Friday, December 28, 2007

Mid-College Crisis

I sat cramped, nestled behind the driver seat of my dad's 2-door, 4-passenger Audi, on route to Maryland.

My family and I had reached that point in the 6-hour trip home from Ohio. Fatigue and car sickness had eliminated any desire, or energy, for small talk, so our vehicle was reduced to a yawning driver, reclining mother with her nose in a book and a backseat padded with pillows and blankets and two college-aged sisters.

We had a nice rotation of music going: Weezer & John Mayer from mom's iPod, Early Madonna & Tom Petty from Dad's, Maroon 5 & a pop mix from Chelsea and the Pixies & Built to Spill from me.

I was content looking out the window. My sister lied upright, eyes closed, with iPod buds planted in her ears. I thought she was asleep until the minute I unplugged her iPod and she violently grabbed it back. Her eyes remained shut as she snapped "I'm still listening!". She looked creepy talking with her eyes closed and with an emotionless face, like a dead person talking or something equally as eerie.

All the silence and boredom made think way too much. Little things were ballooned to really be meaningful pre-meditated acts, just in disguise. Daydreaming was unavoidable. Hints of rationale would pop-up, but they were short-lived, quickly swallowed by another installment of the outlandish prospect.

My thoughts wavered between school and the future, as well as positive and the negative.
Among all the fantasy and "thinking", I came to the conclusion I'm too young to be jaded.

College work, internships, money and post-graduation plans have drained my outlook on life.

My dad made a good point when we were randomly talking in Ohio.

"Do you even really need an internship?"

I didn't know how to answer it. I've been conditioned to think I do. I mean, as far as I know if I don't get a summer internship I mind as well just come to grips that I won't be prepared for "the real world"? Is that true? Will I really not get a job if I didn't have a summer internship my junior year with a newspaper? I interned this past summer and I plan to intern at the Post-Standard in the fall, but should I just write myself off as a failure if I don't follow the model?

I want to learn German. I want to volunteer. I want to make a difference. I want to be healthy. I want broaden my horizons.

My dad thinks I should take a semester off and go to Germany. He said the best way to learn German is to go there and work, or get a German boyfriend.

I'm all for killing two birds with one stone.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lace it up

If this doesn't get my butt to the gym, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's not polite to stare. But it happens.

As I was reading Catherine's blog about watching people I began to think of common situations when I find myself people watching.

Transportation.

Whether you're sitting amongst sleepy co-eds heading to class on a campus bus or seated shotgun on a long road trip, nothing passes the time faster than examining the strangers you come across.

The interaction on buses, metros, elevators, or anything that forces people to be close yet remain quietly individual spawns such interesting behavior.

Everything that ordinarily wouldn't mean anything suddenly speaks volumes. Someone's outfit screams their personality. A smile could mean interest. A seat selection could be strategic.

But, wait.

That person probably didn't think twice before putting those shoes on. That smile was actually a reaction to a funny podcast. I don't consciously want to sit next to you, but there's no where else to sit.

Being in a highly visually-stimulating environment, limited to your inner thoughts, tends to make typical thoughts more processed. Images are more thought about, things more exaggerated.

Not only riders more perceptive, but unique relationships are formed.

Only these 30 some people are riding this bus at this moment. If we were to get into an accident, we'd help each other. If something funny were to happen, we'd probably all laugh. We might even look to our neighbor and acknowledge the humor of the moment together. You don't know anyone, but for whatever reason, being reserved to this moving living room of a bus, you share a connection, a common experience.

It only lasts 10 minutes. And once the end spot is approached, the brakes engaged and doors opened, we all get up from our seats, gather our belongings and shuffle off the bus, and off to our destinations.

Unlike other relationships, this is one that I don't miss. I'm not sad to leave the people I shared my ride to class with. It's just the way it goes. The only thing I'll probably miss is that cute boy or the really cool combination of colors that girl wore in her outfit -- the group I ride home with might not be as interesting.

Monday, November 5, 2007

ultimate frisbee soundslide

Until I can figure out how to embed the soundslide into this blog, you'll just have to download, upzip and open the index file to view my soundslide on Syracuse University's men's ultimate frisbee club team Scooby Doom.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Reality Check

It was in that second, that visual, that I felt like I was the closest I had ever been to knowing what it had been like for Justin when he was gunned down in Afghanistan.

The fear, the pride, the courage: all bottled up in this 18-year-old body, willingly placed in a foreign hotbed of trouble, with the knowledge that he might see his last sight, breathe his last breath, feel his last heartbeat.

As I sat in the theater watching Lion of Lambs, tears streamed down my face. The reality of this war overwhelmed me once again, much like in early June when I got a phone call at 2 a.m. asking if I had heard about Justin. He had been killed in Afghanistan. He had been shipped out from Fort Drum just 4 months earlier.

Today in Media & Politics we were talking about how our age group, 18-25, have had the lowest voter turnout to date. We tried to in point the reasons for this trend and ways to get young people involved.

A lot of people said that candidates do not appeal to the younger generation, preoccupied with the storyline of Gossip Girl and the latest celebrity break-up.

"People speculated that Stephen Colbert could be the break through to bringing younger people into politics, getting them interested," my professor said.

But why must we make a mockery of the democratic process and politics in general (Colbert attempted to get on the democrat's primary ballot in South Carolina, for those who haven't read the news) to get young people voting?

"Issues don't matter to kids our age. We're not in the real world yet, so they don't affect us," one student said.

It's true; I might not be directly affected by a large portion of public policy, but there's one issue that affects everyone-- the war in Iraq.

It shouldn't take a draft to light a fire under our generation. Our peers are being shipped out: someone's brother or sister, someone's best friend since childhood, someone's love of their life.

Is it that inconvenient to read a newspaper, to care about our government or to be informed, while other people our age are enduring in boot camps and leaving loved ones and home to go half-way around the world to a completely different and unwelcoming environment?

I wish I was as courageous as Justin to voluntarily go to war.

But I wish just as much that we wouldn't have had to send Justin off in the first place.

Every vote counts.

In Loving Memory of Justin Davis, 1987 - 2006.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

could it be seasonal affective disorder?

Snuggling fireside. Holiday beer, candy, feasts and cookies. One more hour of sleep.

The wonderful things winter will bring.

We're nearing the end of autumn in Syracuse, trading in our hoodies for Northface jackets and shoes for waterproof boots (preferably not Uggs), and looking forward to the not-far-off season of sweets and coziness.

