Friday, April 29, 2005

The countdown continues...

One week, one final, one paper -- woo-hoo. I had my last test in Research Methods last night and got a 95%, my highest score yet on one of her tests. I'm feeling confident on my paper in there; I just have to get it done this weekend. If I do, she'll review the results section with me on Monday or Tuesday so I can see if I'm missing anything and that I've read my data correctly.

I also have to prep for Tuesday's final in Weill's class. She gave us a list of 15 essay questions, from which she'll pick six for us to write. She says no one will ace the test, but on the other hand, she says I don't really have to worry. However, the questions are complicated and I know she is looking for answers this time, not opinion, so I am worried. Maybe I won't be once I start pulling everything together this weekend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Stop the insanity!

Paper presentation went well last night. Several folks made comments after, and many more asked questions during.

Test Thursday, final Tuesday, final research paper due Thursday. I feel so behind in studying for my Thursday test. I feel somewhat behind on my paper, but not really. It's half written, and I've run most of the statistics. I won't know what else I need to run until I start studying for my test (since my test is on statistics). The difficult part is understanding the statistics, and I can always ask the prof on Monday to look over it and see if I have that section correct.

I started going down my (mental) day planner aloud today after class on when I could get together with someone to work on something and I think I made their head hurt. It's all good, though. Just crazy at the moment. In a week and a half, I will be fine.

Things are speeding up at Blanc & Otus as well (not that it wasn't frantic to start with). It's good, just busy. Met another client today, Varsity TV. They are a channel for teens, with original programming they create as well as programming and content that teens create. They also have teen-created content on their site. It's real edgy and I like it.

Oh yeah, on top of everything, Doug's birthday is Sunday. That has barely crossed my mind.

Need to crash,

Monday, April 25, 2005

Counting down...

I have a 15-page paper due to night (that I'm presenting) in my Internet & Mass Media class. It's on the influence of blogs. Thursday night I have a test in my research class; it's not cumulative, but it is on statistics, so it will be killer.

Next Tuesday is my killer examine in my Mass Media & Society. I got a 98 on that paper last week and am solid in that class. Still, I don't want to blow the exam. Then on Thursday my final paper/project is due for my research class. It's half written, as we've had to turn in things all along, but the most difficult part to write hasn't been started. It's the number-crunching statistics. In fact, I tried to run some numbers already and aren't sure what they mean.

After that, school is over for the summer. Unless you count teaching summer school, which will be a lot of prep.

As expected, the 2 weeks at Blanc & Otus have been extended. The girl I'm filling in for is on bedrest for 2 more weeks and then she's coming back 24 hrs/week for benefits, until the baby is born. At that point, we'll job share, with her working in the morning and me working the afternoons. It will stay like that until she has her baby in mid-June.

I know I just have to hit it hard for the next two weeks and then it will be okay. I can't wait to have my weekends back. I feel that the weeks blur together as I'm usually studying all weekend. Of course, it pays off with grades and lack of stress. I finished my paper for Mass Media & Society last Sunday, while folks were working furiously on it Tuesday afternoon (due Tuesday night). And I thought I had been behind!

BTW, I got an email last week that I had been selected for a scholarship. I don't know the details, but I think this is the one where the Dean only selects one grad student per department. One of my professors told me about it, but said for me to wait to receive 'official' notification.

Need to scoot!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

2 weeks, 2 days, 2 papers and 2 tests left

That is, until the end of the semester. I turned in the first of my big papers today. I also learned how to import my data to run the results of my survey. I would have done more with that today but the computer were running painfully slow. In fact, my professor told me to just leave it, and then come to her office Thursday and run it on the computer in there.

Still, there is a lot before the end of the semester and I just have to figure out how to fit it all in.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Rules For Living in Austin

From my friend Sally. Not only are they funny, they are true.

  • First, it's pronounced AWS-TUN. It doesn't matter how they say it in other places.
  • Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Austin has it's own set of traffic rules. There's no book about them. All you can do is get in your car and hope you survive to learn them.
  • All directions start with "Go down Mopac...'cause you don't want to get on 35."
    Burnet, Braker, and Lamar have no beginning and no end.
  • It's impossible to go around a block and wind up on the same street that you started on. The Chamber of Commerce calls this a "scenic drive".
  • The 8:00 am rush hour is from 6:30am to 9:30am. The 5:00pm rush hour is from 3:30pm to 7:15pm. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.
  • If you actually stop at a yellow light, then you cannot be from Austin.
  • Just remember that Mopac IS Loop 1; Capital of Texas Hwy IS 360; and 183 IS Research, Anderson, Ed Bluestein, and Old Bastrop Hwy. 2222 IS Northland or Allendale or Koenig. Don't try to figure it out. Just accept it. If you question the intelligence behind this naming convention, people will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you.
  • If moisture is determined to be rain, not sweat, all traffic must immediately cease. Ditto for daylight savings time, girl applying eye-shadow across the street, or a flat tire 3 lanes over. Do not attempt to access any road after an apocalyptic event like snow or SXSW.
  • Construction on I-35 is a way of life, and a permanent form of entertainment. Get used to it!
  • Keep in mind that the sloppily dressed "hippie" in sandals and earrings is probably the latest IPO millionaire around here.
  • Stay away from the Congress bridge at sundown if you do not like the thought of being in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
  • And, yes, we all know that's a man in a teddy and a tiara on Congress. It's Leslie, and he probably makes more money than you do.

