Archive for April, 2003

“Farewell, my minions!”

Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

Becky and I both have our final Daily Trojan articles of all time in tomorrow’s paper, which is the last issue of the semester.

Becky’s is a farewell column in the Opinions section. After a tongue-in-cheek tribute to herself, she leaves her readers with “loads of hard-won, but entirely useless, pearls of wisdom and otherwise random observations.” Among my favorites:

Even if you discover the cure for cancer, Carson Palmer will still make more money at quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals than you ever will.

If you buy a self-help book for someone who doesn’t need it, the person will resent you. If you buy a self-help book for someone who does need it, the person will also resent you.

Sneezing on someone is no substitute for a proper introduction.

Insurance companies employ only heartless bastards who sell spoiled milk to school children and club baby fur seals.

And, finally:

If you don’t know what blogging is by now, you’re out of the loop.

Heh.

My final article, meanwhile, is a bit less dramatic. It’s just a shortened, newsified version of the multi-thousand word magazine story I wrote for my journalism class about the alleged Troy Hall burglar, Roosevelt Carmichael.

It’s a decent story, but unfortunately, the DT editors once again demonstrated their remarkable ability to introduce ridiculous errors into otherwise spotless articles. For instance, where on earth did this comma come from?

The man who allegedly burglarized dozens of Troy Hall and Troy East apartments in fall 2001, was sentenced in March to more than six years behind bars.

That’s my lead sentence, folks. The incredible thing is, someone who is supposed to be an “editor” actually had to look at that sentence in its original form (without the comma), read it over, and actively make the decision to add a comma where it clearly did not belong.

Remarkable.

Ah, well, it’s an appropriate end to a frustrating career at the Daily Trojan — fighting in vain, to the very bitter end, against bad judgment and utter incompetence.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the DT “editors” also apparently don’t know the difference between parole and probation.

I used the word “probation” six times in the article, because that’s the proper term, but the deck (underneath the headline) stated, “Arrested in 2002 for violating parole, Roosevelt Carmichael faces six years in jail.”

Dumbasses.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic, check out this gem from a photo caption in the Sports section:

USC recruit Whitney Lewis is now eligible to join the football to join the team in fall after receiving a qualifying SAT score on TUesday.

Waiting for the quiff to pop

Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

Still no word from Georgetown Law School — or, at least, still no word that I’m aware of. It’s possible that something came in the mail after I came to campus earlier today, and I just haven’t seen it yet.

To review: Georgetown has already made its decision on whether or not to admit me — but I don’t know yet what that decision is. They mailed me either an acceptance letter or a rejection letter on Friday evening. They told me it’s on the way, but they won’t tell me which kind of letter it is, because they have a policy of not revealing admissions decisions over the phone or e-mail.

What this means, aside from the fact that Georgetown’s admissions office is run by a bunch of sadistic bastards, is that, according to the quantum-physics theory best expressed through the analogy of Schroedinger’s Cat, at present I have been both rejected AND accepted by Georgetown.

This paradoxical reality will remain true until I open the envelope and see what the letter says (or, more accurately, until I see the envelope and determine whether it’s a “big envelope,” meaning I got in, or a “small envelope,” meaning I didn’t).

When I finally determine the letter’s contents, I will be “popping the quiff.” No, that’s not some sort of crude sexual slang. It’s another quantum physics term.

Oh, nevermind.

Where’s my letter?!?!?

:)

My parents, the retirees

Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

Yesterday I posted an update on my future plans. Now, it’s time to update my parents’ future plans.

Both my mom and my dad have declared their intention to retire as Connecticut state employees on June 1. They’re taking advantage of the “early retirement” package that the state is offering as part of its budget-cutting strategy.

This has been in the works for a while, but my mom officially announced her plans yesterday in a letter to the human resources department at Eastern Connecticut State University, and my dad followed suit today with his employer, the Secretary of the State.

My mom is already looking for teaching/professorial jobs in New York City, and it is conceivable that this may lead to an eventual (or even not-so-eventual) relocation of the family’s “home base” from Newington to Manhattan (where we already have an apartment, which right now is used primarily by my mom, primarily on weekends). That, in turn, would have major implications for Adollya. (Sorry, the Adollya webpage is out of date; Mr. Bun is president now.)

But that’s mere speculation, and much remains to be determined. Even my parents’ retirements won’t even be totally official and final until a bunch more paperwork is turned in. (There’s government bureaucracy for you. You have to turn in lots of paperwork even if you just want to stop working and go home! :)

What is certain is that the next month is shaping up as an incredibly eventful one:

May 16: I earn two Bachelor’s degrees from USC.
May 17: My mom earns a Master’s degree from Pratt.
June 1: Both of my parents retire from state service.

