Where's Nate?

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


shuckin' corn.

Spent three days halfway between Omaha and Lincoln celebrating my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. It was an epic Johnson family reunion, complete with hours of competitive card playing, washer-tossing (don't ask), and general wackiness. Highlights included: a visit to the Strategic Air Command museum, my first time on ice skates in (count 'em!) ten years, cleaning up at 3:00am in a "friendly" game of poker, continuing my streak of not seeing the sun while on winter break.

For the first time in my life, I rooted against my Huskers. And, boy, did I pick the wrong night to stop rooting for them. Michigan played like it did against Ohio State, holding the lead after three quarters then allowing the 'Skers to drive the length of the field...twice. Ugh. It's time to fire Lloyd Carr. And Henne.

It was also a less-than-stellar week for air travel. We decided to fly back into San Jose on the night of the Storm of the Decade. What fun. On the 2+ hour flight from Denver, the seatbelt sign was shut off only once. And that was after we landed.


boxing day.

I've grown to enjoy not travelling for Christmas. It's a wonderful thing: waking up late in your own bed, pouring a cup of coffee, watching the dog go insane over his new toy, opening presents with your sweetie.

We had a great holiday yesterday. After a couple of hours of relaxing in the morning, we went over to Mom and Dad's for brunch and stocking stuffers and more present opening. Mom made her famous french toast casserole, Dad and I set up her brand-new iMac (welcome to the cult, Mom), and Paige got more presents than any of us. (She's so spoiled.)

I had a decent haul yesterday: Simpson's DVD sets, shirts and sweaters, and lots and lots of warm socks. And the IKEA stocking stuffer trip* was a huge success, with many wacky Swedish gifts for all. We're off to Omaha tomorrow for G&G's 60th wedding anniversary party. Should be fun!

* Every Christmas Eve my family goes shopping for stocking stuffers. We get $20 and 20 minutes and we go to a different store every year. And since we're all in the store together, we look like shoplifters. Just another decades-old Johnson tradition.


move over, emeril.

One of the things I miss most about "home" is my kitchen. My apartment in Ann Arbor has a one-butt kitchen that features about three square feet of counter space and an EZ Bake Oven. So since I've been home, I've gone nuts:

Monday dinner: Curry chicken with naan and basmati rice
Tuesday dinner: Grilled salmon with a cajun rub
Wednesday dinner: Deep fried salmon with BBQ-seasoned breading
Thursday lunch: Turkey, basil, and sun-dried tomato sandwich on garlic naan
Thursday dinner: Shrimp pad thai with lime and cilantro garnish

I'd love to open my own restaurant someday. The menu would be completely random: gourmet turkey burgers, grilled pizza, huevos rancheros. And lots of kick-ass microbrews on tap. Yum.


snack attack.

I need to watch more SNL. On a night when Jack Black and Neil Young were hosting and rocking (respectively), this little gem from Chris Parnell and some new guy was the highlight of the show.

Video comes to us courtesy of youtube.com.

UPDATE! You can download "Lazy Sunday" for free on iTunes. Here.



So I flew home on Saturday and turned in my last final yesterday. And just in time, apparently. It seems that 300+ procrastinating MBA1s crashed the Big Picture online simulation and people were having a bitch of a time turning in their exams. I turned mine in before the chaos. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

Anyway, back to domestic life for three weeks. I'm sitting here reading the paper, brewing a pot of coffee, watching the rain fall in Campbell. Yes, rain.

Paige and Fenway were happy to see me. She's off from school until after the New Year, so the two of us are officially on vacation!


bundle up.

We got almost six inches of snow today, so it was a good day to study. So why didn't I get any studying done?

Here are a few reasons:
1) Chores. I did laundry and cleaned my apartment for the first time in (cough) several weeks.
2) The Apprentice finale.
3) Conference calls with Apple.
4) Last minute Christmas shopping.
5) Goose Island Honker's Ale.
6) Color printing, at twenty seconds a page, for my IKEA project.
7) Planned out my move from Nob Hill to a location closer to campus.
8) Trader Joe's hummus and mini pitas.
9) Learned two new songs on my guitar (and attempted to sing them).
10) Chatted with Dave Morin...who met my Dad at Red's Hair Salon. (Thanks, Scott!)
11) The latest issue of Time.
12) The entire Pearl Jam library, courtesy of my iPod.
13) My vacuum.

