Welcome Back, Me

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Okay, so I've been procrastinating a *little* bit since my last entry.

Strike that - I've been downright lazy...

Do you realize how much can happen in three and a half months? So much, in fact, I would be just as well-off starting this little journal project over from scratch.

Let's see if I can bring myself back up-to-date. I'm now living in Kalamazoo, MI. I graduated May 27, and moved here June 9. I'm here because I have accepted a job offer - for those of you familiar with previous entries, this job is in fact with the same company with whom I interviewed right before Spring Break - the one with whom I had a second interview. All told, the process ended up taking FOUR interviews - one at school, one in the office in Indy, another in the Indy office with the Kalamazoo manager, and a final interview in Kalamazoo with the manager and the five guys already working here. By the fourth interview, I was fairly certain that I would be getting an offer; but, to make things interesting, the offer didn't come until the day before graduation.

I think a lot of people don't understand the culture of my school, with respect to job offers. At my school, all the *top* prospects have job offers within the first couple of months of senior year. The majority of students actively looking for jobs have offers by the time graduation rolls around. Thus, it is generally the slackers, whether it be scholastically, or in the job search, who graduate without standing job offers. Well, due to my financial situation, I wasn't able to even start my job search until the middle of January, putting me eons behind all the other graduating seniors looking for jobs. Looking at the companies I interviewed with, I actually had a 50% offer rate; granted, I only interviewed with two companies.

So anyway, now I'm living in Kalamazoo, a good four and a half hours from my old life in Terre Haute, iN. By far, the most ironic occurrence related to my move had to do with dating. In my five years in college, I had never dated anyone for longer than, oh, three weeks. So, now we come to the end of my senior year, and what do you suppose happens? If you guessed that I started dating someone, well, I guess you're just psychic, or managed to pick up on my completely non-subtle segue. I was actually "dating" a girl from the Woods. I say "dating" and not dating because, in all actuality, it was never anything very serious. But, even though it pretty much ended with my move to Kalamazoo, it was fun while it lasted, and upped my three-week barrier up to three months.

So now, I'm starting all over in Kalamazoo. I've been here for almost a month now (today actually marks four weeks). I'm situated at work, and when my parents get in later this evening with a truckload of furniture from home, I'll pretty much be all set in my apartment (except for the state-of-the-art entertainment center that I haven't bought yet, since I'm being good and staying out of debt as much as possible). It's a really nice feeling to be able to make, save and spend money, instead of living the poor, starving college kid life. But, right now anyway, it's a tradeoff for having to start my social life all over from scratch. I'm getting the seeds planted - I'll be visiting my second church this weekend, I've gotten information from the Civic Theater about getting involved there, and I'm trying to find people to play tennis with. I figure it all happens slowly, especially with not having the college atmosphere - the ready-made social circle. Fortunately, Kalamazoo is also a college town - Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College to name the two biggest ones - which means, starting in the fall at least, there are plenty of people my age here.

I've also been doing my best to keep up with the Atkins Diet (the lack of tennis hasn't helped matters, but hopefully that will change). For those keeping track, I'm at about 205, which represents a total loss of 65 pounds since January. And actually, I've been "maintaining" that weight since the beginning of May. That comes out to an astonishing 16 pounds per month that I lost between January and May. Between the tennis season ending (thus, two-hour daily practices ending), and a major life-changing event (graduation and moving), I haven't made a conscious effort to lose recently. Now that I'm pretty much settled in, I'm starting back up again. My intent is to take a martial arts class, which, combined with a regular tennis regimen, should provide ample exercise to keep the fat-burning fires ablaze. I actually only want to lose another 25 pounds or so. I have a week-long conclave to attend for my chemistry fraternity, for which I am a voting delegate, and I will have to buy a new suit for the banquet, since the one I (my mom) bought in March is also now getting too big. I would like to lose as much of my 25 pound goal as possible before the middle of August, so that the suit-buying trend won't keep up at the same rate that I've had to buy new belts. At $300 a pop, it gets to be a bit much!

Well, now that things are getting more back-to-normal, I should be able to be much better with keeping up with the journal.

Only time will tell...

Q E D

The Worst Kind of Disappointment

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Today was a very strange day. Wednesdays have become my "recovery" days; since I'm so busy the rest of the week, I have made a habit of doing a lot of relaxing on Wednesday. That habit pretty much held true today. Other than my one pointless class, I pretty much did nothing until tennis practice and the tennis meet this evening. Our meet with the University of Chicago was at 6:00, so we went ahead and practiced at our usual 4:00. When practice ended, I changed shirts and put on my sandals, expecting to be finished playing for the day. But, as I always do, I stayed around for the meet, to root on the rest of the team. As the coach was announcing the lineup, he looked over at me and said, "Chip, you're going to be playing singles tonight." To which my reply was, "wh..what was that? I don't think I heard you right." So he repeated it. I was pumped...I was actually going to get to play a match. Sure, it was #8 singles, so it wouldn't count toward the meet score, but it was still a match.

Since I wouldn't be playing for at least another hour or two, I decided to go put in an hour of work study at the phonathon. Maybe it was just my attitude since I was in such a great mood, but in about an hour, I made over $1000...not a bad night given the full three hours of work. In my excitedness, I even called Amanda to tell her that I was going to get to play. She had a really bad headache, but said that if she was feeling well enough, she would try to come.

As it turns out, it's a good thing she didn't make it. The #7 singles player for UC claimed to be sick, so he backed out of his match. That's fine...at that point I was thinking, "well, isn't that just my usual luck...I actually get to play, and the guy gets sick." But hey, that's life; it sucked, but I understood.

No problem.

