Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breathing Room

For the first time in the last 10 or so days, I have some breathing room, which has allowed me to rest and recover a bit.

At the end of last week, my Power in Org met met to finalize our paper outline, which is about Lorne Michaels from Saturday Night Live, and divide out the work per the Divide and Conquer teamwork style that I have come to prefer.  As soon as I knew what I was responsible for, I was able to get to it and begin writing. I spent pretty much all day Sunday and most of Monday evening working on my section, which discusses how he handled (not well) the events leading to his temporary departure from the show.  The final draft came in at 5 pages with 2 original exhibits (see below for one of them), and I was ridiculously relieved to be able to send it to my team, effectively removing that weight from my shoulders.

  Based on a lecture on Conflict Management. You don't want it to get to "Hot!"

I decided to take advantage of the wave of momentum that I was feeling and also tackle my Personal Assessment for the same class.  I had fallen behind on my planned schedule for it by about 2 weeks, and I wanted to make up for lost time.  I started working on it last night, and after a glorious 8 hour of sleep, I finished the first draft today.  Ideally, I'll take some time to review the draft and make improvements before submitting it in 2 weeks, but realistically, it may already be the "final" draft at this point.

I want to highlight how awesome it felt to get a full 8 hours of sleep last night.  This quarter I've been getting between 5 to 5.5 hours of sleep every night and compensating with coffee (lots of it).  After a while on this schedule, I felt myself slipping into a haze that impacted my ability to do work, understand what I had just read, absorb the concepts I was learning, etc.  Unfortunately, once I was there, I think it became a bit of a self-reinforcing cycle:  it was taking longer to get things done, so I was getting less sleep than I wanted, making up for it with coffee....wash, rinse, repeat. I am not going to let myself get into this situation again next year (4 classes per quarter all the way).

Here are a few other quick updates.
  • I learned that a classmate was recently diagnosed with and treated for eye cancer.  I was relieved to read that it was caught very early on, and he is doing well now.  
  • Stephen let the cat out of the bag that we are working together on an early-stage project.  It has been pretty difficult to devote time to it, but when you are excited about something, you somehow manage to make time for it.  So I've managed to acquire a pretty good working knowledge of Amazon Web Services, particularly EC2, during the last month.  It's not my first time doing something like this. Back in 2008, I created a Perl/CGI/MySQL-based service (OIBoard - Online Investment Board....terrible name I know) that was basically like Craigslist but for nonprofits or other orgs seeking funding, volunteers, etc.  I was just starting to get some user-created content on it when I got admitted into Kellogg.  That prompted me to stop working on it.
  • I secured my apartment for the summer in Dallas. It is only about 2 blocks away from the BCG office, so it should be extremely convenient.
  • I used the spoils from the Best of Blogging award to get a new camera: a Canon sx210IS.  I figured that since the gift card was a result of documenting my experience, I might as well spend it on something that I can use for that purpose.  I chose the camera based on its optical zoom range and ability to record HD movies with stereo audio (clutch for concerts).  I tried it out last weekend at a Greg Laswell concert, and I was a bit disappointed with its performance in low-light conditions.  Even after setting the ISO to 1600 (max it supports...and I'm willing to live with the graininess) and dropping the F-stop to as low as possible, the pictures still came out really dark.  The camera also allows you to adjust the shutter speed, but that's pretty useless without a tripod. On the movie/audio front, it fully met my expectations. See for yourself!

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