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I missed a flight, while sitting at the gate it departed from. You may be asking yourself, "how can this be?" and I still do not know the answer …

10 a.m. arrive San Jose airport to catch 11 a.m. flight to L.A. — it's a commuter jet so I expected small planes, small gates, etc.

10:05 a.m. Self and baggage are checked, proceed through security without incident.

10:15 a.m. Purchase Sees Candy and sourdough bread because you cannot get it on the right coast.

10:35 a.m. arrive at designated gate 10 yards from the store. I do not see any Delta people at the gate and wonder if the flight is delayed or canceled. Wait patiently to board flight. See a random Delta person walking back and forthe between a gate around the corner, want to flag him down but he is busy looking like a chicken with his head cut off on the phone and radio. Confirm woman next to me is on the flight to LA too.

10:55 a.m. Walk 10 yards to check board to see if gate change. Nothing. Call white courtesy phone to find out about gate agent. They tell me to go to the ticket counter — um wrong answer I'm not going through security again!

11:00 a.m. get in line at other gate to talk to the guy who has been acting like a dying chicken. Notice the flight status is now "closed". The gate agent insists he called and paged the flight and that it's my fault for missing the flight. I insist that I have been sitting there for 20+ minutes. I ask how they can close the flight without a final boarding call, and without paging passengers who have checked in for the flight but not boarded. We both find witnesses, but it DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE I HAVE STILL MISSED THE FLIGHT, DESPITE THE FACT I WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE.

Apparently there is no other way to get to NYC today so I am re-booked for tomorrow for a $140 fee. Yep, I missed the flight because the gate agent was absent/stupid, and I still have to pay a change fee. I'm told my bags will be in JFK tonight as scheduled (hello, post 9/11 rules say bags cannot fly without their accompanying passenger, yet my bag has made the flight I missed while sitting in front ot the gate).

I start crying out of frustration. I call my aunt, still crying, and ask her to come back and get me so I don't have to spend any more time at the stupid airport.

12 p.m. I go back to my aunt's house for salad and beer. I manage to laugh at the stupidity of the situation. I am still baffled as to how I can miss a flight while sitting right there.

Rest assured that Delta will be receiving an angry/confused letter from me.

I will try this all again tomorrow — being sure to go to the gate right after clearinng security so as not to miss the boarding call which apparently only happens 30+ minutes before departure.

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All I want to do is read an article on salon.com, but for some reason MyYahoo keeps getting in the way. When I try to click on a link, or enter salon.com in the address bar, the page loads in this MyYahoo thing. Even when I see the article listed in the MyYahoo thing, and click on the link to it, the same MyYahoo page loads. It's like groundhogs day (the movie) over and overf AGAIN. I can't seem to get out of the stupid MyYahoo view and into salon.com. This is apparently some new co-branding that Yahoo and Salon have done, but to me, the user it is just annouying. In fact, events like this REALLY REALLY annoy me. As someone who is professionally interested in usability – sites that are not user-friendly tend to drive me nuts! I just want to read the article. I don't want to add it to MyYahoo … I don't want to use MyYahoo. I want nothing to do with it. In fact, I want to tell them how much it sucks, but of course I can't find a link to do that either. *sigh*

And, while I am on this topic … the fact that I can't find a "sign in" link on the upper-right side of my vox blog when I am not logged in to vox also frustrates me. It makes signing in a two or three click process and that is just not cool with me. I swear there used to be a sign-in link up there, but it has disappeared. Instead it lives at the very bottom of the page on the right, and I find scrolling all the way down there cumbersome.

I'm done ranting. I feel better.

 

China pics and posts to come. I've been delayed … the first weekend back I was sidelined by the worst cold I've ever had. The next weekend I procrastinated by unpacking and cleaning my room. This weekend I was having far too much fun with friends. I promise I'll get back on track soon. 

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I have a love/hate relationship with spring.

I love the warm weather, blooming flora, and the promise of renewal.

I hate the way the pollen makes me feel: runny nose, sandpaper eyelids, and general malaise. My body likes to react to allergens with a full-on immune system response — so I feel like I have a prolonged very bad cold (or what I imagine mono to feel like). Basically, I just want to stay in bed and sleep all day, but I can't. There is a lot of work to do at work, and I leave tomorrow for a business trip in Dallas. Thus, I will continue on my routine of taking a plethora of medications at various times of the day, and trying to act normal.

Just had to complain for a minute …

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Today is just not my day. After hitting the snooze a few times, I got up to get ready for my day — a 10 a.m. appointment followed by more time in the lovely NYU meat locker aka Bobst Library.

I was getting things together when I noticed my iPod battery was low, so I plug it into my computer to sync/charge. Error message: "Attempting to copy to the disk Katie's iPod failed. The disk could not be read from or written to." I wasn't too surprised … these things happen. I decided to restore my iPod, which meant getting the updated software, wiping it clean, and reloading my chosen music. No problem, except I forgot how freaking long this process takes. It was only about 1/3 of the way through putting my music back on when I had to leave for my appointment. I can go one day without the soundtrack to my life … it won't kill me. Yet, somehow there is just something missing.

