Snow and Tests

There is currently a mild blizzard outside my window.  My part of the state has been fortunate to have not been hit too hard.  It seems to have gone south of here, and some parts of the state are reporting over a foot of fresh stuff since last night.  The storm is suppose to pass by  tomorrow, and I am hoping that the forecast is correct as it could play a role in my travel plans.  Here’s to hoping that the MSP Airport is up and running efficiently…

Between now and Friday (the day I am leaving town) I have two midterm tests.  One is today and the other tomorrow.  These tests, and about 10 more hours of work, are all that stand between me and a week long vacation.  It is much needed this time of year.  Winter break is simply too short to replenish my batteries and get me fully motivated to attack Spring semester head on.  Also, with it being my final semester and my 5th year, I am more than ready to close the books for a while and start my new life.  This post needs to be short because I need to get back to studying, but I do plan to snap a couple pictures of the fresh snow and upload them later.

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European Cars

Cars represent a true passion in my life.  I was reading a blog I recently began follow, Classic Confusion, and got inspired to share a short post with some photos.

While I was in Europe for two months last spring I was able to snap a few shots of some of the beautiful cars that I saw.  That being said, I wasn’t quick enough with my camera sometimes (especially on the autobahns).  I can recall numerous cars from Porsche: 911, Cayman, Boxster, Panamera; Ford: Escort Cosworth, Fiesta ST, Focus ST & RS; Maserati: Quattroporte, Granturismo; BMW: 1 series M coupe, M3, M5, M6; Ferrari: 360, 430 (Scuderia), 458, California, 599; Audi: R8 (V10); Lamborghini: Aventador (brand new in Munich!), Gallardo; Bentley: Continental GT; Rolls Royce: Phantom; and many, many more.

Here are some I was able to get pictures of, you’ll also notice some pictures of rally cars which I explain later on:

Now for my car fix I have begun rewatching all of the Top Gear episodes that are on NetFlix!

Besides street cars, I am a huge fan of racing.  I enjoy Formula 1, British Touring Car Championship, World Tour Car Championship, Le Mans (Euro and American), and pretty much any kind of racing that involves turning both ways (not you NASCAR).  My very favorite, however, is rally racing.  No other motorsport can deliver the same kind of excitement as rally.  Thankfully there are so many sanctioning bodies in rally racing that there is a race almost every weekend of the year to keep me happy.  I try to follow the WRC, IRC, Rally America, BRC, and a few smaller circuits as much as possible.  Also, I look forward to being actively involved in rally racing in the future with the Rally Russel‘s team.

 

Spring break…again

As some of you may know from a post a while back, my girlfriend and I will be heading to the Boston area for spring break.  It’s not your typical spring break destination, but I’ve found that there is a lot to do and see.  For this reason, and the fact that I fly out on Saturday, I have decided to talk about my trip again.

I thought I’d share some things I found to do in the suburbs of Boston where we’ll be staying.  There are so many lists of things to do in Boston, but not a whole lot featuring the area we’ll be in.  Some of these things we may actually do, others we may not, it really depends on the weather for some.

Things to do in Somerville

Things to do in Cambridge

There are many more things to do, but these were two sites that I thought had some good things to do.  I also like how they feature things/places that locals do/go.

One place I am really looking forward to visiting in Boston is Beacon Hill.  It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, and in the United States for that matter.

Planning things to do  can really rely on the you’re expecting.  Weather can play a huge role in any vacation to New England, so knowing how to pack is also important.  I found a a short bit on how to dress and what kind of temperatures to expect: Boston in the Spring.  Basically, be prepared for the worst.  Wear layers because you can always remove them if it is warmer than expected.

I have to keep this post short, but I hope to write a bit more about the Boston area before I take off.

At Home Fitness

I’m sure everybody reading this has seen plenty of articles/blogs about exercising at home.  I’ve decided to write a quick post showing a few of my favorite exercises using my very simple equipment.  You don’t need a fancy home gym; you only need a small area of open floor space, a sturdy laundry basket, and a couple dumbbells (optional).

There is an endless amount of exercises you can do at home so feel free to experiment.  Just Google “exercises at home” or something similar and you will see what I am talking about.  I took a few pictures of myself while exercising today to better illustrate a few of my favorite at home exercises.

