Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fish heads, fish heads, rolly polly fish heads

I'm going to have to blog more often if I'm gonna get through two years of content in the next week and a half. Holy what? Yes, I did just indicate that I only have a week and a half left of school.

Anyhoo, this is going to be a picture mania post. The topic? My 10 day trip to South East Asia during the second semester of my first year. The reason? A field study HR consulting project for a major company. (Hint, if you look hard at some of the photos, you might be able to figure out you care.)

So, to begin we went to Hong Kong. Begin pictures now (click to enlarge):

At the Hong Kong Airport

Okay, so we didn't actually go to Hong Kong, but because there was a 14 hour flight involved in getting there (of which I slept 13 hours straight), and also because I happen to have a picture of us there waiting our connection, I get to count that we went there.

In the picture above you can also see 3 of my 4 travelling companions, one being our professor and advisor on the project. Bet you can't guess which one he is...

Next stop, Singapore. We did actually leave the airport and begin our journey there. Singapore is amazing and I can say without any hesitation that I'd live there in a heartbeat if given the chance. It is super clean (thanks to stringent laws), super safe (thanks to stringent laws- see: caning), and incredibly beautiful.

Singapore Airport

A bunch of random photos including;
kids rolling around in bubbles in the water,
the LDS church, a child fashion show in the mall,
a lot of architecture, and durian fruit,
which is not allowed on any public transportation because it's so smelly.

Next up: Bintan, Indonesia. Because of security reasons we were not allowed to stay in Indonesia, but we did get a chance to tour one of the company's facilities and the place where their workers lived. We took the ferry from Singapore to the resort side of Indonesia, then drove another hour and a half into the middle of nowhere for the visit. I can't explain what a crazy kind of different world Indonesia was (at least the small parts that we saw), but it was an awesome experience, even if I they did serve us fish heads for lunch.

Pictured here: our ferry, lots of beach dwellings,
the outside of the barracks where the workers live,
the kitchen shared by about 18 people in those places,
motorcycle parking stalls, and a view of Singapore from the ferry.

Next: Penang, Malaysia. We boarded a plane from Singapore to Malaysia, which caught on fire before we took off. Don't worry, they got us off the plane, took care of the problem, THEN PUT US ON THE SAME PLANE and sent us on our way. I don't think I've ever spent a more nerve wracking hour and a half of my life. However, we arrived safely and spent another couple of days doing our work in this really cool city. Behold, Penang...

Seen here: city views, my hotel room, a delicious green drink,
the bus we would take for our final
destination - complete with amazing green curtains,
crazy motorcyclists, some landscape, and a view of Penang
from the other side of the island.

Final destination: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We finished with all of our work in Penang, and decided to catch a bus to Kuala Lumpur to enjoy our final two days of our trip. KL was FANTASTIC. Please go there. Please? And please take me with you.

Now showing: The Petronas Towers (tallest twin towers in the world),
views from the skybridge between them, random graffiti,
multiple pictures with posters, a sick travel companion,
a crazy looking tree in the park,
our swanky hotel, and bartering in the market.

Since I'm including Hong Kong, I guess I'll include Japan as well, even though it was only a layover. Still, I did manage to eat sushi there, so count it!

Freaking awesome experience. What else can I say? If a picture is worth a thousand words, I've just written a novel.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Semesteria Uno

So let's get started on this whole thing, yeah?

For those of you who don't know, the MBA program is a two-year deal, with two semesters each year and a summer internship in the middle. The following is a brief account of many experiences throughout the first semester, encompassing Aug-Dec of 2008. Don't let that scare you, I promise brevity. And pictures too!

Many may disagree (often to their detriment), but the first semester of B school is really all about finding and securing a job. Sure, grades are great warm fuzzies for some, but I need something that's gonna pay the rent. Therefore, my first semester was all about gettin' the job.

And how does one do that? Well, mostly you work your ace off networking, give up trying for straight A's, spend countless hours researching companies, revising your resume, and doing mock interviews, then hope that someone decides they like you enough in the 20 minutes they have with you in your real interview to offer you a second round chance. Also, you take time off and spend money you don't have to travel to the companies you're most interested in. Hence, the trip that four of us took mid-semester to the Bay Area to try to get our foot in the door of some major orgs. For security purposes, I won't be listing any company names here, but enjoy the only pictures we took on this trip:

Kim, Emily, and Chloe
Chlo and me (I know I've posted this pic before but I just love it so much.)

Happy to report that the trip paid off and I got an internship offer from one of the companies we visited, due in large part to the extra effort we'd gone through to get out there and in front of them. In the end I decided it wasn't the right fit, but it was nice to have the option and to know that the effort was worth all those B's on my report card.

In addition to the trip above, my first semester also consisted of first round interviews with numerous Fortune 500 companies, a few second round interviews that took me to places such as Phoenix, New York, Charlotte, and Seattle, and ultimately an offer to work for my number one pick, and one of the largest companies in the world. WOOT!

Not listing the names of all the organizations with which I interacted does not adequately do justice to the amazing opportunities I had during that first semester. Even thinking back on it now, I'm amazed by the doors that have been opened for me since coming back to school.

I could go on and on about that last statement, but I think I've already surpassed brevity so now I'll stop. Just doing my best to prove it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Years Resolution #47586a7

You guys. 14 days of actual classes left in my entire educational career (please no one even mention a PhD to me right now - sadists). How sad is it that this is only my 17th post since the beginning of my school adventures? So much for memory preservation. Is this why we're counseled to keep journals? Is not a blog journal enough? I guess not when you're only averaging .85 posts per month. HUGE SIGH.

