Archive for April, 2008

What I don't get and what I do

April 22nd, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

I was enjoying the Cavaliers’ destruction of the Wizards (it’s never a good idea to call out Lebron) and my conversation with V simultaneously last night when something very strange and unexpected occurred. An ad came up that declared TBS’ show “Tyler Perry’s House of Pain” to be “the #1 rated cable show of all time.” This is mystifying to me….can this really be? What are the statistics that back up such an audacious claim? Those numbers – as faulty as they may be – had to have come from somewhere other than thin air. In my mind, it’s yet another example of how you can twist statistics and numbers to fit the context of whatever hypothesis you’re trying to prove, no matter how absurd or inane. As utterly inconcievable as it seems, there more than likely is some database somewhere that is spitting out numbers that are being interpreted and manipulated to validate “House of Payne” as the “#1 rated cable show of all time.” OF ALL TIME. Maybe it’s just easier for me to believe that there has to be some Time Warner media wonk somewhere in Atlanta or Manhattan skewering disjointed data into effusive praise. I mean, the alternative – that “House of Payne” is actually “the #1 rated cable show of all time” – is just too frightening for words. High School Musical #2 was the top-selling album for the majority of last year until a Josh Groban Christmas album supplanted it at the last second. Somebody keeps restaurants like Chili, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s, and the Olive Garden in business….I don’t know who these people are, but there are a lot of them out there, easily millions. (Aside: I once dated this girl N, who infamously believed that TGI Friday was the absolute pinnacle of American cuisine. This point was belabored to me endlessly, countless expensive dinners were wasted on food that paled in comparison to N’s wistful, mystifying yearning for Loaded Potato Skins, Pot Stickers, and $10 32-ounce Margaritas that had the alcohol content of a Shirley Temple, causing me to finally capitulate by only taking her to TGI Friday’s, the one true dining experience that made her ridiculously happy.)

But at the end of the day, I suppose the people who center their weeks around the latest brand new episode of “House of Payne”, rack up TGI Friday’s reward points (I believe spending $100 scores you the illustrious bounty of one free desert, if memory serves), and purchase the seemingly endless iterations of High School Musical are the ones we’re all going to be relying on to help us spend our way out of this deepening recession. So spend away, good people…the economy needs you now more than ever.

Oh yes, school….less than four weeks are left in this semester. My mom has noticed that I’m not as stressed out this semester and I think that’s a very astute observation. The quantitative work was pretty intense in the fall and that has never been my strong suit. Plus, I think you eventually adjust to the constant weekly workload to the point where you develop a rhythm for it. Once you concede that you have no choice other than to get up early on a Tuesday morning and do several hours of work, things can end up settling into a somewhat comfortable routine. So you set your Classical Music library on iTunes to shuffle, put Sportscenter on mute, and hammer down. In a little more than a year, I’m heading back to work. And when that happens, there aren’t any going to be any more two-year vacations…this is going to be for the next 30-35 years or so, just like everyone else. The MBA will give me an advantage out of the gate, but after that, it’s ultimately up to me make things happen for myself. And it’s all on me to enjoy the business school experience while I’m here at Smith, because it’s somewhat stunning to reflect on the fact that one school year has already gone by. I’m not going to be doing homework in a bathrobe at 10am on a Tuesday morning 13 months from now…I’m going to be back in a corporate environment and the margin of error will be much more narrow. You have to absolutely enjoy things you do – school, work, family, relationships – and the path you’re on as much as you can, because the only constant in life is change. That’s as cliched and existential as I get on a Tuesday morning.

Looking ahead to the weekend:

– Friday involves an activity that is slightly irresponsible in light of everything I have going on, but figures to be immensely fun, and I know I would regret it if I didn’t go do it. Activities like this and weekends in Philadelphia are why I work hard during the week.

– Speaking of which, on Saturday, V meets the parents. The occassion is my cousin E’s 1st communion, numerous family members will be in attendance at my uncle’s, and my dad’s advice to her is simply “to keep the car running.”

Song: “The Headmaster Ritual,” The Smiths. What, did you really think I was going to go a whole year without recommending a Smiths song? I could and just may start recommending entire Smiths albums.

Quote:       “I’m not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I’m not looking for the secret to life…. I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.”  – Frank Sinatra


Random Things

April 14th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Indiana Jones 4 comes out next month and I’m really hoping it’s not Godfather Part 3. I have no choice but to go see it in the theater, but not without some trepidation.

