Thursday, July 26, 2007

Straight Trippin'

So in a week I'm making my return trip to Ithaca, where we'll talk about innovation and other nonsense for three days, and then I'm spending three glorious nights in the Big Apple. That is, assuming I can get my freaking life in order before it's time to leave.

The project is going pretty well. We have our presentation nearly complete, although I'm not terribly optimistic that the video I spent approximately 8 hours working on is going to be completely cut and edited (and worth a shit) by deadline.

Remember a few days ago where I said I'm broke? Yeah, that's still the case, except I decided to make things more difficult by losing my ATM card. So not only am I broke, even if I had money, I can't retrieve it. I can't get my new ATM card until after I leave for Ithaca.

So now I'm meeting my mom in Emporia tomorrow so she can give me sufficient cash for the entire 6 day trip. I told her I'd treat her to dinner. With her money. Classy.

My mother also "loaned" me $500 for my checking account until my loan check arrives, which I found out today won't be here until Wednesday at the earliest because there was still a form I hadn't filled out. $300 of that was put onto my nearly-maxed-out credit card, which is to be used to pay for my travel from Syracuse to NYC and back, as well as any emergency expenses. (Read: Bottle of Scotch.)

I have to pay for the trip between Syracuse and NYC because of the ridiculous bureaucratic restrictions of the KU travel office. See, they're paying for our trip to Ithaca and back, which involves a flight out of KCI to Detroit, then over to Syracuse, and back again via the same route. Because I wanted to spend a few days in NYC afterwards, I figured it'd be easy to book my return flight out of NYC instead of Syracuse for three days later. No dice. KU only uses a travel agent, and the flights have to have the same destination and departure, meaning that they were able to delay my return flight until Wednesday (instead of Sunday), but I still have to depart from Syracuse. The trip to NYC in the meantime is on my dime.

Three weeks ago I could have bought a round-trip plane ticket from Syracuse to NYC for just over $100. Checking today, the absolute cheapest round-trip is $184, with the Sunday flight leaving Syracuse at 11:00 a.m., and the return flight arriving at a comfortable hour and a half before my departing flight. I try to call my K-State contact from the project to try to find out which Greyhound they're taking, to see if I can't still save some money. No answer. I send a text. 30 minutes later, she replies "I think 9:45." I text back, "You think?" She promptly replies, "9:45 from Ithaca."

I check, and that bus is full. The next available is at 10:25, getting to NYC in a brisk five hours. So if I were to choose to take a bus there, at the price of $61, I'd be riding alone. Not a big deal, but still, it would have been nice to have some familiar company. A return trip on the bus is out of the question, seeing as how I need to be back in Syracuse on Wednesday in time to catch my 4:20 flight home.

So, it looks like I might bus it out there, then fly home. A return flight that gets me into Syracuse at a comfortable but not too early time will run at least $114. So, if I bus-and-fly, I'm still looking at about $190. Fuck that noise.

I then recheck my flight. It's expired. I have to reenter my data. Remember that flight that left at 11:00 a.m.? Well, now it's gone. All that's left for Sunday, at the price of $184, is a flight that leaves Syracuse at 7:15 p.m. Fuck me. For just over $200, I can get flights with better times, but Christ, my estimated travel expenses have literally doubled from what I originally planned on.

I pour myself a drink.

I check the Amtrak schedule. Not a chance. Not only is the train actually a LONGER trip than the bus (by a full hour), the times are absolutely ridiculous, and I can't get back in Syracuse in time for my flight unless I leave NYC in the dark hours of the morning.

So now I'm constantly checking and rechecking travel sites, Greyhound schedules, trying to keep all the various times, costs, and other numbers in my head to find the perfect, cost-effective travel plan.

I pour myself a second drink.

I can't make up my mind. Is riding a Greyhound for five hours, by myself, and flying back worth saving approximately $30? Should I just bite the bullet and buy the more expensive flight out of Syracuse so I can get to NYC during daylight hours? Should I just stay in Syracuse, use the money to buy a new identity, and try to craft a better life than the rancid shit-brick that's currently known as Floyd Masterson?

