I had the makings of a perfect day as I rolled outta bed. I haven't felt so well rested in ages. I didn't sleep all that long; in fact, it was several hours shorter that what I've been accustomed to as of late. However, it must have been that "check this kid for a pulse" kinda sleep that I so seldomly get to experience. Yuki-san had just gotten up about ten minutes previous, and we talked a bunch this morning as we both got ready. I waited by the bus stop, and surely enough the Tuscaloosa Trolley pulled on up and things were just fine. My neck and back strangely weren't hurting nearly as bad as usual, and the weather seemed especially pleasant.
Also, some of the homesickness is starting to fade, and I'm feeling once again like a Tuscaloosa native. Of course, the Laura-sickness is only getting worse and worse the longer that we're apart. But then again, it always does. Seems worse this time, since for a month and a half there when her mom went nutso she moved in with us and lived with me non-stop. I guess it's hard to let go, even temporarily, after something like that. Honestly, if this weren't my last semester here I don't know if I could make it.
Anyways, back to the day at hand. I hopped off the Trolley at Gordon Palmer for my first class of the day, MA 355. Got there around quarter till, so I chilled out with the first Crimson White of the semester. Same old stuff in there - one person defending Chief Justice Roy Moore and praising him for not giving in to all the people wanting to take down a monument dedicated to the most famous and well-known laws in history out of a courthouse. Another person is comparing Moore to Hitler. And yet another is comparing the ACLU and the like to Nazi Germany. Geez, no matter whether it's a former football coach or a SGA presidential candidate or the folks down in Montgomery, no one can seem to write an opinion piece for the CW without bringing WWII into it. ::shrugs:: Absurd, but still amusing to read.
Also amusing was the review of Freddy vs Jason. Especially the part when writer Matt Scalici says that "If ever there was a genre that had no middle ground, it's horror. Horror films rarely fall flat; they usually either succeed fantastically or fail miserably. Somehow though, Freddy vs. Jason is able to take two movies (or series, rather) that both failed and make them succeed together." Well, I'm no film scholar, but I do happen to remember the Nightmare on Elm Street and the Friday the 13th films being the two *biggest* names in the horror biz. That's why the new movie is so great - it takes the top two villians of all time and has them trying to beat the other one. Other high(low?)lights of his review include the Kelly Rowland quote that got the entire theater laughing, and his statement that "Fans of these series will be happy to hear this bout does indeed have a winner and doesn't pull one of those "nobody wins, nobody loses" tricks." I partially agree, but only in part - neither of the unkillable evils die, naturally, and while they hint around in the last few seconds at the "winner", it's by no means conclusive. In fact, up until that last three-second clip it's pretty much up in the air, and after the clip in question there's that half second of doubt when the "loser" proves that he wasn't completely beaten by his foe. (For more information, feel free to revisit my post-movie rants and opinions.)
The professor walked in eventually, and much to my surprise it wasn't Sjvenyejhabinibyoanyriisan as listed on the schedule, but good ol' Doc Gray. I've had him before, and he's a pretty nice guy. That's a big plus in my book. Even if the class ends up being hard, it's more bearable when you got a decent guy in charge. Also, not to sound racist or anything, but I like having Americans teaching upper-level math classes. It almost never happens, so I'm pretty lucky. I'm in no way biased against foriegners of any kind, but when dealing with complicated, detailed subjects like upper-level mathematics, it *really* helps not having to decipher a heavy accent on top of the odd mathematical notation.
Anyways, on to Gallalee Hall and Physics II. This is where the day turns from being good to tolerable.
DeSmet is insane. But in a cool way. He's balding, but makes up for it with the wildest, most untamed beard that I'v ever seen in my life. Even wilder than in the picture from the link above. It's brown and yellow and grey all at the same time. He constantly is moving his hands around in odd gestures, as if he's about to hypnotize the class into learning the course material or something. His eyes constantly dart about the room, and he has a habit of suddenly turning his head quickly as if surprised. (RJ has also warned my via IM not to sit near the front, as he apparently reeks as well...)
