That is one big basket alright…

This past weekend Tiffany and I drove a little further east toward Newark, OH. to check out the famous Longaberger building. Supposedly this is one of the 10 most unique buildings in the world according to Quazen

Once we got there, I can totally see why. Mannnnnnnnn that is one big basket.

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The town itself is not very exciting to be honest. This company is right off Hwy 16 and that’s about the only thing you can see around you besides farms. Nevertheless, it was a nice day out and Tiffany really enjoyed the scene and I can totally use some time away from accounting. =p It’s also interesting to note that the baskets these guys make can range anywhere from $30 to $200+ (maybe not much of a Christmas gift idea but just in case you’re a basket person). They also offer basket-making(or weaving?) classes. You can find more information on the Longaberger website.

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Michigan Week

Michigan week is always a fun time at OSU.  While I didn’t attend undergrad here, I have been coming down to OSU for Michigan week for the last four years to visit friends (always coming down on Thursday of course).  It all starts on Thursday night with the annual mirror lake plunge.  While it was easily the warmest night in the past four years on the Thursday before the Michigan game, I decided against jumping in because I had a night class that lasted till 10.  However, I did walk down to the edge of the crowd with a mass of friends.  From my observation, this group of jumpers seemed more rowdy (and more intoxicated) than any other year that I remember.  I had to laugh at the sprawl of local police that came to watch the festivities.  In my humble opinion, they provided little crowd control and would not have been in a spot to provide assistance to any intoxicated drowning victim.

Friday then presented a great day for me to sleep in and catch up on the projects that have been tossed on my plate as the first quarter slowly comes to an end.  It seems like everything just hit all at once and now I’m buried with a big project for every class.

Then it was suddenly game day.  The earlier than normal kickoff made it a long day of partying for most around the campus area.  The Buckeyes played the standard extremely conservative football that I have grown accustomed to watching and it never seemed that the game was in doubt.  At one point, Michigan did crawl to within 4 at 14 -10, but Pryor led them down the field and threw a TD pass on the following drive to expand the lead and the scoring halted from there.

Finally, I must inform all of you that I attended the 8th annual Dusterfest (in case you were wondering, the site is updated weekly with the power poll) on Saturday (always the day of the OSU- Michigan game).  The event consist of all of my friends (and their older siblings) attempting to grow the most disgusting mustache imaginable and then we all vote on a variety of awards from “Rookie of the Year,” to “Most Improved,” and of course, the most glamorous, “Duster of the Year.”  Always a good time!

Coupons!

Sarah and I have become the Czar(s) of coupon usage. We try and make a point of buying everything either on sale, or using a coupon. We have saved a ton of money! Our favorite coupons have been from Costco. Sarah and I make a concerted effort to buy everything in bulk,  from chicken breasts, to lemonade, to pretzel chips, all the way to dog treats. Everything we get, we either get a huge bag, or multiple pack with 6 or 12 etc. The other coupons we have loved are the Restaurant.com coupons. We have gotten probably 8 of them. They are normally $10 for a $25 coupon, but they send us emails every week, putting the coupons on sale for 8o% off, so we get them for $2 dollars.

On another note, Sarah and I hosted our Financial Statement Analysis group for breakfast this past Wednesday. We had our five group members over, and Sarah made biscuits and an awesome egg bake. Definitely an enjoyable morning, and we wound up getting an A on the paper. Sorry I write about food so much, but it is definitely a big part of our lives! If anyone has any interest in helping us use those $25 dollar coupons, let me know! Last Friday Sarah and I, and a couple of her friends from work went to Ugly Tuna Saloona and wound up getting 6 appetizers (half off!) and drinks, and still had to make sure we got to $35, so we could use our gift certificate.

Neo-Com Update

Recall that I have been working on a logistic management team and we have a company competing in the “set-top box” industry, in the M&L 880 simulated system. I called the company we have “Neo-Com” as it was like a new-born baby of our team. Here are some updates of our “Neo-Com”. (Visit https://fisher.osu.edu/blogs/gradlife/2009/10/13/my-%E2%80%9Cneo-com%E2%80%9D/ for my previous blog entry about “Neo-Com”.)

The firm has grown up and is doing well. Six months under our care have turned this “baby” into a healthy handsome gentleman. Our team is going to present on our operation strategies to the class in early December. Can’t wait to share our experience and ideas!

By the way, did anybody happen to walk by GE Room 358 last night around 9pm? If you did, you should have heard some long lasting thrilling cheering that almost shook the whole Gerlach Hall.

