Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Frustration! = no Frans de Waal

Who is in the mood for a rant. Anyone?

Oh good! Then I have just the thing for you!

So, I had plans today to see Frans de Waal give the keynote address at the Tanner Center Forum. I'm a HUGE fan of de Waal's, more than anyone should be a fan of a scientist. I've been looking forard to this conference and pushing it mercilessly to the Salt City Skeptics group.

But when the time came to think about heading up to the U to see it, I'd lost all motivation.

Here's what happened:

I have a job interview on Friday, and it's a suit-and-tie sort of job interview. It occured to me that I hadn't seen my suit coat in a while. I don't wear it all that often, and last remembered wearing it in Montreal. So when I got home form work today, I went searching... My closet? No. Coat closet? Nope! Crumpled heap on bare concrete in the storage room next to the cobwebs and camping equipment? Bingo!

This means I needed to get it dry cleaned. And post haste, because I needed to make it to the keynote! So, off I ran -- okay, drove -- to the dry cleaner.

"Any chance I could get this back by end of day tomorrow?" I asked.

Dry Cleaning Guy: "Oooh, I don't know let me check." (disappears) "No, we can't guarantee it'll be done then."

"Does that mean it will probably be done tomorrow, or that it probably won't?

"All he said is that we can't guantee it."

Dry Cleaning Guy was clearly disinclined to investigate the matter further. So, I said thanks, but I'll need to find somoene who can get it done. Off I went to a competetor... Thank goodness, they other can get it done. Whew! Now, I need to get back home, change my clothes, grab a quick bite and head out the door!

Oh, damn. A really long light. I'm in the left turn lane, eight cars in front of me, and only two getting through per cycle. Annoying, but what can you do?

I work my way up to the front and I'm waiting patiently at the light. It's a very narrow street, one narrow lane each direction and a narrrow left turn lane with me in it.

Along 7th east (the major street I'm trying to turn left onto), a bus comes along, trying to make a right turn onto my road which, again, is very narrow. Guess what? The bus can't do it. Instead, it's basically headed directly for my car. I get a little nervous at the thought of being slowly crushed, but the bus driver stops short and makes a motion to me to move my car forward (i.e., into the intersection) so he can complete his turn...

Ummm, okay. I crank my wheel to the right as far as I dare without hitting the next car over and go forward a few feet. He moves the bus forward some more, pretty much wedging me in now. Nice.

I somehow manage to get forward a little further, JUST far enough that the bus can clear me. (Though now he is IN the left turn lane going the wrong direction and everyone behind me is having to contort their cars as well.)

Finally, though, the bus moves on... But there I am, the front of my car hanging out in the intersection, far enough that I am, in fact, a hazard.

No deaths though, and soon my light turns green and I'm finally able to turn. Just as I turn on to 7th, I see lights behind me. I am getting pulled over.

Yes, pulled over because my car was too far in the lane. Did he not see the bus that I was trying to avoid getting crushed by?

Why no, no he didn't. Luckily, he accepted my explanation and sent me on my way sans ticket, but by the time all this was through, I just wanted to be home, relax, and snuggle with the newly-short-haired Shakespeare.

So here I am... I think I'm going to tackle an article I've been meaning to write for the Salt City Skeptics blog about the difference between skepticism denialism. Specifically, how denialists abuse the word "skepticism" to give a veneer of credence to whatever it is they don't like (e.g., "global warming skeptics," "vaccine skeptics" an so on).


Saganist said...

Ugh, sounds like a fun day. Did you happen to make it up there for today's session? I did, and Steven Pinker's talk was very interesting. The others were interesting too, but I was especially excited to hear from Pinker. I've been meaning to read some of his books for quite a while, and seeing him in person may provide just the impetus I've been looking for.

GreenishBlue said...

Sadly, no! I was really really looking forward to today's sessions (or now yesterday's I suppose) in particular! The suck continued today. A suck which included going in to work EARLY when I planned not to go at ALL, as well as getting stuck in a broken elevator...

Wow! I'm not normally quite so complainy.

Stephen Pinker is great. I've only read The Stuff of Thought but his other books are on my list (which, of course, grows faster than I can read the books on it).

Anyway, I won't be able to make it to the first half of tomorrow, but I am HOPING to make it to the afternoon.

Lastly, I just noticed an unacceptable number of typos in this post... I say unacceptable, but I'm going to go ahead and leave them there, because I am lazy.