Thursday, June 25, 2009

3 hours I will never get back

Ooooooh, I'm in a bad mood, y'all. I just wasted three hours in a stuffy choir room full of understandably agitated people and one professor who thinks the world revolves around him. I hate nothing more than for my time to be so blatantly wasted as it was earlier this morning. Here's a full run-down of how today's installment of Psychology 128 went. Hang on tight, because this was one ri-goddamn-diculous ride...

9:37am: Show up for class in stuffy choir room. Find seat. Resume studying for exam that is scheduled to happen during today's class. Class begins at 9:40am.
9:55am: Dr. Cromartie walks in. He informed us during the first class that he is to be addressed ONLY as Dr. Cromartie, because that's the relationship that he has with his students. Well, la di dah, Doctor.
10am: After much paper shuffling, Dr. Cromartie calls roll. This takes an inordinate amount of time because the only answers he will accept when your name is called are "present" or "here". You'd think that it wouldn't be that difficult, but for some people it is. He will continue to call your name until you say either "present or here". This can take a while.
10:20am: Dr. Cromartie calls us up in groups of 10 to turn in our homework assignments. These consist of two written summaries of videos that we were to watch outside of the class. He gave us a very strict set of formatting rules for these summaries. If the rules were not followed, he informs us that the summaries will be returned in order for corrections to be made and re-submitted during the following week's class. As I watched group after group attempt to turn in their work, I noticed that he gave nearly every single person their papers back for corrections.
10:45am: I am called up. I thought I had done the assignment properly and looked forward to receiving comments on my thoughtful analysis of the videos. Unfortunately, I had included a colon in the title of each of my summaries. He circled the colons and handed my papers back. After this spectacle, I'm fairly certain that he'll never read the summaries to see if we're actually learning any of the material. He's only concerned with whether or not we're capable of conforming to his silly formatting rules. I'm tempted to insert a paragraph in my next summary with all sorts of curse words and personal insults just to see if he does read them. Needless to say, I was pissed. Not only had over AN HOUR of classtime passed, we hadn't yet taken the exam and I could see no end in sight to this paper correcting business. Out of 78 students, he took 8 people's work. Wow.
11:17am: The assignment butchering extravaganza ends. Whew, I thought. At least we still had a little over an hour to complete the exam. Plenty of time. Then, Dr. Cromartie simply walked out of the stuffy choir room. He didn't say where he was going, he just left. After about 15 minutes, I scanned the room for hidden cameras hoping that this class is actually just one big psychology experiment and that Dr. Cromartie would publish his findings at the end of the summer. There could be no other explanation for him leaving us all in the room with nothing to do for close to FORTY MINUTES!!

HOLY SHIT UPDATE: Michael Jackson died today?! NOOOOOOOOOOO! Dude, the Thriller album came out when I was like 6 or 7 and I instantly loved it. After all these years I STILL frickin' love it. Even though he was a freaky alleged child molester, his music rocked the world and turned it upside down. RIP, King of Pop. You will be missed. (this deserves its own post...and I'll get there, believe you me)

Now back to your regularly scheduled rant...

11:59am: Dr. Cromartie strolls back in with two stacks of papers like he hasn't just been MIA for forty minutes. He passes out one stack and then complains that the papers are not being handed around quickly enough. We look...its not the exam. It is a 3 page extra credit assignment, complete with one full page of formatting instructions. He picks a student in the front row to read the instructions in their entirety...aloud. The whole time I'm thinking FML. EFF! EMM! ELL!
12:02pm: We finally get the exam. For those who have done their reading and have watched the stupid videos, this "exam" is not really that difficult. But I can imagine that for some people in the class, you know, the ones who have an issue with roll call, 28 minutes might not be enough time.
12:28pm: I hand in my exam and scantron and leave, absolutely fuming.

For someone who is SO fucking crazy about us coming to class prepared and on time, this asshole made us wait for 40 minutes while he went to xerox the exams because they weren't ready. And then he made announcement after announcement DURING the exam time! I honestly expected someone to jump out of the music storage area to let us all know that we were on Candid Camera and that they were waiting to see who would crack first (hint: it wasn't me). I hate when my time is wasted like that. I mean really, couldn't we have taken the exam FIRST, turn in our papers for him to correct outside of class and call it a day? Wouldn't that make much more sense? Seriously.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekend mental shenanigans

On Thursday afternoon, after possibly the most entertaining and simultaneously scary psychology class I have ever attended, I headed across campus to get the lowdown on Drug Dose Calculations. The professor gave me copious written materials, a syllabus and...a math review pre-test, sans calculators. Really?! No calculators?! How archaic!!! When I saw the pre-test, my blood pressure SHOT up about 20 points.