Pretty much, that meant that their #8 player would move up to play in the #7 position, and there was no one to fill the #8 spot. Which of course, meant no match for me to play. So, I went back to watching the matches and cheering the team. We were ahead 3-0, and close to winning two a couple of other matches (4 points win the meet, so we only needed one more). I decided to go watch the #6 singles match, since it was close and the guy for our team is one of my fraternity brothers. As I was walking over to his court, I saw that the UC #7 singles player, the same player too sick to play a match, was out hitting on one of the courts. He was out there hitting for a good hour. I don't usually get angry about anything, but that pissed me off. I don't think I let on very much that I was upset, but I commented to our coach about it, and he was upset about it, too. Well, we ended up winning the meet 5-2, and I went home just looking forward to practice tomorrow, when I would be able to get back on to the court to play.

I got back to my room, and started talking to Amanda on ICQ. I was telling her about what had happened, and she pretty much tried to tell me not to worry about it, because "things don't always go the way you want them to." Now, of course she was right, but that was about the last thing I wanted to hear at the time. Now, because of her shoulder, she has not been able to play softball. Her passion for softball is pretty much equal to my passion for tennis, and she had to admit that she knew how I felt. I really wasn't in a good mood, and I think I made some curt comment and went into the other room. At the time, I didn't tell her that there was a lot more to why I was in a bad mood than just the tennis meet. It had to do with how I reacted to the situation in light of other things going on in my life. But I didn't want to talk about it at the time, because I didn't think that she really wanted to hear it then. So I went to hang out in another room for like an hour or so.

Rene was in the other room, and I don't remember how it came up, but she also mentioned that she had heard that someone at the Woods was interested in me. I told her that I wanted a name, and since she's cool like that, she told me. She also said that I should really try to meet her if given the opportunity, and that she was "really pretty, and a really nice girl." Apparently, she's a graduate student, and about 23, which is fine, because I'm 22. I was really tired, experiencing a little bit of heat exhaustion (from playing tennis in the afternoon sun and not drinking enough water), and wasn't in a really good mood, so I hope she didn't get the impression that I wasn't interested in meeting this girl. I am, but I just wasn't really able to demonstrate much enthusiasm at the time.

I decided to go to bed, since I was pretty tired, but when I got back to my room, Amanda had sent me another message asking me where I had gone. I replied, and intended to take care of the good-night formalities and just go to bed, but she actually pressed me to talk about what was wrong. So I started going into it.

It was, and still is, really difficult to explain. My mind saw the excitement I experienced when I was told I was going to play, followed by the disappointment right at the moment of fulfilling that excitement, due to a situation over which I had no control, and which could have been prevented altogether had the person involved been honest from the start. Somehow, my mind made an analogy between that experience, and pretty much every experience I've ever had with a girl in my life (which, by definition would be a disappointing experience). Now, you may think that I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not. I could compare that tennis meet with what happened with Sarah, with what happened with other girls at the Woods and at Rose, what happened with girls in high school...and on and on. I've honestly never had a successful relationship (by that I mean, I've never actually had a "girlfriend")...the longest I've ever dated anyone before is three weeks. Most of the time, it doesn't bother me. But sometimes, it just seems like I'm in some never-ending cycle (what the CS majors would call a recursive loop) that I can't find any way out of. The optimist in me says that I just haven't found the right girl yet, but the realist in me wonders if I'll know how to handle myself when and if the "right girl" ever comes around. If all I've ever experienced is failure, how will I ever know how to be successful?

I started thinking about all of that, and it really got to me. I started to explain it all to Amanda, but we were both really tired and needed to go to bed, so we really didn't get to talk as much as I would have liked. Oh well; that's why I have this journal...so that I can air some of these kinds of thoughts and feelings.

It was a lot to digest for one day, and it made falling asleep pretty difficult. But, tomorrow is another day...

Q E D

The Best Advice I Could Get

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Today was the day of my second interview. I really wasn't quite sure what to expect; this company is newer and a lot smaller than the company I previously interviewed with. But, as it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. The interview started out well enough. The company had three representatives on campus, although I think one was interviewing for internships. Anyway, the interviewer and I had just gotten through the introductory stuff when one of the other interviewers came into the room. He said that he just *had* to be there for my interview, becuase he was *so* impressed with my resume. Then, I continued to make a good impression by having already researched the company, so that I already knew what they were all about. The next question (from the second interviewer) was why, with my resume, did I not *already* have a $55,000 a year job lined up. We started to go through their typical "interview" questions, when he got to the question of "tell me about a time when you have held a leadership position." They stopped, looked at my resume, said, "well, I think you've answered that question well enough already," and moved on. When the interview ended, the first interviewer gave me his card, wrote his number away from the office on it, and told me to give him a call if I had any other questions. Then they told me that I should hear back from them within a week or two. All in all, one of the best interviews I've ever been in. I really like my chances with this company. Not only did the interview go really well, but the company seems to fit my philosophy of what makes a potentially good employee. The interviewers did ask me what my GPA was, but as it turns out, mine was higher than both of theirs (and they were both Rose grads). It does appear, though, that the company sees more value in its employees than a single number on a transcript, which in my opinion indicates that it would be a more ideal working environment.

After that, classes went about normal. I got all of my homework done during work study fourth hour, including the Design homework due for Thursday. After I finished classes, I had my afternoon work study as usual. I actually got to run a couple of errands today, so I felt like I was actually earning my minimum wage ๐Ÿ™‚

I had another great tennis practice today, except that my serve was off. Oh well, we all have those days sometimes. We played doubles; four-game match-ups to determine team ranking. Surprisingly to me, my partner and I actually held our own pretty well. We lost to the definite numbers one and two doubles teams, and split games with all of the other teams. Had my serve been on today, we probably would have beaten a couple. But all in all, I was playing really well. My net game was on, I was returning serves well, and my winner-to-unforced-error ratio was probably 3-1 at least. We ended the practice by serving a hopper of balls each, which coincidentally was exactly what I needed to do. Tomorrow, we have 4-6 practice, then a meet with the University of Chicago. I may or may not get to play, depending on how many guys UC brings. But I'll be there, just in case, and too root on the team if nothing else.

