Where's Nate?

living large in the four-oh-eight. wicked large.


reach out and touch somebody.

Google is getting a lot of press recently for it's new instant messaging app. No doubt it's a brilliant piece of software and is a key cog in Google's world domination strategy. But for my money, I'm still a huge fan of iChat.

And here's why. When Paige and I hook up our iSight cameras, we instantly close a 3000 mile gap and can talk to each other face-to-face. I can walk around my apartment with my PowerBook or even take her with me outside to see the view of Ann Arbor. Tonight, for example, I got to spend a few minutes with Paige, my folks, and my dog. And because it runs over a conventional web hookup, it's free. Nothing can beat that.

Here's looking at you, Paige.


trust your neighbor.

At long last, the moving gorillas showed up today. And with them they brought my couch, TV, table, and futon bed. So I'm finally furnished and settled in.

We went through two classroom sessions during orientation today. The first, Globalization, focused on international business trends, policies, and strategies. It was an interesting exercise in which I learned, in a nutshell, that most of of classmates are isolationist by nature. But all seemed to see the benefits of the global economy and will no doubt compete to be placed in the various international programs in March and April (more on that in the coming weeks).

The second module, Citizenship, focused on how corporations negotiate to drive their bottom line. The bulk of this session was a hands-on simulation in which each team was given an industry and several target markets. It was essentially a multi-team version of the Prisoner's Dilemma. My takeaway from the activity was discovering who to trust and who to question.

Not much else to report. I'm just happy to not be sitting on the floor, eating my dinner off the top of an IKEA box.


katrina, go home.

Hurricanes have become a multimedia festival. And with Katrina, a Category 5 just hours off the coast of Louisiana, I've become addicted to the coverage. Take my personal fascination (read, obsession) with weather and add it to the fact that New Orleans is my favorite destination in the US and it becomes a potent combo. The impact is staggering. Analysts are predicting that Katrina's trek through the Gulf will push oil prices to $70/barrel.

Local network WDSU is running ongoing coverage of the event on it's website. Visit WDSU.com and you can watch the live news feed as New Orleans residents seek higher ground.

(click to watch the live coverage)

As of right now, the folks from WDSU have been forced to relocate to Jackson, MS, and have temporarily handed off the coverage to an Orlando affiliate. Scary stuff.

My thoughts go out to the land of muffalettas and gumbo.


some light reading.

I can't believe I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. I used to snicker at the tools at Middlebury who used to have it delivered to their student mailboxes. I mean, who could possibly enjoy a newspaper without photographs on the front page?

Alas, I am now a subscriber. The student discount was too good to pass up and whoever lives next to me has finally noticed that I was stealing their New York Times.

We wrapped up the module focusing on individual leadership today. Overall, it was a compelling exercise, albeit a long one. My self-assessment was as I anticipated it would be: strong on the soft stuff, needs improvement on the quant side. What a surprise.

What was interesting to me was how some of my classmates were reacting to their "data" as if it was a prescription for some kind of radical change. I don't see it that way. The assessment, in a sense, legitimized my pursuit of an MBA by reinforcing what I believed to be my strengths while illuminating the depths of my weaknesses. Needless to say, I have a bit of heavy lifting to do on the process and quantitative side.


follow me.

Days 1 and 2 of orientation have been all about Leadership and a concept called Deep Change. Very interesting stuff. Tonight our "homework" was to watch "Stand and Deliver" for discussion tomorrow. Also found a very cool pizza joint called NYPD.

Not much else to report. Too much beer last night means an early bedtime tonight. Of course, "early" means well after midnight. Snooze button, take me away!


section 11, row 9.

Picked up my season tickets today and it appears that the MBA1s are relegated to the end zone. Who cares. This is what D1 football is all about.

Preseason ranked as high as #2. Notre Dame and Ohio State at home.

Game on.


i went to math camp and all i got was this lousy t-shirt.

A cool and crisp morning in Ann Arbor, the last thing I would expect from an August day in Michigan. So I threw on a pair of jeans and a button-down and headed off to Math Camp. Still wore flip-flops, though. West Coast, represent!

Math Camp was quite a production, featuring 200+ of my classmates, three full professors, and a slew of TAs. (As an aside, the concept of "TA" was foreign to me. At Middlebury, "TA" meant something all freshMEN pursued around the clock.) Today, we covered Ratios, Linear and Complex Functions, and a bunch of alphabet soup. I actually found it at once tremendously helpful and oddly comforting. It appears that putting myself through Stats and Calculus hell (not to mention prepping to slay the GMAT Beast) will be put to good use.

