Monday, August 30, 2010

The rest of the campus

Yale classroom Going to SOM can be isolating because all our classes are in the same building. And that building is 0.5 miles from my apartment, so basically I'm woefully unfamiliar with the greater Yale campus, despite having attended school here for a year.

I imagine this is common among grad students. You get so caught up in your bubble -- especially during first year, when you have all your core classes with the same people -- that you may not do much outside that school or even meet many students elsewhere.

This year, though, I'll be taking nothing but electives, and those can be outside SOM. So I'm enrolling in a semester-long film studies class called Theory of Media, which will meet in the little room pictured above, a good 25-30 minute walk from my apartment. (It was pleasant exercise today; ask me again in December.) I'm looking forward to taking a liberal arts class, getting out of the business-school building for a bit, and meeting a few non-SOM students ...

... assuming that's the vibe. Back in undergrad, I remember expecting to meet new people as I took various classes, but in real life that wasn't always the dynamic. But I'm not as shy as I was then. In New York this summer, I got better at the art of chatting with randoms. I think most people really do want to be spoken to; and if they don't, it'll be obvious, and everyone will move on unscathed.

Meanwhile, at SOM today I met with a new Career Development Office (CDO) "relationship manager," which is what they call our career advisers. My old one left; this fellow started a few weeks ago. I liked him a lot. I'm starting to explore some new directions and career possibilities. I don't want to give too much away, but these opportunities start with a "c" and end with an "onsulting."

I also expected tonight to finish a case write-up due on the first day of class Wednesday, but somehow resting my eyes in the late afternoon turned into like a three-hour nap. So much for that. Better luck tomorrow.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get your sloth on while you can

The result of 9 hours of hanging around As the clock ticks toward another school year, I better enjoy my freedom while it lasts. After I spent the morning on readings for school and even writing a song, productivity and decency dissolved when my friend Dave came over, and we spent the rest of the day eating junk food, playing video games, watching movies, drinking beer (yes, those are tall boys in the back) and chewing tobacco (my first/last foray into that form of stimulant). We took a walk, too, to kind of balance the whole thing out.

Back in Texas, I had a group of guy friends (including Dave) with whom I would have occasional weekends of ridiculous sloth. One infamous 48-hour stint transpired at one of our friends' apartment, where four of us lived on pizza and whatever we could think to cook (including spaghetti burritos), and watched Will Ferrell and Will Ferrell-esque comedies, drank beer, smoked cigarettes and babbled about life and love and religion and the world. Cherished times.

Part of me secretly longs to be a loser, but fears it so terribly that perhaps I try too hard to lean in the other direction. One of my friends from childhood who's an even bigger over-achiever than I am (she has a PhD and all) shares my deep-seeded longing to spend our lives in pajamas, eating cereal and watching TV. Of course, we formed that ideal back when there was good stuff on TV. But, regardless, that aspect of my brain is ultimately overruled by the part that wants to challenge myself, reach my potential, contribute and so on.

Like all the deadly sins, though, sloth is healthy in moderation.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

They aren't the world

JasonAfter a heroically productive day deep-cleaning and reorganizing my room in advance of the new school year, I spent yesterday evening immersed in the Class of 2012. It started with catching up with a first-year I'd already met, Jason (pictured), at Barcelona; then meeting up with others at a couple other bars before wandering to an East Rock house party where we were greeted with beer pong and a giant tub of punch.

I might be misjudging this entirely, but last year I remember noticing and hearing several other people observe that the class of 2010, the year ahead of me, seemed to be much frattier than my class. They more often had house parties and seemed to have a more masculine, slap-you-on-the-back camaraderie. That impression is naturally influenced by what I was personally exposed to, which itself is a factor of personal conditions, such as that most of my friends here are girls, that I was in a relationship for half the schoolyear, and that I lived with people who don't go to SOM, all of which wouldn't necessarily jibe with seeking out house parties. Anyway, it remains to be seen what kind of Class of 2012 culture emerges, but my initial exposures have me leaning toward fratty.

