Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Day Over

Why is it that, despite having a good (albeit long) and varied day, I get to the end of it and it seems like it took forever? I think back to this morning and can barely remember how statistics went; it's an age ago that I tutored people, and then everything suddenly went into fast forward and here I am ready to go to bed (sh*t, still so much work that isn't getting done). And it was a good day, for the most part (I don't think anyone anywhere really enjoys resume critiques). I was tired, but enjoyed everything, with particular emphasis on the end of the day- beer and tacos at Bar Celona for only $4.50! Sweet! And a good show (seriously, some of these people were hilarious) at Improv Olympic to cap it all off. This was a good day.

Bonus: a friend emailed me the link to this website--click play online (warning: you may not like it if you're a big fan of penguins... until you turn on the sound). Beats the hell out of tetris.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Poached email

Should really post something, but don't have a ton of energy (you wouldn't either after spending forever on stats homework and avoiding managerial responsibilities re: a Navy research project. I should really get on that.) so I'm copying part of an email I already wrote today (sorry Jeremy...let's see some of those rude comments you keep promising).

today:

wheee!

(not really)

set alarm to wake me an hour before i have to actually get up; get up late
anyway.

walk to a group meeting at 10:30, find to my surprise that i arrived on
time.

attended a class on database segmentation, was grateful for my laptop and
internet connection; caught up on my blogs and chicago tribune metromix
articles- am surprised by a sudden higher opinion of the tribune.

attended my advertising class; cursed my advertising professor.

listened to a presentation from rand mcnally on how to make their website
profitable. saw a class presentation on fast food, watched professor rip
the group afterwards for leaving out some stuff after his own guidelines
were ridiculously (recockulously?) vague. cursed him again, since the
first time obviously didn't take.

and uh, have done homework and stuff since then. just finished watching the south park movie.

can't wait for it all to begin again tomorrow!

A couple of links that I found today: a good LA Times article on the growing population in California (makes me more certain that I should hang around Chicago). Also some hilarious billboard spoofs.

Will post about whether or not Improv Olympic is able to redeem itself to me after tomorrow night's show.

Friday, January 23, 2004

It's snowing!

It turns out that I'm much more disposed to the concept of snow when it's not making me sit in airports for ungodly amounts of time...like now! Everything's white and gorgeous, almost better than yesterday because it's 20 degrees warmer (yeah it was cold yesterday), though yesterday was sunny. mmm, I love living in Chicago.

In other news, life in grad school is not quite as zen-like (as you can probably tell from the near-obsessive numbers of posts I make). Group projects and readings and residencies, oh my! (At least I eliminate that middle one by not caring, per the immortal Calvin and Hobbes. (I would link to the actual comic, but I think a searchable database is pretty damn good. The one I'm thinking of was published 1/8/93.)

Anyway, am just glad that it's Friday and I can head downtown for Giordano's with a friend staying at the Drake.

Yeah, Chicago rules.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

A quickie for my freshman year friends

That was referring to the length of this post. Just wanted to post a link to this gem that I just rediscovered (think chinese food...) Extra credit for whoever can find the link to that clip of the cat running into the wall, I've been dying to see it!

Monday, January 19, 2004

The "I can't sleep" dilemma

I have absolutely no desire to be awake right now. I have a full day tomorrow that I'm not looking forward to simply because I'm so stressed about today that all I want to do is sleep for at least a short respite. But here I am. Ruining my eyes by staring at a bright computer screen in a dark room, typing.

If I have enough energy to get up and do a blog post, arguably I have enough energy to do things that actually need doing, like course reading, for instance (which would probably do a far more effective job of reconciling the sleep issue anyway). I could watch that video on the Navy's Medical Service Corps that I was supposed to have seen days ago (very embarassing because it's not like any effort is even required to watch a video). I could think up some good ways to get inside the minds of med students. I could explore the MCAT website to see what resources they offer to them (the better to assault the minds of med students with my message, once I've figured it out).

But I don't wanna. I don't even really want to be writing this post (as evidenced by the lack of my usual sparkling wit and charm), but here I am, taking the path of least resistance, simply because I'd rather be doing this than any of the things I listed above. So while I'm at it, here are links to a couple of LA Times articles from the weekend that were really good (at least the first half...I never really got around to finishing them). One details the history of what led to all this Napster nonsense in the first place: turns out it all comes back to Betamax. And the other is about travel at supersonic speed, which is just plain cool. I'm willing to put up with a funny-looking plane if it means LA to Paris in 5 or 6 hours.

That's all I've got right now. Oh yeah, something happened in Iowa today that you may have heard about, but my blog friends to the right can give you a whole lot more information and commentary, seeing as how they, like, care or something. I'm gonna try out this sleep thing one more time.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Another explanation for the ineffectiveness of banner advertising

I've noticed that the banner ad at the top of my blog has had the same two ads for quite awhile now: the first is for Al Brooks Rose Bowl Tours, and the second (which may not still be there but I swear was up there today) was for Michigan Rose Bowl Tours. I don't think it's any mystery as to why those would be up there, given my first entry, but I also think their relevance is something of a joke (particularly that second one). Even more of a mystery is the "Related searches" line underneath, which includes Wango Tango.

