Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My New Part-Time Job

Okay, so it's really not a job nor do I get paid, but I find myself playing tour guide alot, and to be perfectly honest, I thoroughly enjoy showing out-of-towners my city. I never really understood Boston's allure when I was younger, but having lived in a few places over the last ten years before moving back to Beantown, it's easy to see why it's usually a must see place for west-coasters, especially for an Idahoan like Jae. Boston is rich in tradition and many people note it's "personality" - something many west-coast cities lack.

This round of tourists included Jae, a friend from the BYU days and her friend, Sara. Although Jae and I were in the same major, had numerous classes together, and shared many mutual friends, it had been seven years (I think) since I've seen her last.

Jae has a knack for finding peculiar stuff to see no matter where she goes, and her trip to Boston was no different. In addition to the main touristy stuff like the Freedom Trail, Quincy Market, etc, Jae also wanted to see the Harvard Anatomical Museum and the Mary Baker Eddy Library/Museum among other places.

But it must be noted that the top priority and the main reason for coming to Boston was to see John Williams conduct the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall (as mentioned about in a previous post). As a thank you for taking a few days off from work and being their tour guide, Jae and Sara graciously paid for my ticket to the concert.

It was good seeing Jae again and meeting Sara. I hope they enjoyed Boston as much as I enjoyed showing them my city.




Ah, yes, they were quick to realize the true rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees.


Quincy Market


The reflection pool near the Prudential Center, part of the Church of Christ Scientist.


Another tour of Fenway. Too bad there wasn't an actual game being played on the nights they were in town.


The Harvard Anatomical Museum


Sara waiting to get onto the US Constitution


Duck tour.


Symphony Hall.


Jae enjoying her view of Fenway Park.


Walkway between the Prudential Center and Copley Place. For some reason Jae and Sara were excited to actually be on walkway like this. Are they that rare?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John Williams

A few weeks ago I had two friends come into town from Utah. (Well, technically, it was one friend, and the other girl was a friend of my friend, but who's keeping track?). For both of them, it was their first time to Boston. I'd love to say that their main reason for visiting was to see me, but that would be a lie. Apparently, seeing a John Williams concert live with the Boston Pops was on Jae's bucket list!

I've pretty much always known who John Williams was, but until this concert I had no idea to the extend in which he wrote musical scores. His more popular scores include Stars Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Jaws, but the scope of his movie musical scores was larger than I ever imagined. I won't list them all here for you, but it suffices to say that if it was a blockbuster movie, John Williams probably wrote the score.

Of course, the two hour concert only allowed for a small sampling of his work, but luckily for us, we got to listen to some of his more popular works, like the Imperial March (Star Wars), excerpts from Harry Potter, pieces from Superman, and the main theme from Indiana Jones, to name a few.

The following videos probably break a handful of copyright issues, but someone in our threesome (who will remain nameless!) couldn't resist recording some of it for future viewings! Here is a small sample of what we heard/saw:


video


video


video

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

B-School



Obtaining an MBA is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember. If some of you remember a few years back I got accepted to Arizona State's MBA program, but the rather sudden move back to Boston in 2008 put that hope on hold, err stop. I don't know how long I'll be staying in Boston this time around, but as far as I know it's indefinite. But who really knows? Regardless, I still had high hopes for getting an MBA, so being in Boston ultimately turned out to be fortuitous since it offered so many great schools nearby.

Starting the MBA research all over again was a daunting task, but having lived out in Boston growing up I was already relatively familiar with the schools in the area. I took it upon myself to find the best program for me all while taking into account a number of different things like cost, location, student satisfaction, curriculum, ROI, etc., as well as rankings and accreditation.

I won't bore you with the details of my decision making, but to make a long story short I had a brief list of schools I wanted to personally visit: Boston University, Northeastern, and Bentley. Also Suffolk and Babson were on the radar, too.

I knew that Boston University was the #1 ranked part-time program in Boston, so there was definitely something they are doing well. I went to one informational session, talked with a few members of the admission council as well as a handful of current students and I was smitten. The more I researched it and read up on the school, the more I felt that BU would be a great fit for me. Additionally, the staff at the graduate admissions office were extremely professional and always returned correspondence within a day! (Would you believe that I emailed a few other schools requesting more information about their programs and they never emailed me back!?!).

The application process for BU's program was extensive: four essays(!), two "letters" of recommendations which turned out to be more of an intensive questionnaire on the candidate you were recommending, and a one-on-one interview, not to mention the usuals...college transcripts, resume, GMAT scores, etc. As far as I know, BU is the only school that required an interview for their part-time program and that meant alot to me. It really shows you how hard they are actively finding the right professionals for their program.

My GMAT scores were lower than I would have liked, but I think my undergrad GPA, work experience, etc, was up to par with other applicants. The days leading up to the interview were nerve-racking, but it ultimately ended well. My interviewer, Liz, was an angel and made the experience very comfortable.

After the interview, things we out of my hands - I had done all I could do and then it became a waiting game...and wait I did! I was supposed to have a decision mailed to me by 15 April, but after 19 April I still hadn't heard word back. Turns out there was a slight "miss-filing" at the admissions office, so they basically told me via email that I was accepted! Yea! ( I still haven't received my official letter in the mail yet!) I was extremely nervous waiting for a decision. I can't even tell you what a relief it was to get accepted! And good thing I did get accepted - it was the only school I applied to, and quite frankly, the only school I wanted to go to. Trust me, I did not want to deal with applying to other schools and going through their application process!

I will always be a BYU supporter at heart and forever a die-hard Cougar fan, but I never had intentions of going to BYU for a graduate program. I had the BYU experience as an undergrad and definitely wanted a change. I hope I can represent BYU well during the next three years. I also feel slightly disappointed that I never got a chance to go to Arizona State, but after all is said and done, Boston University's part-time MBA program ranks well ahead of BYU and ASU, so things have turned out great so far. Rankings aside, I'm very comfortable with my decision.

