This was the story of a couple from Texas, Mark and Jie (pronounced 'J'), who started the MBA application process in August, 2003. Mark applied to five schools and decided to attend Harvard. This blog begins after his acceptances and documents the process from that point forward. It concludes shortly after graduation.
Friday, July 30, 2004
Yesterday and today Jie and I wrapped up the last of the packing and I made a cool (and neurotic) spreadsheet that lists each box, its contents, and its weight. I also labeled each box with its number. This afternoon we came to Austin and had an awesome fajita dinner with my sister and her husband. It was so great to catch up with my sister, I really regret not doing this months ago. I've had plenty of beer now, so I'm having a grand ole time. And yes, I did a kick ass job on the grill in case you wanted to know.
So, this weekend we need to see Jie's parents and two of my friends houses before we go. Sunday night we are having a big dinner at my Dad's house, Monday we are going sailing with my dad, Tuesday we are loading the truck, Tuesday night we have a family dinner (with Mom, Step-dad, Dad, Step-mom, sister, and us), and Wednesday at 5am-ish we leave for Boston. I just hope time moves quickly between now and then. I am ready to hit the road!
Today Jie got a job offer with Harvard! She wanted to get out of engineering and into something that uses her people skills, and today she was offered more or less her ideal job. It's still technical, but she will be managing others and interacting with alumni. Also, she gets a ton of vacation, and we'll have all the same holidays. It's really a fantastic deal. She starts the same day I start Foundations, which is an added bonus. The only downside is the meager pay, but we knew she would take a big hit in pay if she moved out of engineering. Anyway, we're on track to move next Tuesday, and now that the job situation is settled, we may even take a mini-vacation once we're in Boston. Woo hoo!
Well, we came back to Houston Monday. It was a shame to leave the lake, but I'm sure we'll get over it. We spent today packing up the apartment. We had an entire Grand Cherokee worth of stuff that either went to charity or to storage here in Houston, and there are another couple of bags of trash as well. Anyway, I'd say we're about half way through the packing process, so we're running ahead of schedule at this point.
My booq backpack shipped with a broken zipper, so I went through the hassle of getting a replacement sent to me. They are sending a return label, and I'm thinking of returning the whole backpack. It's expensive, and for less money I can get a perfectly serviceable one from Targus or Swiss Army. We're going to run by the galleria and maybe Circuit City or Best Buy and check out the other bags. If I like one of those, I guess I'll send back the booq bag.
Jie and I drove in to Austin today to run a few errands and have dinner with her parents. I bought some UT stickers for my laptop and a UT hat for when I'm in Boston. This is the third UT hat I've bought since I graduated, I've lost the other two.... Anyway, I've gotta represent when I'm up amongst the yankees, so now I'm all set. I already have a UT flag to hang in my section.
We are doing the final negotiations with the movers as well. We are going in with two other couples, both in Austin, and having all of our stuff moved at the same time. One of the other couples knows the movers, so I feel pretty sure we aren't being swindled, but just in case they try to change the price or something at the last minute I am making a Penske reservation for a few days later. Hedging my bet a little...
This weekend we are having a big to-do at the lake. I think we'll end up with around 15 people for Saturday night. It should be a lot of fun, and I'll post pictures the next time I have broadband. That's one reason I can't wait to get to Boston, our room in SFP (Soldiers Field Park) has a 10Mb ethernet connection. That'll make uploading pics a breeze.
Last Friday evening I somehow stubbed my toe at the lake, bending back the toenail and wedging grass underneath it. Ouch. I'm still in pain, although it has improved significantly each day since then. It's a shame, cause I don't think I will be able to get my foot in a wakeboard boot for the rest of July. The water was perfect until about 1pm today... Argh.
