March 2010

Smooth Sunday

For the first time in months I went to church this morning. Lately I’ve been up really late on Saturdays and been too lazy to bother dragging myself out of bed. I got a decent amount of sleep last night though so I got up at 10 and went to church with the family. Jeff was in town this weekend and he came along too.Work this evening was uneventful, for me at least. I think we sent a photographer to some crime scene but it didn’t amount to anything. The newscast went smoothly as did the Final Play show. The B and C blocks consisted of pre-taped interviews which made it pretty easy to stay on time.Prior to the news I exchanged some messages with Ami. Earlier in the year we discussed taking a trip to Las Vegas for our respective birthdays in the third week in May, just after my graduation ceremony. The current plan has me flying to Phoenix and possibly driving to Vegas afterward depending on her money situation. The only trouble with that time frame is I would be missing my brother Andrew and my friend Krystle’s graduation ceremonies.

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Four Votes

I don’t remember doing anything productive this afternoon before heading to work at WVUE. This evening, we did a special, hour-long election show. We had several live remotes from various camps and John Snell solo anchored in studio. There were no races in New Orleans but several in the surrounding area. Primarily, the interest was the Mandeville, Kenner and Slidell mayor’s races. The Mandeville mayor’s race in which about 2,600 votes were cast was decided by a margin of just four votes.We went off the air just after 10. The results were in and apparent a lot sooner than most newsroom people would have guessed. A lot of the drama was concluded before we went on the air at nine.

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Tuesday – Friday

I will be summarizing most of the previous week as I am behind and not feeling very motivated. I don’t remember much of circumstance from work on Tuesday. Work at the doctor’s office on Wednesday was fine. That evening I took Chander’s laptop home and replaced a malfunctioning LCD screen with a new one she bought.Earlier this week I won a Canon 40D camera on eBay and it arrived Wednesday. It was in very good shape although a bit dirty on the outside. I spend a good portion of the afternoon giving it a detailed cleaning. A toothbrush did wonders. I am not debating selling my 30D, and if not, taking both camera with me during Jazz Fest and possible French Quarter Festival.After work on Thursday I had history class. The entire class period was devoted to discussion, or rather lecture, on the Vietnam War. Class was dismissed around 7:30 which game me plenty of time to go to the Rat for something to eat before ballroom dancing this evening. Shortly after eight there was a music performance. Troy Davis played as part of the ongoing Jazz at the Rat series. I was there until about 8:50 when I walked to the Reily Center.There was a decent and gender even turnout tonight. The final four session of the semester will be split between two weeks of foxtrot and two weeks of waltz. The steps we learned tonight were easy enough. I did vaguely recall some of them from past semesters when we’ve done foxtrot. I took a cab home from Willow and McAlister after dancing. It took a while before one showed up.I took the day off Friday and got some laundry done. I watched a couple movies in the evening if I remember right.

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Profit Motive

Yet again, I’m a week behind on the log. That being the case I don’t remember much from this Monday. There is only one sticking point worthy of mention. One of the newsroom’s desk assistants is departing at the end of the week and her vacancy has altered the PA’s schedules including mine, for the worse.Currently, I work Saturday and Sunday from 5-10 PM and Monday and Tuesday from 4 to 12:30 AM. The new schedule has me also working Wednesdays from 4-10 PM, leaving me with only one free evening a week until school concludes. Since I am a part time employee and the station is unwilling to schedule me more than 29 hours a week, my hours on Saturday and Sunday have been cut to 7-10 PM. I take a cab home every night which costs more than the wages I will be earning on the weekends. Consequently I will be losing money to give up my weekends and provide a service. It really sucks that it would be easier on my wallet to stay home from work.I made this issue clear to my supervisor who had nothing to say about it except that I am the only person available to work both Saturday and Sunday. I was told this is a temporary arrangement until a new DA can be hired but I suspect this issue will persist longer than is tolerable.

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Bad Test

After work I took the shuttle to campus for class this evening. We had an exam this evening. It consisted of four essay questions. We chose from four groups of three questions to answer. I was able to write solid essays about two of them but one was not very good and a fourth was very poor which screwed me. Even if did perfect on the three others I would be looking at about a 75% grade. Dad worked late this evening and picked me up from campus after I finished around 7:30. If I remember right I took the day off Friday. Mom had the day off too and was working on some professor’s law book that he’s been writing. She had me try to help her out with a footnotes issue but I don’t think Microsoft Word is capable of maintaining multiple sets of footnotes in the same document.I worked Saturday and Sunday, probably without incident since I don’t remember anything particularly noteworthy. After work on Saturday, I took a can to David’s house. He was hosting a little LAN party with Andrey, David and Patrick. They were all there when I arrived at about 10:30. After a good deal of hassle we played Rise of Nations. It was my first time playing the game which has a steep learning curve so I wasn’t very useful. Andrey had to go home around midnight and I stuck around for a couple hours before catching a cab home in front of the Boot.

