27 September 2008

Ear phones

My old earphones were really good. I love them. They have the most amazing sound. The down side is that don't stay in my ears when I am running. They keep popping out, or at least the one of the left. I once complained about this to my mom who suggested that I buy another pair of earphones that was better suited to running. I knew that this was a good solution but resisted because I couldn't justify another set of earphones, not that they cost that much but it is the principle of the matter. I mean, you don't go out and buy a second car just because your current car doesn't let you go off-roading very well. It is the same isn't it. Okay, so there is really no comparison and it doesn't really make sense to resist. I guess my reasoning doesn't always make good logic. I finally got a new pair of earphones though. I love them! They seem like they will fit well, we will see next week.

26 September 2008

My Car Elazar: Lost

I am currently reveling in gratitude as today was the third time I went outside to find my car, Elazar, right where I left it. You might be thinking that is an odd thing to be grateful for, but it really isn't (and even if it was I would still deny it). It wasn't always that way. In fact just earlier this week I went to get in my car and it wasn't there. I walked but to the apartment steps then back to the parking lot, much slower this time. I was hoping that the world had not loaded the parking lot correctly and that by refreshing and going slower it might render the parking lot correctly. Alas, it didn't work. No Elazar to be found. I slowly walk through the entire parking with my keys casually at my side while frantically pressing the lock button hoping to hear my horn honk.

I thought to myself "I am pretty sure that I left my car right here".

I stopped in the office and asked "if I parked my car over there (pointing to the lot) and now it isn't there, where would it be?"

The office manager then informed me that my car would have probably been towed and that I should call "Darren" the towing guy. Apparently, EVERYONE knows who Darren is except me.

So I had to ask "Who's Darren? Why does he have my car? And, what is his number?"
I spent some time talking to the manager who said she couldn't do anything, the next day she called the office which told her they couldn't do anything either.

Minutes later I showed up at the office to talk with the Supervisor. We talked for about a half hour before I realized that she really didn't hear anything I was saying. She kept saying I needed to take some responsibility in this matter (she said those words at least three different times). Finally I stopped her.

"Let me take this from the top" I told her. "I May I pay for a parking contract with you according to your housing rules. That contract, according to Rexburg City Ordinance, entitles me to a parking spot in my apartment complex. Early September I show up at the complex and am informed that you, in violation of my contract and Rexburg City Ordinance 975, have oversold your parking spaces and that I, who paid before most everyone else, will need to park in some other parking lot because of your violation of the law."

I raised my hand to stop her interruption. "I understand you had some sort of a computer glitch, but I don't car. You are still in the wrong." She settles back in her chair and I continue.

"Further I was instructed by my manager that she would inform me when a permit for this other, then unknown, lot was available. This enacted the clause in our contract that states that I require a permit unless otherwise instructed by my manager. Your failure to provide me permit does not void my right to park in your parking lot." I took a deep breath. "So the day that you notify me that my permit is available you tow my car before I can even get to the office to get said permit."

She interrupted during my pause. "We towed your car before you had the permit?"

I rolled my eyes in my mind and knew now that she really hadn't been listening to me up until now. "Yes."

"Oh, I thought that you had been given the permit but just hadn't put it on your car."

"No, I am a responsible enough person to put my permit on my car shortly after I received it."

She reached for some note paper, "sorry, what was your name again."

"Daniel," finally I seem to be making some progress, "do you want my phone number?"

"Sure, let me make some calls and see what I can do."

This made the situation more promising. As I left her office I was grateful that I had walked and not drove. Walking home let me vent some anger. At home I felt drained and just sat in the living room for awhile. My manager gingerly knocked on the door.

"I have some mail for you," she said. "I talked to the office and the supervisor said she talked to the towing guy who said that he would just open the gate and not charge you for your car."

ARRRRGGHHH!! Did they not hear anything I said? Was I speaking in some completely foreign dialect that they couldn't understand? I had clearly mentioned to the manager and the supervisor that I had already got my car and that I wanted to be reimbursed.

"I thought you weren't going to get your car out until after we talked."

"What?! Why would I let the storage fees pile up? It cost $30 a day; do you think I want to pay that?"

"I told you we could get that waived," that manager replied.