The class of '12 is also, quite honestly, noticeably whiter than mine. It's 20% U.S. minority; my class is 28%. I looked that up to get the exact numbers (here and here, if you're curious), but I didn't need to get exact numbers to make that assertion; it was hard to miss when I was on campus last week to TA a class. You'll notice, if you follow those links, that the article also adds that my class is 12% "under-represented U.S. minority," and the school declines to give such a statistic for the class of 2012. Draw your own conclusions.

The whiteness is even self-evident among the self-identified gay segment, as a sample. Looks like so far in the class of 2012 there are eight LGBT students, and all of them are American and white. In my class there are six/seven/eight-ish LGBT students, and only two of us are white Americans. A picture of the LGBT students in my class would look like standard generic marketing art.

I'm not being critical, just making an observation. Naturally, every class is going to be different and have a different makeup of students. As long as the school is reaching out to minority students fairly and earnestly, that's all they can do; eventually it comes down to whether those students choose to come, and that's out of any school's hands.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Skype's the limit

John and Carla Skype I had my first Skype conversation this evening, with my friend Carla. As she recently pointed out to me, we've had a particularly fascinating firsthand experience of seeing long-distance communications evolve over the years.

We met at summer camp when we were kids and have never lived in the same city, so since 1993 we've been managing to stay in touch by the best means available at the time. Back in '93, that meant writing (sometimes typing) and mailing letters, making 10-cents-a-minute long-distance phone calls and, in an act of creativity, sending physical cassette tapes through the mail so that we could chat and share recent music we'd either bought or composed. That was very time-consuming, but it has some great side effects -- I have a wonderful collection of letters from her over the course of about four or five years. Also there's something particularly special about receiving a handwritten letter because you know it took time and is just for you.

By around 1996, we were moving to America Online, and we started talking over IM, in chat rooms and by e-mail. Within a couple years we had cellphones. Then along came text messaging and the various social networks. We also each have a blog, so that's another way to stay in touch. These days we mostly IM and send messages through Facebook, although she's one of the very few friends I still regularly talk to on the phone.

And now there's Skype, which is easy to use. I like it but can see why, in this multitasking culture, it isn't ubiquitous, since it requires dedicated, uninterrupted attention (unlike text messaging or chatting on Facebook, where you can do a couple things at once and kind of come and go). That said, there's really no substitute for seeing the person you're talking to. And because laptops are portable, we even got to give each other mini tours of our apartments. Pretty cool.

Hard to imagine where technology can go next. I assume we will soon be hanging out in hologram form in each other's living rooms. I mean, why not?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yale is ...

When I was visiting my nephews, who are 4 and 6, the younger one mentioned a few times that Yale was my school. Then when we were watching one of his favorite films, "Lady and the Tramp," he said something to the effect of, "Uncle John, the part with your school is coming up!" He was referring to a scene where a Yale penant gets hung on a wall. (Incidentally, this nephew just turned 4 ... I sorta can't believe how brilliant he is sometimes).

He seemed to get a kick out of the fact that I, like he, went to school. But what school do I go to? You can see for yourself what Google suggests. I have my own thoughts.

Yale is ...

1. Ancient. It was founded in 1701, making it the country's third-oldest college behind Harvard and William & Mary. That means if I had entered as a freshman in its first year, I would be 327 years old, which would make me the oldest living person, and probably one of the ugliest.

2. Attractive, in both architecture and student body. Some of the buildings, like Kroon Hall, and on-campus streets, like Hillhouse Avenue, are breathtaking. And so are some of the Abercrombie models running around with backpacks.

3. Well off. Yale has a $22.6 billion endowment. An endowment consists of donated money that the university invests and uses for capital expenditures and annual operations. I am not quite as well endowed.

