Contradictory ponderings of owning a car

So I was on the bus home last night, in the middle of a snow emergency, and we passed at least 8 cars being towed because they should not have been parked on the street after 9 pm. These girls behind me asked what was going on, and later had a conversation basically saying they were happy they didn’t own cars, didn’t have to deal with parking and whatnot, and that it was so liberating.

Now on the one hand, I totally agree with that. Its how I felt when I lived here without a car, and to an extent it is still how I feel. However, having a means you can jump in it and go any time you want, day or night. No waiting, or not being able to go because its too late and the bus has stopped running.

Here is where I think the freedom in not having a car comes in: a car ties you down. You have to pay a loan on it, car insurance, get it fixed, move it when plows come through, whatever. If you want to leave the country, it becomes a pain because then you have to get rid of it, cancel insurance (which requires mailing in plates) and all kinds of hassle. Or if you don’t get rid of it, you have to find a place to store it when you leave

So ultimately, I end up both identifying with this girls, and feeling a bit silly about agreeing with them. I think I would have to say that for most car owners, leaving the country is not a concern for them, and some times not even an option to begin with.

Damn car!

So I was on my way to my once a month drumming circle when I realized that the stop I looked at on the schedule was few blocks down from me and it had already been there, and that I would not make it to my destination on time if I caught the next one. So I said ok, I’ll drive. I walked back, and had my first hint of a problem when I tried to unlock it with the remote and nothing happened. Then I got in and turned the key and it wouldn’t start. This is exactly what happened last time. So that time I had to pay $70 just to get it jumped and then about $130 or so for a new battery and the alternator belt.

Now I know this problem is the cold. My mom thinks I should start the car once a day and let it run for 15 minutes, but I don’t want to waste the gas just letting it sit there and warm up. I am of the belief that the car should run whenever I need it, regardless of the current weather outside. That is, after all, the entire point of having a car.

I told my mom this feeling stems from being a computer geek, as the computer is the main machine in my life and it turns on whenever I need it. My car should be much the same way. Alas, its not to be.

So now I have to wait til the weather gets warmer (will be 35 on Wednesday…) and hopefully then it will start.


Minneapolis is multicultural!

I got an email declaring a snow emergency. It is written in 7 languages:

Today is Saturday, Feburary 21st, 2009 and Minneapolis has declared a Snow Emergency.

Parking restrictions begin at 9 p.m. tonight.

Go to the City’s web site for information; or call the Snow Emergency Hotline: (612) 348-SNOW (7669).

Crews can only plow the full width of the street if cars are out of the way. Please follow Snow Emergency parking rules or your vehicle will be tagged and/or towed to the Minneapolis Impound Lot.

Be sure to shovel your sidewalks and around your garbage cart. More …

Spanish (duh)

La Ciudad de Minneapolis ha declarado una Emergencia por Nevada. Las restricciones de estacionamiento comienzan a las nueve de la noche de hoy. Llame al 673-3819.

Maybe somali:

Minneapolis waxay ku dhawaaqday gurmad baraf. Xaddidaadda dhigashada baabuurta waxay bilaabaneysaa caawa 9ka fiidnimo. Fadlan wac 612 673 2141.

I think this one is Hmong:

Lub zos Minneapolis tau txiav txim tso xov hais tias yuav muaj kev thob dau ceev. Txoj cai txwv tsis pub nres tsheb thaum muaj te los hlob heev yuav si rau thaum 9 Teev tsaus ntuj hmo no. Hu rau 612-673-2933.

No idea :

Magaalaan Minneapolis Sardama Cabbii labsee jira.

There are 2 more that are images in the email, Vietnamese and Cambodian.

I am still amazed at just how many different cultures and languages there are just in this one city.

You know the drill…

I found this on facebook, but didn’t want to keep reposting crap there, so I’m putting it here instead.

