Monday, June 27, 2011

Millionth PS Draft, Mackinaw Island and Tahquamenon Falls

I got up early this morning and went for a run, paid my bills, deposited birthday checks (which will be going directly to reimburse the general fund for my electric bike project - hooray!), ate a bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch and sat down to kick out some more personal statement revision. Today - FINALLY - I got it down below the 5,300 character limit without compromising on content OR quality. That's right - everything that I originally hoped to include in my application, whether in the personal statement or in the experiences section, I have found a way to include. Not only is it all there, but it's there in a way that gets me excited about having an adcom (admissions committee) read it!

A big struggle for me has been getting away from the desire to say everything. I usually want to write it all out, not letting the reader make connections between things or draw conclusions on their own. I know the adcom members will be intelligent people, more than capable of putting two and two together; I'm just not used to putting so much trust in the reader do that. My instinct with something as important as this is to be too explicit, stating everything clearly, tying everything together as tightly as possible so that nothing is missed. That made for a great first draft because it helped me be sure I hadn't missed anything. Figuring out what could be slimmed down and what extraneous details could be cut out, though - that was like plucking my beard out whisker by multi-colored whisker. (That's right - my beard comes in a peppered array of colors, mostly black but with many hairs of brown, blond, red and believe it or not, white thrown into the mix). The process has been tedious, time-consuming and sometimes so painful it made my eyes burn. But I did it, and now it's just time to polish the edges till it shines.

My wife and I went on vacation with my mom and stepdad this past weekend, and it was awesome. For those of you that don't know, I live in Michigan. We sauntered up to the North, crossing the bridge to dabble in the upper peninsula. We stayed at the Silent Sport Lodge (a B&B in Wolverine, MI) and tooled around Mackinac Island, Tahquamenon "Root Beer" Falls (see the blog's current background if you don't understand) and the Cherry Republic. A great time was had by all and a million pictures (800+, actually) were taken by me, a select few of which will be included after the jump break.

Wednesday morning I have an appointment with my advisor, hopefully during which my application will be stamped with approval for submission. I'm still waiting on three of my five letters of recommendation, but I believe all three writers are making progress, so I'm not feeling worried about them at this point. Right now, I just want to get this primary application submitted and on its way. That's priority number one at the moment, especially since I was originally hoping to have everything submitted by now. I know I'm still on the early side of the application process, but I guess I'm just starting to feel a little more...


Nicole watching for a similar boat to pick us up. 
Just a small portion of the Mackinaw bridge. Cool sailboat too. 
Close-up of the bridge. From this view, you can't really tell how huge it really is. See below for a better understanding.

Yeah. It's a really big bridge.
I was really far away from this, but my camera and cropping are sweet.

The Grand Hotel - on the island. Apparently it's really old. And expensive.
Street view of Mackinac Island. Mackinac can also be spelled Mackinaw, apparently. Either way, there are no motorized vehicles allowed on it.

Lots of old school bikes. There's a guild of people that just rides them around during retirement. I talked to one. He used to be an electrical engineer, but now he makes and rides these.

This is a silly horse.

Cool building.

'Nother cool building, yellow this time.

My imagination runs wild when I try to think of what the person that owns this is like...

Nicole admiring the church's innards.

This seagull is pissed. It missed out on getting a Dorito because another seagull was meaner.

Me and Nicole beside a sign.
I can't believe I just wrote that caption...
My mom looking at the crystal clear Lake Michigan water. It looked just like the Caribbean...

No clue why, but I love roots like these...

Quite possibly my favorite picture of the trip. She's beautiful!

The sense of scale is lost in the photo, but this arch is huge.

Again, awesome cool water.

This fawn was lost! We almost hit it in the middle of the day. I got out of the car, and it was nice enough to pose for me before loping off and eating more grass.
The Silent Sport Lodge. It was a really cool place to stay. We had the whole basement level to ourselves. The owners are great, and are as sociable as you want while allowing you privacy if that's your preference. I'd highly recommend it.

'Nother view.

Some HUGE birch trees on the walk.

Again, scale is lost in pictures, so I tried to recapture some of it.

Yeah, I was tickling her.

Daylight time lapses are tricky, yet very cool.

Sticks don't move. Water does.

This deer was the chillest deer I've ever seen. I wish I could say it's because I'm stealthy, but... Nope, actually, it most definitely was because I'm stealthy.
On our walk back, Nicole learned to levitate. See the look of excitement? "I'm doing it!"
*Absolutely no editing was done to this photo other than adjust lighting a bit.

I went a little off the path for this shot. That stump just looked too cool to keep out of the frame.

Zoom shot of the tall end of the falls.

We raced up these stairs later. Can you guess who won?

Nice view of the Root Beer Falls.

It's a little more difficult taking a self-portrait with a Nikon D90. Not your slim little point-and-shoot...

This might also be my favorite shot of the trip... I'll call it a close 2nd.

And that's us!
I'm incredibly lucky.
Gush gush.
Oh well.


Anonymous said...

AWESOME pictures, Justin. I agree on your favorites! What fun :)

Fredrick said...

Wow! Amazing pictures.. like all of them especially the Parachute and the horse thing ! keep going

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