After practice, I had an interesting conversation with Dr. McLean, the Chapter Advisor for Alpha Chi Sigma. We talked about how the chapter was doing since my term as president ended. He told me that he thought I did an "exceptional" job as president, for which I was quite flattered. We also talked about my job prospects, and he told me about an opening at DuPont that he had just received info about. He forwarded me the info later tonight, so I can look into it.

After talking with Dr. McLean, I headed into the SRC to use the scale. As I was using it, one of my brothers walked by, and told me how the scale had gotten way off kilter recently. He demonstrated by weighing himself. He's about 190-195, and the scale read 208. Factoring in his clothes, the scale is still at least 5 pounds off. That means that the 231 I weighed is actually at least 226...so I've now lost over 40 pounds!

So, after getting some dinner, and having nothing to do, I decided to see if I could get a date for the night. I called up Sarah, but got no answer. So then, I decided to try Kelly. Kelly is another freshman at the Woods, who is also Sarah's suitemate. I really didn't get to know Kelly until the musical, but she's a pretty cool girl. I've joked around with her a few times about asking her out, but never actually did. So I gave her a call. Unfortunately, she couldn't do anything because she had too much work to do; but, she told me to take a rain check. She left the door open for me to ask her out again, which is all good. The other night when I was talking with Natalie, she told me just to forget about Sarah (well, and Amanda, but that's irrelevant).

I may just do that.

Q E D

Just Another Manic Monday

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Let me start by giving you an example of how my Mondays typically go. The following is my AOL IM Away message for Mondays:

Classes and Work Study: 10:00 - 4:00
Tennis Practice: 4:00 - 6:00
AXSigma Chapter: 6:00
PiKA Chapter: 7:00

That didn't include the two hours of homework I had after Chapter. But, although today was a busy day, it was also a very good day. Classes and work study were pretty much normal, so I don't need to go into detail there...I'll start with tennis practice.

Today's practice was my best practice in two or three years (granted, a year of that I didn't even practice). We spent the majority of practice doing volley drills. Now, volleying and serving have always been the two best aspects of my game. In high school, I would spend time on my own before or after every practice, serving 100-200 balls. The serve, that I have continually developed since then, is starting to come back, although it is still a bit inconsistent. But, serving is only the second best aspect of my game: volleying and net play have always been my trademark. All through high school, my dad was basically my personal coach when it came to tennis. Way back in my freshman year of high school, he wanted me to develop my net game. So, he stood me at the net, and proceeded to hit balls at me as hard and as fast as he could. Needless to say, I developed pretty darn good reflexes at the net. I think I was born with pretty good reaction time and hand-eye coordination, but it was those net drills that really developed the skill. Well, today's drills were throwbacks to my early days playing tennis. We started by serving-and-volleying, and advancing to the net, while always playing cross-court. Until today, I had been struggling to regain my volley and half-volley skills; however, in practice today, it was just like old times. The next drill was the same, except that it was doubles (my forte). The final drill was the most fun. Still doubles, except that the receiving side's ad-court (left side) player started at the net, and the feeding team fed that player a down-the-line ball. Now, granted, I had a slight advantage because on that side, my forehand is on the alley, but for the first time in a long time, I fell right in to rhythm. The guys fed them as hard as they could, and without question I had absolutely no trouble playing the feed. I even hit some beautiful angle shots reminiscent of my high school playing days. Now, today's practice won't change my position on the team or anything like that, but I left practice really pumped. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the week's practices go.

After practice were my Chapter meetings, and then some homework. I finally got some free time about 10:00 or so. I ended up having a very nice conversation with Nancy via ICQ. She had just started reading the journal, and was interested in how some of the girls were treating me in the earlier entries. She also mentioned something about a secret admirer...of course, she didn't tell me who it was...

Well, I've got my second interview in the morning, so getting a good night's sleep would be a really good idea.

Until tomorrow,

Q E D

Sunday, Busy Sunday

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

I really don't have much to talk about today. I spent a lot of time on homework and meeting with my Design group. I am also on a committee created to review the new Constitution and Bylaws for the Iota Delta Chapter Pi Kappa Alpha alumni association (my chapter's alumni association). Right now I'm acting as the liaison between the committee and the current president of the association. I'm also the one writing up all of the revisions to the Constitution. Since we would like to have this all worked out and formally approved by the end of the school year, I will be working hard to get the revisions done as soon as possible.

I had my usual Sunday conversation with my parents today. They were both excited about the prospects of me working for either of the two companies that I am interviewing with.

I had an absolutely horrible night at phonathon today. I made almost 80 calls, and got only 5 pledges. Oh well...I'm still earning the work study money.

I also didn't make it to church again today. I need to work on that; I miss going.

I apologize that this entry is so short. I was really so busy today that I didn't have time to do much thinking.

Q E D

A Saturday for Tennis

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

I managed to roll out of bed this morning, get dressed, and get over to the tennis courts in time for the start of the meet. We played a triangle-meet with Anderson and Franklin. When I got there, it was still in the upper 30's/lower 40's outside. Fortunately, the coach had the tennis shed warmed up.

