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Being a relatively recently licensed driver and one who learns by doing I decided to rent a car to drive to Philly rather than bus it. The idea was to get some quality alone time with a stereo, prove something (minor) to myself, and get some of the easy car related mistakes out of the way. I have bad driving genes in my family and a lot of time to make up. On the plus side, I'm pretty good at only making mistakes once.

Here is a sampling of those mistakes.

Mistake number one: renting a car.

Factor by which the final cost of the rental exceeded the quoted "base rate" on the website, not including gas and tolls: 402%

I have to mail a check for $1.50 and one for $3.75 to the Mass DOT because I didn't have cash on hand to pay tolls.

I drove through an EZ-PASS toll, not having an EZ-PASS.

I let the car roll at a gas station, having left it in drive.

It turns out it's hard to find parking in Manhattan. Especially in the middle of the night.

Park jobs botched: four or five.

Parking tickets received: one.

Pedestrians nearly hit: one.

Bicyclists passed with a lane-wide, white-knuckled berth: several.

Turns missed: many many many.

Number of times I almost died when the the shitty cloverleafs they've got in Jersey radically changed their radius: at least twice.

Number of extra miles I drove in Jersey due to I-95 making no Goddamn sense in that state: probably 20.

Number of side mirrors a 2010 Ford Fusion is supplied with: 2.

Number that I returned it to the rental agency with: 1.

Mistakes yet to make, which I'm saving for later:

Locking keys in the car.

Legit accident.

Lose the gas cap.

Car towed.

Leave baby on roof.

Car in ditch.

Car in swamp.

Car on fire.

Car corkscrewing through air A-Team style after running one side over a ramp disguised as shipping crates or road debris.

Stay tuned.

Why I Love Wikipedia, Part 3,009

Of course, now I really want some Braunschweiger on toast with mayo and mustard. I don't know if you can find it in Boston.
Because of its teutonic name braunschweiger is often used as a humorous reference to German culture in the United States. For example in his 1993 comedy Last Action Hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Jack Slater, refers to himself as "famous comedian Arnold Braunschweiger". This is a double joke because of the sausage's heavy preserved pork content and the concept of a "ham" as an entertainer who is over the top. Another example of the word braunschweiger standing as a signifier of German ethnic identity is in The Straight Story, where Rose Straight buys a large amount of braunschweiger for her father Alvin's trip.
-Wikipedia, "Braunschweiger."
Opiates and lying down. What a great combination. Still, I've never been happier to have a day be an hour shorter.

I had surgery last week. This gets gross...Collapse )

So I probably should wait and talk to the guy but I think it all went really well. I don't really even care if it went well, it's still going to be better than before. Chronic pain and infection really screw with you, much more than I think I realized or would admit to. I'm really looking forward to this summer.

Some annoyances:
  • I was told that I would be staying overnight in the hospital, full stop. It turns out that this was based on the result of the surgery (probably the open wound vacuum dressing thing, but I don't know) and actually they told me I was going home as soon as I was awake.
  • The discharge nurse didn't react very pleasantly when I said that there wasn't anybody waiting to bring me home, because I wasn't supposed to be going home until tomorrow, although I could probably call around and find somebody.
  • She then brought me a pair of pants and dug a cell phone out of them and handed it to me. It took me a long time, like 30 seconds, to realize they weren't my pants or cell phone.
  • Crutches would have been really, really helpful. I still might go buy some, depending on what the doctor says tomorrow
  • The only thing I'm allergic to is sulfa-based drugs. I told that, or confirmed that to, no less than 6, maybe more like 8 doctors, nurses and registration people while I was there. So they prescribed me a sulfa-based antibiotic. I got as far as walking away from the pharmacy counter with the bottle in my hand, which was the first time I saw the generic name which had "sulfa" in it that I caught it. I probably just would have gotten a rash, and I know people experience way worse fuck ups from hospitals, but come on! It's not that hard to not give me the one thing I can't have.

So that's what's up. The pain isn't too bad. I'm down to 1 percocet at a time, and I haven't even been watching the clock for the last couple doses. I'm just anxious to be able to walk more normally.

you have to look the part

Math test checklist:

Old beat sneakers, left one makes squishy noise when you step down in it? Check
Old beat stained and too short green cargo pants? Check
Old beat size 3xl corduroy shirt worn out in the elbows and where you sit on it? Check
T-shirt advertising an open source software project? Check
Mussy hair, roostertail in back? Check
Scraggly beard? Check
Calculator, pencils, text and notebook for last minute studying? Check
Solid understanding of the material? Ehhhh...

7/8 isn't too bad...

[Edit, post test: yes it is. I guess it's really just that last 8th that makes any difference.]


I need to buy a regular drip coffee maker. I can't handle this french press stew anymore. One cup shouldn't make me shaky and unable to sit still or accomplish anything.

It is possible to make weak(er) coffee that still tastes good. I know it to be true.

Time to walk over to school. Extremely quickly.