My Finance final is in twelve hours. And the only thing I know the Net Present Value of is the number of hours I spent procrastinating today. What's the discount rate on that?

Cash Flow = $50 (Tuition/365 days + Monthly Expenses/31 days, divided by hours screwing off)
N = 10 hours procrastination
R = 4.25% prime rate
NPV = $417.56 (based on graduation date, taken back to PV)

And with AAPL only up by a little bit today, I didn't gain much against my costs.

Maybe I should put that on my cheat sheet. I guess I've learned something after all.


a word about grades.

We've been told that grades don't matter. But we're all way too competitive with ourselves (and with each other) to truly believe this decree. To that end, we received an email from the Dean's Office today:

All of you got here by being outstanding at just about everything you do. You are used to doing well, whether it is a performance review or a grade.

However, you are now running with a very fast crowd. For most of you, this is the most talented group of people that you will ever be around. If your goal is to be at the top of the class -- especially in every course, you are setting yourself a very high bar.

Has anyone seen my running shoes? Why do I feel like I'm behind the pack?

almost home.

So I'm halfway done with finals. And I have 48 hours left. Management & Organization is turned in. Eight pages of theory and jargon. And the IKEA brand paper is finished and will be turned in tomorrow.

So now I turn my attention to Friday's Finance Final. Hooray for alliteration! And the online Marketing simulation is due on Sunday night. Almost there...


finals (again).

This whole Fall A/Fall B course schedule it throwing me for a loop. We start a new class and have a midterm three weeks later. Then three weeks after the midterm, we have a final. Then we do it all over again.

So this week is Finals week, although my social schedule over the weekend seems to run contrary to that fact. What's different this time around is that we only have one "in class" final. That's Finance, coming this Friday to an MBA1 near you. Given my relative incompetence in this particular subject matter, I'd much rather get it out of the way. Oh well.

I'm working today on my written final for Organizational Behavior. First you read a case; then you write a response that is careful to catalogue every single thing we've learned in class. This reminds me of a liberal arts approach and is much more my style. The problem is that the case, while interesting, has a lot of juicy data in it. And I have other finals to prepare for. Anyway, hoping to turn this one in on Wednesday.

Next up is our final paper for my elective Strategic Brand Management. We're working on the Ikea brand. We've done industry research, focus groups, online surveys, brand maps, tactical brainstorms, etc. Now all we need to do is put it down on paper. Thirty to forty pages of paper.

Last (but not least), our Marketing exam is an online simulation. Some kind of crazy modeling tool that throws questions at us and makes us react. Sort of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" exam.

All of this will be complete in the next five days. And then I'm home for the holidays. Finally.


byte me.

So BusinessWeek has a blog devoted to the hottest company on the planet. Cool. Today's post is about Wisconsin. Must be a slow news week.


vote dean.

It appears like our good friends, the Republicans, are at it again. Now they're piling on Howard Dean for telling the truth about Iraq. And even The Big Guy has joined the fun.

Don't these guys have something better to do? Like watch the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show? On CBS?


bowling for huskers.

Twenty years ago I went with my family to the Fiesta Bowl to see an epic matchup between Nebraska and Michigan. You see, my entire family is from Nebraska. My Dad is a Michigan alum. And I was brought up on college football. So this was a big deal.

And now it's happening again.

a classic matchup...between 7-4 teams.

The 'Skers and the Wolverines will face off in San Antonio at the Alamo Bowl on December 28th. Not only will I be in Nebraska with my rabid Cornhusker-loving family, this will be the first time I will root for the Wolverines over the Huskers. So long Big Red. Hello, Blue!


santa's secret.

The gracious and beautiful Section 5 social chairs hosted a killer holiday party last night. (By "killer", I didn't wake up until 11:00a today.) It was essentially an excuse for people to share their favorite drinks with our dear classmates. Patty made some crazy Swedish witch brew, Anna made her famous (and lethal) grapefruit bombs, and I shook up some dirty martinis. Although, as you can see by the picture, the martini-maker shook back.

clearly, phil needs to work harder.

Only one more week of classes before finals. It's been a long term, but these new friends have made it much more enjoyable. Five's Hot!