Now, most people in my position would not even go to the meet. Anymore, I am nothing more than a practice scrub on the team. My freshman and sophomore years, earning a spot on the team and playing meets were really important to me. I felt like I didn't get any respect playing in high school, and I wanted/needed to prove to myself and my old team that I indeed was a good player. However, the summer after my sophomore year, I played in a couple of tournaments and leagues in Maryland. That summer, I won my first two tennis trophies ever. I was the captain of the team that won the second league, and I also took second place in men's open doubles in one of the tournaments. I actually played men's open singles in that tournament, and lost in the quarters to the eventual champion (who happened to be one of the highest ranked players in the region). After that summer, my attitude about tennis changed; I had proven that I was a good player. I no longer needed to earn that affirmation by playing on the school's tennis team. Thus, I was free to play and enjoy myself, unfettered by any unnecessary stress about when I would get to play a match. Ever since then, I have had so much more fun on the team. Since I co-op'ed, I have been here five years; I took last year off from tennis to try out for the spring musical, so this year is my fourth on the team. The coach actually told me that he would letter me after playing four years; I don't know if he even remembers saying it, and frankly, I really don't care. I'm having fun, I'm getting plenty of exercise, and I'm getting better again. And unlike in high school, the guys on the team are all very accepting of me; they don't treat me any differently or disrespect my playing just because I'm not challenging for a varsity spot.

The meet lasted until about 4:30, when it was ended due to rain. It had actually been raining/sleeting off and on all day, but we managed to get all but one match in. In the end, we had beaten both Anderson and Franklin, 6-1 and 5-2 respectively, I believe.

I had planned to go to Wabash after the meet, but when I got home, I fell asleep and didn't wake up until after 8:00. It's alright, though; I'll be going up there next Friday for a toga party. I got some ICQs and IMs from some of them at about 11:00 asking where I was, and telling me that I should still head up there, but decided just to wait until next weekend. Instead, I watched Cape Fear with a couple of my brothers. Afterward, on a whim, I decided to try on some of the clothes that I had stored away. I found out that many of the clothes that I have not been able to wear since high school now fit me again. The feeling of putting on shirts that you haven't worn in four or five years, and having them fit better than they did originally, is pretty incredible.

Since I've got homework and two meetings tomorrow, I think I'm going to turn in a little early (early for Saturday being anytime before 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning).

Q E D

The Job Search Begins

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Today was it: the Big Day. For the first time since going on co-op over two years ago, I had an interview. I got up a half-hour earlier than usual, just to ensure that I had plenty of time to get ready. Now, I should tell you: I love to interview. Some people dread interviews, but I don't understand why. I guess I just have a little bit of an advantage in the interview room; I'm generally good at developing a rapport with people I meet...including interviewers, and I also have little problem in public speaking situations. Not that I especially enjoy talking about myself or anything, but the idea that I'm that much closer to landing a job makes the whole process more enjoyable. Especially when I'm interviewing with a company that I would really like to work for, which was the case with today's interview.

I actually had all three classes and my first hour of work study before the interview, which was right in the middle of my last class of the day. I really didn't mind leaving class early, and since it was only Statistics, I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything too difficult to make up.

The interview itself took only about 20 minutes, but I think it went really well. The interviewer remembered me from the information session the night before, and commented on the insightful questions I had asked. That he remembered me, I took as a good sign; hopefully, he will also be more apt to remember me when the time comes in the next week or so to decide which students will get the plant trip offers. I'll try to explain briefly the process of receiving a job offer for engineering students. Generally, the student will first interview with the prospective company. This step is the one that I have the most trouble getting to, because a lot of companies have GPA restrictions for interview sign-up. (Anyone who knew me in high school may find my difficulty here surprising, but I decided as a freshman that I would have to choose between a stellar GPA and campus involvement and leadership. I chose campus involvement and leadership; the reason why will become apparent shortly.) In the interview, the student will discuss his collegiate experiences: job-related experience, campus involvement, community service, etc., in the attempt to demonstrate his ability to become a valuable employee of the company. This point is the point at which I begin to excel. As I mentioned before, I chose the campus involvement and leadership route, rather than the high GPA route. This choice for me was simple, for while I have more difficulty landing interviews, once in the interview, I am much better off. I have a plethora of experiences to discuss which demonstrate my ability to become a valuable employee; for this purpose, a 4.0 GPA is virtually meaningless (yes, it usually demonstrates dedication and hard work, but in a much more abstract manner, yielding few specific experiences to discuss). After the interview step, the interviewers will discuss the students interviewed, and decide which ones will proceed on to the next step: the plant trip. In this step, the company pays to bring the student in to the company's office to tour the facilities and meet (and possibly interview with) some of the personnel at the facilities. This step provides the student with the opportunity to experience the company first-hand, while providing the company the opportunity to observe how the student fits in with the company and its personnel. Sometimes, an additional interview step, or a second plant trip step, may be included in the process; but generally, the final step comes after the plant trip: the job offer. The company decides who, from among the students attending the plant trip, would best fit the company, and will send a letter to such student(s) containing the job offer, and a reply date. At this point, the process is in the hands of the student; he may choose to accept the offer, decline the offer, or wait to see what offers he will receive. Usually, the offer letter will include salary/compensation, benefits, and the ever-popular signing bonus. At any point in this process, the company may decide that the student is not a good fit for the company, and will send a rejection letter. This letter is known as a "phi letter" because the student will then mark the letter with a large, capital greek-letter phi. (To compare: plant trip offer letters are marked with a drawing of a factory, and job offer letters are marked with dollar signs.) The student will post all letters he receives during the job search process, usually on, or just beside, his door. As a reference, when I was trying to land a co-op, I ended up with about 12 phi letters before getting my one offer letter. Some students will have 40 or 50 phi letters before getting an offer.

