Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cedars of Lebanon State Park

Before I head out for the new year I was able to get a few photos off my phone. Above you can see Natalie, Anna, and I visited the Cedars of Lebanon State Park outside of Nashville, TN. On Saturday we had all day to return home from Paducah, KY, so we stopped for a hike to stretch the legs and exercise Anna. We knew that the park had a two mile loop to hike, which was perfect for our time constraints.

We pulled off the exit and six miles later we were at the park. I stopped at the visitor center and found out that there was no fees to pay, so we drove on and found the trail head. The hike was mostly flat and was through a beautiful forest filled with cedars and pine trees. Also, there was lots of sink holes dotting the landscape, which I have never seen before.

After the hike we stopped at the outlet mall at the same exit and I found a great deal at Eddie Bauer, where I fulfilled my American duty to buy!

Have a safe and happy new year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

NYE 2009 plans

we just got back from a trip to KY and St. Louis. I got the opportunity to meet a lot of Natalie's family from both sides. It was a great time and we came home with a trunk full of gifts. Now we are headed out for DC and NYC tomorrow. New year's will be spent hanging out with old friends and seeing My Morning Jacket at Madison Square Gardens. The rest of the time of the trip will be spent on a whirlwind touristy tour of NYE and another night in DC on the way back to Asheville.

This will be the first time that the dog will be boarded. As she is sleeping at my feet right now she has no idea that she won't see us for five days. She is being boarded at the same place that she goes to for doggie daycare, so it will be familiar to her and I am sure she will have a great time. We will certainly miss having her with us.

I hope everyone had a happy Hanukah and a merry Christmas and I wish you all a happy new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Shortest Day of the Year

It is all uphill from here. Now the days will get longer and I won't be living in the dark for very much longer. The past couple of weeks have been very cloudy and rainy and therefore, I have noticed the lack of sunshine. Today a break in the clouds has come and the sun is shining, which is very much welcomed.

Jay, a long time friend of mine, stopped through town last night. We has a good time and before he left I got a few pictures from Thanksgiving that he had taken, as well as some we took last night. Check them out below.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Anna's World and Mine

Since my last post was a while ago, I will not go into too many details. However, I wanted to get out some more pictures and a short, poorly shot video of Anna. In the video you can hear her talk about her day. She does this in the morning, afternoon, evening, or just about anytime we come home or down the stairs.

My job has been going very well and I am enjoying the work. I am actually getting to put some of my education to use, which is a good feeling. Part of my job is to analyze economic conditions and the news is generally not positive. However, from what I can tell we are doing okay. In addition to the researching, I am helping with forecasting and implementing some Lean tools. While most may find this stuff somewhat boring, I really enjoy it.

Natalie, Anna, and I went to Memphis, TN and Paducah, KY for Thanksgiving. Anna has visited five states already and will be visiting state number six next week when we travel to St. Louis. That's pretty good for a five month old dog. She has become a great traveler! She jumps in, goes to the back seat, and will quickly fall asleep once she realizes we are on the highway.

Lastly, I have added a link to the right side of the screen. If you are looking for a unique gift or have a special event coming up, then check out Rachel's website.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I have a new job!!

I wanted to let everyone know that I have found a position as a Market Analyst at Volvo Construction in Asheville, NC. I will be working on forecasting and some process improvement projects within my department and hopefully the local manufacturing plant as well.

On the home front, Anna, the dog, is getting bigger and bigger. She is almost 23 pounds now and just loving life. I have put in a dogie door to allow her to go outside on her own more often. She mostly just goes outside when Natalie and I go outside, but I think she will warm up to the door more and more as she gets more independent. We traveled down to Columbia, SC this past weekend for the football tailgate party before the Tenn./USC game. That marked Anna's 4th state and she will have three more states underneath her belt before the end of the year, as we travel to Memphis, St. Louis, and Kentucky to see family over the holidays. She does great in the car and loves getting in and out.

Check out some great pics of the dog!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Help Patricia Win Asics Commercial - Thanks

This is a message from a riding buddy of mine in Asheville:

Evening Everyone,

I am sorry to bother you but I am in need of a favor. My wife Patricia
has the opportunity to be in a Asics TV commercial for the NYC
Marathon. She just needs our votes.

Please log on to http://contest.asicsamerica.com and click on the view
gallery link. Her video is the one with the sneakers. I would
appreciate your vote and the chance for her to win this opportunity.

Please feel free to forward to any of your friends!

Thanks so much!


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Backyardigans and the Race for the Cure

This past week I helped setup and tear down for the Backyardigans. They had 3 trucks to unload and load and I got to help with the audio section. It was cool being a roadie for a day.

Yesterday, I worked with the Race for the Cure in Greenville. I helped setup and tear down the event. During the race I was at the 2mile mark and got to cheer on everyone as they came by. It was a fun time!

I was not feeling great yesterday and today I woke up with a soar throat and stuffy head. Thankfully, after taking some medicine, eating a lot of fruit, and taking a two hour nap I am feeling a bit better.

