August 28, 2009

Back in Sacramento after winning the US Airways luggage lottery

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Admiral Fox and I arrived back in Sacramento Wednesday night and won the luggage lottery, getting both of our checked 49.5 lb suitcases off our US Airways flight from Philadelphia.

While there was no movie on the plane, we were entertained for part of the 5-hour flight by a belligerent, middle-aged woman seated four rows ahead of us who was ticked off at the flight attendants (and life in general). She drank way too much and then - hold on tight - lit a cigarette while sitting in her window seat.

Yup, she puffed a couple of times before the flight attendants took away her lighter and smokes.

Perhaps more unbelievable, she simply walked off the plane and into the darkness in Sacramento. The betting on the plane was leaning heavily towards handcuffs and cops at the gate.

(NOTE TO THE ALMIGHTY: Please God, don't have that woman be a returning student who wants to study journalism at our university.)

CFA president, Lillian Taiz
CFA President Lillian Taiz

On our university campus Thursday, the talk was all about the 10 percent pay cut faculty and staff and are taking. University President Alex Gonzalez gave a speech in which he said times would be tough, but it was an 'opportunity to examine ways to operate more efficiently.'

Most faculty would like the pass on the opportunity, thank you very much.

The few students who attended the president's semester opening remarks - and whose fees have increased 32 percent this year - seemed pretty sanguine, perhaps more worried about the increases in book prices across the street at the bookstore.

Faculty heard a different story from California Faculty Association Lillian Taiz about how the furloughs were being implemented at all 23-campuses of the California State University and that there is a pressing need to let the public (and the students) know that these pay cuts will have consequences. Less pay, less work?


Grey Goose II with slideout, out
Grey Goose II, last December

But there was good news late in the afternoon from an unlikely source: the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

I had received a bill for nearly $2,000 for re-registering the Grey Goose II Express trailer, the unit sitting safely (I hope) under a ramada in Arroyo Seco under the watchful eye of my neighbors Chena and Chon. The actual registration was $1,100 with the balance representing late fees charged because my mail had not caught up with me in time to send the DMV a notice of 'non-operation.'

It turned out my letter to the DMV - pleading the case that the trailer was not in California and thus was beyond the reach of the DMV - had been received and the trailer is off the books. It shows the trailer as being out of state and not subject to any state fees. (Woo-hoo!)

And that's a good thing. When the trailer title was transferred last year, the DMV clerk who entered the data made a math error and said the $9,000 trailer is valued at $900,000, and in order to get that changed, the trailer needs to be inspected, in California.

I think we'll keep it right where it sits in Arroyo Seco, Jalisco, Mexico.

Unless, of course, someone reading this would like to buy a nice barely used trailer for, say, a bargain price of $875,000. I'll even deliver it.

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