August 21, 2005

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Tired but I’m happy

Yes, this is one of those how-was-your-day posts. You can skip over it
if you want. =)

I tried returning my bike today, but the
BikeShare hub I
went to was still closed at 10:15 AM. Oh well. Even the prospect of a
$2 overdue fine was not enough to ruin what was otherwise a perfect
day. =)

Beautiful, beautiful weather—sunny, but not too sunny. (And certainly nothing like the showers predicted by the weather feed I have in my Bloglines aggregator!) Perfect weather for going to Canada’s Wonderland, a theme park with a gazillion roller coasters. Whee!

Calum Tsang got me a
waaay-discounted ticket care of Bell Mobility. At CAD 29 (including
free lunch and parking), it was a great deal. Conversation certainly
made the hour-long waits bearable, and it was a lot more fun than
reading a textbook in line. =)

We had fun talking about photography. I spotted a great shot while we
were standing in line for one of the coasters. In one of the coaster
seats was a very serious-looking Old World matron wearing a black
babushka. Her face had a lot of character, thanks to deep lines on her
forehead and around her mouth. She sat in a roller coaster with bright
red restraints, and she was just looking into the distance… That was
pretty cool. Anyway, I told Calum stories about Papa and Kathy taking
pictures on vacations. He checked out the Adphoto website and thought
their shots were really, really cool. =)

The rides were _sooo_ cool. I really liked the Italian Job. You know how most
coasters start out by bringing you up a hill, giving you plenty of
time to discuss the weather? This one was fast from the very
beginning. And there was a segment in darkness, too! And special
effects! That coaster totally rocked. The other coasters were great, too—I liked Top Gun because it didn’t have a floor!—but the Italian Job was my favorite.

After our coaster adventures, we headed over to Commisso Brothers for
lasagna. Now, you gotta wonder why an Italian bakery needs to be open
24 hours. <laugh> Calum had an interesting theory, which I
probably shouldn’t share here because it might get me in trouble. ;)

We also grabbed ice cream from Baskin Robbins. I had a white chocolate
/ dark chocolate mousse ice cream scoop on a sugar cone. I think he
had French vanilla. Ice cream… Yay! =)

I made it back to the dorm by 9:15. I grabbed my chocolate mug and
headed down for Sunday night socials. While standing near the milk, I
chatted with Catherine(?) and another girl (waah, forgot her name)
about shopping and sales. I also chatted with Tarun, Shanghai and Yeow
Tong about Wonderland.

I felt _really_ warm and fuzzy when one of the grad students (waah!
forgot!) went up to me and invited me to play a game of Scrabble after
the graduate council meeting. He even asked me to be nice, as he
didn’t know how good the other student was yet. <laugh> The last
game we played saw some pretty high scores. That was tons of fun, too!

I guess I got distracted talking to Hernan about research and teaching
(he’s doing his Ph.D. in theoretical physics), and I didn’t see people
getting together for the game. Maybe they got tired because of the
meeting. Maybe I’ll get to play with them next week. Anyway, I talked
to Brian a bit before heading back to my room. =)

Very good day. Tiring, but awesome.

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Surround yourself with exceptional people

Steve Pavlina advises people to surround themselves with exceptional people. It’s advice found in many self-improvement books as well, and something I firmly believe in. High-energy, successful, happy people around you will inspire you to be like that too.

It started with my family. My dad’s passion for his work taught me
that you could reach greater heights if you’re doing something you’re
passionate about. My mom’s books and stories taught me to appreciate
the business that supports and is built around such passion. My
sisters showed me what it was like to make your own paths and take
those adventures. My godparents showed me how wonderful a supportive
group of friends can be. My high school friends were also supportive
and inspiring, and they dreamed big dreams too.

I fumbled a bit in first year college because I was more focused on
fitting in, but when I went back to my roots and joined the dorm
network team, I found another amazing group of geeks. And I don’t
really know how we all got together, but the friends I made while I
was teaching totally, totally rock as well. We face different
challenges and we may not face all of them successfully, but I really
admire their attitude towards life. They are fundamentally happy.

I seek out groups like the Toastmasters. I want to be a professional
speaker, and being surrounded by people working on their communication
skills is absolutely fantastic. I love talking to people who are
passionate about teaching and research; they give me an idea of what
lies ahead. I am inspired by people who are making a difference or who
are working on doing so, like Lawrence Hughes and Maoi Arroyo in terms
of Philippine IT opportunities. I admire Mario Carreon for his passion
for teaching even as he gets heartbreaking results from students. I am
surrounded by excellent people, and the more I learn from them, the
more people I find.

Surround yourself with exceptional people. It isn’t easy. You can’t
just say “I want to get to know you” and leave it at that. A daily
“Hi” is much less effective than the occasional “I’d like to know more
about …” or “What do you think about …” that takes the person’s
interests into account. But you can do it, and you’ll learn so much by
doing so!

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