I will be commuting to work for the next three weeks for a short assignment. Starting Tuesday, Natalie and I will be carpooling to save some gas. Laslty, Anna, the dog, has graduated to her bigger cage, which she is really enjoying the extra space. Have a great week!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Catching up on photos

I had a backlog of photos that I have wanted to post. So, I have four new albums for everyone to check out. They are listed in order of most recent to oldest.

Anna, Natalie, and I went to the Graveyard Fields along the Blue Ridge Parkway last weekend. We didn't do the long hike, so I don't know why they are called the graveyard fields, but we did get to pick a bunch of wild blueberries growing along the trail and river. Anna stuck her paws in the river, but the water was really cold, so she didn't get too wet.

When Natalie's parents visited us we took them to Merrimack Falls and Grandfather Mountain.

A few more pics from our Costa Rica trip last May.

Natalie and I went on a road trip after graduation and part of it brought us to St. Louis and Memphis.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's happening on September 15th, 2008

Today I had the pleasure of waking up extra early for the second day in a row. No, it is not for job. Instead it is for a 12 pound bundle of energy, named Anna. Anna is a cute, wrinkly Vizsla that Natalie and I adopted this weekend. She is 8 weeks and 1 day old today. This weekend we have spent a lot of time together. However, she has slept through a good deal of it. The first night she was pretty scared and cried a bit. But since then she cries less and less. Today she went into her crate for a nap, which is very different than the first few attempts of me trying to persuade her to go to her crate. Anna may be the smartest dog I have ever had. At less than 48 hours of time together, she has learned to come, sit, and walk well on a leash. Also, she appears to be picking up on the fact that her name is "Anna." Also, she is great when meeting other people and dogs and even her potty training has been remarkably easy so far. Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself, but she is amazing.

While we usually just play in the yard, I have taken her on a few walks and she now gets excited when I bring out the leash, since she knows she will get to go far away from home and smell all kinds of things. I will post a bunch of pictures soon, but wanted to post something while the dog is napping.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Great Conversation with Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman is a New York Times columnist, among many other things. I enjoy his optimism, enthusiasm, and most of all his ability to clearly articulate a future I would like to see happen.

Charlie Rose had an interview with him last night and if you have time, check it out:

Doggie Names

Natalie and I have been tossing around names this past week. We are about to adopt an 8 week old Vizsla dog. The dog will be female. Vizslas are very energetic, medium-sized, reddish-brown haired dogs. Listed below are some of the names we have thrown around:

1. Amber
2. China
3. Fifa
4. Havanah
5. Spark
6. Clay
7. Scotch
8. Winter
9. Fern
10. Obama :-)

Please let us know if you have any suggestions or votes for the names above.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vizsla puppies and Carowinds

Natalie and I went to Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte last weekend. It was awesome riding on the roller coasters, cooling off in the water park, and riding some old school rides as well. The following day we went and visited some vizsla puppies. We are hoping to be bringing one of them home soon. This was Natalie's first visit and my second. They are five weeks old in the pictures. Enjoy!

Friday, September 05, 2008

An IMBA Commercial

I wanted to send out a video that includes a couple of my fellow IMBA classmates. What do you think?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bonnaroo 2008

Bonnaroo 2008 Album
First off, Bonnaroo was amazing! This was my first music festival in a couple of years and I could not have gotten the opportunity to attend a better one. Seth, Matty, and I were fortunate enough to have VIP passes for the event, which created a very different experience for us. Having access to an air-conditioned tent, free booze, and side-stage seating was only a few of the perks. It certainly made camping out in southern TN in the month of June much easier. A quick list of some of the bands I got to see:

1. Yonder Mountain String Band (YMSB)
2. Widespread Panic
3. Phil Lesh and Friends
4. Robert Plant and Alison Kraus
5. Israel Vibrations
6. Pearl Jam
7. Metallica
8. Tiesto
9. Robert Randolph
10. Ozomatli
11. Chris Rock (the comedian) and many more performers.

I am looking forward to some more music now that I am in Asheville. However, I am resisting a little bit, while I am out looking for a job. As for the job front, I am making headway. Certainly, if you have any contacts or friends that I could hang out with in the Asheville area, please pass them along.

Post Grad School

Family, friends, & a tractor pull
After Costa Rica, Natalie and I returned to Columbia to move our things to Asheville. We used a U-haul to get the job done in one long day. The rest of the week I helped a friend and classmate move to his new place a couple of hours from town. By the end of the week I took the last load of stuff in my car to Asheville and drove to Rolla, MO to see some friends.

Barry, Tara, Katrina, and I got to catch up over the weekend. I met some of their friends in the area and just had a fun and relaxing time. Then it was off to Memphis for several days. Getting to spend time with my nephew has become a real highlight for me. He has so much energy it makes me jealous.

