I purchased two boxes of Girl Scout cookies today. And suddenly the world was much brighter and happier. My case of Mondays have died!

As of late, I have had this urge to just say very little when presenting. I want to be concise and to the point. Yet I can sense that others expect so much more. But after sitting in meetings where people can talk endlessly about something…and in the end, we only absorb a minute of it, why is it necessary to waste time to talk about something incessantly.

I have a bad Monday every so often. Today was one of those. A case of the Mondays. But it turns out that people won\’t notice how many things are wrong as long as you can be confident and show that nothing is wrong.

After all, it\’s not a bug. It\’s a feature!

It is annoying that for my programming usable interfaces class that I am forced to use the windows platform. It\’s more annoying that I don\’t have a Windows laptop. So when I tried to e-mail my VB.net prototype to people…it just did not work on machines without .NET ARGH, I could just strangle Microsoft for being so non-cross platform friendly. ARGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!

\”It\’s sunny today! Let\’s go on an adventure!\” my housemate exclaimed when she came down to the kitchen where I was eating my lunch.

I laughed and said that I had a meeting at 1 that probably would last a few hours. Then I said that I wanted to check out Station Square and Southside since I never went to either of these places during the daytime. Carol said that she would wait for me. So at 4 pm, I diligently waited inside for her to arrive. I had a massive headache from having a meeting in a bright sunny 8th floor conference room, where we figured out designs while looking at our laptop. I was tired of looking at recipe sites and trying to be inspired to find out how to address our target users. I was so tired. When her blue car pulled up, I breathed a sigh of relief. The cold air of 30 degrees greeted me as I rushed toward the passenger side.

And we zoomed off to station square with my hastily instructions written on yet another throw-away cover sheet (CMU prints a cover sheet with every print job to indicate whose the job belongs to). We got to station square and immediately I was enthused by a fondue restaurant. Yet I didn\’t see anything that exciting. We looked around for free parking, but didn\’t see any…so I declared that we head over to Southside to see what was up there.

My mistake I thought if we continued on Carson Street that we would hit Southside. Yet I directed Carol to drive west rather than east. Eventually after a barren landscape for a mile, I said that we probably were heading the wrong way. So we made a U-turn and started to head the other way. Then suddenly BOOM! There was a pothole in the middle of the lane that was maked by a puddle of water, leftover from the melting snow. Carol righted her car and then it seemed ok. It felt like the car got misaligned. But it seemed fine otherwise. And we kept heading east. Somehow the street forced us to turn into a highway and so we got into it. We were slightly lost, but we figured if we kept heading to the airport that we would find a way back. I laughed and said that we could go to Costco. All week long, I was thinking that I should buy a pack of paper towels.

Then we started hearing a thumping sound. And for a moment, I thought that I was going to die. Die with Carol. Then I started thinking of whether I lived a good life. And whether I had manipulated people enough… Outside, I saw the smoke coming out. Fortunately, the moment passed and I said, \”I don\’t think we\’re going to make it to Costco. We should pull over.\”

We pulled over and I got out. The right front tire was completely gone. I wondered if our speeds of 50 mph burned the tire to nothing. But I saw the remains of the tire about 50 feet away, which must have fallen off if we had tried to make it to Costco. So Carol called Lexus. We waited in the car for the tow truck to show. And no, the guy wasn\’t like Freakshow of Harold and Kumar. But doing this kind of job must be rewarding to see helpless stranded motorists and really help them.