You see, I have a confession. Despite having graduated from one of the top public universities in the nation, I cannot do basic arithmetic. Like, at all. Embarrassing, I know. As I quickly scanned the page, the problems literally made me panic. I briefly considered the fact that maybe this required class was a deal-breaker and that this wasn't the nursing school for me. When I expressed my concern, the professor ensured me that people generally do well in this class and that I really shouldn't worry. Ha, I thought...those people can probably remember how to do a long division problem or how to work with mixed numbers. Me, on the other hand, not so much. And scanning over the syllabus, I saw that the first exam was in five days! HOLY SHIT!! I was close to calling it quits...

But, at the professor's urging, I ordered the book and the CD, paid an assload to have them shipped overnight, and gave it a shot. And you know what, I *did* remember how to do most of the stuff. The CD provided a decent refresher and I was able to work through the first three assignments with minimal struggle. I'm still not totally at ease and there are some things that I definitely need to work on, but actually trying and being able to do the problems was a huge confidence booster. From the time the book arrived on Friday afternoon until about 2pm yesterday, I busted my ass.

Saturday afternoon, DJC decided we needed to go out to grab something to eat. He took me to Jupiter and we sat out in the sun, drank beer (Anderson Valley Summer Solstice on tap!) and ate delicious pizza. For the first time since I realized I had missed the first day of class, I was able to relax and actually enjoy myself. The sun felt amazing, the beer was cold and refreshing and the company couldn't have been better. And just like that, all was well again. I felt calm, confident and ready to tackle this class to the best of my abilities. DJC's good like that. Most times, he knows exactly how to mellow me out when I'm close to losing it.

I also forgot to add that after much searching, we finally found a store in the east bay that carries our new fave pinot. DJC called up the warehouse in Berkeley and sure enough, they had six bottles of Undone pinot noir from Germany on hand. After our lovely day in the sun, we quickly rushed over to snag all six. We first tried this delicate pinot at Marc 49 in Oakland and instantly fell in love. If you like pinot, you must give this stuff a try. Its definitely different from other pinots in that it is aged in stainless steel tanks and is much lighter in color, btut don't be scared off by those things. Undone is delicious and I'm so happy we found it! In fact, DJC ordered an entire case from the folks! YAY!

For now, its back to work for me! Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crisis averted

I experienced a true "holy shit" moment earlier today. You see, summer classes start this week. I was all ready for Life Span Psychology, which starts tomorrow morning. Drug Dose Calculations, per an email I received from the professor, was scheduled to start on Tuesday the 26th. She informed me that the class was over-enrolled, but if I showed up on the first day of class, she would add me in. Ok, I thought. Tuesday the 26th was on my schedule.

Wait a sec...the 26th is a Friday. Uh-oh. Did she mean Tuesday the 16th? I bet she meant the 16th. Oh shit. That means that I MISSED THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS!!! I need to complete this class in order to be able to apply in the fall! HOLY SHIT. I totally panicked. I might have cried, although I can't be sure. I definitely whimpered, though.

When the room stopped spinning, I got it together and emailed the professor (and included her email stating that the class started on the 26th) to ask if she actually meant the 16th and if it was still possible for me to get in to the class even though I missed the entire first day (!!!). She responded almost instantly, apologizing and stating that even though she had turned away roughly 30 people because she just couldn't accommodate any more, she'd allow me to enroll.

Whew. Thank goodness. We exchanged several emails and she asked me to stop by her office tomorrow so that she can give me the class orientation. Apparently, all the content and assignments are online and the pace of the class is VERY fast. How fast, you ask? The first exam is next Tuesday. That's right...I haven't even read a single lecture yet, and in less than a week, I will be tested on the material. Holy shit x2!

The only thing I feel slightly bad about is the fact that her emails were littered with statements like this: "My official office hours are 1-4 but if you want to come between 12 and 1, that’s ok. I may just be munching my lunch but I don’t mind. It’s the least I can do after giving you the wrong information." I don't want to bother her! I don't want to put her out! But damn it, I would have been in class yesterday if her original email had the correct date on it.

Whatever. At least I'm in. Maybe it was a good thing that I missed class...she did say that she's had to turn away lots of people who did come yesterday...who's to say that I wouldn't have been one of those unlucky folks. Looks like I'll be hitting the books hard this summer!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Apparently, I've been doing it all wrong...

Our dryer is currently on the fritz. I can wash clothes at the house, I just can't dry them. And I refuse to call the service company again, because we're always the ones who have to call. Otherwise, as evidenced by the fact that it remained broken for close to four months, it doesn't get fixed. But we still need clean clothes. Even though I hate the laundromat with the fire of a thousand suns, off I went today...