The other thing that struck me today was how pleasant I found my classmates. Everyone was full of energy, came from diverse backgrounds, and seemed genuinely positive about coming to Michigan. It was hard to find an I-Banker or Management "Consultant" among us.

Then it all made sense.

Math Camp is not mandatory. It's actually an exercise in self-selection. You see, Math Camp is for people (like me) who need a little brushing up on their quant skills. Which explains why I met so many interesting folks, and so few from Wall Street.

Off to bed. With visions of exponents dancing in my head.


gourmet is spelled c-a-r-d-b-o-a-r-d.

I only have a butterfly chair and an iPod stereo in my living room. So every meal is served as shown below:

From the left: residual New York Times subscription from whoever lived here before me; stereo remote (aka, what keeps me sane); dinner on an IKEA box featuring the aforementioned Meijer-Coke-hybrid; tush in a comfy Crazy Creek chair.

What can I say? It's great sitting in the crotch...errr, lap...of luxury.

just me and an ironing board.

I arrived in Ann Arbor early Friday afternoon and set the land speed record for a laden homo sapien carrying twice his bodyweight into a second floor walk-up. Mother Nature was cooperating, too. It was only 90+ with 70% humidity. So the heat index was the same as my body temperature. Nice.

Nob Hill, my apartment complex (and favorite grocery store back in Silicon Valley), is a charming little place. In other words, I have a half-butt kitchen, pink tile in the bathtub, and no air conditioning. But it's all about location in a crazy college town, and I'm a short walk to the B-school and stumbling distance from the downtown watering holes.

Since I arrived with (almost) nothing, I headed to the local (air-conditioned) Meijer. This place is like Target on Raffy Palmeiro-sized 'roids. Not only did it have the housewares, but groceries, too.

Did I mention that I'm on a severe budget for the next couple of years? So I'm pretty brand-agnostic when it comes to food. Meijer-branded cereal, here I come! Included in the list of generic items I bought yesterday: pickles, salsa, bread, salad dressing, dish soap, hand soap, paper goods, and cheddar cheese. Oh, and cola. So long, Coke.

One final rave about Meijer: Bove's pasta sauce, the best on the planet, is shipped in from Vermont. OK, maybe I can splurge a bit.


on the road.

Today was pretty emotional. Between tears of leaving California after three years and butterflies for the excitement of business school, I had a lot of time to think. Literally. I spent four hours in the Denver airport waiting for Frontier (pronounced FRON-teer) to connect the dots from San Jose to Omaha.

After landing late in the afternoon, I was determined to get past Chicago. With a freshly charged iPod and cell phone and a full tank o' gas, it was off to I-80. Somewhere between Des Moines and Davenport, I snapped this with my phone-cam:

Soooo glad I drove through the Windy City late at night. The construction on I-80/94 was twenty miles long and would have been a complete disaster during the daylight hours.

So here I sit in Michigan City, Indiana. It's after midnight and muggy as hell. And I can't believe I'm doing this crazy experiment on my own. Sigh.


pointing fingers.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge believer in buying things online. Plane tickets, books, and clothes are no-brainers. So are second-hand guitars and calculators from eBay. I even purchased gas and groceries from Priceline back in the day.

But this is the first (and last) time I've booked a moving company on the web.

The problem isn't the money I'm (supposedly) saving, it's the impressive display of finger-pointing I've witnessed over the past two weeks.

In a nutshell, here's the scoop: I need to move ten items to Ann Arbor. I contracted with a company, TSI, who contracted with another company, TRU, to move my stuff. TRU was supposed to pick up my gear on Friday. It's still sitting in my garage.

Apparently, TRU says TSI never told them they would have to bubble- or blanket-wrap my furniture. TSI says TRU should know that TSI *always* requests this level of service. TRU told me they wouldn't pick up my items as is. TSI told me that, "under no circumstances should I go out and purchase bubble-wrap." Phew.

So, who's getting screwed? Here's a hint. Each day late on the front end corresponds with a late delivery date on the back-end. Current score: Moving Gorillas five, Me zero.

Ahhh, capitalism.

i screen, you screen, we all screen for blue screen.