So now, I will have to wait one to two weeks before I get either a plant trip offer letter or a phi letter. Some companies, students interview for only becuase they are eligible to interview with the company; thus, they are not overly concerned about getting a phi letter from such a company. But with this company, I would very much like to work for them, so I am definitely hoping for the best.

After the interview and a quick lunch, I headed over to work study. We had nothing to do today, so I played around on the internet looking at various online journal resource sites. At 4:00, I left to go to tennis practice. I drove by the courts, but didn't see anyone there, so I assumed that we weren't practicing, and went home. When I got in, I almost immediately got a message from a friend of mine at ISU, Andrea, who was attending a formal tonight and was spazzing about her dress. She wanted me to go over to ISU to reassure her that she was not over-dressed. Well, I had planned to go into town anyway, to meet the guys at Sonka's Irish Pub to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, so it was no big deal.

Now, I haven't really talked to Andrea for a couple of months, because we are both extremely busy. So, it was nice to get to see her and catch up a little bit. I reassured her that she looked great in her dress, that the evening was going to go smoothly, and insisted that she have a good time. I saw her off, and then headed back over to Sonka's. When I got to Sonka's the place was absolutely packed; unfortunately, none of my brothers were there, so I went home. I found out later that they had left about 15 minutes before I got there, and went to eat at Garfield's.

I ended up going to see The Hurricane at one of the cheap theaters with a group of about 8 people. I thought it was a really good movie, but then, I tend to like movies based on actual occurences. I guess you could say that I'm a bit of a history buff; granted, The Hurricane isn't exactly based on ancient history. Still, I had never heard the story, and found it to be quite interesting.

When we got back home, I decided to give Nicole a call, since her group of friends usually goes out to the Bally on the weekends. The Bally (actually, the Ballyhoo Tavern) is one of the more popular bars among the college students, especially greeks. Inside, it is a sports-bar atmosphere, but outside (a patio, covered and heated this time of year) is one of the best dancing spots in Terre Haute. I spent many a night with Nicole this past summer dancing the night away at the Bally. When I called, I got quite a pleasant surprise: one of Nicole's best friends, Angela, was in town. She is one of Nicole's sorority sisters, and one of her best friends. She and I are also pretty good friends (one of my fraternity brothers and I double-dated with Nicole and Angela at our spring formal last year). She graduated in December, and hasn't been back very often since; needless to say, I was glad to talk to her. We ended up meeting them at the Bally at about midnight. My fraternity brother (the same one from the double-date) and I danced there with Nicole and Angela, and their sorority sisters, and stayed until about 1:30. Interestingly, the CollegeClub people were at the Bally, giving away prizes and having Stupid College Tricks contests. I also ran into a couple girls from Rose, and a guy from my floor freshman year who graduated last year. He and his wife (also from my freshman class) were in town for a fraternity function of some sort, and it's amazing that I ran into them, because by that time, the Bally was really, really packed. Eventually, we decided that the place was just too packed, and that we were getting tired, and decided to go home. Since I have to be up for a tennis meet at 9:00 in the morning, that decision was probably a pretty wise one.

All in all, not a bad way to spend St. Patrick's Day. I was a little disappointed, though. I wore a "Kiss me I'm Irish" button to the Bally. It must have been broken or something because only one girl, Natasha, actually did so. And that was only because she is a good friend of mine anyway. Or maybe, I just used up all of my mojo at the interview, so I was running low at the Bally ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh well.

Q E D

Another Day, and a Surprise or Two

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Yet another day has passed in what is turning out to be quite an eventful week. Classes went pretty much as they normally do. I did my design homework for tomorrow during work study, becuase I wasn't able to meet with my group this afternoon. I had two important things to do: pick up my suit, and go meet Amanda's horse ๐Ÿ™‚

The weather wasn't all that nice today; in fact, it was pretty much putrid, raining/misting all day off and on. When I got to the Woods, the rain was on-again, so Amanda and I waited for better weather to go see her horse. While we were waiting, her sister, Natalie, who also goes to the Woods, came into Amanda's room completely spazzing out. Apparently, she had a, ah, male visitor on the way, and was not even close to being "prepared." So Amanda and I were solicited to help her get ready. Amanda cleaned Natalie's room, while I tried to help...I think I managed to pick up a stack of CDs from the floor and put them on the table ๐Ÿ™‚

It was at this point that the first surprising thing of the day happened: while I was helping Natalie hang a poster in her room, someone came up and grabbed me from behind...I turned around, and it was Sarah...she had come over to talk to me. (I've got to give some of the credit here to Amanda...she had my back...she told Sarah that I was there.) We went to her room for maybe 10 minutes and got caught up (I hadn't talked to her for about two weeks). Then we went back down the hall (only like 3 doors away) to SO's room, and Sarah gave me a hug before she left. Now, her hugging me is nothing new, per se, because that used to be the normal way that we would say goodbye. But it was the first time in maybe a month (including the two weeks during which I didn't talk to her) that she was the one to initiate it. A good sign? Maybe...I honestly don't know. While I was talking to her, I was trying to get an idea of how, if at all, my feeing toward her had changed. By the time she left, I really didn't know how I felt. I think that if she would just let me take her out one more time, things would straighten themselves out a little bit better. I really don't feel as close to her as I was a month and a half ago...but then, we have spent so little time together. I want to be able to spend some real "quality" time with her, so that I can know if we can still regain that closeness. I'll give her a call after this weekend, and we'll see what happens.