His oddest manerism, however, is his way of speaking. It's as if instead of talking at a set speed, it constantly fluctuates. He goes from talking at 90% normal speed to 70% speed at random intervals, up and down irregularly. He occasionally (and quite suddenly) jumps all the way up to 115% or so, but only for three words or so. He puts emphasis on odd syllables, and enunciates every one perfectly. "Tem-Pe-Ra-Ture". Not flowing together to form one word, but not quite seperated into four distinctly selerate words. Sometimes, however, he does make words out of syllables, particularly suffixes. Take "particularly", for example. He occasionally goes "Par-tic- ular. -ly." Ah well, perhaps you'd have ot hear it for yourself.
He also does things on a moment's notice. To demonstrate potential energy, work, and the like he picked up a physics textbook. No shock there, everyone does that. Then, to illustrate kinetic energy and how the potential energy gets transferred into heat, he dropped the book. Kind of surprising, but it also has been done before. He then whipped out a lighter and tried to catch the book on fire. Caught all of us by surprise. He later went on to explain that dropping the book caused heat, but catching the book on fire didn't cause it to raise back up into the air. I see his reasons, but at the time, he was just walking around the room dropping things, then suddenly wanted to set things on fire. Twas fun to watch. ^_^
Cal-based Physics itself is going to be a rough class. You can tell this because there's *four* whiteboards situated in the front of the room. Each the size of a full sized chalkboard, and set up in a two by two formation. They are all on rollers set into the wall, and one board on each vertical column is slightly in front of the second one. All four boards are visible at one time. They are designed so that after the professor fills up one board with complex arithmatic and formulae, he just pushes it skyward and the second board slides down into the position originally held by the first. After filling up the second board, he moves five feet to his right and proceeds to fill up the remaining two boards up in much the same way. While a useful invention, it's depressing to know that this is the kind of class where you need four chalkboards at once...
I was expecting that, as I've taken PH 106 once before. What I wasn't expecting was the fact that he changed the course. Physics II has always been magnetism, electricity, circuits, and optics. This time he's adding Thermodynamics. They apparently had a seperate Thermo class that was cancelled his year, and the material had to end up somewhere. Thus, it's stuffed into our class. Normally I wouldn't mind. It'd be interesting to learn about that, as thermodynamics is a very useful concept to be familliar with. However....it's all located in the Volume 1 textbook. I sold that thing after passing Physics I and moving into the sequel. Instead of starting in the Volume 2 textbook, I'ma gonna hafta buy a hundred-fuggin-dollar textbook for two or three weeks worth of material. Needless to say, I'm going to try my best to make it as fas as I can without wasting so much cash on something that I already know we're hardly going to use at all. If it weren't for the homework, I wouldn't even be worried at all - but I gotta get the work done, and I'll prolly need the book to do the assignments. BAH!
In ECE, my next class, I already felt kinda shitty. Sitting in the same damn seat as before. Same view out the third story window of the all-too-familiar Houser Hall. Watching the same damn professor walk in and give the same damn speech, nearly word-for-word, as he's done twice before. That doesn't do much for my already fragile self esteem. Bleh. What makes things worse this time is that instead of it being about Computer Architecture as is has always been, it's now about Digital System Design. In other words, it's 99% different. What all I've suffered through already isn't going to help me at all, as Jackson's only going to spend a day or two on architechture. And even then, it's only going to be an example. The software that I've been using is now only going to be used for the first part of the class, and we'll soon be moving on to something else. So...basically I wasted all that time and effort in the previous semesters, and it feals *real* shitty.
To top off the ol' crapcake, the projects are going to be different too. I sincerely doubt that I'll have to do it again, because while the class itself is vastly different I technically do still have a passing grade in ECE 481 from a year ago. On the other hand, the lab has been severly nerfed. It's now 8 "easy" assignments, and three assignments that are about twice as large as the first ones. In my day, we had three or four "easy" ones, but were only given a week to do it so it was still rushed. Afterwards, we were given one month do write an entire SRC microprocessor from scratch. Even though we plugged away at it nearly every night and pulled at least two all-nighters a week, we were only halfway through with it. We had two of these projects. Jackson said that he didn't like how the previous classes didn't have time to actually finish their devices (much less test them), so he's restructuring things so that 50% of the time can be used to finish the assignment, and 50% can be used to test it. And they have three weeks to do their baby projects, as I had a month to do *everything*. I'd have killed if I had that kind of luxury. Of course, with my luck they might make me retake the lab as it's now different, so maybe I shouldn't say anything. I'm already pretty sure that I'll be the only person in the class that has to do the homework assignments alone whereas everyone else will have two or three partners to share the load with.