Next on the agenda was heading down to Athens, AL to see my dad and Carol. I showed up in time to shave ice for a tractor pull. Even Natalie came down from Kentucky to join in the fun. After resting up from the long weekend, the rest of the week was nice and relaxing, as it always is when I am there. However, it is hard to keep me anywhere for more than a few days and soon it was time for me to head out again. Find out where I went in my next posting!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Canopy Tour and the Beach

Monteverde & Manuel Antonio
This is the last installment of my Costa Rica trip.

After the Arenal Volcano, we were supposed to meet up with a friend in Monteverde's cloud forest for a canopy tour. This meant that we had to leave our lodge before 6am to make it to the 11am tour. The roads leading to Monteverde are hardly roads. Instead, we spent over three hours off-roading through the mountains. This is the only way to get there, unless you have a boat. We bounced, laughed, and stayed in a general mood of disbelief as we winded our way to the city. We were later told that the people of the area do not want the roads paved, since it will mean more tourist would be coming. I am not sure how true this is...we saw several tour buses navigating the same roads as us which was a reassurance that we actually could make it through these roads and that we were going the right direction, since signs were lacking.

Nevertheless, we made it to town and met up with our friend whom had arrived the night before. He is working for the Original Canopy Tour and provided us with a private tour for the three of us. The next two hours made all the driving worth it. We flew through the tree tops with big smiles as we glided across more than a dozen lines, rappelled down two platforms, and climbed inside a ficus tree.

After the tour, we grabbed some lunch and said good-bye to our friend. We had spent enough time in the jungle and were ready for some sand and waves. From the southern end of town, we only had a couple of hours of off-roading to do before we reached pavement. Boy did it feel good! The rest of the drive was filled with an hour delay for construction, a crocodile bridge, rain that often slowed us to a crawl, and finally darkness that made it difficult to see where the road was.

Luckily, we made it to Manuel Antonio. It was still drizzling, but people were out everywhere. This town was not filled with locals, but was filled with foreigners acting like they were on spring break. After checking out a few hotels, we checked into a spot and collapsed. The driving for the day had wiped us out.

We spent the last two days laying on the beach, playing in the water, seeing lots of wildlife, and relaxing at the hotel with a few people we met. This was a great way to end our Costa Rica vacation. Make sure you check out the album of pictures at the top of the post.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Termales de Bosque & Arenal Volcano

Termales de Bosque & Arenal Volcano Album
When we left the waterfalls, we had a couple hours of driving to get to our next destination. We stopped along the way for pictures, lunch, and coffee. The resort, Termales de Bosque, turned out to be one of the biggest highlights of the trip. The accommodations were very comfortable, the food excellent, and the hot springs were awesome. We liked it enough that we stayed an extra day to enjoy it some more. We had nine pools to choose from and they all cascaded into one another with varying temperatures. Relaxing in the pools, while drinks from the bar were delivered to you was pretty awesome.

Now that we were rested, we got an early start to a long day at the Arenal Volcano. This is advertised as the second most active volcano in the world, but my brief research puts it in the top five or ten most active. Either way, it was awesome to hear the rumbling and watch rocks roll down the side of the volcano. We took a hike around the 1982 lava flows, which was filled with lizards, frogs, a snake, and some cool plants.

The rest of the day was rough...swimming back at the lodge, while sipping on pina coladas (made with fresh pineapple) which offered an amazing view of the volcano and surrounding countryside. The evening was finished off with dinner filled with a view of the volcano spewing out red hot lava. Very cool stuff.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More on Costa Rica

After a wonderful trip down the Pacaure River, we spent the next day going on the Cafe Britt coffee tour. The tour took us through the organic coffee farm, the milling process, the roastery, and packaging. The tour included the best meal we had in all of Costa Rica and we got to learn to make espresso's, mocha's, and cappuccino's. Definitely a worth while visit.

After the coffee tour, we started heading towards our first volcano, which we were going to check out the next day. The Poas Volcano was pretty cool. Steam was coming off the emerald lake inside the crater. Also, the nearby lagoon, which has a great view, is well worth the hike. During a clear day, you can see the Caribbean Ocean from the volcano.

After this, we traveled to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This included a zoo of birds, snakes, butterflies, hummingbirds, frogs, and other animals. Once past the animals you walk down a path till you get to the first of a series of waterfalls. Each waterfall is quite spectacular.

At this point, we were tired and decided to head to our next hotel. This is where the next post will begin.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rafting on the Pacuare River

Pacuare River

I have successfully moved to Asheville...sort of. My possessions are there, but I won't be there for a couple of more weeks. I am headed off to see some family and friends in MO, TN, and AL. Then I will end my post-IMBA school vacation at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN. Life is great!

The pictures above are from the first full day in Costa Rica. We arrived late on a Thursday night and headed straight to the hotel, so that we could rest before our 6am pick-up time. We enjoyed getting to know our fellow rafters during the three hour ride that took us to the river. As you can see from the pictures, the 18 mile journey down the Pacuare River was more than awesome.

The trip lasted all day with a wonderful lunch to give our arms a break. We didn't arrive back to our hotel till after dark. Since we had more plans for the evening, we quickly cleaned up and headed out for dinner with a couple of fellow IMBAers that are working in San Jose this summer. Needless to say, it didn't take long for us to fall asleep that night.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Where does the time go?