I get to the subway station to find the platform pretty full and no train in site. Great, I love Mondays! The first train blows through the station honking, and you can feel the collective energy of the crowd rise a notch. We all sigh and mutter under our breath knowing that the next train to stop will be that much more crowded. It is. I get on and find a seat next to some a**hole reading a comic book and taking up twice the room necessary. He won't budge, so I sit squished against the man on my right. When we get to my stop, the comic book guy is stepping on my backpack strap and is completely oblivious to the world …

I fight my way off the train, and get to my appointment only to find out that my orthodontist is stuck in Puerto Rico, and will not be in that day. I'm shocked as no one called me to tell me this. I'm trying to talk to the receptionists to make a new appointment, but they keep answering the phone and lifting their acrylic nails signaling that it will just be a minute. Hello, I am the one STANDING, IN PERSON, IN FRONT OF YOU. It never ceases to amaze me just how lame customer service has gotten. I make a new appointment saying, "It's fine, but I'm just surprised I didn't get a phone call."

Next stop: cafe to pick up breakfast. I put my order in and wait while the man who ordered a few minutes after me gets his order first. I grab some fresh-squeezed OJ and a straw. New York is the land of straws; you get them with everything including bottles of soda. I usually refuse, but since the OJ is in a lidded cup, I figure I need a straw. Much to my surprise, the lid of the OJ glass does not have a straw slot. In fact, the entire restaurant does not have any lids with straw slots. Instead of drinking my juice on my way to the library (like normal cups with lids would allow you to do) I have to wait until I get to the library for my beverage …

On my way to the library from the subway, a man says hi to me in such a way that I can tell he is looking to engage in conversation. Usually, I will chat with anyone. Today though, my annoyance threshold has almost been met and it is only 10:30 a.m. I look him up and down, trying to figure out what kind of crazy he is. There must have been something in my look, or the half-hearted "hello" I said back because he doesn't pursue the conversation and I am left alone to elbow my way through the throngs of NYU students.

Finally at the library I assess that it is STILL FREEZING and I am sorry that I dressed like a normal person, and not like some arctic explorer … so much for my wishful thinking of normal temperatures.

*Sigh* it's time to get back to my thesis. Two weeks and one day, and then I will no longer need to live at the library.

P.S. My coffee is now cold from the frigidness of the library AND it tastes inexplicably like bananas (gross). I really don't like today!

 

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I'm spending a lot of time at NYU's Bobst Library these days. I come here because it is less distracting than my apartment — in the fact that here I cannot waste time doing the dishes, cleaning my room, or watching TV. Yet, I still find plenty of ways to distract myself … surfing the 'Net, blogging, taking random quizzes, listening to music via musicovery.com or pandora.com, composing emails, keeping up on March Madness (and I am not even really a sports fan). Oh yes, I am the queen of procrastination.

Somehow procrastinating in the library makes me feel a little better about life.

Last night I spent a little over 4 hours in the library working on the financials and industry background for my thesis. It was a gross spring night in NYC … we had a nor'easter come through and it was blowing ice chunks sideways. The sidewalks were covered with inches of slush and it was just plain nasty out. I figured if they were going to close the office early due to the weather, I had better go to the library early to study. Little did I know the library would be freezing. After four hours I was chilled to the bone and elected to go home before I froze to death in study room 621.

Today I decided to come prepared … I'm wearing non-cotton clothing, tank top, long underwear top, t-shirt, fleece, wool hat, fingerless mittens, jeans, wool socks and yet I am still cold. I had to take the mittens off so that I could type, and my fingers are barely functioning due to the heat coming from my little laptop. I am sitting on my feet to keep them warm, and probably look very silly in my blue striped hat with the earflaps. At least I know that the second half of my ham and swiss sandwich will keep until I am ready to eat it for dinner.

I know that it was 70 degrees in NYC just two days ago, and that it is very difficult to turn the heat on and off at a moments notice, but I feel like this is a little ridiculous. I'm thinking that tomorrow I should bring my down throw blanket just to keep warm. I feel like I am a starving student that does not have enough money to pay the electric and gas bills and thus makes do without. I spend enough money on tuition at NYU, you would think they could use it to properly heat the library … ugh.

Anyway, I thought I would take a moment to express my frustration … I would go work on my thesis at home, but I am sure my roommates haven't done any of the dishes from this morning. Thus, I would have to do those before I could study. Also, being St. Patrick's Day, my Irish roommate is probably drinking beer, smoking pot and playing playstation (or watching March Madness) and I really don't feel like dealing with that right now.

