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Letters to the World


One less thing to gripe about…

Filed under: Car-Free,Grad School — codeman38 @ 11:39 am

Yes, it’s official. Athens, Georgia, will now have bus service running off-campus until 11 PM.

More detail from this Athens Banner-Herald article (registration or BugMeNot required):

Beginning Aug. 14, Athens Transit will start a new night service that will extend hours for many of the most popular routes.

Instead of stopping the routes 1 (North Avenue), 2 (East Athens), 5 (Beechwood/Baxter), 9 (Macon Highway/Five Points), 20 (Georgia Square Mall) and 25 (Lexington Road/Gaines School) around 7 p.m., buses will continue until 11 p.m., according to Margaret Pettus, a dispatcher for Athens Transit.

Most of you probably don’t even realize how elated I was to read this. I may very well be enjoying life in Athens starting this fall. This will also make me feel a whole lot less stressed, as I actually have time to decompress in my apartment after my assistantship before I go off about town…


Maybe I can survive without a car yet…

Filed under: Car-Free,Grad School — codeman38 @ 6:39 pm

I actually managed to walk a mile from downtown back to my apartment (stopping for dinner along the way). Not as pleasant as a bus ride, necessarily, particularly with those hills along the way… but at least I know it can indeed be done without a whole lot of difficulty. Makes me feel a little better, anyway— I’m glad that campus and downtown, at least, are quite pedestrian-friendly. Now if only the rest of town were the same way…

(Now if only they’d fix a few of the pedestrian crossing lights on campus so they actually show a ‘walk’ signal… most of them work, but one or two intersections seem to have a bit of an issue. Even calling Public Works didn’t seem to help, despite the fact that I gave the specific location of one of the broken ones. I mean, yeah, I know, just wait till it’s a green light without any arrows…but still, it’d be just a slight bit safer if they’d actually make them work like they should!)


I hate my inability to drive…

Filed under: Car-Free,General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 11:12 pm

I’m essentially chained to my apartment for 5/6 of this upcoming holiday (Martin Luther King Day) weekend.

Only the very limited weekend city buses are running on Saturday— once an hour, with the last bus arriving at my apartment at about 6:30.

And no buses whatsoever are running on Sunday or Monday. No campus buses; no city buses; nothing.

This, of course, wouldn’t be so bad if there were anything in reasonable walking distance of my apartment. There are the restaurants and stores of Five Points about a mile away… on a road with no sidewalks. I guess I could try braving walking on the shoulder of the road… And the north side of campus is about 2 miles away.

I really need to learn to ride a bike. Or something.


I am such a font geek…

Filed under: General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 1:47 am

For a while, I had wondered exactly what font is used on all the signs for buildings at the University of Georgia. I’ll have to post a picture on Flickr when I get back on campus, so you can see an example of the sign typography— it’s definitely distinctive.

Anyway, the font, as it turns out, is Ron Arnholm’s VGC Aquarius, which was designed back in the ’70s and more recently converted to digital form by Red Rooster. And I’ve seen Arnholm’s Legacy Sans used on various UGA promotional materials as well.

But the interesting part is why they used those particular fonts. Well, why not, when the designer is right there in your midst?

Edited 2006/02/05 to add: Here’s an example of one of the signs using the Aquarius font… with an added misspelling, to boot.


Another day in the ADD life

Filed under: General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 10:53 am

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out where my cell phone is. I didn’t see it at all in my room this morning (it could very well be there, but I couldn’t find it), and it’s not in the computer science department’s lost and found (which is the only other place I can think of that it might be).

And to make things worse, I tried calling it with a phone card to see if anyone had picked it up and would answer, and immediately got my voice mail – which means that the phone has either been turned off or otherwise ran out of battery life.

Though I’m hardly one for idle conversation, this is still frustrating me. For one thing, it is sort of important to be able to call my teammates for this group project I’m working on… not to mention that I need a way to keep in touch with my dad while out of the room to arrange a ride back home once the semester’s over.

Edited to add: Turns out that I’m not entirely phoneless after all; I still had my old bare-bones cell phone lying around in my apartment, and as it was from the same provider, I was able to transfer the number over to it for the time being. That definitely makes me feel a bit less stressed out, anyway!


Yet another random thought dump

Filed under: Car-Free,General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 2:04 pm

The state motto of Georgia may be “Wisdom, Justice and Moderation,” but the drunken revelry I so frequently see around UGA is hardly wise, just, or moderate, at least as far as I’m concerned. So much for the whole symbolism of the Arch.

And sure, life may be unjust, but one would think this town would do a better job at making it possible to get places without a car, particularly with the large student population. I know I’ve said it before, but really— in lieu of better transit, are sidewalks and pedestrian crossings every couple of blocks too much to ask for?

