Monday, July 18, 2005

I just finished watching the final episode of The Scholar, which I hadn't seen before. The main action with the admissions committee and whatnot was filmed at USC's Philosophy Library. When I was preparing for my quals I spent a lot of time in there, and it was the great unknown gem of the USC library system. It was empty all the time, even though it was really comfortable and a great place to work. In fact, my main memory of the place was at a meeting of the history grad students, when someone mentioned the place and James Bell (one of our colleagues) tried to shush them down to prevent any more people from finding out about the place.

The day after my last final this spring, I found out that James passed away from a longtime illness. He was 56. He'd been sick for a really long time and had had a rough life anyway (long history of drugs, alcohol, you name it--about which he was very forthcoming), but hearing it was still a shock. I've never known anyone who turned their life around quite as much as he did, and he was an inspiration in that regard. Like most grad students he could be a pain in the ass at times too, and I'd be lying if I said we were best friends or anything. But he was a good guy and he wasn't insane, which put him in the upper half of my grad school compatriots.

Reality TV often makes me upset, but tonight was a whole different thing.

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