Somewhere in there, I’m going to figure out where I’m going to law school, too. :)

NOTE: Originally, before I fixed the typo, the statement above the list of dates said “What is certain is that the next month is shaping up as an incredibly eventual one.” Hence my dad’s comment. :)

Last class

Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

I’m sitting in my final undergraduate class right now. Professor Shah says it will be a “short class.” Right now she’s talking about her career, and what she hopes we got out of this class.

UPDATE, 2:17 PM: She’s going over each person’s final article. She just said I did “an incredible job” with my story. That compliment sounds like it might translate into a good grade. :)

UPDATE, 2:21 PM: She’s about to give us back our corrected papers, and then class will be dismissed.

UPDATE, 2:24 PM: I got an A on my paper. She wrote, “Terrific reporting job and very well written. Not a wasted word yet it flowed beautifully.” Well, that’s certainly rather nice for my last reporting assignment at USC.

UPDATE, 2:26 PM: “You’re free to talk to me, or, if you wish, you’re excused.” Class dismissed!

UPDATE, 4/1/03: Here’s a picture of me with Becky’s laptop, which I used to post the lines above:

And here’s a shot of Professor Shah talking to the class:

Imperialism?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

If the U.S. is really a power-hungry, oil-hungry, imperialist nation, as the antiwar crowd claims, then why on earth are we pulling our troops out of Saudi Arabia now that their stated mission (defending the Saudis from Saddam Hussein) is over?

Post from cell phone

Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

Testing cell phone post

My future plans

Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

Up until now, this website has been almost silent on the question of my post-graduation plans. I have chosen to remain largely mum on the topic because, earlier this year, I was simultaneously applying to both law schools and journalism internships, and since my URL is listed on my résumé, I didn’t want to tip my hand in either direction, lest a potential employer or admissions officer see something on my site that might negatively impact my chances.

Now, however, it appears almost certain that I will be attending law school, probably beginning this fall — unless the Kansas City Star comes calling (more on that later) — and so I see no reason to keep my public in the dark any longer. :)

I applied to ten law schools. They are, by U.S. News rank: #7 University of Michigan, #14 Georgetown, #22 (tied) Boston College, George Washington, and Notre Dame, #28 Boston University, #31 Fordham University, #40 UConn, #55 American University, and #57 Cardozo (Yeshiva University).

I applied rather late in the game, so I still haven’t heard back from some schools. Here are my results so far:

Accepted: Cardozo (with full tuition scholarship), George Washington, Boston U.

Put on waiting list: Notre Dame, Boston College

Accepted for Fall 2004: Notre Dame (with $15,000 fellowship)

Rejected: Michigan

Decision made, result unknown, letter in the mail: Georgetown

Haven’t heard anything yet: Fordham, UConn, American

At the moment, I would say Cardozo is the front-runner, if only because I can go there for free. However, I am seriously considering Boston U., too. I only heard from George Washington today, so I haven’t had time to fully digest that one yet. But, they are highest-ranked school I’ve been accepted to for this fall, so I suppose I shouldn’t dismiss them. (Their financial-aid philosophy is not exactly generous, however. They figure Stafford loans should cover the first $18,500 of a student’s financial need, and then we can start talking about grants.)

Complicating things severely, Boston U. wants a $200 deposit from me by — oh — today. This while I wait to hear from four schools (including my “dream” choice, Georgetown) and while I try in vain to decide between schools on the other side of the country that I won’t be able to visit until almost a month from now.

I will probably give BU their deposit, though if I get an acceptance letter from Georgetown tomorrow (it was mailed out Friday evening, but they don’t divulge admissions decisions over the phone or e-mail, so I’m waiting with bated breath), that might change. We shall see.

All of this begs the question: what about Becky? Well, her plans are already set: Becky begins her graduate studies at Arizona State University in the fall, seeking a Ph.D. in history. (I’m so proud of her!) Now, you may have noticed that my furthest-west law-school option is… Notre Dame. So, if I do go to law school in the fall, it will be nowhere near Becky.

Where does that leave us? I don’t exactly know. There remains the possibility that I could live with Becky in the Phoenix area next year, get a job, and apply to law schools in the Phoenix area for Fall 2003, with Notre Dame as my “backup” option. But, with at least one East Coast school offering me free tuition, that doesn’t seem the most likely option at the moment. Again, though, we shall see.

As for my summer plans, they remain equally up in the air. I interviewed for an internship at Legal Affairs magazine in New Haven, a law-journalism hybrid close to home that would be ideal. But I haven’t heard anything yet. There is also the possibility that I might be offered a “one-year position” at the Kansas City Star, but that is highly speculative at this point. We shall see.

If the Star offers me something, I would probably try to defer my admission at my law school of choice, or else attend Notre Dame in Fall 2004. Or, I might be converted back to full-time journalism by a wonderful experience at the Star, and give up on law school altogether. Who knows? Only time will tell.