Mrgh. I’m not asking for any preferential treatment or anything— just being able to get from store to store without either waiting an hour for the bus or trying to cross six lanes of busy traffic without getting run over would be nice! Some of us students can’t afford cars; then there are those of us who are too spacey to actually drive one without great difficulty… >_<


Random ramblings on the recent lack of ramblings

Filed under: General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 9:50 pm

Yes, I know, I know, I haven’t posted anything here in ages.

Why? Well, for one thing, I’ve been rather busy lately… mainly coordinating a group assignment for a Software Engineering course. Not that this isn’t something I needed to take; in fact, I’m learning quite a bit about the development process in it, far more than I did in the corresponding course at Mercer, despite the fact that group projects were involved in each. Maybe it’s that the professor’s lectures are slightly clearer; maybe it’s that there’s more emphasis on the project (I don’t remember the workload being quite as insane, though it was heavy in Mercer’s course too), but something is helping me understand it better. Of course, it’s still extremely vague no matter who teaches it, simply because of the open-ended nature of the subject matter…

Oh, yes, and there was also the ACM Southeastern Regional Programming Competition a couple weekends ago. Fun times, even though my (new) team didn’t do nearly as well as in the past… some of the test cases they came up with on those problems were absolutely insane, because they obviously thought of situations that didn’t even cross my mind. And normally I’m quite good at spotting those strange out-of-bounds sorts of conditions…

And, well, outside of all that’s been keeping me busy in the CS department, I still haven’t a whole lot of time to blog. Something or another’s usually keeping me preoccupied… though, granted, it’s not always important. I know I spent several hours playing We ♥ Katamari when I could’ve been blogging, for instance…

…But then again, my brain’s been so foggy lately that I haven’t really been able to think of much to write, anyway.

So why am I posting right now, then? There’s a simple two-word answer to that, and that would be “fall break.” Currently I’m back home lying on the bed with a laptop on one side and a lapdog on the other. Ahhhh.


Feeling so pedestrian lately

Filed under: Car-Free,General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 9:49 pm

I really need to make more friends who can drive. That, or find somewhere up here that offers halfway affordable driving lessons catering to those with neurological quirks… or a taxi service that’s not $10 round-trip (if such a thing even exists)…


Tales from Graduate School: Drivers Wanted

Filed under: Car-Free,General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 2:30 pm

OK, so we all know by now that the campus buses here at UGA don’t run at all on the days of home football games, but I figured I’d be able to catch a city bus somewhere near campus, right?

Wrong. Unless I wanted to walk approximately a mile and a quarter to the nearest bus stop that they do pick up at on game days (an illustration via Google Maps).

And they do not mention this fact at all on their web site. After actually getting over my telephonophobia and calling transit headquarters to confirm whether the routes run to south campus on game days (hey, at least I had the foresight not to wait at the bus stop for an hour wondering where the bus was…), I left a message with the Athens Transit webmaster letting him know that, hey, the fact that the routes change on game days is something that needs to actually be mentioned somewhere.

As for that mile-and-a-quarter walk? The temperature right now is 86°, according to AccuWeather, while the heat index is 94°. I was about to collapse just walking the quarter of a mile to the East Campus dining hall… yeah, I know, part of it’s because I’m out of shape, but I could make that walk in the winter without much trouble.


Tales from Graduate School: Sic ‘Transit’ Gloria Mundi

Filed under: Car-Free,General,Grad School — codeman38 @ 5:44 pm

Argh. Yes, there may be a public transit system here, but rapid transit it is not.

I decided to take a little excursion this afternoon, while I had some free time, to go to the grocery store to pick up a couple things I needed— namely, orange juice and a box of blueberry Toaster Strudels™®©. (Mm, I love those things.)

Catching the bus to the grocery store wasn’t an issue, either. So I got there without a hitch, and found the orange juice I needed… but lo and behold, the store’s freezer wasn’t working properly, so the Toaster Strudels were more than a bit warm. I didn’t want to risk it, so I decided just not to bother with them.

So I came out with the grocery store and waited eight minutes for the bus, just like the schedule said.

And waited.

And waited.

By this point, it was already past time for the bus to be several stops past the one I was at, yet I hadn’t seen the slightest hint of it.

So I decided to walk back a bit… slow as it was.

Finally, after several minutes of walking— honestly, I had lost count of how long it had been by then— a bus showed up and I stepped on, to ride it all the way around the route. Naturally, there had been no buses that showed up on the other side of the street… and even if there had, there’s no way I’m playing a life-sized game of Frogger to get across that busy road. (Who in their right mind would design a major intersection and not put a crosswalk there, anyway?)

Total time spent? Over an hour. For a carton of orange juice. Now I have to go to some other store some other time to find the Toaster Strudels.

Maybe I should try my hand again at learning to ride a bike…

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