Friday, March 19, 2004

MIA

Spring break is finally here, and I can feel the lethargy taking me prisoner already. I can sleep till noon, and do things like rent the entire fourth season of Sex and the City and watch it all because hey, what else is there? I made up for missing Saturday's St. Patty's Day festivities (c'mon, everyone's gotta see a green river at some point in their lives) by going out on Wednesday and getting plastered, though I got started at the late hour of 8 pm and never did quite catch up to my friends, who started at 5. The night was that much more entertaining for me, though. And looming over everything I do is my departure on Sunday for points Caribbean. After the overcast misery of the past few days (highlighted by the impending season change that can't come soon enough), I can't wait to pack flip flops, board shorts, bikinis, and halter tops in preparation for our cruise.

I'll be gone from Sunday to Sunday, and while I know you all have March Madness to tide you over (I think I'm coming in at 55 in a pool with only 60 or so people in it), here are a couple of extra tidbits from the LA Times that I found to be really interesting. First, an article on how The DaVinci Code has basically sparked a wave of interest akin to Harry Potter-mania (the word-of-mouth on both of these is really spectacular; I wasn't all that impressed by the DaVinci Code, but such is life when you're buying information: you can't assess whether or not it's worth having until you actually have it, and by God I had to have it cuz everyone else did).

And secondly, this article on USC beefing up its faculty in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Makes me think of the good ol' days when I was a USC Ambassador or whatever; it took me several years to figure out what they were actually trying to accomplish with that program (viral marketing from a preferred source, as we were chosen for our GPA's). Money in that budget is so overshadowed by the influence of our athletic department that it may as well be diverted there. To cut through the clutter, a school can only really send out one message at a time, and our football team is doing a much better job of it than anyone else there. It can get more complicated though, depending on who it is you're trying to sell on the school. Ideally, you want to send the message to everyone that USC is the place to be because of good athletic programs and academic excellence, but it's rare one school can pull off both (Stanford is the only one I can think of that's ever done so convincingly, and it's unfortunate they're in the same state). But people ultimately value different things in making their decisions and evaluations (yeah I know that's redundant), and USC wants to attract a population different from the one that finds a great football team to be a major draw, therefore they have to have other messages out there to persuade the people looking for them that there are a good number of more compelling reasons to attend/donate money to USC.

It's encouraging that I still find this interesting after the quarter I had, and indeed have even more intellectual ammo that I can use when thinking about stuff like this.

Wish me bon voyage!

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