From the point of view of these organizations, I guess they're getting their money's worth, but it makes Google and/or Blogger look somewhat inept at managing their advertising database.

mmmm...

It's been a ridiculously long week--there was a ton to do (which I may or may not have done, but that's what weekends are for), there was little sleep, and we were robbed of our usual day off (Wednesday). The loveliness of being able to lie in bed for an hour just listening to Guster and doing whatever I want cannot be expressed; I can only hope everyone is allowed moments like this every so often. Sure, I have to get up and get ready for work in an hour; sure, I have a sizeable homework assignment for statistics that I now have to do by myself because I had a sudden attack of being principled and turned down an offer by another group to put my name on the homework they've already done; sure, I have to prepare for a creative strategy group meeting tomorrow afternoon, and quickly rectify my current lack of any creative or strategic skills. But all that is later.

There are things to look forward to, fortunately: I'm quitting my job to make time for this quarter's enormous workload, and am lucky enough to be able to make up for it by tutoring classmates in statistics, which is far more enjoyable than waitressing anyway, and also means I'll assure myself an A in stats cuz I'll really have to learn all this stuff. My friend Sam is coming to Chicago next weekend (hi Sam!). I can run three and a half miles. I've been able to stick to my diet for the most part, and as a result every day is a thin day (thin days are wonderful). In general, life is good, and work hanging over my head is something I have a lot of experience coping with.

Ok, I'm gonna go see if we can't get this comment thing settled...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

There is no 'we got lost' in 'team'

I was hoping to take a nap this afternoon, but opted for eating lunch with friends instead (must renegotiate delegation of power to my stomach). So since I've got a few free minutes, I might as well post about my morning, because it was an interesting one.

Our class has been asked to work in a consulting capacity for the U.S. Navy with regards to marketing materials, specifically those targeting medical professionals, where they have the most trouble recruiting. Yesterday we had a looooong presentation (not due to the presenters, but rather to my classmates, who don't all think before they speak and speak entirely too much) on current Navy advertising, as well as an overview of the problem and a run-through of how the current slogan ("accelerate your life") was obtained. And today we visited a naval base to the north of us to talk to the people there and get a feel for why they chose Navy life. So my primary motivation for going may not have been academic (there's nothing like a man in uniform), but I had never been to a naval base before and could only expect what I'd seen in movies (encouraging, isn't it? But I'll save my pop culture rant for later. If you're interested in a funny commentary on the music industry, however, check one out here.) I was assured by the enlisted men I talked to that life in the military is not the depersonalized, robotic and verbally abused existence movies portray it as, and learned a lot about men and women that were really excited about what they were doing with their lives, to the point where I asked myself a couple times, could I? (always answered with a resounding no, as my chosen profession is not reflected in the Navy- that's why we're doing this project now. Plus, seriously, me in the Navy? That's not a departure I'm willing to make.)

We were asked to arrive at 0900 hours, and in the spirit of military punctuality (which I should experience at least once just to say I did it) we all met at school an hour before and drove up together, by which I mean we all left at the same time and never saw each other again. Somehow, one group managed to show up half an hour late. I get the feeling we may not be invited back.

At any rate, the morning was educational enough to make up for having to experience it on three hours of sleep, but I'm somewhat pessimistic about the mandatory writing workshop I have to attend this afternoon, which I doubt I would take to in even the best of moods. Riding my bike through 20 degree weather isn't a good start either. But I suppose being a responsible adult means I need to put up with shit like this; more on how to fake being a responsible adult coming soon.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Since I'm Up...

In true college student fashion (the fact that I'm in graduate school will probably never hit me, since I've had no real world experience to cultivate this 'discipline' I've heard so much about), I just spent the last two hours churning out a paper that should have been sent to my professor hours ago. It's a three-page paper, which I haven't had to write since freshman year (the last paper I wrote on my own exceeded 25 pages), and yet despite that fact, it sucked.

We had to write about three emerging trends that would affect the practice of IMC (don't worry about what the letters stand for, it's a particular marketing discipline). I started with the least original thing I could think of (ads showing up in more and more places as the internet plays a larger role in our lives) and let the power of association take me from there (to the proliferation of data, which is even less creative, if that's possible, and increased efficiency of data exchange). I might have had a couple of mildly interesting points to make, but I failed miserably at turning out a paper that met any of the professor's listed criteria (which did not actually say "All sentences should make sense and adhere to the point being made in the paragraph," but probably would have if the professor had had an inkling of what the fruits of my labor look like).

All this makes me wonder what a paper of mine would look like if I put real effort into it; if everyone actually tried their best, where would I come in on that curve? (I've been reading the Bell Curve and if I wasn't lazy before, I sure as hell am now because I have scientific data that says I can get away with it.) I've actually never done what one is supposed to do for a paper: write a draft, rewrite it, edit, get feedback, re-edit and then turn it in all polished. Because by the time I get the damned thing written, it's a. three days late and I don't have the time and b. I've just pulled an all-nighter and I don't have the desire. I hate group projects, but the accountability is definitely helpful. (I'm accountable for individual stuff too, but I care less when I know I'll get whatever grade I deserve.) I think I need to reevaluate group vs. individual work...