To start, grab your laundry basket/chair/couch and do some simple step-ups.  Step onto the platform with one leg and bring the other up toward your chest.  Step back down onto the ground and repeat.  I won’t tell you how many repetitions to do because that is a based on personal preference, but I do about 3 sets of 15-20.

A simple step-up.

Lunges are another great at home work out for the lower body.  Simply step forward with one leg and lower your self toward the floor.  Push back up once your knee is almost touching the floor.  Do the same with the other leg.  Again, I do about 3 sets of 20 reps (10 each leg).

Lunges can be done with or without dumbbells.

Next, I’ll show a few upper body workouts.  I like to begin with dumbbell chest press.  Again I utilize my laundry basket for this exercise.  Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie down with your back on the basket and your feet on the ground, then lower the dumbbells until your elbows are at about 90 degrees, or a little further, and press them back up.  I do about 3 sets of 10-15, depending on the weight being used.

Using the laundry basket again for dumbbell chest press.

Next, stay in the same place and switch to a dumbbell fly.  This requires that you lower the dumbbells out to your sides, and pull them back up to center.  Again, 3 sets of 10-15 for me depending on weight.

Dumbbell chest fly.

Finally, I use a laundry basket/chair/couch/bed to do some triceps dips.  Place your hands on the edge of a solid surface and outstretch your legs.  Lower your body down until your elbows are at about 90 degrees and press yourself back up.  I prefer to do about 3 or 4 sets of 25-30.

Using the laundry basket for dips.

There are so many more exercises you can do, but I just wanted to illustrate some of my favorites.  As I said, you only need the simplest of equipment to work out at home.  I also included dumbbell curls, dumbbell shrugs, body weight squats, and ab exercises to finish off a short workout today.

What if

With all my talk about getting a job after graduation, I have put little time into thinking about the alternative.  By this I mean, what if I don’t get hired straight away?  What if there is some down time between commencement and employment?

If this is the case, I have made a couple of plans that I intend to stick to.  My idea is to move to the Twin Cities, where I have some friends and an older brother.  I would plan to move in with my brother and his wife temporarily while seeking a full-time job within my field.  This doesn’t mean I will be free-loading though, I would definitely secure some sort of work, whether that be a full-time job or two part-time jobs.  This would allow me to be financially stable and be in a metro area where I am more likely to find a job.  Eventually, whether I have secured a career or not, I will have enough money to move into an apartment of my own or share one with some friends.

If the above plan doesn’t result in a full-time career within about 6 months, I will be applying for a program which allows young Americans to work abroad.  BUNAC‘s Work in Ireland program supplies you with a Work Holiday Visa which is good for 12 months.  This would make it possible for me to move anywhere I choose in Ireland and find any kind of employment I like for up to a year.  It would be an incredible experience and a perfect way to spend a year while young.

These are just a couple of ideas I have, but we will see what happens.

Changes

At this point in my life I am only months, even weeks away from some very big changes.  In 10 weeks time I will be wrapping up my final, finals – ever (unless I go to grad school but that is for another post.)  The following day I will be walking across the stage and receiving my degree acknowledging that I did indeed complete undergraduate school.  But before any of this happens I am anticipating some big developments.

As I have mentioned before I am expecting to hear back from two potential employers shortly, both of which would require me to relocate if I secure a position.  One relocation would keep me within the state by bringing me to the Twin Cities while the other would send me well out-of-state.  An opportunity with either company would be very exciting for me as would the relocation process – and I can’t forget about getting a real income!  I don’t want to elaborate too much on either prospect as I tend to then get my hopes up and get ahead of myself – there is always the possibility that neither will work out, but I try not to be too pessimistic.  What I will do however, is offer a few words of wisdom (?) for those of you in similar circumstances. 

First, and foremost, embrace the change!  I know I am ready to!  This is as exciting as it gets, it’s a time to start your own life.  Of course, responsibilities increase exponentially, but that is part of life.

