The Saga of the Rental Car: Insurance for Slowpokes

Apr 28, 2010 7 comments

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I got a nifty rental car while mine was in the shop.  It was fun, I liked driving the different car for a while.  Matt thought it was ugly.  I had no real opinion on how it looked.  It got me from Point A to Point B.  I also said the acceleration was bad and brakes were weird.  Well, the acceleration was always crappy, particularly on the highway, but the brakes and just the general feel of the car began to grow on me, and when I picked up my own car, over two weeks later, it felt big, heavy and bulky. 

But that's not what I want to talk about.  You may have noticed that I said above that I picked up my car OVER TWO WEEKS later.  15 days to be exact.  I will remind you that my car did not have major work done.  It had a scratch, and a small dent.  Mind you, they were ugly and I wanted to get them fixed, but I really didn't think it would be that big of a deal.  Wrong-O.

It turns out that the collision place I was originally supposed to go to was one of the insurance company's preferred shops.  They didn't need someone to come out and make an assessment before work could be done.  But the place I ended up taking it was not one of those places.  I found this out a couple hours after I had dropped the car off and gotten my rental.  The lady I talked to on the phone said it was no big deal, and she'd set up an appointment for someone to go look at the car.  Ok, everything's good.  Wrong again.

Several days later the collision center says the insurance person still has not shown up, so I call them back to find out what's going on.  Well, turns out that someone had made a note for someone to come out to look at the car, but oops!  the actual appointment was never made.  By this time, it's Thursday afternoon and the earliest someone can come out is Monday.  I'm ok with this.  I'll just drive the rental a bit longer.  No problem.

Or so I think...


Fill in the Blank Monday?

Apr 26, 2010 2 comments

I know it's not Friday but I thought I'd throw something up here since I haven't posted in a while due to recent circumstances that have not given me a lot of time to myself.  Plus, I feel like it.

1.  One song that always takes me back to my youth is any Girl Scout Camp song.  I still know most of them verbatim.  YEAH Hilltop.

2.  My first concert ever was Professor Marvel and the Fourth Quadrant at Top of the Park.  Does that count?  If not, then Jars of Clay at the Hope College chapel.  Yeah, I know, wow.

3.  If I could create my dream music festival I'd want these bands to be there: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool, Foo Fighters, ya know... bands that would BRING IT.

4.  The best make-out/"boot knocking" song ever is probably Everlong by the Foo Fighters, Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap, or any sort of jazz instrumental type thing (except Kenny G...Yuck.)

5.  The best concert I've ever been to was Tool.  Hands down.

6.  A memorable music moment for me was when I was taking piano lessons during my elementary school years, we had competitions every once in a while that tested musical theory and technique.  My teachers tried to encourage me not to go, because they thought I sucked (though they didn't say that out loud) but I went anyway and totally kicked butt.  HA!

7.  The song on my iPod that's getting the most play these days is: Oh, I don't know.  I haven't really been listening to my iPod lately.  I've been listening to the radio mostly.  I'm kind of on a Muse kick right now, because I just found out they're coming in October, but I'm not going because SOMEONE doesn't like them.

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The Way it's Always Been

Apr 15, 2010 5 comments

I used to write almost every day.  It was a part of me.  It was what I was good at.  I wanted to be a journalist, because it was exciting and challenging.  I loved creating a product, something that was mine, and providing it to the community.  But over time, it became a burden.  I was stressed out all the time, and it was because of this "job" I had.  I didn't have the time for many of the other activities I would have liked to participate in.  And because of my anxiety, I was afraid that I would never make it in the cutthroat journalism business.  I felt it had been an enormous waste of time.

When I discovered geology, I became interested and engaged once more.  In studying the Earth, I found something in me that I thought I had lost.  I spent the next several years throwing myself completely into the Earth sciences, and journalism was all but forgotten. 

But I was still writing.  I concluded my graduate student experience with a thesis and two published papers under my belt.  I remember getting the first draft of my thesis back from my advisor, and him telling me it was better written than his first draft as a Master's student.  I was very proud of this compliment.  Naturally, I am not exactly scientist material.  It's just something that happened along the way.  Writing is my true talent.

