2007 Jul #2 | summer class, air travel, towed

Since the UH library does not have a lot of books I have wanted to read for a while, I decided to go to the public library because their online catalog said they have a lot of them. The main branch is in the middle of downtown, so it's a pain to drive to (there are lots of other branches spread out, but they don't have nearly as many books). When I got there, though, I couldn't find the books. I kept wandering around looking, but all I could find were meeting rooms.

There was another building that looked like it has books, but it was under construction. I thought maybe I could walk to it through an underground tunnel, but a woman yelled at me when I was going through it and asked where I was going. I asked her where all of the books were, and she said up the stairs.

Well, I went up there, but this is all there was; a tiny little room with a few new books. I checked their website when I got home, and sure enough, the main library is under construction until at least the end of the year.

Everybody was swerving around something on the road. When I got close, I realized it was a mattress. You'd think someone would notice that flying off their truck.

The lab for human physiology has a lot of people who will also be going to optometry school in the fall because UHCO is (one of) the only school(s) that requires it, so unless you were sure you were going to UHCO or you decided to take it as an elective as an undergrad, you probably wouldn't have it. The days where we do human experiments are generally pretty fun, but the animal ones are less so, mainly because we spend almost all of the time trying to set up the experiment to the point we can actually record data. When we were testing frog nerves, for example, we spent an hour and a half trying to get them to work, gave up, and the TA rushed through everything in a few minutes.

There are a few metered parking spots for people who don't have parking permits. A man parked in one and didn't have change. I told him he could probably go to a little coffee shop in a nearby building, but he didn't want to leave his car in case they ticketed it while he was gone. So I offered to go and get change from him. When I got there, though, the coffee shop was closed. I saw a vending machine, however, and bought a soda for $1.15, which gave the guy 85 cents to put in the meter.

I take I-39 to get to work. Around Sugarland traffic tends to really clog up because the road is under construction and there are only 2 lanes. I've tried taking a couple of other routes, but they're even worse. At least I go to work in the early afternoon; later on, the traffic is at a standstill.

A couple of my coworkers mentioned they play chess, so I brought a set to work. Well, it turns out about 5-10 people actually play, so it's been quite fun as we'll play during breaks. Almost nobody really threatens me simply because I've studied a lot of chess books and unless someone is extremely naturally talented, they won't have much of a chance. It's similar to how someone who is naturally very good at running but who only sits around all day watching TV will be beaten in track by someone who is innately slower but practices every day. There are a few guys who can play pretty well, though.

If you go to extremes, everything is fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous, not to mention flammable. You just need to put enough weight or heat on it. I was mailing t-shirts, though, so I told the lady she could have an elephant stand on my packages and it wouldn't make a difference.

Remember when the Enquirer used to be good? When it was like the World Weekly New and had stories about the gates to hell being found in North Dakota and such? Now it's all just celebrity crap. Although it is actually a little more truthful now.

We can only print so many pages at the university before they start charging us. I have no idea how far along I am (I'm just printing lecture notes), but I was annoyed it printed out a blank sheet which ate up one of my allowed free pages.

I have to wear a suit coat to work. Well, actually, I don't have to; the GM is OK with managers just in nice shirts and ties, but I don't like having my tie flapping around and getting in popcorn butter and such, so I usually wear the suit coat. If I even step outside during the day, though, I'll be pouring sweat within a minute. The only thing we really have to go outside for is to take out and compact trash, so if people want to do it at 4pm, I tell them I'll do it myself at 10pm rather than going with them when it's 95 degrees with 80% humidity.

I also have been wearing my glasses a lot more, since I'm usually up at about 8am to go to class and then get home from work at around 2-3am and my contacts aren't comfortable for that long of a period. I don't really like wearing glasses (my eyelashes smear them up so I have to clean them every few hours, they sometimes fog up when I go outside, my peripheral vision is blocked by them, etc), but it's better than having everything all fuzzy.

Another thing you don't see much on the coasts; big houses with huge lawns and pastures with animals.

These "please use other door" signs annoy me because they let you in anyway. Either have the sign and don't let people in or don't have the sign at all. This way, people are trained they can ignore rules without consequences.

A billboard near campus. I always thought it said "shark lawyer" rather than "shark slayer." Either way, it's still kind of scary.

There are 2 main paths I can take to get to the campus from my apartment. One goes through a fairly upscale neighborhood most of the way with a stream and trees in the middle. The other goes right by the medical center (so you're always stopping for ambulances and pedestrians), through a ton of construction, and then through the ghetto. Guess which one I take.

