403: Reduce - Reuse - Reanimate (Reduce - Reuse - Reanimate)
( May. 12th, 2010 11:40 pm)
Checked out of the campus apartment this evening. Was complimented on how clean I left it, but it wasn't anything special for me. Just the same standard that I'd use if I had a deposit that I wanted back.

Now, I go fall over.
Last Sunday night, I put in a maintenance request about the previously dismissed "humidity problem" in my bathroom having developed into an unarguable leak. It took them a few days to find the source of the water; turns out it's the corroded pipe that supplies the water-based HVAC system. They've since worked their way from the leak, on the third floor, down to my apartment on the ground floor, and are now moving out sideways, in search of structurally sound piping. This evening, they determined that they were going to have to enlarge the hole in my bathroom ceiling, because none of the vertical run of pipe was sturdy enough to attach new pipe to. So they did. I showed them out a few minutes ago.

And now I go fall over, because the plumber is supposed to be back bright and early.

[ETA, 13:30: It turns out that it's not just my stack that was without HVAC. Some idiot back at the time of the original installation didn't put in valves, so to work on any of the pipes, the entire building has to be drained. A valve has been installed to cut off the stack containing my apartment, so now everyone but my stack has their heating & cooling restored.]
403: Red-ink fail stamp. (FAIL)
( Mar. 17th, 2010 03:51 pm)
Okay, so. Last week I was told that my housing rate was adjusted to the correct one, and I should be recieving a refund for the amount that they overcharged me.

Today I checked my account and they've instead charged me more. Way to go. Are they getting training from Kafka these days?
403: A rack of test tubes with the caption "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate". (Solution or precipitate)
( Feb. 12th, 2010 11:07 am)
I thought I had a test today. It's next Friday.

At least I'm now well-studied. And hey, I've got my afternoon back!
When the fire alarm goes off at 01:30, it is not a drill. Get out of the building or you will thoroughly deserve the Darwin award that you'll eventually acquire.

Additionally, the longer you take to clear the building, the longer it will be before any of us get to go back to bed. This will not make you anybody's favorite neighbor.

No love,
- Me
Okay, slight exaggeration there. But for almost two weeks now, there's been a nontrivial leak somewhere in the plumbing. First we thought it was the under-sink, which had a visible slow leak. That was fixed easily enough, though, and the leak continued. But [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv and I noticed that it now correlates with using the shower.

Maintenance brought a plumber in today, and opened up the access panel in the wall behind the shower (which required moving both stove and refridgerator out of the way). We found that the drywall inside was basically disintegrating, due to grout in the shower being cracked and falling apart. That let water into the wall, where it leaked out mostly underneath the cabinets and behind the stove.

Now maintenance wants me to move into a different unit so that they can replace the drywall, shower tiles, and cabinets in this one. There won't be any movement on that today, though, because the apartment complex manager is stuck in an airport in Salt Lake City. So I'm in limbo, unsure of whether I should be packing or doing something else entirely.
...but I'm stuck dealing with the lab that will not die. All lab reports due at the very end of the semester.

In some ways, though, winter break begins whether I'm finished or not. [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv arrives a little after 23:00 today. I can hardly wait.
Today it became clear that my employer expects me to both tell the future and read her mind. If I could do that I wouldn't need to work a student job, because I'd be able to gamble for a living.

Employerprof is going on vacation for the next two or three weeks. I hope to be able to send my letter of resignation before she gets back.
403: A rack of test tubes with the caption "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate". (Solution or precipitate)
( Dec. 10th, 2009 11:10 pm)
Presentation for Intro to Chaos went well, including a live demonstration of our system. No final in that class; I'm assured of at least an A-. The other classes proceed apace. I wish they didn't all happen in the morning, this year. Two left, Friday and Monday.

I work Friday afternoon, and then my employer will be out of town for two or three weeks. In November, I was only able to work for two of the four weeks, because Employerprof was fighting for time on exotic equipment in California. While I understand that she has to take it when it's available, I need more regular employment than this.