As I dragged my heavy bag of dirty stuff over to the single-load washers and started unloading, an old man in the corner barked at me, "You're wasting your money doing it that way". Ummm, OK. Whatever, old guy. I told him that I was doing juuuust fine and continued doing my thing. I walked out of the laundromat to get a Vitamin Water and when I came back, old guy came over and said, "You're overloading my washers! You're burning up the motors in my machines, kid!". It was then that he introduced himself as the owner of the laundromat. I felt like an ass for brushing him off earlier.

He explained that I should be using the larger capacity washers for the amount of clothes I had to do. I admitted that I was a bit intimidated by those things and didn't really know how to use them or how much soap to put in. As he paraded me around from machine to machine, I got a fifteen minute tutorial on how to operate the 25, 40 and 60 pound washers . He informed me that I've been "doing it all wrong". After his convincing lesson, I concurred. I will try it his way next time. Old guy was super nice, friendly and was just interested in helping me out.

Strange side note: As I was waiting for my clothes to dry, I noticed a super slim Asian man wearing plaid shorts, a contrasting striped shirt and sandals. Whatever, I thought...after all, it's laundry day. But then, for whatever reason, I looked at his feet. He had possibly the BEST pedicure I've ever seen, complete with shiny navy blue nail polish (not unlike my own) and red and white flowers that were hand painted on, no doubt. The nails were longer, but very evenly filed. So weird. Didn't see that one coming at all. LOL! Gotta love the laundromat.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just your typical bay area Saturday afternoon

It was supposed to rain this weekend. I love it when the meteorologists are wrong. On my way to pick up some new nail polish at the local beauty supply store, I drove by the beach and saw this:

Alameda beach with San Francisco and the Bay Bridge in the distance...

Two kitesurfers with Sutro Tower in between...

Super zoomed in close up of one of the kitesurfers...

Alameda beach is always pretty windy and on Saturday afternoon, there were so many kites in the sky that I had to stop and watch for a little while. The pedicure I was going to give myself could wait. I stood with my toes in the water and and a smile on my face as I watched numerous kitesurfers come out of the water and then attempt to walk their kites back down the beach. In the wind, it was difficult and required two people most of the time.

It was a gorgeous day. Not a single rain cloud in sight. (Make sure to click on the pics to see the larger versions. They're worth it.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


DJC and I went out to Danville tonight. He was in serious need of a haircut and the only lady that he trusts with his locks is located in a shop situated smack in the middle of what he calls "Status Symbol Lane". Visiting Danville is always an adventure, even though I grew up there.

Since my parents still live in the area, we've been known to frequent this area of town for weekend brunches outside in the sunshine. On any given day, we've seen some of the most *ridiculous* mid-life crisis cars driven by men who are clearly too old to properly enjoy them. I liken it to renting a Ferrari in Las Vegas and then only driving it up and down the Strip...ya know, just to be seen in it. They don't actually drive them into the ground they way they should or even push the gas pedal down enough to get the motor purring. Its a shame.

Anyways... tonight, Status Symbol Lane was overtaken by THOUSANDS of canines. You see, tonight was Danville Doggie Night, where owners bring their four-legged friends to a place called Molly's Pup-purr-ee (I can't make this shit up, folks) for a gathering of people and pets. No matter which way I turned, there were dogs, dogs and MORE DOGS...little Chihuahuas, Great Danes and everything in between. I took pics of my favorites:

This is Kiley, a 3 year old adorably poofy Chow Chow. She was totally kicking back outside the local Starbucks, just chillin'. I rubbed her head and ears for about 5 minutes and she was possibly the *softest* thing I have ever touched in my whole life.

This is Sampson, a 6 month old Akita, whose owner was also getting a haircut in the same salon where DJC was. He sat patiently and quietly during the whole cutting process...right up until the girl cutting his owner's hair took him to the back for a rinse. Once his owner was out of sight, Sampson got a little edgy and started barking, but when his owner returned, he jumped up and down in delight. Such an adorable puppy...such HUGE paws.

This was definitely the strangest thing I have ever seen in Danville, but Drew's hairstylist had it right when she said that its good for the community and great for local businesses. And these days, I'm all for anything that stimulates the economy, even if the town of Danville has no idea what the word "recession" means.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On the house FAIL

Friday night started out innocently enough. DJC and I took a nice relaxing walk to dinner at the local pub, had wine, beer, a delicious cheeseburger and Wattie's. Aaaah, happiness. I was content with calling it a night right then and there, but DJC suggested that we head over to a bar across the street that "had a good beer selection". I'm not much of a beer drinker anymore, but I figured I'd indulge the boy for a little while. I was sure they'd have an acceptable wine or two.

We took two seats at the bar and ordered. Almost immediately, DJC and the bartender struck up a conversation about beer. The bartender, Chris from Chico, said that he had never tried a certain kind of beer that DJC mentioned, and next thing we knew Chris brought a bottle over along with three glasses. He stated that he was allowed one free bottle a night and that this was his. We thanked him and he wandered off.

