Wow.  That’s all i can say to fellow alumni who haven’t been back in a long time.  Here’s the story:  A few years ago, Flo and Eddies (a restaurant where we would hang out to drink beer on Thursdays) burned down, which sparked this crazy "let’s rebuild Starkville! movement".  I always knew that restaurant was the center of life in Starkville.  Around the same time, the MSU engineering department got a 25 million dollar donation (can’t remember the exact figure, but very very large).  The CS department said they would rename the dept after me for a much less figure. =)  Starkville, or should i say Starkvegas, and MSU got caught up to the 1980s in just a few years.

But The 1987 Highway Program Sign is still going strong!  (the entire reason why i drove from the coast up to MSU was to get a picture of this sign.  It’s a long story that you don’t want to know.)

The 1987 Highway Program Mississippi Moving AHEAD sign still up

Some major changes in Starkville

  • You can now buy cold beer.  yes, i just said "can" "cold beer" "starkville".  (Good job Richard!!!  He was a classmate / friend of mine back in the day who is now an alderman and got the vote to pass…)
  • There are a lot, a lot of new restaurants, even in Sushi place! in Starkville.  But thank god Bulldog Deli is still there serving Chicken Salad Sandwiches (omg… yum!!)  Too bad i didn’t have my camera w/ me to take a picture of those shot-gun shells (one empty, one full) in the grass outside the door.
  • I visited the super-walmart to tell it hi and thanks for all the memories, like thanks for being open that time after i woke up from my wine appreciation final (i audited the class by the way).  so many stories…

Some major changes at MSU

  • There is a MASSIVE Barnes and Noble that even has a Starbucks!!!  (Guess where i spent the majority of my time).  The thing is so big, it has the only escalator in the Northeast quadrant of the state of Mississippi.  Yes, let me say that again – MSU has the only escalator in the NE quadrant of the state, and it is in a Barnes and Noble.

The escalator in the Barnes and Noble

  • Malfunction Junction is no more.  It’s gone, as in there’s only grass.  What do the Digital Devices students make K-maps out of now??

No more malfunction junction. just grass.

  • The honor dorms Hightower and Suttle(?) have been torn down.  There are a ton of new dorms there now.
  • Lee blvd (between Physics building and Lee hall) is gated, as in you can’t drive during the day
  • The Union is under mass construction, but that cafeteria is just as bad.  The student fountain is still alive and kicking
  • It is faster to walk from "The Chapel of Memories" to Allen Hall than it is to drive, because you can’t.  Remember, no more Malfunction Junction.
  • I couldn’t remember how to get from Allen Hall to the Library (scary, huh?)

okay nation, let’s move on…

I gave the following presentations in my little "visiting speaker" tour:

  • Microsoft Software Development Lifecycle for the CS III course (at 8am CST).  I talked briefly about the power toys and what we’ve learned about the open source software model.  This student in the front row asked me what license we used, to which i replied "Awesome question!  Way to hold the Microsoftie accountable at 8am!"  As i answered his question, i noticed a student with a FireFox / Mozilla jacket nodding in approval.  Obviously, they knew a Microsoft person was going to be a guest speaker that day =)

Sara in her Visual Studio shirt standing next to student in his Firefox jacket

  • Why didn’t they teach me this in schools? for the Society of Women Engineers.  See my previous blog post.
  • Life at Microsoft for ACM (my old student organization).  This was a talk of me going over the various Core Technical (SDE, SDET, PM) positions, things i’ve done over my career, and what life is really like at Microsoft.  I started off with trivia questions which was truly the highlight of putting together this slidedeck.  For example, "where does longhorn get its name?"

I also enjoyed seeing former professors, like stopping by the French department.  Of course, they were sad to hear that I haven’t spoken french in about 8 years now, but at least i got to tell them i was able to read a section of a license sent to me that happened to be in French.  That and getting to do entire transaction at Walt Disney World over ice cream in French have really put my minor in french to the test!  =)

and of course, a picture is worth a 1000 words… this was on my way back to Seattle…

someone's luggage fell off the truck out by the terminal gate