RPI Commencement 2010

On Memorial Day, this past weekend, I joined the thousands of people who call themselves alumni from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Even though I had already received my diploma in December it did not feel as if I had really graduated from the school.

Wearing the cap, hood and gown along with my fellow graduates, classmates, and friends is a large part of the college experience. It is a culmination of what being a college student is about, being recognized for ones achievements and a celebration for the closing of a page.

Overall Commencement went off without any problems. The weather did not snow or rain and we were able to have the celebration outside. The only complaint being that the sun could be a little overbearing at times with very little cloud cover. This led to most of us grads having wonderful V shape tan lines from our caps but it was completely worth it.

The main speaker for the event was Peter Orszag who is the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Orszag was a very good speaker I believe as even though he had never attended RPI he seemed to have a decent understanding of the kind of institution it was and the type of people it attracts. Having grown up in the Capital Area definitely helped him with this as he was familiar with the school not confusing it with RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology).

Well time to wrap this up. I am proud to say that I am finally an alumnus of RPI, happy to have been a part of the Class of 2010 and wish my fellow graduates the best in all that is in store for them now that this one chapter of their life has closed. As for me I am continuing my travels and am counting down the days until I head off into the military.

Were you at the RPI Commencement?

What were your thoughts?

What is next for you in life?

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Packing List for a 12 Day Trip

Starting today I am off for a 12 day trip first to Troy, NY where my graduation commencement is being held at RPI then down to visit friends in Glastonbury, CT. For this trip I have attempted to apply Pareto’s Principle and the 100 items challenge. This is also a test run for my trip to New Orléans coming up in June. Without further adieu here is what I have brought along.

The List:


  1. Toothbrush
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Floss
  4. Razor
  5. One Container of Tylenol and allergy medicine
  6. Chapstick
  7. Skin lotion
  8. Sun lotion
  9. Shampoo (3 o.z.)
  10. Soap (3 o.z.)
  11. Detergent (3 0.z.)
  12. Comb
  13. Deodorant
  14. Nail Clippers


  1. 3 Boxer briefs
  2. 3 Pairs socks
  3. 2 Jeans (Blue and khaki)
  4. 1 Pair of khaki shorts
  5. 3 T-shirts
  6. 1 Long sleeve shirt
  7. 2 Polyester long sleeve shirts
  8. 2 Long sleeve button down shirts
  9. 1 Short sleeve button down
  10. 2 Pair swim/ workout shorts
  11. 1 Black pair of tights
  12. 1 Pair of flip-flops


  1. 13″ Macbook
  2. Power Cord
  3. Camera
  4. iPhone


  1. Walt Whitman Collection of Poems
  2. Another random book
  3. Nalgene Water bottle

Total Items = 43 items

*doesn’t include the bag itself, clothes being worn on the day of the trip and iPhone or Camera cords.

If you could only have 100 items what would you bring with you?

What can’t you travel without?

How many items do you take with you when you travel?

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The Birth of a Travel Bag

Whenever I have traveled anywhere it has almost always been with either my large hiking backpack or a big duffel bag. This year after lugging around at least one of those bags to Guadeloupe, Montreal and several other locations throughout the Northeast I finally broke down and bought a true traveling bag for my upcoming trip to New Orléans.

High Sierra Travel BagThe bag I decided upon is made by High Sierra. The High Sierra 22″ Wheeled Backpack possesses the versatile functionality that I was hoping to find in a bag. Having a bag which fit most airlines carry-on requirements was a must have as I don’t want to have the experience of lost luggage. The bag can be wheeled around, act as a backpack, and be broken up into a smaller day pack for a tour around the city or a hike through the woods.

Another reason for purchasing this traveling companion is that I have a tendency to bring along too much stuff which leads to me cluttering up my space. For instance when I went on my recent 2 month travel to Montreal, Canada and Plymouth MA I not only had a duffel bag full of clothes but a backpack and small drawstring bag. What I realized is that even spending two months on the road I only wore half of the clothes.  Having this size bag forces me to downsize my collection of items down only to what is completely necessary for traveling.

There are also two other things which I am going to attempt to do when I travel is to apply Pareto’s Principle better known as the 80/20 Principle. The idea behind Pareto’s Principle for traveling is that 20% of the items I bring with me I will use 80% of the time. Looking back at my earlier travel this principle holds true as there is always a large amount of things I bring which I rarely, if at all, use.

To help me with Pareto’s Principle I will also use the 100 items challenge when I pack for travel. This challenge limits the items that a person can bring with them to just 100 items. Normally when I pack I try to think of every possible situation that I may face and attempt to have some item for that one situation. With the 100 items challenge though I must only pack what is absolutely necessary.

So here is to my new traveling companion and to more sustainable traveling habits. I will post an update soon about how I am progressing with my traveling habits and how many items I bring on my upcoming trips.