What's the point of highlighting if you're going to highlight everything? The purpose of highlighting is to highlight certain points. At least she color-coded things; the people who turn an entire page yellow drive me nuts.

I've never seen the use in laptops for notes. People spend half of the time surfing the internet and the other half trying to format their notes correctly rather than understanding what the professor is saying. Plus, good luck drawing a diagram on that. And since this is a biology class, a quarter of the notes are diagrams. Not to mention it makes you look like you're trying to show off that you're rich.

Someone had spilled Cheetos on the ground and this squirrel was in heaven.

I could not find this: the first-floor bathroom in the science lab building. I knew where the second-floor one was, and I figured the first-floor one should be right under it, but I never could find it. Until one day a guy walked out of it, and then I noticed the giant "Men" sign, right where it should be beneath the second-story bathroom. I simply cannot comprehend how I couldn't see it even though I swear I checked every single door on the first floor and I knew right where it was supposed to be. It was like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where there is a bridge with a pattern that exactly matches the far wall so he can't see it; he has to thrown dirt on it to be sure it was there.

I cannot find these anywhere, either in stores or online: travel gel anti-perspirant / deodorant for men. I've found some travel gel deodorant for women and travel solid stick deodorant for men, but apparently they don't sell these anymore, neither Right Guard or any other brand. Sigh, one more thing that's gone forever which I really loved, just like purple Dots and McDonald's mini chocolate chip cookies.

When you design an airport, perhaps going with the labyrinth design and color scheme is a bad idea. It's all curvy pillars and curvy floor patterns and I have no idea which way the terminal is and I quite honestly don't even know which way I just came from.

Sunset in South Dakota. I didn't take any pictures of the wedding because the only camera I have is on my cell phone and I didn't really want it going off during the vows. I tried to keep in in my pocket and turned off, but I was neurotically checking it every 3 minutes to make sure it was actually off, so I just put it in the car so I wouldn't have to worry.

What luck; a baby right across from me.

Jackpot; one in front, too. Hello, screamfest 2007.

Cumulus clouds (the big puffy ones) are my favorite type; I like all of the contours and shadows them make on themselves. Well, actually, my absolute favorite are cumulonimbus (the thunderstorm ones) because they can be nearly 15 miles high, which is just mind boggling.

There was dried red fluid on the wing. I'm not sure if it was some sort of lubricant or fuel or blood, but in any case, I'm pretty sure it wasn't supposed to be there.

I've never seen people use umbrellas for the sun before. Heard of it, yes, but never actually viewed it with my own two eyes.

I was going to drive to class when I noticed that wasn't my truck in the space I'd been parking in all month. I thought it must have been stolen and was trying to figure out how to call the cops, rent a car, and then where to get a vehicle until my truck was found (if ever) when I decided to stop by the office and ask them if they knew what happened to it (after sprinting around all of the parking lots in the complex). Well, apparently they towed it because I was in a reserved spot.

Problems with this: (1) I had been under the assumption that nothing was reserved until the other parking lot was finished. Actually, they weren't making any new reservations; old reservations were still being enforced, although nobody had made this clear to me. (2) They didn't put even 1 note on my vehicle even though I'd been parking in a reserved space for over a month and the person who had reserved the spot had complained to them numerous times. (3) When they did tow it, they put a note on it at 4pm and then towed it at 7pm. Thanks for the whole 3 hours of notice.

So I ended up having to take a cab to the storage facility it had been towed to. I missed half of my class and wrote a letter to the management explaining the situation. I sat on it a day and edited it down a bit before giving it to them because I was infuriated when I first wrote it and would have come across as a raving lunatic if I had given them my first draft. Thankfully the manager called me to say they would reimburse me for the towing/storage and cab (over $200 total).

Of course, remains of the notice sticker and all the writing the towing company puts on the rear window are still on my truck because they're almost impossible to wash off.

One of my coworkers locked himself out of his truck one night and asked if I had a coat hanger. I didn't, but I did still have a Slim Jim that I had bought over 10 years ago in a store in Mobridge that doesn't even exist anymore, so we popped his lock with that and everything was good. So, even though I only used it once in all those years, I figure it was worth keeping around because it didn't take up that much space. Kind of like how I always keep a spare key in my wallet. I've only had to use it twice, but that's two times I'd otherwise have had to pay a locksmith to open my vehicle, not to mention having to sit around waiting for him.

He asked if he could buy it from me, and I told him he could just have it. Interestingly, he told me a few days later than one of his friends who is also a cop was looking for a tool in his truck and found the Slim Jim. I didn't see what the big deal was, but he told me they're actually illegal in Texas. So I'm kind of glad it's not in my truck anymore, since a coathanger works just as well and is legal.