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Graduation Drama

I had planned to take today off and relax but clearly I didn’t have that luxury with college graduation looming. I scheduled meetings with my academic advisor, Paul Greenberg and Marline Otte, academic advisor to the history department who was working with me to get my minor done. In January I met with her and we arranged for me to complete my minor in history. There were no 400-level classes available to take so I signed up for a 300 level class and we arranged for me to write a research paper in addition to the regular work to essentially “upgrade” the class. I had some paperwork to turn in to Ms. Otte and I wanted to meet with Paul just to make sure everything was in order for my impending application to graduate. When we spoke on the phone that morning he told me I was missing a requirement and would have to attend a summer class to finish things up. I was shocked to learn this as I recalled meeting with Paul last June and walked away sure of what I had left to do and sure that last semester and this one rounded out my hours and requirements.

Dad took me to campus for around noon. I was hoping to meet with Ms. Otte before noon but I didn’t get to campus early enough. With about an hour to spare I decided to check out Grad Fest but it made me sick looking at all the stuff there while thinking I would not be finished in May.

At one I met with Ms. Otte in the history building and the day got even worse. She had a problem with the form I turned in, but more importantly, she was no longer satisfied that the class I was taking and the accompanying research paper would satisfy the credits of a 400 level class, essentially changing her mind about the agreement we made in January. Now she wanted me to finish the class, a 15 page research paper as well as an independent study in which I would read six or so books and meet with the professor privately every other week. As it is already late March and I am working about 60 hours a week, that plan wasn’t realistic, even if the professor did agree to take on this extra work.

We spoke for about 40 minutes but ultimately didn’t agree to keep her original terms and expressed no particular understanding of the situation or regret for backing out of our agreement. I could express my feelings in substantially more colorful terms, but let’s just say it was a dick move… and I’m sorry I didn’t get our initial arrangement in writing.

With an additional disaster looming, I went to Gibson Hall for my meeting with Greenberg. Like me, he was appalled at the situation but not entirely surprised. Apparently the history department is the source of a lot of trouble for people in other university departments. I’ll leave it at that. As departments enjoy a certain level of autonomy, there was nothing anyone at the School of Continuing Studies could do about it. Paul suggested I might meet with department head Randy Sparks, but there was no expectation he would be accommodating. I suspect Ms. Otte may have spoken to him earlier in the day when she left the room briefly during our meeting. This late in the game, I am willing to overlook formally completing my minor as long as I can graduate. I did have better luck with that, the larger issue.

As Paul briefly explained to me on the phone earlier in the morning, I was missing 3 credit hours in the sciences category, which requires 12 hours (three classes), only one of which can be a computer science. I already had one computer science class in there as well as a weather and climate course and introductory psychology. I have met the total hours requirement and I had several electives pooling at the bottom of my transcript but none of them qualified.

I was not remotely happy with the prospect of walking at Graduation only to go back to school for six more weeks. I know lots of people do just that because there is only one ceremony a year but I wouldn’t want to do it. I was to attend my graduation with the full knowledge I have completed something in full. Paul implored me to take more time to consider that decision.

Before giving up on finishing in May, Paul arranged to have me meet with associate dean Terrence Fitzmorris. If anyone could pull some strings and fix my problem it was him. Mr. Greenberg had partially explained my dilemma to Mr. Fitzmorris when I sat down with him so I only needed to elaborate on my situation. He was very sympathetic to my situation and explained the circumstances related to a rule change a couple years ago which restricted the science category to only one computer science class to force CS students to take a more diverse selection of classes. I’ve taken quite a wide variety of classes myself and Fitzmorris appreciated that I have largely followed the spirit of the rule. I don’t recall the exact exception but Terrence stepped out the room briefly to check on an elective class I had taken to see if it was some sort of core requirement or something. Ultimately, Mr. Fitzmorris filled in a CPST class I took a couple years ago, “Technology and Ethics” to stand in as my fourth science requirement, clearing me to graduate in May.

I can’t immediate remember a time in which a bad day was immediately made so much better so quickly. It was an incredible relief to be able to finish on time. The prospect of participating in the graduation ceremony and dragging friends here from out of town for what I would have considered a false premise was unthinkable. My brother Jeff walked across the stage before he was finished and it seemed completely absurd to me, especially since my parents and brother Andrew flew all the way to Ann Arbor from New Orleans to see it. I still got screwed out of my minor but compared to not graduating it seemed like a small thing.

