Friday, September 30, 2005

Baseball history?

If the series this weekend is split 2-1 in favor of the sox, and Cleveland also goes 2-1, we are going to have a double tiebreaker, something that has never happened in baseball. Sox-Yanks for AL East, Loser of that vs Indians for wildcard. Of course, i hope the Sox sweep this weekend and it's not even a problem.

My dad and I are off to see the Johnson-Wakefield matchup. We saw the same matchup a couple weeks ago in New York, which ended up with Wakefield pitching a gem but Johnson still getting the win, 1-0.

Go Sox!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Young Dartmouth Alumni

I just returned from a Dartmouth Young Alumni event. I originally was not going to go, as my allergies have left me feeling very weak and icky, and I actually got sick from not eating anything and taking allergy medication...ick! I decided that these events happen once a year, so I should just suck it up and go.

Let me tell you, I may be a Dartmouth alumna, but I am certainly not a young one. Everybody at this event graduated in 2000 or after! Well, everybody except for the three other 96's and one '98 who eventually stood clustered in a corner.

It was open bar, so I made my way up for a drink. It was seriously like being in Theta Delt on a Wednesday night. People were ordering 4-5 drinks per person, and shoving against the bar. Very weird. I tried to leave the bar area so I could go to the adjacent bar and buy a drink, but the entrance was flooded with the young'uns.

So, as previously mentioned, I ended up talking with the three 96's. Who started talking about their kids. And that's why I'm back home at 8:35. =D

Weird night. I'm looking forward to this weekend when Oge, a fellow 96 and good friend, comes to Boston for a Saturday night pub crawl. woohoo! Then I'll feel like a young alum again....

Applying MIT Minds to Baseball Standings

Interesting column from Gordon Edes in today's Boston Globe about probabilities of the Sox taking the division or wild card

So you think you can Dance and Lost

I was supposed to get lots of work done last night, but my allergies are making me really foggy, so I found myself in front of the TV for my two favorites shows.

So You Think You Can Dance was excellent. The four finalists deserved to be there. The only exception I may have made was trading Jamile for Blake because I believe Blake to be way more versatile. Of course, that may be because my own style is more similar to Blake's =D. However, Jamile definitely has the better personality, so yay!. I am rooting for Ashle to win. She is a stunning dancer; she looks natural doing any type of dancing. Ooo...blanking on the non-Jamile guy, but he is my choice for second. Third would be Melody...she's a gorgeous dancer, but always reverts back to the same ol' lyrical tricks. Anyway, that's my take.

And Lost kicked butt as always. I know people TiVo this show, so won't say too much about it, except that the first half was pretty slow but the last 15 minutes kicked butt.

Okay, think I've procrastinated enough...I have a big presentation at noon. It's at the point where I really can't look at it anymore or touch any of the software, so I'm kind of floating along in my allergy haze. =)

Things that scare Ilana...

Commitment! Nah, just kidding. What scares me is learning new technologies such as DSM that when Googled point primarily to educational sites. Robbie's and Yoav's blogs were actually among the top results. Maybe it doesn't scare me so much as frustrate me. I just feel I could be spending my time more effectively by learning technologies and techniques that are more accepted by industry standards.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Go, Sox!

Katie and I headed to Fenway last night after work, but the game was rained out. We met up with Jeff and Steve and went to Jillian's for drinks instead. It was a very fun time.

Today, Katie and I once again made our way over to Fenway. The day was perfect: sunny, breezy, gorgeous. Jeff came over to sit with us in the 7th inning. It was a great game! Sox won 3-1. Everybody stayed until the very end of the game. I really didn't see any of the crowd leaving early.

After the game, we went to Jeff's apartment to pick up his very well-behaved chocolate lab Riker. We walked Riker across the bridge to Katie's car in the west lot annex. Jeff, Riker, and I then made our way over to building one, where I planned to see if I could catch up with John Haj or anyone on my project management team as they filed out of class. I unfortunately missed them all. Of course, the author of the delightful note below was one of the few folks I ran into. Nah, that wasn't at all awkward. Then I walked to the west annex lot with John Wang, who I really haven't seen much this term and was great to catch up with.