4. In New Haven. Nobody's perfect, I suppose.

5. The wackness. Not sure what that is, but Google says so, and it sounds true enough.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Deep New Haven ignorance

Dave wonders how much progress he can make on this Abate pizza. It's a bit surreal to be back. When I went to campus today as a TA for a first-year class, the School of Management was swarming with fresh, unfamiliar faces. The weather is sitting bizarrely in the 60s, a distant cry from the hell-on-earth heat I recall from a year ago. I'm in the same apartment, but with a different roommate. It's all so the same and totally different at once.

And one thing that's been on my mind during this is how I should really know New Haven a whole lot better than I do for having lived here a year. I'm still not good at navigating the streets, I still don't know where much of anything is, there are still tons of restaurants and bars I've never been to. So in that spirit, for lunch today I went with my friend Dave (from back in Texas; he's now living in New Haven, coincidentally) to Wooster Square, a popular area with some famous pizza restaurants that I think also used to be a popular place for SOM students to live. It's well-known and just a mile and a half from my house. But I'm so very embarrassed to say I'd never been there till today. Two of New Haven's most famous pizza places are there -- Sally's and Pepe's. But Sally's was closed, and the line for Pepe's was ridiculous (and my time was limited) we went to a place called Abate. We had a pizza, half with clams and white sauce, half with sausage and peppers and red sauce. I reluctantly admit it was great.

How can I justify why there's still so much of New Haven I haven't seen, and why I still don't even really know my way around? I think that what happens/happened is that when you get to school, you have ideas about all the non-school things you're going to do, but when the gun goes off and the race starts, you just kind of forget everything and start running without thinking.

I'm also willing to acknowledge that my view of the city might be different coming off my summer in New York. Maybe I'm looking more for new things to do and try, whereas a year ago I was just hoping to keep my head above water academically. I hope this year I can get to know New Haven better. A few first-year students dropped by the other day, and they were asking my roommate about places to eat, and I couldn't believe her breadth of specific knowledge ... They wanted sushi, and it was as if they'd asked Dr. Know from AI. She knew the names, exact intersections, what was on the menu ... I, on the other hand, was thinking "Hmm, I went to a sushi place once at some point last year ... can't remember the name or what I had ..."

Granted, Suzanne has the advantage of having lived in New Haven for several years, as opposed to my one. But still, part of the issue is me. Bottom line -- I have to break out of the routine places I frequented and explore this city more. Well, I don't have to. But I'ma try to.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yoda for Halloween

I just returned from another enjoyable visit to see my nephews and their parents. The younger one, who's 4, loves to make (and especially watch) little movies on my iPhone. Whenever I pull out the phone, he begs to see all the old footage I've ever taken of him. Today he bought a new Star Wars figure to add to his collection, so I decided to conduct an exclusive interview. Enjoy.

I was never a Star Wars fan, but that's not surprising given that I'm generally not a fan of much in the way of movies and TV shows. That's become so true on television that my roommate and I have cut the cord. The cable man comes tomorrow to pick up our box. We're going to be saving about $80 a month (because we're now going in on Internet with a neighbor). I'll be curious to see if and how much I miss TV. But, really, there are just no shows I'm following, and there are always more constructive things I could be doing.

Tomorrow also marks the first day of TA-ing Careers, a class for first-year students. I'll be monitoring participation, along with another TA (so, theoretically, that's about 30 students for each of us). I think it will be fun to sort of re-audit the class, which is about professional development. I still need me some of that.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Home run

Suzanne at dinner And I'm back. My final days in New York were very nice. Work sent me off with lots of good wishes and a parting gift, I had a couple happy hour cocktails with a fellow intern to celebrate the successful completion of our stints at AP, and then I went to Aldea, a fancy and delicious and surprisingly not unaffordable restaurant with my friend Kristin. And I unexpectedly ran into a blast from the past there -- my first boyfriend, who I hadn't seen in 13 years, was the bartender. How about that? A nice way to wrap up a summer during which I spent a great deal of time catching up with historical figures.