That was our team, because the final result was posted and we are Team NUMBER ONE!!!!!

Road Trip!

As you all know, thanks to the victory over Iowa this past Saturday, the Buckeyes have clinched a spot in the Rose Bowl on January 1!  As a life-long Buckeye fan, it seems like now is my perfect opportunity to finally attend my first bowl game.

Shortly after the game ended, all students received an email offering a Rose Bowl package for $2298- $2398.  It includes 4 night hotel accommodations, round trip flight from Columbus to L.A., game ticket, and all other travel expenses.  As a grad student that already extended their college career, that package seems like a great time and really convenient as the travel agency will take care of everything.  There’s only 1 problem: there is no way that I can justify spending well over $2k for a 4 day trip in the middle of grad school.  The solution?  Road Trip!

While the plan still has some kinks to work out, it definitely seems doable.  Some details—33 hour drive (1 way), 4,500 miles (round trip), $500 in gas (round trip), renting a cheap car for 1 week with unlimited miles, a cheap hotel room, cheap food, an expensive ticket, and a great time!  The itinerary includes leaving Columbus bright and early on December 29 and arriving in Pasadena mid-afternoon on December 30.  It will be a straight through trip with only six stops (roughly every 350 miles—4 hours, 40 min) for food, gas and changing drivers.  The selling point for me is that this may be one of the last chances I get to take such a ridiculous road trip… the stories that can be told for the next 50 years is where the true value of this trip comes.  Over the past two days, I have worked with some others to compile all costs and get the best deals.  The price for everything (travel, food, ticket, hotel, etc.)?  … $700 per person.  I’m sold!

LE’s home for Christmas Break

This was a busy weekend to say the least. OSU football occupied most of my Saturday, I didn’t get tickets, but the atmosphere was amazing, and the entire town was seemingly very excited! Today, Sarah and I found LE’s home for Christmas break. My parents decided this past summer that the winter trip was going to be in Austria, and I am not sure if LE would like the EU (Or more importantly, traveling to the EU) so we decided to find a family for her to stay with. We posted an ad on Craigslist, and got about 30 responses. After picking the most attractive half dozen, we got more info from them. We found a family in Gahanna, and Sarah and I took LE to visit today.

The family has two young kids, one 7, and one 4, as well as three dogs. They were very excited to meet LE, and LE loved meeting the dogs. We have decided to leave her with them, and they were excited to have her, this should make our time in Austria a bit easier. Sarah is excited because she found out the host family will be sending along updates via e-mail.

This past weekend, Sarah and I spent most of Sunday finding our new TV. We found a great deal for a 46′ flat screen from Best Buy. The TV was about $300 off, and it included a free Blue-Ray player, so we are pretty excited about that. Best Buy’s price actually beat Walmart’s price substantially, which is pretty surprising.

Accountancy Shanty (by Monty Python)

This past Thursday I participated in Accounting For Kids Day, and ended up spending a couple of hours playing a stock market simulation game with a group of fifth graders. It was fun to see all the different personalities – I realized that overachievers (and I’m using that term in a loving way) are most likely born, not made. One of the students spent her Wednesday evening preparing for the big day by talking to her mom about stocks and dividends – thinking about that puts a smile on my face. You go young lady!

I’m also looking forward to the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) information session scheduled for November 18th. I haven’t had a tax class yet, but I’m definitely thinking of signing up. Who knows, what I learn for VITA might help me do my own taxes.

On a side note, even though I live 1.5 miles from The ‘Shoe, I can hear the stadium crowd when I’m in my apartment. Sometimes when I mute the TV during halftime, I can hear the band. Pretty crazy. Maybe it’s the lack of hills and other barriers? I think this is the flattest city I’ve ever lived in (except for when I’m trying to bike to Fisher with a ginormous laptop strapped to my back).

Managerial Accounting: Kitchen Version

Expenses on food are the largest portion of my living cost besides rent. And the major account related to food is Inventory (raw material, work-in-process, and finished FOOD in Fridge). How to keep cost low, increase inventory turnover, while still maintaining your finished food’s quality become the main concern in the kitchen. Here are some tips followed by examples.

1. Refurbish leftovers.
Food22If you have some meat left from last meal or some leftovers from your doggie bag, mix them with fresh ingredients and create a new dish. Example: Roast chicken sandwich. I used the roast chicken left over from previous meal, and layered them with veggie and cheese on flat bread.