All in all, a wonderful afternoon! Now I am going to try to punch out some of the software engineering homework and business of software stuff before my next project meeting.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Boston Women: Beware of Taxis

Those of you who have ever gone out on the town with me know that I hate taking taxis by myself, and would prefer to walk as long as the walk is on crowded streets.

Here is a good reason to buddy up when taking cabs:
Scary article

Thanks to my mom for this information.

No traffic on 128!!!!

I had barely any traffic on my way into work today! That in itself is blogworthy. From gym to MITRE took 18 minutes where it normally takes at least 30. Hit a little traffic at route 3, but never came to a complete stop. I'm so happy....yay! It truly is the little things in life....

Friday, September 23, 2005

Outstanding instructors

I think Professor Leveson has potential to end up in my Outstanding Instructors category. I believe this to be a group of people who know their subjects and are effective at passing this information along. Here are my members so far and what they taught:

Junior high: Ms. Dow (Gifted and talented general classes), Mrs. Engdahl (English)
High School: Mr. Pane (English), Ms. Conley(English)
College: Prof Saccio (Shakespeare), Prof Rassias (French)
Grad: ?
Other: Lisa Kaplan (Jazz/Lyrical dance), Ahron Davidi (religious school) (No, he's not in here just because he is my dad)

Looking back, I can see why I was influenced to study English literature and creative writing in college after having such great teachers in my younger years.

Back to the present, I really enjoy Leveson's teaching style as well as the reasonable amount and type of work she assigns. The three-hour class goes by like nothing.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Ohmigod....I was just putting on eye makeup, getting ready to go out, when i thought back to our chat today. I laughed so hard AGAIN I almost put out an eye.

Hand-in-hand up the hill, giggling rolling down the hill, into the hay...

(Sorry to non-chatters. Definitely a location joke.)

Good news

Actually, great news. Legislation will require that pets be evacuated as well as people. See CNN article

As for bad news, I am completely ignoring the Red Sox right now, including the fact that Foulke is out for the season.

VCR/So You think you can Dance Result

I didn't set the VCR up properly. I got an hour of blue screen.

At least the people I wanted to be voted off got voted off (Ashlee and Jamile got to stay)

So sad I didn't get to see it...I'm hooked on that show.

Profile viewing count still stuck

My profile count is still stuck at 666. What's up with that???

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


WOW....okay, I wasn't on pins and needles over the summer, but I definitely wondered what happened after the season finale. Not going to give anything away here, but usually the premier of the next season SUCKS. This one absolutely did not. Wow. Who writes this stuff????


Lost starts back up tonight!!!!! I am so excited. SUCH a good show. Unfortunately, it is on at the same time as "So You think you can Dance." This means I am going to have to use my VCR to record "Dance," as I will be out to dinner during the shows. Should be an interesting challenge. I heart my TiVo.

Not much else knew. I spent the day at the offsite for my department. I have so few hours in the day to spare between work and school that any time wasted driving really irks me. The drive up there took 1.5 hours in the morning, and 1 coming back. Sigh... It's fun to see everybody though.

Autumn starts oooo....five minutes ago. Good-bye, Summer. I will miss you. You will live on forever in my heart and in my tanning booth. (Yes I am committing to staying tan this year! Of course, I always say that and never do. Please no comments on how bad it is for my health.)

Okay, gotta go figure out the VCR. Should be fun.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"What's it like being one of so few girls?"

That is a question I am often asked about being one of 5 women in a 61-person class at MIT. I always answer that the guys treat me with so much respect that sometimes I don't even notice the large gender gap. However, this morning, that respect was broken when I received the following email from a classmate. It is in response to him having received my profile as a potential match on a dating site (yes, I'm out there)

Email starts here:

Jesus Christ, Ilana, you got emailed to me as a match. You’re aren’t you?

So. How about a little incest? Anyone with as much mutual hatred as we started out with is bound to give it a go, in the movies at least.

What are you doing on Yahoo anyway? It's because I told you I was on there isn't it--not that you came on there for me, but I made you think of Yahoo Personals. Did you pay for Yahoo or just do free post?