Saturday was spent getting my suitcase packed and riding back to New Haven, where since returning to my apartment I've done a bit of helping my new roommate Suzanne with arranging furniture and moving things around. We're still making decisions. And we cooked the delightful meal you see here (plus bread you don't see cuz it ain't in the picture). It's nice to prepare a meal. Not a common experience this summer.

Me, dragging 50 pounds of life through Grand CentralOn the emotional end of things, I feel ready to be back in New Haven, especially now that I'm here. As I left New York and went through those final motions of closure (locking the door behind me, taking a taxi to Grand Central, boarding the train), I naturally got twinges of sadness. This was probably the best summer of my life. Guess I shouldn't be sad about that. And now that I'm back, I have to carry some of that magic dust into the school year for as long as I can.

Tomorrow I'm heading up to visit my brother and nephews for about 30 hours, and then I start TA-ing one of the first-year classes on Tuesday. The rest of the week will be dedicated to things like preparation for classes, cleaning, errand-running, getting organized and perhaps finishing the last book I started, because surely that will just collect dust during the school year if I don't finish it now.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cheese and macaroni

Yash An exciting Thursday yielded only one photo -- Yash, Yale School of Management Class of 2010. Let me explain a bit. It turned out that one of my fellow AP interns, Ben, is very close friends with two people a year ahead of me in school. So an ongoing joke throughout the summer was that when I was with either of his friends, which happened a lot, I would send him a text message with their picture; those friends would also send him a picture of me. Then on occasions when Ben would be with them, he would send me a picture of them, or when he was with me, he'd send them a picture of me, and so forth. It's one of those jokes that doesn't have a punchline, really. But as I result, 98% of the photos on my phone are of Yash.

Anyway, I saw Yash last night at a mixer for the Classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012. The '12ers were in New York as the capstone of their orientation. I loved the day in New York last year; I visited Time Warner, and we got to spend time with Jeff Bewkes, the CEO and a Yale alum. That was also the night I met Kim, who is now my dear friend and, appropriately, the person I accompanied to last night's event. Awww. I like full circles.

Before the meet-up, Kim and I finally tried S'Mac, a mac-and-cheese restaurant at which I've wanted to stuff my fat face all summer. It was better than I expected. They serve lots of different types of mac-and-cheese with various cheeses and add-in options (like ground beef, spinach, chicken, olives, roasted figs, etc.), in a hot skillet. Salty and satisfying. I will miss Kim this fall because she's spending the semester at London School of Economics.

Today is my last day at AP. This was a great internship. I saw the inner workings of the company, met lots of nice people and contributed what I hope were worthwhile deliverables. Some MBA internships end with firm full-time offers. Not AP, although they encourage us to keep in touch in case there are fitting opportunities in the spring. I would be happy to come back, although the nature of recruiting, the weakness of the job market and common sense all suggest I not shut any doors just yet. I'm not ruling anything out, especially with another year of school to go. Who knows what subject might pique my interest.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My cupcake runneth over

Magnolia Magnolia Bakery is the kind of place I associate with (a) quality cupcakes and (b) people deriding the cupcakes as overrated. But this evening, after enjoying sushi at Amber, an Asian restaurant steps from my apartment, my pal/ex-subletter Maggie and I headed over to see what all the hubbub was about. I had a banana cupcake with chocolate icing and was, frankly, wildly impressed. I had braced myself for crap, but it was great.

Interns Before dinner I went out with colleagues to celebrate an intern's 21st birthday. He's in corporate communications for the summer. I remember my 21st birthday. Those were simpler times, the '90s. I had concluded my fall semester, junior year, and recall having a party at my apartment. It was a great time. I fear the intern may not have had as great of a time, having a happy hour drink at an Irish pub, but he seemed pleased enough.

