Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Applying to Graduate School

My personal application process is officially over. Here's my shot at a tip sheet (I'll try and avoid the more obvious ones).

Tricky thing about the GRE when the undergrad years are a speck in the rear view mirror: the verbal section gets a lot easier and the math gets rough. For those of you way out of school, start hitting the math early and often - it will likely be your speed that trips you up and not wrong answers.

Try not to make your essay a rehash narrative of your resume. See if you can puzzle out what career choices led you from job to job (or kept you in the same one). Look for a common thread and build an essay around that theme. I hated my essay until I found a theme.

If you're turning in a video essay, think of it like an elevator pitch. The elevator pitch always works in a structure of three - three quick concise ideas. The human brain loves threes. You don't want to simply hold your iPhone in front of your face - yes I saw a couple of these form other applicants.

Try and make at least one of your recommendations from a professor, preferably one with a CV that emits its own light. Enough planning ahead can make this work through professional relationships. Or...head back to your alma mater and buy your favorite undergrad professor lunch. Make sure everyone writing you recommendations gets a copy of your resume and academic history - even your application essay if your that well prepared. The easier you make it for them, the better the result.

Careful who you give contact information to as you start scoping out schools. Some admissions personnel will hound you relentlessly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

IT management(ish) people I follow

The blog has clearly gotten quite stale. We'll see if I can post more. Towards that effort, here's a rundown of what I follow on the web on a semi-daily basis. Others may find this list helpful from an IT management perspective.

For this post, I'll stick to blogs and columns by single authors:
  • Bob Sutton: Bob wrote The No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss. Aside from his own excellent writings about management and leadership best practices, he's also a good source of book reviews.
  • John Halamka: John keeps up with his healthcare CEO blog with astonishing consistency. I tend to skim the more healthcare centric tech posts, but his insight into how he manages change and crisis should not be missed.
  • Scott Bradner: Another Harvard guy (in addition to John), Scott comes from the grand beard and suspenders tradition of data networking. His writing however offers fresh insights into security topics - mainly on a political / philosophical level.
  • John Kotter: John just started blogging for Forbes to cover leadership and change topics. His posts have videos of him talking (well produced). It's nice to see a business leadership expert from Kotter's generation that doesn't just spout Ayn Rand objectivist crap - especially on Forbes! (I'm pretty sure regular readers of Forbes online know who I'm talking about.)
  • Jonah Lehrer: Authors the "Frontal Cortex" column for Wired online. He picks great psychology topics.
  • Stan Barber: Stan's another old school network guru that's still at the front of pushing network technology. Not an especially regular poster however.
The list is notable for it's lack of diversity. Perhaps someone can convince Barbara White Bryson to start a column somewhere?

As far as the blog goes, I'm not really inclined to write anymore sushi, wine, or bike racing posts. My wine purchasing has dwindled to almost nothing (a topic for another day), the "sushi gang" sticks mainly to same standard places, and I'm not racing nearly as much. On occasion I'll try and throw in some notes here and there. It's worth pointing out that Kata Robata has gotten a lot busier on Friday nights!

Monday, August 2, 2010

2008 Reds - A wine for the people

Zin blends! Here comes a proletariat version of The Prisoner. Screwcap and all!

Good times. The zin comes roaring out at the start! Whammo!

For some reason the nose reminds me of an airplane cabin.

They softened the start with very berry middle a cream finish.

Very deep color. Don't worry about breathing or decanting. Open and pour!

Also very cheap. Like eight bucks cheap. Thus dethroning Red Truck as the go to cheap California red table wine! Sadly, good luck finding it.

Buy a whole case when you do find it!

Here's the link:

Drink well!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2007 Apothic Red

This is the second bottle I've uncorked, but my first time reviewing it. This should be tipping you off...

Anyway, not much of a nose. Some so-so legs.

GOD I LOVE THIS WINE. But perhaps that's b/c I love grapefruit. This is a grapefruit-ey wine. There's some roasted smokey berry tastes, but nothing to deep or meaty.

For the most part it's a light balanced start, some sweet with some sour.

Grapefruit-ey middle, then goes a bit green towards the finish.

It ends very light and sweet.

It's a blend of merlot, syrah, and red zin grapes. For me, the merlot and the syrah come through the most - it's mild fruitiness masks any spiciness the zin brings.

Super drinkable - definitely a LIGHT red table wine. This will NOT hold up against red meat or any spicy foods.

Gamblelynn had a similar review - I think we're on the same page with this one.

This was $9.99 bought on February 12th.

I strongly recommend this wine. It will easily stand up to table reds in the twenty to thirty dollar range.

Food accompaniment was stove-top unsalted popcorn (per usual) with the album Wood by Moxy Früvous.

Drink well!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bogle Vineyards Phantom 2006

Day 1

Let's see... a blend of petite sirah, zin, and mourvedre. Sheesh, even the font screams "Prisoner copycat". Ah well, one could do worse than trying to copy the best red blend in Cali.

This wine has no legs, it just sheets. Odd.

Nice nose, but not very distinctive.

Harsh start, creamy berry flavored middle, nice smooth, sweet, flowery finish.

Lets dig deeper... (i.e. drink more).

It's just too raw at the start and I really can't pull out anything distinct, but the journey after that tells me the wine has some good things to offer. I don't get a lot of depth or complexity here - all the flavor is generic, obvious and on the surface.