2. Diversify your products.
Example: Garden corn chowder. I figured I could never finish the milk I had in fridge before its expiration date. Coincidentally some fresh corns were on sale. This dish added delights to my day and also reduced the obsolete cost in production.

Food24Home 1883. Look at what you have in the fridge.
Many people like to stock up on-sale items in their fridge to lower their raw material unit cost, so do I. However, many times I found these goods deprecate faster than I can consume them. So based your production on what you have in the fridge, instead of on what is on the shelves in store. Example: Apple kiwi grape smoothie. I opened my fridge one day and saw the drying grapes. The kiwis were there for weeks and the bottle of ginger ale was occupying the space of my fridge. Simple enough I put all the peeled fruits and drink in the blender, adding an apple to increase the thickness.

4. Last but not least, Bento!
If you cook too much, just pack everything in your lunch box (a bento). It will save you time from running back and forth to grab lunch plus the food is totally homemade!Home 372

My New Habit

What new habit I could establish living a busy life in grad school, you might ask. Meetings! Taking four classes implies that I have four groups, one for each class, and a typical week can be like the one I just had.

Thursday evening, my first group meeting of the week as my simulation group decided to switch our regular meeting to Thursdays. We were told that the study room GE R237 was reserved for us. Our group members spent some time searching for that mystery Room 237, with R236 and R238 found but never was another room seen in between. As a result we had to compete with the P&G Case teams—they competed for the prize we competed for a room—and we managed to occupy a medium lecture room for our discussion. As the end of the simulation competition approaches, our company confronted increasing challenges. One night was not enough, and “let’s meet again on Friday morning”.

Friday, our simulation team stayed at the same spot for 6 hours until we finally felt the decision we made was reasonably reliable. We had some Chinese food together afterwards.

Saturday, meeting for the AMIS824 memo at Laura Anne’s place. Laura Anne’s cookies were great, and her hamster Beevo likes me. Working hard and being efficient, we were able enjoy the football games after our meeting.

Sunday, two in a row. Meeting my AMIS804 crew at 2pm, and we were done in half an hour, a new record! I stayed for another meeting with the FIN811 group. And there came the highlight of the week, we figured we were really ahead of time—the professor’s instruction for the case was not available yet. Meeting was canceled. Class dismissed.

Meeting with groups is no longer simply meeting for projects and homework. It has blend in with my daily life. It can be part of hanging out with friends, having dinner or sharing snacks, and even fun and games. Sometimes I even do it without a project base, like the one I mistakenly called for on Sunday. That’s why I said meeting with groups has become a habit of mine.

“The Fisher Experience”

After being a grad student for a little over a month at Fisher, I have realized that a big part of being a grad student at Fisher is the overall “experience” outside of the classroom.  I have sought every opportunity to network, get involved, and socialize over the past month that would possibly fit into my schedule.  Here is a really random list of some things I have done to enhance my experience @ Fisher:

* Play racquetball a couple times a week at the RPAC– At our initial grad student orientation (for all OSU students, not just Fisher) back in September, I met a first year nuclear engineering masters student that just moved to Columbus after 4 years in Gainesville (yes, straight from “the swamp”).  We talked about our goal of trying to stay in shape in grad school and decided that we should get on a regular workout schedule.  Over time, that has turned into extremely competitive racquetball matches that I always seem to lose, but it is a great way to stay in shape and learn about the experiences of another grad student in a different program @ OSU.

* Fisher “Event’s of the Week” (EOTW)—these are great socializing events put on by the “social chairs” at Fisher.  Last week, I attended a terrific Halloween party at “Mozaik,” a nice bar in the arena district.  There was a very large turnout and everyone seemed to have a great time!

* Events on “the hub”—the Fisher Hub is a listing of all events that Fisher grad students can participate in.  I have attended numerous events on the hub, with my two favorite being a lecture by the VP of Finance @ Google and a visit to Limited Brands (including a presentation by Les Wexner).

* Work conversions @ the Schott—this likely qualifies as the most random thing that I have done thus far.  To summarize, I have a good high school friend who is currently a senior @ OSU (I graduated from undergrad in 3 yrs., so all of my H.S. friends are now seniors) and he asked me if I wanted to work @ the Schott.  He told me that the hours were terrible (definitely true—last night I worked 11 pm to 3 am), but you are fairly compensated and the work is not bad.  Last night we converted the Schott from basketball to hockey.  It is pretty amazing how fast 30 people can completely alter the facility and have it prepared for hockey, basketball, concerts, and wrestling matches.

* And of course, last but not least, attend OSU football games.