Wedding, Part 3 – Honeymoon

So, I left off at us getting home on Monday the 12th.  We stayed home Tuesday, then Wednesday left for Bay City to drop Jenn’s dress off at Clayton’s to be cleaned and preserved and leave her bouquet with my Mom to preserve it.  From there we drove to Novi to shop Twelve Oaks.  We arrived at the mall but decided to go look for a hotel first.  We found a nice hotel in Waterford, checked in, then went to dinner at Mitchell’s Fish Market in Birmingham.  After dinner, we decided to skip the mall and went back to the hotel for the night.

Thursday, we headed to the Detroit Zoo for the morning, which was rather dead due to being off season, a weekday morning, and rather cold out.  Still, we had fun, and saw some cool reptiles and amphibians.  Next we headed further down Woodward right downtown to Greektown.  You can tell you are heading deep into Detroit when you  stop seeing McDonalds and see only White Castle, Popeye’s, and Church’s.  So, we had lunch at the Greektown Casino buffet, played in the casino for a little while, then went out to the street and stopped at a bakery for some baklava.  From there, we left Detroit via 94 and headed down 23 to Dundee to walk around Cabella’s.  We went through the St. Julian Winery outlet, and walked around Cabella’s, then headed north to Milan for the night.

Friday we woke up and headed up to Howell to shop the outlet.  Picked up some cool stuff, then headed over to Okemos to shop the mall there.  I got two dress shirts and ties at a really good deal, and we stopped at Big John’s for lunch.  From there, we headed home for the weekend.

Tuesday, the 20th, I had an interview at Grand Rapids Spring and Stamping, which Jenn drove down to with me.  Interview was short, and I still haven’t heard back from it, so not seeming very promising.  We then dropped Jenn’s computer off at the Apple Store to have the palm rest repaired (free, even out of warranty, awesome).

Wednesday, we returned to GR to pick up her computer and drool over the new 20 and 27” iMacs. Also stopped at Robinette’s Orchard.  Tasted some wines, got some apples, had some doughnuts and cider, had a good time.

Thursday night, Jenn went back to work, and the honeymoon officially ended.  The week and a half since have been rather uneventful.  Applied to a couple more jobs, asked for info from Western Michigan on grad programs, not too much else.

In all, over 2 weeks, we visited Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Clare, Clinton, Crawford, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Ionia, Iosco, Isabella, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Mecosta, Midland, Monroe, Montcalm, Montmorency, Oakland, Osceola, Oscoda, Roscommon, Saginaw, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.  Quite a list.

We got a new neighbor upstairs yesterday, apartment had been empty since August.  Kind of strange someone moving in in late October in a college town, but whatever.

So, that would be about it.

nick

Good News = No

So, I finally got my first response to an application, that was the possible “good news”.  This was back on June 12 as we were on our way up to go camping.  It was a call from Westinghouse Nuclear about a new grad engineer position.  I missed the call, and tried for most of the day to return their call to no avail.  Finally, on Monday, I got through and was immediately put through an initial phone screening, and told that there would be at least one more before I made it to an interview, but they would let me know either way.  This, needless to say, got Jenn and I very excited as it was something, which is more than I had gotten so far.

Two weeks pass with no response, so I call back.  I am told that they haven’t made any decisions yet, and they were being bogged down due to people taking vacations and the upcoming July 4 holiday.  OK, understandable.

Another two weeks, still no response, so I call again.  “Sorry, but we decided to go with a more experienced professional for this position.”  Damn.  I had to bite my lip, as I was extremely disappointed at the time and really wanted to go off on “what happened to we will let you know either way?”  But, they do have dozens of positions open, and are hiring hundreds of people per year as they are undergoing major expansion, and I am still in the running for several of those positions.

I would think, that making it to the first phone screening for the position I did would put me in the upper tier for the several similar positions I applied for, but who knows.  It was kind of implied no, so maybe I am just not meant to work for them.  I do have to wonder how a position posted as for new grads becomes a 10+ years required position though.

I also wonder how Magna Cum Laude, #1 in program can’t find a job.  What exactly are companies looking for if I am not good enough?  It’s not like I am applying for 5+ req. positions that I have no shot at.  I have applied for, honestly, hundreds of positions, all of which are listed as entry level, for new grads.  Of those, the only responses that weren’t “We’re sorry” form letters were Westinghouse and a position in Idaho that called because they upped the ante to requiring an MBA and wanting to check if I had one (if I did, wouldn’t it be on my resume?).

