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Birthday trip

They don't know it, but my company is sending me to CA for a couple days for my birthday. I mean, they think they're sending me out there to train and work with some people on some stuff. But really, they're flyin' me to L.A., payin' for my meals, puttin' me up in a fancy-pants hotel, rentin' me a car and giving me two evenings to gallivant around Hollywood and hob-nob with the celebrities. I mean, seriously, I can't think of a better birthday present. Oh, and after I get back on Thursday, I don't have to go in to work on Friday because I'll already have my 40 hours in for the week.

Train schmain! Suckers!

Or maybe I can think of a better birthday present

Some awesome friends of mine have informed me that they are with child and are expecting in about six months. I'm not sure how this all works, but they said, "You're gonna' be an uncle!" I mean, I obviously won't be a biological uncle, but I'll be that guy that comes around a few times a year--mostly for the holidays--and they say, "There's Uncle Josh!" and then the baby gets all happy to see me 'cause Uncle Josh always shows up with presents and stuff and, whenever he comes, that means some kinda' holiday is comin' up and that means gettin' stuff.

They will be my first friends to have a child (I mean, I have other friends with children, but these kids are my age and we've been close for years) and I couldn't be happier for them. The world is an awesome place because of these two and it'll be even greater with a little one of them runnin' around.

Possible break from the bloggin'

Seein' as how I'll be outta' town for the next couple days, I may not be able to update my blog. Hopefully, I'll find me a cyber cafe or something, but if I don't, consider myself on hiatus until further notice.

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CA or bust

I'm officially going to El Segundo, California for three days next week. It doesn't sound like all that much, but since Dallas is the farthest west I've been since I was about 10, I figure it's kind of a big deal. Best part of it is that it's not even on my dime and I only have to work one full day while I'm there.

Florida wins again--four in a row

Well, after losing a tough one to Georgia on their court a few weeks ago, it was nice to hear that the Gators stepped it up at home and split the series. It seems like our guys have really started playin' big since Christian Drejer shipped out and they couldn't have picked a better time. We have to play at Kentucky on Saturday, then we get a little time off before the SEC Tourney. A couple weeks ago, I'd have said we wouldn't have a chance against Kentucky on their floor, but now I'd say it's anybody's game. With the offensive fire-power we've been able to rustle up, along with our new ability to refrain from choking away close games and small, late leads, I'd say we're one of the better teams in the SEC.

Billy Donovan said [paraphrase], "Christian Drejer is a great player, but our guys are playing better without him for some reason." After all the hype that Christian brought with him to America a couple years ago, it's hard to believe Billy would say that. But he's right and I'm almost glad Christian left. He was our leading assist man, but he wasn't contributing too much on defense and he wasn't being aggressive enough on offense. In the SEC, the more aggressive team often gets the win because of the up-tempo, quick-defense style of basketball that we play. I think Christian just didn't really fit into that style of basketball. I think that, after a little time as a pro in Europe, he might be able to find a home on an NBA team with a slower, half-court based game. I think he has a lot of work to do before that's a possibility, but I think it is a possibility.

I'm not going to make any predictions about the game on Sunday, but I will say that I think it's going to be close. I think the game will be decided by 7 points or less and there will be at least two lead changes under the 10-minute mark.

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Through The Horse and His Boy

I finished up the third book of the Chronicles of Narnia this past Sunday and I'm working on Prince Caspian. I'm starting to get into new territory, meaning I haven't read these books before, so it's all fresh and new and I'm really enjoying it. Normally, I'm not a big "fantasy" or children's lit. fan, but C.S. Lewis just does such a great job painting word pictures and articulating concepts through metaphor that it's impossible for me not to enjoy his writing.

California: attempt 2

Well, I'm going to try to go to CA again next week. This time, I think it'll happen and the timing seems pretty good. I'm going to e-mail my co-worker out there tomorrow so he can give me a list of places to go and things to do while I'm out there. I figure I'll use it as sort of a field-trip to learn about L.A. and that general area. It's been about, oh, 20 years since I was out there, so we have a lot to catch up on.

The Passion

Well, I've been itching to see it since I first heard Mel Gibson was working on it and I'll finally get to catch it tomorrow night. I'm going with a friend who's already seen it, but he says he's excited to see it again. I've already heard lots of opinions on different aspects of the movie, but the great thing is that I already know what happens, so I can watch it simply to appreciate the gravity, intensity that the movie is said to create.

