love - not having enough time to get to everything but still finding a way. It's great that my phone rings or my BB buzzes and I don't know what it might be about. That's what I loved best about business school, the opportunity that every contact brought, which was reinforced when Kevin called tonight about a new contact he made who is interested in KNL. That's the b-school world and I don't think you ever leave.

Blogger launched Play today, which streams all the photos that people are uploading as they post them, allowing the world to see what's being added to the internet in real time. I think the $100 (or $188, thanks for nothing batteries and the price of oil) computer will blow away any notions that we have about the internet, because for now it is very much US-centric, but I predict Play will be a fascinating way to chart the pervasiveness of the internet.

Monday, September 17, 2007
Plenty to report but no rush: since last time I've travelled back across half the country, spent a ton of time in the WorldLounge in DTW, gotten errands done, washer and dryer delivered and installed, watched a Michigan football romp, worked hard at work, dug a trench, landscaped, hauled rocks, and mounted street numbers. The last item is really the most exciting; for whatever reason people at Spring Ridge Crossing don't seem to take much interest in front-of-the-house upgrades. We can't find a single home with a) an upgraded porch light or b) different, not $0.49@ACE, house numbers. Both are on our list but (b) was more attainable this weekend so that's the way we went. We also put Spike - my Floridian palm - into a new, real pot that now occupies a place of honor in the front room. Jenelle worked hard while I was gone and we put in long hours this weekend and the place really seems like home.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
It's the cheese. That's the reason I miss Ann Arbor; I'm back in town to recruit at Tauber's Spotlight! event and riding from the airport on a clear blue afternoon was not unlike the gray day when Dad and I rolled in on the wheels of a Penske van. After the pre-night recruiting was over, I felt hungry and thus headed for the only place in town that was even an option: btb. They use Mexican farmer cheese on their burritos and it is delicious.

Recruiting is a new twist on the song and dance that was my life last year. I was amazed at how many new students I had been in contact with - a couple of folks with NA/ME ties and a couple of students with whom I went on plant tours. I'm finding that it is easy to pitch a company offering flexibility and access to students wanting both and afraid of having neither.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Days are getting busier at work, which isn't great for evenings at home. They get full of little things and before you know it the whole day is gone and you are still wondering where the nearest DMV is (if you want to pull your hair out, try using PennDOT's website to locate one!) or exactly how the escrows on your mortgage are split or when you are ever going to be able to register to vote between 8:30 and 4:30 Tuesday thru Friday.

Other news. I got another long visit from my boss today, with another person stopping by mid-meeting to give me data. I'm busy at work and getting things done, but that is two priceless coincidences. We also talked about industrial wastelands in PA; I think the burning-underground-coal-seam in Centralia is on our list for a fall weekend. Nothing says 'fall colors' quite like a town that has been totally flattened because their garbage-burning literally lit the mountain on fire.

As of 9pm this evening, quarters are back to being worth $0.25. We took our last (barring disaster) trip to the laundromat; the last time clean clothes required quarters. It feels so good.

Monday, September 10, 2007
Ollie loves it here. He likes doing little burnouts on the hardwood downstairs, nearly missing the hard left up the stairs then taking three risers at a time until his hindquarters are pretty much above his head. He's sprinted back and forth across the landing so many times that our carpet has a decidedly lunar feeling. It's fun to finally have enough space for him to demonstrate what a specimen he is, and we still enjoy his antics just as much.

Our DIY project this evening was mini-blinds. Temporary ones, really, because we aren't sure which direction we're going to go but the bedroom needs privacy and shade, and also because Target sells just the right size for $4.49. How is this possible? Even sourcing in China (my new favorite topic) doesn't account for that inexplicability... I think my consumer willingness-to-pay is higher than that. Regardless, they went up quickly and then we had fajitas for dinner and now are e-erranding and unpacking more.

Sunday, September 09, 2007
Wow. The blog is slipping; a two/three-day business trip to Cleveland, Ohio, without internet access (until I setup blog.mobile) didn't help. I traveled with a non-traveler and spent a long, long day hammering out details in a 3PL conference room.

Then into the weekend. Friday night was a night out, past the nuclear power plant in Pottstown and down to King of Prussia. We got to the places we needed and came back tired. Saturday was a busy, busy day. The Vibe needed a check-engine light cleared (gas cap not closed tightly enough!?!), we needed drawer organizers, there were blinds to be shopped, mail to be picked up, a Girl Scout garage-sale reel mower to be purchased for virtually nothing. All of that happened early in the day, which disintegrated at roughly 3:52 when Oregon threw its second 50+ yard touchdown pass.

About that... Michigan just isn't very good. Talented athletes, yes. Competent coaching, hard work, winning attitude, not so much. What gets me, though, is that the alumni who won't stand up in OT against MSU or raise their voices when the D needs a key stop against Iowa stood up and unleashed the boo birds early and often. Newsflash to Michigan fans: we have it pretty good, so acknowledge that part of the reason that the team isn't fired up is that you aren't fired up on game day. If you don't cheer when times are good, don't boo when times are bad. It smacks of hypocrisy and sore-loserness.

Sunday was better. We skated at Rodale Fitness Park early, did some housework, and then hit two stops on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail's Harvest Festival. It was fun and cool to see what the Valley has to offer, but I think we'll miss Michigan wine when we want to support the local vintner. Later in the day we did more work around the house: bookshelves, water the yard, etc. Then chilling in the loft - our favorite thing.

Monday, September 03, 2007
Our weekend started with a christening of our new skates at Rodale Fitness Park in Trexlertown. This place is awesome - a smooth-paved, three lane series of loops open only to fitness activities. We stuck to the middle lane, outer hill loop, and went 7.5 miles on the easy-rolling wheels of our new toys. By the end we were sweaty and feeling fit-er.

Saturday we did some errands and had our first neighborhood game night with Shannon and Ryan and Stacie and Eric. Stacie and Eric wound up hosting (much to our relief) and we had a nice meal and then played Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit, which Jenelle and I are terrible at. We lost, but it was fun.

Sunday was going to be school/work time, but instead we deferred those activities in favoure of Pennsylvania's Renaissance Faire. Whoa. Accolades for this, Queen's tidings for that... it was, as Jenelle put it, like mid-15th century Disney. We enjoyed our time in the shire, though, with a falconry exhibition, middle-aged archery, and a joustless joust. Oh oh oh and a turkey leg. (We opted out of the appealing but culturally incorrect "Cafe Cortez".)

Labor Day is as good a time as any to begin laboring on the house, so we opened the 'home improvement' chapter of our lives with a simple task: stain/seal the deck. We chose a redwood tint, rounded up supplies, and dove in. Four hours later, the deck is redish and (apparently) protected from water-related maladies.

And yes, something else happened this weekend. And no, I am not ready to talk about it. Please don't send gleeful emails (you Spartans!) or even consolatory emails (you sympathizers) for at least another until-M-wins.

© 2007 Corey Bruno