Let's give it a day of breathing and see what happens. In the meantime suffice to say it's a 15 dollar supermarket wine, and for fifteen bucks please just go buy a bottle of The Turk. Sadly it's getting harder and harder to find The Turk. This is my sad face.

Also... Wincentric did a fairly positive review of this one. While I agree with him on the Tootsie Roll Pop finish, the rest seems to be all in his head. What's a "wine lover's wine" anyway? Is that kind of like saying the rest of you are to dumb to appreciate this well-marketed mediocrity? This reminds me of people who like Classico tomato sauce because the cheesy label and mason jar it comes in makes it seem "authentic". (Classico tastes like crap btw).

Too green and generic to be a solid table red. I don't recommend it, despite it's nice finish.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Red Truck 2005

A classic. The go-to red wine for eating, sipping, canoodling, etc.

Red Truck was my first purchase way back in the day when I started down the road of California red table wine. In those days I refused to spend more than ten bucks for this hobby (then I got a taste of The Prisoner from Orin Swift and that plan when to crap). Whenever I see people staring blankly at the shelves of blended reds, I always point the newbies to Red Truck. I've owed this wine a review for a while now.

I just happened to pick up this bottle for $7.99 at Tarjey (or Target as it's also pronounced) back in early May. Tell your friends you paid $30, have them drink it, let them ooh and aah, and then be a douche by telling them how much you actually paid. Jerk!

Mild from beginning to end without being limp. Clean and fruity - not a smoky complex wine by any means. Really pleasant finish. Sometimes I swear it's not really made from grapes the consistency from bottle to bottle is so perfect.

They also make White Truck ( a white blend). However if God had meant us to drink white wine, urine jokes wouldn't be so popular in Ben Stiller movies.

If you absolutely have to spend more for a different go-to wine than this one, pick up The Turk.

Personal crap starts here so feel free to stop reading...

Okay...been a while between posts. Also some races never got 'capped. And I'm missing some pics. Everyone get on board my excuse train!

First things first - I finished 4th overall in the Texas Mountain Bike Championship Series for beginner 30-39 men.

I've upgraded to Sport - I think they revamped classes though so stay tuned.

Last race at X-Bar? DNF'ed by flatting twice. Yeah....rhymes with 'truck' and 'buck'. My finish for the preceding race at Lake Lake was mediocre with a finish somewhere in the middle. Apparently I can't carry a lot of speed through turns.

I was a wee tired after that. So no hotels, no eating out, no driving around TX, no running, and no mountain biking. I must confess I played a more than a little bit of World of Warcraft this summer. The only thing that saved me from a totally sessile existence was my daily bike commute to work. Sadly that's still probably more exercise than 99 percent of America gets.

I'm re-focusing on working with the Rice Cycling Team. Great folks - lots of people signed up this fall. To that end I've ordered a Madone 5.5 Pro. My first road ride in 15 years. Stay tuned for a review.

Oh yeah... Hurricane Ike. That sucked and frankly it still does. Everyone is alright and we kept our windows, but lost our power and water. A lot of our friends got hit a lot worse. My wife missed the disaster completely due to a serendipitously timed trip to her parents in CA. I rode out the storm at campus - a story for another time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

STORM Hill Country Challenge 2008

STORM Hill Country Challenge 2008

Back to Comfort, older and wiser than the last time. I didn't blister my hands, run out of water, or dress too warmly. Speaking of attire, this was the inaugural race for my new Rice Cycling Team kit. Sadly the fresh steaming cow patty I rode through not only splattered the Yeti, but my new jersey and shorts as well. The shorts also ended up with blood stains. Dang.

The bogeyman tried to frighten us away with prophecies of thunder, lightning, hail, and heavy rain for race day. But the wrath of God act was not to be. Beautiful weather instead - at least for the race. The ranch got pretty cold and windy after we hit the finish line.

I placed fifth after a good, but not outstanding effort out on the course. Drew and I spent almost the whole race dueling it out for fourth place. I lost a lot of seconds on the descents - especially the backside towards the finish. I did, however, clean the three spots that had me worried: a hop up rooted ledge right between two oaks, a chunky drop called 'evil worm' just past the top of the climb, and a big stone ledge drop at the end. I shouldered a tree, but everything else went smooth - including my start. I avoided another anaerobic detonation like Waco by not trying to hang on to Clint's wheel for too long. I have no idea what the results from this race will do to the overall point standings. Good news for Clint though - he's locked the series up. Look for him in sport at Double Lake.

Drew looking thoughtful, some dude, me napping, Chris looking nervous, Lonn thinking about sidewall protection, and Clint looking laser-focused as ever.

  • Two dinners at Cracker Barrel. Cornmuffins! Saturday chicken and rice special! Pork chop! Cheap!
  • Saturday found me tasting wine at Becker Vineyards (get the cab sauvignon, skip the provencal) followed by lunch at the Silver K Cafe (get the spinach salad, skip the chocolate cake).
  • My stunningly sexy pre-ride partner took a tough fall that banged up her knee pretty bad and her chin just a little bit, but she climbed those rocky ascents like a vet!
  • Did anyone else notice that the Galactica ep had a lot happening, but nothing actually happened? Morbo demands more Grace Park screen time!
  • Reality met pseudo-reality when Bibi Martinez and I chatted for a bit about our blogs.