My doctor referred me to a cardiologist this week. He was evidently hearing odd things when he listened to my heart, since he made a point of ruling out the other symptoms of pericarditis (which is supposed to make a sound like squeaky leather as the heart rubs against the pericardium). EKG results came back with a few abnormalities which have ambiguous interpretations. In someone of my age and gender, they could be perfectly ordinary. But there's also a small chance that they indicate a problem that could cause me to drop dead without warning. I forsee more tests in my future.

And now? Sleep. I get up TDE for tomorrow's final.
If you have to stand next to the stove continuously in order to not forget that you're cooking something? Please do so, or refrain from attempting to cook. We have cheap gas ranges which offer poor control and have a nasty tendency to go out on any setting less than "high". If you walk away, you're either taking a chance on your apartment filling with gas, or your food catching fire. Both of which typically require the other 600-odd people who live here to evacuate.

No love,
- Me
..you find yourself using the freshly-made bottle of NaOH solution as a handwarmer.
Last Thursday, I forgot that I had scheduled an exam for Entirely Too Early in the morning, and slept through it. I got lucky, and it was far less of a disaster than it could have been. The professor is out of town until tomorrow, so none of the tests have been graded, and I was able to reschedule my exam for today. Went alright, except that for two tests now I've been under the impression that the exam covers more material than it actually does. Could've used my study time more effectively. But eh, I'll pass.

This morning, I got an e-mail saying that the hideous and uncomfortable couch that I'd donated to the ground floor common area would need to go back in my apartment. I've asked for a week to make space for it, which I hope that I won't actually need to do. After this morning's test, I picked through the dysfunctional database* of healthcare providers who accept my insurance, and now have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon. The goal is to walk out with a letter to Residential Life saying that I can't use some of the furnature they provide due to ergonomic issues, so will they please remove it from my apartment? (List of furnature to include: Bed, couch, and chairs.)

Now, I need to get to work on the take-home midterm from Intro to Chaos. But I'm mentally worn out, and writing this entry hasn't cleared my head as much as I'd hoped. Might take a nap.

* I mean that in the most basic possible sense. If I search the database for PCPs or GPs, it means I do not want doctors whose practice is the nearby hospital. Nor the urgent care. Nor an OB/GYN. By definition, these people are not primary care physicians.
Yisroel Dovid Weiss spoke on campus today, at the invitation of a student political group which shall remain unnamed. I walked past and didn't hear a word of truth out of him the entire time I was in earshot.

The campus Jewish groups were also out in force, hanging Israeli flags from every available attachment point and handing out information sheets about why Mr. Weiss is wrong. Rather than continue to be exposed to the vitriol, I left matters in their competent hands and escaped home.
A colleague of my summer research professor asked him to recommend an undergrad to her, since her previous assistant had graduated last spring. He sent me, and I was hired on the spot, which I was not at all expecting. There's some administrative hoops to jump through, but I start next Thursday.

The new subject area is astrochemistry. One of the things I'll be working on is extracting miniscule amounts of amino acids from the interior of meteorites. The chemistry isn't very complicated (prof. described it as "kitchen chemistry"), but since the masses involved are so small I expect it to need exacting precision. Good thing I'll be working in the afternoon, when I'm awake.

To sum up: YAY!
403: Igor (Igor)
( Aug. 25th, 2009 10:33 pm)
My first impression of each of my classes this semester:

Analytical Chem - Fast. The professor plans to finish a chapter every other session. Could be boring, but probably goes too quickly to get really down on any particular subject.

Analytical Chem Lab - Leisurely. Six labs, spread over 14 sessions. Probably won't be bad, but the busywork given on the first day felt kind've insulting. I was ready to dive in, but apparently some people who take the class haven't had General Chem(!), so the TA had to figure out which students didn't know what they were doing first.

