October was an unusual month for me, as I spent almost the entirety of it in EST. Hopefully I won’t be too jet-lagged coming back to the West Coast. I’m also hoping that the timing of daylight savings will help me adjust more easily.
I finished up my interview training at the end of September, just in time for the Case Western Career Fair. I was super excited to visit my alma mater, if even for a week. There are a few people that were freshman during my senior year, and thus are still enrolled, so I got to catch up with them in addition to “just” working and recruiting. I spent about a week in Cleveland, and, as a bonus, managed to convince my mom to pick me up and drive me to Rochester, rather than flying back to SF, so I got to spend some time at home as well!
Career Fair Fatigue
This was my first career fair on the employer side. If you had told me beforehand that I would be exhausted by the end, I would have scoffed. But let me tell you - it is unbelievably draining. I don’t say this to complain; it was a highly-rewarding experience, and I’m hoping to go back next year. I say this instead to remark on how surprising this was for me, and also to say how much respect I have for career fair veterans.
Blue Block Party
Case’s homecoming lined up with the career fair this year, so on the Thursday of that week was the annual Blue Block Party. Apparently, Case has been throwing this party for years, yet this was the first time I attended or even heard of it.
The party takes over the entirety of Uptown, with a giant pavilion-style tent set up next to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Prior to the party, which is open to anyone, the tent plays host to a donor dinner. After the dinner, the tent is filled with various “blue snacks”, Case’s colors are blue, white and grey, which I think is the intention behind the blue theme. which are mostly standard party fare, but with blue food coloring. Think Rice Crispie Treats with blue frosting, cookies with just blue M&M’s, and the like. There was also “Blue Juice” which I think was some sort of fruit punch concoction dyed blue. I didn’t have any - it looked pretty vile.
Then, in Uptown, all the local businesses set up booths to advertise, hand out samples, and generally engage with the community.
There was a cycling studio that opened sometime after I graduated, and they had a stationary with a blender mounted to the back. Then you could hop on the bike and pedal, powering the blender to make smoothies, which they then gave out as samples. Brilliant.
Bipibop, another business that opened after I left, had a prize wheel. Prizes included t-shirts, bags, water bottles, and a ticket for a free meal at Bipibop. Since I was on a per-diem, all my meals for free, so I would have been happy with literally anything but the ticket. Guess what I won? I gave it to a friend who I went to the party with.
They also had a photo booth with props! Check it out:
With my week in Cleveland done, my lovely mother chaufuerred me back to Rochester to spend a few weeks home with family. It was a great few weeks, and I got to do a lot of fun stuff.
First, I ordered a new pen and had it shipped to Rochester, since I knew the timing would line up. I love it! I now refuse to write with anything else.
Continuing in the vein of “planning ahead”, I smuggled one of my monitors in my luggage when I flew to Cleveland. This is now a permanent fixture of what I lovingly refer to as my “adhoc home office,” which consists of my external monitor, a power strip, and a mouse pad featuring my two dogs. My main complaint about working remotely was losing the extra screen. Being able to refer to one screen while typing on another makes me way more productive.
Date with Destiny
On a family trip to the AT&T store, I made a momentous decision.
Previously, I upgraded my iPhone 6 to iOS 11, and it became practically unusable. Battery issues, bluetooth issues, random crashes were just a few of my complaints. So, I knew I would be getting a new phone. The only question, then, was if I would get a 7, or wait for the iPhone X. The store rep managed to convince me the X was worth waiting for, so I scheduled a reminder on my calendar for the pre-order day.
I switched from Overcast to PocketCasts. Looking back now, I think the issues I had with Overcast (battery drain, constant crashes, etc) had more to do with iOS 11 on the iPhone 6 and less to do with Overcast itself, but Overcast had become unusable for me. PocketCasts ended up working just fine for me. It has Overcast’s smart speed, plus an added “skip intros” feature, which allows you to start a particular podcast past its intro and initial ads, which I thought was a nice touch. I will note that it comes with a one-time $2.99 price tag, but I had an unused iTunes gift card Do people still give those for graduation gifts? , so it was free to me!
My mom introduced me to the Rochester Public Market for the first time. I was blown away. The sheer amount of produce, to say nothing of the incredible quality, was astounding. Just take a look at these brussels sprouts, which we bought right on the stalk:
We went back the next week (obviously) and stopped by the fish market. They had baby octopus, and a quick Google search told me you could grill them. That was all the convincing that I needed, so I bought some, and told my family we’d be trying grilled octopus. To their credit, they didn’t completely revolt.
How were they? Not bad at all! A little chewy, but I really liked them. They took a lot of effort to prepare though (you have to clean them and boil them before you grill them), so I’m not sure if it was worth it. If a restaraunt offerred them, though, I would definitely consider ordering them. For the curious, here’s what they looked like prior to cleaning and boiling:
The Amazing Maize Maze
Also at my insistence, we went to Long Acre Farm. They’re well-known in Rochester for their corn maze, which they cleverly titled the “Amazing Maize Maze.” I’m happy to report that we made it through in just 74 minutes. It wasn’t a record for the maze, but still nothing to sneeze at if you ask me.
After the maze, we popped in their market and bought some homemade fudge. In what I’ll call The Sampler, we bought small squares of peanut butter, toffee, cookies and cream, and a couple others I don’t remember now. They were all amazing, but I think the Heath toffee fudge was my favorite. All in all, it was wonderful afternoon with the family.
After a long time (three weeks!) in EST, I braced myself for a brutal adjustment back to west coast time. I think it only took me a few days to stop waking up at something like 4AM, so it wasn’t as rough as it could have been. With not much time left in the month, few events of note occurred.
Something I had been looking forward to about Rochester was getting my hands on the new pen I ordered. When I got back to SF, though, things got even better! One of my teammates, who is also a pen enthusiast, got new ink in my absence and let me try it out. I fell in love with the Sailor Jentle blue black immediately.
Next up, the time came to for iPhone X preorders. I wasn’t terribly committed to the idea of setting a midnight alarm to get an early shipment date — I still have scars from course registration days in university. As luck would have it, I happened to wake up around two in the morning. I guess my subconscious really wanted to get its hands on a new phone. Since I was up, I pulled up the App Store app and began submitting my order.
Alas, my arrested development finally bit me. I haven’t moved off family’s cell phone plan yet, so in order for Apple to talk to AT&T, I needed not mine, but my mother’s, social security number, which I obviously didn’t know. So, by the time my mom on the east coast was able to complete the order for me, I had gone from an estimated delivery date of December 8th to December 18th. I plan, and Apple laughs.
Finally, the month ended with Halloween! A teammate organized a mass costume effort for our floor. I’m going to let this photo speak for me, but suffice it to say that Waldoween was a great success.
Well, I got this out way later than I meant to, but better late than never. November and December roundups coming soon!