So anyway, Sarah left, and I got back to helping Natalie get ready for her big night. Now, part of getting ready included a trip to the grocery store and a stop at the hotel to prepare the room. (Let's just say, my services were reqired for the purchase of certain items.) So we got the room all ready and headed back to the Woods. Now, during this drive, I got to know Natalie *really* well, probably better than I thought I would ever know anyone (besides Nicole, but that is a story for another day). She was worried that she was embarrassing me; little did she know that it is nearly impossible to embarrass me. Rather, I found it all to be quite entertaining. Her candor in talking to me, someone she didn't really know at all (I had met her once, about a month prior), was probably the second most surprising thing of the day.

When we got back to the Woods, we *finally* got to head over to the horse barns to meet Amanda's horse. We spent maybe ten minutes there, and fed him some oreos, before heading back to the dorm. It was about 5:30 by this point, and I had planned to be at school at 7:00 for an information session with Johnson Controls, the company with whom I'm interviewing tomorrow. We hung out in her room playing around on the computer...and all of a sudden we both realized that we needed to leave. It was 6:35; she was supposed to be with a group singing, and I needed to make the drive back to school in order to be there by 7:00. So I dropped her off at the Conserv (music hall at the Woods) and got back to school. I walked in the door at exactly 7:00, only to see everyone getting up to leave. Apparently, the session was from 6:00-8:00, not 7:00-9:00 as I had written down. No worries; I just went up and talked to the representatives there, and it actually worked out better, because I got the chance to ask all of the questions that I had about the company. That is also good because they will remember me better after the interviews tomorrow. And, hopefully that translates into a job offer...

I came back home, and after doing my Statistics homework, I decided to try on my new suit. I've got to say...I've got *so* much confidence wearing this suit. I wore it around the house for about two hours because I felt so good wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚

I don't really feel like I've written much today. I've been talking with a lot of people today, and I think I might sleep some to mull some thoughts over, and add some more in the morning...

On second thought, I don't have time this morning to add anything more.

Q E D

I’m too tired to name this one

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Okay, so I'll start up where I left off from this morning. I was dead tired when I went to class. I didn't even bother getting dressed. I just threw on a sweatshirt and put on a pair of shoes. Not to worry; the class was just Senior seminar, pretty much a pointless class. It's pass/fail, and based only on attendance. It's actually called Professional Practice, and we're supposed to be discussing things that will help us after graduation. So far we've looked at a chemical process modeling software package that we use in Design class, and chemical literature abstracts. Both *potentially* useful, but I think we could be discussing more useful things, like how to invest all the money we're supposedly going to be making ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I could barely keep my eyes open, much less focused on the overhead. So, I browsed through the catalog that came with the jeans I got on Monday. Not very exciting, I know, but the class went a little faster that way.

I did get some good news in class, though: apparently, one of my Design group members got bored last night, and decided to do our homework that is due for tomorrow, so we didn't have to meet this afternoon. That meant that I got to take a nap instead. Needless to say, I was quite grateful. I slept pretty much the rest of the afternoon. Not a big deal; since tennis practice was canceled (once again, sunny and in the 60's...perfect weather), I had nothing to do until phonathon. I chatted with Amanda and Heather off and on, too. Apparently, Heather has been having some problems with a conflict involving her, one of my brothers, and his girlfriend. She was telling me about it, which is great, especially if it helps her feel better about it. I just hope that she does not get any wrong ideas about her and I. I've never seen her as anything more than a friend, and especially with everything else I've got going on female-related, I don't need any more issues to deal with.

Speaking of female-related issues, I had a minor epiphany while trying to fall asleep this afternoon after class. I was thinking back to the entry I wrote for yesterday ( actually written this morning), and specifically about the "circumstances" under which I would be able to ask Amanda out. I started to think, in my half-asleep-random-thought-tangent state, that I was only rationalizing why I wasn't going after something that I possibly really wanted to go after, rationalizing in order to avoid getting hurt again. It is sort of a defense mechanism I induce sometimes. I mean, they are all legitimate concerns, but they also represent the risk involved. And risk is usually directly proportional to reward. What we've got now is really good, in my opinion; but am I rationalizing away the opportunity to have something even better? An intriguing train of thought, but for now at least, I'm going to leave it filed under "I was half-asleep when I came up with this thought."

Amanda was happy because she got to visit her horse today. She is still restricted from riding (due to previous shoulder surgery), but at least she got to spend time with him. I'm really excited; I get to go with her tomorrow to go meet her horse. I really love horses; I get that trait from my mother, who also loves horses. The best part about going to the Indiana State Fair was always going through the horse barns and seeing all the horses there. It's been way too long since I've been around a horse. Apparently, Amanda tells me, her horse is a bit feisty, especially around strangers. But she also told me that the way to his heart is through his stomach...via Oreos. (Yeah, she and her horse were made for each other. She refers to her horse as the number one man in her life.) So I'm going to go pick up my suit after class, then head over to the Woods (this routine sounds strikingly similar to Tuesday's) to go with Amanda to meet her horse.

So the rest of my evening was dinner, phonathon, and then back home to do homework. I only got 45 minutes to an hour of calling in, since this was my first night and I had to go through orientation. But I made 24 calls, which had I been there the whole night, would have been the most, or second most. Of those 24 calls, I got ahold of 5 people. Of those 5, I got 2 five-year pledges, and one "considering." Because it was timed right (read: I got lucky), my second 5-year pledge won me a cd. I got to choose between Lauryn Hill and Pearl Jam, so I picked Lauryn Hill. I got back home and called the girl I was going to work on my homework with, but when I went to meet her to do it, she already had it done, so I just borrowed her book and did it back here at home. It was a fairly easy assignment; I already had half of it done, I just had to set up some formulae in Excel to crunch some numbers. You may be interested to know that, if a tank explodes, and 500 people are working within 10 and 500 feet from the tank, evenly distributed, that 4 of them will die of lung hemorrhage, and another 10 will experience a ruptured eardrum (well, so will the 4 people with lung hemorrhages, but a ruptured eardrum seems to pale in comparison to being dead). Believe it or not, I have to learn this stuff, because, as one of my professors told us, we are going to be chemical engineers, and we can kill people. Fun thought, eh? No responsibility there...no, sirree. Don't I want to become a design engineer now ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, on that happy note, I think I'm going to finish this off and go to bed.