I'm not one to commit myself to blogging, but writing out the above is actually somewhat alarming because there are walks things to remember. I've done a bunch of wicked awesome things these past two years that deserve recognition beyond the pictures preserved in my unshared Picasa libraries. SO, here I am committing to blogging them all out over the course of these last 14 school days. Finals nothing, I've got journaling to do!

Oh, you thought I'd share a memory now? Ha, no. The first step is admitting you have a problem, or committing to blogging, or something like that. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 26, 2010

I could've been a brain surgeon

I should be a taking a final right now. Oh well. Who wants to see some pictures of a handsome man's brain? Okay, here you go:

"But how do you know this brain belongs to a handsome man?" You may ask, to which I would respond, "because it belongs to this handsome man":

And anyway, why should we spend time debating whether he is handsome or not (he is) when there are brain pictures to discuss at hand. Moving on...

[Begin lecture on Brain 101]

These are flare images of Greg's brain. First, some logistics: the portion of the brain that looks like it's missing in the top left hand corner is indeed missing. This was mostly removed at the age of 12 when he had the first tumor, with a small additional amount removed during this last surgery. It is actually the right front lobe of the brain that is gone. For orientation sake, imagine Greg is laying down and you are looking straight up through his chin and into his brain - this is the angle of the image.

Now that I have your attention class, I can further explain. The picture on the left was taken just after his surgery in November and as you can see, contains significantly more enhanced areas which represent dangerous tumor matter (the white-ish areas that look like Africa one one side of the brain and a stingray on the other). These areas were the targets for the chemotherapy and radiation treatments he has endured for the past two months. The size of those areas alone is kind of scary, no? But fear not young student! The image on the right is from last Friday, and (hurray!) shows very little enhanced area remaining. So basically what I'm saying is that the treatments WORKED.

[End totally accurate and highly intelligent* lecture]

I can't tell you how relieved we were to meet with the doctors and find out about this positive progression. We're not yet done - Greg will be on chemotherapy for another year - but the outlook is really good for the future.

On another note, it's just nice to know that the pain and suffering wasn't in vain. Not just the pain of radiation beams and poison running through the body, but even the logistical pain of driving between Provo and Salt Lake daily. The upside? 4400 tax deductible travel miles! Gotta think on the bright side of things...

So that's the update. And here's another picture for good measure. It's not of a brain, just a handsome man.

*Spell check just informed me that I spelled "intelligent" wrong. Ironic, dontcha think?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What else would you do the night before family pictures?

I'm just going to say it: February is drab. I'm up too early, it's cold and grayish (and surprise! it finally looks like winter around here), and this month is so bland I can't even think of anything to write. Mostly hoping the words come as I proceed...


Oh, ok. So last night Greg and I spent the evening with a bunch of awesome people just sitting around, eating, playing games, eating, etc. and eating. At one point came that inevitable portion of any group hang out where all stories begin with "one time", after which we each proceeded to tell the stories of the things we did as kids that drove our parents crazy. Since it is February, and I can't imagine you have anything better to do, let's take that same trip down memory lane together, shall we? Don't worry, I'll keep it bite-sized.

Probably one of my favorite memories of the like was when my big brother Robb and I shaved my little brother Geoff's head. He was probably 7 or 8 (which would have made us 11 and 13) and had this longish, super straight bowl cut. Instead of shaving his entire head, however, we shaved just the top portion and left the sides so he'd look like a balding old man. My memory tells me that we also found a cane and some glasses for the big finish, and staged his entrance for when my parents would return that night. The moment of presentation came and went and I don't actually recall the parental reaction because even to this day all I remember is how funny we thought we were (and still do!). I think they might of laughed, and then secretly cursed our names what with family pictures in the morning and all. Plus, let's just say that 8 year old Geoff's head wasn't...cough...quite suited for baldness at that time. Love you Geoff!

There are other things that come to mind, like how we rode sleeping bags down the stairs so many times that a few of the stairs actually broke, or how the tree in the backyard got spray-painted, or the dog's hair got dyed, but one memory is probably sufficient for today.

Plus, no one wants to hear about how I pierced my own eyebrow once and got laughed at by my parents. At least, not today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Confessions of a real adult - take 1

Every now and again I have brief moments when I suddenly remember that I'm an adult. Sadly, they are usually the most insignificant moments in life- like when my AAA membership comes due, or when I have just laid down to bed and realized the candle is still burning in the other room and I have to get up again, or even just when the paper towels run out and my conscience reminds me that a responsible adult doesn't leave it for the next person to replace. Sigh. I can't even remember when I accepted adulthood. Have I? All I know is that I have cried once or twice in the past about having to grow up. Like, full on cried. How's that for a confession?

(Side note: there is a guy down the hall right now that looks exactly like Wesley from the Princess Bride. Mustache. Greasy blond bowl cut. Ok, he's gone now.)

Adulthood boggles my mind. It is simultaneously amazing and horrible. For example, in the spring of last year when I found myself on a consulting project in Singapore I wondered if life could get more awesome. However, a year earlier as I was paying upwards of five grand to replace the boiler in my house (I know, who has a boiler anymore?), I wished and prayed for a time warp machine to take me back to pre-school days when the worlds biggest problems revolved around whether there would be snacks. Am I the only one perplexed by the constant contradiction?

My brain hurts.

Anyhoo, the point is that I am an adult. Like it or not. And I deal with hard things daily. But I still like Disney movies. And my joints hurt. MY JOINTS. I go now.