Pay day approaching

I get paid again on Thursday afternoon. This way of life is so different from being a college student, I still can't get used to it. In college, my bank account would spike once every four months or so, then it would slowly decline as I spent my scholarship and loan money. Then, as a new semester began, so the cycle would recycle. Now, I get a fresh influx of cash every two weeks and I have a lot of freedom regarding how I spend or invest it. Right now, I'm focusing on paying back my student loans and the other "debt" I incurred this past year at school. I say "debt" in quotes because although it is technically debt, I'm not paying any interest on any of it, so I don't stress about it too much. If all goes as planned, I'll be paying back all of this past year's living expenses by October without having paid a penny of interest on that money. Then, I can start whittling away at the real debt.

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El Segundo on hold for a bit

Well, we had a meeting at work today wherein it became obvious that I should hold off on going to CA for training. Basically, it's just not a good time for me to leave my responsibilities here and it's an even worse time to try and get people to spend one-on-one time training me out there. We're gonna' try it again in a couple weeks.

Actually enjoying work?

I'm actually enjoying one of the projects I've been working on. I never expected to hate or really dislike work, but I also never expected to enjoy it. This work thing is turnin' out to be all right. Don't get me wrong, I still don't think I'll be an engineer "long term", but I'm content with this profession for now. I work for a good company, on a good program and with good people; I don't think there are too many other things I could ask for.

Computer desk

My computer desk arrived today... it was in two large boxes and weighs 300 pounds. It's a good sized desk, but it's smaller than one would think, given its weight. I'm kinda' enjoying buying decent furniture rather than the cheap, "made for college kids" stuff I bought back at school. I have to say I'm not particularly enjoying assembling it, but I guess that's just part of the deal. I hope to have it all done by Saturday when my couch and loveseat will finally arrive.

Guys' night

Tomorrow night will be my first official guys' night since I've arrived in Texas. Two of my friends--the two guys I roomed with on Project and then co-opped with the following summer--and I are going to watch the Georgia Tech vs. Maryland game and get a bite to eat or something. It should be a good time and I'm looking forward to going out and hangin' with the boys.

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Update

Some friends of mine have a website where they post updates submitted by alumni from those who've been involved in Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Florida. I'm about to send in my update and I thought it would be appropriate to post here as a summary of where I am and where I eventually hope to be. I think it's hokey and It's mostly rehashing what I've already written here, but it's a good summary nonetheless:

Hello friends and fellow Gator alumni!

I finally graduated from UF in December with a BSEE and a BSCEN (Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering) and quickly moved out to Plano, TX to start working for Raytheon Company. I was a co-op with Raytheon in Summer '01 and again in Summer '02, so I am familiar with the company and this area--Dallas, TX. I'm still getting settled in--I'm writing this from my computer chair, but using my TV as a monitor and my lap as a keyboard tray--but the Lord has been faithful to provide me with many strong friendships both back in Gainesville and here in Texas. Those friendships have kept me grounded, encouraged and probably a bit in denial as I don't think I've realized the gravity of this huge transition.

I plan to continue working for Raytheon for at least a few more years as I pay back the Fed for all the money I borrowed in my half-decade stint as a poor, pasta-eating college kid. While I'm working, I hope to earn an AA in Acting for the Camera (no, I'm not kidding) so that I can eventually move out of the world of engineering and big business and into the world of cinema and television. If all goes according to plan-and, of course, I doubt that it will--I hope to move out to El Segundo, CA (a few minutes south of L.A.) and continue working part-time for Raytheon as I try to delve into the world of acting.

I realize that I sound pretty confident in what I'm writing, but the truth is I couldn't be more terrified and I am constantly seeing more of a necessity to depend on the Lord for my future. I don't feel that I would be happy doing engineering for the rest of my life, but I also understand how difficult it is to be a Christian in profession such as acting. I find great motivation and inspiration in Mel Gibson and Jim Caviezel's project The Passion and I hope to have even a fraction of its impact in the business.

Of course, this is all pending His blessing, so I'll continue in this direction until He either closes the door or pushes me through it. I've been keeping a weblog for a couple years now and I'll continue updating it in the future for those of you who may be more curious than a yearly update can satisfy. Soon, I'll be moving the weblog over to JoshDoody.com as I get more organized here in Texas.

I hope you are all well.

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Strange Coincidence

The program I work on splits its responsibilities between two locations: here in Dallas and out in El Segundo, CA. We often send people back and forth for different reasons like troubleshooting, fixing broken stuff, consulting on various problems and planning strategies for the future of the program. For the past couple days, a guy from El Segundo has been helpin' us out here in Dallas and I spent a lot of time working with him trying to solve problems and such.