I make a third drink. Oh, and I'm chain-smoking. The killer combo.

Just as I'm considering running out into traffic to end the pain, I realize that it doesn't matter which travel package I decide on, as I can't use my credit card to buy anything tonight anyways. My payment doesn't go through until tomorrow.

I pour a fourth drink, and step outside to smoke.

Addendum: It turns out that the bus the others are riding is not, in fact, booked full. In fact, due to my checking the wrong schedule (see: "9:45 from ITHACA", not Syracuse), I can still buy a ticket for the 9:45. In fact, I can buy a ticket for any of the TEN 9:45 departures.

Fuck my ass with a cactus.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What was I doing 24 hours ago?

I was unsuccessfully attempting to perfect the art of calligraphy in 15 minutes or less in order to shoot a scene for a video about letter-writing.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What was I doing 24 hours ago?

This is a new segment I'd like to introduce to the Lair. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

"What was I doing 24 hours ago?"

I was pissing in the dark near a random exit off of I-70 between Lawrence and Manhattan.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Life and Times of Floyd Masterson: An Update

Here's what's going on in my life:

I'm preparing for what will hopefully be my final year of formal education. In exactly one year I hope to possess my Masters in Journalism from the University of Kansas, hopelessly in debt and desperate for employment. Ah, to dream.

My master's thesis is focused on Utilizing Facebook for Political Communication. Fascinating stuff.

I am currently involved in a project for the journalism school. For details, click here.

I am currently unemployed, after quitting my job in anticipation of taking a summer course, which I then dropped to participate in the project.

I'm fucking broke.

My average day consists of sleeping to whenever the hell I want to, followed by perusal of the internet for a couple hours. Then I'll lay down for a nap. When I wake up, I get back on the internet. Once a day, I turn on CNN to see what asinine story they're reporting on. At six I watch an episode of Scrubs I've seen at least five times. I watch Royals games in the evening, usually while simultaneously checking my fantasy baseball statistics. At night I'll watch The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Dave, Conan, or put in a DVD. If I miss the 10 o'clock showings of the Daily Show and/or Colbert Report, I'll watch them at midnight.

This routine is interrupted twice a week by project meetings.

I know, it's rough.

In two weeks I'm going to Ithaca, New York for the project, followed by three wild nights in New York City. In October the project takes me to Toronto.

I am currently reading The Great War for Civilisation by Robert Fisk, described as "A sweeping and dramatic history of the last half century of conflict in the Middle East from an award-winning journalist who has covered the region for over thirty years, The Great War for Civilisation unflinchingly chronicles the tragedy of the region from the Algerian civil war to the Iranian Revolution; from the American hostage crisis in Beirut to the Iran-Iraq War; from the 1991 Gulf War to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. A book of searing drama as well as lucid, incisive analysis, The Great War for Civilisation is a work of major importance in today's world." It is 1041 pages long; I am currently on page 170.

I plan to return to reading fiction very soon.

In two weeks my roommate is moving to Chicago. I'll be living alone for the first time in my life.

And that's about it. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section.

New and Relatively Unimproved

I'm making my return to the blogging world. It'll help kill the time on these lonely, drunken nights.

I've deleted all of my old posts. (Take that, Google.) They reflected an old Floyd, and while making for some interesting, humorous, and fairly embarrassing references to times past, I decided to cut anchor and start fresh. We'll see what twisted, sordid paths this incarnation of the Lair will lead us down.

I'm working on providing some actual content in the very near future. The largest issue I'm dealing with is just how personal I want to get, and whether revealing certain weak or humorous moments in my life will provide too much useful fodder for my enemies. (Enemies include ex-girlfriends, future girlfriends, potential employers, the University Daily Kansan editorial staff, Gary the Snitch, the Republican Party, my health insurance provider, Dr. Rock, J.R. Giddens, the entire roster of the Dawgs, Jack Serpentine, and many, many others.)