2007 Jul #1 | working at Cinemark, parking

The one thing I really missed from the Midwest when living in Berkeley was watching 10-mile high thunderheads moving in. Although, since I'm in the middle of the city, I usually don't seem them coming like you can on the plains. Also, they seem to be smaller here than in South Dakota; you can drive 5 miles and be out in the sunshine again, whereas I remember driving for hours in the rain in SD.

I hate, hate, hate the alarm for the theater. I have to disable it if I'm the first one to come in to work. Which should be a really simple task; my 4-digit code, 1 to disarm, 0 for all areas, # to end. But it never works. I type my code and then 1 all in one motion like I'm supposed to, which should bring up the "areas to disarm" screen, but 90% of the time it just sits there. Then it starts to scream. So I just have to type my code + 1 over and over until I see the disarm screen, although since I'm typing in my code and 1 constantly, half the time the disarm screen pops up when I'm halfway through my code and then the last half of my code gets inputted into that. Argghhhh! Then the security company calls and I have to tell them everything is fine and they disarm it.

I cannot stand people who have an accident and then just leave the vehicles in that lane. They're supposed to move over onto the shoulder so traffic doesn't grind to a halt. I understand the whole "not wanting to disrupt the crime scene" idea, but even the DMV manual says to get out of the lane.

Third annoyance in a row; we're on a roll. This guy keeps parking in 2 spaces, and since parking is really tight because they're still working on the other garage, it's even worse. One time I parked in the middle space when he wasn't there, only to come back to a note saying, "I pay for this fucking space; don't park in it!" So I grabbed a marker and wrote back to him on his note that nobody is paying for parking and nothing is reserved until they're finished with all of the parking construction. I was somewhat concerned that he might be disabled and really need extra room to get in and out of his car, but he didn't have any handicapped tags or anything. One day I saw him and he seemed to have a fair amount of difficulty walking, so I did feel a little bad.

However, I saw him later when he didn't see me, and he was walking about 5 times better than when he knew I was there. So not only is he acting more disabled than he really is, he chose to initiate conversation in a note by swearing at me rather than saying something like, "I'm sorry, but I have trouble getting into and out of my car, so if you would please not park here, I'd appreciate it." Plus, there are lots of parking spots within 500 feet that have plenty of extra room on the side, so he really should park in one of those instead of taking up two.

I bought a new phone and tried it out for a while. It took really good pictures, but it was really slow at it (about 5-15 seconds to get a shot off vs 3-5 with my current phone), so I ended up taking it back as lots of things I take pictures of are gone in 5 seconds.

I bought a parking permit for summer and parked in the lot by the optometry school. However, all of the parking spaces on the edges are reserved for faculty/staff, which is annoying because those are the only spots that have shade from trees. Even the spots way out where not a single person ever parks are reserved. I would be fine with having some spots reserved close to the building, because if a prof is late it hurts all the students, whereas if a student is late it only hurts him/her. However, having 100% of the edge spaces reserved? That's inequality to the extreme.

A lab in the bio department. The monitors are actually on the lower ledge, probably to make it harder to cheat during online tests or quizzes, but it's still really weird.

The bark just rolls off these trees. I'm going to remember to never have these; who wants to rake up big strips of bark every day?

When I'm walking around on campus, 90% of my brain is focused on path-finding. You might think the left path and right path around this sculpture and pool are pretty much equal, but they're not even close; the path on the right is in the shade, which is all that matters. You have to really look ahead and plan so that you don't get stuck on a path that is going to go through too much sunlight. I feel like Riddick when he's on that planet where they have to stay in the shade or the sun fries them.

And almost everybody wears long pants of some sort. I guess they figure they'll spend 55 minutes inside air-conditioned buildings and only 5 minutes outside in the sun. However, I'm plenty comfortable in shorts inside, and if were outside 5 minutes in jeans, I'd be pouring sweat for the next 10 that I was in a building, which is not an option. Even back in SD or CA, I'd never run to class or to catch a subway train because then I'd be sweaty all day long. Better to be 5 minutes late and comfortable than on time and sticky for hours.

I don't like these things either. They're the detectors in the library. I usually don't mind detectors, but these have a really loud whine that you can hear if you're within 15 feet of them. I'm always scared they're irradiating me and melting my brain; I have to resist the urge to sprint through them because security would probably tackle me or something.

This, however, I love. It's the scale for weighing dry ice outside the research store, and it says, "stolen from research stores" right on it. Nothing like being proactive.

The second beach I've gone to in Galveston is Stewart Beach. It's supposed to be more of a family-oriented beach than East Beach, which is for adults. It has a few volleyball nets permanently set up and indoor showers, but otherwise it wasn't that much different from East Beach. The water does stay shallow a lot further out, though.

Some kids tagged one of the bathrooms at the theater. We tried taking it off with regular cleaner, but that didn't do anything. Thankfully the janitors that come in at night got it right off. I think they might have used specialized graffiti remover, which I didn't want to mess with just in case it ate the mirror or something.

This is why I usually don't try to get through the tail end of a yellow. I'd rather spend a few more minutes each day sitting at a light rather than dealing with the wonderful auto insurance companies.

This is another lot at UH that is closer to my summer class than the optometry lot. At the edges there are trees, even in the student section, so I'll park farther out and under shade rather than closer to the school but in the direct sunlight. Also, you have to keep in mind where the sun will be when you will be leaving so that you don't park in the shade in the morning only to have the shade move completely off your vehicle by mid-day.

It should be illegal for regular citizens to operate Crown Victorias; they slow down traffic and cause everybody to have panic attacks. Hitting the brakes when you see a white car in this shape is probably burned into the subconscious of Americans as deeply as pulling your hand away from a hot stove.

This behemoth was taking up two lanes of traffic and had a police escort.

How many Cinemark employees does it take to change a light bulb? One of the other employees said you're just supposed to pull it straight out (the bulb was a U-shaped fluorescent one), which I tried, but all I managed to do was break off the tube. So we got a thick glove and everybody else tried to get the base out but failed until I tugged it out.

Every once in a while when cleaning the theaters between movies you find interesting things. Wallets, toys, children's shoes, etc are pretty common, but this time we found a passed-out drunk guy. After we woke him and he spent half an hour in the bathroom, he was able to find his buddies and leave.

The keys I have for Cinemark. If I lose them, I have to pay $1000 to have the building re-keyed, so I tend to keep them in sight.

Honestly, who on earth would ever use 5 syrups and 2 butter patties on 3 fast-food pancakes?