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"Watch out for a mud!" -- Steve C

 

2008: What a Year! 
For me, 2008 was a year of adventure, accomplishment, and transition. From graduating college, to exploring the world, to starting a new life and career on the West Coast, 2008 was by far my most exciting year ever, and hopefully just the start of more to come.

The New Year began strong with a big lifestyle change in January: LASIK surgery. For the first time since I was young, I was able to live life without relying on glasses. This may be something only those who need to wear glasses understand, but it really does change your life for the better. I used to rest of winter break to recover from the surgery before I headed off to RPI for my last semester of undergrad. I bought a new laptop and prepared to enjoy my final few months of college in snowy upstate NY.

February was a great month for skiing – Vermont got dumped on all month, and I took advantage of the heavy snow and great powder at Stratton, Okemo, Bromley and several other resorts. Of course, keeping up with my studies and capstone design project was equally as important.

In March, I mentored FIRST Robotics in Albany and was field coach for Team 1493 at their competition in Hartford, as well as programmer/mentor for team 1665. Later in the month, I won a 64-player bowling tournament ($500) at my home lanes in Latham, NY. Mid-march was also the start of intramural softball at RPI, and through April I led my strong team, the Ball Busters, to an undefeated regular season (unfortunately, we lost in the semifinals).

In May, I graduated from RPI with a dual major in Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering, and celebrated Senior Week with the rest of my graduating class. I bought a brand new 2008 Honda Civic later in the month, the car I would take to California with me for good. Around Memorial Day, I flew out to LA with my dad to find an apartment (and play a little golf before sunset).

In June, I traveled with my friend Sam part way across the world to Iceland, where I got to see unbelievable waterfalls and geysers, miles of desolation, glacier hiking, long words, and 24-hour sunlight. Then, we went to The Netherlands, where we got to explore the city of Amsterdam by bike, witness Holland celebrate a soccer victory in Rotterdam, explore the historical windmills, and tour the European Space Agency museum and facility.

Later in June, I said my goodbyes to family and friends on the East Coast and started my 13-day journey across the country. I officially started my drive in Atlantic City (although technically I had to drive 2 hours East to get there from my house in Flemington), and drove my 4000-mile route across 16 states, getting the opportunity to see 2 baseball games, 4 national parks, tons of museums/tours, and lots of other great and unexpected sights along the way. I visited a friend in St. Louis and watched another friend play in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, celebrated 4th of July on the Strip, drove to the top of Pike’s Peak, traveled the Million Dollar Highway, visited the Air Force Museum in Dayton and Air and Space Museum in Virginia, and went to Cedar Pointe. Late on July 6th, I finally arrived in Los Angeles.

In July, I moved into my new apartment and began working full-time at Boeing in El Segundo, CA. I went to several Phillies games at Dodger Stadium where I got to meet Brad Lidge, and followed the team to San Diego later that week. In August, I started part-time grad school at the University of Southern California. I was also an audience member of a taping for Funniest Home Videos nearby work. Late in August, while driving home from work an SUV turned into my lane and caused a T-bone collision with my brand new Civic. I wouldn’t get my car back until October, but luckily it looks good as new.

In September, I started working in Huntington Beach. Back on the East Coast, my dad bought a hot tub for his backyard and my dog Taffi was recovering well from a knee injury. In October, I was a contestant on The Price is Right and got to go on stage with Drew Carey, walking away with a ton of cool prizes but an unlucky spin at the wheel. I mid October I was celebrating the Phillies NLDS and NLCS victories. I attended 2 of the 3 NLCS games in LA, including the NL clincher (see video)! I celebrated the World Series with other displaced Phillies fans at The Shack in Santa Monica (video). Also in October, a took a weekend sailing trip to Catalina Island, where I spent 3 days kayaking, hiking, and partying on our boat.

In December, I spent the holiday company shut down with family in Florida, where I relaxed, played golf, and snorkeled in Key Largo. Once home, I ended the year with a final trip to Las Vegas for the New Years Eve countdown, where I got to see Robbie Knieval jump the (fake) Mirage volcano.

That concludes my busy, exciting year of 2008. Here’s to hoping 2009 is just as exciting!

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