Posts on September 8, 2006

some days, accomplishing anything is enough
Mood: tired
Posted on 2006-09-08 00:30:00
Words: 893

So today was the appointed day to get my car Maryland safety-inspected (so I can get Maryland license plates). Got up and got to the shop at 9 (because I had been told to "drop it off in the morning"), where the guy told me I should have dropped it off at 8. Anyway, it would be done sometime in the afternoon, and no, they don't have a shuttle or anything (djedi's car isn't up here yet).

So, fine. I had planned for this eventuality. Went over to Starbucks and read Thinking in Java for a while. Tried a Green Tea Latte - ewww! The Starbucks green tea has a tendency to taste a little like grass, and apparently making it a latte really brought out the grass.

Got bored and antsy, so got up for lunch a little early (11:15ish). Walked over to Qdoba Mexican Grill which I had been meaning to try. When I walked, it's a good thing you can't be sued for similarity to an existing restaurant, because it looks a looot like Chipotle, even down to the metal bins the food is kept in and the line system. Except it's not as efficient because they offer more things that sometimes have to be done elsewhere. I ordered a chicken burrito and it kinda got lost or something - the guy never came back and people started going around me. I wasn't terribly impatient (what else did I have to do?), but it was sort of awkward, because I was looking at staff people, and it was clear something was wrong and that they didn't have the power to fix it. The manager or some sort of management person (it was clear because he was tall, loud, and obnoxious - kept talking in loud short Spanish phrases in a jocular way to the staff because, hey, it's a Mexican restaurant! Jerk) finally noticed when the line behind me emptied and ask whether I had been helped. I said, well, sorta, but my meal kinda disappeared, and he apologized, took my order, and gave me free chips and queso. The burrito was decent but nothing spectacular, and the chips (which had that same sort of salt that Chipotle uses!) and queso were fine, but definitely not worth the $3.25 I didn't pay for them :-)

After that, I called djedi and ended up sorta arguing over stupid crap that he was right about, then walked over to see how my car was doing. The guy was vagueish but it sounded like it hadn't even been looked at yet, and it would be done "around 3:30-4". Great. Anyway, back to Starbucks after walking around in the nice weather a little (but not too much; my stomach was bothering me a little off and on from drinking too much Starbucks). After not too long, got a call saying that my car needed the rear brakes tightened and the alignment redone, both of which had been done right before we left on our trip here. Sigh, fine, whatever, just make it pass (this put the bill over $200 - just the inspection alone would have been $80!). Sat inside for a while, then outside for a while, then walked around some more when my brain was going to explode (the book is not exactly light reading).

Around 3:45 or so I went over to wait in the waiting room just to make sure I didn't miss the phone call or something like that. Sat down, and "Oprah" was just coming on after "Dr. Phil". It was a big episode because it was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's first interview together as a couple, or something like that. The audience showed their appreciation by screaming a lot. Great. Wandered around a little outside and called djedi again to see how things were going back at the ranch (they were going OKish). The same guy I talked to in the morning and the afternoon was at the counter when I walked back in and said that only the alignment was left to be done. Super.

Sat back down and read some more, nearly finishing the book by skipping a lot about concurrency. Heard a lot of campaign ads (I think the primaries are this coming Tuesday). So the current mayor of Baltimore (O'Malley, a Democrat) is running for governor against the current one (Ehrlich, a Republican). Ehrlich ran an ad criticizing O'Malley for bad Baltimore schools. But he's the governor - isn't he to blame too? It reminded me of the Simpsons where Sideshow Bob aired an ad saying Mayor Quimby was soft on crime because he let Sideshow Bob out of jail :-) Also, it was neat to see so many Democratic ads (maybe only the Democratic primary is Tuesday? But I thought they were always on the same day...), and all of them were anti-war, anti-Bush.

Anyway, I keep reading, Tim McGraw (who is cute) makes chicken and dumplings, and I finish my book right about the time my car is done - 5:15. I'm friendly to the guy who checks me out, but I'm really just tired and frustrated with the world.

Luckily the evening was better, although I caused an almost wipe in WoW that I shouldn't have. Hoping tomorrow is way more productive, although given that it will likely involve the DMV, I'm guessing not so much.


Victory over the MVA!
Mood: accomplished
Posted on 2006-09-08 15:57:00
Words: 745

(Texas:DPS::Maryland:MVA) So today was MVA day. The hope was we could both get driver's licenses and I could get my car registered and license plates and all that. We got going a little late (*wink*) and got to the nearest (as far I as I could tell) place that did that stuff, which is 20 minutes or so away.

Back story: To get your MD driver's license (fun fact: the state tree is the White Oak!), you need, among other things, two proofs of your new address. One of these could be the leasing contract with the apartment (check!) and the only other possibility we had for the other was a bill sent to our address. Well, most of the stuff this time around is in David's name, so he was set with a Comcast bill, but I had...less good options. So, to cover my bases and give myself the best chance of getting a license today, I brought:
- A City of Austin electricity bill (sketchy because it's not a local utility. Also, when I said "Swift Stream Place" over the phone, the woman entered "Swist Stream Place" without even asking if the first word was actually any sort of English word. So the address is off by one letter.)
- A Janus notification sent to my old address that I had changed my address to the new one (sketchy because it was addressed to the old address)
- An envelope that a Bank of America statement came in that showed it had been forwarded to our new address (sketchy because nowhere on the statement does it say anything about our new address)

So I wasn't sure I would be able to get a license, but at least I would be able to get my car registered and David would get his license.

I was a little worked up and anxious on the way there when David discovered that you actually do need a Maryland driver's license to register a car. Crap! So it's possible this whole trip will be wasted for me.

We find our way there and enter the separate building where the driver's licenses are being done. We take a number (A38 and A39) and stand around, for there are no seats (seats opened up 20 minutes later or so). The MVA is not a terribly interesting place, so I'll skip the intervening 2.5 hours(!) that we waited. Oh, and we were in a hurry so forgot to bring a book or anything to do. Whee.

Anyway, so it's 12:45 or so and finally I get called, and right afterwards David gets called. The moment of truth! I explain that I need a MD license to my clerk, a lady who is kinda slow-moving and talkative, but seems friendly enough. I decided to lead off with the utility bill since it's actually a bill. She looked at it and was confused at first, but when I explained it was an electricity bill she moved on. Yay!!

So we're going through the process, and it gets to the point where she's entering my Maryland address. Since we only have one copy of the lease, we're sharing it, and David's clerk is looking at it now, so she uses the electricity bill to enter the address. Uh-oh. Decision time: should I let this go and be doomed to a driver's license that has a slightly incorrect address, or should I point out that the address on the bill is wrong and risk her rejecting it as a proof of address? Thinking that she seemed pretty laid-back, I pointed out that the address was wrong, to which she replied that she couldn't use it. Crap!

I go to my second choice of address proof - the forwarded address letter from Bank of America, which she looks at and says is fine. So disaster is averted!

Anyway, the rest of it went fine, and I have a shiny new Maryland driver's license, which is awesome. We decided that djedi would go grab lunch for us while I waited in line for the title and registration. Anyway, the rest of that was relatively uneventful - an hour and a half later we had eaten lunch and I had license plates and registration for my car. So that's what we accomplished today.

Tonight we're going to the Games Club of America meeting here. Dinner's provided, which is pretty neat. I'm excited but nervous about meeting new people. We'll see how it goes!


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