Yesterday, during lunch, I asked him about the L.A. area--what it's like living there, how accessible L.A. is to outsiders, the cost of living, etc.--and I eventually told him a little about how I'm hoping to get into acting in the future. I told him that my ideal situation would be to transfer to El Segundo and keep my job as a part-timer so that I could train and try to get work as an actor. Turns out he knows a guy that is trying to break into acting, mostly doing extra work, but also shooting some commercials and such. Anyway, my co-worker said he would put me in touch with his friend if I wanted, so that I would have a contact out there and could discuss the business with him and whatnot.

I was really surprised how easy it was to meet someone on the "inside" and I'm glad to have a contact like this one. Hopefully, after I've completed the two-year program I'm looking at here in Dallas, I'll be able to call on this contact to help decide if I want to make the transition to L.A. I never thought I'd get a good contact for acting while working as an engineer, but I guess that's why they invented the word "surprise".

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Long day

Today seemed particularly long. I think part of the problem was that I was pretty tired most of the day. The rest of the problem was probably that I wasn't too busy today and when I ain't busy, I start gettin' bored. Anyway, the good news is it looks like I'm going to have some more training added to my list. As it stands, I'm going to El Segundo, CA for two weeks in one-week shifts; but now I might be adding a week in Austin. Of course, all trips are on the company's dime and that means I'll be workin' during the day and seein' the sights at night (El Segundo is right outside L.A. and Austin is just a cool town).

More responsibility at work

I'm not sure what'll come of it all, but I'm getting more and more stuff put on my plate. More responsibility means more opportunities to be noticed and impress my superiors. Before I began working, I decided I was gonna' go all out. I figure if I'm going to be cooped up in an Office Space set clone for 40 hours a week, I might as well make the most of it. Of course, part of my inspiration is that my annual raise is based on a performance review and the performance review is done by my supervisor who could be pretty impressed if I do good work. Yeah, I'm basically in it for the Benjamins.

Digital Camera

I'm seriously considering buying a digital camera, but I just can't bring myself to shell out all the dough right now. I feel it would be useful for me to record this transition (ASIDE: I know I've been harping on "this transition" a lot lately, but since "this transition" is about all I have going on right now, I'm going to continue harping: END ASIDE). I dunno'... maybe I'll get one, maybe I won't. Problem is, I'd want to get pics of my apartment as it is right now, so that makes my decision sort of time-sensitive. I mean, if I don't get pictures of it before my furniture gets here, then I won't have an opportunity to record the disaster that is my home right now.

I'm trying to bump bedtime up a few minutes a night and that means I gotta' head to bed now.

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Plano: Day 9

I reported for orientation on Monday, then went to meet my boss and get my assignment on Tuesday, then went in today and got a new and different assignment. I think this one will stick. I think this assignment will be challenging and allow me to show my superiors what I can do. Also, I'll be traveling out to El Segundo, CA (right outside L.A.) for a couple weeks of training (probably two one-week sessions). I am glad I'll have something challenging and interesting to do.

Furniture Fiasco Finale

I think I'm done buying furniture for a while. I bought a dining set (table and four chairs) at Ashley Furniture tonight. So, I've bought everything I planned on buying before I came out here: Sofa/loveseat, coffee table, two end tables, dining room set and TV stand. I still need a couple lamps to put on the end tables, but I don't really consider those furniture. In retrospect, it would've been wise to begin furniture shopping before I left Gainesville. Two of the three stores I bought from have a three- to four-week lead-time on delivering my furniture. Obviously, if I'd done my shopping and ordered the furniture before I left Gainesville, I would've had it by now. Of course that's not totally realistic since I'd never seen my apartment before I moved in and it would've been difficult to buy furniture for a place I'd never seen or been in.

I also bought a Nintendo GameCube today. I've been wanting one for a while and I figured I'd splurge in the interest of keeping myself occupied in the apartment. It didn't come with a game, so I thought I'd start with Tony Hawk: Pro Skater 3. It's pretty fun and, even more fun, it was only 15 bucks.

Sleep troubles

When I actually get in bed, I sleep just fine; but I'm having trouble getting tired enough to get in bed, lately. I have to be up at about 7, but I can't seem to get into bed before midnight. I don't know what my deal is, but I know I'm gettin' sick of bein' so tired every morning at work. Hopefully, I'll get into a routine or something pretty soon.