Feb. 17th, 2009

Things I did today instead of homework:
  • slept till 1
  • Rode 16 miles to get a cup of coffee
  • read old New Yorkers
  • Caught up on bike blogs, cyclingnews & velonews coverage of the Tour of California
  • did bike maintenance
  • organized cds
  • folded several loads of laundry (and I hate folding laundry)
  • organized shelves in my room
  • made a proper case for Radiohead's In Rainbows album with the kit that comes in the package


I think I have to drop thermodynamics. It's interesting but it's nontrivially difficult and unmotivating. For an elective requirement that makes it a pretty bad choice. I wish I'd thought about this sooner. Even, like, a day sooner, as that would put me (dad) in the 60% refund category instead of the 40% refund category. Plus my summer is busier now. Lame.

Jan. 29th, 2009

Oh look, I still have a livejournal!

If anybody's wondering, I read every day. Many times a day. Probably too many. I just don't have the diaristic reflex required to post... ever.


Back in school. I had planned a nice casual semester, 3.1 classes, one hard, one medium, one not worth my time. One both online and not worth my time. I got waitlisted for the online class, and the not worth my time class proved offensively so. So instead of a high school quality history class I'm taking thermodynamics, and instead of a "read the OpenGL manual and write some demos" graphics programming class I'm taking a graduate level class in neural networks taught by one of the smartest and most research oriented professors in the department. The two that are left are a database management class (lame, and taught by a lame professor, but a professor with a ridiculous amount of experience in the field who wrote the apparently widely used textbook we're using) and complex analysis, taught by my favorite math prof.

The next four months just got about 4 times harder but about 10 times more interesting. We'll see if that was a smart exchange. Whether or not it makes things hell though, I'm so close to the end that I can't really bring myself to half-ass it anymore.

As if that wasn't enough I've decided to try to really commit myself to doing some bike racing this year. I've been putting together a sexy carbon and aluminum rocket shiptrack bike and talking with people about the road season. If it comes to it I might join the Boston Road Club. Supposedly they treat newbie racers pretty well.

So that's my Spring and Summer. Hopefully I can stand the rest of the Winter without going insane, and put off any sleeping I might want to do until September or so.

Oct. 22nd, 2008

I feel so vindicated in my decision to take only 3 courses this semester. I haven't had this good of a time in school in a long time, especially not while working 4 days a week. I'm a little behind everywhere of course, but at least there's a plan. And I don't feel like I don't belong in these classes.

I'm trying to figure out classes for the next semester(s). I think I can probably do it in 2. But, I'm really itching to take more math. I need to retake abstract algebra to get the F off my transcript, which will round out my minor. But there's so much left! In particular I really want to take vector calculus and linear algebra 2. There's a history of math class that I think would make me feel crazy smart. My favorite math professor is teaching complex analysis next semester. If I took all those it would only be another 32 (I can use a cs course to replace one, sweet) courses to fill out a B.A.

Do people do that? It seems like getting two bachelor's degrees is Not Done. But I don't feel like I should be done with school yet. And I don't know what I would want to do for grad school, except that it sure as hell isn't computer science. And it probably is math based. So how can I go wrong right?

Sep. 26th, 2008

It's amaing what getting some sleep does for you.

I've reorganied my schedule pretty this semester. I'm only taking 3 classes and I gave up working the opening shift (starting at 5:45, alarm at 4:30) during the week. With those two little changes I feel so much better about school. More relaxed, more confident. I don't fall asleep in class unless it's super boring. I'm still working 4 days a week and I feel relatively calm about things and not strapped for time. Even when I screw up and don't get enough sleep, that translates to a solid five or six hours instead of three or four. It makes all the difference.

If only I could bike! I'm kind of excited for the fall - I can't wait to put fenders and a fixed gear on my road bike. And wool! I've already been stocking up on cheap wool sweaters from the Garment District. I have this image in mind of argyle socks and knickers made out of wool dress pants. Maybe tuxedo pants with a satin stripe down the leg. For extra speed.

*edit* So I guess I forgot to post this. Then I went and drank a magnum of shitty, shitty wine. Barefoot Wineries Moscato. I think secretly it's Welch's white grape juice and Everclear. It's nice to be drunk - I haven't been in a while. Have to wake up at 4:30, which is the only problem. Wish me luck!

*edit 2* As you may have noticed, the key below a, right of shift and left of x doesn't work on my keyboard. That's because after I managed to destroy my IBM Model M (seriously!) I bought a $15 keyboard at Best Buy.

I've never heard of anyone destroying a model m but I did it. Or it happened, anyway. I even cut it apart and spent a few hours trying to get it back together with screws and bolts. A few of the traces on one of the membranes was all scorched - I guess I spilled something in it? They're supposed to be reasonably spillproof. Anyway I'll buy another one when I have some spare cash (hah - so broke these days - I should make a post about how my sort-of-ex-druggie-roommate owes me $1600 dollars - the sort-of binds with the ex-, he's 100% a druggie) but until then, google is my spelling prompter.

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