Physical Chemistry I - Professor has a moderately heavy accent and occasionally difficult to follow lecture structure. The latter may have been because it was an impromptu intro to quantum mechanics rather than something he'd planned for, when most of the class turned out not to have adequate background.

Differential Equations - Retaking this one for a better grade and improved understanding. So far, things are looking good. The professor speaks English well, has legible handwriting, and uses a textbook that [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv has in a different edition. (All things that weren't the case last time.) The only problem so far is that the university put it in the PE building. Around a third of the class arrived later than I did, because we either couldn't find the building or couldn't find the classroom, if not both. (Really, though. Math classes in the PE building. I thought that was what we had a an eight-floor math building for, but apparently they're holding a bunch of religion classes in it instead. There's a joke hiding in this somewhere.)

Intro to Chaos and Nonlinear Dynamics - *SQUEE* I've been wanting to take a class like this for years. It and the upcoming class on fractals are the reason for my math minor. So far it's looking good. First class covered the idealized model of a pendulum on a pole, which let the professor talk about phase space, nodes, and (in)stability. I'm the only female in the class, but that happens sometimes. My classmates range from grad students to one high-school senior who's getting dual credit. Turns out that 40% of our grade will be a project, for which I already have an idea. I hope to be able to study the sometimes-chaotic behavior of chemical oscillators. There are a couple of reasons why it might not pan out, primarily difficulty of taking quantitative measurements and/or lack of an adequate mathematical model, but also possibly being unable to get hold of the appropriate chemicals on my budget. The first problem is most likely the less tractable one, but I can take advantage of the expertise of some nice people that I met while in Boston this summer.
My folks were adamant about moving my stuff in on Saturday, because they had other engagements Friday and Sunday. So we did that. Then around 17:00, after I'd gotten partially unpacked, the manager for the apartment complex pulled a cancellation on a studio apartment out of his hat. (Turns out he'd spent a chunk of the day calling people who hadn't checked in yet and pushing them for a decision on whether they were going to live here or not. 'cause if they verbally cancel, their "deposit" no longer reserves a space for them.) Fortunately for me, my folks had gone to help my younger sister finish moving into her dorm room, so the were able to help me move out again. Then my mother, grandmother, and I went out for dinner at the nearby sushi restaurant, while my stepfather went home to check on my youngest sister since she'd been home alone for a few hours by then. After dinner, I had a shower in my new apartment, and slept for 11 or 12 hours.

The new place has a lot going for it, even compared to the studio I was in last year. The air conditioner is really cold. The kitchen is a galley unit that isn't tucked into an alcove, so it has real cupboards, and even a little bit of counter space. The sink has a garbage disposal unit. The bathroom has a fan, so you don't have to leave the door open to air it out after showering. And while the shower is still tiny, it's tile rather than a plastic prefab unit. There's a real closet, with doors and everything. All of the walls are drywalled, not bare brick, so I can hang pictures (and probably clothesline, here soon) wherever I want. I have another apartment on only one side. On the other is the floor's common area, which I'm separated from by a brick wall. It had no furnature in it when I moved in, so this morning I was able to convince the community assistant to let me move the uncomfortable couch that came with the apartment out there. That gave me room to set up my folding table, instead. Now that I've got the furnature mostly arranged, it's time to put things away...

I'd really like a nap first, but that may not actually be in the cards. Not least because I set a bunch of stuff on my bed while I was rearranging the furnature.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Aug. 20th, 2009 09:24 pm)
Taken out of context, my life must seem delightfully absurd. I have just mopped the ceiling.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Default)
( Aug. 20th, 2009 03:06 pm)
"It could work great so long as no other people move in." - Oh, wait.

The third person showed up this afternoon. Her key goes to my side of the apartment and ResLife won't let her swap with the person on the other side who supposedly isn't moving in. They're locked out from making any changes to the database (aside from moving people into empties, of which there are none) until September 14th. This is supposedly a "feature".