I guess I will put on my down vest, use my scarf as a blanket and go back to staring at rows upon rows of figures on an excel spreadsheet, trying to come up with some financial statements for my business plan …

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Usually I don't let the cold get to me, where I come from it is common to have weeks where the temperatures don't go above -20°F. I remember one Christmas break where it was -48°F for a week … the power lines snapped because of the extreme cold, and we were without electricity for days. When it warmed up to -19°F, it felt like a heat wave and all of us kids went sledding. The power outage, combined with extreme cold, was fine. It was just something that happened, like seeing crazy people on the subways; an inconvenience, but nothing extreme.

We had lanterns, fireplaces and wood stoves for light and heat. For refrigeration you just moved everything to the non-insulated mud room or snowbank. Food in the freezer would stay good if you didn't leave the door open. We had Coleman camp stoves to cook on, and down comforters to sleep under. We had plenty of layers made of wool or fleece and outerwear meant to keep you warm. In fact, power outages are so common in the rural west that measures were in place place to make sure that water still came out of the pipes, and if not, we could always melt snow. The biggest inconvenience coming from winter power outages was the temperature of the toilet seat, and the fact that the toilet bowel became a sheet of ice.

Sure, the temperatures get colder where I come from, but I will take -38°F in Wyoming over a blustery 15°F in NYC almost any day!

Today, for instance, the 29°F weather.com is reporting where my parent’s live sounds like a tropical paradise. I woke up toasty in my bed only to discover that my apartment has no heat or hot water despite the single digit temperatures. Being on the 6th (top) floor of the tallest building for blocks, and not very insulated, my apartment tends to be on the chilly side no matter what. Thus, when the heat goes out and the wind comes up it becomes downright frigid. I debated not going in to work, and working from home in my warm bed, but with the heat out, I realized that I wouldn’t get much done before my hands went numb … so I got up. Yesterday was cold, so I have thrown my usual winter clothing routines aside to wear as many layers as possible:

  1. T-shirt
  2. Long sleeved t-shirt
  3. Warm sweater
  4. Tights
  5. Pants
  6. Socks that usually make my feet sweat
  7. A light-weight, warm wind-proof technical jacket that usually functions as my only coat (even in winter).
  8. My big fuzzy “grover coat” a purple, bulky, warm, wind-proof Patagonia brand fleece.
  9. A fleece-line wool hat
  10. My wind-proof fleece mittens with individual finger slots (more insulation).
  11. A huge wool/silk scarf

Yet I am still cold. Granted, I could be wearing better layers – real long underwear instead of a t-shirt and tights, but STILL. To add to my perpetual chilliness, the workers who have been banging, clanging, sawing and generally being noisy for two weeks have finally managed to fix the air at my office just in time for this cold snap. After weeks of unbearable stuffiness the air is circulating, ensuring that it is cold in here too.

Enough complaining though, I started this piece so that I could say WHY I prefer winters in Wyoming (or the west in general) over those I’ve encountered in the Big Apple.

  • First, New York has more humidity than Wyoming … the damp cold is more chilling; it makes your joints ache (People disagree with me on the damp vs. dry hot/cold, but I maintain that I am right the humidity makes the winters feel colder and the summers feel hotter. Those who have experienced the difference agree with me). In damp cold no matter how many layers of clothing you put on, you could still feel cold. With dry cold though, if you put on enough down, fleece, etc. you’ll be toasty all day!
  • Second, in Wyoming you do not walk around in the cold, you drive. You warm up the car to go from your warm house to your warm car to the warm office or store. You’re walking is a few yards at most. If, for whatever reason, you decide to be outside for any length of time, you do not have to worry about looking “nice”. You just put on all your layers of technical gear and go out skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or even just shoveling the driveway. When you are out in the cold in Wyoming it is voluntary and usually because you are being extremely active; the worry is more about how to stay dry than how to stay warm. On the other hand, New Yorkers walk in the cold for blocks and blocks and blocks. This walking is not physically demanding and is usually to or from work or activities that require you to be dressed in a certain manner. Thus people in NYC do not wear all the technical layers, are exposed to the cold for greater lengths of time.
  • Finally, there is the wind to consider. In suburbia and rural areas the wind blows, often hard, but the spaces are relatively open so the wind can choose its path at will. In the city though the avenues and streets of tall buildings limit where the wind can go, thus the entire city is transformed into a giant wind tunnel. This enables the wind to gain speed as it is funneled through the city, enhancing the cold.

All of these factors have converged upon us this week to make the weather nearly unbearable. Tomorrow, I shall hope for heat and hot water. Starting the day off with a steamy shower always makes everything better. It gives you a chance to get really warm before you have to battle the cold. After that, I think I shall pile on long underwear and fleece not caring if these items adhere to my company’s “business casual” dress code. I may even decide to wear my Ugg boots to work (if it has stopped snowing). If only I had my Sorel pack boots out here …

I must say that compared to some city-folk I am better prepared to take on the elements — at least I know about the art of layering, and still have all my technical gear.

 

 

 

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