But with the season change, warmer clothes are not the only things we dust off from storage. The bad eating habits and laziness from winters past manage to creep back into routine.

For the past few weeks I've grown quite fond of my evening runs right before sunset. The air is chilly and refreshing, the landscape colorful and pleasing. The onset of winter promises a much less enjoyable exercise experience: bare trees, brutally cold temperatures, less daylight.

Not exactly an environment that encourages aerobic activity. Layering and sweatshirts let you indulge a little more, without the pressure to look good in a bikini.

My ability to leave my warm apartment, let alone bed, for a run in the bitter cold will prove to be a daily struggle. To allow myself to be thrown outside to run the cold, dark streets of Syracuse will take a lot of convincing; I don't know if I'll be able to come up with a reason other than I should. But I should do a lot of things; it doesn't mean I'm motivated enough to endure discomfort for them.

So why must the holiday centered on candy (Halloween), the holiday encouraging stuffing your face until you feel sick (Thanksgiving), and the holiday centered around chocolate Advent calendars, hot chocolate and festive cookies (Christmas) all fall during the season where it's so hard to work out?

Humans are animals too, right? It's only part of nature that we'd pack on a few pounds to stay a little warmer during the colder months.

I really want to make it a point to try and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle through out the winter. Fruit will be harder to come by and the gym may be the only option, but I should be able to adapt.

So, it's back to the treadmill I go. If you don't see me at Archbold, do me a favor and call me.

Hopefully I'll be able to answer my cell once I awake from my deep slumber or put down the German Gingerbread cookies.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Roman Candle

"It's not bad outside," Katie greeted me this morning as I laced up my running shoes. "It's breezy, you'll like it."

I grabbed my iPod and headphones, leaving my sweatshirt to lay balled up on my bedroom floor, and headed down the stairs and out the door.

At 8:20 a.m. on a Friday in late October it was already 71 degrees outside. The balmy climate, my sleepy head and the carefree mindset all reminded me of summer morning runs at Bethany Beach.

I ran to the bank, withdrew money and then ran to Blake's house to give him it for Chelsea's party. I talked with Blake and Julio for a little and had a cup of water.

With a water sloshing around in my stomach, I decided to walk the half a mile back to my apartment.

And it was delightful.

Children walking with their mothers. People enjoying their first cup of coffee of the day on their porches. Dogs being walked by their owners. The landscape was speckled with warm autumn hues of orange, red and yellow, but the weather insisted it was more like springtime.

As I was walking I knew I wanted to remember this. This perfect synergy of the things that I love about all the seasons. I put on some new Elliott Smith I got from Yoda.

I had really realized this before but music is almost like a blank canvas -- a slate where I can make a memory imprint. I know if I put on this song later that I'll be flooded with the feelings of this exact moment. I already had an idea that Elliott Smith wouldn't be too loud, too fast, too electronic. But a calm, beautiful melody to soundtrack this experience.

And it works the opposite way too. Music sets moods; moods set by past events, or moods anticipated to be felt. Songs can invoke certain feelings in you. Bring out the passion in that special moment. Raise your head on that day when you're down. Plaster a big smile on your face. Involuntarily dance to the beat.

Music can say a lot on its own, but it says so much more when you play it to life.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I didn't know Daria's Sick Sad World was real

We live in a sick, sad world. The news is quick to not let us forget it.

I usually don't even really fully recognize the amount of depressing news I ingest ever day. Of course I comprehend the subject matter of the articles I read, and I do realize that I am in fact reading non-fiction. But to a certain degree, it seems so surreal.

It's because I'm a college student. I know all these things are important and have large effects on life, but it doesn't quite hit home completely.

I'm not amongst the chaos and danger in Iraq, I'm not looking to sell or buy real estate and I certainly do not have children that would be affected by SCHIP. I know all of these things are reality, but because I'm not directly linked to them in some way, they call come across almost fiction-like.

Only in college are you still on your parents' dime (for the most part) and still able to live an independent, adult life. Your life consists of keggers, a work-study job where you get paid to do your homework, approximately 15 hours of lecture a week, a community consisting of young, ambitious 20-somethings from all over the country (and world) and good, clean fun (sometimes).

The world is a full of responsibility, bills, stress and working until you're retired. I know there's a less depressing view of the real world out there, but just don't look to the front page of the New York Times to find it.

Today's NYT Front Page, which I found particularly depressing:
ps -- hi chels. i can't wait to seee you!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The first of many

Just anticipate a whole lot of "spooky", halloween-related content for the month of October. You've been warned.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Now that was an experience, no diggity

5:36 a.m. -- Katie wakes me up after she finished in the shower. My head hurts most likely because I went to bed less than 4 hours ago. I lie in bed for a few minutes, drag myself to the shower, and turn on the water. Meanwhile, Katie is freaked out, claiming she didn't know it was me. She has proceeded to crouch low in the corner of her room behind a chair to protect herself against the "stranger or ghost that had turned on the water."

6:50 a.m. -- On route to the Tyra Banks show in NYC with my ladies Katie, Ashley and Catherine. I was quick to figure out that melancoly playlists accompanied by pouring rain and no sleep isn't the best idea. Switch to Weezer. Catherine is flooded by high school memories which results in a 2-hour reflection of our lives thus far. Note to self: never use Nair, do not sacrifice all self-worth in the name of competition, home schooled kids are "FREAKSHOWS" (thanks ashley for really telling us how you feel), and it is never okay to play Fergie just because my dad likes it.


10:00 a.m. -- Thanks to hauling ass, we make it to the Beacon train station 50 minutes ahead of time. We find a charming coffeehouse called the Muddy Cup. Pumpkin spice tea and a haunted house across the street? I might be moving here very soon.

12:20 p.m. -- Grand Central Station. The New Yorkers are delightfully helpful. Katie, uptown is in fact up town. It's warm in the underground. I'm scared to go outside and find a cold and rainy nightmare.

1:15 p.m. -- Chelsea Studios, where Tyra is taped, is located. It's actually not raining. We go get some food. New York Style pizza and turkey subs.

2:00 p.m. -- Get back to the studio to wait in line to be let in. It is raining now, but luckilly we get to stand inside a loading dock of some sort. I teach the ladies Bodachelli. Doesn't last for long. Once you've got boy bands on your mind, you're done for.

