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.

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