After I left Gibson Hall I walked back to the LBC to visit Grad Fest in the upstairs ballroom to pick up my cap and gown. I also ordered a handful of graduation announcements to send out to people. I don’t have a great number of people coming to my graduation but I have some family and friends I want to send these to. The bookstore was managing things there and my old boss Larry Jones and Frank were there. I got to speak with both of them briefly about finishing up at Tulane.

After I left with my cap and gown I eventually met Dad who drove down from the office to pick me up. As it was a Wednesday we went back to the office until about six this evening. I don’t recall much in particular from that evening.

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Monday and Tuesday

I don’t recall a great deal from work this past week, either at the doctor’s office or Fox 8. If I remember right, I wrote rest of stories on both Monday and Tuesday but neither of them aired, even though a tease was written for the one on Monday. That same day, one of our interns, Allison, shadowed me for the majority of my shift. I had her do some of the printing of the five and nine o’clock shows and she stayed on through my late scanner monitoring after the news was over and she got a look at posting video to the website.At work on Tuesday I read an email from Tulane with information on things May graduates should be doing. I am one of those people and I learned Grad Fest, where students buy their cap and gown along with related paraphernalia, was happening Tuesday and Wednesday.

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The Raven

I was in no particular hurry to get up this morning as I didn’t have anywhere to be until five. For the most part I lounged around in my room until about one and eventually went out for lunch. I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I just wandered around until I found an interesting place. I stopped at a largely vacant Bayona but they required a reservation which I didn’t have.I ended up at Bourbon House just down the street from my hotel. I had the three course lunch special with the “Ponchatoula Strawberry Salad” which tasted like dessert. That was followed by the “Crawfish & Cognac Pasta” which was quite good and rather filling. I’m not sure what I was thinking in ordering a multi course meal with a pasta dish. I didn’t finish the pasta to save some room for dessert. The finish was a small, well presented piece of strawberry cheesecake.After lunch I went back to the hotel for a little while to rest and watch TV before heading to work this evening. I caught a cab right along side my hotel and got to WVUE in quick fashion. I do not remember anything in particular from the workday.Shortly after 10, Andrey stopped by the station to pick me up. We were to meet up with David and Patrick and go out somewhere. We picked up David uptown and then heard from Patrick who said he would meet us later. We went from David’s house to a dumpy bar on Maple Street called the Raven which dependably has vacant pool tables. They also have a terrible beer selection and which relegated us to miller high life longnecks.We played a couple games before hearing from Patrick who said he couldn’t make it. Around two we left there for the evening. I went with Andrey and took David home. Andrey agreed to give me a ride back to the hotel. On the way there we went to stop at one hotel bar he wanted to check out. I don’t recall which one it was but it was closed for the evening. We ended up stopping at another hotel bar downtown. I don’t remember which one that was either. I do recall the bartended who we had an interesting conversation with. He owned the place and was familiar with the circumstances behind the closing of the Ohm Lounge, yet another hotel bar we frequented that closed down recently. After about an hour there I walked the rest of the way back to my hotel room.

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300 Bourbon Street

This entry begins another week without any writing. I don’t remember much from this past Thursday. I do recall class from last week. The professor finished his discussion from last week on the Korean War and he also spoke at some length about the Kennedy years.I think I took the day off on Friday… didn’t do much. I usually take Friday’s off now but Dad was interested in me being at home in case the gas company showed up. Apparently they turned off the gas due to some billing issue, although I think the balance was up to date. In any case, we didn’t have any hot water. They never did show up today and apparently it would be Monday before they did. That prospect and the ensuing drama were not appealing so that evening I decided to check into a hotel downtown for the weekend. I decided on the Royal Sonesta hotel on Bourbon Street. After I packed a small bag, I took a cab to the hotel around eight this evening. After cleaning myself up with the benefit of hot water, I went downstairs to the Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse on the first floor of the hotel. Leon Brown was playing. I hung around there for a couple hours.I heard from Andrey earlier this evening who wanted to get a drink late this evening after I arrived back in New Orleans from an interview out of state. It was rather late before I actually met up with Andrey and David. At around 1:30, they picked me up on Decatur Street. We went down to Frenchman Street. We checked out a new place where Hookah Café once resided. Later on we walked down to d.b.a. and had a couple drinks there before calling it a night.

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Today passed largely without incident. At work today I spent a lot of time updating the books, entering checks we’ve received recently. That went a long way toward getting my desk nice and clean again.This evening I watched some TV and a movie, The Invention of Lying. I might have watched a second but I got a call from Ami tonight and we talked for a couple hours before I went to bed.

