Archive for March, 2004

We’re going to Disney World!

March 21st, 2004 No comments

Cam hasn’t been to Disney World in about 4 years, and I haven’t been there in just over a year, so we’ve had a hankering to go for a while. Because our first Senior Trip in 2000 was legendary, we’ve now decided to tentatively go for an second round. Its working title is currently “Senior Trip: College Edition.”

Cam has his surgery and stuff to worry about, so that’s why all the dates are tentative, but we’ve both blocked off May 17-22nd on our calendars. I knew there were some discount codes at so I called 407-WDisney and checked on availability. After being told that they did have a room, and that I could cancel all the way up to 5 days in advance without cost, I booked a reservation.

We’re staying at the Pop Century resort, with a note on the reservation to put us in the 1950’s themed building which is close to the bus stop. For $10 a night you can get a preferred room, but I think the two of us can manage the extra walking – despite our laziness.

The dates we picked leave us with 4 full days in the parks (which is exactly the amount necessary for us to cover everything : we have it down to a science – dorks). Our tentative schedule is as follows:

Monday – Fly to Orlanda in the early AM, spend afternoon at Downtown Disney/Marketplace, eat someplace cool for dinner, and see whats new at the other resorts that evening.

Tuesday – EPCOT. Check out Mission Space, the new ride, then eat at the Teppanyaki Dining Room, just like last time.

Wednesday – Magic Kingdom. See Philharmagic, the newest ride in the park. Then spend the rest of the day Fastpassing between rides.

Thursday – Disney-MGM Studios. Try to set a Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster record (previous record 6 times in a day from 5/2000), Tower of Terror, possibly the Boardwalk and then Fantasmic at 9. Then, Pleasure Island at night because Cam turns 22 at midnight.

Friday – Animal Kingdom in the morning, then finish up the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon and eveing. See Wishes at night, then head to Jellyrolls for dueling pianos and drinks. Cam’s birthday will be mentioned to anyone who might give him something free.

Saturday – Finish up loose ends such as Boardwalk, Downtown Disney and packing. Hop on a MEARS shuttle and fly back to Wisconsin.

I think planning is half the fun of going. Ok, not half, but close. What’s kinda sad is that we really have been there enough to have things down to a science so lots of the planning is done. Which I guess the itinerary listed above pretty much proves.

Here’s a little bit of comic relief for you. The following is the exchange between Cam and I after we decided to go:

CyberCam82: ryan, you just got a job, what are you going to do now?
kcrj: i’m going to disney world!
kcrj: wait, now i’ll ask you
kcrj: cam, you just got a job, what are you going to do now?
CyberCam82: I’m Going to Disney World!
CyberCam82: woooooooooooooooooooo

Wow, these last two months of school are going to be long ones.

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Shootin the shooters

March 21st, 2004 No comments

After work on Friday I headed over to the Bradley Center to shoot at the UW vs Richmond NCAA tournament game. I had picked up my media credentials the day before, so it was just a matter of finding where to go once I got there.

You wouldn’t believe how big the area is underneath the seats in that arena. I walked what seemed like a quarter mile to just get to the media room. The hallways were completely filled with media of all sorts: writers, photographers, video guys, and a horde of people with special CBS tags.

After meeting up with the Badger Herald photo editor and another Cardinal photog, we ate at the media buffet. Yup, the NCAA fed us. You just show your credentials and eat away. Completely free. Not a bad deal. CBS, however, had their own media buffet area, I’m sure the food was much better.

After that I spent a while trying to find the stupid little leg band I was supposed to wear to prove I was a photographer for the tournament. Apparently the guy was wandering around the floor, but I never found him. About 15 minutes before game time I see the guy, not making himself easily visible in any way, and finally get it.

The game was amazing to see from floor level, even if I was watching most of it through the small rectangle in my viewfinder. The first half was horrible, as you know, while the second was much better. This was the first time I’ve been to something at the Bradley Center where it was completely packed and the crowd was really into it. It was amazingly loud and pretty intense.

I got a decent amount of acceptable shots, and posted the top 10 on my profile. I put all the shots I took into a gallery and posted them for you to see. Let me know what you think.

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March 21st, 2004 No comments

After I got the job offer , I realized I would need something to spend all the money I’m getting on. Hmm…

A car.

Specifically an ’04 VW Passat or Grand Prix GTP. So, over my spring break, I hit up a couple of dealerships to get the scoop on them.

My parents and I headed to Boucher VW on Hwy. 100 in Franklin to test drive the Passat. The salesman was extremely nice and was able to show off the features of the car without making me feel rushed to get inside and buy it.