Now at this point we lose all sense of time, because our cellphones are checked. We are let into a sort of holding room, with a constant video loop of past Tyra guests on two mounted TVs. The room is full of red chairs and has a water cooler and bathroom.

Here are a few interesting things we heard:
"Is that Britney Spears?" (clearly Hulk Holgan's daughter, Hulk introduced her for god sake's on the TV)
"Are they worried I'm going to look better than Tyra??" the girl bitching that she wasn't going to be put in the front (it was because she was wearing all white, and on the site it says not to)
"Ugly, Ugly, Ugly," obnoxious Jersey girl who Tyra even called out on camera that she was talking too much
"Okay ladies, the theme of this show is When are you going to die?" no words; priceless.

We get seated. Tyra is gorgeous. They had to finished another segment so we saw the stars of Gossip Girl? Chelsea is probably reading this and going to die. So, if you see any episode with Keisha Cole, Rihanna and Gossip Girl cast members, watch at the very end for us.

Show was amazing. They basically talked about ways to extend your life expectancy -- like exercising, being less stressed but more responsibile, etc. A handful of normal girls were used as examples. For example, three girls would be set up, each with a TV outlining their habits (how often they exercise, smoker, etc.). We then had to scream out who we thought was going to die first.

So funny. Ashley even got up to explain why she picked a certain girl!!

6:50 p.m. -- Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

8:00 p.m. -- On the track back. Joked about the compartment's broken door with a nice man who was bringing flowers home to his wife. In the 4-seater next to us, 2 poor girls got stuck with 2 lovebirds that couldn't stop swapping spit. It was ridicilous! The couple moved after about 15 disgusting minutes to a more private area. We apologized that the girls had to be subjected to that. The girls were high school seniors, one of which was looking to maybe study photo journalism at SU. She doesn't like the cold though, so we warned her that Syracuse is far from balmy.

9:00 p.m. -- Back in the car, warm and hungry. Exhausted too. Get me home, in some sweats, warm, in my bed with my fluffy down comforter.

12:30 a.m. -- Back in the cuse. Wonderful trip. I've been up for nearly 24 hours and I've got no complaints.

All in all I had an absolutely marvelous day. Yes, marvelous, Katie. That's the correct way to use it.
I hope we all learned how to live until we're 110 (90 more years Ashley), how to start blogs (Katie, this is a blog) and really appreciate autumn (red hair, pumpkin beverages, scary movies, Sylvia Plath, anything spooky, Catherine).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Paler Shade of White

I noticed Calvin’s AP Stylebook as I approached his table, which sat amongst a sea of student workspaces on the first floor of Byrd Library. Tomorrow marked the class where our group had to present a summary of Frank and Cook’s The Winner-Take-All Society, accompanied by a liberal and conservative critique. Nyrie completed our presentation trio as the liberal counterpart to my conservative spin and Calvin’s objective center.


But Nyrie wasn’t there yet, so there was some time to break the ice. Who knew that the “journalist’s bible” could spark conversation?


I soon found out that Calvin was a magazine journalism major, minoring in political science. He was in the middle of editing stories for Jerk magazine when I came and sat down.


I’ve always wanted to write for Jerk but I never got around to it. The Daily Orange had become my main journalistic outlet that I just never really strayed from.


“So, how diverse is the staff?” he asked, being Jerk’s copy editor himself.


My mind reflected on the D.O. office on a typical Monday night. I go into a side room on the first floor to write my Student Association story and pass through majority of the house on my way to the News room for editing. I was disappointed to realize that after mentally skimming all the faces I do encounter during my visit to 744 Ostrom, every single one is white. Granted, I don’t see everyone that passes through the front door. But from entering, walking up the stairs, around the corner, down the hall and past perhaps five rooms, I can’t seem to recall seeing any differences.


Just a few weeks ago in editing class we were talking about how it’s important to have a diverse staff. Staffing a workforce outfitted with a variety of people, coming from different backgrounds and different experiences, helps against producing a biased paper. Coverage is expanded by the input of broad range of interests, some that might otherwise be ignored or unknown without familiarity of certain communities.


I was embarrassed. I hadn’t realized how uniform the D.O. was.


“It probably wouldn’t hurt to have more diversity..” I didn’t know how to say, “Yeah, it’s all white.” I didn’t want to admit it.


Calvin brought up how he was surprised that the Jena 6 demonstrations hadn’t been reported on. I know The Black Voice had an A1 dedicated to it, and rightfully so. But where was the D.O.’s coverage?


I shamefully had no explanation for the D.O.’s ignorance. As much as it’s my news editor’s job to find newsworthy topics for articles and to assign stories to writers, I too have a responsibility to pitch stories that I think are important.


Nyrie did show up to our meeting soon after that, and we did get our presentation together. We laughed about our class and similar experiences with past political science courses.


Our presentation went well today; we each executed our parts without hesitation and with confidence. I’m happy to say I think we all came away with A on the project, but I think I came away with a much more valuable evaluation overall.

Sleepless in Syracuse

My friend Mikey was scheduled to have this published in The Daily Orange, but for whatever reason the Opinions editor decided against it.

A damn shame, because it's a great piece. Therefore, I've taken upon myself to let the man talk. Well, write.

Sleepless in Syracuse

I’m surrounded by darkness. All I can see are the dark silhouettes of a heavyset man and his thin companion. I do not recognize them but the vibrations they emit trouble me. Suddenly I hear a voice. “Hi folks, Tom Park here and I’m with Billy Fuccillo.”

I wake up in a cold sweat screaming. “Thank God,” I think to myself, “it was only a dream.” But then a menacing thought crosses my mind, much more troubling than the nightmare itself, “Billy Fuccillo was in my dreams.”

Fuccillo, a 1978 SU graduate and former football star is the undisputed king of local advertising. He also sells cars; about 40,000 in 2004 according to an interview he gave the Central New York Business Journal.

I am deeply disturbed, no… haunted, by the frequency of Fuccillo’s ads; but, his strategy Amy Falkner, associate dean for academic affairs and an advertising professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, described as “beating you over the head with an ad every 10 seconds,” works.

“Everybody knows who he [Fuccillo] is,” explained Professor Falkner. Fuccillo’s fixation on reach — exposing as many people to his message as possible — and frequency — exposing people to his message as many times as possible — has made escaping his media dragnet a futile endeavor. The CNY Business Journal dubbed this phenomenon the “Fuccillo Effect.”

“He’s doing it [advertising] over and over and over so when you are in the market to buy a car the first name that comes forward is Billy Fuccillo,” Professor Falkner reasoned.