Let’s go for it. Mmm. . .cohort incest. You know I actually did have a Moment of Lust for you, didn’t think it was possible. Looking at your calves, tanned calves, sitting down, very nice. Very beautiful, tanned Ilana, hate to admit it, but there it is. One moment to just reach down and brush that calf with my palm. Didn’t do it of course.

You want me to write you on the service? Pick you up like a stranger? LOL, it’s all a game. So funny, so exciting, and in the end, so very sad. Yet we all play, one way or another, online or off.

Now here's the game: I'm not going to write who this person is, but I bet my fellow classmates can guess. Try not to vomit.

Meeting luck

Some of you may remember my incident of 2003, my first meeting at MITRE in which I went to use the ladies room before and somehow broke the side zipper on my pants. It wouldn't zip back up. I ended up having to rush back to my office and staple my pants to keep them on. I kept checking my pants throughout the meeting, and never noticed that the middle button of my blouse was unbuttoned the whole time, exposing my bra. Woohoo!

Today I went to use the lady's room before a big presentation. I glanced down at one point and realized, "Hmm...I usually can't see the floor through my pants. When I pulled them back up and felt the air conditioning, I realized what was wrong. They had somehow split from front to back up the, umm, butt seam. So my pants were gaping open, and I was trapped in the ladies room. 10:47. My meeting is at 11:00am. I took my jacket off, wrapped it around my waist, bolted for my office (which I now of course share with a boy), grabbed my sewing kit, and ran back to the bathroom. Of all the domestic skills, I believe my sewing to be among the best, right up there with my cookie baking. I managed to sew up the pants, grab my laptop, and be ready for the meeting at 11:00.

The clients showed up at 11:35.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Check me out! profile has now been viewed 666 times. Not that I'm a suspicious girl or anything, but I can't help but remember that both the Sox and the Pats lost today. Can somebody please click on my picture to the right and boost me up to 667?

System architecture analogy

For my system arch class, we need to do a grid in which there are a number of system architect experts listed across the top, then three categories along the side: product, design process, and implementation process. Each of these has a line for each of the basic questions: how, what, why, when, where, how much, who.

I am really struggling to see the relationship between the rows and columns. To me it seems as if you put baseball teams across the top (Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Braves, etc.) and on the side had three categories: pasta (spaghetti, ziti, fussilli...), carpet type (shag, persian, throw), and music type (rock, country, classical). If you stretch your mind, you can make these connections: the Red Sox live in Boston where there is a tunnel, so they like ziti.

The whole thing is just so incongruous, and I am getting very frustrated trying to make everything fit. Is anybody else running into this for opp set 1, question 4? Or am I missing something that would make this job incredibly easy?

Pats losing, Sox losing, Ilana grumpy

The Pats still look awful. The Sox are down 12-1. The Yankees (thankfully) are down 5-4.

I am so tempted to turn off the televisions set. The Pats just don't look like themselves. Then again, this team has delivered so much that one can never count them out.

Besides, if I shut the TV off, I need to do System Architecture homework. Then again, that might be less painful than watching this damn game.

What's wrong with the Pats?

They look awful. They are making mistakes worthy of the 49ers of last year. They look like themselves in 1989. C'mon, Pats! Let's go! I don't care if I lose in Fantasy Football!

Oh, yeah, and speaking of...please get Deion Branch some passes, and no interceptions, Tom!!

Commentator humor/poetry

The commentator for the Pats game just said, "Randall Gay is on his way to get some BenGay." Such poor taste. The guy might have just snapped his ankle in two and play-by-play boy is making funnies that aren't very funny.

I am playing the Pats' defense in fantasy football this week. Such a rooting quandry. NOT! Go Pats! Dubya's Crusaders, you still suck!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Donate directly to Katrina victims

My friends Tara and Goober in Atlanta sent this email.

