I think I briefly mentioned before that Erin and I won free tickets to Spamalot which I promptly turned into a birthday gift (along with a trip to New York City). Well, we’re here at the Shubert Theater waiting for the show to start. The theater itself is gorgeous, very ornate with all of the trimmings.

More updates and a review to follow!


Minnie’s MacBook Pro

Minnie and the MacBook Pro

Did I mention that I’m now a MacBook Pro user? I absolutely love it, and it seems that my cat Minnie does too. The lighted keyboard and hot-air vent (located at the bottom of the screen) generates a great deal of heat, which I believe is why Minnie was so comfortable. Luckily there wasn’t any cat hair permanently ingrained into the keyboard when she was done with her nap…


Free Tickets!

I won free tickets to see Spamalot next weekend on Broadway!

Not only has it been over a year since I have been in New York City, but I’ve never seen a Broadway show. When I tell most people that, their jaw drops in amazement. But then again most people forget that I have only lived on the East Coast for 5 years now, and that for three of them I was a poor college student. At $80 per ticket, Broadway is pretty much cost prohibitive when you’re a student (and before you mention the discount ticket booth in Times Square, I’ll say that I’m just too lazy to stand in line for several hours).

In this case, I actually won two free tickets from American Express as part of their Membership Changes Everything campaign. They have some pretty sweet deals available, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Oh, and this will also mark my first experience taking the $20/seat Chinatown bus. According to the hard-hitting news reports that aired recently on the local networks, I should be fearing for my life and all. But actually, I’m just really looking forward to going!


To Hell and Back?

Erin called me on Monday from Trodheim, Norway as she nears the end of her cruise through the Fjords of Scandanavia.  Having never heard of Trodheim, I looked it up on MapQuest and discovered that in fact she was only about 8 miles (13 km) from Hell.


Kegerator for Guinness

I took the keg back today from Saturday night’s Yuengling party. I’ve spent the past few weeks researching home brewing, kegerators, etc. I am definitely in the market for some sort of kegerator. Initially I looked for kits I could use to convert a mini-fridge into a complete Kegerator. Unfortunately I had a hard time finding a mini-fridge big enough to support a full size (1/2) keg. I’m thinking about spending a little extra money and buying a real kegerator that is designed for just that purpose, and can hold a variety of kegs (one 1/2, two 1/4’s, or 2 5 gallons).

I’ve been interested in home brewing for a while (since meeting Bob McCouch), but haven’t done too much research on the subject until recently. While there are many intricacies involved, it seems to be a lot like the challanges of cooking where a slight variation in ingredients can drastically change the finished product. It’s just that with home brewing the time scale is slowed down significantly. If I ever want to get seriously into home brewing, I will need a way to tap the kegs.

The added benefit of having a kegerator around is that I can tap my favorite commercial beer should I choose (e.g. Guinness). Both of these are possible thanks to having utilities included in my rent at my new apartment. For home brewing, it’s the heating, water, and refridgeration that make the brew and that would all be free. The only expenses I would have would be the CO2 (nitrogen/CO2 mix in the case of Guinness) and the ingredients.

Going into this I thought that tapping a keg of Guinness would be pretty expensive because of all the custom equipment required, but in fact it turns out that it would be an extremely good deal! I just wanted to type this out so I would have it as a reference, and in case anyone else out there cared. For reference I will use a can from a 4-pack I bought recently at Price Chopper. Including taxes and deposit, the 4-pack cost $7.23, which is $1.80 per 14.9 oz can. That works out to $1.93 per pint.

A 1/2 keg of Guinness from Norm’s Beer and Wine goes for $130. Unlike the New York mandated $130 deposit on kegs, Virginia has no law like that! Anyway, each keg serves up 15.5 gallons of beer, or ~124 pint glasses-worth. That comes out to about $1.05/pint of Guinness, a savings of almost $0.90/pint, or about $111 for the same volume of beer! In fact, since I’m saving almost half, I could almost afford to buy two kegs for the price of the same volume of canned beer.

I also asked about some of my other favorites, shown below:

Boddingtons $115
Yuengling $73

I called a few other stores in the area, and they couldn’t match Norm’s prices. Anyway, as if you needed another reason to visit exciting me, you can come for a few free quality beverages!

Before I end this, fellow Guinness fans will be just as baffled as I about this fact (straight from the Guinness homepage):

The UK is the biggest consumer of GUINNESSĀ® followed by Ireland in second place, and Nigeria in third, and the USA in fourth


FactSet Interview

I had my interview with FactSet this morning. My friend John interviewed with them back in November and was called back for a second interview in December. I remember talking with him about the company, it seems like an exciting place to work! The interviewer confirmed that they have a very communal corporate culture (there is very little definition of management structure, everyone is friends with everyone else, and after work teams go out for drinks/dinner). The interview went very well, the technical questions he asked were all closely related to the work I’m doing now, so they all seemed pretty easy.

We also spent some time shooting the breeze about various topics. He told me all about his job at the company, stating that I would essentially be working on his team if hired. He discussed Greenwich, CT which sounds like a great place to live with lots of cafes, shops, cultural events, and is only 30 mins from NYC by train. We also chatted about RPI for a bit as he was a grad of the class of 2001. My interview was supposed to run from 10:45-11:15, and at around 11:15 he looked down at his cell phone, which was sitting on the table, to check the time. I asked if he had another interview that he needed to get to, and he said “yeah, but we can chat for a few more minutes”. We ran about 10 minutes over, which is can’t be a bad sign! He ended by talking about benefits (stock options, free health/life insurance, etc), and mentioned that their going starting salary for my position is about $65,000/yr.

There are a few problems, and he was upfront about them. He said that right now they are approved to hire people that will start with the company in Jan, 2005 which isn’t so good for me. I’m graduating in May of 2004 and really could use a job right away! Anyway, he continued to say that if they found someone they were really interested in, they could petition the president of the company to allocate funds to hire them in May instead of next January. So hopefully that means there would be a chance at a job there.

I’m also trying not to get any hopes up, because FactSet brought John in for a second interview in CT, and even though everything seemed smooth and a done deal for him, about two months later he got a rejection letter from them. He was applying for a different job that I interviewed for, but still it seemed like they led him on a bit too much.

So that’s the interview story. I’ll post any job-related updates here as they come in!