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Nonna Mia

I worked on a couple more patient charts at the doctor’s office this afternoon. As a change of pace, Chander and I tried the pasta from a place called Nonna Mia on Esplanade. We each ordered a different pasta, neither of which were impressive quite frankly. I did take the leftovers for dinner at the station this evening. A second cop implicated in the Danizger bridge shooting incident led both the five and nine newscasts. We also covered the end of the Douglas Schantz story with his body recovered from the bottom of the Mississippi river this afternoon. Jennifer Hale was at the riverfront and did a live hit for Fox News Channel.I wrote a non “rest of” story for the nine about Janet Napolitano saying air travelers would continue to have to take off their shoes during security screening. It was not exactly news since there would be no policy changes but I did throw something in about shoe scanners used in other countries to make it marginally interesting. That story was killed and didn’t air although it was approved largely as I originally wrote it which was some consolation.The rest of my shift passed quietly, although apparently there was a homicide not long after I left for the evening.

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Icy Dock

Dad and I made it to the office around noon today. I worked on a couple charts before heading to Fox this afternoon. Printing the five show was a comparatively subdued affair. I did not write any rest of stories today and generally was not busy between broadcasts. We are still doing a 10 PM newscast. The morning sports taping didn’t begin immediately after the news so I wasn’t done prompting until 10:50.The remainder of my shift passed quietly. Apparently some police detectives were poking around the steamboat Natchez pier on the riverfront this evening. Command desk and harbor police had nothing to tell me and they didn’t find anything tonight. The following morning, the body of the missing Houston oil executive was found there.After I got home this evening, I watched 24 from earlier today and set up an external hard drive enclosure I won on eBay recently. It arrived a little late and the seller included some Hawaiian Host chocolate covered macadamia nuts as consolation, a nice gesture. I also spoke to Krystle late this evening which backed my bed time up to 3 AM.

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I didn’t do very much before heading to work this evening. While there was a decent amount of news going into the evening, things were calm for a while until about 8 o’clock, one hour to air when a rash of shooting incidents occurred. Among other violent crimes was a call that an officer was down. It turned out to be an officer struck in the leg by a car, apparently he sustained only minor injuries. The newscast was pretty smooth. The Final Play show was more adventurous. The first segment ran rather long and the three remaining ones were painfully short although the show did end on time.After I got home this evening I finished watching Amarcord before bed.

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Windows Phone

From what I remember, work on Monday and Tuesday was not especially eventful. I wrote a ‘rest of’ story on Tuesday although I did have some trouble with it. It aired largely as I wrote it although I wish I had done better.

I worked on Wednesday. At present there is more than enough work to keep me busy at the doctor’s office. We will be auto discharging a stack of charts in the coming weeks.

I spent a lot of time fooling with my new phone this week, a T-Mobile branded HTC Touch Pro 2. It’s a Windows Mobile 6 phone and unlike the Blackberry it will work over Wi-Fi without any trouble like I had last week. This is my first extended experience with Windows Mobile, however, so I have a lot yet to learn. I’ve spent a lot of time learning and I reflashed the phone a few times and have started installing apps on it.

After work on Thursday I went to campus for class this evening. Today’s lectures wrapped up World War II and covered the Korean War. Class was dismissed at about 7:45 which left plenty of time before ballroom tonight. I had something to eat at the Rat before heading to the Reily Center. Turnout was a bit light this evening. I think there were about 16 to 20 people total. This was the second week of Jive and I don’t feel I’m getting any better at it.

I took the day off on Friday and got a few things done but not as much as I would have liked. Before going to work on Saturday, I pulled up a tree in our little patio/courtyard in front of the house. I thought my work was done with it out of the ground but Mom wanted help chopping it up too. I was much too lazy to go after it with a hand saw so I brought out the only power saw in the house, a circular saw and cut it up that way. I wouldn’t call it the right tool for the job but the job got done.

The evening at WVUE wasn’t too bad. There was plenty of news. We had a city council runoff election to cover. Ed Chervenak was in studio to provide commentary. We led with the story of a missing executive from Houston who went missing Friday. We don’t usually lead with missing persons but the man in question is a millionaire CEO of an energy company which makes it national news. We also had a couple murders to deal with.

I left for the evening at 9:45 and met Andrey and Romy at the Attiki Bar & Grill on Decatur. It’s a nice Mediterranean themed place. This was my first time there and I was pretty impressed. My friends had been there since nine. I had a couple drinks there with them and we moved on to the Davenport Lounge at the Ritz, formerly known and referred to here as Melange. It took a while to score good seats but Andrey finally landed a sofa in front of the stage. We stayed there to listen to the music until about 12:30 when Andrey wanted to head home. I took a cab that was parked in front of the hotel. Later in the evening I talked to Krystle on the phone before bed.

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