April and May 2008

I really enjoy writing in this blog, but sometimes vacations are needed and since I run the show around this little corner of the Internet, I guess I can take vacations whenever I want. It is definitely one of the perks!

Speaking of perks, I am currently looking for a job and the experience is fun, exciting, scary, nerve-racking, and filled with just about every other emotion you can imagine. Luckily, I am taking most things in stride and enjoying meeting everyone along the way.

So, over the past two months I have been traveling as usual. Instead of trying to recall everywhere I have gone, I am just going to look back at my calender to remind myself where I have been and what I have been doing. Here it goes:

1. Visited D.C. for my b-day. I hanged out with lots of friends, ran the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, and saw Santana perform just a few feet away.

2. Saw Alaska!! That leaves only one state (Hawaii) to see before I have seen them all. This state was amazing. I love being in a place and walking around and knowing that I might have been the only person to ever place my foot in this spot.

3. Met a few of Natalie's cousins in St. Louis and saw the botanical gardens.

4. Spent Passover with the family in Memphis. This is one always brings us all together.

5. Stopped by my dad's and Carol's for a night on my way back to Columbia. I won't say the ribs and shaved ice are the reasons I come, but it sure is nice to get a taste of both.

6. Once again obtained USC Intramural Champion in bowling. Team Da Jesus is unbeatable!

7. Made two trips to Asheville, NC, where I will be moving to tomorrow. This will be an awesome place for biking, music, local brew, and all things outdoors. Can't wait!

8. Next, I graduated in Columbia, SC with my International MBA, but not without a stop off at laser tag to put an end to some friendly rivalries and a Widespread Panic show. Now I am official!

9. Stayed in Atlanta for a night and a day, where I had dinner with a great friend and checked out the Coke-Cola museum.

10. Lastly, I have just returned from nine days in Costa Rica. What a magnificent country!!

I have many pictures to come and would like to write a bit about Costa Rica. Check back soon!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

YouTube Awards

YouTube announced this week that it was adopting Google analytics for its videos. This is a very logical step since Google bought YouTube last year and the information a user can gather about his or her videos is pretty extensive. I checked some of my videos and users from 61 different countries had watched one of them. That is pretty cool, although I question their taste in videos. LOL

Also, the YouTube video awards were announced a week or two ago. This is certainly a far cry from the Emmys or Oscars, but it is certainly good to see people recognized for their efforts. For those of you who do not visit the site regularly, you might be surprised to find a great deal of professionally produced videos. Also, you may be surprised to know that YouTube accounts for 10% of all Internet traffic and billions of videos are watched every month.

Another medium that often is overlooked are podcasts. With iTunes you can download audio and video podcasts for free. iTunes makes it very easy to subscribe to tens of thousands of different podcasts and keep them organized.

So, how do you sift through all the garbage and find the good stuff? It's relatively easy, because others do it for you. Just browse the most popular videos or podcasts and you will find that the most watched are often the best. Also, the iTunes store does a great job of promoting popular podcasts broken down by genre.

This is a list of a few YouTube subscriptions I would recommend (The first two can be found in iTunes as well):
1. The Guild
2. Sexy Beijing
3. What the Buck Show

This is a list of my top ten favorite podcasts (in no particular order):
1. Ahead of the Curve
2. Bands Under the Radar
3. The EnvironMinute
4. Happy Tree Friends
5. The Lazy Environmentalist
6. Finding Japan
7. Tiki Bar TV
8. Endless Boundaries Jam Radio
9. Cybershake
10. Medical Minute

So, get watching!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Energy Crisis Solved!

If you haven't heard or seen the new air cars, you will soon. Currently, Zero Pollution Motors is taking orders for delivery next year.

The air car will be able to achieve over 100mpg and achieve speeds of 95 mph. If the car is kept under 35 mph, it will run without gas. Anything over that, it uses a small amount of gas to heat the air, that will propel the car faster. Having a gas tank on board also prevents the driver from getting stranded if the air tanks run empty. The car takes about an hour to fill up the tanks when you plug it into a socket at home. This equals about $2 worth of electricity. This limitation will make this car a commuter car and not a car that you would take on a road trip.

The car will seat six people, need an oil change every 31,000 miles, and contain seats that swivel so that you can face the passengers in the back. The cost for this mid-sized vehicle is $17,800.

Some numbers...
If an average commute is 25 miles each way, then you would have to fill your tank about every other day. This would cost the consumer $30 per month or $360 per year, with an oil change every couple of years! At $3 per gallon of gas and a car which gets 20mpg, it would cost over $2100 in gas each year for the same distance. The air car should more than pay for itself, just in fuel charges, in about 9-10 years. Lastly, don't forget about all the cleaner air we will all be able to breathe!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Spring Break 2008

Once again spring break has come around, which I love and believe should become a national holiday. Well...some how I don't see this happening, but it is a nice thought. If you think of spring break as an excuse to party on the beach and binge drink for a week, I will say those days have passed for me (and no, I don't miss them). Instead I will be heading out to the Pacific north-west to have a bit of fun with friends and family, but also to look for jobs. In fact, tomorrow I am off to Portland. I will be spending the weekend hanging with a long time Memphis friend who lives in Eugene. Then, next week I will spend my time visiting businesses in Seattle and Portland, so that they will want to hire me when I move there in a couple of months. Wish me luck!