But I fear the “Fuccillo Effect” is doing much more. On August 3, 2007, the Albany Times Union posted “What landmark(s) would you consider for a contest selecting seven wonders of the Capital Region?” on its website.

Despite the seemingly insurmountable handicap that he is not a landmark, Billy Fuccillo received 8% of the vote, easily surpassing South Glen Falls’ Cooper’s Cave, and nearly defeating the State Museum.

The first page of a Google search [conducted on 9/20/07] of Billy Fuccillo yields: one link to the Fuccillo.com, three CNY Business Journal articles, Fuccillo’s MySpace Page [not real], an old Fuccillo commercial in which he shouts about Hyundais from the heavens, one blog entitled “Billy Fuccillo: Still a Huge Tool,” a DO article, and a blog in the “Commercials I Hate Forum”. Of these, the only link of use to someone in the market to buy a car is Fuccillo.com.

His strategy of hegemonic media saturation is too powerful; Billy’s name is apt to appear in people’s minds at anytime, not just when they are in the market for a car.

While it has helped Billy sell thousands of cars, the “Fuccillo Effect” has also led hundreds of Central New Yorkers believe Billy Fuccillo is a landmark and given me nightmares. The “Fuccillo Effect” must be kept in check.

In 2004, former DO contributor Jake Goldman challenged Fuccillo to a high stakes race around the world [winner takes the Fuccillo Automotive Group]. The race never took place but I applaud Goldman’s moxie and fortitude. At least he can say he tried to end this madness!

- Mike Zahler

Sunday, October 7, 2007

American Monarchy?

Like many students studying political science, I recognize that not just anyone becomes president.

Strong advocates of the American Dream might argue that if someone works hard enough and has even god-given talent, he or she can head the Executive. It's true: someone might have amazing speaking skills, a natural knack for diplomacy and an innovative plan for the United States, and you would think there is nothing that should hold back that person. Too bad that's not the case.

I don't mean to sound bitter, but there is a harsh reality is can't really be ignored. Money, education and family background heavily contribute to a politician's success(or anyone else's success in life for that matter).

In the U.K., its Oxford and Cambridge that condition England's finest for Parliament. In the U.S., its a degree, or 2, from the Ivy League variety.

Family-- family with money ideally-- also matters a lot.

Many recognize that these factors can improve one's chances of success, but that individual talent and dedication is the end-all, be-all.

Slap-in-the-face #1: George W. Bush.

Born to the 41st President of the United States, W earned a bachelor's degree from Yale and a Master's from Harvard. Seriously?

I almost feel like people see his diplomas and assume he's intelligent. If his intelligence was judged solely on action and grammar, you'd think he hadn't even graduated high school. It's a perfect example of how the "track" helps you become president, even if you're not the most qualified in reality.

Family in politics is an interesting element too.

Time recently had an article about Argentina's First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her prospective plans to run for president next term. Her husband Nestor Kirchner currently sit as President, but maybe not run for re-election next term so his Senator wife can have a stab at the spot.

Apparently the couple plans to continue the he-run-then-she-runs alternation, avoiding the constitutional ban of holding office for more than 2 consecutive terms and still holding power within the party.

Fernandez de Kirchner noted in the interview with the author Tim Padgett that, "If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency next year, the [US] will be ruled by two families for a quarter-century."

I had never thought of that before. And for the first time I started to really look at U.S. Politics in terms of families, almost like monarchies.

Good luck aspiring presidents. I hope you can break the cycle before another Bush gets into office..

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Got to love the back page of the front page

I try and regularly read the newspaper, as I should. I've taken a liking to Roger Cohen's column but it was Gail Collins commentary on the '08 presidential hopefuls that really struck me.

It was so well-written and entertaining. I usually don't just write a short blog post to highlight something in my day, but I'm going to do it anyways.

And the question develops, why shouldn't I write just short posts to expose extraordinary things of my daily life?

I'll get back to you on that. Perhaps in a 100-word post tomorrow.

Don't do this at home

I might be the first person in history to have "Mormon" programmed into my cell phone contact list.

A few weeks ago my friend Josh was sitting at his apartment, lounging, watching TV. The commercials that interrupted his TV program probably contained the typical spread of advertising: the toothpaste, the new blockbuster out on DVD, the new form of men's birth control? He was just as intrigued as you and I, according to my friend Sam, but decided to use for evil.

And this is why I receive daily phone calls from the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Josh knew that submitting my contact information to the men's birth control site, as a request to get more information, would not really make sense. But Josh, being the darling person he is (and clearly with way too much time on his hands), thought Mormonism would be a safer and more effective prank.

Soon later, when a personalized e-mail was delivered to my inbox thanking me for my interest in the Church, I knew something was up. I told Sam about it and he just started laugh.

"I know who did it," he said. "I swear I told him not to do it."

Shawn, who also lives with Sam and Josh, said I should be lucky.

"He was going to give them your address, so you should just be happy he didn't do that."

I should be happy? My contact information was released without my consent and now I have the LDS trying to convert me daily.

I finally confronted Josh yesterday.

"Hey, ps, I hate you."
"Why?"
"Oh, you know exactly why."
"I really don't know why you would hate me."
"Does daily calls from the Church of Latter Day Saints ring a bell?"
"LOL. I'm sorry. I thought you would pick up and just tell them not to call again."

That sounds like a reasonable solution, if not the only one unless I do want to convert. But I feel bad being rude. After all, "I" did request the information.

As of now I'll continue to let the Mormons call me.
Maybe one of these days I'll pick up and have a nice little chat.
Maybe I'll even convert.
Maybe I'll even go further and vote for Mitt Romney.
A lot of maybes, and not a lot of promise.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Despite using that expression, I swear I don't kill birds with stones

Last spring I was the Daily Orange University Union beat writer. University Union is the student programming organization that brings speakers, concerts, movies, comedians, radio and other entertainment to campus.

My coverage ranged from announcing breakthrough-pop-jam-band O.A.R.'s concert to U.U.'s financial battle with our student government to revamp their funding.

I left for summer with more clips than I had ever accummulated in one semester, a few more professional relationships and a feeling that I definitely wanted to be a beat writer again -- just not for U.U.

Two different letters came to mind: S.A.

Also known as, Student Association, SU's student government.

I had interviewed the president and comptroller for my U.U. budget story, so I had already broken the ice with two sources I'd probably quote a lot. The interviews were really professional, which made my job easy. There was no confusion to what was on and off the record. Answers were well-said and clear.