The guy couldn\’t get the tire out from the trunk and so he drove us to Costco. It was funny how the guy didn\’t know where Costco was. It\’s a contrast to California where everyone knows where Costco is, but not where Sam\’s Club is located. Fortunately, the Costco auto shop was open 10 more minutes when we got there. Unfortunately, high-end cars like Carol\’s car came with wheel locks and she didn\’t have the key. So then Carol finally submitted to bringing the car to a Lexus dealership where there was good care of the customers, but the price of repair was extraordinarly high. The tow truck guy was very nice, but he look worn too. He actually saw us on the highway but didn\’t notice anything wrong with our car so he went onto another job. On the way to the West Liberty Lexus, he talked about this amazing pizza place called Beto\’s Pizza. Lexus had a nice overnight dropoff and as Carol filled out the paperwork, the guy slowly lowered the car with a 2×4 piece holding the right front hub. He put the torn tire next to it. While we waited for a friend to pick us up, we waited in the tow truck making nice chatter.

He gave us the Beto\’s pizza menu and his card before we left. Carol and I gave our thanks again. \”Have you eaten yet?\” I asked Gary once we got into the car. And off we went to Beto\’s pizza–a right turn after McDonalds, then up a hill and down the hill, then a right, then a quarter of mile down until we see Beto\’s. And when we got there, the place was packed. It was rated the top place for hoagies in 2004. Although I am not a sandwich or pizza fan, I nearly died when I walked inside. The tow truck guy had raved on and on how the pizza was weird…but good! And really it was…the pizza crust was baked, then cheese and toppings were heaped on afterwards. So cold cheese on hot crust! We ordered one steak hoagie, two cuts with pizza and cheese, one cut with veggies, french fries/chicken fingers, and onion rings. I still smell the delicious grease. I ate until I felt the oil and salt cover me.

And even though the afternoon was unexpected, it was still an adventure. What would have been better is if there was a Mike Fernando. And it was a break of my day-to-day work doldrums!

What kind of person is one whose philosophy \”things happen, and you can\’t do anything about it\”? Is it too passive?

Everyone can control their \”destiny\”. If someone is not happy with you, why don\’t you do something about it?

Miss a connection? This is an example of why the Internet is such a great medium.

I saw a talk put on by an Apple software engineer of Final Cut Pro. Despite the fact that I fell asleep halfway through, I loved every part. And just like anything that is so promotional (the presenter used everything that was Apple) and marketed, I felt like I really wanted to work for Apple after I finish here. I want to create and design interfaces that market niche. The people who want to be unique and different–the ones who love rounded corners and the bright glow of the Apple sign.

What impressed me the most was that despite the fact that he was an engineer, he appreciated the meaning of the users. I have many friends who ignore the total user experience, rather designing a piece of software around what it could do rather than what someone could do with it.

And this awesome video with apple products flying everywhere. So great. I think I might buy a mac mini now. Ok maybe a mini ipod…

And then I gave my last piece of advice, \”Fight for what you believe in. Don\’t let people\’s desires (or even fate) get in the way of what you want the most.\”

The other day I went to the talent show for the SCS (School of Computer Science) because two of my classmates were performing the Bohemian Rhapsody. Considering that this was a talent show put on by SCS (sponsored by Google, Apple, and of course CMU\’s various depts), there were several very geeky or just ODD performances. Is this characteristic of CS people? One of the acts was a guy doing a belly dance. Unfortunately, he was just a systems scientist in the CSD department and just didn\’t have the figure to do it right. He wore a small vest and has this bland happy look on his face. He twirled a pink shawl around and danced. Then there was an act where a professor and few students demonstrated parallel processing while juggling. Total improv. The professor rode an unicycle on stage to start the act and promptly fell on his face. He (bravely) got up and rode it again…and fell down again. But the best acts were the musical ones (unsuprisingly). There were several acoustic guitar/singing acts. A few band acts. As well as our two classmates who played the drums and piano of Bohemian Rhapsody. I didn\’t know one of my classmates sang like a opera singer!

They often say if you can\’t say anything nice, don\’t say anything at all. Yet which is worse? A cold shoulder or harsh brutal words?

Yesterday night, my friend convinced me to go to a party…when he said, \”You can take pictures of me when I am drunk.\”

And that\’s when I said, \”OK, I AM THERE.\”

Unfortunately, he never got to that stage. :(

Then someone got a little excited with static electricity and ballooons.