Yes, I realize that’s pretty much the most creative title ever to grace the internet. I’ll give you a minute to let it sink in.
Anyway … a fair amount of substantial, major life change sort of things have happened since my last post, so it’s probably kind of important for me to update this (well, as important as writing on this blog can be). As you probably know, I completed my BS in Computer Science in June, which made it fairly clear what I had to do for the rest of the summer: waste time by playing through Quake 2 again, eat frozen pizza, sleep until 3 PM every day, and then at the last minute get a job and find an apartment. If you’d like the executive summary: mission accomplished. Feel free to stop reading now.
Still here? Fiiiiine. I guess I can keep writing.
My first week of July is covered in fairly excruciating detail in the previous post, so I’ll summarize by saying that I went out to Wisconsin to visit Keefe and see Summerfest. I actually had one or two phone interviews while I was out there, too, so it wasn’t entirely unproductive (despite my best efforts). Unfortunately I wasn’t clever enough to try to schedule an in-person interview with the company from Madison that was courting me at the time; oh well. I had another phone interview with that Wisconsin company the week after returning from Wisconsin, which went well. I was speaking with one of the other software engineers there (similar position to that for which I was applying), who asked me A. what my favorite language was, and B. what my favorite type/aspect of programming was (C/networking/sockets/etc), and he randomly happened to have the same favorites/interests, which I felt was a lucky coincidence and connection. For better of for worse, that became kind of a moot point late the following week.
On Tuesday, July 18, at 15:18 CDT, I received a call from the Minnesota director of software engineering at Electronics for Imaging (EFI) informing me that he had been
authorized to extend a job offer to me. We discussed some of the terms/benefits of the offer over the phone, but had the formal offer package FedEx’d to me overnight. The biggest caveat was that if I wanted to accept the job, my response (signed acceptance letter) needed to be faxed to their HR department by COB Monday. It doesn’t seem like about six full days should be a huge deal to make this decision, but I was still in the interview phase with at least three other companies at that point … AND I was leaving around 0600 that Friday for the BWCA, not to return until late Monday. That meant that I actually had to complete everything before I went to bed Thursday night … one day after actually receiving the offer package, employment contract, etc.
Within about 20 minutes of hanging up the phone about my job offer, though, I was already apartment hunting. I knew there was about a 90% chance I would be accepting the offer, which meant I would be able to afford an apartment after all. I probably looked at dozens of apartments online (HousingMaps.com is a very cool site) that evening, and scheduled three apartment showings over the next two days. Only shortly before this, I had learned that my friend Matt, whom I had met in Physics 1302 in the fall of 2004, was interested in rooming with me for the upcoming year. While this obviously meant my search should be restricted to two-bedroom apartments, it had the added side-effect of requiring me to extensively photograph any place I toured, in order to be able to get some degree of
approval from Matt, who was gallivanting around Asia and the middle-east for the summer. Other considerations included: proximity to light rail (my transportation method to my potential job), proximity to campus (Matt is still attending), cost, and perhaps most importantly, ability to move in ASAP. The job would start on Monday, July 31, and I needed to be out of my current apartment by Monday, July 31 at 8 PM, and I took my first tour on July 18, so … you get the idea. Expeditiousness ftw.
I picked up a few housing applications on the tours I took, and then had to head to my parents’ house Thursday evening, since we would be leaving for the Boundary Waters very early Friday morning. I packed my small bag of gear for my four days in the wilderness in approximately 8 minutes, which probably wasn’t the best idea considering the degree of isolation, but whatever. (It turned out that the only thing I was really lacking was a long-sleeve shirt to wear around dusk (mosquitoes suck), but I survived.) I spent much of the rest of that evening pouring over pages and pages of the employment contract I was given, and then finally around 3 AM (I think?) signed and faxed my job offer acceptance and my housing application to the apartment I had decided was the best option. I understandably slept a fair amount on the ride up, but we arrived, got canoes, and hit the water. Friday was the only day I recall being able to even faintly smell smoke from the sizable forest fire going on at the time, but it really wasn’t bad at all. We were supposed to have a ~10-rod portage followed by a little canoing and then a ~40-rod portage, but it turned out that someone had decided that canoing was stupid, so the poor excuse for a trail on the
10-rod portage just bypassed the small lake and connected directly to the
40-rod portage … probably making something like a 100-rod portage (and very hilly). The campsites on the next lake weren’t spectacular, but we finally put in on the second or third one we passed, and set up our three tents in very close proximity to one another (due to space constraints). Dinner was brats and beans (over the stove of course … they’re not too keen on campfires when there’s a forest fire already going), though unfortunately we didn’t get everything finished before sunset, and the bugs got pretty bad.