Stomach was about to go balistic, so I stopped by the Ferg for a quick bute to eat. I set my bookbag down to save my seat, and then walked to the Food Court as I'd done a thousand times before. The lines were awful. The fries I got from Chik-Fil-A were flash cooked to keep up with the noontime rush and were therefore overcooked and far too crunchy. I got ripped off by the cooks who didn't put hardly any chicken into my Quesadilla. They only had a small chunk of chicken remaininmg, so they tossed that into mine. Next customer also ordered a chicken dish, so then they grabbed another piece or three. The water didn't want to come out of the Coke machine - only tricked out the tiniest little bit, so I had to stand there forever to fill up my cup. Much annoyances piled on top of an already frustrating day.
After paying, I fought my way back through the crowded dining area and didn't see my bag anywhere. I saw a single black guy sitting at the table I coulda swore I put my bag on. I walked that way and luckily it was just sitting on the floor. I started to sit down, and he was like "Yo, I be's savin these two seats here, honkey". I replied "I know there saved." Picking up my backpack, I continued "I'm the one that set my bag and my newspaper here a minute ago." Bewildered, the stranger could only say "Um....it was there on the floor before I got here". Bull fucking shit. Why would anyone else move my bag and my paper out of my seat unless they wanted to sit there instead? If someone wanted to steal it, they would have taken it with them, or left it there if they rifled through it and found nothing of interest. (Although one would have to be mentally challenged to steal something in front of thousands of witnesses. The only logical reason to move my gear onto the floor is so that the seat would no longer be saved, and this guy and his "brothers" can all sit there instead. I kinda stared him down for a minute and then decided to give up - you simply cannot reason with the unreasonable. After fighting my way through the mob yet again (this time with a backpack slung over one shoulder and an unsteady tray full of food), I *finally* found another spot to sit down. And then proceeded to check my pack for anything stolen. Thank God I have yet to buy this year's supplies - had I put anything decent in there, like my portable CD player, it'd have been good as gone. Even textbooks, though not useful to the non-engineers out there, sell for a hundred bucks a piece. If someone were to come across a pile of new books, they could easily sell them online at half price and be rid of them within a day or two. I just can't stand it when people lie to my face or when they cheat other people out of what's theirs cause they're just too damn lazy to do things for themselves. Bastards.
Anyways, I then raced back to Rose Towers to hop in the truck and head on down to Coleman Coliseum to grab my football tickets. This was the day I'd been waiting for since last November, y'all. Here in the South, we eat, drink, sleep, and breathe ALABAMA FOOTBALL. And this year is better than most. Whereas the rest of the student population is awed by the holographic seals on their eight crimson tickets for UA's home games, my pride and joy was a pair of blue strips of paper emblazoned by the second most evil symbol next to "666", the letters AU superimposed upon one another. Yes, that's right, I have tickets for Iron Bowl 2003.
Story goes like this. I ordered my tickets as usual, just for the home games. I didn't have the money to blow on the Iron Bowl - the price I'd have to pay for the tickets was about half of what I had total in my bank account. After a second of thought, I realized that I was a class A moron. I was one of the twelve people on campus that's allowed to buy them...I just can't pass it up. What I'd do is buy them, and then sell them at a 500% increase, which by the way is the average price for those things. People would beat an old lady with her walker to get their hands on just one of them. But as soon as I placed my order, I realized that there's no way in hell that I'd ever let them go. These were IRON BOWL tickets. The entire world revolves around that one sacred day in November. It's even bigger than Christmas down here. And I had tickets. Just like my home tickets, I theoretically could sell them for a small fortune, but I've got too much Crimson in my blood to ever willingly "sell out" like that. So, I ended up with a set of tickets that I normally would never have gotten a chance to have. ::smiles::
So, I tried to drive to the ticket office. Total gridlock. That's the first (and last) time I ever try that stunt again. Sheesh. I finally get there, and the ticket windows are are broken down into three letters. If your last name starts with an 'A' or a 'B', you're in line one. 'C' and 'D' are in line two, whereas 'E' through 'H' are all in line three. The rest of the letters will be done tomorrow and Friday. The third line was by far the shortest. The first one, roughly twice as long. The second one? Approximately 15 times as long. And of course, my last name had to start with a 'C', yanno. Also, about five minutes after I've been in line, this guy comes back there to join his friend/classmate/girlfriend/whatever. He already had his tickets. He commented that she was still in the same spot that he had left her before he went and grabbed his tickets. Sure enough, after hearing that I glanced over at the people in the other lines, and none of them had to wait longer than five minutes, tops. Our line went from one wall of the foyer to the other, and it took over an hour to get up to the window. My tolerance was starting to reach critical mass, and I was sure that if one more thing happened I'd hit SSJ4 and start smashing things left and right.
