Thursday, May 22, 2008

What kind of Crack post was that last one about?

I mean, I talk about Dick Cheney and puppies in the same post? Am I insane??? Anyway, brief summary of events. I got up way too early. Got my tickets and parking pass (yay! I could park on campus!). I pulled up and gave a colleague a heart attack because she thought I thought I was processing and I was unaccounted for (nope, not walking -- just sitting). Then I hung out in my office which thankfully was open (other buildings were closed for security reasons). Going through security was fast and I passed some of my former students who were working the lines (in fact, one nicely pulled up in a golf cart and gave me a ride).

At the football field, I now realized why it was so quick. There was practically no one there! The crowd was very, very small. My plans to hide under a tree on a hill (grassy knoll?) next to the stands was dashed as I thought climbing up there would be conspicuous and weird (and likely to be tackled by Secret Service). But, under the direction of a cadet. I sat in the far end of the stands where there was shade. This was good at first because it was verrry sunny. However, about the time when they were handing out the diplomas and commissions, I was freezing my patootie off. I spotted a friend and moved over to her to sit in the sun. (you know it's cold when I willingly sit in the sun).

So, the Secretary of HS apparently crashed the party (doesn't he have stuff to do?) because he showed up and he wasn't on the program. There was also some Governor there but I didn't recognize the name (and he wasn't on the program either). Cheney entered with cowboy hat (because, as for me, sunlight will harm him). His speech was rather a traditional tribute to the class and not so much on politics. I suppose this was because last time I saw him, it was 2004 and months before the election. I did enjoy his joke that unlike the graduating class, he wouldn't have a job in eight months (oh, let me count the days, minutes, seconds). I really enjoyed the cadet speech though. She spoke well and movingly (and a little politic -- that is, safe). One event was a little different this year. Usually they have an awesome flyover with the CG jet and helicopters which just barrels over the water and over our heads. It's pretty cool. This year, however, they decided for a slow flyby as the cadets through their hats in the air. I bet it made for a pretty cool photo op but I have yet to find one (probably because all the news photographers were between the cadets and the podium so they could get the image of them tossing their hats in the air. The aircraft was over their heads). It was weird to see them seem to float by.

After graduation, I went to the reception which was good because I was STARVING after sitting in the stands for hours. (I realized after the fact that I had some trail mix in my bag, left over from my trip to Michigan -- stupid!).

Got some punch and snackies, not too much sun, nor too much poison and left easily out the front gate.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I find your lack of faith disturbing...

I sense a disturbance in the force. So, I thought I could get away with avoiding graduation this year, and yet there is a ticket and parking pass waiting for me. Seeing as I know many of the graduates, I'm going. I was trying to avoid it not only for the annoying security of the event but because America's Dark Father will be there. Should be interesting especially since the stars have aligned to make it so.

I wonder how he will talk about Iraq? He was there a few years ago, not long after the start of the war, and it was pretty creepy.

In other happy news, I played with a puppy today. Thankfully I did not take him home though he could have fit in my pocket. He was determined to stay with me as he tugged on my hair and clothes. Happiness is, indeed, a warm puppy, Charlie Brown.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round...

As many of you know, I have been previously (and currently, although that's too complicated to go into right now) employed by the Gov (henceforth BB -- Big Brother; the sundry agences will be bb1 and bb2, etc)). So, let me guide you through a dialogue.

Setting: My home, August 2007

Me: Whoa! What's this deposit into my account for? That's much more than I was expecting. I better call and get this straightened out.

dials phone

Me: Hello. I'm calling because there has been a mistake. I was not owed this much. Can you straighten it out?
bb1: Oh! Thanks for letting us know. We will get on it.

month later

Me: Hi! I was wondering if this was taken care of yet?
bb1: You are in a file on my desk. I have let them know and I'll be going to HQ this month and see what I can do.
Me: okay (I'm in a file on her desk?)

months later, dropping by the office
Me: So, any resolution?
bb1: Oh! I haven't heard anything so I'll keep working on it.
Me: Okay, but I am paying income tax on this amount.

fast-forward May 2008

opening a letter from BB. Enclosed is a bill for an amount that is much more than was deposited into my account and does not account for what was due to me.

