Monday, June 22, 2009

Change the Curriculums

English has no trouble coƶpting or adapting words from other languages. If that word is a noun, we usually just drop an "s" or "es" on the end for plurals—regardless of how pluralization is done in the original language. But for some reason, this rule just does not follow with many Latin words. Vertebra becomes vertebrae; medium becomes media; curriculum becomes curricula; cactus becomes cacti. And yet bonus becomes bonuses and album becomes albums. Some are interchangeable; syllabus can be either syllabuses or syllabi. The more pedantic the speaker, the more likely they will use the later.

It is capricious which words are usually pluralized according to English rules and which are pluralized using Latin words.

Anglicized words should use standard English pluralization. Why the exception for Latin? Some of these words are probably too late to Anglicize, but I am going to continue to refer to syllabuses and cactuses. But if you hear me refer to "the mainstream mediums," I am (probably) being ironic.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Driving from DC to NYC with a Busted Window and Other Tales of Moving

I moved to Queens, New York this past Monday. Queens is a great town and I am excited to do an internship here this summer.

So about the moving experience . . . on Sunday afternoon Laura and I went to the U-Haul lot to pick up a cargo van. Sounds like a simple car rental? Apparently it is not. I am not exaggerating when I say that we waited in line for two hours before we even got to speak to an employee. Once I got to the front of the line, it took another fifteen to twenty minutes to get the van to me. Also, they required two credit cards and two phone numbers. I suppose the second credit card would be somewhat helpful if I stole their van, but I have no idea how the second phone number (Laura's) helped them since they did not check to make sure that either number was legitimate. The two of us then returned to my apartment to finish packing my things.

The next morning I loaded up the U-Haul van with all the things I was putting in the storage facility. If you have never tried moving a full-sized bed or a six foot long bookcase by yourself, it is not as easy at it looks. Nonetheless, I managed to do it and thought I was making good time.

I made it to a different U-Haul location where I had a reservation for a storage facility. I was relieved to see that there was only one person in line. My relief was premature as the "helpful" staff took an hour to get my unit set up. Furthermore, they did not show me how to work the card key; at this facility, they give you a key (similar to a hotel key) to enter and exit the building. Before customers can enter the building, they must first go to the front desk and "check-in" by swiping the card through a card reader. The employee not only did not tell me this, he acted like I was an idiot when I returned to the counter and told him my card was not working. (Also, since I had just been there five minutes before, how hard would it have been for him to check me in then?)

I managed to move my stuff into my unit and then drove to the other U-haul facility to turn in my van. They took about thirty minutes to sign the van back in, but in comparison to the service U-Haul had been providing, this encounter was positively stellar. Since I was running late, I jogged over to Union Station to pick up my car rental for my trip to Queens. In comparison, the transaction with National Car Rental took about five minutes.

Back at my apartment I crammed Ethel and her cage, most of my clothes, and my bike into a Chevy HHR. I was back and forth between my apartment and the car for about three hours. I left the door to my apartment open, but sometime while I was cleaning someone broke into the front driver-side window and stole my change. Altogether, the person made off with about $25 to $30 and nothing bigger than a quarter.

I called National Car Rental. They said I needed to file a police report. After three hours of work, I was finally able to get the Washington D.C. police department to take my report; none of the officers I encountered was eager to file the report. At 6 pm, I was finally on the road, but without a window.

It is annoying to drive for long periods of time with the window down. Without thinking, I kept trying to roll up the window that was not there. Cars make a lot of noise when they pass you going 90 mph. It's also hard to read the Mapquest directions in the dark while going 70 mph.

I rolled up to my new apartment at 10:30 pm and spent a little over a half hour unloading. I then quickly went to Laguardia to return the rental and find out how much money I would have to pay for the broken window. The agent there told me their claims department would call me to "work it out." I still have not heard from them.

Anyway, I think I have learned a couple valuable lessons:

1) Never deal with U-Haul again.
2) Most of my shit is not worth stealing, but money, even in the form of small change, is too much to resist for a drug-addict.