Archive for July, 2008

Catching Up

I don’t really know who all reads this thing, but I figure most of you know me for real. If that’s the case then some of this stuff won’t be news to you, but here it is anyways. Turns out that a lot of stuff happens in real life when you’re not paying attention. Here, in no particular order, are some highlights of the last while.

Running

I ran the half-marathon I mentioned earlier. It was definitely worth doing, even though I didn’t run it super fast. Read more about it and see my time at runningahead. Since then I’ve gone through a couple of phases. First, I was running 30-ish miles per week for several weeks in a row, culminating in a 5k race that I didn’t rest at all for. I broke 20 minutes, which I was very happy with, but I could have run quite a bit faster, I think, if I had done the few days before the race differently. Oh well.

After that, I left for the Philippines and ran once in two weeks. It was a great trip, and deciding not to stress about running was a smart move. I’m back now and will try to get consistent again before I begin traveling in earnest. More on that below.

GRE

I took the GRE on June 9th, as planned, and actually ended up doing very well! I just got my official scores in the mail today and I even scored high on the writing part. All this after beach/pony camping all weekend with the Burritos. Now to decide whether I’m going to grad school or not, and when.

Beaches

Speaking of beaches, I’ve spent a lot of time on beaches this summer. Maybe not more in a year than I have in my life before, but certainly more than since I was a little kid. And I haven’t gotten a sunburn yet all season! That’s even more amazing. I remember burning pretty much every time I went to the beach in past years. Maybe with age I am getting wiser. Here, I’ll pass on my wisdom: apply sunscreen every 45 minutes or hour if you are as white as I am.

The first trip of the year was my visit to Puerto Rico back in April. We spent quite a bit of time outside, but each day also involved chilling out inside so I just got darker rather than burning. Next up was a 4 day visit to a beach house in North Carolina with a great group of people. Tossed the disc a lot, played in the water a little bit, and generally had a great time. Next, went with a big group of people, mostly from the frisbee team, to Assateague Island for beach camping. Again, tossed the disc a lot and spent the whole weekend outside. Finally, I went to the Philippines for two weeks.

The Philippines

That’s right, two whole weeks of vacation. Dave and I took off from Dulles on Wednesday, June 25th and returned just a couple of days ago on July 9th. This trip marked my first time in Asia (now my continent count is three). Basically I can sum up the trip by saying “I love the Philippines.” Our experience in the country may have been a little bit atypical because we had a good friend (Chip) there to plan, rescue us from language difficulties, and introduce us to his family and friends, but I think a well-prepared tourist without such a local contact could still have a great time.

We were based in Manila, but took three different 3-day, 2-night trips to various places around the country. There is so much to see and we only scratched the surface of it, but we still experienced a whole hell of a lot. Chip decided that the trip’s goal was to experience the various types of beach life in the PI. To this end we went camping at a beach with boat-only access (Anawangan, in Zambales), stayed a couple of nights in a beautiful villa in a coastal town (Sabang, in Puerto Galera, Mindoro), and enjoyed a weekend at a resort on the island of Bohol. We spent two days scootering around on small motorbikes, seeing various sights and tearing up the roads as much as we could with 110 horsepower. We also did lots of other stuff that I’m not really talking about here, like: Snorkeling! Eating! Drinking! More Eating! Relaxing! Hiking! Watching terrible movies on buses! Taking pictures!

Even though I didn’t take more than a handful of pictures myself while I was there, I was traveling with some photo-happy folks, so I ended up with a DVD of over a thousand pics showing the whole trip. If you want to see them and hear (a lot) more about my trip then please ask.

The real kicker is that I took this trip three weeks before my last day of work at the Fed.

Quitting My Job

I’ve known since this spring that I’m going to quit working at the Fed this summer. And for the record, they’ve known too, so I’m not some kind of jerk for not telling them. I’ve actually really enjoyed my experience at the Board of Governors. My coworkers and bosses have been great, the work has been mostly interesting, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m a very different type of programmer now than I was when I started, and know quite a bit more about applied statistics (econometrics, specifically). Also, the benefits and pay have been awesome and I’ve managed to take quite a few fun trips, both locally and quite far away.

DC has been a really good place to live, and I’ve made a lot of friends here (Burritos!) but I’m moving on now. I might come back at some point, maybe even next year, but for now I plan on doing some traveling.

My final day of work is August 1st, two years and one week after I started working here.

Plans

Where am I going from here? As I hinted at just above, I’m going to be traveling for a while. I’ve got quite a few tentative plans, a couple for-sure ones, and a lot of ideas. I’ll write another post about that soon. If you have any ideas or want to go somewhere with me, please let me know!

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