Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are We Functioning Yet?

On Monday morning, the management for my apartment complex indicated that they did not yet know when the carpet cleaners were coming, so I removed myself from the premises and experienced a rather long and crowded bus ride to the university.
It appears that my stop is just far enough out that one can get a seat, which I suppose is an improvement from my last Pittsburgh bus stop, where often two or three buses would pass by, too full to stop. It is indeed baffling to me that the City of Pittsburgh is bent on cutting bus service, as while I don't think there is a plan to cut service on the routes that go past the universities on the way downtown, service in both the past and present has not been truly sufficient. (Add to this that shortly after I went to Prague, the parking lot near the Fine Arts building was torn down and replaced with a park. I am all in favor of parks, but the area is not short on green space. Demolition of the parking lot also meant the loss of the ethnic food trucks upon whose wares my department subsisted.)
On the whole, I enjoyed my day on campus, as I got to chat with several other grad students, the secretaries and librarians, and meet with my advisor, not to mention get assigned a new carrel and hunt up some books to put on it. I also found, to my relief, that it looks as though all the books I had mailed from Prague have arrived safely.
I did not, however, have much luck doing anything online. Using the university's wifi system (of which it is very proud) seems to entail either installing software from a CD or configuring one's system using countless pages of instructions. As I am not too bad with computers, I thought I could configure it myself, but I grew tired of writing down instructions. Once I got the software installed, it messed with various other settings and makes me log on to my own computer, which is ridiculous as I'm sure anyone who stole it would be able to find a way to get at my data if they really cared to do so.
And, for that matter, now that I have the thing set up to log me in to the network, I find that this much-lauded wifi is very unreliable. In the Cathedral of Learning (photo of this memorable structure to be shown in some subsequent post), I never had a connection long enough to do anything with it. In the main library, supposedly a bastion of wifi access, the laptop resolutely insisted that there was no wifi out there. The situation appears somewhat better in the Fine Arts library.
Wifi at school would be of relatively little importance if I already had phone and internet at home, but I do not have these things and need to research the various options online. Even with advice from Kristen, the process is not going very quickly. I attempted to sign up for a basic phone line, but although the form claimed it did not require my social security number, it refused to proceed without it, and in any case people sat down next to me just when I had reached the point in the application where I was supposed to put down such supposedly confidential information. To add insult to injury, somewhere at the bottom of the page was a notice about how much Verizon values my privacy. It cannot value my privacy very much if it requires my social security number, address, and previous address when I am sitting at a bank of computers in a library. I was also annoyed by the assumption that one's previous address could only have been in the United States.
On the positive side, and it is a strongly positive side, once the carpet had pretty much dried, I let the rabbits loose and they have had hours of fun racing around the apartment. It is true they have taken many naps in the meantime, but it's quite a sight to see Calypso Spots speeding along with her lop ears flapping. During the morning, I brought quite a few things back from storage and so the rabbits also had an increasing number of boxes and bags to race around. To my excitement, I have managed to dig up my shower curtain (not, of course, the hooks to hang it with); quite a few towels; a large cooking pot and a Pyrex dish; my printer; my radio/CD player; and a good deal of clothing suited to colder weather. Most of what is easily accessible is, alas, of no immediate use, being largely bags of towels and diapers formerly used to keep the late George in a relatively clean and dry state. Though I had washed most of my fabrics before putting them away, I did notice that Ms. Spots reacted visibly to some of my sheets, and I am sure that, despite their having been laundered, she smelled His Majesty. They smelled clean enough to me, but it is my understanding that rabbits have a sharper sense of smell than dogs, who are far better endowed than humans, so I'm afraid she will be having that smelling-a-ghost feeling for awhile to come.
So, while it is frustrating not to have internet or a table to work on around home, all is going about as well as can be expected.

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Blogger Kristen said...

Gee--I don't remember having to enter my SSN for Verizon! Yikes! I'm sorry this has proven to be an adventure.

August 29, 2007 6:30 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Well, it is certainly not your fault!

August 30, 2007 7:44 PM  

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