Q E D

A Good Problem, Girl Confusion, and a Rude Awakening

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Part I -

I just got back...it's 3:00 in the morning. So I'm going to wuss out and write this journal entry in the morning. Today was a busy day, so I'll have plenty to talk about when I wake up.

Part II -

Well, I had intended to sleep for about another hour and a half this morning, but the not-so-subtle sound of the dump truck dropping off a load of gravel right outside my window changed those plans...maybe after I finish writing this, I can go back to sleep for a while.

So, I'll start with my change of plans yesterday. I tried on my suit Monday night in preparation for my upcoming interviews. Well, when I put on the pants, they were so big I couldn't even get a belt on. And I was practically swimming in the jacket. So I called my dad at work to discuss it, and we conferenced in my mom (one of the many advantages of them working in the same place). I was going to see if my suit could be taken in, but apparently the size difference is too great for that, so my mom suggested that I go to Ayers and get a new suit and put it on her card. Well, since my first interview is Friday morning, that meant that I would have to get it done yesterday (Tuesday) in order for it to be tailored by Thursday, so I could pick it up in time for my interview Friday. Fortunately, Amanda had Chem Lab until about 3:30, so I had time between my classes and when she and I left for Wabash to go take care of it.

Yesterday was also Badge Day on campus; sort of like Greek Pride day. All of the fraternity members (frat boys, as one of my friends lovingly referred to us) were to wear badge attire (basically Sunday dress) and wear their fraternity badges to school. A couple of the fraternities made badge attire mandatory, but my fraternity feels that our guys have enough pride in ourselves to do it on our own. I'm glad to say that I didn't see even one of my brothers not wearing badge attire.

Classes were pretty much normal. I started work study - apparently, because of the campus phone-athon, we don't have much work to do during the day, which means that I'll have plenty of time for what little homework I have. My design group may have to meet in the alumni office, but oh well, I really need the money...

So I finished classes, ate a really quick lunch, and headed off to the mall. I thought ahead enough to grab a change of clothes, since I was still in badge attire. SO I get to Ayres and go in to start looking for a suit. They're having their Spring sale, 30-50% off...yeah me. My old suit size was 52 regular. My new suit size is a 48 regular. I've lost 4 suit sizes in about 10 weeks. Wow. Now, their selection in 48R was not as great as the other smaller sizes, so I ended up having to buy a more expensive suit. It was $430, on sale for $310; add in a shirt and tie, and it came to almost $400. I can't think of any other time I've spent $400 at one time, where school was not involved. But, it was for a good cause: Get Chip a Job ๐Ÿ™‚ While I was there, I headed upstairs to housewares to check on a skillet for my dad. While they were here for the musical, they bought me a new skillet. Now, I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I love to cook. They got me at 12-in skillet, 18/10 Stainless Steel Farberware Millennium series. It is non-stick; personally I prefer all stainless, without the coating (mainly because I have no qualms with cooking with butter or oil, and the real reason for non-stick cookware is that such cookware eliminates the need for butter or oil in cooking. Contrary to popular belief, un-coated cookware is just as easy to clean as non-stick cookware, when it is used and treated correctly.), but I'm certainly not going to complain. I love this skillet; it lives with me in my room (along with the cutlery set I got for Christmas and most of my other cooking accouterments), because I don't trust the rest of the guys living here to treat it correctly. That sentiment may sound strange, considering I live with my brothers, but believe me, it is justified. And if you think about it, brothers or not, they are still a bunch of college guys, thus not usually too handy in the kitchen. So anyway, when they bought me the skillet, it was on sale %50 off. My dad asked me to check while I was at Ayers to see of they were still on sale. Unfortunately, they were not.

Those errands taken care of, I headed over to the Woods. When I got there, Amanda was not back from lab yet, but fortunately her roommate (Erin) was, so she came downstairs and escorted me to their room (since the Woods is all-female, males must be escorted whenever they are in the dorm). We stopped for a couple minutes to say hi to Rene and Elisa, two other of my friends there, and girlfriends of two of my brothers, and while we were talking, Amanda got back from lab. So we headed to her room, I changed clothes, she checked email, got ready, and we left.

Since I had never driven to Wabash from the west side of Terre Haute, she showed me all the little shortcuts to get there. She also showed me where her accident had been, as well as where Erica, another Woodsie (and the owner of the car Amanda wrecked in), also had an accident. Now, I don't remember if I mentioned RO's accident. It happened on the Thursday of our quarter break. I was visiting the TKE house since they had invited me up there to hang out, and Amanda (and Erica, too) was there to audition for the Wabash performance of Othello. (Erica was also auditioning...she is going out with one of the TKE's and is also the house sweetheart.) Well, by some twist of plans, Amanda was to drive Erica's car back to the Woods, Erica would drive her boyfriend Mike's car back the next morning, and I would give Mike a ride with me back to pick up his car sometime the next day also. Well, Amanda left (with another Woodsie who had auditioned) and all was well. Then, we got a message on AOL IM from Amanda's roommate, telling us to answer the house phone when it rang, because it was an emergency. Amanda had been in a pretty bad accident on the way back to the Woods. As it turns out, both girls in the car are okay. Erica and Mike drove out to the site of the accident and accompanied the two girls to the hospital. They called us at the house to let us know that both girls were okay, but shaken up. But for the rest of the night, I was really worried, and didn't really know why until yesterday. Amanda told me yesterday that she recently found out that while in the hospital getting X-rays, while still in shock, she passed out a couple of times, and actually stopped breathing, and had to receive CPR and the whole treatment. Scary thought. She and I seem more and more to have some kind of strange connection. She was telling me about two separate incidents in which she had a dream about one of her younger siblings getting hurt, only to find out that something strikingly similar had happened. I also had such an incident about my sister losing a tooth. Now, I'm not big on the whole psychic power thing, but I do believe in supernatural powers (if that's tough to swallow, think rather that God talks to us in different ways). Looking back, I think that something was telling me to be worried that night (I'm also a big believer in the conviction of the Holy Spirit). I felt the conviction to pray, and I did. Only now do I know why.