I do know this, however. The next few weeks will be crucial in determining my future plans. And, unlike during the last few months, I will try to keep this website updated with the latest developments.

Good riddance

Tuesday, April 29th, 2003

Another pre-graduation milestone: Dara’s final column in the Daily Trojan.

Her topic? George W. Bush and his latest nefarious plot to destroy the world, of course! Has she ever written about another topic? (Honestly, I don’t think so. I’m not exaggerating.)

What will the DT do without her? Who will provide USC students with their weekly dose of mindless Bush-bashing and regurgitated liberal orthodoxy? Who — who, I ask you! — will compose gems like this rhetorical question:

I suppose it doesn’t matter that Iraq wasn’t a terrorist haven of any kind?

Seriously, does this girl even bother to follow the news at all? Does she even glance at it? Because if she did, she presumably would have heard about this terrorist connection, and this terrorist connection, and, oh, this direct Iraq-Al Qaeda link. And a bunch of other, similar stories.

Which isn’t to say that a decent liberal intellectual might not dispute those stories, or their significance, for various reasons. But to simply ignore them, and proclaim in a blanket statement that Iraq “wasn’t a terrorist haven of any kind,” seems to suggest a rather alarming break with reality, or at least ignorance of it.

Ah, well. So ends the Era of Dara.

Becky’s farewell column was supposed to run in tomorrow’s paper as well, but apparently they ran out of space. Hopefully it will appear in Thursday’s issue — the last DT of the semester.

I also may have a City article in Thursday’s paper, but that too remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

Counting the seconds

Tuesday, April 29th, 2003

I have just added a graduation countdown clock to my homepage, constantly updating the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds left until 9:00 AM on Friday, May 16 when the main commencement ceremony begins:

Click here for a whole bunch of graduation countdown clocks.

An odd image

Tuesday, April 29th, 2003

Is it just me, or does USC President Steven Sample look really goofy in this image, currently featured on the university’s homepage?

Honors bestowed

Monday, April 28th, 2003

This is the final week of regular classes (exams begin next Tuesday), so today marked the final session of the Journalism Honors Seminar. Each member of the class was given an honors sash as a reward for completing the seminar.

After all the sashes were given out, we took a group picture.

The instructor, at center, is Jay Harris, who is a member of the Pulitzer committee and the former chairman and publisher of the San Jose Mercury News.

We get to wear our sashes on Commencement Day, of course. Here are pictures of a few of my classmates getting their sashes:

For space reasons, I didn’t include larger versions of those pictures, but if you are one of the people pictured and you want a copy of the full-size image, please e-mail me and I’ll be happy to send it your way. (To save me the potential embarrassment of not being able to match a name to a face, please tell me in the e-mail which picture is yours.)

So yeah, we had our last Honors Seminar today, and then at 6:30, we had our last regular session of my last political science class, American Political Thought. As usual, Dr. Wallis — who is rather radical politically — made several interesting comments during his lecture, including the assertion that Sesame Street “is the absolute most destructive program ever created.” (That is apparently part of Neil Postman’s thesis in Amusing Ourselves to Death, which Dr. Wallis discussed at length.)

My last regular undergraduate class is on Wednesday, the final session of my Magazine Journalism class, at 2:00 PM. Then I have my term paper for the Journalism Honors Seminar, due May 5 at noon, followed by the American Thought final exam on May 12. And that’s it. Otherwise, I’m done.

In other news, the pre-commencement beautification of the campus continues, and today was another gorgeous day. A couple of scenes:

I guess I’m appreciating the natural beauty of the campus more and more now that I’m about to leave it. Not that USC has the most gorgeous campus on earth, but it can be very pretty, especially in the spring.

Well, that’s enough blogging for now. I plan to write something soon about my future plans, which I’ve been rather quiet about to this point. But not right now. I’m thirsty.

Graduation countdown: 18

Monday, April 28th, 2003

USC is now advertising its website’s Commencement section on its homepage:

Now this is irony

Monday, April 28th, 2003

Last night, Becky’s decidedly conservative parents stayed overnight at the Liberal Lodge in Liberal, Kansas. (They’re en route to Buffalo from Phoenix.)

Campus in bloom

Monday, April 28th, 2003

Yesterday afternoon, I finally had the chance to take some of those “spring has sprung” pictures that I wanted to take on Thursday, but couldn’t because I didn’t have a camera.

After taking the pictures, I retreated to the somewhat-less-beautiful basement computer lab in Waite Phillips Hall, where I worked on my journalism project (due today) and Becky worked on her final history paper.

There he is: TrojanLoy03

Sunday, April 27th, 2003

Here’s one more picture from the zoo — a lovely shot (taken by the lovely Becky) showing me, standing in front of a large group of flamingos, wearing my USC Class of 2003 shirt.

Less than three weeks till graduation!