Bowling update...
Last night Team Da Jesus, current USC bowling champions, dealt a huge blow to its competitors by taking all of the available points for the evening. With only two more weeks of league play, I can already smell the championship t-shirts that we will be given out. How is that? It is pretty easy, since I have one from last semester...it has a faint smell of Bounce dryer sheets.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Interview and More

I just returned today from Newport News, VA, which is near the city of Norfolk. I was there for an interview with a company I have been in touch with for quite some time. I will receive my feedback sometime next week, so keep your fingers crossed for me and I will provide some additional information soon.

Today, I was supposed to head to Greenville, SC upon my return, but I was unable to get my registration in on time for a 10K run I had planned for tomorrow. Therefore, I am still having pasta for dinner and will go run my own 10K (give or take a K) in the morning. I was hoping to use this race to help get me ready for my 10 miler coming up during the first week of April in DC. Oh well, these things happen. I will

On Thursday next week, my spring break starts. I am headed out to Seattle and Portland for some fun and potential employer shopping. I am looking forward to seeing some friends and enjoying the beauty of the area as well. I know a visit to the wine country in Oregon is in the works. It should be a blast!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?

Recently I participated in a short interview about my exercise habits. The assignment was for the student to find a person who performs regular exercise and a person who essentially never performs exercise. Easy enough? The interviewer did tell me that she had a difficult time finding someone who wanted to talk candidly about their "couch-potato" lifestyle.

After giving the interview, we talked about my behavior and how it compared to the other interviewee. This was not a statistically valid test, but some of the results are interesting. First, I am mostly an intrinsically motivated person when it comes to exercise. My number one motivator is my family. My number two reason would be for my health and desire to live a long and high quality life. However, I am also extrinsically motivated, since I rely on goals I set for myself to take me beyond my average fitness level. These would include my race events that make sure I push myself during my fitness routine.

When I do not set goals, I become bored easily and start slacking on my routine. However, when I know I have a race coming up I will take the time to set up a training plan and make sure I allocate enough time in my life to complete the plan. My natural competitiveness probably helps me stick to it too.

The other person taking place in these interviews was extrinsically motivated. Every time he has been in shape, someone was nearby pushing him to go workout or play sports. It didn't really require a big push, but he was not going to make the effort on his own. I know this feeling very well, since I often would like to skip a run or ride, but end up going because I have made an appointment with someone that I will not break.

What can we learn from this? I think a person must first discover how they are motivated. Then, a person can start to make friends with active people, if they are extrinsically motivated. If you are intrinsically motivated, a commitment to yourself and perhaps an ultimate goal to attain too would help. I think we all have our own motivators, but learning what they are makes success in what you are trying to do much easier and that holds true for activities outside of exercise as well.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

President of Shell Speaks

My school often gives me the opportunity to attend speakers from various backgrounds, covering many topics. Mr. Hoffmeister, President of Shell Oil, conducted a fifty-city tour across the US. He stopped by Columbia, SC to speak to the public (if you were willing to pay $25) and to the students at the Moore School of Business. His opening remarks were characterized as "provocative." He said this word several times and some of his remarks were. Best of all, the words he spoke came from an educated voice. It was clear that no one caught him off guard with their questions, but his responses were candid and very unpolitician-like. However, I did catch him saying to his assistant afterwards in the lobby that we were much better with our questions than Texas A&M. Go Cocks!!

I think it is becoming more important for corporations to interact with the public to gain support and educate the consumer. Many people would be appalled for working for a oil giant like Shell, but in reality, this company and other like it are leading the way for alternative fuel technologies. This tour hopefully changed some peoples minds about Shell and the oil industry.

I will admit that I am not the most knowledgeable about where my oil comes from and how it gets to me. I have gotten the chain emails saying that purchasing from one gas station will affect their profits and then the company will crumble to our will, thus bringing prices down. Of course, this doesn't work. I know that the US is currently dependent on foreign oil, but I don't think the World will be running out of oil in the next 50 years either. I also don't worry about global warming too much. I know that we will discover ways to cope with these problems.

What do I think? I actually agree with Mr. Hoffmeister and most of what he is saying (but not all of it). He says that the US consumer does not have a good education around energy. He says that the US has no strategy for the future of energy. He states that this is a problem for national security. He says that we are at the peak production for our current reserves of cheap and readily available oil. Also, he states that the US is hurting the poor and providing a social injustice by prohibiting its own oil production on federal lands.

