Monday, April 25, 2005


Two weeks left until Harvard notifies its Round 3 applicants and - SHOCK! - no invitation to interview.

My essays were good. Sometimes even inspired. But there was nothing I could do to change my stats. My age, undergraduate GPA, and gender, in particular. I might have been able to get away with it in Round 1 or Round 2, but not in Round 3.

What more can I say? It is as I expected. Utterly predictable.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Post-Vacation Depression

I'm back at the office, with a serious case of post-vacation depression.

Whenever I'm depressed, this poem always seems to find its way into my thoughts:

"There are stories of coincidence and chance. And intersections and strange things told. And which is which and who only knows. And we generally say, 'Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn't believe it. Someone's so-and-so met someone else's so-and-so, and so on.' And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that strange things happen all the time. And so it goes, and so it goes, and the book says, 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'" ~ Magnolia, 1999

Okay. Back to work.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

My Week In New York

I returned home today after a wonderful week in New York.

After my interview on Monday, I went to dinner with some friends. We went to Cafe Gitane, a French/Moroccan restaurant. I got the ground beef and mashed potatoes plate. Sooooooo good. And not at all expensive.

On Tuesday, I went to Magnolia in the West Village and picked up a muffin. From there, I wandered over to the Meat-Packing District to meet a friend. I waited for her in a department store called Jeffrey. If you ever have $300 to blow on something completely worthless, you can do it at this store buying a vintage (i.e, tattered and thread-bare) T-shirt. I then went to Chelsea Market. There was a store there called Portico that had some very nice housewares. I then made my way to Midtown and walked up and down 5th Avenue. Bored with seeing all the same chain stores we have in San Francisco (Zara and H&M excepted), I headed to where I was staying . . . with some friends in the East Village. We went to dinner at Lavagna - yummy Italian food - and then hit some bars on the lower East Side.

Wednesday was spent in Soho.

On Thursday, I was on my own so I went to the Met and saw some of the museum's permanent collection. I then had dinner-for-one at Mama Mexicana in the West Village. Not bad. But I spent $35 on a burrito, tortilla chips, and guacamole. I usually spend $8 for the same meal in San Francisco and it's twice as good. I then hit some bars in the Village. I stumbled upon a piano bar, the name of which escapes me. But it was lovely, sipping a beer and listening to Kathy (the chanteuse) sing a wide variety of songs, all with a sappy love theme.

On Friday, I met up with a friend in Soho. We had a late lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and did some window shopping before heading out to a bar in Brooklyn and then - and this was interesting - to a predominately lesbian bar at 2nd and 2nd called "Hole". The Hole was great! The DJ played everything from Depeche Mode to Jefferson Starship. The vibe was refreshingly unpretentious. Regardless of your sexual orientation, if you're in New York, you should check out this bar.

And that was my week! The one thing I love about New York is that you can talk to anyone. Most everyone is helpful and friendly. They don't approach you from a place of distrust, the way San Franciscans do. I already miss that.

A note about H&M: What the f#*k happened?! It used to be that you could get 10 pairs of pants and 5 shirts for $150. Granted, the quality was crap. But that was part of the charm. You didn't mind spending ten dollars on a shirt you would only ever wear four or five times, usually at bars/clubs. When I was at H&M on Monday, I was disappointed to see the store selling its clothing at Banana Republic prices, even though the workmanship was as shoddy as ever. There is an H&M opening in SF soon. I wonder how long it will last?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Great Day In New Haven

First of all, if you plan on taking a train from NYC to . . . well, anywhere . . . be prepared for delays. I arrived at Penn Station minutes before my train for New Haven was scheduled to depart only to find that it had been delayed ten minutes. Ten minutes turned into two-and-a-half hours! I missed the admissions info session and the opportunity to lunch with current students. I was, however, able to sit in on a class before my interview.

The class was Advertising Management. The lecture took place in an large room (capacity ~ 50) with a vaulted ceiling and recessed lighting. The seating was stadium style; the desks formed a horseshoe around the podium. You could plug in your plug in your laptop and access the internet at every seat.