So I was assigned -- fall SA beat writer. I go to their weekly assembly meetings Monday night and then head over to the DO office to type up my story. Sometimes I follow-up on issues mentioned in the meetings. I even write feature-esque pieces to offer more broad coverage of the organization.

U.U. was fun -- revealing new information about upcoming shows and dealing with entertainment -- but SA satisfies my other half.

Being a newspaper/political science dual major, I don't always get the opportunity to morph my interests into one activity. I'm either writing for an event or trend, or debating or reading about social policy. I kill two birds with one stone with SA.

And it's not only a personal win for me. I really feel like this beat impacts the community. People tell me they saw my article and they learned something or I'll overhear students talking about the things I wrote about in my article; I never got that with my U.U. beat.

So as much as I'm happy that I get to cover the internal workings of the student government, I think I'm most happy that my words actually hold some kind of weight.


Additional SA stories from this semester thus far:

Cut in Haven Dining Hall's hours discourages committee chairman

Senior voted to serve on Judicial Review Board

Members from Cabinet fill open Assembly seats

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Hotspot" doesn't mean "Popular Hangout" anymore

The waiting room is too far from the dentist chair to hear the drills digging out my sisters’ wisdom teeth. The 45-minute procedure in entering its last 15 minutes and I have already skimmed the week-old Newsweek and fashion photography magazine. I’ve got nothing to chit-chat to my dad about and even if I did, he already has his nose in his book.

My eyes wander the office. Nice orange color on the walls, the d├ęcor is pretty warm for a dentist office. The air conditioning might be off because it feels a little stuffy. The mother of patient switches seats to sit closer to whom I've assumed is her husband. She gives off a nervous vibe; he, an apathetic, laid back demeanor. The receptionist window is empty. I think there is only one secretary and she’s busy elsewhere.

To the right of the open, sliding glass window is a sign that surprises me – “WiFi Hotspot: ssid: mdpublic”. Free wireless in the dentist office?

Municipal wireless is emerging all across the United States, providing entire towns and areas wireless internet. Access is granted through mesh networks, which span both indoors and outdoors.

The service is funded by local government. Public-private partnerships allow private establishments, like coffee shops and in this case dentist offices, to offer the service to their customers.

Rockville, Maryland recently outfitted a downtown shopping complex with the service with no cost to its patrons. Residential buildings located within its range can subscribe to the service at a monthly rate.

This summer California public transportation buses in the Bay Area began offering broadband connections to passengers. Laptops, smart phones and MP3 players can all access the internet on commutes to send email or share media.

City broadband offers benefits other than being able to listen to internet radio while lying in a park. Maintenance work and follow-ups can be monitored from a computer home base through widespread wireless. Water meters could be connected to the internet and their levels could be posted on a site, saving companies money sending people out to physically check them.

First step, linking up the state.

Second step, the world. (How cool would it be to still be chatting online while across the Atlantic to Europe?)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Robocop -- for real.

60, 50, 40, 35: the gradual speed limit decrease suggested on Georgia Avenue’s 2-mile streamline entering Olney.

65, 65, 65, 45: what I and hundreds of other drivers maintain on the stretch of road, traveled like a highway but surrounded by suburban life.

It’s hard to follow the decline. My car windows are fully down. My ipod is amped to an intensity that would usually cause temporary deafness, but the warm breeze softens it to just the right level. I not only hear the music, but feel it too.

The bass line, the melody, the chorus all feel much more powerful at sixty miles per hour. The strip is straight as an arrow, and I'm dancing as much as my seatbelt allows me too. A traffic light is approaching. It’s usually green and if it isn’t, I still have time to decelerate.

I leapfrog up the right-hand lane, avoiding the laggers but not putting metal to the medal. I do not rush to the lead the pack. I'm flowing with traffic. I don't have a hot date to get to.

The scenario does not change much before I realize I am in Olney, not much of a town as it is an intersection of two major roads, Georgia Avenue and Route 108.

My maintained sixty miles per hour probably became illegal about a mile and a half back.

Before this summer I would not have sweated it. No cops, no problem. But now I shouldn’t feel so safe.

Two words "Photo Enforced" anchored at the bottom of the white speed limit sign worry me that I will be giving Montgomery County a mandatory $40 cash donation for public safety programs.

Speed cameras were adopted in Washington D.C. in 1999 aside red-light cameras in an effort to curb speed-related accidents. Since their installation, the average speed traveled on neighborhood streets has dropped nearly 30 percent and 21.7 percent on highways.

In 2006, Maryland passed a law allowing the same cameras to be installed in the state. Since, Montogomery County, the City of Gaithersburg and Chevy Chase Village have done just that.

The Georgia Avenue cameras were installed within the past six months, as well as the ones I've spotted on Randolph Road.

A Montgomery County Council report will investigate the effectiveness of the new cameras and will be due to the Maryland General Assembly by 2009.

Many countries across the globe already use traffic cameras, including France and the UK. The UK uses SPECS (Speed Enforcement Camera System) which identifies the time a car takes to past between two points to calculate its speed opposed to photography.

Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. manufactures technology for both American and abroad local and state governments for traffic solutions. They offer Fixed Speed & Red-Light Combination, Fixed Mid-Block Speed, Speed Sensor Options (Light distance and ranging, radar or pressure sensoring), Mobile Speed Delivery (photo-radar vans) and LaserCam.

The LaserCam is outfitted with a digital camera as well as laser detector. It is able to take a close-up image of the car, its surroundings and license plate.

I have to admit: the campaign is highly effective. I immediately slow whenever I see a “photo enforced” sign. I have never seen drivers be so aware of their speed, let alone cautious.

I’m sure I still speed through bugged areas without even knowing. I only found out that Georgia had speed cameras because of my mom. Luckily, Photoenforced.com can produce a map of your metro area highlighting all the cameras.

I still catch myself sometimes driving fast and as much as I’m angry I might have to pay a fine and doubt the accuracy of a camera, it is forcing people to adopt safer driving habits.

A little birdie told me that the camera only issues tickets for those going 10 or more miles over the speed limit. I guess I’ll be able to test that theory soon enough.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

oh bop, fashion

My eyes scanned the landscape in all my shopping glory. Rainbows of t-shirts lay folded meticulously upon the aged, wooden tables. Patterned dressed hung sandwiched on a metal bar, anchored with an assortment of ash-colored slouch boots. I mazed the room as images of season-passed wardrobes and now trendy necessities cluttered my head.