Yesterday we drove in to Houston from the lake to go to a dinner at Brennan's. Back in May we got my step-mom a "Chef for a Day" gift there, and she had been there since 10am cooking and wine tasting. We arrived around 6:30 and were treated to a tour of the kitchen, introductions with all the chefs, and a fantastic 6 course meal. We had turtle soup, crab cakes, lamb, steak, fried green tomatoes, and one of every dessert they make. It was fantastic. Below is a picture of Executive Chef Randy serving desserts to Dad and Amy.
I finally decided to get nasty and I just reformatted my hard drive. IBM has a cool feature where you can restore your laptop to the factory settings with the push of a few buttons. Then it spends about an hour formatting the C: drive, resetting the file system and partition, and reinstalling the OS. After all that, no more virus...
I figured out that I could get virus scan, regedit, etc. to run if I boot my PC in safe mode. That's all well and good, but I still can't seem to find and clear the problem. Right now McAfee virus scan is running through the entire C: drive, which brings up a real drawback of a 60 GB hard drive. This thing takes freakin' forever to scan. So far it has gone through 120,000 files.
I've used Jie's laptop to download Adaware, CWShredder, and Spybot, and as soon as VirusScan finishes I will run them on my laptop. If that doesn't fix it, the IT guy at my old office said he can move some things around to help me out on Monday. Dean's a good guy.
Here are a few takeaways from this:
Enable the Internet Connection Firewall for all your internet connections
Enable Windows Update to download and prompt for installation for all security patches (and when you get a new PC, don't get online until you can get all the necessary updates)
IT seems like a very frustrating job. You fix problems like this all the time and if you are any good then people like me call you when it isn't even your job to help them anymore...
Reading directions (or not), Booq Bag, Creating Modern Capitalism
I didn't read the directions for the Microsoft Sasser tool, and I didn't disable System Restore, so now my PC is just slightly messed up. I called HBS IT support, and they said they could fix it when I get there, but in the meantime I'm out of luck. When I get back to Houston I may swing by my old office and see if the IT guy there can fix it. We'll see...
I ordered a laptop backpack from Booq bags last night. It was a little expensive ($170), but it's pretty cool and has lots of nice features. I think it will work out well. I ordered the BP3 system.
I also finished Creating Modern Capitalism today. It was pretty good, and much more entertaining than I thought it would be. I think that's all I need to take care of between now and August...
Lots of relaxing going on. Not a lot to talk about. New laptop has the sasser worm. Crap. Any advice out there? Currently I can't get Norton or the task manager to run, so I can't get Norton to clean the computer and I can't shut off the processes through the task manager. The microsoft sasser tool couldn't remove it for me. Crap.
I got my laptop from UPS today! IBM originally said they would ship it by July 14th, and then they actually sent it on June 30th. UPS tried to deliver twice and this was the last try. It's funny, cause they have to drive out from Austin each time, cause that's the closest UPS office. To add insult to injury, my RAM didn't come in yet, but should be out for delivery tomorrow, so they'll have to come back again. With 4 trips (1 hour each way) for $35, I can't imagine that UPS is making money in this case.
Anyway, I have installed just about everything I need to, including moving all my photos and old files from my old PC. This thing is sweet, and I am really enjoying it. I just love new toys.
Well, after spending the 4th and 5th with my Dad, Jie and I made it up to the lake this evening. We're here for about 20 days total during July, but we'll be in and out of Austin and Houston as well. We're also constrained to dial-up for the duration, which is a rough change since I've had DSL for ages.
My laptop arrives from IBM tomorrow, I can't wait. If we don't sign for it tomorrow then UPS will send it back, since they've already attempted delivery twice. If I have to wait on the porch from 2pm-5pm I'm prepared to do it... ;)
Well, we finally made it back from our 8 days in Boston and NJ. Unfortunately, I was a little overzealous in turning off our internet/phone/cable, so we don't have any internet at home. Also, everyone with wifi in my complex has finally figured out WEP, it seems, so we had to trek over to my sister's place to use her computer. Anyway, until we make it out to the lake I don't think I will be online much at all. Hope you all can hold out without us... ;)