New York Times, CNN, Caterpillar, SFO, ABC. These are just a few of the millions of folks who woke up this morning to the Blue Screen of Death. Yes, folks, Microsoft's swiss-cheese operating system is under assault again.

It's good to be on a Mac.


so much for sleeping in.

Got my course schedule today for the first half of the fall semester.

Corporate Strategy at 8am. Accounting in the afternoon.

Stats at 10am. Econ in the afternoon.

I'm psyched about Corp Strat, as it's with one of the best profs at Michigan. And it appears that I have above-average instructors in my other three classes.

After bashing my head against my HP calculator until the end of October, I get to take the "soft" (aka, "fun") Marketing and Organizational Behavior courses in November and December.

Four courses, very heavy on number-crunching. Is this the kiss of death for a History major?


good fences make good neighbors.

The house on the corner is finally up for sale. You too can own a slice of 408 paradise: 1409 Inwood Court.

It's a great deal, really. As long as you're willing to tent for termites, fill in the broken pool, replace the 40 year old windows, and re-sod the front lawn. But you need to act quickly. The house has been a hub of activity for the last 48 hours, with prospective buyers and hungry real estate agents filing in and out.

Buy it. Be our neighbor. And I promise that Fenway will pee on your front lawn every night for the next ten years.


downsize this.

How do you scale down from a comfortable 3/2 house in Silicon Valley to a tiny 1/1 apartment in Ann Arbor? Or going from the Golden State to the Ass-Cold Paradise? I've spent a good amount of time over the past few weeks pondering these questions. And the execution is underway.

Here are some items I'm taking:
> Everything I own with long sleeves
> Ice scraper for the Subaru
> iPod and Bose SoundDock
> PS2 (for my "Family Guy" DVD set)
> Midnight jam-friendly acoustic guitar
> IKEA Startbox (50+ kitchen items in exchange for sending a pair of jeans to Sweden)
> Two futons (one for sleeping, one for couching)
> Fly rod and golf clubs (for the three weeks before the snow begins to fall)
> Suits, ties, and dress shoes (with dust removed after three years in the Valley)

Other stuff will have to be purchased when I get there. Everything from a toaster oven to incredibly mundane items (hangers, trash cans, and shower curtains) will be either stolen from an Iowa hotel room or purchased with the Walmart herd.

The big question right now revolves around my laptop. I'm hell-bent on using my PowerBook for the next two years. However, the UM B-school doesn't care to support my computing decision. Screw that. So much for thinking differently.


set your tivo.

Try to record "Some Kind of Monster", a brilliant documentary about Metallica's three year effort to record their latest album. James Hetfield is wacked out, Lars Ulrich is full of himself, Kirk Hammett is a wimpola. Playing now on a VH1 channel near you.

strike the tent.

Paige and I just returned from a weeklong journey to Omaha by car and by plane. And after 2,000 miles on the road (and 2,000 back in the sky), I noticed a few things:

> I-80 is flat.
> It rains (actually, it pours) every August afternoon in Rocky Mountain National Park. You can set your watch to it.
> Omaha is a real city, with more billionaires per capita than nearly every major metropolis.
> Road contruction sites run at a 20% efficiency rate (even less if you count the Highway Patrol).
> You really can hear the corn grow at night.
> After you pay $2.80 for 85-octane in rural Nevada, you start to think $2.50 gas in California is a bargain.
> I get better cell phone in the middle of the Bonneville Salt Flat (75+ miles of, you guessed it, salt) than in my own living room.
> My iPod shuffle doesn't shuffle.
> Long term parking in Omaha: $3/day.

It's nice to be home (even if it's only for a few more days).


connected at birth.

I just chuckled when I read Morin's post about moving. Best of luck to you, Dave, in your new digs. We'll have to compare notes.


It's down to the wire now. I'm in the midst of determining what stays and what goes on my move to Ann Arbor. The Subaru is packed with everything I'll need when I get there. And the moving gorillas show up next week to gather everything I'll need when the dust settles.

The last time I moved back east (in 1994), I had an entire box of CDs and stereo speakers. Now I'm down to a single iPod with 5,000 songs.

It's a tricky thing, moving from the land of sunshine to the land of snow and mud. Those flannel-lined khakis from LL Bean, so useful in Vermont (and so utterly useless in San Jose), are about to make a return to prime time.