It is this last point that I disagree with most. This is due to the fact that the amount extracted from these reserves will only equal to a few years supply for the World and will not have a great effect on prices or supply in the long run. Not to mention the possibility of the destruction of pristine habitats. It is hard to think that no oil will drip into the land surrounding the drilling platforms and pipes. Perhaps it is so small, that the habitat won't be affected by it, but to say that none will be introduced is a bit hard to believe.

As for the other statements, something should be done. Should it be the US that develops a strategy for energy consumption? Should we lead this World in this initiative? Is our national security actually threatened by increasingly common blackouts and the importation of foreign oil? I say yes and no. Producing domestically in the name of security seems a bit fishy. We and every other country in the World is not self sufficient. Therefore, trade is a must.

I do like how optimistic Mr. Hoffmeister is and I am right there with him. I think the World is going to see some awesome changes in the next few decades as we shift to alternative forms of energy. Also, I think Shell will continue to be a major player in the energy market. The company currently has the 3rd largest revenue of any corporation, but its profits are only a little above 7% of revenues at the end of the day. This is not considered fast growth by wallstreet and if I was a shareholder I would be demanding more. Since oil is a commodity and is not made a public good like water, prices are subject to wild fluctuations due to consumer perception and many other factors. Until other sources of energy are readily adopted and implemented, the price increases we see at the pump will continue. If it makes you feel any better, Europeans are paying close to $8/gallon at the pump at the moment. Will Americans pay this much? Would you pay this much? Europeans approve increases in gas taxes readily and the US hasn't had one since the Clinton administration and it only passed because of his popularity.

Lastly, Mr. Hoffmeister stated that the World will never run out of oil. Can you believe that? The media would have us believe differently, but I agree most strongly with this statement. The World has other sources of oil all over. At the moment it is too expensive to harvest these reserves. I am hoping that the World will change its ways and learn before we start eating away at these enormous reserves. Until then, I will continue to do my part by biking everywhere that is within a couple of miles of my home, recycling, and just being conscious of my purchase choices. Hopefully you will too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Rediscovered My Smile Today

I consider myself a smiley person. I just like to smile a lot.

I have often used smiling when I am traveling, since keeping a smile on my face helps other people feel non-threatened by the "outsider." This is especially useful while bargaining or when you can't communicate with someone very well, due to language barriers or other reasons.

Lately I have been training for a run that is coming up the first week of April. I did not work out consistently while I was abroad last year, therefore, it has been quite a challenge getting back to where I was a year ago. (I have made a mental note of this and do not expect it to happen again.) Anyway, I have started to see some results after five weeks or so of consitent running, biking, and hitting the weights at the gym.

Today I went out for a run and was feeling good. I knew I was doing well when I finished the first couple of miles and was still feeling fresh. However, a little bit past the halfway mark, I noticed myself slowing down. During the past month, I had been feeling that my biggest obstacle is my endurance, not my strength and this was definitive proof. Then it hit me! I put on a big smile and sped up. I will admit I like a certain level of pain, because I know that pushing myself is a great way to release some endorphins and become stronger in the process. Instead of feeling pain this time, when I smiled I started feeling relief and a lightness in my step.

At this point, I remembered that I have always smiled when things get tough. It somehow relaxes me and makes things go a bit more smoothly. I know when I am climbing a hill on my bike I often have a big grin on my face. So, for the remainder of my run, I concentrated on my breathing and kept a smile on my face. It really does make things easier.

Have you experienced this before? If not, make sure to try it out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Changes have come

Change is inevitable. I am sure some famous person said this at some point in time.

If you haven't noticed the last couple of times you have visited my site, I have put in a picture at the top. It is from my trip to Ireland's Giant Causeway in the north. Also, I have changed the location of my blog to www.daviddreyfus.com. This will help people find it on Google, when searching for my name, as well as those who don't like to type out the long blogspot address. If your bookmarks or RSS feeder is set up with the old address, it will continue to work the same way it has always been working.

I have also added in a slide show of my Picasa pictures and a side-bar with links to my most recent You-Tube videos. Fun stuff!

Now it is back to simulations, annual reports, inventory management, and international patent laws.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wilmington, NC

Recently I took an overnight trip to Wilmington, NC. Since I will be leaving SC soon, I have written down several places I want to visit before I leave the area. It wasn't too hard to convince Natalie to come along, since she has been wanting to get to the beach.

So off we went, for a beautiful day for the beach! As we drove into town, we were treated to the immaculately maintained historic district. This area, along the waterfront, is full of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. After finding a parking spot and a shop owner that didn't mind giving change for the meters, we jumped on a horse carriage for a tour of the town. The horses name was Ned and he knew exactly where to go. As we moseyed along the bricked streets, we were entertained by the drivers stories and knowledge of the area. It was a very relaxing way to start out the day.

The remainder of the morning was spent walking around checking out shops, looking at the Battleship North Carolina across the river, and eating lunch outside on a deck over looking the river.

After all this activity, we headed to the beach! The Eastern US coast is not exactly known for its beautiful beaches, but Wrightsville, NC has a pretty nice beach when compared with other east coast beaches. It was about 70 degrees outside, so it felt good to be outside and soak up the sun. As for the water, only my foot made it in...it was freezing!