My wife Tara and I along with another couple (Denny and Lauren) are sponsoring/adopting a group of 15 evacuees from the same church/community in New Orleans. Denny and Lauren were kind enough to take their 4,000 square foot house for sale in Norcross off the market and allow the group to stay there for the next 2 months rent free. They are also trading in an RV to purchase a vehicle for the families to use in their job search and then to attend those jobs. Our goal is to keep them in the house as expense free as possible for as long as possible (hopefully at least for the next 4-6 months) and to help them find employment. We are asking for any help we can get in the form of monetary or gift certificate donations. We mostly need help paying for the utilities, additional months rent and on going necessities. We have already received many furniture, clothing and food donations, however, we do still need a little help furnishing the house and keeping them with food and necessities. For more info on and pictures of the group, a list of items donated and needed, descriptions of their clothing sizes and a list of contributors please visit

Any monetary donations can be made by check, money order, cash or thru the pay pal account on the website. Checks and money orders can be made payable to Adventure League, Inc. and sent to 3051 Highland Drive, Smyrna, GA 30080. We also have a tax deductible nonprofit (501c) organization (The Children's Fund at a place that will donate 100% back to the families. If you are interested in donating thru The Children's Fund please contact me for instructions. Also, if you know of any job opportunities in the Metro Atlanta area please let us know. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail or phone (w)404-846-5049, (c)404-798-2808. Thank you in advance for all the responses and support.

Emergency brownies safely in freezer

As part of my procrastination tonight, I made brownies. I like to have brownies on hand at any time, as they are a beautiful, wondrous food. After I make a batch, I eat a little row of them from the bottom of the tray. I then wrap each brownie individually and put it in the freezer. That way, whenever I want a home-made brownie, I only need to open my freezer, tear through some tinfoil, and either microwave it or just dig in. Yay, emergency brownies!

What? Stop procrastinating and go back to my reading? But why? Sigh...okay....

Software engineering reading

Andrew just called. He asked what I was doing. I responded with, "It's a Saturday night! What do you think I'm doing?" To his few guesses I answered, "No! Homework! Wheeee...."

I love my software engineering class. The professor is wonderful, and the readings are excellent. I am almost positive that this class will be one of my favorites--if not the favorite--of my classes at MIT.

The homework for the first couple of weeks is very time-consuming. We need to write a half-page summary and half-page critique on each article we read. While I think this is a good way to ensure that we thoroughly understand the paper, it certainly is a lot of work. I can't complain about it because I feel it is truly beneficial. I'm just kind of babbling on here as a procrastination device.

I am working on my fourth of the twelve that are due this Friday. Okay, I'll shut up and go back to my essays so that I can devote all of tomorrow to the bliss that is System Architecture homework.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Yankees within 1.5

Yankees are only 1.5 games back. Frankly, it frightens me. They have one extra game to play, so we could potentially have a one-game playoff a la 1978/Bucky F#$$# Dent.

We need to stop getting hurt, improve our pitching, then prepare to sweep the Yankees in the final game of the season. Easy, right?

In software engineering

We are at the break in software engineering. I really enjoy this class. It's great to finally be in a class in which I feel that I am in the more experienced half of the population, unlike classes like ERBA or systems engineering in which I really had to struggle.

The professor, Nancy Leveson, is very intelligent and has a very quick wit. It seems price of tuition also earns you admission to this comedy club.

Okay, back to class. Then to system architecture in which the wonderful feelings of clarity I have achieved in this class will rapidly dissipate.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

One Art

I am too sleepy to write my own stuff today, so am posting one of my favorite poems by Elizabeth Bishop. I was reminded of this poem while trying to remember where I put the SDM bumper stickers...and other stuff....


One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bush's Vacation

Poor taste? Maybe. Accurate? Definitely. For me, this captures Bush's attitude towards New Orleans. Can't blog anymore about it or I will get angry.

Thanks to John for the image.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

It's the little things in life....

I had to take a break from doing my software engineering homework to blog about the best fruit salad I have had all summer.

When i lived in Atlanta, Sunday night was always a time for me to spend about half an hour chopping up watermelon, cantelope, honeydew, and pineapple to make a big huge fruit salad to last through the week.

I still cut up fruit every week, but have found the melons here to be a lot less satisfying than down South. I therefore do not toss all the fruit together, creating separate bowls for the excellent watermelon, mediocre cantelope, passable honeydew, or whatever the melon of the day brings.