WOW -- What an evening!

Last night was the first event of the season for the Women of Wine and the Men Who Adore Them (WOW for short) and it was good. It is a dinner and wine tasting; each person is to bring one bottle of one of the designated wines, and each couple is to bring a dish to share. Last night was a tour of France and Jack Armstrong of Eclipse Distributing was our guest speaker. Maybe I can get Doug to write about his thoughts of the wine and the event.

I have to say that the wine hit me hard. Probably I was just exhausted from the week and partly because I had eaten little that day. For some reason I think that folks had more trouble preparing these dishes than at other events. Not sure if it was because it was French or because it was Friday (I think we have better food on Saturday events when folks have all day to cook). Claudia served wild boar that her son shot and it was excellent. The desserts were chocolate decadence. However, I think that the side dishes left something to be desired; most of the vegetables I tried were undercooked. I was also surprised that for the starters that there wasn't more cheese. Doug bought a chicken/pork mousse/pate at Whole Foods and it was great, but very few people ate it. I don't know if it was because it was so rich, or if people were scared of eating it. I noticed the other pates had similar issues.

Our friends Debbie & Ray joined us for the first time and they had a blast. Tom was there as well and he WOWed everyone -- I have even gotten emails already from folks who said how much they adore him. Gary has yet to make a WOW event and I think everyone is starting to wonder if Tom really is gay and in a long-term relationship. Actually, they probably don't wonder about the being gay, but they do doubt the existence of Gary.

The rest of this weekend will be spent on my paper for Mass Media & Society. Three weeks, three papers, one test (not cumulative) and one killer final until the end of the semester. But who is counting?


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Groovy dog cookies

There was an article today on Yahoo about gourmet cookies for dogs that are good enough for humans to eat. I guess they look like Oreos, but don't have chocolate so they are okay for dogs. Humans, like this guy in the article who ate one, also find them tasty.

Austin has its own dog bakery -- Groovy Dog Bakery. We buy PeaMutt Butters Pleasers and BarkBQue cookies for Dante & Allegra. However, I think these are just for dogs. If you want to know what they taste like, ask Doug, as he's eaten some.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More news on the job front

In addition to working part-time at Blanc & Otus this summer, I will be teaching an Intro to Advertising class. Texas State has a few classes they do in Round Rock. For those who have never visited us, Round Rock borders Pflugerville. I will be teaching 3 nights a week for about 5 weeks. I'm looking forward to it. Actually, where the campus is now is right across the street from where the B&O office is now. However, B&O will be moving downtown sometime this summer and the Round Rock facility will be moving into a new, permanent building in August.

I started at B&O Friday and have already been drafting pitches, responding to reporters, revising press releases, drafting bios and doing research. And that's just 10 hours of work. I had not realized how much I missed doing agency work. Right now I'm just supposed to be doing this for 2 weeks (of course it's some of the final weeks of the semester) while the person is confined to bed rest, and then I'll be back this summer. I can't wait!


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Tired, but happy (Relay for Life)

Relay for Life -- we made it to the end. This photo was taken about 6:30 this morning. As you can see our campsite had been taken down and we were ready to go; we were just waiting for the awards. I think all total we did 400-something laps around the track, or 100 miles. You could go individually or in groups, but one person from each team had to be on the track at all times. The "designated" team member had to carry the team baton, which we decorated as a microphone to go along with our Lights, Camera, Cure! theme.

The total amount raised for the entire Texas State/San Marcos event was $73,000; our team raised about $3,000. We feel that it was a great success.

Front Row: Ed Salinas, Katy Galway, Leslie Henson (with the baton); Back Row: Suzanne Gattis, me, Kathryn Henton, and Jehan Emara. Posted by Hello

Relay for Life -- Lights, Camera, Cure!

