Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 2:25 pm
The other day I sat down and wrote out the reasons why I haven’t been posting here. The list grew to six items, which I’m not going to bother you with. Suffice to say I’m gonna try to do better, write more, eat more fiber, etc etc.
Anyway, last weekend I went to Penn State to see the game and let us never speak of that again. It rained just about the entire day, I got soaked to the bone, it was about 52 degrees, and I’m now sitting here sneezing and coughing and feeling generally miserable. But this is actually a good thing, as I leave for Aruba on Friday and I typically get a cold down there. If I can get the ooginess out of the way here I’ll be way ahead of the game when I’m working.
Back to Happy Valley. I’ve gone to a couple of games over the last few years and the changes that have taken place since I graduated a billion years ago are stunning. The more so because so much looks exactly the same. I hadn’t been on campus itself for at least a decade and we took some time to walk down memory lane. Mark and I visited Porter Hall, where we lived for two years (and, from the young women using swipe cards to gain admittance, is now co-ed). The tennis courts are now a construction site, the field we played football on has been the home of a massive building for about 15 years. Tell you what, if you wanna feel like time marches on and doesn’t wait for you, visiting your old college campus will give you loads of perspective. I stood in the middle of Pollack Halls, looked around, and without much effort could imagine myself an 18-year-old freshman headed to dinner. Walk 100 yards and the landscape is changed so dramatically that a spaceship landing in the middle of the road would’ve been less jarring. There’s been so much construction up there, both on and off campus, that the Penn State I went too seems quaint and backward. Heck, even Beaver Stadium has grown by more than an quarter since I graduated.
The big reason I wanted to walk around campus was to complete a pilgrimage to Carnegie Building, which is where the student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, was housed when I wrote there. This was where my career in journalism was born…and then died, about two years later. I wrote a lot of good stuff for the Collegian, stuff I’m still proud of. And I loved working there, loved it to death. Why did I quit, you ask? Well, a number of reasons, not as many reasons as why I haven’t been writing here, but it’s a long silly story and not worth retelling. Believe it or not I had a personality conflict with someone on staff and for those of you who know me and my easy-going ways that should give you an idea about the personality I was conflicting with. So I decided to leave and try some other things, like occasionally attending class. Wasn’t all that successful at that, to be honest.
The Collegian moved out of Carnegie just after I quit, and when I visited the new offices it just wasn’t the same. They were clean. Well, clean-ish. The old newsroom was split in two, there was the old, huge room with our mailboxes and the Sports Desk and the huge table where the copy editors sat (and where the business side was also located), and then the room around the corner that was brightly-lit and had windows looking out on campus and about 15 workstations. I wish I could say I had pictures to show you but the goddam doors were locked and I couldn’t get it. I think I might’ve been able to go around to the side and get in that way, but it was four hours to kickoff, we wanted to drink, and it looked like it was gonna rain. Which it did, about fifteen seconds later. Anyway, here is the imposing facade of Carnegie Building, which looks almost exactly the same today as it did 20 years ago:
The high points of the trip were both culinary. We made another pilgrimage of sorts to the Lion’s Den, where we enjoyed many a wing and a pitcher in school. Ordered some wings and they were fantastic, top-notch. I also had an exquisitely-seasoned cheeseburger that was served on some sort of artisanal bread and was freakin’ fabulous. I’m not saying fabulous for a divey college bar, I mean it was flat-out awesome. We also got subs from McLanahans, the we-have-everything store on College Ave, and they were just as cheap and delicious as once upon a time. I got the turkey sub with the hot pepper relish, and while the turkey was perhaps a bit dry (maybe I should’ve had it moistened with a bit of oil) it was also pretty fantastic, almost exactly as I remembered it. And for a bit more than three bucks for an 8-inch sub, a ridiculous bargain.
I’ll definitely get up there again sometime soon, maybe have more time to walk around and take pictures without risking hypothermia. Then again I remember it being rainy and cold and gray about 95% of the time up there, so I may have to roll the dice and suck it up. An umbrella might be a wise purchase at some point.
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