I would say f’ it all and go back for a masters degree, but I can’t afford to do that.  I could go try for a part time job to try and at least cover the bills, but there are two problems with that.  One, as soon as they see I have a BS in Engineering they will pass me over as “overqualified”, knowing I will split at the first sign of something better (which I would).  Two, it’s no good for my morale if I did get it.  I would hate and loathe the job, and feel more like a failure because all I can get with 8 years of college is 20 hours a week at a convenience store.

I started off college very unguided.  I figured put in a year of something, and GM will call, then I will be all set.  Sure, the Astrophysics thing was there, but not a real goal.  One year at delta became two, I got a transfer degree (AS Pre-Engineering) that is pretty much good for nothing, and started just taking classes that sounded fun.  My grades were not great, as I had no reason to keep them up, and I ended up just quitting after the third year.

Finally, I got a goal, realized I kind of liked it at GM, and decided to go for Manufacturing Engineering.  My grades soared, I boosted my GPA by over half a point, and transfered to Ferris. At Ferris, I pulled off a 3.75, several honors, and have been on the Dean’s list all four semesters at Ferris plus my last 5 at Delta.  I put in all that effort, pushing toward a goal, all to get a better job with better pay.  I graduate, and flop.

Now, I question what the work was for.  Sure, I will find something, but it wont be the awesome job I worked for.  It won’t be the job that only #1 in a program could be considered for, it will be a job that I take because it’s a job.  I will work it for a few years until something better comes along, and take that.  By that time, only my performance at work will matter, and the only thing anybody will care about my school career is that I graduated.

I know, nothing can be done about it.  We play the cards we are dealt and that’s that.  Still, I had an awesome hand going.  It’s a bit like being dealt a royal flush, then somebody saying “nah, lets play blackjack, somebody reshuffle”.

What an Education Costs

So, I just added everything up, and here is what it took for me to get my education.

Total cost of classes: $24,491.53
Total cash paid: $2,236.90
Total loans: $12,879.00
Grants and Scholarships: $34,026.00

Which leaves me with a theoretical profit of $24,650.37.  That does not include books (I didn’t add up, but likely around $3000.00) or room and board or food.  According to Ferris’s math (which is the Dept. of Edu.’s math), Room and Board is about equal to course fees, so the total cost for everything would be around $50,000.  This explains the theoretical profit, which is meant to cover Room and Board.

All that considered, the theory goes that, I have 4 pieces of paper, 8.5″ x 11″, that are worth a combined $49,141.90.  Wonder what I can get for them on eBay?

My actual, out of pocket cost (gift aid minus fees, cash paid, and loans to repay) is only $5,581.43.  That is around a tenth of what most people pay, so I really can’t complain about the costs.

The bottom line:  That I actually figured all this out proves that I am, most certainly, an engineer.

I'm Done!

As of yesterday at about 1:00, I am done with school.  I presented the big evil project Wednesday morning at 9:00, turned in my lean project and exam at 1:00 Thursday, and am now done.  And, by 2:00 tomorrow, I will officially be a college graduate.  Woohoo!

Sno*Drift and AutoShow

So, last weekend was Sno*Drift, the rally race in Atlanta, MI.  Was decent, but very cold.

Jon, Jenn, and I went up Friday night and met Jon’s friend Amber there.  The Holiday Inn Express in Gaylord was awesome.  We had dinner at La Seniorita and then did some shopping around town, including Jay’s of course.  We got a late start Saturday morning, so went straight for the 12:00 repair stop at Atlanta High School.  The next scheduled event was a race at the gravel pit, or a race in the woods.  We went to the gravel pit, which ended up a poor choice, as we were rather far from the cars.  Was still cool, but after that one race we were pretty much done, so didn’t stay for any of the three more that night.  Jon and Amber went there separate way, and Jenn and I went to Big Buck Brewery for dinner, then headed home.

This past week was mostly just school home, repeat.  Thursday was the winter job fair.  That was a complete joke.  There were barely any employers there, and nobody really looking for MfgEng.  Still, I keep applying online, at least 5 a week average.

Yesterday was the Grand Rapids Auto Show.  Unlike Detroit of Chicago where the automakers bring cars, this was more the dealers showing off what’s new.  You get a lot more freedom to inspect the vehicles here though, can get right in, pop the hood, whatever you want.  Was pretty good.