I love words.  The way they sound, what they mean (especially when they have multiple meanings), the way they can be strung together to make endless sentences.  It's fascinating.  I also like how letters can sound different in different words, depending on where they are placed within a word.  Think about it, it's cool.
Let's face it.  I am a huge word nerd, and often fused my love of words with my love of geology, as evidenced by this old post from September 22, 2006.

waiting for the epoxy again
This week was a busy week.  I... learned some things about structure, taught some kids about minerals (and got a good evaluation! yay!), got my soil chemistry book in the mail and was actually kind of excited to read it, got a little better at catching a baseball, and threw one that hurt Caro's hand, was late to a meeting and got my name on the board, learned how to save people's lives, drank a lot of mountain dew, got really excited about mineralogy (and was confused as to why no one else seemed to be), bought some really expensive chai tea, handed in a lot of forms, made some new goals, lost my office mate, said goodbye to Nathan...

I felt very strange this week.  I'm not really sure how to describe it.  Maybe happy?  Productive?  But I'm not really sure if I was productive or not.  But anyway, I dunno, I was thinking about geology words and how they're so grand sounding, especially the way people here say them, like provenance and detrital.  Such good words.  Hmm, that's kinda random, but I like words I guess.  I think I am getting excited about geology again.  Like real geology.  Not just 101 stuff or how to present a paper on some topic or another.  But the actual act of learning new things about the earth.  I feel like the way I did when I first started learning about optical mineralogy, with the oil and becke lines and birefringence and all that stuff.  that was some good smelling oil.

I love this, and I love that I felt that way at least once.  It gives me hope.


My "New" Car

Apr 5, 2010 2 comments

I may have mentioned that someone hit my car in the parking lot at work a while back.  Well, after filing a claim with my insurance company, contacting the woman's insurance, getting her to make a statement, and setting up appointments, I was all set to bring my car into the shop this morning.  My appointment was at the Chevy place on Lomas.  Unbeknown to me, there is more than one Chevy place on Lomas.  I went to one, and my appointment was with the other one.  Yet another intelligent moment in my life.  The people at the collision center didn't mind (obviously), and it actually seemed to work out better for me because it used to be the old Saturn dealer until they went out of business, so this place specializes in Saturns.

I waited there for the rental car guy to show up, and then went back to their office, signed some stuff, and got my rental.  A lovely Nissan Versa.

 Image from here

It's okay.  The brakes are weird and the acceleration kinda sucks, but it's kind of fun having a regular sized car instead of an SUV for a change.  There is one thing that bugs me, though.  When I was at the rental office, the guy told me the car would have a full tank of gas, and I was expected to bring it back the same way.  No problem, but when I got it and drove away, I realized the tank was only half full.  I'm wondering if I should mention this, or just fill up the tank halfway when I return it and call it good.

Another problem I'm having?  It's a bit hard to pick out of a crowd.  A bright red Saturn Vue with a scratch down the side stands out.  A gray mid-size sedan?  Not so much.  At work, it wasn't too bad, but a crowded school parking lot is another story.  At least I have a numbered parking spot at my apartment.  Hopefully the apartment managers don't walk around the parking lot and put one of those annoying bright pink stickers on the window tonight...

Back in Time: Denver Drama

Apr 4, 2010 2 comments

This is a continuation of the regurgitation of my old lj posts, to be continued as long as I feel like it, whenever I feel like it.

The following sequence includes the events leading up to and during the geology conference I went to in Denver to present the dinosaur stuff with my Wyoming group.  We drove all the way from Western Michigan to Denver in a 15 passenger van, but that's not originally how it was supposed to happen, as you will see.

I associated with three different people named Mark in college.  One was blind, one was a paleontologist, and one was the student newspaper advisor. I talk about the former two here.  