At night we checked out a local bar that served Magic Hat beer. The band that played was called, Yesterday's Gravy. The group had a couple of good moments, but overall I was just happy drinking a great beer and chatting away.

The next morning we woke up with an awesome view of the ocean from the balcony. Soon thereafter we got hungry. So, we packed up, walked out on the beach for a few minutes and headed back to the car and started our way back to Columbia, SC.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday School, Bowling, and More

I must say that having class on Saturday's is not that much fun. These classes are for Professional MBA (PMBA) classes, which means about 40% of the students are distance learning students and many must drive one to two hours to school. On Tuesday nights, during our regular class time, the lecture is taped and posted on the web. On Saturday's, the class is not taped and starts at 8:30am. This means that if you are in Greenville, SC, you must leave your home at 6:50am to make it to the school. If you are coming from Charleston, SC, the drive is an additional thirty minutes away. I would find this very frustrating, if I had to drive this far so early in the morning. Why does the school ask the students to come to class? The information provided in these classes could easily be broadcasted on the web just like the Tuesday night classes. Today I heard one of the teachers say she was going to move the start time to 9am or 10am next semester, since her students always have complained of having to get up so early. These Saturday classes are a classic case of not listening to the voice of the customer.

I just wanted to rant on that for a minute.

Team "Da Jesus" was pitted against the other IMBA team, "Logjammin" in the bowling league's first week. We wanted our friends to do well during the season, but after playing against us they have a long way to go to reach second place overall. Before bowling, I attended a wine society meeting where I got to taste and learn about scotch. It was a lot of fun, but it isn't the best activity to do before three games of bowling. Luckily, my team is very good and my score of 106 in the first game didn't hurt us too much. By the last game I had sobered up and my score improved to a 202, which is awesome for me on any night of the year. So in one night I probably had my lowest score of the year and possibly my highest (hopefully not).

The rest of the week has been great. I filled it with dinners with friends, my first baby shower (not for my baby), some running, and lots of school work. I only have about 7 weeks left till I am done with my classes and graduation is less than 10 weeks away. It is very exciting! Maybe I will even have a job after school finishes. haha

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bowling is Back

Today, my team, Da Jesus, starts another run to defend our USC intramural championship title in bowling. This time around the IMBA students have put together a second team, Log Jammin, which will be a another force to be reckoned with on the USC intramural bowling circuit.

Last night, practice took place during dollar mania at the bowling alley. A former teammate is leaving town today and a ceremony involving a toast and a bowling pin was performed. The rest of the details are a bit fuzzy to me this morning. Good luck in Australia!

I don't like to dwell on the past too much, therefore, I will jump right in and introduce you to the newest member of our team....

Remember, "Don't f*$& with the Jesus!"

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Squirrel Is Gone

Most people don't know this, but a squirrel has been camping out in our house for a month or so. The landlords first attempt at catching it did not work. Luckily, when he was visiting the house at a later date, an entry way into the house was found. Traps were set and within 24 hrs we had the culprit! Now we can only hope that it was only one squirrel in there and not the whole family.

Friday, February 08, 2008

STS9 on CNN.com

One of my favorite bands for the last few years has been Sound Tribe Sector Nine (STS9). I have had the pleasure to enjoy more than a dozen of their shows (maybe more), since I first saw them open up for the String Cheese Incident (SCI) during the summer of 2000 at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. My most recent experience was shortly before the new year on December 29 in Atlanta.

Check out a four minute video on CNN about the band's charity work. I did not realize the full extent of their work. My own experience has been limited to donating food at their shows, since at every show they collect canned food for that city. This is done for at many of the shows I attend and is coordinated with Conscious Alliance.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

In the midst of Super Tuesday, I am going about my usual routine. I have already done my part by voting in South Carolina's primary, therefore, I will check out the results tonight or in the morning. However, if you are a political junky, you have the opportunity to sit plop down in front of the TV or computer for the entire day and watch as the candidates are scrutinized and the votes roll in from the 24 states participating.

One thing I have been enjoying this semester is the opportunity to workout on a regular basis. As we all know, life can easily get in the way or become an excuse for not working out. (This happened to me last semester.) I always have more energy and get more things done when I am regularly hitting the gym. I am sure I could plot a graph showing my productivity vs. the amount of hours I work out. The R-squared value is very high!

My parents are traveling to Florida this week and mentioned to me that they will miss working out while they are gone. If life seems to get in the way, traveling complicates things further. When I travel, I try to do a few things to avoid getting out of shape while I am gone.

First, if it is just a weekend trip, I will make sure to exercise extra hard on Friday and letting my body recover over the weekend, while I am traveling. If I am traveling for more than a few days and I have my car with me, I will bring my bike along and make sure to schedule in some time to hit the streets for a few hours. I like doing this a lot. It allows me to get a better feel for the place I am visiting and I just like biking in places I never have before. If you can't bring your bike, bring your running shoes. Everywhere you go, you can find a road to run or walk on. If it is raining or cold and you are in a hotel, you can usually find a treadmill to hop on. If you prefer taking classes or lifting weights, I suggest looking up a few gyms before you leave town and call them for their class schedules and daily visitor fees. Most gyms will charge between $5-$10 per visit. Try to pick a gym close to where you are staying or pick a hotel close to the gym. This will prevent excuses for being to far away or even allow you to walk over to the gym, instead of driving. That is good for you and the environment!

