Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Airports and Arizona

Airports are an interesting beast. Despite their best efforts to be secure and orderly, they generally disintegrate into a maelstrom of chaos.

I happen to be in the heart of the maelstrom as I write this.

I honestly feel sorry for people who work at airports. Ticket counter representatives, security, customer service, all receiving a non-stop barrage of pissed off travelers. An old lady behind me just yelled at the ticket agent because our flight is two hours delayed and the gate just changed. Obviously the ticket agent is solely responsible for the plain being stuck in Oakland with mechanical issues.

I just hope she didn't check in any baggage.

I arrived a little over an hour before takeoff having followed my typical preflight routine: I never pack until about an hour before I have to leave and usually arrive at the airport a little over an hour before my flight. Saves time and stress, and I have yet to forget anything important or miss flight (knock on wood).

When I arrived this morning, I was a little surprised. The line for the Southwest Airlines ticket counter wrapped around multiple times and extended OUTSIDE to the curb dropoff area.

Just peachy.

As I searched for the end of the line, I realized several E-ticket check in kiosks were curiously available. Then I looked back at the line and realized all these poor souls (SUCKERS!!!) had to check in bags. I smugly strolled passed everyone, to the E-ticked check in.

Bodda Bing Bodda Boom, I'm at my gate patiently waiting as Old Women are yelling and an annoying kid is running around screaming as if he's playing the best game in world.


And now it's time to board.


So I'm sitting here at the Tempe Starbucks on Mill Ave. getting ready to meet my friend Heather for dinner before heading back to San Diego. This was my first trip to Arizona. I came down for an interview at Arizona State's Business College for the MBA program which is top 30 in the nation.

I've been strolling around campus all day today in a suit and tie. Normally I would feel very businessman like, however my backpack pretty much makes me look like a college kid playing dress up.

After my interview, I went for a stroll down Mill, and stumbled upon an ice cream shop that was having its "Grand Opening." Hmmm...guess I should see what all the hype is about and have some. A little while later whilst doing some more afternoon strolling, I see another shop advertising it has the "Best Ice-cream Sandwiches EVER!"

Naturally, I peek in only to have a look. I honestly wasn't intending to buy anything. Somehow though, the people inside managed to say EXACTLY the right combination of words, and I happily continued down the street with a Cookie-ice-cream-sandwich in hand.

I have no self-control.

If I end up going to ASU though, I sense this place healthily contributing weekend "cheat" days.

So down I'm back in San Diego. I'm working for 2.5 days before heading up to Mammoth for a little skiing.

It's a tough life I live ;)

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Resolution Evolution

Jeez, we're already into the double digits of the 2000's. I vividly remember my sister being shocked that I was finally hitting the double digits on my tenth birthday. At that time, I also used to wonder what I'd be like in the year 2000. I never once considered what I'd be like in 2010 because that was so far out of my range of age-imagination that the only thought that came to mind about myself in 2010, was "old."

Good Lord I am old.

But, with age comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes evolution of resolutions, of which mine have certainly evolved from general goals which were rarely achieved, to specific milestones that I work on everyday.

Today reminded me that it was indeed the New Year. I went to the Gym this afternoon, and it was packed. I had to scramble just to nab a stair-stepper as soon as someone got off for fear some workout rookie would nab it from me and spend 10 minutes trying to figure out how to operate it before stepping off out of frustration and heading for the ol' treadmill for 10 minutes of intense strolling.

He won't last past January.

Being that it is the New Year, it's time again for me to analyze the goals I set for myself last year and list a few for this year.

Last Years Resolutions:

1. Get in Marathon Shape.

I'm gonna give myself a 10/10 on this one. I was really able to find the extra gear and get in pretty great running shape. From January to June, I went on some extremely tough training runs. On May 31st, I completed my first marathon, and did so in a competitive time. My goal was to finish in under 4 hours which is very ambitious for a non-runner and first-time marathoner.

I took that baby out in 3:51:22. And, it would have been under 3:50 had I not started cramping in the end. To put this in perspective, a college roommate of mine who was on the triathlon team and a regular runner, ran his first marathon in 4:10.

I give myself a 10 not only because I accomplished my 4 hour goal, but because I went on every single Sunday morning training run and never once made an excuse.

