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Monday June 5, 2006

Syracuse Graduation III: This Time it's Katie's Turn



Hi. So, er, this is so 3 weeks ago (May 13), but Little Sister Katie is all up in my grill about putting a special Little Sister Katie's Gradumacation update on the innernets, so here goes:

Hi (again!). My name is Dennis. You may have heard that I went to Syracuse Univ. (graduated in 1998). You may also know that as soon as I graduated, my brother started as freshman (graduated: 2002). But did you also know that my sister Katie *also* went to Syracuse? She started just as JJ finished... and graduated just a few short weeks ago. I've told this story to a few folks and always get the same two questions:

Q: Why Syracuse? Did your parents go there or something?
A: Nope. Way back in Spring 1994, I was trying to decided between going to school at Ithaca or Syracuse (er, both made the final round as they both had good communicatons programs). Most of my friends had already figured out where they were going (MF = Bates, Rob = Coast Guard Academy, Mike.D = Harvard), not sure why I was the last one to figure it out. Anyway, I remember calling Mike.D's house one day, getting his mom on the phone and her asking me about my college plans (to which I had no good answer) and she was like (btw, you need to say this in your best Mike.d's Mom VoiceTM), "Dennis, I know you... you want to go to a big school with lots of people. I think you should go to Syracuse." And so that was pretty much it. Oh, and then while I was at school, Jonathan would come visit and presumably saw what good times were at Syracuse (he also wanted to do the Newhouse / communications thing) and decided to go to SU as well. And while *he* was in school, Katie would come visit, see what good times were to be had and also decided to spend four year Syracuse.

Q: Yeah, but why Syracuse?
A: I dunno. In retrospect, I would never send my kids there. It's freezing. It's in the middle of nowhere. There's not even a good ski place nearby. (Actually, maybe I would send my kids there... but certainly not all 3 of them. I wonder if things would be more interesting - ??? - if me + JJ + Katie all went to different schools?)

Anyway, so oh yes, Katie's graduation: a three day event including our family + Gam + Anne + the Doherty's (aunt / uncle / cousins)... and Special Guest 2nd Cousins, The Doyle's (since my 2nd cousin Greg.D was also graduating). Me + J skipped out of work early on Friday (ssh) and made the five hour trek from NYC -> Syracuse juse in time to meet up Mom + Dad + Katie for happy hours @ Chuck's.

... now sorry for this super long intro paragraph, but I also wanted to mention that I've been to Syracuse twice since I graduated, er, 8 years ago (!!) - once for Homecoming 1999 (when that Crazy Girl bit me in the shoulder!!) and again for JJ's graduation (2002). And, since a bunch has changed since then, I broke some of this stuff down like this:

How Syracuse is Different #1: The old Chucks space (aka Hungry Charlie's) = now a Vietnamese restaurant, and the new Chucks moved into the old Sutton Mill (??) space. So, Chucks is now on the street level with big windows and high ceilings. Huh.



How Syracuse Is Different #2: The Regatta (the bar at the Sheraton Hotel, remember?) is now called The Seasons (lame). They took all the crew decor and junked it and made this place a generic, shitty hotel bar. $3 pitches though (for reals!). We took this pic on our Friday afternoon quest to hit all the bars on campus (er, we hit two bars + three pitches before we quit)



Okay, so back to this story. Crowleys + Doherty's (cousins) + Doyle's (2nd cousins) all met up for dinner at some places called Joey's (downtown Syracuse?). Mom told us to dress up all nice, but when we rolled in there the places was packed with frat boys in shorts / sororiety girls in flip flops and their grandma's.



Speaking of grandmas, Gam + Anne made the trek back from Florida for Shoop's big day. Here's Gam.



Me + JJ got Katie a brand new digicam as a pre-graduation gift. (Best Brothers Ever)

After dinner we headed back to campus to hit up Darwins (unchanged, btw, for all the SU kids out there)... though not sure why I don't have any pictures (boring?). Overall, I was a little disappointed at the lack of mayhem going on on Marshall Street considering at the weekend of my graduation we were jumping fences and ducking through windows to sneak past the 100-people deep lines for the bars. Not to mention how we were lighting shit on fire in the streets for JJ's graduation in 02. But this year the bars felt pretty empty. Huh.

Anyway, we called it quits around 2am, gave Greg.D a ride home and were about to call it quits and head back to the hotel... but wait, what is this? After hours on Livingston? Sure we'll come in and hang out with your friends, Greg!



Oh, beruit? Yes, I've played this before.

Oh, against this dude who plays football for [insert D1 school here]? Sure!