Do you do something different when you travel? I would love to know.

More on the job front...
I have set up an interview later this week with a consulting company, Keane Inc., based out of California, but with offices all over the US and World. I don't know much more about them than what is displayed on their website, but I will be meeting a couple of consultants, before my interview, that are visiting the school tomorrow. Should be fun!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Moore School Rankings and Software

Some new rankings for the Moore School of Business have been released. The London School of Business has moved us up in the overall rankings and some of the sub-rankings. Check it out and see for yourself here. The Moore School's specific rankings are here. The highlights would be that we are up 17 spots overall to number 55 and that we remain number 1 in international experience. I have certainly enjoyed my time at the school and have always felt like I am being a top-notch education and MBA experience. I full list of rankings can be seen here.

While these rankings are something to be proud of, my thoughts have been with the company I am working with this semester. I am in search of affordable MRP/ERP software. This is software that will help the company better manage its inventory, among other things. I have some articles with rankings of software I picked up from a professor at school yesterday. Also, I have made a few phone calls to companies that I found on the Internet asking for quotes. If you know of any I should consider, please pass along the information.

On the job front, I am still talking with a consulting company that I am very excited about. They are not moving as fast I would like, but I am not sure any company would. lol So, I will keep my patience and we will see how that turns out in the next couple of months.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Disney World Pics and Video

The last couple of days was spent at my consulting gig in Greenville. I am having a good bit of fun up there and learning a lot. I am feeling better and better about making a difference for this company. I have a ways to go, so only time will tell.

I have uploaded some photos and a video covering my visit to Disney World. Check them out!

Disney World 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

South Carolina Primary 2008

Yesterday was my first time voting in a primary election. I usually wait for the main event, but with the news and all the talking about this year's presidential race, it got me off my duff and to the polls. On my way out of the building I got asked a few questions by a reporter for the Washington Post. A few hours later I found my name on their website. Check out the article's last paragraph for my blurb.

All my classes are going great so far. I landed a job with a company in Greenville, SC for the semester and possibly for a few months after graduation. It is one of things that I want to be doing once I graduate, so it is perfect. Also, I will get paid, which never hurts. My first day was this past Friday and I spent most of it getting to know the workers that I will be primarily working with. While I would like to just jump in and get started, I know it is more important to establish a relationship. This will help me in the long run, by having every one's support to get the job done.

In other fun events, I ran off to Disney World last weekend! I had an awesome time with my buddy Seth, his wife Amy, and a former IMBAer and good friend, Robin. I have some pictures to upload, but in the mean time you can check out Seth's photos.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The schedule is filling up

Today is the first official day of classes for the Spring 2008 semester. The professional MBA (PMBA) courses started last week, which I am taking one of these. I will be learning about supply chains and performing two projects for different companies for my classes this semester.

My supply chain class will be using case studies and an online simulation game to demonstrate the topic. My other two classes, the projects that I will be involved with have not been determined yet.

Between these three classes and a job search, I am suspecting that I will have a little bit of free time. Therefore, I have signed myself up for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington, D.C. this April. It is an awesome race that passes by all the cherry blossom trees, which will be in full bloom the first weekend of the month. I wanted to do this race when I was living in D.C., but the race filled up with participants in less than twenty-four hours. This year, I was ready!

Also, I am interviewing tomorrow with a used textile equipment seller in Greenville, SC for a part-time job this semester. I know it will involve solving some inventory issues the company is currently having, but I won't know all the details till I get there.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wow! What a ride!!

I am back in Columbia now. My first class, global supply chains, started last Tuesday. The remainder of my classes start tomorrow. This is my last semester in grad school. I will be taking less classes than last semester, but will be concentrating much more on my job search.

I have less than four months till I graduate. I am getting excited about finishing, going to work, and finding out where I will be living after May. The past year and a half has been amazing, to say the least. I have learned more than I imagined, traveled around the World for six months, made great new friends, and continued to get a few bike rides and runs in.

Last semester I interviewed with several companies. Some I wanted more than others, but primarily they were big companies located in the US. I am still interviewing with a consulting company, RLG International. I have talked with many people from the company, but like most small to medium sized companies, they will not hire people until they need them. Therefore, I must wait a little longer to find out if I will receive an offer.

As for other prospects, I am looking at going back abroad or finding a company in the Pacific Northwest part of the US. It will be a position that uses my operations management skills to improve processes and increase efficiency across a firm. Over the next few months, I will write a bit more about my progress for this job search.

The pictures in this album are a random mix from the past four months, with many of them from the past few weeks during my winter break. Enjoy!

Fall 2007 Re-cap