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Robert Frost- The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

This poem written by Robert Frost has always meant a lot to me. It was this piece of work which first made me appreciate poetry and has helped me regain confidence in times when I have doubted the choices which I have made in life. Do you have a favorite poem or inspirational quote?
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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New Orleans Here I Come

Well on June 15th is when I will actually head there but I am excited none the less.

For me New Orléans has a great appeal. It was essentially the birthplace of jazz which helped lead to the creation of Lindy Hop. Jazz music, along with blues, was the first type of music that America could really call its own and became countries popular music during the 19th to 20th century. This has given the city a rich history in jazz and explains why some of the most famous jazz musicians have come from the city.

What do I plan to do in New Orléans?

Because of the cities connection to jazz music I am looking forward to experience the live jazz music which runs rampant through the city (so I have been told), exploring the french quarter of the city, enjoying delightful Cajun cooking and of course doing a bit of dancing. The main reason I am heading to this historical city is because one of my closest friends calls New Orléans home now and it has been a awhile since we had the chance to see each other and catch up.

Well that is it for now as until June 15th I will still be in the Northeast planning out my trip. If you have any suggestions about things to do or must see while there please let me know.

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25 Things About Me

1) I love outdoor activities: Camping, hiking, kayaking, and just spending the time outside in general.

2) In high school I played football, wrestled and ran track. I was the captain of all 3 my junior and senior year.

3) My 17th Birthday we went down to Washington D.C. for a school field trip and got to talk to the secret service because of mistaken identity. Fun Story ;-0

4) My favorite poets are Robert Frost (The Road Not TAken) and Walt Whitman (Song of the Open Road)

5) I grew up with pets. Dogs, cats, hamsters, and fish.

6) I started dancing my freshman year at RPI and it has now taken over my life. Before starting Lindy Hop I had only done some line dancing in gym class and went to 5 school dances.

7) While growing up I wanted to be an archeologist for the longest time because of Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park

8) My favorite city to visit is Montreal. I love the dancing, people and culture of the city

9) I am planning to learn how to speak french fluently in less then 2 years

10) I graduated RPI in December of 2009 with a Dual Degree in Science & Technology Studies and Psychology, a Minor in Geology and an Advanced Concentration in Law, Public Policy and the Environment in 3.5 years

11) I can be a very stubborn person especially when I believe I am right about an issue but I will always hear a person out. If I am wrong I will be the first person to admit it.

12) My first car was a 1997 Subaru Legacy 4 Door Sedan but now I drive a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse

13) I usually become the unofficial leader when it comes to groups because I want to get things done instead of always have them be put off.

14) I owe Brooks Prumo a lot for getting me into dancing. He dragged me out to pretty much everything he went to when he was at RPI and is probably the most significant factor about why and how I first got into Lindy Hop and stuck with it.

15) My parents owned a campground for 5 years and I spent every summer up there….There are some good memories associated with that place.

16) Down the road from the campground was a horse farm and that is where I learned to ride. Every chance I got I was down there spending time and riding. I hadn’t rode in several years until this past summer and I forgot how great it was until then.

17) I want to travel around Europe sometime in the next several years. I would love to be able to visit all of their historic sites and places

18) I also want to go sky diving and parasailing. I will be accomplishing one of these in 2010

19) I am very loyal too my friends and will drop what I am doing to help them out in any situation.

20) I get very annoyed with people who are close minded and refuse to listen to anyone else’s opinion besides there own. Also if the person acts as if they are an expert about a topic without ever researching it themselves

21) I am a relatively social person but in a lot of situations am insecure yet I try to hide it. Dancing has helped me become a lot more self-confident

22) I love quotes with deeper meanings behind them. I have two books full of them and am always looking at new ones online or when I go to the bookstore. On that note I love going to bookstores and can spend hours in them just looking at the books.

23) I have always and probably will always enjoy a good RPG video game and have spent countless hours playing them.

24) I am a hot chocolate drinker and have never had a taste for coffee. I keep meaning to try and change this or at least build up a tolerance to it but it just isn’t that high on my priority list.

25) Most of my closest friends are dancers with a few exceptions from high school and college. I find it interesting that even though I may only see them once a month or not for several months when we do finally talk or see each other again there is always a feeling of closeness.

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New and Improved

Welcome to my new and improved blog.

As some of you know the original Chrissyfer’s Weblog was a dance blog about my experiences in the Lindy Hop community and even though there is plenty to talk about in the dance world I was updating my blog very infrequently.

I have therefore decided to expand this blog to not only encompass my adventures in the dance world but also to include more excerpts from other areas of my life.  Some quick things about me are that I am an avid swing dancer, love to travel, enjoy the atmosphere of a cafe with a chai latte or hot chocolate in hand and take pleasure in sitting down with a book to lose myself in.

Without further adieu I welcome you, again, to the new and improved Chrissyfer’s Weblog.

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