Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Another dubious Blogger feature

I don't know if anyone's tried Blogger's new little feature on top of every blog, where one can hit 'next blog' and be directed to, well, the next blog (how 'next' is defined I have yet to figure out)... clearly, I have tried it, and wow.

There's a lot of crap out there.

(That comment wasn't originally intended as tongue-in-cheek, but I thought I'd preempt the inevitable snarky comments.)

Field trip

Roommates are funny things, particularly when you go about recruiting them the way I did: I found an apartment I loved and then looked for people who would live here with me--not friends or acquaintances, but total strangers. (Honestly, when it comes to livability, I don't think it makes a difference. There's no way of really telling if an acquaintance is a total slob--even if you knew they were, it'd be hard to say no once the subject was broached--and by living with strangers, you have the fun of getting to know new people and circles of friends. And if you hate each other, it's not as if there was a friendship to destroy in the first place. Or maybe it really was an odd thing to do... too late now.) The getting-to-know-you process, as mentioned in my last post, has been somewhat uneven between the three of us. We're all students, but I had a summer internship whereas the other two were just hanging around the apartment together all day. They also had the liberty of going out at night and getting trashed together, and we all know how good one's judgment is at the end of a night like that. So they hooked up. This was confirmed by one of them last night (the two of us went to see Danny Deckchair, and there's a mile to walk between our apartment and the theater--good movie, btw), and apparently my not being around much means I've missed a significant amount of resulting drama. Thank God.

Unfortunately, there's a reason why that's one of those lines that should never be crossed. It's going to remain as a lingering possibility for one or both of them, and if it isn't mutual (as I suspect it's not), that just makes things worse. Hopefully I'll miss that drama too, because it's bound to reappear. And as for me, while I wasn't involved, it isn't something I'm likely to forget... hanging out with both of them together isn't nearly as comfortable as it was.

I learned this today when the three of us took a field trip to the Art Institute. In an attempt to feel like I'm not wasting my vacation time, I recruited both of them to join me in getting cultured (Tuesdays are free, too; how cool is that?). Neither one of them had ever been, and I myself hadn't been in months. It was a perfect day, and in my opinion, the Art Institute is the best museum in the country (well, maybe it's tied with the Met... it's been a few years since I set foot there and my taste in art has developed significantly since then). So we hopped on a train, toured the museum, and then grabbed dinner at McCormick & Schmick (expensive, but so worth it). Great day, right? Well, long silences kind of detract from one's enjoyment of all that... one feels obligated to be social, which means talking, and when that isn't accomplished, we've all failed at something. I like both of my roommates, but when it was just the three of us trying to entertain ourselves, it didn't happen.

This is going to be an interesting year.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

No, mono isn't fatal

That's right, I'm back. I've fully recovered from mono and my summer internship and, now that I have sanctioned lying-around time for three weeks, I have absolutely no desire to take advantage of it. I've actually been up to quite a few things lately, but blogging never came naturally to begin with and after having to quit the internet cold turkey when I moved into my new apartment, it's taken some effort to build it back into my life again. Anyway, here's a quick recap of my recent activities:

I moved:
a friend, a truck, and a shitload of packing and heavy lifting later, I now inhabit a vintage Wrigleyville apartment close enough to the field to hear when something good happens (not as often as I'd like, however...these recent games against the Astros have been painful, and recall some of the sensation of watching the Steve Bartman game. Too bad there's no hapless fan to blame this time. As an LA native, hating SF teams comes naturally to me, and the Wild Card race is adding fuel to that rather small fire. I'll be at a Giants game on September 5th, and for the first time, I'll be a Diamondbacks fan.)

My new roommates moved in: We've all begun the process of getting to know each other, though at very different paces... I've been gone a lot, doing work for my internship (trying to make up for an entire summer of doing nothing, and amazingly, it worked... it's official, recency beats the hell out of primacy), but my roommates are students as well and are currently unemployed. They're also coed, and I suspect they've taken advantage of that on a few drunken occasions. Needless to say, they know each other much better than I know either of them... and I'm fine with that.

I got internet in my apartment: The world makes sense again.

I joined a gym: If anyone is curious about what a hard sell looks like and doesn't feel like venturing near a used car lot, health clubs are the next best thing. Bally's in particular. The thing that kills me is that, out of all the gyms available here, they're the most obnoxious, but they're also the best deal, and so I had to join in spite of myself. It's led to a couple of other interesting experiences, too. For example, I decided to try out a step aerobics class. I can't even begin to describe the degree of incompetence I felt while trying to participate. My complete lack of coordination combined with my poor hearing meant I couldn't even understand the commands that I had no hope of executing in the first place. I'm going to stick with ellipticals from now on.

I went to a food tasting: One of the consultants I've been working with this summer is also working with a restauranteur on the launch of a new food concept, and he invited me and some of my friends to come taste the entire menu and give our feedback on the quality of the food and the offering in general. Despite working in marketing and market research, this is the first focus group I've ever attended (ok, I attempted to run a couple for projects in school, but given my extensive experience, you can imagine how that went). It was interesting, though the concept they had, while good, did not match their offering. That demonstrates another compelling side of marketing, though: potential. Thinking strategically often means just thinking to begin with, as lots of companies are entirely operations-driven and never stop to think of where they're going and why. The job of a marketing consultant is really to teach their clients how to think. This focus group was an exercise in that for the client: they had to put the consumer first and ask them what they thought of the client's product, and then actually listen.

I went to a Better Than Ezra concert: This band is amazing. I can't believe I got to see them for free. But I'm set on seeing them again, and am making the trek to Baton Rouge to see them there at the end of September. I can't wait!

I watched a Trojan victory in South Bend: Now that I live in Chicago, this is the updated version of our trips to Westwood decked out in USC gear. Plus I get to see my friend Brendan (turncoat though he may be... happily, there's no photographic evidence of me in the Irish t-shirt and blanket I borrowed when I crashed there last night). Anyway, us Trojans had ourselves a viewing party, followed by a trip to a local watering hole that serves big-ass burgers. And at the end of the day, USC kicked Tech's ass (not as hard as I would've liked, but still) and we could claim celebratory drinking instead of plain old "we're alcoholics" drinking.

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...