Despite being out of study mode for about seven years, I'm really excited for the program to begin. But better late than never right!?! I've since joined the ubiquitous Facebook page for the incoming students and have learned that other great schools across the country will be represented in the program: Stanford, UCLA, George Washington, Bentley, Brown, U of Florida, Holy Cross, to name a few. I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit intimidated, but I know I can hang. Three years is a long time. Here we go...now the hard part begins.

California Dreamin'

One of my goals in 2010 was to cut back on travel and the expenses that inevitably come with it, but when long-time friend, Gabby, invited me out to LA, I couldn't resist. Being a teacher, Gabby had the week off and didn't have any plans set in stone, so we made a nice little vacation together.

I had been to LA once before when I was 19 - right before my 2 year mission to Japan, so to see LA again was long overdue. If my memory served me correctly, I wasn't a big fan of LA when I first visited there back in 1998. One of the few images I still see in my memory bank was driving down from La Crescenta and seeing a nasty smog-cloud over the city.

Unfortunately this more recent trip to LA didn't change my perception of LA much. Don't get me wrong, it's a great city with lots to offer and plenty to see, but I personally have no desire to ever life there. The constant traffic everywhere by itself would keep me from ever living out there. San Diego is another story...

Ok, enough of me bashing LA...

Gabby and I pretty much played by ear when deciding what to do. Ultimately our list ended up consisting of a trip to Disneyland, watching a Lakers basketball game, visiting the Le Brea Tar Pit and Museum (did you know much of LA used to be covered in tar!!!), walking around the Farmer's Market, meeting up with some of Gabby's friends in Santa Monica, attending a funeral (of Gabby's Aunt), and other little excursions. We also spent a few day's at Gabby's childhood home in Huntington Beach where I got to meet her parents again.

All in all it was a great trip despite hitting traffic EVERYWHERE we went no matter what time of day it was. Gabby played a great host and perfect tour guide!

Here are some pictures in no particular order.


Gabby and I right before the Lakers game.


At Farmer's Market


Disneyland.


Gabby insisted that I get my picture taken in front of the princess castle. I'm surprised she stopped laughing long enough to take this picture.


Lakers game.


To infinity and beyond! I think one of the funnest parts of Disneyland was simply seeing how happy some of the kids were just to be there. Disneyland is like crack for children!


Standing outside the Staples Center right before the Lakers game.


At the La Brea Tar Pit and Museum.


Farmers Market.


Disneyland


Rose Bowl.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nice to Mitt you!

I try really hard not to like Mitt Romney simply because I don't want to be cast into the same group of people who like him because they share some insignificant commonalities - BYU grad, Mormon, his ties to Massachusetts and Utah, etc. But no matter how hard I try, I'm convinced he should be President. I understand his reasoning, respect his King Midas touch on past business ventures, and believe his policies will be best for America.

I had known about his book tour for some time now, and marked the Manchester, NH date on my calendar weeks ago. I arrived at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm's College at 6:15pm eagerly looking forward to getting a great seat for his 7pm speech, only to find out his speech began at 5:30pm!!! I was thoroughly disappointed that I missed his speech, but I did catch the tail end of his Q & A session. Thank goodness I decided to get there early, otherwise I might have missed the entire session!

Recently I purchased his book, No Apology, but haven't yet begun to read it. (I committed to finishing the two books I'm currently reading before I start any new books). I was only in line about 20 minutes before I was able to meet him and I must say I was quite nervous. The meeting was brief. I simply told him I was a big supporter, had him sign my copy of his book, and asked for a picture. The entire encounter was probably less than a minute, but well worth the wait and the drive up to Manchester.

I'm well aware of the hoards or Obama faithful out there (including my own sisters!) so I need to watch what I say, but I can't wait for an opportunity to see Mitt run for President (again!) in 2012!



The tail end of Q & A.


Waiting in line...




I was so nervous to finally get to Mitt's table!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nieces...

Well, I needed an excuse to post pictures of my three nieces, but I really couldn't justify it, besides simply wanting to do it, and showing them off a bit. Of course, I'm partial to my nieces, but I can't get over how cute these little crumb-cruchers are!

All three of my sisters are married and have one girl/each. How ironic that I would grow up with three sisters only to have each of them bring more girls into our family!

Oldest to youngest:

MAYA:
She is the oldest of the nieces. I get to see her tomorrow!!!












LUCY:
Not the "baby" of the babies anymore, Lucy will be 1 year old soon. I look forward to seeing her again in June, too.











OLIVE:
Less than 2 months old....lives in Utah. I have yet to meet her! I have a tentative plan to fly to Utah in June for a good friends wedding, so I look forward to meeting Olive for the first time.









Out and About in the Bay State

Even though I grew up in the northern part of Mass before a 10 year hiatus out west and overseas, it never ceases to amaze me what is practically in my backyard. I had been to Gloucester before for a whale watching trip, but I've never really taken the opportunity to drive along the coast of northeastern Mass. Until last Sunday that is. We tried to get larger numbers for our adventure, but ultimately just three of us ended up going - myself, Lumina, and Rene. We drove to the Beverly/Salem area and then pretty much drove on route 127 along the coast passing, Beverly, Magnolia, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Gloucester and a handful of other quaint little New England towns. We made random stops here and there and played the trip by ear. Here are a few pictures in no particular order:


I have no idea what this truck was for, but Lumina wanted a picture by it.


Rene manning the life-guard station






Lumina enjoying the ocean breeze!






Gloucester






No fish.




Resting.