Archive for August, 2008

Jersey Sucks: Reprise

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Aside from my previous complaints, Jersey closes early. Where I had stayed, everything but the movie theatre closed at 9pm. Actually, the crappy diner and Ruby Tuesday may have been open until 10, but well, one is crappy, and the other is way over priced for a chain on par with Applebees. RT charges $10+ for an appetizer and $5+ for dessert (with no exceptional choices; every option was cookie/brownie/cake with ice cream).

When I ate at the food court, Sbarro cost $11 for a scoop of ziti, one meatball and a soda. For that, I had an awesome ethnic buffet in my new neighborhood. And my two slices of pizza was $6.50. It’s time to eat it.

Entry #9: Moving In

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Yesterday I moved from the hotel the my new room.

Woke up early to take the hotel shuttle to the airport and rent an SUV. I figured that since the SUV was better than a Uhaul because I only had a small haul, it maneuvers more like a car and, with mileage, the price was equivalent.

I went to Ikea near the hotel to purchase my furnishings. Unfortunately, the bed I had selected was sold out. They had a few in stock at a different location about 45 minutes away. That added an additional 2+ hours and 30+ miles to my trip (which put me over the 75-mile limit for not having to refuel). But eventually I got the bed. I had planned a trip to Home Depot but couldn’t find it (I had passed one but couldn’t get back to it).

After leaving the second Jersey Ikea, Google maps was a little unreliable. I stumbled my way into New York and got to Astoria. I moved the bed, mattress, bedding and end table in and assembled the furniture (while watching Buffy season 3 on my laptop). I was lazy for an episode and then decided I had better return the vehicle. (By the way, a Chevy Trailblazer is just the right for a twin bed and mattress.)
Google maps was unreliable for a second time and dumped me in Manhattan. If nothing else, I feel much less nervous about driving in the city because I’ve done it now. People are crazy, but at very low speeds.

I got to Jersey and drove around looking for a gas station. I couldn’t find one, and I was getting tired of not having idead where to go, so I took the SUV back. For 91 miles, I was charged $51 for gas. The attendent looked it before he gave me the slip to sign and said “that’s awfully expensive.” Ack! More money gone.

I asked an attendent at the airport where to pick up the 107 bus. She told me to take the airport shuttle to the end, where I could get the train or bus. When I got to the last stop, it was only 5 minutes until my bus left, so I quickly asked where the bus was. The attendent said, “you have to go back to the airport terminal.” I decided it wasn’t worth waiting 1.5 hours until the next bus, so I took the train. The train is $15 and the bus is $5. They both go to the same place in the same time in air conditioning. I didn’t want to take the train. I got back last night, picked up a few essentials, and then chilled out (as well as I could; I don’t have A/C).

My roommate was gone last night. We only just hooked up about an hour ago. But things should be cool. Neither of us have lived with a “roommate” since school (the last 3 years, her sister had lived here.) We both have our own lives, and it should be fine and normal. I have to run out for dinner now, though, because I wanted to pick up some pizza at the end of the block and Melinda (my roommate) mentioned that the food was great but they close at 11pm (which is totally weird for the city).

Entry #8: Catching Up

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I guess I’m a little behind, so here is the bulk of the last three days.

Wednesday night was my first class. It seems like it will be cool, but a lot of the reading is from books on reserve at the library, which means I have to go get them and read them at the library and hope no one else is reading them then. To me, that is a bad idea. I’d almost rather buy a book.

Speaking of buying books, the Barnes and Noble that was supposed to have the few books we were supposed to buy doesn’t have any of them. And it’s now too late to order them rush delivery because of the Monday holiday. Eek. I’m going to go to the library tomorrow and hope I can read them there.

I am going to try to get into a paleography course at Columbia. Should be cool, though I hope my Latin is strong enough. I feel like I have really bad vocab, and my grammar is sketchy without practice. I don’t use it enough to constitute practicing. I don’t actively practice.

The next stage of the tutoring interview is in a week. They are sending me  samples of the curriculum that I am supposed to prepare, and then I need to teach it back to them. Since this is going to take time and energy on my part, I will get a stipend, even if they don’t hire me. I think that’s a professional way of handling it.

I also applied at Starbucks today. It’s about as a good as it gets for a food service job, and anyone working 25 hours a week or more is eligible for benefits. It is quite ideal for students. I chatted with the assistant manager for a while, so she probably has a better impression of me than she can pass on to the manager rather than just a piece of paper.

I got asked out on a date to watch the US Open. Sometimes I wonder (and give me feedback on this) if my friendly banter gives off the wrong signal. My tendency towards civility–and sometimes charity, commiseration or positivity–allows me to chat back to people. But I never really notice until the subject to actually breached that the other person might have an interest beyond 15 minutes of random shit-shooting on a bus. Maybe I should make a t-shirt (in the spirit of Jess’s and my “I’m here for the clothes” and “I’m not into your scene”) that reads “Just because I’m talking with you doesn’t mean I’m interested” or “Polite on the outside.”

Entry #7: Getting things rolling

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Today I picked up the key to my new place and measured the room so I could shop accordingly at Ikea. I reserved an SUV from Avis for moving purposes since Uhaul charges for the truck as well as mileage.

I came to campus, and though my financial aid is taking forever, I was allowed to get my student ID if I paid my student fees, which I did. I also submitted my new address.

With my ID, I am allowed in the library, so that is where I currently sit, writing this entry. In 2 hours, I have my first class: “Monarchy & Empire in Byzantium”.

So that’s my story.