Things you have done during your lifetime:

( ) Gone on a blind date

(x) Skipped school

(x) Watched someone die

(x) Been to Canada

() Been to Mexico

(x) Been to Florida

() Been to Hawaii

(x) Been on a plane

(x) Been lost

(x) Gone to Washington, DC

() Been to Amsterdam

(x) Cried yourself to sleep

(x) Played cops and robbers

(x) Recently colored with crayons

(x) Sang Karaoke

() Paid for a meal with coins only.

(x) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch

(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.

(x) Made prank phone calls

( ) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans

(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your

nose & elsewhere.

( ) Been almost killed by a train

(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus

( ) Been to at least three continents

(x) Watched the sunrise with someone

(x) Blown bubbles using your own spit

(x) Gone ice-skating

(x) Been skinny dipping outdoors

( ) Eaten escargot

( ) Been deep sea fishing

(x ) Driven across the United States

(x) Been in a hot air balloon

( ) Been sky diving

(x) Gone snowmobiling

(x) Lived in more than one country

( ) Crashed hard enough to blow the airbags in your car

( ) Visited the Holocaust Museum- in Israel

( ) Enjoyed the beauty of Ole Faithful Geyser

(x) Seen the Statue of Liberty

( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle

(x) Been on a cruise

(x) Traveled by train

( ) Traveled by motorcycle

(x) Been horse back riding

() Ridden on a San Francisco Trolley

(x) Been to Disneyland/Disney World

(x) Truly believed in the power of prayer

( ) Been to the top of an active volcano and seen hot lava

() Been in a rain forest

() Seen whales in the ocean

(x) Been to Niagara Falls

(x) Ridden on an elephant

() Swam with dolphins

() Have any tattoos

World of Goo for linux!

The developers of this game have created this game for $20, with no region limitations, and they’ve made it available not only for windows and mac, but also for LINUX!

Its great to see that the developers believe that it should be available for linux because everyone should have the chance to play their games! I hope that this will be a message to other game companies out there.

Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Student Organization

So that’s a long title up there, isn’t it? We’ll call it CSCL student association for short. I went to the meeting today because I have not gone to the movie showings all semester, though I will be attending tomorrow night. Its run by my friend Nicholas. Basically he wants to figure out how we can promote the club activities to get more people to show up. Our faculty adviser is worried because Nicholas and I are both graduating this year, and then there will not be anyone left if we don’t develop something.

First, we discussed the hindrance of our name. Nicholas mentioned (jokingly) it might just be shortened to “CSCL Student Ass.” I responded that maybe we should actually consider that, get a picture of a donkey, put CSCL on its side, and have that be our symbol.

Nicholas also wants to do some cross-promotion with other campus groups, because they seem to get a really great mix. One of the problems we face is that CSCL covers such a broad range of topics that its difficult to get people together for one thing. Some of the things I will be working on are creating joint activities with the Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists to show movies like Religulous, since religion is very much a part of our culture and there are bound to be people from all over interested in that. Perhaps we can get involved with some political groups by showing “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” and discuss how the republicans and conservatives came to be the way they are, and why that area of the US is specifically overrun by them.

I may also tie this in with a friend of mine who is running for office in the MN state congress. His name is Ole Hovde, and he’s a republican. I’ve had some very, very intriguing conversations with him and he is not the average republican that everyone hates. His problem is that people hear republican and automatically do not vote for him. I would like to tie him in to this to provide some contrast to what the movie shows, and also to give him some spotlight for his own campaign in 2010. This can be a 2 part series.

I also think it would be awesome if we have student-created talks once or twice a month, on any topic of their choosing. I am going to be doing one on P2P filesharing. I think I will title it “P2P: Sharing or Stealing?” its kind of all in my head at this point. The main point about this is that its something that is interesting and engaging to lots of students, because we all deal with it on a daily basis. If other students can find other things that interest them, and talk about them, people will come. On a campus of 50,000 there’s nothing that could only interest one person.

Cross-promoting is great for the CSCL because as I mentioned earlier, it covers such a wide variety of topics that we can work with many different groups throughout campus. Whatever GLBT groups are out there, african student union, AIDS groups, women’s groups and more, we study all these things.

I’m excited to get out there and start talking to people and making our group heard on campus. It promises to be fascinating.