October 26, 2004

 fuck this i don't need this shit i'm down with the sickness (i was totally into making quotes and song lyrics as my titles at this point in my life, and sometimes they had swearing)

goshdarnit. i'm in such a bad mood right now. quantitative labs stink. can't we just go back to the qual ones? i had to breathe into this tube that was stuck in a tub of water because no one else in my stupid group wanted to do it and then the t.a. decided it would be funny to throw some dry ice into the water. so i'm gasping for air trying to concentrate on this experiment and he's just sitting there laughing. what a jerk. a really hot jerk, but still a jerk.
then after lab dr. h comes up to me and asks if i'm flying to GSA
(Geological Society of America) because that is apparently what dr. b told him. why would i be flying to GSA? okay, considering i talked to dr. b TWICE about this, i would have thought he could have gotten it straight. but apparently not.
everything is so confusing right now. why does everyone have to be such morons all the time yet then i am still considered the dumb one because i can't do stoichiometry
or whatever crap we're doing right now.
and now i have to go write my column for the anchor for which i will probably be spending all of eternity at tonight and get nothing done homeworkwise. this stinks. i quit. i'm going to run away and live out my 8th grade dream of becoming a street bum in ecuador with a hairstyling business on the side.

October 28, 2004
right as usual, king friday (this is from mr. rogers neighborhood.  a girl in my class said it to me that day and I thought it was funny)

so today was not so bad. this morning was kind of crappy because i had to get up early for GIS the worstest class ev-ar, but alas, it was just dr. b today because the other lady who normally teaches it had to go somewhere. and i finally figured out what's going on with GSA, for the most part. in a span of about two days, i was driving, then flying, then driving again. apparently since the wyoming group has money from the grant, i could have flown, but hope is cheap and i am not. i guess they hadn't even bought my ticket yet. what were they expecting me to do? hitchhike to colorado? hmm, that could have been interesting... i'm happier driving though, because it would have been really boring flying by myself. plus i get to go on all the fun field trips with dr. h and everybody now, which is exciting. yay!
the mineral quiz was good. i have no clue how i did on the individual part but i actually knew the formulas well enough this time to not have to make them up. and the second part was pretty fun, even though sean was being a jerk (and i was on his team, even). yeah for me knowing the formula for epidote. that was pretty much my only contribution. oh well...
(I totally do not remember the formula for epidote.  I think it has aluminum in it?)
the japanese food at dinner tonight was really gross but i was hungry so i ate it anyway. i should have had that beef and noodle stuff that michelle got. it was much better. too bad.
well, this is getting to be somewhat long so i'm going to go attempt to do some homework or something before bed, because i have much, but, guess what, it is 10 p.m. and i am DONE with CAPA! woohoo! i rock. i guess the eclipse wasn't a bad omen after all, but still very cool to see. 

 October 29, 2004
i can't tell you anything, and i can't commit.  you're right, i can't commit... to you (William Shatner)
well, today was weird. i go to spanish class this morning and find out that i have a test on monday. grr. i was really hoping to be able to focus on chemistry this weekend but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. so here's what i think of you mr. spanish test !@#$%^&**!!!!!!!!!
now that that's done, i guess i am somewhat happy because i got an 87% on my mineral quiz. plus a good job!(exclamation point included) and a really weird drawing of some monkey looking thing from dr. p1.
eric came over this afternoon to work on our project. it was good to see him but it seemed kind of pointless for him to come all the way here because basically all we did was print off our trench drawings. i could have done that on my own a long time ago. no matter though. i showed him the display case with all the dinosaur bones and pictures of us at the site in it.
when i was about to leave, dr. p1 came into the computer lab. he said hi but it was one of those "don't talk to me" kind of hi's. i needed his help with something but it seemed like a bad time to ask. earlier he said he wasn't trying to blow me off or anything and i know he's busy. heck, i'm busy too. i still feel really annoying, though. i wish i understood things better on my own. oh well. 

(I was one of those students who utilized the prof's office hours to max capacity to ask questions about all sorts of crap i didn't understand.  I didn't understand a lot. There were 2 Dr. P's.  Dr. P1 (geology) and Dr. P2 (chemistry).  Anyway...)
dinner was a lot better than last night. i went to the kletz with dana and mark. i was leading mark around and it was kind of funny, actually, because i kept forgetting i had a blind person on my arm and he kept running into things.
hmm. i'm tired. i wish i could go to bed but there's too much homework for that. this morning i made a weekend plan, and i'm going to stick to it if it kills me.

