Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stuff rolls down hill.

So apparently my math class did not do so well over all, with our class average being 8 out 9 classes.

This appeared to have bothered my math professor as she managed to deliver in an hour 19 (by my count) passive aggressive NASTY slurs about our class while delivering them in a chipper cheerful voice.

I was a little flabbergasted.

For the record I did okay, not great.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Your thought for the day...

Sure... they're laughing now... but when I finish training my Alpaca Army they'll be sorry.

Monday, September 21, 2009

S.N. F.A. F.U.



Remember how I said my finaid was sorta moving forward?

Forget that. Not only was the amount of the expected refund wrong (I.e. they quoted my the entire year's pell grant instead of this semester) so instead of a $2700 refund check today I got a bill for $200...

But also... my Alaska Student Loan still hasn't been submitted.

5 weeks after AKLoan sent the local finaid office the paperwork they haven't sent it back.

I hate life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Details Matter...

In the course of my weekend reading I just discovered the mentor of my Arch History professor was the favored student, employee, and protègé of my second least favorite Architect.

So my Professor's Professor's Professor was someone who's designs I dislike greatly*.

This is important, because I am apt to bring up one of said Architect's buildings as an example of pretty but failed design.

However, not in this class.

*In fairness his ideas are frequently great, it's just the niggly little details that make the buildings usable for humans he kept screwing up.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Speak Like a Pirate! DO IT!

This is what is currently wandering around my house saying "Arr" a lot.

More pictures available upon request. Ohhh... okay here's one more for free.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh yeah... he'll go far.

Last post of the day, I swear.

A few minutes ago one of my Architecture classmates came over and made small talk about the Architecture History class we have together.

I was flattered he recognized me out of a class of 172 students considering we have never met previously, though in retrospect... I am one of two middle aged guys in the class and we both sit together at the top, whereas he looks just like all the other backwards ball cap wearing Gap clones that populate the campus.

ANYWAY.... the point being is he spent the better part of 15 minutes ranting about what a waste of time the class was, how boring the reading was etc...

When he finally wound down, the girl sitting at the table next to us leaned over (she is also apparently in the class...) and said "Do you know the phrase 'Those forget History are doomed to repeat it?"

"Yeah." He muttered in surly tone.

"Do you think by examining past mistakes and successes we stand a better chance of being better architects?" She raised one eyebrow and waited.

This clearly was to much for him. He muttered something under his breath and shuffled back to his group.

"Dumbass." She muttered as he left, and then turned towards me with one eyebrow raised, a fierce expression on her face.

"Don't look at me," I raised my hands in mock surrender "you said what I was thinking."

She snorted dismissively and returned to her reading.

In further retrospect I should have introduced myself before she got up that's the sorta person I'd rather work with when we start on the projects in a couple weeks.

I think I'm turning Emo-ese, I think I'm turning Emo-eze, I really think so...

So I'm sitting here at the student union listening to Pandora and a not entirely unpleasant song came on that I didn't recognize.

A quick jump to that active window revealed that I was grooving to Death Cab for Cutie.

Does that mean I'm turning Emo? Is there a treatment? What would be the antidote? Do I have to go suck down a bunch of Willie Nelson? Or is the treatment applications of eardrum shattering heavy metal?

Maybe if I just listened to all Johnny Cash the rest of the day I can prevent myself from developing a stupid haircut. Though given how short I keep my hair these days... it'll be while before I manage to get the bangs down to cover just one eye....

FinAid... slightly less screwed up.

One of the batches of checks has shown up... almost exactly 30 days later then they were supposed to.

And by showed up I mean, they are here on campus and I have signed them. The U still needs to cash them, process them and then cut me a check for the identical amount and mail it to me.

I should (in theory) be able to eat again Friday or Monday. Probably Monday.

I'm excited.

The person who was manning the FinAid desk was actually the person responsible for this being as screwed up as it is. There was a little surreal moment when I asked if there was a way I could arrange to pick up the checks instead of having them mailed to me and she said to me:

"If I get them processed today, accounting will pull a batch report tomorrow and print the checks the next day, and mail them the day after. They only mail them, no pickup, sorry." *she gave a little laugh* "That's assuming I get it done today, I'm a week behind on everything."

She then accidentally met my eyes. I can't imagine what the expression was on my face, but she stopped laughing.

Very carefully I said "And what exactly would it take for you to process these today?"

"I just have to fill out this form and send it over to accounting." she gestured a stack of pink paper.

My eyes rested briefly on the stack of papers, and then met hers again. The silence stretched out uncomfortably.

Her eyes dropped and she shifted uncomfortably in her chair, reaching out she pulled the pink form to her. "I'll just fill this out right now."