I was overwhelmed. It could be a side effect of the stuffy environment or maybe it was the daunting task of assembling my ideal fall wardrobe.

I gathered my composure. I was on a mission, and nothing was going to get in my way.

You might say it's not that serious. Guys always wonder why shopping spins girls into a tizzy.

“That shirt is SO cute.” “Oh my god. SHUT UP, this is on sale.” “Wow. This could go with this, that shirt I got last week and even those heels from 2 years ago.”

You’ve only have so much money, and you have got to spend it the best way you can.

It’s exciting to take a super cute pair of jeans to the register and have it magically ring $40 cheaper than you had anticipated. A basic tee that fits like a glove, that's versatile and brings out the blue in your eyes might equate to your favorite football team scoring a winning touchdown in the last down.

It might also make a public celebration dance okay, but let’s not get crazy.

When I finally scored my first day off from work in maybe one month (we’re talking 7-day work weeks, my friend), there was no doubt in my mind that my sister Chelsea and I were b-lining to Georgetown – shopping Mecca. Urban Outfitters, H&M, Commander Salamander, Wet Seal, boutiques. If perusing stores’ merchandise for six hours straight does not make you drop dead, seeing the damage you have done to your bank account post-spree might make you wish it had.

I swear this is not a painful or dangerous experience; I have some self-control and money management (if I didn't, there might be reason to worry). Shopping is satisfying. It makes you feel like you are making strides towards achieving a goal, similar to weight loss or sports training. Little by little you are seeing progress towards outfitting yourself how you want to be noticed, and it is rewarding.

The dilemma is keeping your sanity shopping amongst the rude and obnoxious.

There are two types of shoppers you must avoid at all costs: the rich bitch and the loud diva.

The former might think she’s heaven sent, but believe me, she’s really the devil in the flesh. The fact that she gets all her money from daddy and has never worked a job in her life disadvantages herself (no work experience, no future) and basically the surrounding environment (clean your own messes up). Not sure who I’m talking about? Take a day trip to Camp Nock-a-Mixon.

The latter is easy to spot – just listen. She’s the confused one that thinks that everyone cares about her life, the clothes she wears, her latest crush, the embarrassing drunk dial she left on her ex’s cell on homecoming night, etc. Not as much as a direct threat as Paris Hilton’s staredown/eyeroll combo, this little lady might make your ears bleed in the fitting room. Just kindly ask the fitting room attendant for the last room; she feels your pain.

Anticipate the girls’ presence and deal with them accordingly (ignore and take cheap shots – verbally and/or physically – at any possible opportunity). They should not inconvenience you too much.

About seven hours, six bags and a half tank less of gas later, Chelsea and I ended up 30 minutes north of D.C. at a lower grade mall. We chatted fashion over Towering Onion Rings as we awaited the arrival of our Red Robin cheeseburgers.

“Chelsea, What did I wear before there were skinnies?”

Pants like I’m wearing. But honestly though, I don’t even know. I can’t even imagine you without skinnies. What did you wear?”

We never came up with an answer. We finished our meal and took a pit stop at the nail salon before we ended our day-long extravaganza at Forever 21.

Take the Lead played on a mounted flat screen at the back of the shop. A Christian mother reminded her huddle of little girls since “You got your nails done, so you’ll go to Church tomorrow, right?” They were too busy fanning their freshly polished nails at each other to acknowledge her. A petite woman, who I perceived to be the owner, rushed around calling more customers in from the mall corridor and assuring my sister and me that she’ll be ready to start in five minutes.

“I’m physically exhausted,” Chelsea said, as she closed her eyes, hung her head and soaked her hands in a small bowl of warm water. “But this might have been the most amazing day ever.”

Fall wardrobe secured, body aching and money gone, I could not have agreed more.

Monday, July 23, 2007

There goes my “forgot my badge at home” excuse



Still under scrutiny for their borderline-1984 security lengths, last year CityWatcher.com pushed the envelope by implanting a small, capsule-like chip into 2 employees’ arms. The chips were injected under their skin with a large-gauge hypodermic needle and replaced the Radio-frequency identification (RFID) key chains that granted access to the video surveillance tape storage center.

The regulation implemented by the Cincinnati surveillance company reasoned that the implant would not only reduce security breaches but also help out forgetful staff members.

In 2004 Mexico’s Attorney General Rafeal Macedo took similar action. He and his eighteen member team were equipped with chips to help secure activity into a sensitive records office.

I can perhaps see the need for extreme security controls at the government level -- yes, even if it does blur the lines between human and robot. Governments are responsible for the safety and organization of a nation; some information cannot fall into the wrong hands. But the same regulation instated by a private security company seems a little unnecessary. They’re still using VHS tapes, but they’re upgrading their badges to microchip arm implants?

RFID can store all types of information from medical histories to basic identification profiles. RFID tags are used in credit cards that can be charged with a swipe, like the American Express Blue Card’s ExpressPay, Mastercard’s Pay Pass and JPMorgan Chase’s Blink.

Implanting such technology into the bodies of people can produce an endless list of possible applications, both beneficial and disturbing.

In July 2004 the FDA began their final assessment of RFID implants and approved the first USA implant that October. Patient medical records can be stored and updated via wireless to ensure that people receive appropriate care in emergences.

Nightclubs in Spain, Scotland and even the U.S. (Miami) already use RFID to identify VIP patrons as well as make paying for drinks more convenient.

Privacy concerns taint the wonderful world of RFID. Although not available yet, the ability to stalk certain people with a form of GPS is not outside the reach of technology; a person’s whereabouts could potentially be identified at any moment.

New Jersey has not taken the leap yet to implant, yet a similar tactic has been adopted with the help of municipal wireless to control beach usage.

Beach bums vacationing at the Jersey Shore traditionally had to purchase a badge to play on the beach. Projected to begin next summer, Jersey beaches are looking into an electronic wristband upgrade to limit freeloaders and ease the purchase of beachfront concessions.
Wristbands or pins would be worn, allowing digital tracking of who in fact paid to use the beach.

Text messages could even alert mothers if their children strayed too far from their area.

Add an implant to the mix and I could get an email every time you leave your house to go to the beach. I don’t think I’m alone when I think that’s pretty scary.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Will you look at that thing..

I thought it was going to end in a tie but when it came down to it, my bellybutton won.