However, once I was inside, things changed. He ran my credit report and found out I qualified for the 1.9% special financing. That’s good. After that, there was a period of about 45 minutes where the salesman was paged over the PA system for whatever reason. When he finally was able to sit down at length again, he asked me if I’d be willing to walk out of there tonight with a new car. His manager told him to ask that, of course, or so he said. I said no because I hadn’t really shopped around yet. That sent him off to his manager again.

He returned and asked the same question, again. When he got the same answer he said they wouldn’t be able to talk price because I wasn’t that interested. I told him I had no reason to even be there then, which caused him to run off and get the manager.

The manager was the perfect example of a slimy car salesman – lots of expensive looking clothes, but you know he had an ’89 Escort in the parking lot. Then he proceeded to ask me if I was willing to walk out of there that night with a new car. Funny enough, I gave the same answer as the previous 2 times. He said that pretty much precluded me from getting any sort of price out of him. After saying that wasn’t really acceptable because I’d be a fool to not shop around for cars, he started to work with me more.

Read more…

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JSee ya later

March 21st, 2004 No comments

When not car shopping, I spent my spring break at the Journal Sentinel again…for the last time.

Most of my time there was doing menial helpdesk work as usual. Lots of “Helpdesk, this is Ryan” and all that. It’s not the worst thing in the world to do, although close. You realize that the department has a complete lack of knowledge of how to utilize almost fully college educated people when management has them spending most of their time helping those incapable of determining that it’s time to restart the computer when it bluescreens.

There was one lady who had me come help her find her lost folders in Outlook. Turns out they didn’t disappear, she just had the folders collapsed instead of expanded, so they were there, just not visible. I wish some people had just a little bit more basic computer knowledge.

I had my camera at work for my last day because I was shooting at the UW game later and took some shots of what I guess most people would call coworkers. Adam “G” asked that his picture be included this time, as he wasn’t in the last set of pics I posted from the JS. He’s the guy on the right.

The other interns were hoping the department bought a cake for my last day (a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to be exact), but they weren’t so lucky. The office manager had my manager give me an umbrella, a hat and a cool rubber ball with LED’s in it that lit up when it was bounced. Those last longer than an ice cream cake.

At the end of the day I said goodbye to anyone who was still around at 3:30 on a Friday (not many) and headed out the door.

I look back on my experience at the Journal in a weird way. As a highschooler that job was more than any 17 year old could expect. As a college student two months from graduating, with experience at another internship and an offer for a full time job, I look at it completely different. I realize the JS is small compared to lots of places, and might not know how thigns are done, but I felt horribly underutilized the last few times I was back. While I can’t expect anything out of them as far as what they give me to do, I can realize that the interns are used more for the lowly routine work that no one else wants to do rather than for any intellectual ability they may possess.

That certainly isn’t to say that my experience there didn’t benefit me. Having 5 years of experience at one place helped a lot in my interviews. I understood a lot about how a newspaper works and had plenty of experiences to draw from for interview questions.

Last semester for my consulting class I wrote a 30 page report (including appendices) on how to make the helpdesk better. Nothing that I recommended has been done, despite the reality that my report was supposed to bring to the area. It just goes to show you that I was there to be a pair of hands, not any sort of brain.

But that’s what Epic is for. At least that’s what I expect.

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Iliad and Odyssey employment

March 21st, 2004 No comments

I got a job offer last week. I had intereviewed at Epic Systems over the past couple months and finally was given an offer to work as a Technical Services Engineer.

Epic makes healthcare software, including scheduling, billing and patient management type stuff. The job entails doing support work for one of their applications, some customization programming and some travel here and there.

It pays really well, and the benefits are great. I can’t say specifically what they are, but they fit nicely in the ranges given at the business school’s career center site.

The interview process went as such (for those of you interested):
1 – Resume submission to the school’s website
2 – Phone screening, on-site interview #1 (interview, 3 tests(!) and a tour)
3 – Waiting
4 – On-site interview #2 (2 interviews, gave a presentation (about Disney World, of course), HR wrap-up)
5 – Waiting
6 – Phone call indicating I might get the job
7 – Waiting
8 – Phone call indicating i got the job
9 – Phone call screening me for another position
10 – Letter offering TSE position

I’m looking forward to actually starting and getting my first paycheck. It’ll show that all these (long) years in school have finally paid off. However, knowing that I have a job certainly won’t make these last two months go by any quicker. (Anyone have a time machine?)

This also means I’ll be taking up permanent residence in Madison. Many people have asked what what I think of that, and I’ve given them all the same basic answer. Basically I’ve said that I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be here if you asked me that a couple years ago, but the place has grown on me.

I’ll be staying in this apartment near campus until my lease runs out in August. I’ve looked around Madison’s west side a bit and have seen some nicer apartments over there for after August. Since Epic is in that area, it’d work out well. There’s tons of restaurants, stores and all the other essentials there, and it’s a little higher class than the east side of Madison.

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