BUT today! Today! Today everything was great! DELICIOUS watermelon! Same for the honeydew and cantelope! I threw them all together in my big, huge silver bowl. I even took a handful of blueberries and threw them on the top. This salad is just amazing. I'm so happy.

The fruit was all bought at Wilson's Farm in Lexington, for any of you Massachusetts folk out there hoping to reach the level of euphoria I have achieved today.

For those not into fruit, I am going to try to get my pregnant little sister to guest blog for me about the wonders of Fluff.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quick summary, then more software articles...

The Yankees games were great, especially Saturday's when we won! I enjoyed Sunday's game due to being able to spend time with my good friends and New Yorkers Jeff and Dingo (along with girlfriend Lynnette).

Some observations about the series:

  • When New York was down, the PA folks played a song to encourage them. I may have been one of the few in the stadium to realize what it was: the finale to "Bring it On," a movie about cheerleading competitions. Hmmm....interesting choice, boys.

  • There was very little fanfare for the 9/11 game. When I was there in years past, they had parachuters and eagles being released. Sunday's game was very subdued, though it was awesome to hear a few veterans introduced before the game

  • The fierceness of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry can eclipse even the emotion of the day. By the ninth inning, people were already growling at each other again

  • After "God Bless America," I heard a chant from the audience, and thought it was "Yankees suck," a chant I thorougly dislike. I listened closer, and it was a few sections of combined Yankees and Red Sox fans shouting "USA! USA!" Funny how much it sounded like "Yankees suck." It was cool though.

  • Speaking of cool, one side of Yankees stadium is about thirty degrees hotter than the other (sun side vs. shade side).

  • Many people were chanting "Yankees suck" or "Red Sox suck." If you combine these, you can get any of the following:
    Rankees suck
    Yank Sox suck
    And my favorite: Rank Sox suck.

  • It's great to have friends like Jeff and Dingo who you can call up after not speaking for a while and just go see a game.

  • I realized the amount of dirt available on me at that game was very risky. Jeff and I were born three weeks apart and have been friends since the playpen. Dingo knew me in college. Waaaaaaay too much ilanaknowledge for my liking

  • What starts off as a short list can grow much longer when you are procrastinating from reading software articles.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Go, Sox!

I am in New York for the Red Sox-Yankees series. Today I am heading out with my parents and Eve. Jeff will be attending in our other set of seats with one of his brothers, his brother's girlfriend, and an evil Yankee-fan friend. Despite my devotion to my Sox, I do like Yankee stadium (and Derek Jeter). However, I love my Sox and hope they kick butt both days. GO SOX!

BTW, for those tracking, my schedule since Monday has been:
Monday: Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Tallahasee
Tuesday: Tallahassee, Destin
Wednesday: Destin, Atlanta
Thursday: Atlanta, Boston
Friday: MIT
Saturday: Boston, Sharon, New York

Friday, September 09, 2005

Scam warning

Please be aware that even though most people are good at heart, some are not. Beware of Katrina scams.

Also, for those wanting to help the animcals, go to the ASPCA website

Yay, Pats!

Due to my exhaustion from my trip, I passed out last night at 7pm. With the exception of a 9pm phone call, I slept straight through until 7am. I had to watch the SportsCenter highlights to get a handle on the game. The Pats looked good!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Just getting back

I am just getting back to boston and will have to catch y'all up on Destin and the trip. Another time though...class starts in less than two hours!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Dear ol' Destin

We woke up early this morning and headed to Destin. On the way, we stopped at Po' Folks for a breakfast buffet. It was okay...biscuits and gravy, eggs, and grits were fair-to-middling while their french toast sticks were excellent.

We arrived in Destin and hit the beach. It is amazing how much work has been done here since the hurricanes that hit here last year and earlier this year. Many places on the beach still show damage, but they also all show signs of having been worked on. They also continue to replace the gorgeous white sand that was lost to those storms. It really gives a situation like the Katrina one some hope to see all the work that has been done here.