This week we are supposed to be working on a snow sculpture for SME, but the weather doesn’t seem to want that to happen.  Supposed to be 40s most of the week, and get some rain, not ideal conditions.  SHould drop back under freezing Thursday, so if there is any snow left then, we will try sculpting it.

So, thats about it for now.  Hopefully I find a job, will keep you updated.

One Week Down

So, first week of class is over.  All went well, though I will have quite a bit of work this semester.  Automation, plant layout, and continuous improvement have some big projects, though homework should be limited.  Lean doesn’t seem like it will be too bad.

Jenn and I went to GR on Saturday, which was fun but nasty travel.  We passed quite a few accidents on the way there, and even more on the way back.  We had lunch at TGI Fridays, which I haven’t had in quite a while, and it was really good.  Need to go there more often.  Looked for shoes at Nordstrom Rack, but didn’t find anything I loved.

Cleaned on Friday, as Jenn’s parents came down.  We got most of it Friday, but got laundry and some more yesterday.  Still have a little mess on bedroom floor and the hell that is the office, but may actually get everything cleaned up.

I finally ordered my RAM.  MacBook now has 4GB, and Jenn has my 1GB.  If someone uses PC-5300 so-dimms, and needs 2 sticks of 256MB each, let me know.

That would be about it for now.  Going to enjoy the rest of my day off (no class MLK Day).

MacWorld '09

So, in the final Apple keynote of a MacWorld conference, Apple introduced iLife 09, iWork 09, and the 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro.  The only one I care about is iLife, particularly iPhoto (I don’t own a digital video camera, other than what phone or point-and-shoot can do, and have never really touched GarageBand).  So, part of iPhoto is now the ability to do facial detection, geo tag decoding, new slideshow themes, a new book, and the ability to sync with FaceBook and Flikr.

I use FaceBook, but seldom put pics on it, as when I started on FaceBook it required the person viewing to be a member as well, and made sharing a pain in the arse.  Instead, I put all my pics on Picasa, owned by Google, which I generally like except for very poor iPhoto syncing.

The idea of Flikr has crossed my mind several times in the past, and the new features of iPhoto make it even more appealing, except for one issue: Yahoo! owns Flikr.  Since about a 18 months ago, I have been rather anti Yahoo!, and am actually closing in very near deleting my Yahoo! account, as it currently is used only for a spam email box, which I can obviosly do without.

I understand why Apple made the choice of Flikr though, and it’s related to a release from the day earlier (Monday).  Picasa is a 2-part operation, the downloadable program as well as the web-albums.  On Monday, finally, Google released Picasa (the App) for Mac.  This program, for storing, sorting, categorizing, and sharing your pics to the web sounds incredibly similar to iPhoto, and is its newest competitor.

So, despite the fact that one of Google’s founders is on Apples board of directors, and that Apple uses Google maps and search as the default in over 20 apps on both Macs and the iPhone/iPod touch, there is no support in iPhoto for Picasa Web Albums, because it is a competing product.

So, I have 3 options:

  1. Keep iPhoto and live with poor Picasa Web support.
  2. Keep iPhoto and switch to Flikr
  3. Switch to Picasa (the App) and keep Picasa Web Albums.

None of these are ideal, but I will most likely end up with #1.  I like iPhoto, and I generally like Picasa Web Albums.  Maybe I will give Flikr at least a try, before I end my Yahoo! account.

Anyway, moving along…

I went to Bay City today, was gone about 12 hours.  Nothing real big, visit  with Mom and Dad, fix Grandma’s computer, come home.  Roads weren’t bad, but other drivers seemed to think differently.  One guy was actually going 30 on the freeway at one point.

Watched several movies: “Zombie Strippers”, “HellBoy II”, “The Dark Knight”, as well as the entire series of “Clone High”.  All were pretty good.  I must recommend “The Dark Knight” to all, and “Clone High” as well.  “Zombie Strippers” was pretty much just as fucked up of a movie as it sounds.

Bought my books for school yesterday, $208 and change for 3 books.  Good nes is, thats the last time I have to by text books (until grad school, 3 – 5 years maybe), yay!  School begins on Monday.

By my count, there were 45 posts in 2008, averaging to a post every 8 days or so, so not even once a week.  I think I can beat that this year, but who knows.  It is already the 8th, and I am only making my first post.

OK, thats enough for now.

nick

Little Late, lol

Well, I guess I should update.  I haven’t since November 16th, as the Christmas post was actually Jenn.