I finally get to the window. The teller must have been the original blonde, the one that spawned the gazillions of "dumb blonde" jokes. Well, except for maybe the ones about the sexaholic nympho blondes, cause she wasn't all that easy on the eyes. Ah well. She asked for my SSN, my Student ID card, a contract signed with my own blood. You know, the usual. As she was fumbling around for my tickets, I asked her a few questions. She didn't know any of them. Even ones I knew the answer to was "yes" but I needed to know the date/time, she looked around confusedly and told me that they don't do that. Grrr. Finally, I got my tickets. I also realized why my line was moving so slowly and the rest were in and out of there in mere minutes. ::smirks::
Anyways, just because she was so grossly incompetent, I had to make sure my Iron Bowl tickets were there. Odds were 20:1 that the useless hunk of carbon and water didn't give them to me. Turns out I was wrong - there they were, sitting in the envelope with my reciept. If anyone knew that I had them, I'd likely have been killed over those very tickets, so that's why the university hid them in an envelope. Peeking in at my treasures as carefully as a master gambler checks out his hand, I noticed something very bad. They weren't together. I spent quite a chunk of change on these tickets so that my father and I could watch the game together - he's always taken me to Talladega, and now's my chance to return the favor by taking him to an even bigger sports spectacle. Unfortunately, we won't be able to watch the game together cause our two tickets aren't even in the same area code. After being stunned for a second or two, I stormed back up to the window. The couple behind me were just leaving, and the next guy quicky stepped up so that he wouldn't lose his place in line. All of the other people saw me cut to the front, and were likely annoyed since they all had been waiting just as long as I had been. After the fellow at the window finished his business, I cut in front of the next guy. He seemed surprised I'd have the balls to jump the line like that, but I suppose he eventually saw my tickets and let me through without complaining.
I showed the girl my tickets and told her that there had to be some mistake. She said "No, those are your tickets." I said, "No...I ordered a pair of tickets together. These aren't in the same section." Without thought, she repeated like a half-witted parakeet. "No, those are your tickets." I started to break things down to the kidnergarden level for her. "Noooooooooo...." But then I stopped, realizing that you simply can't reason with the unreasonable. So, I posed another query: "Well then, since you made a mistake here, is there any chance that you can trade these two tickets out for another pair that are together?" She blankly replied "We're sold out." That's not what I asked, you stupid bitch. "I know you're sold out. These things usually sell out within ten minutes, if even that long. What I'm asking is if you can take these two, already paid for tickets and trade them out with another pair of already paid for tickets, only two that are beside one another." Again with the broken record routine "Sorry, we're sold out".
Just my luck, I'd get a lifeless cardboard cutout of a clueless freshman that knows nothing about nothing instead of an actual employee. Don't these guys even interview the help they hire on, or do people just hand jobs to the dregs of society so that they can avoid the most hectic week of the semester themselves? Useless humans; give me a machine any day. (Yes, I realize I'm probably the only person in history to astually wish I was connected to a machine because the human employees are so useless.)
In closing, all I can say that the girl in question is very, very lucky to have been on the other side of an inch of glass at the time. All I wanted to do was bludgeon her with a very heavy object multiple times, but all the heavy blunt objects were on the other side of the glass wall. So she's safe....for now. ::evil chuckle::