I will blog more later, but it's now off to dinner at Kellie and Allen's

Happy to be here

Dan and I flew into Atlanta today from Pittsburgh, and immediately got on the road. We drove to Tallahassee with brief stops just south of Atlanta to see Dan's sister Susan's new house and in Cordele for a very good Southern food buffet: we're talkin' fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, ocra, potatoes, biscuits...YUM!

When we got down to Tallahassee, we headed over to the game, me in my Florida State shirt and Red Sox cap. It was amazing how many people shouted "Go Sox!" as I would pass them. The first time it took me too off guard, but after a while I would just respond with, "Go Noles!" It was great to see all the Sox fans and no Yankee gear anywhere.

As for my fears, they were all unfounded. It looks the same as it ever has down here. It's kind of weird. The one thing that struck me as very ironic was that people were standing outside the stadium protesting Florida State's mascot (the Seminoles) but not Miami's (the Hurricanes). We'll call this "Deep thoughts by Ilana Davidi."

The game itself was great though sloppy. We started tailgating at about 4:30, and went until 7:30. The usual group of Dan's fraternity brothers and spouses were there. We sat separately from them, though. The game looked sharp at first with FSU's running game in gear, but it quickly disintegrated. Luckily, both teams looked pretty bad and FSU ended up on top for the first time in seven games. Go, Noles!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Animal rescue blog?

I know in my blog travels of the past week that I found a woman who was looking to help the animals in New Orleans. She was matching funds for people donating to the animal shelters, and when I checked on Friday was looking to have someone match her own final donation of $105. Even if she was not still matching, I would like to donate to the organization she was supporting.

Does anyone have a link to this blog? I can't find it and would like to donate (as well as help publicize the effort)

Pitt definitely worth flying USAir

I continue to have fun in Pittsburgh. Today we met Katie and Josh for breakfast at Pamela's. It was great to meet Josh, who had a really fun sense of humor. Brunch was awesome: I had to breakfast special of pancakes, eggs, and bacon (I think in a less politically correct time, it would have been the "Lumberjack's Special). Everything was outstanding.

After breakfast, Dan and I did some shopping. I brought nothing but tanktops, so had to buy a cute little sweater at the Gap.

Then it was off to Jay and Christy's wedding at the Botanical Gardens. The ceremony was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and they both looked so happy. The reception was at a wonderful restaurant at the top of a hill. We had a great view of downtown Pittsburgh. I continue to be more and more impressed by this city. Now if only they could get rid of the Steelers.... (oh, and send me Ben Roethelisburgher...c'mon, I love my Pats, but I'm not completely prejudiced to other AFC's just I only like certain team members....)

ANYWAY, wedding was great. Got to meet lots of good people. Dan and I conked out after a while and had to walk to the funicular with John and Christy, a fun couple we were sitting beside. The walk was refreshing, and I haven't been on a funicular since living in Lyon in 1994. (Dude, I'm old)

Dan and I both have early morning flights so I am off to sleep. Will update you on travel plans at some point tomorrow.

Pittsburgh Journey Log

Remember the scene in "Gone with the Wind" when Scarlett is standing in the middle of the fields at Tara after vomiting up the radish she ate, saying with great vehemence, "With God as my witness, I will never be hungry again!"?

Well, picture the same scene with me as Scarlett, no radish boot, saying the same thing about flying US Air.

I called twice in the last four days about flying standby. Both times I was told that all I had to do was go to the airport, pay $25 dollars, and hop on a non-stop flight to Pittsburgh. Now that struck me as strange (both times) because I bought my ticket on Expedia and it includes a changeover in Philly. I pointed this out to both "Customer Service" reps on the phone, and both said that it did not matter.

SOoooo, instead of sleeping in util 8am to catch my 10:30am flight, I woke up at 3:45am and booked it over to the airpiort to catch the 6am. Now, not only does this involve losing sleep I desperately need, it also means taking a cab ($26) instead of the subway ($1.25).

To summarize, the people at the front desk did not let me check in for the 6am. I spent 20 minutes at the desk, then had to call their consumer affairs number, which yielded about the same result as if I'd stood around playing hopscotch for 30 minutes instead of being on hold and talking to two agents.

So I finally returned to the same damn booking lady (a supervisor), and told her.