Relay for Life was last night. Here is my team, Lights, Camera, Cure! We are a group of Mass Communication graduate students. Our team won third place in best theme (that's a giant tv behind us). This was taken at the start of the event, about 7 p.m.

Front Row: Dr. Sandy Rao, grad advisor; Katy Galway; Leslie Henson and Suzanne Gattis. Back row: Dr. Bruce Smith, department chair; me; Kathryn Henton; Molly Michaels and Jehan Emara. Sneaking around back is Ed Salinas. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 07, 2005

News on the Job Front

I have a summer job, although it's starting early -- like tomorrow. Last year I interviewed with a PR firm, Blanc & Otus. This is a subsidiary of Hill & Knowlton, one of the biggies. At one time the B&O Austin office was Socket PR, which was very similar to Springbok, the firm I worked with. It seemed that our two firms kept switching clients all the time. Anyway, I really liked the folks at B&O -- it felt like I was talking to old friends, not interviewing. But they decided they needed a more junior-level person at that time (which had been what I thought). At the same time I was offered a graduate assistantship so that's what I decided to do. We said we'd keep in touch.

During Spring Break I contacted the office to see if they needed summer help. Turns out one of their account supervisors is going on maternity leave this summer, and they thought they could use me. We didn't work out details, but knew we would go forward.

This morning I got a call from the VP. Unfortunately the girl I was going to take over for has been ordered to bed rest for the next two weeks. The VP wanted to know if I could have some hours. I know it's tight with the end of the semester, but since I really want to work there (if possible) after I graduate, I looked at my schedule and decided I could do it. I start tomorrow.

In addition, Doug had a really great phone interview today. This is a contract with Northrup Grummond. He had a phone interview with the person over project management for the entire southern region several weeks ago. She was impressed and forwarded him to the second round of interviews, but the business side manager decided to hire the first guy he interviewed without talking to anyone else. However, the regional lady liked Doug and when she had another opportunity, she wanted to give him a shot. He interviewed with the business side owner today and thought it went well. It looks to be a 12-15 month contract.

Keep your fingers crossed for Doug and wish me survival until the end of the semester!


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Keeping Austin Weird -- Today was the 27th Annual Spamarama, Austin's celebration of the famous canned meat. This is one of the coolest festivals is Austin (and I'm sad we didn't get to attend this year). Of course there is music and vendors, but Spamarama includes a Spam cook-off, the Spamalympics, a Spam eating contest, and a Spam-toss. Doug, who will only eat Spam when he loses a bet and is forced to, wants to be in the Spam cook-off some day. BTW, all the money raised at Spamarama goes to charity - so you can eat potted meat for a good cause.

Dara Posted by Hello

Friday, April 01, 2005

Busy weekends for good causes

Next Friday night is the Relay for Life event I'm participating in with my classmates. This week we held a two-day bake sale at school and raised more than $500 for our team. Counting both my online and offline donations, I am $25 short of my personal fundraising goal, but think I will make it. I appreciate everyone who has donated thus far. If you want to donate, visit this Web site.

Tomorrow is the Sunrise Soiree, the preview party for the Austin Fine Arts Festival. My friend Paula and I were in charge of the entertainment. It was fun working with Paula, and wasn't hard getting entertainers to do it for free, but it was difficult that I couldn't make one meeting because of class. I'm thinking next year I may opt not to participate, at least until I'm done with school. It will be a difficult decision, as I've done it for four or five years now.

In two weeks is the first 2005 wine tasting for The Women of Wine and the Men Who Adore Them (sorry, no Web site). Okay, so this isn't charity, but it's a lot of fun and I am the VP, Corresponding Secretary of the group (a title Paula gave me to make me feel important).

The following weekend we are volunteering at the Paramount Theatre for Red, White and Tuna, a hilarious look at life in a small west Texas town. We just love the Greater Tuna trilogy and haven't seen this production in several years. That same weekend is the opening of the new show at the Zachary Scott Theatre and I am sure we will be working that as well. That show is about Hank Williams.

With all of this, I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish all my class work. Just five more weeks (and three big papers) until the end of the semester. Yikes!


The Hill Country isn't the only pretty area in Texas. This photo was taken February 2003 near La Grange, which is on the way to Houston. It was a beautiful day, nice and sunny (unlike other parts of the U.S. where I am sure there was still snow on the ground). If you look behind the dogs, you will notice the Colorado River. This photo was taken at Monument Hill and the Kreische Brewery State Historic Site. This place is an historic site as some heroes from the Texas Revolution are buried here, and it's the site of the first brewery in Texas. Of cource, La Grange is also infamous as the home to the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (the Chicken Ranch).  Posted by Hello