Entry #6A: Rice Pudding

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I celebrated my interview with a stop by Rice to Riches. This place serves nothing but rice pudding, and it’s fabulous! I had Pecan Pie flavor for tonight and brought home Tirimisu for another time. When we visited in July, I had French Toast. It’s so yummy. They tell you up front it’s bad for you and will make you fat. Yay!

Entry #6: Job Interview Stage Two

Monday, August 25th, 2008

So for those who didn’t know, I had a phone interview a couple weeks back for a tutoring company. The focus on SAT, ACT, and AP exam prep, as well as general subject tutoring. Today I had an “audition.” I was supposed to give a 3-5 minute lesson on anything. When I arrived, there were about a dozen applicants and we each gave our lesson to the entire group. Topics ranged from logarithmic fractals to tying your shoe. My topic was how to choose your Halloween costume.

Afterward, I was asked back for stage three, which is training. During training, they ask you to review thoroughly the curriculum and teach it back to them. I suppose, after that, they offer you a job or not. I don’t know how everyone else did; I enjoyed just about all of the lessons (most of us weren’t quite following the logarithms). The staff seem fun and enthusiastic. I look forward to receiving the curriculum, because that will really determine if I’m prepped to tutor universally or narrowly. I think I did fine on the geometry and trig in the sample questions they had us solve, but the series of intergers questions always throw me. Grammar was good. So was vocab.

Anyway , that’s the skinny. I have class on Wednesday and am picking up my key to my new place 🙂 With Thursday to prep, I should be ready to move Friday.

Entry #5: Jersey Sucks!

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Ok. I’m writing this one first so that my posts for the day can end on a better note.

The little things were starting to whittle away at me and now a bigger thing has made me mad.

Little things:

  • When I put Caffeine Free Tea on my grocery list, they bought me chocolate ice cream
  • Two straight days of yelling tweens
  • The nearby diner put chocolate syrup on my strawberry cheesecake
  • The nearby diner put chocolate syrup on my cherry pie!
  • The nearby diner did *not* put mashed potatoes or cranberries on my turkey dinner!!
    (At least they didn’t put chocolate syrup on my turkey dinner)

Big thing:

  • I was left at a bus station from 11pm until midnight waiting for the hotel shuttle; I ended up walking back to the hotel. I then proceeded to send this message to Marriot:

    “I was very disappointed when I called for a shuttle pick up at 11pm from a bus stop after returning from New York City. The bus schedule I received from the front desk instructed us to call for a shuttle pick up from the bus stop (not a station, a stop, a bench and a sign). I waited from 11pm until 12am, calling three times. At no point did anyone at the desk know where the shuttle driver was but they assured me he would stop by and were surprised when he didn’t. After waiting an hour, I decided to walk back to the hotel. During my walk, I never did see the shuttle. If it hadn’t been so late in an unfamiliar town with no sidewalks, I would have walked in the first place. But to have been left for an hour in the middle of the night at a bus stop has really soured my experience. I am extremely displeased with the shuttle driver. Thank you for taking my complaint into consideration.”

I’m tired of being just far enough away that’s it’s a pain to get to the city. The only things nearby are a mall and a lame diner. I look forward to the food court; it’s sick, I know.

Entry #4: I’m So Bored!

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I feel like I’m on the lamb, tucked away being anonymous in a hotel room. I spent most of the weekend hiding because there were groups of kids in all the rooms around the yelled (I’m not exaggerating) until I fell asleep at 3am until I woke up at 9am and everything in between. They were here two nights and must have checked today, because there is peace again.

I need something to do. I’ve been to the movies 3 times (Hancock, Tropic Thunder, Journey ttCotE), and whenever I go to the mall for something to do, I end up shopping. I don’t want to shop. Well, I don’t want to spend money needlessly. At least there are the Olympics and TNT is playing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which takes up a hefty chunk of time.

Fortunately, I have a job interview tomorrow, which will get to into the city. Then I have a class Wednesday and move Friday. While in town, I can apply for miscellaneous work.

The cramps and knots in my back and neck are getting to me. And I’m tired all the time. That is probably leading to my back and neck troubles because I keep falling asleep in weird positions. I’m crabby, as I’m sure you can tell from this entry. (My take-out dinner was wrong.) I need to do something.

Entry #3: Lazy Day

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Today I slept a lot. I searched a little for apartments but I wasn’t motivated since the one I saw yesterday was a pretty good option (the only notable drawbacks are the dogs in the downstairs apt) and the tiny stairs (one of which is broken but should be fixed soon).

The Residence Inn is next to an outlet mall and a beyond that a movie theatre, so I went to see Hancock tonight. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t expect there to be such an elaborate cosmology. It seemed like two movies put together. But then again, so did Hellboy 2.

Entry #2: Place to Live

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

The Residence Inn is a pretty sweet deal-studio apartment, gym, pool, laundry, grocery delivery, free breakfast, free dinner (though lame) 4 nights/week. However, I need a real place to live.

I went to Astoria tonight and it’s not bad. It’s possibly the most diverse neighborhood in the country, if not the world. It’s up and coming, and I’ve been told it’s pretty safe, though it has its share of shabbiness. The apartment itself is shared with a gal who works in advertising. One bedroom in a two-bedroom upper flat. The bedroom is pretty big, and the house actually has laundry in the basement. If you thought the steps were cramped in our previous place, though, you ain’t seen nothing. It’s two blocks from the N&W subways lines, which stop two blocks from school. The rent for half is what we pay for our adorable spacious place in Milwaukee. But that’s life here. I’ve heard of worse living situations.