Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is There an Online "Free Expression Tunnel?"

First of all, updates on the diet. The diet is on life support. Due to my consuming work schedule of late, I have been able to run only about once in the last 10-12 days - and that was right after buying NEW running shoes! I am still not eating terribly bad, but I know I am at risk of falling off the wagon. I have stabilized around 240 pounds. I still have my "225 by 12/25" goal... and I think that if I can get work under control and then back to running by fall, I can still make that goal. I still have some level of motivation and will power... but my schedule is not helping. I think I called that a skipportunity a while back!

I must be crazy. Amidst a new job that is taking every waking non-showering hour, I now have something else on my plate... Accounting 210. To continue to get myself ready for entering MBA school (in the event that miracle occurs), I concluded that I needed to shore up my accounting skills. This is actually not a bad idea, even without the MBA aspirations. This class teaches about reading and preparing financial reports, which is something that I could have used when we had our business.

So here I am taking the online version of ACC 210 from NC State. So while I don't get to walk through the Free Expression Tunnel on my way to class daily, I can still remember the sights, smells, and sounds of rushing to class through the tunnel, or back to the dorm for a quick break.

By the time I got online to the course this week, I found that I needed to purchase an online book, read 2 chapters, and turn in homework within 2 days. So while I didn't need the added stress this will invariably bring to my life, it will certainly be preparatory for going into an MBA program, both in knowledge, and study discipline. I figured that if I couldn't handle this undergraduate class, then there would be no way to handle 4 graduate classes. So this is a test... but not only a test.

So when do I get my student ID so I can camp out for basketball tickets?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mentally Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

I'm tired. I just feel blah. I feel like the summer has passed me by, and without nary a true week - much less day - of rest. I guess that will be the story of my life for the next few years.

Right now, I'm uploading a huge file on our work teamroom so that is tying up the Lotus Notes application I need to do everything else I need to be doing today.

I feel like the diet has plateaued. I drop down to 235-ish, and then back up to 240-ish, over and over. Running is becoming more difficult it seems, though I have run just about every other day for the last 2 weeks. I feel like my endurance should be getting better, but it's not. The weather hasn't helped. It's still usually in the 70s when I go, which is not bad, but the humidity is often not good. And the air quality just seems poor. It's like I can't get in a full breath of air as a normal course of breathing.

Yesterday I took Seth & Caleb to the Styx and Boston concert at the Carolina Crossroads "amphitheatre?" in Roanoke Rapids. This was both the first concert I've ever been 10 minutes late arriving to, and also the first concert that has ever had the opening "name" act start promptly on time. By the time we got through the parking line, the ticket gate entry line, and the "assigned seating only - wristband required" line, Styx had already performed about half their set. Anyway, that place could have been run by the DMV, and gotten us to our seats quicker. The weather was nice, and I was close enough to get some decent pictures (Tom Scholz of Boston shown). The show was OK, as each band only had 1-2 original members and sound-a-like lead singers. Makes me all the more keen to catch another Rush concert before they finally retire. They're still the originals.

Anyway, I got my official GMAT scores. No change in the 620 I had, but I was pleased to get 5.5 out of 6 on my analytical writing assessments. This is scored on a 0.5 scale, so the next highest score is 6.0. I am starting a business case on determining if it's worth paying for the MBA myself, as if we could have a few yard sales and raise $103k. The thought of ever getting into and out of that program seems like a distant vapor now. I just feel like without making this move, my career future will be relegated to unwanted excessive travel doing something I'm not interested in but qualified for, an inability to move laterally to other divisions or companies, and experience-based learning void of academia. While that may marginally pay the bills, it doesn't sound very appealing for the next 20 years.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Well, that was humbling. After scoring 650 on the practice test last week, and feeling like I did better today while taking the GMAT this morning, I was a bit disappointed to end up with a 620 (out of 800). This puts me in the 72nd percentile. I was really thinking I could get near 700, but I didn't make it. Surprisingly, from a percentile basis, I did better on the verbal than on the quantitative (66 vs 63). It's not that I couldn't do the math problems. It's that I couldn't do them fast enough. I guessed on many of them, realizing that I could either spend 5 minutes and possibly be wrong and guess on other problems later... OR guess on the super hard ones, and spend time on the others I could do quicker. I guess that was a bad strategy. Anyway, it's over. It will take a few weeks to get the AWA scores back. I feel like I will do well on one and average on the other. We'll see.

So, having done that, I completed my Duke application tonight, and submitted that online. Maybe I'll get an acceptance letter from them, suitable for framing, and I'll just hang that on my wall for the next few years while I figure out how to get to actually attend and pay for the program.

All I know is that I am tired and glad to be through these 2 hurdles. To some extent, I've done all I can do now. Now I have to wait on Duke, and my job situation.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekend Update

This was a long, but productive weekend. First... I hit a new low in weight, thanks to bringing home leftovers Friday night (versus eating it all), and then a Saturday morning run, I captured a weight of 235.4 yesterday (nearly 44 lbs from the beginning). I'm not able to run as much as I would like due to the weather. Right now it's 10pm and 84 degrees. Can't run now.

Then I worked quite a bit Saturday preparing for a big meeting I have at work this Mon-Wed. This is the first big event of my new job, and so I hope that I am able to facilitate the meeting well, and establish some positive momentum.

Come Wednesday, I will be fully exhausted, just in time to take the GMAT on Thursday AM. I studied during the balance of my time this weekend, and took the official practice test. Surprisingly, I felt more comfortable with the verbal section than the math. I got stuck on a few math problems early on, and that caused me to have to guess at many math problems because I was running out of time. My practice score turned out to be 650 (out of 800) which is about 80th percentile. I will be pleased to get that on Thursday, though I would like to get closer to 700 just to feel like "I still got it!" I think I'm much improved in the verbal sections now than I was some 25+ years ago taking the SAT. I still need to study for the AWA (analytical writing assessment), but I will wing that to some extent.

I did manage to make it to the pool a few times this weekend, changed the flood light bulbs, and mowed the weeds, uh, grass. I ran that one time on Saturday, and rode my bike a bit today. While in the pool I threw, tossed, flipped, and launched my kids and others between 20 and 75 times. I posted some new pictures to picasaweb. I watched half a movie (College Road Trip), and went to church. Had a church picnic and a bunch of baptisms. I also watched an Andy Griffith episode from the color post-Barney era. I even kept the kids a bit while Lori hit the Saturday AM yard sales. But she kept the kids entertained the rest of the weekend. Then I wrote this blog post. And now I'm going to bed. Tomorrow is the 2nd first day of school for Luke. This time it's for real.