Our intern class, being the 10 Business Associates, comprised four people around 21-23, a 26-year-old, a 28-year-old, three of us 30-32 and someone of totally indeterminant age. The elder half of the group were getting MBAs, and the younger half were recent undergrads and a law student. To meet us, enjoy a video that the birthday boy did.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Next to normal

Next to Normal playbill Today I got itchin' to see a show, but not itchin' to spend a butt-load of dough. I scratched my itches. By visiting, I obtained a promotional code I then used on to buy two tickets to "Next to Normal," an award-winning musical on Broadway. It's a mostly heavy but sometimes funny show about a bipolar housewife and her family. Great singing, music and acting. And I got teary a couple times.

One week from today I will be attending a first-year class called Careers, as a teaching assistant. At SOM, second-year students TA first-year classes to help the professors monitor participation, grade papers and do whatever other logistical things might need tending to. It wasn't until I was chatting with the other TA's about how we were going to do the schedule that I realized/remembered how short our quarters are; Careers is a weekly class that meets first quarter, and it only meets seven times. Breaking it down, this is a pretty well-paying gig.

Two weeks from tomorrow, I start my classes. In the musical's spirit of approaching normality, I have decided to round out my business courses by enrolling in Theory of Media, a grad-level film-studies course. We are allowed to take classes outside the business school, so I decided to take advantage. I will be dropping something to make room for it. Looks like it will be very interesting. Here's a description:

In this course we consider some of the main issues in media studies, including the relationship among commodity, artwork, and networks of exchange;media and public sphere; the analysis of radio and television; alternative or counter-hegemonic conceptions of media; and the viability of the concept "media" itself. The authors we discuss include Marshall McLuhan, Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, T. W. Adorno, John Grierson, Stanley Cavell, Roland Barthes, Guy Debord, Jürgen Habermas, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Fredric Jameson, Raymond Williams, Jean Baudrillard, Régis Debray, and Arjun Appadurai. We also look at works by Dziga Vertov, Seoungho Cho, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Humphrey Jennings, Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Loach, Jon Alpert, Chris Burden, Richard Serra, Guy Ben-Ner, and many others, alongside television shows like The Honeymooners, It Could Be You, The X-Files, and Good Morning America.

This is admittedly not the most relevant course in the world, unless indeed I go into media management and wish to strike up an academic conversation. Regardless, it will be fun, and a good chance to explore more of the campus, meet new people and exercise different parts of my brain.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brotherly lurve

After 11 weeks of summertime postponements and "maybe next weeks," my brother and I finally convened for dinner this evening. I took him to the Yale Club so he'd be impressed; fortunately, he was. My meals there haven't always been so impressive, but tonight's was decent. Overpiced for what it was, but still fine.

Last night was my first in my temporary Upper West Side digs and I just love it. It's a fantastic apartment, and the neighborhood is cozy but vibrant. There's no limit to the dining choices. My summertime companion Brian and I dined at Pomodoro Rosso, a better-than-necessary Italian place less than a block away. I then thought he would enjoy the nearby Shalel Lounge, and I was correct.

Back to the matter at hand, it was nice to spend some QT with the b-r-o. I'm not sure the two of us have ever had dinner alone before ... except perhaps when our parents were out and we ordered pizza, but that would have been circa 1989. Anyway, family relationships are old and full of history/baggage/treasured memories, and they must change with the times. Someday he may even speak to me as if I'm my age. I think we're almost there.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Haven is a place on earth

Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee, from Tim Burton's horrible reconfiguring of Alice in Wonderland Yesterday began with an early drive through foggy roads to the beautiful Foxwoods Resort Casino, where CABO had its annual strategic board meeting. The typical board positions are three-year commitments, but they have a year-long position designated for a student. Foxwoods on SaturdayI've been on since the spring. It's been a neat opportunity to learn more about the case for such an organization, and to meet a lot of LGBT business owners, although the timing has somewhat stunted my level of involvement. By the time I was really figuring out what's going on, I left for New York for the summer. Now that I'm almost back, I definitely want to get re-involved, although realistically I'm aware I need to draw some lands in the sand because I've overcommitted myself for fall.

