Monday, June 19, 2006

A relatively good day... with a so-so ending.

So today was a relatively good day. I got some work done... not as much as I wanted to, but I definitely got some done. Tomorrow I'm going to get up much earlier. I think that's the ticket. Yeah. Today actually was a very nice day. The weather was extremely comfortable in the evening, and it was a little hot during the day. There were hardly any major clouds. Not the rain that I expected.

Before I went to the office, I headed to physical therapy. The arm is healing pretty nicely after surgery. I really have almost 100% of my motion. I told Tony some funny stories, and we laughed, and everything was happy. Well, I mentioned I was going to a bachelor party later this week in San Antonio. Tony asked if it was mine. I said it wasn't. Later I said something else about women that clearly indicated I was single. Tony cocked his head to the side like a dog who just heard the word "waffle" and wanted to know more. I explained to him about being single (the last time he saw me for long enough to talk about this stuff was well before the surgery). He felt bad about the bachelor party comment. I said he didn't have a need. Tony's a good guy.

Anyway, he gave me a whole laundry list of weight bearing exercises to do. I'm SOOO THRILLED that I'm finally doing some weight bearing stuff. I'm still not doing curls with the arm, but I'm back to push ups, rows, extensions, and lots of other fun stuff. I'm THRILLED. So I left PT feeling AWESOME. I think I broke out some Jamie Lidell and sang, "Music Will Not Last," at the top of my lungs (well, I did in my head; in reality I think I just bobbed a little).

I got into the office to find Jorge there. He, Brandon, and Nicanor went to the ACC controls conference in Minnesota this weekend. Apparently they did some good networking. Jorge was really in a mood to wax poetic about the virtues of networking before applying for faculty jobs in engineering. You see, Jorge is my age. Before Kevin joined the group, we were the youngest ones in the group. However, Jorge got his BS in 2003 and his MS in 2004 (he was on a combined program, actually, so that was pretty speedy). I don't know when he took his quals. Anyway, he's on schedule to get his PhD by 2007. He'd like to stay longer, but I think the boss is kicking him out. Anyway, because Jorge's been moving at a good clip and has been marketing his stuff really well, he's sort of the senior grad student in our group. (holy crap; someday that's going to be me...) Thus, I think he's feeling like he's got some responsibility to pass on some advice. That's fine with me; I like Jorge. Plus, he does have some good things to say.

As he was talking, he said some things I had been thinking lately... Primarily about the importance of presentations and writing in grad school. I would always stress to the younger engineers I used to TA that they would need to write well in order to be productive in industry, but I never really thought about the impact on writing (and presenting) on the academic track. It's huge. It's everything. It's all about the marketing and the presentation (at least in our field). So I really dug what he said about that.

That got me thinking about some other things too. Lately I've been feeling more okay about being an Electrical Engineer. You see, after being around EEs so often (where we all have much of the same skill set), it's hard to figure out why it's special to be an EE. I've been starting to talk to other grad students in and out of the sciences, and I'm starting to realize that maybe engineers aren't as lowly as we feel when compared to some other disciplines. We're not so bad.

Anyway, so around 6pm I left the office and headed to Polaris. I needed to continue my massive wardrobe replacement, and I want to have nearly all of it done by the time I go to San Antonio. I think George (and Sutke?) will appreciate it especially if I show up in completely different threads than they're used to. I'm looking forward to it. (San Antonio is Thursday to Monday)

I hit Polaris, got something to eat, and headed to Buckle... Because I really had no choice, I let two of the high school girls dress me. After the fiftieth pair of jeans they handed me to try on, I reminded them that I can't trust them because they work for "the man." They didn't seem to appreciate that. Oh, well...

Anyway, by the time I was making my purchase, one of the girls asked me if I had been shopping all day. I said that I hadn't and I just got off work. "Where do you work?" I explained that I was a grad student. "Oh, my dad works at OSU. He's like the assistant treasurer so I'll get half my tuition off." Yep, high school, as expected.

Now, here's where things started to get strange. I've been wearing a shirt all day that has an _Office Space_ quote on it ("Someone has a case of the Mondays"). I knew I would be on campus most of the day, so I figured I'd have a little fun and wear a Monday shirt. Anyway, there was an _Office Space_ trademark on it. The high school girl read the trademark and said, "Office Space... Oh, my **MOM** LOVES that movie!" YOUR MOM?! YOUR MOM?!! So yeah, that made me feel old. The other girl then says, "No, I like the movie too," but she looked like one of those high schoolers who is in to "vintage" movies... I guess the _Godfather_ of my day is the _Office Space_ of hers.

So I left there... And after discussing different cuts, washes, and materials (and knowing a little bit about what I was talking about), I headed to Sephora to ask about shaving product that would be a little gentler on my face (which needs to be shaved every day). So then I talked about scrubs, astringents, and lots of other things... Then, for kicks, I asked about hair product, and I think I knew more than her about men's hair product... (which is funny because I really don't wear much hair product) On my way out of the mall, I called two of my guy friends to ask them about a particular fashion scenario (involving light tinted shirts and undershirts underneath them)... and basically came out of the mall feeling on the gay side of metrosexual. Oh, well... I'm 25; it's about time I grow up and start learning how to dress and groom myself.

So I still had to go to Meijer to return something. On my way out, I bought a grape soda. The kid at the register (he maybe was 14 or 15; MAYBE he was 16) read my shirt and started reciting to me PARAGRAPHS from the movie. ("Oh, you're one of them," I thought) I guess I deserved it. I stared at him for a while, hoping he'd stop and give me my change. I said, "Yeah, that sounds about right." He then EXPLAINED TO ME THAT IT WAS FROM THE MOVIE. YEAH, KID, I KNOW. I WORE THE SHIRT. GIVE ME MY SODA AND MY CHANGE!

Let me say something about the shirt. For one, I wore it for the people I saw on campus. I got a few smiles from people, which made them sort of give me a thankful look for giving them that fun memory, and that's exactly what I wanted. I used my chest space to brighten someone else's day. That's a good thing. I wasn't shooting for the Meijer kid response... but I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by it.

So I headed home. Now it's 10:30pm. I should hang up my clothes... Wash the test product off of my hands from Sephora... set my alarm for "early..." and cozy up to the Daily Show and the Colbert Report before heading off to bed. That's the plan.

And now a few lyrics from the song that inspired "Music Will Not Last," Matthew Herbert's "The Audience"...
I am nervous you are calm
I see lines upom your palm
I am close we are near
Though the ending is not here
We are seperate we are one
The division has begun
You are my future i am your past
Even music will not last

So move with me
With me removed

You and us together
Together in this room
You will not remember
This passing moment soon

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