aleatory contract

my own personal Waterloo

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

maybe i should have gone to shimer after all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

at least it wasn't a tabby

investigating cat skeletons: fun.

investigating cat skeletons with cat still attached: less fun, particularly at seven o'clock in the morning in a crowded room with the windows shut and said cat lying in an inch-deep pool of reeking preservative.

some of the cats have apparently gone missing from the Big Box O' Cats kept in the lab. i shudder to think where they might end up.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

are seminars on homer supposed to turn into proto-straussian lynch mobs?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

i don't know why quitting jobs always has to feel like a bad breakup.

i got collared in the dining hall just now. the Aramark manager wanted me to go speak to the coffee shop manager. i don't know how, and i don't know what to say, because i want to quit, but the manager is possessed of that dreadful mix of sweaty despair and unthinking manipulation which marks the members of middle-management. i was just hired last week to work the weekend shift at the coffee shop -- which weekend shift somehow got expanded into a weekend-and-pre-seminar shift. i worked last weekend, and last week, and i don't want to work there any more. i have to run it by myself entirely on the weekends, and the shifts are too long for that, with too many lulls. people only come by when i'm about to close, and then i'm stuck there late. i left an hour late on sunday night, and was behind in math for the rest of the week.

even the hours wouldn't be so bad if the managment was decent. the coffeeshop here has never been a patch on annapolis pre-aramark, but it's so hideously mismanaged! my god! i don't know why they wouldn't turn it over to a private contractor. allow me, please, to catalogue some of the atrocities:

-- a strange and sickening odor, present every time the large refrigerator door was opened. cause: a large box of portabello mushrooms, intended for use in sandwiches, but sold so infrequently that they were nearly all rotting and spoiled. in training, it was suggested that i just throw away any i encountered which had 'lots of white stuff' on them. those lying atop or beside the rotten ones were still considerd fit to serve, mind. i was also told that i 'might want to pick through them from time to time, because they go bad a lot'. i threw out the whole box on saturday. at least the fridge smelled better. it still had an undernote of soured milk, because i didn't scrub it out.

-- no hot water for hand-washing, or for washing anything else. the boiler in the building went up last winter, and they've yet to replace it.

-- the manager hasn't bothered to ever read the labels of the syrups and mixes for any of the coffee drinks, so i have no idea how long the things labeled 'refrigerate after opening' have been open without refrigeration. he's also been mixing them wrong, resulting in a chai frappe which actually melts tooth enamel.

-- when you run out of change for the day? there's no way of getting more change. at all. also no way of voiding a sale.

-- all the urns of variously-labeled exotic coffees were brewed with espresso beans, last week, because they'd run out of everything else. the labels weren't changed to reflect this, mind: you might have thought you were getting Guatamalan Eco-Reserve or Vienna Roast, but you weren't.

-- uniforms. including hairnets.

-- a grill-cleaning product which requires that the grill be left on its highest setting and then doused with a chemical gel which boils off into a cloud of noxious fumes. there is no fume hood, and there is no way of avoiding said fumes. the grill residues and the chemical residues form a thick, scalding-hot tar which then has to be swabbed up with a towel. i still have burns.

and all of it's aramark's fault, unsurprisingly. i don't particularly mind if corners are cut, and i'm well aware that institutional food service is always going to blow, and i do appreciate how hard a job it is they have -- not aramark itself, perhaps, but certainly their employees.

the coffee shop here appends the dining hall, and refrigerators, kitchenspace, and supplies are shared. this means i got an inside glimpse at the inner workings of the cafeteria, and i'm honestly amazed that MORE people haven't been hospitalised with food poisoning. i already pestered the assistant dean with my tales of work-study woe, and i don't really want to pester her again, but she probably should know. someone should know, at least. my tablemate today got hold of some chicken before i was able to warn him off it. luckily, he didn't end up eating it, as a large feather was protruding from its skin.

i know i can't change any of this while working there, because i'd have no power to do so. i can't work in a place so badly run. yet i don't know how to quit without feeling guilty. it took me three tries to quit trader joe's, and i eventually had to resort to writing a letter, because every time i tried leaving, they sucked me right back in. what should i do? i'm supposed to work again this weekend.

ooh! ooh! and despite quantities of fuckups on the part of financial aid, i managed to get a work-study job! doing graphic design, proofreading and layout! in the awesome office with windows everywhere and orange walls and shiny new macs and THEIR OWN PANTONE BOOK. yes. a job that works around my schedule, doing something i actually enjoy. i honestly didn't believe such things happened ever. i think i frightened my new boss with my enthusiasm, though. apparently their work-study students don't tend to break into dances and squees, at least not aloud, anyhow.