To that end, I'm considering dropping one of my five quant-heavy electives in lieu of a media studies class at the film school, so that I don't get overloaded in problem sets. Second-year SOM students are allowed to any class at any school, in theory, although I don't know the procedure for doing so. But it's something I think I should take advantage of while I have the chance, as long as it's not to the detriment of my business learnings.

Yesterday evening, my friend Carolyn and I were unable to pursue our plans to dine at C.O. Jones due to a fire at the restaurant, so we had beers and ate disappointing chili at J.P. Dempsey's -- too sweet; tasted like barbecue sauce. We then headed to nearby East Rock Park to meet up with my friend Dave and watch an outdoor screening of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which was dreadful. However, despite bad chili and bad movie, it was a fantastic evening, thanks to what I feel confident in saying was perfect weather, and good company.

This movie-in-the-park event is put on by a neighborhood association called SoHu, which stands for South of Humphrey, thereby representing the southern part of East Rock that one might consider a bit gritty. I live one street north of Humphrey. Anyway, the movies are voted upon and organized by this group. I have been sort of down on East Rock lately, but it does have its charms, really. It has pretty nice houses and is joggable and bikeable, with a couple neat markets. I just wish a guy could get a decent bowl of chili.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The last commute

2 pump classic iced coffee I don't know if I'm a terribly nostalgic person, but I find it interesting that as I move from place to place (and I have done so many times), I settle into various routines, then uproot myself and really never think about those routines again. But I will use a bit of space here to remind my future self that for 11 weeks in the summer 2010, almost every morning, I walked from my Sunnyside, Queens, apartment toward the 7 train and, right before going up the stairs, would stop and have a venti two-pump classic iced coffee. So very routine was this, in fact, that I would have two dimes and a penny on hand, as the price came to $3.21. (Wait just a cotton-picking minute. Does that mean I spent $176.55 on two-pump classic iced coffees this summer? Wow. Forget nostalgia -- I just realized I'm an idiot.)

Three of the 10 business interns said farewell today; the rest of us wrap up next week. My last day is a week from today. But we celebrated the occasion with a great lunch at a placed called Ovest Pizzoteca. Far better than any of the "famous" pizza they serve up in New Haven. Blech.

And, speaking of The Have, I'm back in it. It's a beautiful night for open windows, and I hope to get some solid sleep so that I'm all refreshed when I wake up tomorrow at Five. O. Clock. In. The. Morning. It's the annual strategic planning meeting for CABO, the gay-and-lesbian chamber of commerce whose board I'm on. And it's at Foxwoods Casino because a fellow board member works there and offered the space. Why it starts at 7:15 is beyond me, frankly. Er, um, I mean I'm thrilled to help? The casino aspect sounds potentially fun, but I do not intend to enjoy gambling or other amenities. I'll be all business.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Toodles to Sunnyside

Lincoln Center Pictured is Lincoln Center, a performing arts venue not terribly far from where I'll be living next week on the Upper West Side. You see, my internship at AP is 12 weeks long, but my apartment lease was 11 weeks. So I must, unfortunately, vacate my dwelling in Sunnyside, Queens.

Fortunately for me, my friend Meg and her boyfriend happen to be out of town next week, and they're kindly letting me crash in their UWS studio. This will make my commute to work radically shorter and more direct, and the area looks like a lot of fun, so I'm looking forward to it.

Mark It was a busy week. On Tuesday I spent some time with my friend Mark, who is interning at Sony this summer. We had wine and cheese fondue at Kashkaval, which was pretty good (great cheese, not the most impressive assortment of meats and veggies). Then we ended up at a rather strange cave-like oasis called Shalel Lounge, which came complete with a babbling indoor brook and several private enclaves with cushions.