Now I need to mention that numerous times thorughout this process, I told them that I understood the rules and policy. I was just upset that I was given wrong information twice by two different people. US Air hires incompetent people and the customer is punished.

Of course, no one understood what I was saying because I must have switched into Swahili or something, and they all just kept explaining the policy (Well, you bought on expedia, and these tickets are $584, and you paid $101.) Stupid people piss me off. Listen!! Listen to your customer!

So anyway, I was talking to the supervisor, and of course, you know me. I started crying. (In case you don't know me, here's an example of me watching a commercial: "He didn't wear Right Guard? And he killed the poor squirrel . That's so awful! "

So the lady put me standby on a 6:30 am to @#($*#@$) Philly. I think she felt bad because she knew I was right, so she waved the $25 change fee.

I arrived in Pittsburgh eventually, and plopped myself down at a bar for a few beers while waiting for Dan and Jamie to arrive. I ended up sitting next to a woman from Thetford, VT, who explained to me that it was four miles from Dartmouth College. I told her that was where I did my undergrad, and we sat and talked a while. Anyone that is already halfway through a beer by 10:30am is my kind of person! She eventually had to run for a flight, but a stream of other fun people kept coming. I love airport bars.

Dan and Jamie arrived around 11:45, and we went to pick up the rental car. We drove to the hotel, dropped off the car, checked in, then Dan and I took off for PNC Park to see the Pirates-Cubs game. We bought tickets on the street for $10 a piece. The game at that point had been going on for about an hour. The seats were about 15 rows back from third base! They were great.

We really liked PNC Park. Great view of the city, good food, none too crowded. It looks almost exactly like PacBell in San Fran, possibly designed by the same guy. We had one of the Pittsburgh sandwiched that has meat, coleslaw, tomato, and french fries on it. It was pretty good.

Friday, September 02, 2005

For Eve

Link to the Tallahassee newspaper.

Something to make you all laugh

"So You Think You can Dance" has taken the coveted position of my second-favorite show (behind "Lost"--hmmm...I just realized both shows feature handsome, shirtless men. Am I predictable or what?)

Anyway, having completey depressed and exhausted myself by looking at pictures of the Katrina tragedy and trying to decide about my upcoming vacation, I did a Google search of "blog" and "so you think you can dance." I'm number one! Go see for yourself.

Man, I needed that laugh.

Dartmouth comes through

After all the stupid crap the current administration has pulled over the last few years (i.e. yanking all the keg taps from the fraternities and sororities while only the sophomores were on campus), they have finally done something right.

They are offering admission to students displaced by the hurricane. Pretty darn classy. I might stop donating only to the Dartmouth football team and start donating the the college again. More details here.

Read the blogs

My advice is to stop watching the news, listening to the radio, and read blogs instead. I always wonder about how sensationalist news is, and it certainly is right now. They only report the bad, not the good. They are also not reporting about anything other than the New Orleans tragedy, while many areas have actually been hit.

Start with these:
MaxedOutMama (Drove from Atlanta to Gulfport)
Cyli (in New Orleans)
Man still in New Orleans. Many pictures

Not a blog, but interesting. Thanks to Sam for this link. Why don't we ever listen to ourselves?

What it's like

I have told most people I have contact with this story, but it's an amazing one, so I'll type it as well:

My friend Dingo keeps a blog. He is a member of a democratic circle-linking-type thing to which a member called MaxedOutMama also belongs.

Long story short is that MOM reads Dingo's blog, and recently read about his search for Boomr in New Orleans and Gulfport. Without having met Boomr, MOM traveled down to Gulfport from Atlanta to rescue him and his parents. She was unable to find him; apparently his family has moved from the furniture warehouse. However, she did give a good report on what is going on there.

If you have time, please stop by and leave her a comment. If we had more people like her in this world, it would be an amazing place.

Decision Update

I am swaying among the extremes. On the one hand, I would love to go to the Florida State-Miami game. I tell myself that it's about 4.5 hours from New Orleans. Then again, Mobile, Gulfport, and Biloxi were also destroyed, and those places are much closer.

I would say there's anywhere between a 95-98 percent chance that I will go to Tallahassee, have a great time at the game, and nothing will happen. It's the 2-5 percent chance that something will happen that has me terrified.