November 11, 2004 
there and back again 
well, i just got back from denver about half an hour ago. it was really great. and weird seeing so many geologists all in one place. it felt so awesome to be among them, to be a part of one of the coolest clubs (in my opinion) in America. i wore my nametag all over town. goshdarnit, i love geology.

i used my assignment notebook as a sort of makeshift journal while i was gone so i wouldn't forget anything i thought was important. so, here's what happened:

Friday, Nov. 5
Something I heard on NPR: "A city in Georgia has too many squirrels." The steering wheel's various degrees of freedom. Feet falling asleep
(this was actually really annoying). Staring out at the stars and imagining universes far beyond us.

Saturday, Nov. 6
Driving. Dr. H's driving with us because he lost the coin toss. The Rocky Mountains. Snow! Falling numerous times. The cool birds and the weird noise they make. Falling asleep to mountains and waking up to buildings.

Sunday, Nov. 7--GSA in Denver!
Waking up early and registering with Jenny, Eric, and Dr. H. A very long breakfast and not knowing what to do. My hero the paleosol guy. Amy Ellweiss? Seeing all the Wyoming kids, but where's Emily? Tim getting up and giving me a hug as soon as he saw me. aww...Tim. Turkey stories. The guy who called me a dork for liking paleosols and groundwater. Met the Northern Arizona guy. The
(annoying) Oklahoma lady whose sister is named Maureen, but wanted a nickname, so now she's called Mo. Being bored and thirsty. Dr. H's talk and the crazy overwash bank lady. Free stuff! Doing CAPA. Ready for sleep and another day.

Monday, Nov. 8
Poster presentation. Hanging out with Emily. Met the Nebraska guy. More free stuff! Dr. P1's popular pictureless poster (and his orange and blue striped tie). That guy... whose book I used this summer. I have a baby B.A. Dexter Perkins' prizes. Free dinner. Dr. P2's right. I still have a lot more rocks to get through.

Tuesday, Nov. 9
Sleeping in. Looking for Keiko's poster, losing everyone else, but finding Mark. Movies, media, and geology (or the lack thereof- the kind of stuff we could never get away with at the anch). is this the sexy part?
(an old man said that.  it was pretty awesome) The giant rolling can. Dog, cat, and mice? Food (finally). Weird noises in the hallway. Exploring, stealing, and frolicking. Oliver and Company. Sword fighting. Frisbee throwing. Pen floating. Oh yeah... the Anchor. Chemistry. Tomorrow's our last day? Already?

Wednesday-Thursday, Nov. 10-11
The 4:30 a.m. alarm of doom. Jenny and Eric's poster. Yet more free stuff and people thinking I'm from UofM. Bagels. Taco John's. The guy on the side of the highway, the accident and the search party. Driving... and the semi. among other things. alternating between sleeping and having to pee. coming home glad but sad to be back.
  (On our drive home, I was pretty much forced to drive at 5 am.  While I was driving the headlights kept going out.  The person in front who was supposed to stay awake with me had fallen asleep, and a girl in the back told me to pull over at the next exit.  So I did, in the middle of nowhere, and the prof, who was sleeping in the back, got all mad at me for stopping.  Oh yeah, and I really had to pee but the gas station was closed.  Fun times.)
well, folks, that's it in a nutshell. i'd love to stay and chat but it's already 11 a.m. and i have much to do. and if you've made it this far, you're probably really sick of reading this by now anyway. so goodbye.  

Time Traveling With The Spin Cycle

Apr 1, 2010 2 comments

This week's spin cycle is all about going back through our old posts and finding our favorite one.  Since I haven't really had this blog for very long, that would be kinda dumb for me to do, but I have actually been blogging in some way, shape or form for quite a long time. Some of you read my wordpress blog, A Chronicle of My World Travels, which I kept for two years until I realized I wasn't exactly traveling the world, so in fact the whole premise of my blog was a lie.  Hence Adventures in the Underground was born.

But before all that, I was on livejournal, and before THAT, xanga.  Yep, I've been blogging since... umm, my freshman year of college.  I really wish I could find my old xanga posts because I'm sure they are so terrible and angst-ridden, that they might actually be interesting to read (for me, anyway), but luckily, I do still have access to my old lj posts, so that is what I am going to subject you to today.