This past weekend we went to Bay City for Christmas.  We were going to leave Saturday, but was really foggy so we left Sunday afternoon and stayed through the evening.

Weekend before we went up to Alpena for christmas with Jenn’s family.  Drive home was really crappy as it was snowing faster than the plows were cleaning up.

Other than that, have done nothing for the last week and a half, and enjoyed the hell out of it.  It’s my last christmas break after all, I intend to enjoy it.

Exams were not bad, grades came out a 2 A’s, 2 A-‘s, and a B-.  GPA is at 3.72, would like to get it up to a 3.75 for Magna Cum Laude.  Just need 3 out of 4 A’s over winter, with no less than A- in the fourth.

During late November, I made a site for my SME group.  I  also helped organize our Christmas Parade float, which their are pictures of on the SME site.  We were competing for $100 prizes for most festive, most participants, and most lights.  We had a good chance at most lights, but haven’t heard yet (which presumably means we lost).

Also have not heard from UniSolar.  I interviewed with them mid November and was told I would hear by the holiday.  I emailed them 2 weeks ago and was told they would get back to me.  I’m not giving up on them though, with this economy (especially in MI) I’m sure they are looking long and hard before making any decisions.

You would think I would have more after 6 weeks, huh?

I have been watching DiggNation rather regularly now.  I downloaded it to watch on my iPod and got into it.  I had watched a few about a year ago but stopped after 2 or 3 episodes.  I used to watch all of Kevin Rose’s “the Broken” episodes, but with the death of TechTV I lost trach of his whereabouts for a while, and didn’t even realize he was the guy that started Digg.com until about 2 years ago.

Next week is MacWorld Expo, and Steve Jobs is not doing the keynote.  Further, it is to be the last expo attended by Apple.  In the past, Apple’s priority was to keep their user base from migrating away, so attended user expos.  Now, Apple has a large enough base that they can just use their TV spots and stores to build a bigger base.  So, its sad news for lovers of the keynotes, but understandable.  Many of Apple’s major announcements over the last few years have been at special events outside the expo anyway, and there is still Apple’s own WWDC in May-ish.

Only 16 hours left in 2008 right now.  That is a little scary.  Amazing how the year can seem so short and so long at the same time.

My beer came out decent.  Guys liked it, Jenn and I rather enjoyed it, Jenn’s Dad and his friend didn’t, lol.  Its not for people who are set on drinking one beer, and especially if that is a lighter beer.  My “Creative Juices #1” is rather heavy, and a bit bitter.

Fish are doing well.  We had a second Jack Dempsey (Buster), but he passed a few weeks ago.  Our unknown cichlid (Tiger) is doing well though.  Will need to get some pics.  I still really wat a bigger aquarium, and saw an awesome 65 gallon at PetSmart in Saginaw, but need to wait at least until after the move.

Finding a job is looking like it will be a royal pain.  most companies are laying off far more than hiring.  Still, I know they are out there.  Most of the layoffs are production workers while Manufacturing Engineers are exactly what they need to help trim inefficiency and reduce costs.

Went to Birch Run shopping with Jenn and her Mom and Sister a few weeks ago.  Was the first time I had been there in probably 5 years.  A lot of stores that have been there for as long as I can remember, and a few new ones.  I was excited to see a Merrill store, but Nordstrom’s Rack is still a better deal.

Other site work, other than SME listed above, is our wedding site.  Jenn made one up a few weeks ago, and I did a redo a few days ago.  I should have a final composite up within a couple weeks, as well as possibly its own domain.

I think, that is it.  I know there is more, especially after 6 weeks, but can’t think of it right now.  Will try and make my next most a little sooner.

nick

Makin’ Beer

Well, I guess it’s about time to update.

Jenn and I went to Siciliano’s Market in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago.  HUGE selection of beers and wines, mead, and hard ciders.  We picked up a beer making kit, and today I am finally using it.  Fruits of my labor should be ready in about 4 weeks.

Fish are doing well, but it is horribly obvious that we need a bigger aquarium.  When we move.

Had a job interview with Uni-Solar on Wednesday.  Seemed to go well, said will let us know by Thanksgiving who gets a round two interview.

Found this new Google innovation: Google Goggles.  I know a few people who could possible use it.

School is going well so far, some more projects coming up, but wont be bad if I get on them early.

Thanksgiving plans are still unknown.  Should have them ironed out by end of the week though.

Thats all for now.  Know I forgot stuff and will have that later in the week.

nick