Everyone has their quirks: the uni-dimple, the double-jointed thumbs, even the rare third nipple. They are typically embraced, either in an effort to escape their wrath of embarrassment or celebrate their uniqueness.

Lucky me, I have two unusual features.

Sample One: The Black Freckle.

Commonly mistaken for a stray pen marking or piece of dirt (am I really that filthy?), the black freckle pinpoints the center of my long, pale forehead. It is debated when it actually appeared (I say I’ve had it forever, some claim it has developed within the last few years) but since it is formation never have I received more finger-licked face rubdowns in my life. Endearing or just plain unsanitary, I hate to admit I do enjoy the concerned stranger who attempts to clean my blemishes. Ironic enough, after I tell them it is my skin they are okay that it screams skin cancer. I have yet to receive any suggestions of removal; it is just that cute I guess.

Sample Two: The Uncanny Crater-like Bellybutton

A shot of vodka held or approximately 20 jellybeans in, my bellybutton can really pull its weight. Deemed “The Crater” at Spring Break 2004 by a wonderful Ms. Keely Dobbs, the thing might be described as an extremely wide, shallow innie. I have always known my navel to be different but I had no the extent of it until word about it spread like wildfire at work. “Have you seen Paige’s bellybutton..” “Paige! Come here! Let me see your bellybutton!” “Yo Megan told me about your belly button, let me see it..” Are you serious? But okay, I’ll show you.

I love when I see people confident about their oddities. I once went to a soccer camp where a girl had webbed toes. She was not shy about it, nor was she obnoxiously advertising it as if she was a sideshow attraction. She played her cards just right; if it came up in conversation she confessed her secret, but otherwise she went about wearing sandals and suiting up for games just like all the other girls.

I’d never change my bellybutton. A piercing might not look so hot and I do have resting water when I get out of the pool and lay right down, but I’ll take it. I still wear bikinis like the best of them and I don’t know the first thing about belly button lint.

It’s a toss up between the freckle and navel to determine which should be my poster rarity. Crater wins in my books. The looming cancer scare and accompanied misconception that I might never wash my face blows the freckle's chance of getting the title.

I’m hoping that I don’t lose a few fingers or develop some crazy deformity to give the bellybutton some competition. In the meantime, yes, yes I will show you it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Challenging tradition

I’ll take them after 11 years, but until then, they’re all yours.

Nothing annoys me more than dealing with a little loud-mouth who reeks from refusing showers, finds boogers to be a satisfying snack and turns a deaf ear to any response synonymous to “no.”Children are my pet peeve, and I’ve struggled to find only a handful of exceptions amongst the 2.2 billion kids worldwide.

My roommate and I joke that we’ll one day “share” our children – her raising them from the womb to middle school, and then me taking over and doing my part. By that time they should be able to be somewhat independent (clean, cook, entertain), but still impressionable (bring on the Nancy Drew, mixtapes, EPL soccer).

Don’t be scared for me; I’m well aware molding mini-mes is not the way to go about parenting, nor should it be a motivation to have children. The more I contemplate my future, my dreams and what I want in life, the less I see myself actually having children. My family totally agrees. “I see you as that crazy aunt coming back from like India with gifts and crazy stories to share with my kids,” Chelsea told me, after she divulged that my parents also think I’ll be a jet-setting, well-cultured wife with no little-ones.

Doesn’t sound bad to me.

For whatever reason, I feel guilty. Call it even selfish. My mother did not want to have children for majority of her life and now she has two daughters. She made that sacrifice to bring me into the world, should I?

Children make the world go round. Without them, we’d be extinct. Like Carol Pateman touches upon briefly in her examine of contractualism, women provide a great civic service by bearing and raising a family. I agree, and to a degree that I feel negligent if I do decide not to have children.

The whole situation is hypocritical from my position. I was once a bratty, know-it-all youngster, so how can I even say I dislike children? I just do. Everyone dislikes screaming babies and tantrums, but they suck it up. They somehow find joy within the little rascals. Maybe I just need a stronger magnifying glass.

While I wallow in my thoughts, my boyfriend can rest assure; I’m not dating him to get pregnant and married. I can almost hear his sigh of relief all the way from Minnesota.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

R in PR

Give it to me straight; don't sugarcoat it.
If only it was that easy...

My good friend & fellow newspaper major Josh interns at the Gatezette in Frederick and likes to poke fun at my sell-out to PR. He emailed me Gene Weingarten's Washington Post editorial to me yesterday -- a nice little sucker punch, I'd say.

Weingarten discusses his frustration with PR, focusing mostly on his disdain for their fluffy, jargon-y presentation of press releases.

I thought it was a bit harsh. I've had some issues with PR before... like that one time when a PR agent gave me incorrect information in a press release(.. and I ran it without double checking.. like an idiot) or the other instance where I was told "that's not how it works" after I quoted her in a breaking story (she was the only one who talked, so why not).

If I had read this editorial a month ago, I would have probably agreed with everything Weingarten pointed out. I thought it was amusing, and some parts hit the nail on the head. His "experiments" with PR agencies -- calling them and asking them questions gooped-up with ridiculous details and descriptions -- were hilarious, especially his reactions to their responses.

But I mean, cut them a break. They're not newspaper; they don't have to be objective or concise.

I guess Engage is slowly wearing a soft spot in my heart for PR.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Unexpected News

It wasn't strange that a message from Ra Ra Riot was waiting in my Facebook Inbox when I logged in last night after a long day of work. The Syracuse University-born indie dance band always made it a point to let their fans know when and where they were playing.

Their alerts had become more frequent within the past few months because they hit the road for a tour. (they'll be in DC in August!)

Unfortunately, the message had little to do with upcoming shows.

Friday they played a house party Friday night in Fairhaven, Mass. According to their Facebook message their drummer John Pike "went missing at 3:00 a.m. ... last seen wearing a yellow Dissarano t-shirt and Levi jeans".

When anyone goes missing, I always think the worst. My mind calculates "missing" with murder and abduction. I mean this is a grown man, at a party with friends, what would steer him away?

About 30 minutes after I finished checking Facebook, I received an email from the Daily Orange.

"BREAKING NEWS: Ra Ra Riot drummer found dead"

I felt sick. I had never met Pike, but I had absolutely adored his band since Freshman year. I went to all of their shows. Their shows created this amazing energy in whatever space they played, and you couldn't help but be taken under its spell. Side effects were the inability to stop dancing, or toe-tapping for the less outgoing.