Saturday was good. Canoed, portaged, had lunch (summer sausage, cheese, pitas), canoed, portaged. Our final portage of the day was quite long, and I was sweating considerably by the end, so I went for a quick swim, which was very refreshing. We made camp (and even had a sandy beach … a rarity up there), had chili, and slept. Sadly, Sunday was not nearly as sunny as self-described. It rained nearly all day, and we had a lot of portaging, including some very poor conditions. We went through a chain of lakes and portages that didn’t really connect to anything and had only one path through, so it would seem they were infrequently utilized (which leads to poor trail/entry/exit conditions). The added bonus was the low water level, making a few entries/exits particularly troublesome. At one point I was up to my thighs in swamp/mud (with a huge pack on, obviously), and I guess my uncle had the same pleasure at another location that same day. We didn’t take a lunch break that day either, so the jambalaya we had for dinner tasted pretty fantastic.
Monday was sunny and calm when we woke up, and had clouded over for a while during breakfast and such, but got sunny (and windy, unfortunately) by the time we hit the water. We didn’t have any portaging that day, but were on a pretty large lake (Homer), so were on the water for a while. I got slightly sun burned that day, but it wasn’t too bad. On the drive back, we passed through some severe weather, but the canoe stayed strapped onto the car :). I took a shower moments after getting home, and probably made a point of eating something delicious, and not prepared over a small camp stove (though I don’t recall specifically what it was).
I toured another couple apartments the next day. One of them looked great on paper, but wasn’t going to work out, and the other had a very friendly building manager, good value, good space, and good convenience for me, but not great convenience for Matt, and the biggest problem was that I couldn’t move in until September (if I wanted a 2-bedroom unit). I signed a lease on Wednesday, July 26 at the place for which I had faxed in the application before leaving for the BWCA, and started to move things in that evening. I had another couple phone interviews with other places that week (despite having signed a job offer acceptance letter), and continued to make about one car trip a day with friends to my new apartment to move things in. I was out of my old apartment by Sunday night, and started work Monday morning, July 31.
August was my first full month in my new apartment, and I spent most of it sleeping on a pad on the floor, as I did not own a bed. While my back may have been a little stiff in the mornings after waking up, it really wasn’t as awful as it sounds. Waking up at 0630 M-F for work, on the other hand, was a bigger issue for me. Remember, I was waking up around 3 PM most of the summer, so this is nearly half a day earlier. Anyway, my first week of work was … interesting. I spent a lot of time reading documentation, and generally just trying to figure out wtf was going on, and what I would be working on. Occasionally I could
contribute in the capacity of general technical knowledge, such as re-ghosting machines, or reinstalling Windows, etc. to make a few new base ghost images, but I didn’t get much opportunity to touch any code. At the end of that week, I went up north to Upper Gull Lake near Nisswa, MN, USA to the
cabin of my friend Nick Jacobs[‘s parents], with whom I attended Kindergarten through High School. Nick, his girlfriend Courtney, his parents (including Jeff Jacobs, the mayor of Saint Louis Park), his two younger siblings, and Adrianne. It was nice to relax, swim a little, hang out, get some sun, etc. I don’t really remember anything else that happened in August, other than getting paid, and probably buying some furnishings from Ikea. After getting my first paycheck (er, direct deposit), I immediately went to Banana Republic to start my ridiculous spending habits.
I bought a bike from the Minneapolis police bike auction. It was more expensive than my bike that was stolen, but as Patrice (a former Trek Bike store employee) immediately pointed out [something along the lines of]
well duh, it is a Trek. I did my best to get my money’s worth out of it yet that
summer by riding to and from work (here is the route I take), which is over 11 miles each way. Fortunately, there’s a shower and [small] locker room at work, so I was able to just wake up, pack a bag, bike in, and shower and change clothes there, so I wasn’t sweaty and smelly all day. I loved the exercise, and also just generally like biking, so I think it was money well spent. I continued to get paid, and spend lots of money on my credit card at Ikea, H&M, and Banana Republic (and probably other places).
I’d say that pretty much wraps up my
Fall 2006 update, considering I started writing this when it still was fall. Ooops. I have another couple updates in line (in my head), so there might be a little more activity in the upcoming month, too. I’m sure you’re all just dying with anticipation. Please … do hold your breath. (Let me know how that works out.)