I also extracted from her that she sent the AK student loan stuff in, only a week after she promised me she would. Since it takes the loan people 4-6 hours to get them in the system I think I will call tomorrow and see if she actually did it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Familiar Stranger syndrome

Recently my dad posted an unearthed radio interview with my Grandfather (for whom I am named.)

Last night I got a chance to listen to it and hearing his strong voice, the constant humor, and the intelligence that was his signature was both wonderful and painful. Wonderful for the gift of knowing him was and painful for the loss.

It seemed to have triggered a round of home-sickness in me and I could feel it creeping on before I went to bed last night, but it is really strong today.

It seems like every glance out of the cornor of my eye, every half-seen silhouette, every half heard conversation is a reflection of someone I know, someone I haven't seen in too long, someone I miss.

Frankly, it sucks.

You spend so much time thinking you have gotten used to it, and to be so strongly and abruptly reminded of it it both distracting and painful. I am lucky at that at least now I have friend down here to blunt the pain but still...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Textbooks redeux and Finaid is in fact still screwed up.

It's taken me almost a week to write this post without swearing.

I had been told several times by several different people that there was now way to get access to my expected financial aid to buy books except to wait for the check, cash it and then buy books with the cash.

They were wrong.

One of the financial aid officers (while I was standing in line) mentioned to another student that his book loan had been approved. When I got to the front of the line I enquired, and for a $30 fee I could take a loan out up to $500 against my expected return.

So I did.

It took them a couple hours to process it and when I got out of class I verified that there were funds on my student account and then marched over to the book store.

Selecting only the needed items brought my total to $416. I happily marched up to the register. Standing in line I overheard people at the front complaining about problems with their cards. I didn't know if they meant their student account cards or credit cards. (See it's helpful to pay attention to your surroundings)

I got to the front, we swiped my card, and it refused to print a receipt giving a "Cannot connect to host" error message. Subsequent attempts to re-ring up the sale were declined at three other registers and the customer service desk. I was the directed to go to the bookstore accounting office in back where they would help me.

This was in fact a lie.

The swiped my card and discovered that I couldn't buy books because I only had $84 on my card. Me being a clever bloke pointed out that $500 - 416 = $84. Please print me off a reciept so I could go.

However the office person would be having none of that. I pointed out that I had already paid for the books, she assured me that the sales droid had canceled the sale (by writing cancel on the error receipt printout) Her solution was that I wait until Wednesday when she would manually refund the money to my card and then I could buy the books then.

10 minutes of arguing ensued...

I won. I won't bore you with the details. But suffice to say I out-stubborned and out-escalated her.

Oh and regarding the financial aid.

Let me present to you two sentances:

"We are waiting for the paper checks from the loan provider"


"We failed to fax back the paperwork the loan provider sent us three weeks and they are waiting for us to do our damn jobs so you can get your student loans."

Do these sentences look even remotely alike? Do any of my beloved readers think these sentances have the same meaning?

Because one of them, I have been told every single time I have gone into the financial aid office since class started last week, and the other one is what really happened. I will leave it to you, dear reader, to discern which is which.

Oh, and just to give you the tiniest hint... only one person processes loans in the Finaid office. That person went on vacation the week school started, the single busiest week of the year for them. Anything that wasn't processed before the vacation is only being looked at now.

I swear to god if this keeps up they are going to have to prescribe me anti-psychotics.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Text Book Ruminations

So as I sit here contemplating an unsatisfying bowl of cold ramen before class and wait for my financial aid check to show up I have to consider just how slightly screwed up the situation is.

Now, complaining about text books is one of those universal gripes that all college students have, but considering the lead time between when you are expected to have the books and when you actually get money from the school to buy those books it's particularly irksome. There is no way to transfer money from your loans to your school account before they issue you a refund... you have to wait to get the check, cash it, wait for it to clear the bank (5-7 days if the refund check is over $1000) and THEN transfer money to buy book and supplies.

I guess they expect you to pay for the books out of pocket and reimburse yourself later.

Problem is that I may in fact be setting a new personal record for textbook costs this year. One Architecture class alone has 10 books, 5 required, 3 strongly recommended and 2 optional. If I just buy the required texts for the class I'm at $453. Oh, and one of the books has been out of print for 30 years and they have ~50 copies for a class of 102 students. My language class is going to cost me $134 for books and finally math is $99.

That is $686 just for books. I haven't gotten into the supplies.

I did mention I'm eating Ramen, right? What student has $700 just lying around to blow on books that isn't earmarked for anything else?

And before you ask, there is a copy of the language books in the library, math text is not, and 2 of the 5 Architecture books are available at the library. The other three were checked out (not supposed to be possible) and never returned.

If you will excuse me I have to go sit in my math class and pretend I am following along in a text book I don't have.