On Wednesday I met up for a wine with a friend I made earlier in the summer on the 7 train -- yes, I made a friend on the train. So what? He lives in the neighborhood. And he's considering SOM, so he may be up in New Haven in a couple weeks. See what happens when you just chat people up? I'm convinced that people want to meet people; they just act like they don't sometimes. Some people genuinely don't, I guess. But who cares about them?

Summer happy hours at the Yale Club are over.And tonight I brought a co-worker to the Yale Club's final Thursday night happy hour of the summer. Guesss they can't afford to give away all that buffet food throughout the year. This was a good perk, I must say. It was nice having a regular weekly place to catch up with people and relax, several stories above the riff raff.

Now it's on to cleaning and getting ready to leave. I hope to be out of here shortly after work tomorrow because I have to be at Foxwoods casino at 7:15 a.m. Saturday. No, I don't have a gambling problem. Details to come. Anyway, I developed genuine affection for Sunnyside over these 11 weeks and will miss it. If ever I live in New York again, Sunnyside will be on my list of options. But, you know, so will everywhere else.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weird, steamy things in NYC

Metronome at Union Square Steam seems to billow out of weird places in New York, including the hole in this strange installation at Union Square that Google tells me is called Metronome. It was installed in 1999. This isn't a great picture, but if you look to the left you see the perhaps-more-famous huge digits that seem to tick both backwards and forwards. Here is an explanation.

Alexander's back. Watch out, New York.I was there meeting up with my former boyfriend and current friend Alex, who last week moved from Fort Worth to New York. He lived here for several years before and is thrilled to be back, ready to dance and go to yoga and wait tables and to that whole New York thing people do.

Speaking of Fort Worth, bad news from my former place of employment, the Star-Telegram, as about 15 or so layoffs came down this weekend, affecting a couple people I was friendly with. The papers need to get leaner to survive, but that's of little consolation to those who get thrown out on the street. I've read studies, or stories about studies, that suggest that people are better off after they've been laid off. They have free time and find something more fulfilling. Maybe. I'd still rather make my own choice about when it's time to go, though.

As for my current job, we the interns are meeting with the CEO this week to talk about what we've been working on this summer. It doesn't sound as official as a "presentation," but we're going to find out a little more tomorrow about the format. I'm excited to get the chance to hear what everyone else has been doing in more detail. I feel good about my output this summer. And there are still two weeks to go!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Healing through the power of sloth

Ophelia briefly says hello. Since arriving in New Haven on Thursday, I have behaved in a lazier fashion than I have in eons, using my strep throat to justify eating ice cream and drifting into and out of consciousness in front of the TV for two solid days. It would have been the best time of my whole life if I hadn't also felt so miserable.

Meanwhile, look who came out from under various pieces of furniture and sheets to visit? It's Ophelia, my new roommate's kitty cat. She's barely shown her pretty little face since I arrived, probably because she's still getting accustomed to these unfamiliar surroundings.

I feel better. There's a discomfort when I swallow, but it's nothing compared to the agony of a couple days ago. I reckon the Azithromycin tablets are doing the real work, but I also hope that this incredible rest has let my body focus on the healing process. I cured myself through the power of doing absolutely nothing. Never underestimate it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I have strep throat

My home I decided to skip work and drive to New Haven to get my agonizingly sore throat checked out at the health center; I figured it would be easier than figuring out where to go in New York, getting my medical card faxed, dealing with all the complications and so forth. Anyway, I have strep throat. So I have pills and vanilla ice cream, and my feet are kicked up in my home. The doctor suggested I stay home tomorrow, so I wouldn't dare defy such advice.

I haven't been here in 10 weeks. I have no particular feelings about that.