now the only tricky thing is figuring out how to quit my current job. i'm terrible at this sort of thing, and i feel particularly bad as i've only been there a week, but if i don't want to fail greek, i have to leave the job. really, the job merits a post of its own; i just haven't had time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

witches, bitches and britches!

so it turns out that i am not, in fact, tone-deaf and unable to sing properly in a chorus, it's just that i'm apparently the only contralto in the whole freshman class and i can't figure out what i'm supposed to sound like, because of that, and the sopranos were pushing me too high. it's easier for me to just stand over with the dudes and try to be a tenor, although our chorus tutor would prefer that i try and push myself up into another octave. boo on the sopranos, i say.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

linnaeus blows.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

it's harder to diagnose a leak in an air mattress than you might think.

Friday, September 07, 2007

so it turns out that i can understand euclid, and that it is methodical and logical and extraordinarily elegant stuff. it's just that my tutor is bloody awful.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

'i aspire to be a carrot.'

lab continues to be the best of the classes. my lab partner dislikes nature, though, which might prove to be a bit of a handicap. i could have tromped around drawing pictures of trees all day long, but cut it short out of consideration for that fact. (i also refrained from bringing back a branch covered in caterpillars for the same reason. well, that, and i want to come back later and see what they're doing on their own.)

pictures! and arguments! and bugs! how can you not like lab?

chorus is quite another story. they treat music as a tutorial here, and thanks to the efforts of one of our number, we started with boethius and wound up with TS Eliot and techno. i am still not sure how that happened, and fear that it will happen again in seminar tonight.

i just failed my first greek quiz. now i get to do my second hell day of the week on five hours of sleep. how the hell do people have time to drink here?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


justify my thug

my math tutor shows ominous signs of wanting to get all moralistic and shit with euclid. mercifully, most of us are too damn confused about what a plane figure is to even begin approaching What All This Might Mean For Us. i'm not even sure we've yet agreed on what a line is.

i don't know what to make of my core group, primarily because half of them have yet to speak in class. i had immediate aversions to the other two, though i am beginning to like them a bit better as we go along. i hope to god i don't ever have Ms ___ in an austen seminar, though.

there is fencing tomorrow. i was quite keen on it, to begin with. then an annapolis transfer told me tales of leaving practice 'soaked and dripping with blood'. now i'm convinced it will be AWESOME.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

i just walked down the mountain to get to work. i am pretty sure my feet are bleeding. good thing i get to spend the next eight hours on them.

and i *liked* these socks, too. shame.

check that. i don't get to escape from trader joe's due to, of all ridiculous things, the fact that my social security card is on the wrong damn coast. fucking homeland security.

Monday, September 03, 2007

'so what happens when we vindicate the platypus?'

aside from spending twenty minutes in the wrong language tutorial, i think that went fairly well. (indeed, after being intimidated all to hell by the first greek tutor, meeting the much-more-approachable mr levine was a treat.) also, lab pretty much rules. mr singleton provided, as supplementary material, a delightful pamphlet called Telling Animals Apart, which i would dearly love to scan and share with you all. in fact, i think i will ask him next time. no one else wanted to look at it, and i think this made him rather sad. the fools! they will be much disadvantaged when next they are faced with something Quite Large and Spotted!

today gets to be my last day at trader joe's. i feel kind of shitty just calling them and going 'so long, suckers!', but i think that's kind of what i'll be doing, for i am now being at work keeping it real in the coffee shop. (then again, it's not like management gives *us* advance notice with scheduling, and if they'd been flexible, i'd have stayed. turnabout is fair play.)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

today, i find out how long i remain employed. eighteen hours a week, i think, would be doable, if i could work saturdays and sundays both. a bit hellish, probably, but doable. twenty hours, though it doesn't sound more difficult in theory and is the compromise that has been offered other full-time students, is probably not doable, since i'd be made to spread it over three days and not two. either management will behave quite improperly and allow me to work a schedule they would not give other students, or i won't be working there much longer. i don't really want to work there at all, so that's not a wholly tragic turn of events, but i'm not having much luck finding anywhere else to work. i may end up at the coffee shop on campus, though it would be a considerable drop in wages.

i wish Careers Services didn't suck so hard. 'well, have you tried babysitting?' really is not helpful career advice.