I had tickets to go with one of my best friends Sam to their most recent show at the end of the school year at Funk n Waffles in Syracuse. But I was ill with a virus. Sam's frat was having a party and he was going to go early to his house. I wanted nothing more than to go back to my dorm room and sleep.

And I did just that.

The next day I heard that Ra Ra "brought down the house". I wasn't surprised. Their shows were always packed-house dance-like-you-mean-it singalongs. Some of my favorite memories in college to date stem from them.

I'm horribly sorry for Ra Ra Riot's, Pike's family and his friends' loss.

He will be missed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brave New Pill

Ugh.
The pain sets in, and now it's only a matter of time before she comes.

Crimson wave, Auntie Flo, that time of the month: she's earned quite the name for herself.

She can ruin your beach plans (no one feels confident bloated in a bikini), restrict your inner fashionista (white pants are too risky to wear) and break the bank (tampons are expensive!).

But as much as she is an inconvenience sometimes, I don't think I'd feel like a real woman without her.

Yesterday the FDA approved the new birth control pill Lybrel, which completely eliminates women's monthly menstruation if taken regularly. The pill contains a combination of hormones -- estrogen and progestin -- which are used in commonly prescribed birth control pills.

Lybrel's differs because it does not provide a set of placebo pills to be taken at the end of the month. With traditional pills, women experience their "period" when they reach this week.

Many women are celebrating the new pill, excited for the new-found convenience of not having a period. This is the first pill on the market to completely stop menstruation.

The FDA approved Seasonale in September 2003, which extends the time a woman has between her periods. Seasonale users theoretically have a period only four times a year, once every 3 months.

But how is all of this safe?

According to the Seasonale website, the period you get when you're on birth control is not even a real period.

Because the pills prevent you from ovulating "your uterine lining doesn’t build up, so there’s no need to shed it." The bleeding comes from hormone withdraw.

So basically, birth control already stops your period.

But if you're only bleeding from withdraw, why even take the week off of the hormones?

Eureka!

Damnit. Lybrel beat us all to the punch.

I can't say I'm completely confident in that no periods are healthy. I mean, there has to be reason as to why “no-period” birth control wasn't created from the start. Maybe it's bad to have so many hormones constantly released in your system without break? Science scares me sometimes. My period stands as evidence that I am a young human woman, healthy and alive. To think we'll get rid of it all together just for convenience’s sake makes me wonder what could be next.

I just hope we all make a clean landing at the end of this slippery slope.

Friday, May 18, 2007

And the winner is..

A man in full-blown colonial garb standing on the corner of a busy intersection. He's not breaking-in his Civil War reenactment gear, nor is he awaiting a bus to make his pilgrimage to colonial Williamsburg. He holds his second amendment near and dear to his heart, and he has made it a point to remind you that you share the same valuable liberty.

I can't really remember if my friend admired or cursed her father for such a display, but I know at the time that I was embarrassed for both of them. My reaction was mainly fueled by the in-seventh-grade-parents-are-the-definition-of-lame stage, but a portion of my disapproval derived from my natural dislike for guns.

Basically, I'm scared by their power. I have no desire to handle something that can instantly kill someone with a simple slip of the finger. Sure, I drive a car (they kill a helluva lot of innocent people), but its danger depends on a lot of elements grouped together -- reckless driving, high speeds, other cars, etc.

A gun has one intention only -- to penetrate. Paper, flesh, windows; the result usually is destruction.

Virginia Citizens Defense League hosted a gun raffle Thursday to respond to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to crack down on illegal gun-selling in Virginia. The raffle gave away a Para-Ordnance pistol and a Varmint Stalker rifle.

Bloomberg credits such sales as fueling crime in NYC. He began taking action by suing two VA gun shops that illegally sold to undercover private investigators. The money collected at the raffle was put towards paying the lawsuit.

A recent editorial in the Washington Post captured my thoughts exactly of the event. Not only was the raffle distasteful in the wake of the Virginia Tech tradegy but placing $900 weapons in the hands of strangers, who may not be fit to own such possessions, is outrageous.

The article pointed out that VCDL viewed the gun shops as victims, instead of the people. Gun shops selling to customers without following legal procedure puts society at risk. It's not a loss to have the state enforcing laws that keep citizens safe.

So in hindsight, dads, feel free to suit up. I'd tolerate a flash-back from the 1800s before some shotgun giveaway at the local rec center.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Glimpse into crystal ball.. of sorts

I can't help feeling somewhat sophisticated. Dressed in black pants and a fitted button-down, I rub elbows with hundreds of 30-somethings as we pile on the Metro for our early-morning commute through DC.

My train drops me right past the Pentagon in Virginia at my summer internship at Engage PR. EPR focuses to help start-up technology companies make a name for themselves in the competitive market. EPR is based in Alameda, CA but opened an east-coast office in October. The location was occupied by one lone Account Supervisor for the past few months; she now claims she has to curb her tendency to talk to herself with me around.

Monday marked my first day of training and I took the bull by the horns. Matrices, brief books, press searches – did my Syracuse University professors neglect to include some things in my classes? It could be that I’m majoring in newspaper journalism and political science – not public relations. Regardless, I came into this internship with an open-minded and ready to learn all about PR.

But, I needed something to keep me from drowning in a sea of unfamiliarity. Newspaper and PR fall under a broad sense of communications, so they couldn’t be that different? Through out the tutorials of various PR activities, I found myself clinging to all the things I learned back in snowy SU.

Meeting Points? Oh, that’s kind of like the formation of a hard news story.

Case study? That reminds me of a nut graf.

Confused? I wouldn’t say confused. Challenged – learning something that appears to be opposite of what I’m used to? Bingo.

The relationship between journalists and public relations in general is a bit of a tug-of-war anyways. No wonder I’m a bit out-of-sorts.

Stories are assigned to journalists, and it's their job to gain as much information as possible about that topic in order to construct a balanced, informative article for an audience. Experts, examples, stats, history: all important bases to cover. With my newspaper-conditioned mind, I process PR interaction as simply an easy way to gain access to a multitude of information and contacts.

Seeing the dealings from the other side, its a weird sensation. The explanations, comments and processes appear to have a bit of a tint. Journalists are prey -- you want to get a hold of them, work your magic and get your client's name in the article.

I can easily say that I won't be able to look at my interviewing process in quite the same way, especially with PR. To say if that is a good or bad thing, time will tell.