So we get to the TKE house, I drop Amanda off, and walk over to the tennis courts to watch the meet. Wabash is ranked slightly higher than us in the Midwest region, and they have played 13 matches already this season. I believe this meet was our 5th or 6th at most. Despite all that, we actually played them really well. We ended up losing 5-2 or 6-1, but a lot of matches went to 3 sets, and the set scores were like 6-4, 5-7, 7-6; in other words, it was a much closer meet than the match score indicated. We were generally pleased with how we played. If we're playing this well now, we should be really good when the conference tournament comes around. We'll need it; three of the teams in our conference are ranked nationally. Now you have some idea of why I won't see any matches this year. I'm good enough to play at your average, run-of-the-mill Division III school, but here, I'm just happy to be practicing. I did, however, figure out one reason why I did well in the King of the Hill drill the other day: I'm the only left-handed player on the team, and the guys are not used to hitting against a lefty, much less trying to return a left-handed serve. Damn, and I thought it was just because I was getting better ๐Ÿ™‚ But, inadvertently, I may have helped us win our one match point. The the four singles match was against a lefty, and our guy playing him had played against me in king of the hill. It's a long-shot, I know, but a guy can dream, can't he? ๐Ÿ™‚

I got back to the TKE house and waited around with Amanda for the guys to finish chapter. When they got out of Chapter, a group of us played Therapy. Therapy is a board game I've never played before, but it was actually kind of fun. Especially considering the Freudian twist to any game involving a group of college students. Despite the fact that I was at a marked disadvantage, since I knew (and was known by) everyone else playing the least, I somehow ended up winning. The game was a marathon, three-hour affair, so we were all quite happy to be done when it finished. I did receive a very high compliment, though, during the game (at least, in my humble opinion). One of the guys told me that it was too bad that I went to Rose-Hulman, because I would have fit in very well with those guys in their house there at Wabash. At any rate, I appreciated the comment.

Afterward, four of us made a run to Blockbuster and Taco Bell. Now, due to my carb-restricted diet (and cash-restricted wallet), I decided to wait and get something to eat later (note that this was already like midnight, so I hadn't eaten for like 10 or 11 hours...needless to say I was starved). We went back to the house, Amanda threw the softball around in the basement with one of the guys for a while, then she and I made our goodbye rounds and took off. When we got back to Terre Haute (particularly noting the stench of the paper mill upon our return), we stopped at Denny's. I got something to eat, she got some Oreo dessert thing (big surprise there, eh), and then we headed back to the Woods. Now, she had made a comment earlier that night that she would not let me pay for her food, since "she's not mine" or something like that, so there was no way I was going to let her pay at Denny's ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that the two bucks or whatever it was, was anything to brag about, that's just the way that I am. So I dropped her off at the Woods at about 2:30 and drove back home.

That drive gives me about 20 minutes of good thinking time, especially at 2:30 in the morning, when there is basically no other traffic. And guess what I was thinking about. I have mentioned previously that I would consider asking Amanda out, under the right circumstances. Well, those circumstances basically consist of three major criteria: one, that my brother is not in the picture; two, that I have no reason to be concerned about the warning I had received from Rene about being interested in her; and three, that she indicate to me that she is interested. The first criterion goes back to previous experience with girls and fraternity brothers, and I won't go in to the details now. Interestingly, she told me yesterday on the way to Wabash that she and my brother were no longer an issue. Mainly because he was still interested in his sort-of-ex girlfriend. The second criterion is based on my respect for the opinion of Rene. But, Amanda has actually told me about the concern in question, and I am not bothered by it. The third criterion goes back to a promise that I made to Amanda that I would not ask her out unless she told me she was interested in dating. I haven't heard anything from her along those lines, so that third criterion is also out there. I suppose I should add a fourth criterion: I believe that she is interested in getting back together with her previous ex-boyfriend, and if that is what will make her the most happy, I don't want to get in the way. So, I guess a fourth criterion is that she does not get back together with her previous ex-boyfriend. This is all kind of confusing for me, because we're getting to be good friends, and in the past I have not always been very good at keeping romantic feelings separate from close friendships with girls. I've lost a couple of close friends that way (of course, I've developed some very good friendships that way, too), and I don't want that to happen here. I guess that's why I've written so much about it in here; it helps to sort my thoughts and feelings. Fortunately, she and I are both fairly blunt when it comes to saying what's on our minds, so this whole discussion I'm having is fairly open...in other words, I know that she knows what I'm thinking.

Well, so much for going back to sleep. My alarm just went off, telling me it's time to get up and get ready for my one class today. Oh well, who needs sleep anyway. Oh yeah, I do ๐Ÿ™‚ (note to you-know-who: no matter how much we're alike in other ways, required sleep is one way that I will never be just like you ๐Ÿ™‚ ) So, I think that's all for now.

Q E D