Other Stuff

This is far too common here.

I can sit, and I can crouch, but I have a hard time hovering.

Why don’t mechanical pencils come with caps? Almost every time I start to use one, I have to extend the lead, because the excellent marking surface I had just hours before has broken off in my jacket pocket, leaving a sharp awkward edge that I need to write with before I get my proper rounded tip back. And, I occasionally stab myself through the jacket lining. I should start a writing implement company, or search online for what I want, or something.

I listened to the entire Orange Bowl on the internet stream of Morgantown’s WVAQ, from 2:30 am Italy time Thursday morning, through to basically the end of the post-game show around 7:00 am. It was awesome to listen to, as Tony Caridi does an excellent job with the play-by-play, but it is still hard to really get a feel for just how fast the action happens. I found this late Friday:

I’d like to give an internet high five to all the Mountaineer fans who read this. That was an excellent victory.

Also,

Jack in a can.

Oh God. At first I wanted to complain about the generations of tradition thrown to the wayside by putting Jack Daniels in cans. Then I noticed, while looking at my own picture, the “A Perfect Mix of Whiskey and Cola.” I don’t know whether that is better or worse. Considering that everything on the can is in English, I’ll bet this is primarily made for Americans. Why are we so horrible?

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Is it me or is it the culture?

I work late a lot. This doesn’t really mean I work more than other people. I just work later than other people.

An armed security guy just checked up on me in my little research shack, making sure that I actually work here. For the second time in a couple of weeks.

Obligatory YouTube clip:

These are some funny guys.

Update: EU Plans Revenge Against Britain. This can’t be healthy behavior.


Last Day of Class

Was today, at least for me.

Italian learning is a very strange and alien thing.

My Sustainable Energy I class lasted from mid-September to today. With no homework. Or tests. Or quizzes. Or anything whatsoever that I could be graded on.

My grade in this class is based wholly and entirely on my performance on the final exam. Which is oral. I will be asked two comprehensive questions, which I will need to answer as fully as I can.

There’s a reason why all the English-speaking Italians I deal with refer to classes as exams. I’m pretty sure that’s it.

On the upside, even if I had more than one class this semester, I would have little reason to completely psych myself out. Rather than cramming all those finals into one sleepless week, Italians give you options. I have four different test dates to choose from, from December 21 to February 21. Really, and the next semester doesn’t start until right after that last one. Assuming all classes are like that, you could basically give yourself a full week to study for each final individually, if the scheduling worked out.

In other news, my father, step-mother, and sister will be here in a bit over a week to spend two weeks with my spoiled self and Italy. We’ll be traveling to and through several cities from here to Rome. So lots more pictures. And a hotel with the same name as my own surname. More then.

And because I don’t like the prospect of more posts with nothing but words, here’s what I was listening to here as I published this:

I know all the people who read this are either older members of my own family or people who type awkward things into Google. This is to you, ‘angry “leave a comment” site:.com’-guy. It’s not head-bangy if any members of my family want to rethink that last scroll.

Final Thoughts: Does a class called Sustainable Energy I in a Master’s program called Energy and the Environment sound a little tree-hugger to you? It is. I chose this class because it covered fuel cells, which I’ve been tangentially dealing with for the last three summers of research-like work, and I kind of thought I would continue this pattern over here. All this experience with fuel cell stuff has pushed the feeling that it won’t be really market-worthy for a while, at least not for the power-generation applications people keep pushing it for.

In a pleasant turn of events, I’ve actually been working on cogeneration and distributed generation, which can be downright profitable. And my class covered it too. Yay.


EU Crumbling: Part I

If you aren’t into, um, news, you probably won’t care much about this. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, just vetoed an EU treaty. This is the first time a Prime Minister of Britain has ever vetoed an EU treaty. In all of time. Or at least since the EU was founded back in ’93.

Highlight from the article:

Jubilant Tory MPs hailed his decision as a massive step towards Britain’s EXIT from the European Union.