2. Make the San Diego Relay for Life Awesome.

10/10! As the Team Recruitment and Events Chair, I put a lot of work in to this puppy, and the payoff was amazing. I stated a goal of growing from 18 teams to 45. Welp - we got 55 teams! Even better, we went from having about 200 participants to 600. The biggest achievement however was the increased fund-raising from $18,000 raised to over $82,000 raised.

Hmmm...maybe I should start a "Relay for Arun's Pocket" event.

The American Cancer Society recommends an 18% growth rate per year, and we completely obliterated that goal. In fact our Relay was so successful, the American Cancer Society presented us with 4 awards, and we were nationally recognized for our achievement.

I'm holding the same committee position this year, and we've raised the growth bar yet again. The event will be amazing and I encourage everyone to get involved! I'm not listing it as a goal however because I'm taking it as a given that I will put in enough work to make the event awesome again.

3. Lauch my Ebook
Another 10/10! This is actually shaping up to be the most productive year ever. Not only did I publish The Social Charmer, but I completed the website and began my (modest) marketing campaign. Things are going well so far and my audience is growing. This is an accomplishment I'm really proud of. Anybody who's sold something they made can relate to the intense satisfaction you feel when someone actually pays money for something you've created.

4. Increase my Musical Opportunities:
7/10. Welp, it turns out I'm NOT Perfect (surprising, I know). Honestly though, I did pretty darn well on this one. I played several open mics and wrote a few new songs. Could I have played more? Definitely. I had several invitations to play at various venues but turned them down, either because I've been so busy, or because I was simply too tired/lazy to go on a weeknight.

Had I been better about playing more, wrote a couple of songs, and been a little more proactive, I probably would be headlining a couple of my own shows by now. I'm not terribly disappointed by this, but I could have done better.

5. Increase my Writing Opportunities.
2/10. Yikes! Honestly, I'm not too disappointed by this. Last year, I was doing some paid writing and actually writing a lot more in general (see numbers of monthly blog posts). However, although I enjoy writing, it is very solitary and I only like spending a limited amount of time each day doing it. This year, I've probably written almost as much, however the writing was for "The Social Charmer" newsletters, advertising copy, and college application essays. As such, I didn't pursue any additional opportunities for a couple of reasons:

a. No time for the reasons mentioned above.
b. The comparative pay to what I have been making as a Statistical Poker Consultant for a friend is monumental for the time commitment. Do I enjoy writing more than crunching stats? Definitely. But when the latter pays 5 times as much on a per hour basis, I chose the dollars.

So, this lack of accomplishment is more due to a changing of goals than a lack of achievement because in retrospect, I wouldn't have done anything different.

6. Begin my Educational pursuit

10/10 baby! I've spent the last several months working diligently on Graduate School applications and essays. It's a lot of work (and money) but I'd say I've done as well as I could have hoped. I should see the fruits of my labor in the next few months.

And now for my 2010 goals:

Before I start though, I should note that it's difficult for me to set entirely tangible growth goals since this year is going to involve a lot of change. I'm heading back to school and probably moving. When and to where I really don't know. It may not even be in this country! With that being said, here they are.

1. Take an Amazing International Trip
I love traveling. Actually, I love being in new places and could do without the uncomfortable Airplane ride. This summer I want to go on an international excursion. Where? Good question. Asia? Africa? Europe? South America? Australia? Maybe E, all of the above!

2. Grow The Social Charmer
Now that the ebook is launched, it's time for me to make it better. I'll probably add an audio supplement to the package as a freebie. I also want to increase site traffic, so I'm gonna have to put my advertising and marketing hat on (although I suppose I should make the hat first).

3. Join More Activities
When I look at my calendar, I get excited when I see activities lined up. Be it a Relay for Life meeting, an Iron Chef Cookoff with a friend, a Kickball game, or a hot date, they're all exciting. That being said, I'm going to get even MORE involved in stuff. I'm already planning on joining a Competitive/Social Tennis League. I'm also going to start playing music more. We'll see what else I can add.

4. Develop another Business Plan
I'm a continuous schemer and like to always have some kind of plan "on deck." Currently, between work, the ebook, school applications, and fun, and haven't had an opportunity to cook anything up. I want to have another practical business plan in place that I can work on while in school.

So there you have it. A short list of goals that I am going to accomplish this year barring any changing of goals. Hopefully, I'll start writing (and blogging) more, but I don't want to make a commitment that I'm unsure about.