Pop Lyrics Analyzed

Part of a posting on my new Pop Lyrics Analyzed blog Yesterday, my friend Jenny and I decided to co-author a new blog on which we analyze/paraphrase the lyrics to popular songs. I hope you will check it out -- Pop Lyrics Analyzed, at

Meanwhile, I am trying to decide how to handle the fact that my throat is so sore I can barely swallow. I broke my evening plans yesterday so that I could rest, but that doesn't seem to have done the trick, as I've been waking up throughout the night because it hurts so bad. My throat has been sore since about Sunday; it was scratchy then, and it's steadily developed into agony. I have no other symptoms, though. I may see if I can skip work today and see a doctor. The question is where I'll do that; should I try to find a doctor in New York, or hop back to New Haven and go to the Yale Health Services on campus? They open at 8:30, so I'll give them a buzz and see what they think.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adoring devices

John sleeps.I've noticed that New Yorkers are attached to their devices. Especially at night, it's hard to miss that a majority of train riders are fixated on portable electronics, be it a phone or music player or what have you. I'm no different. If my iPod hasn't yet run out of juice, I'm using it, likely. By quite late, though, it's not rare that my phone is dead, and that I'm creating my own games and songs in my mind. Shameful.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that these devices may keep us from interacting personally, but I try not to make that the case. Hence going out to lunch yesterday, to ice cream at 3, to meet a fellow for a drink at 6, and to meet another fellow for dinner at 8. That's lots of socializing, for an introvert.

Meanwhile, meaningful and unexpected adventures are unfolding back in New Haven. I've spent the past year in a two-bedroom apartment, with a couple occupying the other room. They've moved out, and my new roommate moved in a few days ago. When I asked whether all was well, she replied that it was, and mentioned particular excitement over having discovered access to the cool area on the roof. "The roof?" I asked. Apparently there's a staircase in the hallway that leads to an area on the roof that's nice enough that we could have enjoyable small parties. I had no idea, and neither did my previous roommates. Meanwhile, until I see it, I can enjoy this video.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The thanks I get

Matt at 230 Fifth An absolutely amazing lamb burger and fries at The Breslin -- quite seriously one of the best burgers I've ever had, and I'm almost certain the very best fries -- was followed by an absolutely amazing cocktail at 230 Fifth. Not bad for a Monday night. I explored these places with my new friend Matt, the former boss of a current fellow intern.

When I got back to Sunnyside, I had the strangest feeling. After nine weeks of being very responsible about moving my car before the deadlines on the various signs, I thought, "Wait a minute ... was I supposed to move my car this morning? Or did I park on a Wednesday street? And where IS my car?" It was the first time I could not remember exactly where I parked. And that's strange, because I parked stone sober in broad daylight on Saturday, after coming back from a friend's house in Scarsdale. No excuse.

I hate rules.After strolling up and down a few streets, I spotted it and was aghast at the sticker on a rear window labeling me a delinquent. I mean, after all I do for this world -- studying business at like a totally super-hard school, working tirelessly at a nonprofit that just wants to inform people of what's going on ... I mean, I send money to a girl in Senegal, for Christ's sake (literally). And this is the thanks I get?? I used a money clip to scrape it off, and I think I may have screwed up my window. Ugh. Will someone please steal my car already??

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Are you going to Scarsdale?

Josh & Shiri I spent much of Saturday in Scarsdale, a town near White Plains that I was surprised to discover is only a 40-minute drive from Queens. And the closer you get to Scarsdale, the more pleasant the drive becomes.

Shiri, my best friend from high school, just moved into a new house there with her husband and 2-year-old son. It was nice -- built in the '20s, so it was full of old-fashioned details like arch doorways, stained-glass windows and flappers who just earned the right to vote.

I really like Shiri's husband and tend to have some version of the same conversation with him each time I visit, which entails me trying to figure out exactly what he does for a living. It has something to do with some intersection of private equity and operations. Because I am halfway through an MBA, I keep thinking this will all click, and I'll be able to follow what he does in a full-hearted and genuine way. My progress toward that end is noticeable, but slow.

And, naturally, these conversations tend to turn toward what I'm doing and what I want to do after I graduate. I want to make tons of money, because I'm certain that material goods will fill emotional voids, and I want to be home for dinner every night by 6 p.m. Oh, and I want the work I do to make the world a better place. I will take suggestions.