Yet another beloved uncle of mine – Uncle S. – has gotten in the act of posting to this blog. However, I have apparently lost “favored nephew” status with him for not quoting or referencing him as yet. Uncle S. recently retired from the highly regarded Erie Police Force, which he proudly served for many years, and currently splits his time between Erie and “Del Boca Vista” in Florida. As he writes:

“Being one of the most quoted members of the Erie Police Department for many years. I feel I deserve a mention in this blog.”

So let’s pause for a moment to recognize a true connoisseur of the arts and a great humanitarian…

Uncle S. also has inquired as to why I don’t discuss my “acting class” in this blog. That is a topic I will continue to refrain from getting into here, as nothing positive can come of it. I will respond to anyone who wishes to contact me independently in regards to what I think about a required theatre class within a business school curriculum costing me a chance to attend the Kentucky Derby. But in this blog itself, I shall stick to “no comment.”

I have three group projects due Wednesday and I’ve not really started any work here aside from independently reading the cases.  Frankly, I’m not even sure who is in my group for Ops Managment….I’m thinking we’re carrying over the same group from Strategic Managment, but this may not actually be the case. As such, that’s something that needs established first thing this morning. It’s a term-long project for Market Strategy, so that is a continuation of prior work, and we have all class today to work on it. The work sounds (and seems) daunting en toto, but all are short writeups and should be manageable. 

Artie Lange may be off the Howard Stern show for good; no one will know for sure until everyone is back form vacation next week. It is one of the great radio cliffhangers of all-time…and I hope that there’s a way they can still work everything out.

This coming weekend, I get the true pleasure of taking V up to Penn State for Blue-White weekend…it’s going to be very special.

Song:  “Guns of Brixton,” The Clash

Quote: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.” – Han Solo


Riffing on baseball

April 3rd, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

The weather is more than a bit dreary this weekend in the District, which is not what I was hoping for, considering that this particular weekend involves cherry blossoms and meeting V’s parents for the first time. But no matter….we will make do. I’m a bit nervous about the proceedings but I’m sure it will ultimately be fine.

April doesn’t just mean crappy weather on the eastern seaboard. It means that baseball is back, (and thus so is fantasy baseball, which is a fantastic way to waste large amounts of time). I plan on hitting Nationals Park as soon as next weekend (regardless of whether or not some of my vagrant friends from Pennsylvania happen to materialize in Silver Spring). And my summer internship will afford me a few opportunities to visit Camden Yards, a park I’ve been to once (the first year it opened). I love baseball and I’ll make a couple games this summer at both parks, but it will pale in comparison to firing up my buddy D’s grill, taking a shot or two at the Clark Bar, and either stumbling into PNC Park or not depending on how badly the Pirates were doing after two innings. That’s how it used to roll in Pittsburgh – to get to PNC Park (my favorite of all baseball stadiums, though granted I haven’t been to them all. It’s far too beautiful a park for the shoddy product that takes the field there for 81 games a season) it was just as easy as taking a ferry or crossing two bridges. Hell, by the end of my time in Pittsburgh, I was splitting season ticket plans with my buddy F and his dad.

I’m actually not even a Pirates fan, but four years in the Steel City did leave with me quite a bit of affinity for them. 15 losing seasons in a row…and number 16 seems like little more than a formality. I’m a Yankees fan…go ahead, bring the hate mail. My standard defense: I started rooting for them in the late ’80s when their teams featured Donnie Baseball, Dave Winfield and Dave Righetti. Many of those teams were really bad….they were in last place at least once and I recall one specific instance where Andy Hawkins threw a no-hitter and lost. Plus, they haven’t won a World Series since I was in college the first time, and Hank Steinbrenner might as well show up at Yankee Stadium in a jester’s outfit. I will make at least a game or two at Yankee Stadium…this is of course the last chance to visit a legendary park that I’ve only been to once before. 

Oh yeah…school. There’s six weeks left and I think the last half of the semester is going to be quite managable. One class is centered around a digital marketing simulation  in which teams compete against each other, and the other two are case-based. We’ll see how they go, but all three play to my strengths.

Song: “Nocturne No. 2 in E-Flat, Op. 9, No. 2 ,” Frederic Chopin. Seriously, I love it.

Quote: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” – Nigel Tufnel