Me: Hey, that's not right! (calling the number on the bill)
bb2: (after a navigating the menu and receiving a live person on the end. After a brief explanation, the brusque voice says...) You need to call this number.
Me: Okay.

meanwhile, left a message for bb1, dialing number to bb3

bb3: (a friendly voice and some fun hold music) okay, you aren't in our system. Let me see if I can find who you need to call

some funky soul hold music later....

bb3: Here's the number (gives out the number for bb2 that I had just called)
Me: Umm, they told me to call you.
bb3: they were just confused. You are under x department, not our y department
Me: okay, thanks

calls bb1 just to see if she is back in the office. No answer
redials bb2 number and after much mashing of numbers later...

Me: Hi! I need to straighten out this bill and you sent me somewhere else but you are the department I need to call. I work under X.
bb2: (different person, equally brusque). Oh, Ms. bb2 (sub-1) handles these accounts. I'll connect you
(goes directly to Ms. bb2 (sub-1)'s voice mail. She's out of the office until May 19th). I leave a message.)


Friday, May 9, 2008

I got a gal in Kalamazoo Part Deux

I am currently sitting in a coffee shop outside of campus. I believe that Kate had lunched here earlier in the day. I am happy as a freakin' clam. I can smoke. I have Internet. I have a quiet place. I have coffee. I can have ice cream if I want it or sweets or anything my little ol' heart desires. Just lovely. Plus, it's a bonus that since the car is rented in my name then I can come and go as I please. What luxury!

So, paper went well and it's over and done with. I was paired with two MA students who were giving papers definitely related to topic, but they were just youngsters. I don't say this in a very negative way because I believe both are non-medievalists (at least one a Victorian scholar -- hey, if I was to give a paper on Victorian lit, then I would imagine I'd be in the same boat). The panel was also well-attended which is nice. Not too big but actually filled out the small room. It's never fun just to give one's papers to fellow panelists.

I haven't been to too many sessions because of all the work I brought with me. Good news on one level -- I finished editing one paper (not mine) and the author seemed rather happy with the result. This good because it was a massive revision and I was asked to edit with a rather heavy hand, especially since English is not the author's first language. Now, I should be working on my paper for this same journal. *sigh* Will it ever all be done?

And I'm still not getting good sleep. I have discovered coffee with a shot of espresso (they call this the "sinking ship" -- oh dear!).

In another hour I will go to the open bar reception for UConn people and will meet back up with Kate and probably a bunch of other people who I want to see. That's at least a very nice thing at this conference. I know a lot of people here and we are both (usually) mutually happy to see each other. I even gave a ride to the coffee shop to another UConn person and she is sitting on the other side working as well. I am happy to enable happy workspace!

Happy, happy, joy, joy to you all. Will post more soon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I'm sitting in the lobby of Valley I which is where Kate and I are sharing a room and the lobby is the only place I can get internet reception. It would be such a godsend if we could get it in the room. The trip here was pretty uneventful -- some rain as I was driving us in. We took it easy for the most part and had pizza at Bilbo's (mostly because we figured that the medieval hotspot would be intolerable during the other evenings of the conference). Then I worked on editing an article and looked at my paper. I present it in thirty minutes. I'll be glad to get it over with. I wish I had a better attitude toward this conference. I suppose the upside is that in the bare bones dorm room, I am focused on my work.

I didn't sleep well last night because I was probably thinking of all the work I had to do. Then again, I never sleep well in an unfamiliar place. This morning was particularly noisy -- with garbage trucks, people walking outside, and a few birds having territory or mating battle through songs. You would think they would get tired of the same tune? But I heard the same one echoing far and near. I wonder who won?

In other bird news, the swan is nesting by the lake. A swan's nest is pretty spectacular to see although it would have been nice to see the babies. Okay, more on this later. Must look over the paper one more time. No more coffee though or else I will read my paper in five minutes, not twenty.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Anybody want Netflix?

I have a free month to give to somebody (maybe two) so if you wanted to try out Netflix, then I'll pass it on to you. If you are behind on your movie watching then this is a great opportunity to catch up.

Positives about Netflix: awesome catalog. I've watched some really obscure, hard-to-find things. Shipping is generally pretty quick and I've only had a few hiccups with them.

Negatives: to get the month, you do have to sign up for the service and provide a CC or whatever. They recommend films based on what you watch and rate, but they aren't always the best (though some gems have popped up). Though they say "unlimited" plans, they really are limited because after a certain number of rentals a month, they slow down shipments. However, I estimate that I pay about 2 dollars a rental and that's on a busy month with me not able to watch movies every night.

So, let me know :)