Job updates

So, the job which I was applying for was an IT helpdesk position with an international company out of Denmark, called Coloplast. They were looking for someone with German language ability and a technical background to provide support for their German-speaking employees. No one in the office currently speaks German, and it was my understanding this was a problem because the European support staff in Denmark go home in the evening, and then all calls for help are transferred to the US.

However, they have apparently solved this problem because this position was filled in Denmark instead of the US, and I got a phone call on Monday saying that the position had “just gone away.” The interviewing managers were very surprised to hear this as they had no idea it was in the works. I had only to talk to the manager in Denmark, who made this decision not to hire me.

So now I am back to square one, trying to find a job. There is an international company in Minneapolis doing an on-site tour for the College of Liberal Arts which I have signed up for towards the end of the month. I also stopped on campus yesterday and went to the IT helpdesk and asked if they had any jobs open (they did, a rent-a-guru position) and I sent in my resume for that. I also visited the nurse heading up the research study that I wasn’t accepted for, and she gave me information for another place that does research studies, and I will be giving them a call tomorrow. I think the neatest thing so far is applying for NerdsOnSite. I applied and got an email back saying they are very excited about my qualifications, and I signed up for my first step meeting today. It won’t happen until March though, and I am hopeful that I can start the campus job before that (fingers crossed as I don’t have work study and I never heard back from any other campus jobs I applied for in December). I also got an email yesterday saying that my application for the Fulbright teaching assistantship in Austria was received, one day before the deadline no less, and so I really have quite a few things in the works. I was very disappointed to hear about the bad news from Coloplast, but I am still hopeful, and putting myself out there like this can only increase my odds.

Mars Life

That is the title of the book I’m currently reading, by Ben Bova.

It gives a very plausible view of the future of our world, and specifically the US, after global warming melts the ice caps and the countries of the world are flooded. It also shows what could happen if people continue to believe in religion and let it get in the way of progress. Very gripping so far. I love it!

Why is it always the fishy jobs that email me back?

OK guys, gives this a read and let me know what you think. I googled GTN, and it at least seems to be a real company…

Hello Justin,

My name is LaNette, thank you for responding to this job offer.

I work for GTN, we are an advertising and marketing agency

that are hiring people to work from home. No sales or cold

calling involved. We are in need of people who can simply respond to calls

e-mails from dozens of people daily who are interested in our website

services. Our company pays bonuses weekly! Upon hiring you will receive full training and support.

This does not cost you anything to get started.

This is not one of those work from home scams that you see all over the Internet this company has been.

In business since 1999, and was currently rated #37 on the recently published list of fastest growing companies in the US by INC Magazine.

I personally have just started working for the company and am off to a great start and wonderful training.

There are many people working in this company that are making upwards of $2,000 dollars a week.

It just depends how much time and effort you put into it.

This is a great opportunity to make some extra money from home during your free time, or this could be a full time job, its up to you.

You can work when you want, where you want, you determine how much money you make.

I can almost guarantee that you will make, at the minimum an extra $1000 a month, and that’s if you only work 2 or 4 hours a day.

If you would like more information we are having group phone interviews

Monday thru Saturday at 1:00pm 6:00PM, 8:00pm CST, Please have access to a computer w/internet at the time of the interview.

In this group interview all your questions will be answered.

If you would like to attend please email me back and I will give you the information needed to Dial into the Group Interview.

I hope to hear from you soon,


No Job :(

I got a phone call from Robert Half today, the company that was recruiting me for the IT position with Coloplast.  I was told the position has gone away, because it was filled in Denmark and no longer needed in the US.  So much for having income.  Now I’m gonne about $900 short for the rest of the semester.  Might as well just cancel my car insurance I suppose, as that’s what will put me over the edge.  Damn this is so disappointing.  The only thing I have going for me is that Robert Half will still be looking for positions for me.  I also still have an app in for an internship with AXA financial over the summer, as well as my Fulbright application.  I also got a few good leads at the job fair today.

What a huge letdown though.