After going through them, I am realizing that they kind of tell a story, the story of my life.  I can go back and look at them and think, oh I was so worried about this thing that one day, but then it actually turned out like this.  It's kinda cool.  So this is what I'm gonna do.  Every now and then,  I am going to post some really old stuff like this so that the story comes out bit by bit and it will be way fun!  Okay, maybe it will only be fun for me, but I'm assuming that those of you who have kept reading so far actually have a slight interest in what I have to say, so I'm going to go with it.

 Monday October 8, 2004
let's start at the very's a very good place to start. umm, okay, so here's my journal of sorts. some people may say this is a waste of time but, well, i don't really care. so anyway it's a pretty pathetic looking journal right now because i don't know anything. that's about it for now. i think i'm going to go do some homework or something. yeah. bye. 

Thursday October 21, 2004
Well, I just got back from a GRE info session. It was okay but I'm afraid of failing, especially since I got a lovely 970 on the SAT oh so many years ago. I did okay on the ACT, though. Oh, well, maybe they'll still let me in anyway. I'm a nice enough person, I think... haha. I can't wait to go to Denver and meet some people from my prospective schools. That and seeing all the Wyoming kids. It will be exciting! But what I am mostly looking forward to, of course, is the mineralogy field trip tomorrow. It will be so cool! yayness! If there's only one reason I decided to stick with geology it's the field trips. Those are the best. Putting up tents in the atrium is always a plus as well. Except this summer when I ended up waterproofing the big tent all by myself while everyone else just sat around not even realizing I wasn't there. Those dirtbegs.
I don't really know what else to say. Mainly I'm just avoiding doing my CAPA. Michelle should be coming over soon. I hope she didn't forget. I wonder where Julie is... maybe class? Hmm. 


At this point, I should probably offer up some background information so that this actually makes sense to you.  First of all, wanna know what I got on my GRE?  The exact. same. score. as my SAT.  Yeah, I'm a frickin genius, I tell ya.  This caused some worrisome times for me in the months to come, as I wondered whether I would ever get into grad school.  Obviously, I did, but that part of the story comes later.

The summer before I started up this journal (which was the summer between my junior and senior year in college) I went to Wyoming to dig holes and break dinosaur bones (on accident?) and stuff like that.  I was in a group of about 10 other college students from different schools, so I was excited to see them again at the geology conference we were all going to in Denver that fall.

The atrium was a big room in the science building at Hope where we sometimes had ice cream parties, and apparently practiced putting up tents.

Dirtbegs is spelled right.  My friend Emily is from Minnesota and that's how she said it.

CAPA was my chemistry homework that I handed in electronically every week.  It was kind of nice because we got three tries to get it right.  Instant gratification.  But it was still ridiculous amounts of difficult so I had my friend Michelle, who was a chem major, come over to help me.  If it weren't for her, I most likely would have failed.  Really truly.

And Julie was my roommate.  She was cool beans.

I think I'll end with this one, for kicks.

Tuesday October 26, 2004
i'd be that girl... (I'm pretty sure this was a reference to a Barenaked Ladies song)
oh, goodness, i'm tired. i should be doing more homework or sleeping right now but the anchor (student newspaper, I'll talk about this more later, I'm sure) takes a lot out of me. when i was over there, i was thinking that my love/hate mineral should have been ankerite. but barite is okay too.
anyway, my spanish class today was actually kind of all right. the professor told us a funny story about a girl who he went to a bullfight with. apparently she threw up all over some old guy and then the guy turned around and yelled at my professor for bringing a girl to a bullfight in the first place. then he went on to explain bullfighting and how it worked and that the bullfigter had to stand really still so that the bull wouldn't know he was alive and proceed to gore him to death. i don't think i would like to be a bullfighter. the reason he told us all this was because we read this poem about bullfighting and death. the poet had a hard time accepting death because it was absolute, and absolute things are hard for us to understand. at 5:00 the bullfighter was alive and by 5:03 he was dead. the poet didn't want it to be 5:03; he wanted it to be 5:00 still because if he could stop time, then his friend wouldn't have died. but time keeps moving on for some reason. i am not sure why.
hmm. this is not really making any sense. perhaps this is due to the fact that it is almost 1 a.m. darn time. 

I can't stop time.  And I can't go back, but the stories are there, and that's what's important.