(Disclaimer: it's late and I know this entry doesn't really make sense, but the up side is that the reader gets an excellent feel for how moronic my academic writing must be.)

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Still Empty

I am now painfully reminded as to the origin of this blog's title, and can only hope that my quest for mental stimulation is successful, if only to placate my own ego (which suffers enough crises of confidence as it is). I get plenty of interesting ideas in class, but they're the kinds of things that only other communication dorks would care about. That doesn't appear to stop law students, but there is a larger community of them to appreciate the bitching and moaning about how much that Contracts professor sucks.

I have found a few entertaining tidbits online, however, which are definitely worth checking out if you have a minute and like to laugh.
The original pervy hobbit fancier's journal: For anyone who's ever watched the Lord of the Rings movies (mostly the first and second though). And keep scrolling down, there are diaries for every character.
McSweeney's: In the spirit of more parody, check out "Popular Children's Fairy Tales Reimagined Using Members of My Family"
Also an article about life as a cab driver: Cuz I said I would- not funny like the other two, but interesting nonetheless.

Right, have got to actually get stuff done today, like homework and laundry and even unpacking my damned suitcase (have been living out of it for a week for no apparent reason). Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

No really.

Ok, my internet hasn't really wanted to cooperate with my computer since I got back, so I'm blogging quickly from my friend's apartment--it's been kind of disappointing because I wanted to do a post about the mystery of cab drivers, as in: why the lack of normal human beings? Is the job of cab driver that distasteful to the American public? (what did you do, Robert De Niro?!)

Also, since being back I've had a couple of busy days and nights: we have a ton of homework right off the bat, and I've had to work 11 hours waitressing (back-to-back shifts) already this week. Have decided that tutoring grad students in stats at $25 an hour may be a better source of income. Not to mention the suggestion that I tutor North Shore high school students in algebra for $40 an hour. (Can you say bank?)

Spontaneous commentary on The Simple Life: it sucks. I hope televisionwithoutpity.com is supplying appropriately scathing summations.
Disclaimer: I like The O.C. (shame!), so consider the source; however, I don't think there are many to disagree. The show is successful due to the morbid curiosity of the American public (have come to the conclusion that the American public, playing such a large part in this post, needs therapy).

Friday, January 02, 2004

I Need Another Vacation

I'm heading back to Chicago on Sunday for classes that start Monday (a day on which the forecast high is 16 degrees), and after some reflection, I've come to the conclusion that I don't wanna. Aside from the fact that it's cold as a monkey's butt (monkeys' butts are apparently pretty f*cking cold), I feel I haven't had nearly enough time here (at my parents' house in Los Angeles) to appreciate home-cooked meals, non-coin-operated washing machines, and a varied landscape (seriously, hills are a lot cooler than I ever thought--it sucks not to have any in a land where it snows!). It also kind of sucks to know that I won't be back here for at least six months- at spring break, I plan to go on a class trip to Tokyo and Shanghai (so, obviously, if anyone was ever deserving of pity, it's me), and I may not even get here till the end of August, after my residency is over. It's weird to go from relationships with friends where you see them every weekend to talking to them mostly on IM and only seeing each other twice a year. But that being said, thank God for IM.

Anyway, I plan to spend my last 36 hours here enjoying LA stuff- In N Out (the best burgers in the world), a pizookie from BJ's, shopping at Glendale Galleria, buying cheap wine at the San Antonio Winery in downtown, and dropping by the USC bookstore to buy any Rose Bowl stuff they may have left. And tonight I can rip all my old cd's to my new iPod, because, joy of joys, there's nothing else I should be doing instead. Well, watching OSU cream K State in the Fiesta Bowl (I'm kind of disappointed that the game thus far appears to be a carbon copy of the one I watched yesterday), but the point is that the spectre of class readings has not yet descended upon me, and I want to enjoy that to the fullest.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Fight On!

I suppose New Year's Day is as good a time to write an inaugural post as any, particularly given how f*cking awesome (btw I swear, we'll just settle that right now, but I will attempt to use tastefully placed asterisks) today was. It started out with me being drunk with my friends, miraculously waking up without a hangover (good thing we couldn't figure out how to make good mojitos, or today may have gone a little differently), taking the train to Pasadena and thus avoiding all manner of traffic, and watching my boys--the USC Trojans--defeat Michigan in the Rose Bowl to lay claim to the AP national title. My throat hurts from yelling, my legs and feet are threatening to go on strike, and I'll probably get sick from all the time spent in the cold in clothing that wasn't really up to the task. And I couldn't be happier.

It turns out that I could be more energetic, however, and typing this has ceased to be a priority (since I've, you know, gone and typed it already).

Goodnight. And Happy New Year!

Whole27: Recap

So we didn't quite make it 30 days. On Thursday, we looked at the prospect of a dry Memorial Day weekend (and the Friday leading up to i...