"Why would I want to wait for you guys?" I take a deep breath. "I want a reimbursement. That is all I am looking for."

"I think the Supervisor said we could pay $75 of it."

"I want all of it, $160..." I wanted to go on. I wanted to say "I shouldn't have had to pay anything, nor should my car have been towed, nor should you have oversold you lot." But I realized the manager hadn't done this, she couldn't reimburse me. "The office is closed isn't it?"

The manager nodded her head yes.

"I will talk to them Monday." The manager turned and left and I sat back down on the couch. I realized two things. The first, how true my friends words were "every apartment has issues; you just need to choose the one that had the problems you are willing to deal with." As I thought about it, if this issue gets resolved soon I would probably come back next year (this year is already paid for).

The second is that I have a sharp escalation curve. Escalation is an intriguing trait. It is the trait that says if, on Wednesday, they had offered to pay the $100 and I pay the $30 I would have been fine. Even on Thursday I would have been good paying the $60 if they paid the $100. But to come to me two days after my car is towed after I have paid to get it out and to tell me that they will pay $75, less than half of their mistake, at this point I am looking for $160 on Monday with interest accruing Tuesday on. I am not quite sure where I got this sense of escalation from, maybe my dad, maybe my grandpa. But I am grateful that my parents gave me enough tools in life to deal with issues like this. I am also grateful to my parents for teaching me to take responsibility. Though I am pretty sure this is not the kind of responsibility that the housing supervisor had in mind, I feel that it would be irresponsible to not get reimbursed.

After a couple more days of talking with the manager she agreed to pay the remaining $25 of the towing fee. I am glad that we arrived at a reasonable solution.

24 September 2008

Playing NASCAR with a Remote

How to play NASCAR with a TV remote:
  1. Sit down and start watching a really interesting TV show. It doesn't really have to be something you are interested in, but it needs to attract other people.
  2. Select a commercial break OR at a very important plot building moment in the show.
  3. Take the TV remote and press the channel up or down button as rapidly as you can. At the same time make a car shifting sound similar to the sound you hear during a NASCAR race.
WARNING: Do this only if you DO NOT want to be friends with ANYONE watching the show.

22 September 2008

Egg drop

I just watched a class full on people drop bags with in an down three stories. Surprisingly, one survived without a crack.

School, In the Beginning…

Hey! I'm at school! My roommate is a good guy. When I showed up at the apartment I had a choice to make. I could pick the room on the left or the room on the right. I choose the right and later found out that was the better choice to make. My roommate is a quiet guy who keeps his stuff picked up and can sleep through almost anything. My other choice would have given me a roommate whose stuff seems to be spreading every day, not only across his room but into the rest of the apartment. The messy one seems most concerned with my social life and thinks that I don't get out much. This always makes me laugh because he spends tons of time in front of the TV (often alone because few can survive his playing NASCAR with the remote, I'll explain later). The other day I had an epiphany [spell check is amazing]. I had just got back from an unusually long day on campus; I dropped my backpack in my room and started to check email. Moments later he walks in and gives me a big slap on the back and says "you're in front of your computer again?" It was then that I realized that as busy as I am he is usually gone when I am gone so he never sees that I am gone. As I thought about explaining this to him I stopped myself thinking "why would I ever need to justify myself to a freshman who obnoxiously [spelled it right the first time!] bugs me about my social life?" So I made a snide comment about actually working at my computer in addition to schooling. I don't he got it though, which is probably good because it might have hurt his feelings as he doesn't have a job. Anyway, of the other three roommates, there are six of us in total, two are freshman the other a sophomore. The sophomore is 'off track' right now so he is just working and will resume school in the winter semester. Here we have tracks, two out of the three semesters in which you are allowed and expected to be at school. The 'off track' semester you can still live in approved housing as long as you intend to go back to school. It lets the school have a more predictable student load and control which major are on campus when.

13 September 2008

Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Tucked way back in the southeast corner of Idaho in a huge Wildlife Refuge. Grays Lake is in the middle of the Swan Valley and is a rather unique refuge, the northern part is open for hunting and the southern part closed to hunting with a small road separating the two. This is where I saw the biggest grasshoppers that I have ever seen in my life. They were as long as 4 inches!