Team DPStyles + JJ put up a good fight, but eventually we lost to the college kids.



College kids sure do drink lots of beers.



Oh, and then we ran around and tried to introduce ourselves to the neighbors ("Hey, I used to live here! Er, can I come in and have some of your pizza? Thanks!")

ps: that's my Wicked Smaht 2nd Cousin Stephanie in the pic. She used to live in this house, right? Of course!

Michelle, special thanks to driving us back to the hotel (where our plans to sneak into the hotel pool / hot tub were foiled by locked doors everywhere).



... so we attacked their helium balloon supply... [video]



... and rode their elevator around... [video]



... and raced their luggage carts at dangerously high speeds. Goodnight!. [video]



Sidenote #1: apparently Operation: Sneak Into the Pool Afterhours is impossible as the pool is surrounded by the hotel walls - like a fortress! My heroic streak of getting kicked out of the last two hotel pools I've been to (Whistler, Microsoft) was sadly ended.

Sidenote #2: I took this pic after Jonathan used the old "Oh man, check out the hot girls at the pool!" trick on me to get me out of bed. Pool was packed with... nothing! Why you gotta be like that, JJ?



Okay, so fast forward to next morning. Not sure who's stoopid idea it was to schedule the graduation at 9am, but that's what time we rolled into Manley field house. Mom told us to be in the hotel lobby @ 7:30 - ha! Smell ya later! (We left the hotel at like 8:40)

For anyone who's been to a Big School Graduation, you probably know how these things work - it's split into a two-day affair:

Graduation Round 1 = The college (in Katie's case, School of Management. She's an accounting major. Go Shoops!). This is where they call my sister (and 400 other lucky kids) by name. It takes roughly 800 years.

Graduation Round 2 = The whole university. All 4000 students... plus and a Surprise Commencement Day Speaker! (Well, not a surprise for us... but for you, a surprise. Hold on!)



Go Shoops!



Whoop whoop! [video]



Post 800 year-long ceremony, we posed for 800 family portraits. We pretty much got evenone in this one. My grandma sure is pocketsized, no?

After photo taking time, JJ and I napped it up (boring!), then killed a few hours walking around campus (fun!) before meeting up for Big Family Dinner #2.



We stopped by J.Michale's on Marshall Street (obligatory college indie clothing store) and, hey, what's this that I spy on the wall, but a shirt signed by Busta Rhymes from when he performed at Syracuse's Block Party my sophomore year (1995)...



... look a little closer and who's all up in Busta Rhyme's bizness, but my old freshman year pal Alex Piper! (on the right) Ha!

ps: Busta is playing Foxwoods on August 12 - get tix!



Mom (again): "Make sure you look nice for dinner!"



For dinner Saturday, Katie + friends rented out a room at P.J. Dorsey's (downtown Syracuse - same bar where Jonathan used to work in college. Huh!). Place was packed with random friends and friend's family and cute bartenders serving all the Labatts Blue you can drink.

The main event (pre-dinner) was a slideshow Shoops put together featurning all her friends over the past four years. (Shoops, rad job, btw - you really should put that video up on The YouTube!)



After dinner we went back to campus to hit up the bars One Last Time (I mean, am I ever going to go back to Syracuse???). First stop = Faegans, the Senior's Only bar (read: back on the day, they would keep your fake ID if you tried using it).

For all the Syracuse kids, Faegans is thankfully pretty much unchanged. They got rid of the DJ booth and knocked down some of those pillars (see?) and they now serve up Brooklyn Lager real nice.



I gave Katie my AmEx as a "happy pre-graduation, make sure your friends drink free all night" type deal. Friday night, I ran up a whopping $60 tab. Thinking I'd get the same deal Saturday, I gave Shoops back my AmEx and she returned looking like an Off the Wagon shotgirl (all tequila). Bar tab = $200.



Six of us around this table = Katie: "Let's play suck and blow", er, which according to this website is a game for "Teens, Singles, Valentines".

All players sit in a circle. Sit boy-girl-boy-girl. There should be the same number of boys as girls. Choose someone to start by holding the card to their lips and sucking it vacuum style (no hands allowed). They must then turn to the right and pass the card to the next person by pushing the card against the next person's mouth who then suctions the card. This continues around the circle. If you drop the card then you end up kissing the person next to you! Very hot and fun!



Hot and fun indeed!

Note: No college girls were made-out-with during the playtest of this game.



I got stuck next to my Dad of course (hence: See No Evil, Hear no Evil pose).

ps: Dianne, this is where you're supposed to yell "MAKE OUT!!!!"



Faegan's upskirt shot. Is that Cousin Michelle? Hi!



