Sunday, May 31, 2009

math is important

At the conference I attended recently, I had to fly into a big city and then rent a car to drive to a smaller city (strictly speaking I could have made an attempt to navigate a maze of public transportation options on the weekend when very few things are I went with the car). I set this up online and had my reservation number and such, as usual, and went to find the rental cars at the airport.

I was told that the rental company I had reserved with had no cars left, so they would have me rent from a more expensive company and reimburse my credit card the difference. While this seemed sketchy to me at the time, I didn't have much of an option, so I said fine and got my car and was off.

Fast forward to my return to the airport, just in time to check in and not get yelled at by the people at the counter for being late for an international flight, and I'm returning the rental car. Except that I'm not sure whose return garage I should be entering: the company I theoretically rented from or the one who owns the car? I chose wrong, and caused all kinds of problems. People at various desks told me different things, everyone was confused, and eventually some guy just took the car and drove it back to the other company's area. And they gave me a receipt, so I went back to the ORIGINAL desk to see if that reimbursement they had promised me had actually been applied.

And I'm told that, yes, I had been reimbursed this ginormous sum of money that far surpassed the total expense of the car even at the more expensive rental place. And I said that it sounded like that number was too high, and perhaps they could double check? So the woman, obviously in a hurry to do something else, had me come behind the desk to show me that, SEE, right here is the rate...which was the total bill provided by the other company. And since their rate was only $20/day, I was being reimbursed the difference...between their rate (days x $20) and this crazy thing that they apparently thought was the other company's rate, but which was actually my total bill multiplied by the number of days I had rented the car.

Call me vindictive, but the whole thing had been such a ridiculous and frustrating exercise that I just thanked them and left. I don't really feel bad for taking money from people who won't let me explain why they shouldn't be giving me money. We'll see if they notice.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

bits from abroad

I finally had time to pull up a few spreadsheets I need for some ongoing research, which I haven't played with for well over a year. I should apparently open them more often, just so I can remember what the hell is going on in there. Or, I should make less complicated spreadsheets (most likely, neither will be implemented).

I forgot to bring pajamas.

I've taken advantage of the cheaper "on campus housing" option, and while that's just fine in general I am remembering that dorm rooms are not that fabulous, and one of the major downsides is the lack of temperature control.

My students have largely chosen my few days out of town to begin their papers and projects. Thus my inbox is suddenly full of "oh crap I don't actually know what I'm doing!". Sigh.

If my lungs allow, I might do some nice hikes/walks. There are several options for some "nature" near here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The poor blog has been ignored lately - more so than any month since March of last year, when I first threw a few random thoughts onto Blogger. I think things have been less random more recently, but perhaps also very boring. Eh.

Since I don't seem to be the only one neglecting the interwebs at this time of year, I have no guilt, but I'm also off to a conference next week and will be in grading jail right afterward, so things will probably remain relatively quiet(er).

Random recent events include:

- I finally committed to an itinerary for one project and decided to give up on another for this year. It is not my job to play a supporting role for someone else's grad student if they can't even email me with logistics in a timely manner. I will still be outta here for most of the summer, though, which is both exciting and sad. Too bad Partner is employed! (not really...but it would be cool if he could come).

- awesome senior is doing cool stuff with new expensive toys I bought. Fun, yet mostly for them and not for me.

- I am still not ready for this upcoming conference, but hope that I will have enough down time prior to my presentation that I might be ready by the time I need to be. I've never done that before - last minute tweaks, yes, but writing and potentially doing some stats in the hotel, no. A first time for everything, I guess.

- Sick! The past week has been tedious and snotty - and now there are evil beings living in my lung spaces. Get out! I'm going to be leaving an entire half of my month to sloth between being sick and traveling. I'm going to have to try to get in shape again in early June before heading into the field!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

boob tube

We don't really watch TV, though I've mentioned that we got an HD converter box. I mostly like to be able to keep track of weather events in the area - and ironically enough I recently learned that the digital signal SUCKS during severe weather. So there goes that excuse.

Last night we finished Deadwood Season 2 (hooray Netflix) and I was in a "I just want to lie on the couch" kind of mood, so I thought I'd see what was on "TV". It turns out that "TV" is a place where women are objectified and demeaned every five minutes (I know, I'm really out of the loop, aren't I?) - I was a little shocked, as a non-TV-watcher, that this shit was on NBC and CBS and whatever other major channel, and that I wasn't watching reruns from the 90's. Are we really still living in the feminism stone age? Damn. And I had managed to forget, by not watching TV.

I was particularly disgusted by something called "Deal or No Deal," and while I still haven't really figured out how the game WORKS, WTF is up with those rows of identical Cylon ladies in matching dresses and shiny legs? Where are the shirtless men? Stop smiling you Cylon ladies, you are freaking me out!

I settled on a Nature episode about turtles. Did you know that Blue Whales move too fast to be studied effectively by boat? Or that Hawaii has saltwater crocodiles? I did not know those things, though it seems like those are things I should have known. They did show some squid. Squid are awesome.

Perhaps this couch incident is indicative of my energy level these days, as I've been getting too little sleep and mustering too little motivation - we're almost done here at SLAC, but not quite. Also, why did I decide that attending a conference and workshop during the last week of classes would be a good idea? I think it might be a good conference, but I feel a little overwhelmed that I have to travel and get back just in time to give final exams. And while I thought earlier in the term (of course) that a conference would motivate me to do some damned research, that has not been the case, and so I am not at all prepared to give a talk. There's still hope that I'll pull out some Excel magic at the last minute...but I'm not overly optimistic.

To all of you with your GRADING done by now, making your summer plans and enjoying the spring weather, I hate you. Just a little bit. And only for the rest of the month.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a long frakkin week

A late Spring resolution: learn how to blog when I'm NOT complaining. Warning: bad language and whining below.

City, in its infinite desire to make my life hell even if I'm NOT living there any more, has decided to send a collection agency after the ticket that was obtained by the jackass who stole my car two years ago - yet is still in my name/assigned to my plates. I've sent in the required paperwork TWICE already stating that I was not driving the car, and am now quitting and sending them their money, because I'm sick of dealing with them and don't have the time to go back there, nor do I want any more ties between me and that fucking hole. Yes, this is exactly what they want me to do, and why they ignore citizen requests in general, and I'm fueling the corrupt pit of despair that is City, but I'm just too tired of it to motivate my inner outrage. I hate myself a little bit, but the thought of this shit hanging over my head makes me crazy. Maybe next time I will be the responsible citizen and fight the good fight.

Important lesson learned: make copies of EVERYTHING you send to any government, even if you're doing it at the last second while homeless and traveling. The fact that I can't PROVE that I wrote them those stupid letters is partially motivating the throwing in of this particular towel.

Also, Windows Vista, how is it that you STILL don't have your act together? How long have you been for sale? My printer will not install correctly. I hate you.

Important lesson learned: Vista sucks.

To my insurance company: I hate you too. You won't let me take prescriptions in advance, making it very difficult to leave the country for several months at a time. I find this ridiculous.

Important lesson learned: Insurance is a pain in the ass. But really, I already knew that.

To my cat: your claws get stuck in the rug with every step, and yet you still hate me for clipping them and making your life that much better. You're a jerk.

Important lesson learned: My cat is a jerk. Too bad I already knew that too.