ETA: I've discovered that the housing application fee has a similar legal standing to the deposit on a private apartment. The prospective resident has paid to reserve the space for the first few weeks of the term, even if they decide not to move into it. So there may be several empty units, but ResLife is not legally permitted to swap people around until the deposit expires.

In the mean time, the DRC has helped me to arrange for a quiet place to study, so I can be a little less stressy about those first few weeks.
I spoke to the community manager this morning. What most likely happened to bork my housing request was that the computer system automatically consolidates people after N of them withdraw their housing application. For whatever reason, there wasn't a lock on my single-occupancy status, so I got consolidated. The manager was really nice about it and is going to see what he can do about that. I'm unlikely to be moved into a different apartment, though. Not only is this residence hall booked full, there's a waiting list for people who'd like to move in when vacancies occur.

When I got back, my surprise roommate was up and getting ready to leave for a couple of days. She was able to tell me that one of the other two people who'd been assigned to this apartment had decided not to live on-campus, and that the other had apparently arranged to move in with some friends on the same floor. (I'm not sure whether that's an official arrangement or not, but I really hope it works.) Surprise-roommate turns out to not eat meat very often, and was willing to agree not to bring it into the house, so this could actually turn out rather well.

The greatest advantage to this apartment is that it's one of the few that are equipped with a balcony. I wanted one all last year, and I kind've want to keep it now! Another is that the bedroom is almost as large as the main room of my studio apartment was last year. The greatest intrinsic problem with the apartment is the furnature in the common areas, which we're supposed to keep. It's not only uncomfortable, but ugly to boot. There also doesn't seem to be a kitchen table, which strikes me as bizarre. Due to the new budget constraints, the furnature is unlikely to be replaced this year. So on one hand I don't have to deal with the replacement process, and on the other I have to deal with the sub-optimal parts of the old furnature. That's life, I suppose.
But now the housing situation is really complicated.

I haven't been tracking the roommate saga here, so I'll start with a summary:
- A few months ago, I found out that I'd been assigned to a 2br apartment with one roommate. I was a bit surprised, since I'd been in a studio last year.
- The welcome packets went out in July, and prospective-roommate and I friended eachother on Faceborg. She had some very specific group affiliations about her parents being Palestinian refugees. For a while I was left wondering whether she also had a preexisting grudge, which would've been really akward. She didn't respond to my initial or follow-up "hey, we'll be living together and should sort this out first" e-mails, which didn't help.
- In early August, I finally managed to catch her via IM. It turned out that she's a reasonable person. Not going to throw parties with dozens of people. Observing halal, so I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning bacon grease off the stove. Majoring in political science because she wants to work on the Israel/Palestine peace process. (Still also a self-described libertarian conservative, but she strikes me as unlikely to be dogmatic about it.)
- Then her parents heard that this set of campus apartments was the "party dorm" and promptly transferred her to a different residence hall. I figured that I had a new mystery roommate to look forwards to, so I sent an e-mail to one of the residence administrators, reminding them that I needed a roommate who kept kosher or halal, or was at least vegetarian, and asking whether I had one. No response.

That brings us to today... I arrived to find that the computer systems claim I belong in a completely different apartment than the one I was originally assigned to, and that this new apartment is supposed to house four people in two bedrooms. (If so, that would be counter to the disability accommodation letter in my file. I'm supposed to have a single-occupancy bedroom so that I can study without distractions.) The apartment turns out to be furnished for four people, which is further cause for concern. One other person has checked in, but when I finally got to the room around midnight, she said something about wanting to switch to a different apartment. So now I have no idea what's going on, at all.

The nice people at the front desk told me that I could expect someone from ResLife with the ability to figure out what happened and the authority to fix it to be around from 6a onwards. I suppose I should figure out what I would like the results of speaking to them to be. But right now I'm tired, I ache all over, and I can't seem to fall asleep. Not exactly a good state for planning.


403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Default)


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