My main points of fear are on the road. All it takes is one nutcase needing a car with gas. But then I tell myself,'ll be far enough away from all of the damage to avoid all this.

My friends down south seem to think things are fine, while everybody up here is panicking. How much is what we see in the news exagerrated? Are the problems more limited? More widespread? Are they showing just the bad parts about New Orleans while ignoring everything about Mobile?

In the map, Destin is at about the L's in "Tallahassee."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Update from Destin

I just talked to Kellie. Destin is running low on fuel. She drove by five stations trying to find gas. Four had none. The fifth had two of eight pumps open.

I am finally watching the news rather than reading online. When you read online, you can select what you read. When you watch TV, it just gets thrown at you. This is why I don't normally watch the news on TV.

Best news all day

The best news all day are that Abi and Boomr are both alive. Abi is in Boston, and Boomr is with his parents in Gulfport, living in a furniture store while awaiting help. (Nobody has spoken with Boomr to get any more details than the address he left on his cell phone. You can read more about the situation on Dingo's blog.)

I'm scared.

I had/have plans to go to the Miami-Florida State game in Tallahassee, FL on Monday, and was really looking forward to the game. I'm a little frightened to go, though. Dan and I were/are going to fly into Atlanta, then grab his truck (which has a full tank of gas), and drive to Tallahassee.

Here is a list of what I am afraid of. Please don't judge me based on these; some of them sound petty compared to what people are going through down South, but I'm trying to be honest.
Sickness from refugees (not sure if it's just disease from dirty water or contagious stuff as well)
We get to Tallahassee, but they're out of gas, and we can't get back to Atlanta
We get to Destin and the place is overrun with refugees (petty, maybe. But this is my vacation...I don't want to come back more sad)
We somehow run out of gas in the middle of south Georgia
Lawlessness spreads from New Orleans down route 10
They start cutting flights because they cannot keep the planes filled with gas

I guess that's it. Looking at my list, it doesn't seem too bad, I guess. We wouldn't drive through Alabama or any of the back roads like we usually do to get down south. We'd take route 10 to 75 to get back to Atlanta from Destin.

So what does everybody think? Am I nuts to go? Nuts not to go? Just plain ol' nuts? I've really been agonizing over this decision (okay, that's a bit strong, but I am trying to decide whether or not to go).

Real Quick Rant

I have to do a big briefing at 3:00, but figured I'd blog about this real quick:

Last night I went to my softball game. I was happy to be playing because softball always calms me down. Wait, did I write "always?" I meant "always except last night."

One of the guys on the team was insisting on playing with three fielders and a short fielder. Most softball teams play with four fielders (left, left-center, right-center, right). My reasoning for playing with four is that if the ball gets to the short fielder, it's already a base hit. The team also incurs the increased liability of opening up many more gaps in the field for the other team to shoot for. Short fielders bring nothing positive.

Four fielders, however, closes the gaps and allows for more mobility. A player can always run up on a ball. It's much more difficult for a short fielder to chase one back (it's called "momentum of the ball," people).

ANYWAY, one of the guys on the team insisted on having a short fielder. When I objected, he became very condescending. Some highlights of our conversation:

Him: "Listen, Ilana. I've been playing baseball for thirty years now."
Me: "Wait, how old are you?"
Him: "Twenty-nine."

Seriously, you can't make this sh*t up.

Me: "Um...I know I might be an MIT nerd, but that math doesn't add up."
Him: "Well, I've been playing since I was four."
Me: "I think that equals twenty-five years."
Him: "You should do stats!"
Me: "I did do stats. At Sports Illustrated. For five years."

This guy also does not know how to keep a scorebook. When he "slid" poorly into a base, I asked him (jokingly) how he had managed to play division one baseball, but could not slide or keep a book. He told me he could slide, and that he never sat on the bench long enough to do the book. I reminded him that true baseball fans care enough about the game to uphold its traditions and understand its scoring.

His division one school, btw, was Niagara. Should I tell him I lettered in football for a D-1 school? I got a letter from Dartmouth for managing the team.