A Note About Aeroplanes

August 24, 2007

I just felt I should mention this: reasonable people do not get into airplanes. In the contest of hollow aluminum tubes rocketing through the sky vs. the ground, the ground has never lost. The best one can hope for is a tie.

The last time I went on an airplane, I decided to take a mild sedative: rum. Going through the security checkpoint, I asked “can I bring a parachute onto a plane as a carry-on item?” The guard started to say “as long as it fits in the overhead bin”, but about halfway through stopped and decided instead to say “WHY?” He then proceeded to search me through my clothes.

So, here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen. Again.


Moving Tactics

August 22, 2007

So, when I moved from 40th st. to 38th st. I thought I had a pretty good tactic for moving: I got my leases to overlap by a month and moved my stuff carload by carload, gradually. It saved all manner of headaches. So that’s what I did to move my stuff into storage. Unfortunately, the storage place is an hour away. That changes things: now instead of gradual and realxing, each load of stuff takes 2.5 hours to move, and a fortune in gas. Oops. If you ever need to move and think gradual is the way to go, be sure to take into account things like distance.

 Also, as regards getting a storage unit: the people that rent out storage units are shysters. It was supposed to be $56 a month, but when I paid for the first month I HAD to buy insurance at $7 a month extra AND there were a few handling charges and such. Also, the unit was supposed to be 5′ x 10′. It’s not. It’s 4.5′ by 11′. But the contract uses the qualifier “approximately” so I can’t argue with them about it. And why is that a pain? Because I’m an engineer. You can’t give an engineer specifications of something that are off by half a foot. Now, instead of having a perfect, compact cube of stuff in a storage unit, it’s a weird, wobbly tower of stuff. Damn you, Extra Space!

New Computer

August 6, 2007

To get ready to go to Morocco, I had to sell a whole pile of stuff. Mostly furniture and books that I’ve not read in a long time. The first thing that I bought, however, was a laptop computer. It’s the first computer I’ve ever had that’s wasnt 3 years out of date on the day I got it.

The reason for a computer is two-fold: first, so that I can use it for science and such, and second, to bring media with me. My plan to keep a connection to the US while I’m gone is to watch lots of episodes of Iron Chef and listen to a lot music, despite the fact that up until now I’ve not really cared for music. I always though music was just noise without which life would be better, but when it comes right down to it, no matter where in the world you are, if you’re listening to Dolly Parton, you’re in Tennessee.

For Certain Associates

August 4, 2007

I thought perhaps it would be in bad taste to mention it, but my associates have demanded that I tell the story of my first essay. It was on the topic “how will you be a good ambassador for America?” My first draft consisted of the following:

“Primarily through your women and restaurants.”

I was told to change it.

The Medical Exams

August 2, 2007

The Fulbright comission let me know that I’d gotten a grant in mid-march. However, before getting the official paperwork signed and turned in, they require that you get a medical exam. I think they’ve been using the same forms since the program was started in the 1950s: it’s just weird.

I went to the campus health people here at Drexel. I didn’t need any shots, though I considered getting the smallpox and rabies vaccinations. However, they weren’t required, the rabies vaccine wears off, and I hear that there’s a roughly 50% chance that the smallpox vaccine makes your face explode. So I passed.

Anyway, the medical exam was pretty easy. A doctor came in a made me move my arms and legs so that he could tell they worked. I distinctly recall a funny look coming across the doctors’ face, and then he turned to me and told me that the Fulbright comission requires a prostate check. Good news! It’s still in there. At least, it was in March.

They then removed some blood and got it checked. The doctor said it was good, but that certain enzymes related to my liver were elevated. Apparently, blood tests on wednesday can tell how good your saturday night was. They also jabbed me with something and told me that if my arm swelled up it meant I had a disease. I don’t remember which one.

The best part, in my view, was the questionnaire. It contained a lot of really, really old-fashioned phrases. “Do you suffer from emotional defect?” Well, I don’t think I do, but I bet some ladies I used to date would disagree. If I recall correctly, “mongoloidism” was on the list of conditions of which they wanted to know if your family had a history.

Anyway, everything checked out with me. Whatever plumbing I’ve got is hooked up right, and hopefully I won’t get clogged with anything while I’m over there.