I have a tortured relationship with most of my alma maters. I speak at high schools across Southern California before assemblies and classes, yet have spoken at Anaheim High but once since I graduated in 1997--and when I did, my former biology teacher ridiculed my decision to work for the Weekly. Earlier this year, I visited Orange Coast College for the first time since leaving in 1999. I got banned from a press conference at Chapman University (B.A., Film Studies, 2001) for daring to write that the school's financial godfather, slumlord George Argyros, was largely to blame for the horrible Madrid bombings of 2004; because of that article, President Jim Doti once told a group of student researchers I didn't reflect the schools' values. And my time at U.C.L.A was so short that I don't even speak with my academic advisors for my master's degree--and I know one of them once told a Chapman U professor what the fuck was I trying to do with ¡Ask a Mexican!?
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None of those institutions have bestowed me with the honor Fullerton College has just announced: they are picking my Orange County: A Personal History as the school's 2009/2010 selection for its One School, One Book program. Over the next school year, participating Fullerton College students and faculty will read, discuss, and God-knows-what-else my book. Why they picked Orange County: A Personal History over other stellar choices such as Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and Funny in Farsi is beyond my comprehension. I never attended the oldest community college in California, mentioned it once in my book, and the only faculty I know is journalism head Jay Seidel (who always invites me to speak at juco journalism conferences for no fee whenever they're held at Cal State Fullerton) and a political science lecturer whose name I can't remember. Nevertheless: gracias, Hornets, for the honor. You shan't regret it, and you get journalistic immunity from me until I finish this sentence...right about...now. Period.