Jonathan and I blew the mind of a handful of graduating seniors when we introduced them to the technology behind The Nascar (Bud! Red Bull! Delicious!)



Crunked + tab closed = we closed out the night at Darwins (crossing our fingers for a hip hop dance party). Katie got about 30 steps with this hat before I dethroned her in fear of the cops.



Picture taking time caught in digivideo (Katie says this pic turned out to be one of her favorite pics of her friends ever).

Bonus points: If you watch closely you can see frat boys going APESHIT over that Mattisyahu one-hit-wonder track. [video]



How Syracuse Is Different #3: Remember 44s? Home to such awesomeness as Split Day and other general frat-monkeying good times? Well, it turned into Conrad's on my brother's watch (same old bar, new name), thought while Katie was at SU they turned it into a PIZZA PLACE! Come'on!



... which actually served up some pretty delicious pizza. ($1 slices!)



So... we dropped Katie off at her friend's house and as we reluctantly were about to call it a night and head back to the hotel (again, sniffle), we ran into 2nd Cousin Greg on the street. Now 2nd Cousin Greg coincidentially lives in the same house that I lived in my Junior + Senior year - 600 Euclid, a.k.a. The Green Monster (click it!!), a.k.a. perhaps the biggest shithole on Syracuse Univ campus. I mean, it was a shithole when we lived there EIGHT YEARS AGO - I heard it was condemned shortly after we left - and by some stroke of Sweet Jesus' Luck, my 2nd cousin lives there now (and yup, it's worse then ever).

Greg invited us up...



... to witness the destruction firsthand. (This is Paul.K / Eric.F's old bedroom, btw)



Back in the day (junior year, 1996) we built this bar (Doug.J's handiwork) and covered it in bottle caps and liquid glass (financing for said project came from the some $1000 we made per month running house parties). And after we laid the bottle caps down and before we poured the liquid glass, each of the 12 people who lived at 600 threw their pic on one of the caps...



... and sure enough, there I am. (this pic = from Fall Break 1995 @ BC).



So that was a fun trip down memory lane... now let's go take a look at the porch which is covered in broken glass, shall we?

We reminisced about good times on the porch - throwing desks and couches off, ripping down the fence to piss off our landlord, watching some kid drunk-drive his brand new Jeep Cherokee into the telephone booth then trying to run away as the cops wrestled him to the ground, hanging the fake frat letters outside and inviting unknowning freshmen upstairs to drink tequlia shots with raw egg in them, hoooo good times! - before me + J called it quits and went back to the hotel. Goodnight #2!

ps: More pics of the shithole that is 600 Euclid in this Flickr set



And next morning... again, what's up with these 9am graduation start times? Mom went in EARLY and snagged up front row seats (thanks Mom! You're the bestest!). That's Shoops right there in the middle!



Commencement was buckets of fun! (er, just kidding, it was boring.) No real drama to speak of - no blow-up dolls and I think we saw but one lone beach ball. Come'on kids! The Surprise Commencement Speaker was Billy Joel (WTF?) who gave the most uninspiring off-the-top-of-his-head talk you could imagine and then sang an equally stoopid off-the-top-of-his-head track about Syracuse (yawn). I'd rate his performace 3rd place after the Glee Club (who sang an a capella Bill Joel song) and the collective singing of the Alma Mater (is that the right word?). [video]



Shoops + flip flips + astroturf + sans Louis Vuitton bag (which the Graduation Police told her she couldn't carry during the procession - seriously, who brings a bag to graduation???)



Okay, only a few more pics. Post graduation = Big Family Dinner #3 Brunch. Gosh, can we get Gam and Anne in there please?!



Much better. Gam = shrrriiinnnnkkkkiiinnnggg by the minute. By Christmas time she will live in a little hamster cage.



Jay and I took a last minute stroll through campus - sniffle. A little gang sign for the Newhouse III building which is going up in the background (left).



We took a minute to drop a note to our all-time favorite prof, Stephen Masiclat (who taught me pretty much everything I know about design, so thanks. Actually, the whole structure of teendrama - photos telling a story in a linear fashion - came from a photo essay project I did for Masiclat's class my sophomore year.)



Annndd back to Katie's house to help pack up and say our goodbyes... er, not sure what Shoops is doing with a STRIPPER POLE in her living room (...or what my Mom is doing swinging around on it).



ps Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Dad was like "Den, can you pick me up a card?" Here's what'choo get sucker!

(the end. finally!)

Still haven't had enough? Get your Flickr on! (Katie's pics)



Mon 6/5 @ 10:12 PM | # link| Comments (4)
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