A bit later, Chris noticed our glasses were empty and asked us what beer we'd like next. By this time, I had had two glasses of white wine, one glass of red wine and one small glass of beer. Sure, I thought...more beer sounds like a great idea. When Chris returned with our cold beers, he slid them across the bar and said, "These are on the house". WOOT!!, we thought. Free beer! All was right in the world.

A little later, Chris came by with another open bottle and set it down in front of me after stating that his boss had opened it so that they could try it, and neither of them liked it. It was a large 18.5 oz bottle and they'd wasted exactly .5 ounces of it deciding that it was no good. Fortunately for me, I thought it was great. It was also "on the house". This was turning out to be an awesome night full of bonus beer. We thought that Chris was the greatest guy in the world...

...until we got our tab. Somewhere along the line, he must've forgotten about all of the beer that was supposedly "on the house". In reality, we paid for the exact number of beers and glasses of wine that we had consumed. It wasn't quite the deal we thought we were supposed to be getting. But we were totally hammered and it didn't really matter so much. We stumbled home laughing the whole way and happily went to sleep.

When we thought about the supposed free beer we should have gotten the next morning, we were a little more than pissed and horribly hung over. I mean, really...WTF?! Here's the lesson of the day, kids: When paying for drinks at a bar where the bartender is a total douchebag, pay in cash after each individual round. That way, you can keep track of what you're paying for and what you're actually getting "on the house".

And's a big middle finger to you, dude. Stop promising shit you can't, or won't, deliver. Ass.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Noise! Noise! Noise!

DJC and I hate our downstairs neighbors. They are the rudest sort of people. You know, the kind of people that let their kids scream at the top of their lungs at all hours, speak in obnoxious, outside voices at all hours, talk on the phone in obnoxious, outside voices at all hours, leave their cigarette butts EVERYWHERE (we refer to the man as "Big Tobacco"), and, did I mention that they let their kids run out of control morning, noon and night? They don't talk to each other the way other civilized humans do. They yell. The slam doors. It sounds like the kids bounce each other off of the walls. The kids are fat and hardly ever go outside to play. Instead, playtime consists of hours of video games played at ear-shattering volumes. The kids are overfed, overrested, and understimulated. AND LOUD.

The four of them basically act like they're the only ones living in the building and couldn't care less about how much noise or commotion they create. At 7:45am on a Sunday, its easy to see how DJC and I want to do unspeakable things to these people and their devil spawn.

We've tried everything to get them to understand that their noise really bothers us. We've knocked on their door at 8am on the weekends (in my nightshirt and Uggs, no less), we've written them letters politely asking for them to keep it down. Unfortunately, there's a huge language Mt. Everest in size. Figuring that we weren't getting anywhere with them, we began complaining to the property management company every month when we dropped off our rent. Thankfully, the property management ladies, K and P, are super nice and totally sympathetic to our issues. They've sent letters to the family and made several phone calls about the levels of noise. Still, nothing has changed. The family gets a slap on the wrist, but they know that they don't really have to change because the management company can't really do anything.

This month, when I went in to pay the rent as I usually do, K asked me how things are going at the house. I told her that there was no change and she casually mentioned that there was now a legitimate reason for them to evict our downstairs nightmares. Apparently, they're behind on their rent. From what I could gather from K's vague description, quite a bit behind. They pay what they can every month, but its never the full amount. K was thrilled to finally get rid of these people and when she talked to the landlord about her planned course of action, the Quiet Train stopped dead in its tracks. The landlord stated that she wanted the family to stay, because with the state of the economy, she'd rather have some money coming in than none at all.

Holy shit. My mouth fell open. Everyone's going through hard times right now, including myself. Can I only pay what I feel I can for rent month after month? NO WAY. We'd be thrown out on our asses. But these people are now getting away with making as much noise as they want while paying less than the full amount for rent. I was fucking floored. There was a legit reason to get them out, but nooooooooooo. What kind of world is it that we live in where people get away with only paying "what they can" for rent? That's not how it works. If you can't make the full payment, you're out. Why should they get a break and not us, too?

There's nothing we can do. We can't reason with them and the property managers can't throw them out. Sweet.

I was so upset after my visit to the management company that I went grocery shopping and came home with gummy bears, gummy worms, frozen pizza, two chocolate donuts, and two packages of Crystal Light iced tea (WTF?!). Like somehow, all these junk food items would make the earlier hour go away. FAIL. DJC and I just don't know what to do from here. Move out, so that the landlord will lose money either way? Go downstairs with a roll of duct tape and tell the family how its gonna be from here on out? Help!!