Saturday, July 15, 2006

Another School Update

I figure since school is such a major part of my life and it has been keeping me away from all of you, I should at least update everyone on how it is going!

If you didn't know, I'm currently taking IT Management and Financial Management. For IT Management we are working on a group project in which we are developing the existing business plan for an internet startup called FlySpy. There is currently an alpha version of the site that is available for use. Anyway, in researching what we can do to develop the business, I sent off an email to a competitor site,, telling them I was a student and was interested in some info about the industry and how their company operates. I made very clear that I was working on a class project related which focused on one of their competitors, but they were still happy to help me out. I emailed with the President, Rick Seaney, and spoke with the Chief Operating Officer, Neil Bainton. It was such a great experience to be able to talk to them about the industry, where they see the business going, and how IT is used at their company. Granted, they are a small company, but to help out a student with a project as much as they did was going above and beyond. Their site is great, so if you need airline tickets, be sure to check FareCompare out.

My finance class has been very interesting for me as well. For the first time I'm starting to truly understand how money grows and things like the valuation of stocks and bonds. I know this is all elementary stuff for anyone who has had an intro to finance course, but as my first exposure to it, this has been very eye opening. I had my midterm today and it felt great. I think I'm on track for a strong semester!

The only downside about school was that I missed Cornerstone. It has been an annual event for a group of my friends since I was in high school. Yes, I know many of the people there are literally half my age, but I like the music. I had to miss it this year because I would have missed my IT class, which I'm already going to miss for a work trip to Dallas next week. It was a major bummer. I probably won't be going back until after I finish school. So goes life.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Down with the Sickness

For the week of the 4th I went to visit my girlfriend in NYC (bet you didn't see that coming). We had an amazing weekend planned of time on the beach, a trip to Washington D.C., and checking out the NYC fireworks. It was going to be awesome. Then I got stomach flu.

We still did it all, but I felt horrible and didn't make the trip any more fun for my girlfriend. I should have just stayed back and let her do her thing. I guess my efforts to not mess up the weekend back fired a bit there. In any event, I have some pictures to share with you all!

In the 2.5 hours I wasn't laying in bed or losing my lunch in D.C., we had a chance to walk around a little take a look at a few of the monuments and land marks. The highlight for me was the White House. It is one of those things you see in the news or on TV all the time, so to see it in person was a little surreal for me. This is a picture from the south lawn. It should be no surprise, but it was interesting to see the amount of law enforcement around the White House and in D.C. in general. They are everywhere. I wasn't able to walk 10 feet without being watched by someone in uniform. I can only imagine how many more cameras are watching my every move. Not that I'm paranoid, but I've never felt like I was being stared at as much as I did then.

Next we walked out on the mall. That place is massive. It never looked like too long of a walk on TV, but TV lies. We sat at the WWII Memorial, stopped at the WWI Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Signers of the Declaration of Independence memorial, George Washington Memorial, the reflecting pool, and of course the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. While I was at Abe's I was thinking of the Simpson's episode where Lisa tries to talk to Abe above the noise of the crowd at his feet; that crowd is real! This was probably the busiest memorial we saw, I'm sure because it is at the far end of the mall and everyone stops here before the return trip back. In any event, Abe is an impressive fellow.

Towards the end of the trip we ventured down to Coney Island on the far south end of Manhattan. It is funny to think that these types of places still exist. It isn't at the level of a full amusement park, but it is more like a state fair gone crazy that never ends. We couldn't go to Coney Island without riding something, so we took in the "Wonder Wheel" since that seemed the most tame with an upset stomach. It was also the best place to see the island from. You can see from this picture that the beach was packed. This is the best, perhaps the only, beach accessible via the subway so it is a hotspot for cooling off on a warm day.

I don't have any pictures, but Coney Island is still home to one of the last remaining freak shows. They had guys on the street yelling out to the crowds about all the fire eating, ear lobe pulling, sword swallowing, and snake handling that went on during their show. It was carnie life in its purist form. Naturally, a few people in the show are Guinness world record holders in their field of expertise (or so we were suppose to believe), and it was humorous to see the crowd rush in after the big marketing presentation. I opted to save my $4.

Finally, we checked out the NYC fireworks. Luckily, I was feeling much better by this time. One of the coolest things about the fireworks was that they were synchronized perfectly across 3 barges. The fireworks you see here aren't spectacular, but you can see how they are perfectly synced. They launched and exploded at exactly the same time, and maintained that through the entire show. Also, I had never seen so many unique fireworks. They had various shapes such as stars, cubes, planets, and smiley faces, to ones with strange behavior such as jelly fish like ones that would hover in the air and move a little up and down. At one point there were some that looked like strings of Christmas lights hanging stationary in the air for 20 seconds or more. It was easily the best show I've ever seen. It will be hard going back to "regular" fireworks now.

Aside for getting sick, it was all in all another great trip. I won't be able to wow you with any more adventures for a while. I won't be going to Orlando for another 5 weeks, and in the mean time I'll be doing a lot of studying. Maybe I'll have to update you on that front soon. Catch you all later!