That was not my emphasis on the ‘exit.’ That was straight out of the article.

I get the feeling I’m going to be making a lot of posts like this.

Stuff you can read on any choice of news sites. Quoted here, so making posts doesn’t require actual content on my part. I’ll just throw out the excuse that this corroborates my latest megapost. Oh and trying to keep a respectable post rate while nothing interesting happens to me in particular.

What? You thought I was making a reference to the ongoing political volatility within my source of income, the European Union? No, no, no. My own laziness and boringness.

In that regard, I’ve made it a habit to close the window in the laundry room every time I’m in the hallway, just to spite the little Italian gremlins who open it constantly. I was seriously in the laundry room, out of it, and back in it again in less than five minutes yesterday, and in that time, someone I didn’t see opened the window that I had just closed. Definitely gremlins.

And there are honest-to-God roosters somewhere outside of my office, crowing every night to remind me when I’m up too late.

Remember, I’m not just boring. I’m boring in another country. With roosters.

Goodnight.


Rally Compact

These little Fiats are everywhere, but I haven't seen one quite like this.


“What have I been doing for the last month?” and My Thoughts on Everything Else

My Italian experience has continued it’s slide into the depths of mundanity – along the lines of go to class, go to work, eat, go to sleep. That isn’t really much to blog about, sadly. However, it has been a freaking month since my last post. Hopefully, if I can find interesting things, I can get back into once-a-week blogging, or better. Interesting things have happened. Work has also been happening. But screw apologizing or rationalizing, this is my blog, and this is my new post, so enjoy it.

In the weeks since my bike was stolen, I have indeed walked a great deal. It’s forty-five minutes from the campus to the mall on foot, and I’ve now walked that at least half a dozen times. This also has put a serious cramp on trying to see the weekly attractions the city puts on in the middle of town on weekends. I walked to another street fair a week or two ago specifically because the signs I found advertising it mentioned America, in terms of American goods or American-style goods or some such. Of course, at the bottom of the sign, literally in ellipses, it said something like, ‘along with normal goods of local origin.’ I walked to this street fair and found nothing particularly American at all, so I didn’t venture further. If there were American clothes or cars or whatever, I didn’t find them, and my backpack was loaded down with groceries. Besides that, the entire 1st world wears American clothes anyhow. I’m sorry, that’s just how it is.

Unless your vision of American clothing is embodied by “Why you so trashy? – Northern Carolina University.” Seriously, my father caught that on a shirt on display at the mall, as well as a guy wearing a shirt that said “Shut the F*ck Up,” asterisk and all. Combine this crap with punks tagging everything in Engrish, and one is reminded that America dominates the world culturally, if not militarily. I can live with that.

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I’m Angry – This Is My Post

The same researcher/translator who helped me out with my residence permit, along with numerous other things, helped me again tonight. It’s hard to refer to her without a name, but as a matter of internet etiquette, I won’t use her name without her knowing. She will be known here as M1951.

M1951 and I went to the train station tonight, to find what we could. We found the spot where I had locked it, right next to three taxis. M1951 talked to the taxi drivers, who knew everything. They had noticed my bike there for two days and thought it was odd that someone would leave such a nice bike at the train station for so long. On the second night, a short black kid was able to easily open the lock and pedal away with it. Of course, they noted the peculiarity of a short kid riding a big bike. (I’m every bit of 6’3″.)

With that, M1951 and I went to the Questura – the main provincial police station – and filed a report.

Somebody or another I work with may have a used bike I could buy for hopefully cheap. Getting something that looks like crap and runs well would be ideal, so I can actually use it without fear of it being stolen. Additionally, the combination of looking like crap and running well would be the exact opposite of what my last bike did. It couldn’t handle a couple of spills. I hope that parasite likes what he got.

It was, um, okay, while it lasted.

If I get another bike, used or new, while I am here, I am going to use the thickest gauge, biggest, meanest combination lock you ever saw.

Now for a brief musical interlude.

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