The lecture was called, "Metrics: Developing a Brand Management System." It was interesting. Student participation was encouraged (read: expected). At issue was research performed by academics at Harvard and other schools - the viability of studying a few people and their relationships with brands, as well as more scientific methods of measuring human responses to brands/marketing (MRIs, for instance). I learned that there are no shortage of "nutty professors" out there. The professor teaching this course encouraged a critical approach to these studies.

When the class was finished, I had all of ten minutes to get to my interview. I only had to cross the street, so that gave me time for a cigarette. I also reviewed my notes briefly.

My interviewer was a few minutes late. Someone had "dropped in" for an interview minutes before my interview was scheduled to begin. This "someone" was rescheduled for a later time. My interviewer presented himself a few minutes later and escorted me to a room. On the way there, he asked me if I had had a chance to hear a lecture. I told him about the Advertising Management class. He asked me the professor's name. When I answered, he said that he had never taken a class with her. I then asked him what he studied, and this is when the small-talk came to a halt. He told me that he would answer that question at the end of the interview, as he did not want his response to influence how I answered the questions he had for me. And with that, the interview officially began. He started with my educational choices, then my professional choices, asking me what I liked best about manager X, and what I felt was my greatest accomplishment at company Y. He finished with "Why Yale?" and then answered the question I had asked him earlier about his studies at Yale SOM. I'm glad he waited to tell me because had I known what he had studied, I would have definitely answered at least one of the questions differently. (The question I would have answered differently involved my opinion of company Z.)

The interview lasted forty minutes.

I handled myself very well. I went in knowing what I wanted to talk about and was able to communicate what I wanted/needed to, without forcing the interview to go in any particular direction. It was probably my best interview performance to-date. When I left, he gave me his business card and asked me to contact him with questions. I then went to meet up with a current second-year student whom I had been in contact with even prior to my applying to Yale. We spent a little time chit-chatting. Then I headed to the train station and back to New York.

Overall, it was a great day in New Haven. I felt very relaxed on my way back to the city.

A few hours later, I got an email from my interviewer. He said it was a pleasure meeting me and that if I had any questions I should contact him. This is the first time I have ever received an email from someone who interviewed me that wasn't in response to an email I sent thanking him/her. I guess it's possible that he sends that email to everyone he interviews; but I have decided to treat it as something special.

Now, I go back to waiting. At least I have the distractions of NYC to keep me busy.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Fear of Flying

Here we go. The sleepless nights, the anxiety. My overactive imagination playing the short film starring yours truly in an accident aboard an airplane, followed by the news real describing how the tragic events unfolded. It never used to be like this.

As a child, I loved to fly. My parents were divorced when I was five, and my mother remarried shortly thereafter. She also moved to the other side of the country. I remember how excited I used to be to get on an airplane. Even in college, if I had a choice between driving and flying, I would always choose flying.

Then what happened? I don't know. It wasn't a bad flying experience, e.g., turbulence. I think I just started to realize how precious life is. Also, as I grew older, I found myself uncomfortable with the idea of not having any control. At 30,000 feet, what can I do? Nothing.

I have to fly to New York this weekend for my Yale interview. I have thought of every conceivable way around it. What if I made up some excuse as to why I can't go? What if I took a train, or drove? Then I chide myself for my foolishness.

I feel so ashamed of my fear. I have tried to work through it, but can't.

Apparently, one in six Americans has this fear. Most of them - us - get on airplanes because we have to. I don't want this fear to prevent me from experiencing life. But it has in the past. Not always - or even usually - but sometimes.

A life lived in fear is a life half-lived. So I will board that plane for New York and put my faith in God.

I will try to publish something on my interview at Yale while I am in NY (if I make it there, lol).

Happy trails!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

As Written In The Stars

I just read my monthly horoscope and this - in part - is what it had to say:

If you have made an application to a university to continue your education, this will be a big month for getting results and making decisions about your future. The eclipse on April 8 will be unusually positive, so you can count on it to set you off in the right direction. I dearly hope you will get the long-awaited letter of admittance to your favorite institution! It seems that the school you choose this month will be the right one for you.

According to this astrologer, eclipses are active a week before and after the actual date of the eclipse (which would incorporate my interview date of April 11 at Yale) or one month before/after to the day, plus or minus one week (which would include Harvard's Round 3 notification date of May 11).

Do I believe in astrology? I'll let you know by May 12th.