Don’t be afraid to move far away.  Getting out of your comfort zone and experience a new lifestyle can help you find out who you really are.  Also, being away from your friends and family can release from any underlying pressure to conform to a certain lifestyle.  And if you think you’ll miss your friends and family, don’t worry, with e-mail, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls, text messages, and the like you can be just as connected as you were back home.

No matter what anybody says, people are people everywhere you go.  They may have different cultural norms, traditions, and mannerisms, but they regular people too.  You can – and will – make new friends anywhere you choose to go.  This might be the best part of moving away, meeting new people is fun!

This is about all I have on this subject at the moment, but my blogging will pick up once I know where I’ll be moving after graduation.  Anybody have any more tips/advice for somebody nearing graduation and/or a big move?

 

Phone Interview…?

As my post from yesterday said, I was scheduled to have a phone interview today for an entry-level job.  I had applied with the company in late December, and they contacted me this week via e-mail to express their interest in me.  I responded with my availability and they were quick to reply with an appointment for a phone interview.

The interview was scheduled for 10AM, so I made sure to get up plenty early.  My alarm buzzed at 8AM and I rolled out of bed and stumbled across the room to my dresser.  Once there I selected a pair of jeans and a t-shirt for the day before heading downstairs for some breakfast.  I ate, got myself ready, checked me e-mail, and made sure I had a comfortable station at my desk.  It was about 9:30AM at this time so I decided to do a little last minute digging on the company to see if I could find any current employees or valuable details.

At 9:50AM I made sure that I was 100% ready and got myself a glass of water.  Now the waiting began.  10:00 came and went, then 10:10 passed which no signs of life from my phone….10:15…10:30…10:45.  By 11:00 I still hadn’t heard anything, so I decided to continue on with my day and went to work.

Has anybody else had this happen to them?  How did you handle it?  I think I will be sending an e-mail to the person who contacted me earlier this week to see if I misunderstood the appointment.  Other than that, I guess I will just wait to see what comes of this.

Also, I have decided this could be a blessing in disguise.  I currently have two other job prospects which I am hoping to hear back from soon, if one of those works out in my favor then maybe this missed phone interview wasn’t such a bad thing…only time will tell.

Interview Season

Now that we are nearing spring hiring for college graduates will start to pick up.  This means if you sent out your resume some time this winter, you may be getting an e-mail or a call soon.  I know I recently got an e-mail from a company I applied with in December, and I have an upcoming phone interview for a position.  For this reason, I am writing a quick post with some interview tips.

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Monday Without School

As a student there is nothing better than a weekday free from classes.  Today is one of those days.  The whirlwind weekend is now behind me and I look forward to the next.

This Saturday was incredibly busy for me.  As you know from past posts, I raced in a 24 km nordic ski race.  I ended up placing well within the top half of the race and in a time much quicker than anticipated.  I was happy with my race and glad to spend some quality time on the old boards.  I went home after the race for some rest before heading to a concert in the evening.  The concert was a really good time, but after that my energy supply was entirely zapped.

Sunday was very relaxing.  I spent most of my day in front of a TV, scanning channels for something intriguing.  I always seem to end up on the Travel Channel or something closely related.  It was nice to have a day to just relax.

Although there is no school today, it is back to the grind.  I am back to work today, and have multiple assignments due during the week.  I am trying my best to stay ahead of the game in the homework department this semester.  In the past, I have allowed myself to procrastinate assignments until the day or night before they come due.  This semester I am putting forth much more of an effort to complete assignments early.  Doing so has made my life much less stressful and much more enjoyable.  When I have free time (besides yesterday) I try to put in at least a little bit of work on a given assignment.  By doing this I have made long assignments seem much shorter.  I encourage any student, at any level, to attempt this method; I think you’ll really thank yourself.

Waxing and Waning

As I am preparing my skis for tomorrow twenty-four kilometer race I feel a bit nostalgic…

I walk down the stairs, flip the switch and the fluorescent bulbs flicker to life.  I reach to across the counter top where my wax bench in mounted and plug in the iron.  There have been so many hours of my life spent in this very spot.  In the backroom in the basement, speckles of hardened wax from years past bring back a flood of memories.  I think back fondly of the nights spent alone in this oasis.  I realize in this moment that the hours I have exhausted in this place were as much about mental preparation as they were about prepping skis.