A what kind of watch?

Well that was a fun way to end this morning’s class. Our school offers students (and staff) the ability to sign up for text alerts to their phones for weather related events, closings, etc. This morning, with about 15 minutes to go in the class, several students’ phones gave out just such an alert stating that we had a “tornado warning” and that everyone should seek shelter immediately. Note that this warning did not come across the PA system, nor was there any kind of other official announcement. We got the professors attention and she decided that perhaps our lives were worth more than the last few minutes of class and dismissed us a bit early, suggesting that we might consider seeking shelter!

Once outside the classroom, I did note how calm everyone seemed to be and how other classes did not seem to be obeying the instruction to “Take shelter immediately!” The view outside seemed to be one of a clear, albeit cold, Wisconsin day. Now this is not to say that we couldn’t have a tornado this time of year – I have been in the position of sitting in the closet under our stairs for several hours one January evening, but the skies didn’t look anything like they did this morning.

After heading over to my help desk job in the lab and talking with some of the people there, we think what happened is either they were testing the system or they meant to send out a winter weather watch. Tonight we are supposed to get hit yet again with a heavy snow storm along with the expected weather problems in the morning. Still, it’s a lot better than a tornado!

Addendum: a guest from the National Weather Service on our local NPR station this morning did confirm that the error was on their part. They were testing their system and the “tornado warning” had a malformed header tag which caused it to be distributed to the outside world instead of remaining in their internal system. The school alerts (and it wasn’t just us) simply passed it along. Oops!


The first few weeks of the Spring Semester

In my last post the new semester had started, but I had not actually made it to class due to having a stomach flu. That first week I made it to class two whole days – Wednesday and Thursday. I at least got to meet most of my professors, but did not meet my professor for Introduction to 2D Design until the following week as she was out due to having, you guessed it, the flu. There seems something rather symmetrical in that, actually. Just to round out the fun of the first week, I ended up going to the emergency room on Friday with gastro-intestinal issues related to the flu with which I though I had finished.

I can recall with clarity my youth when I loved to be home sick instead of at school, especially when I had something as iron-clad as a trip to the ER to back me up on my legitimate absence. Now I find myself somewhat resenting my body for getting sick and I’d really much rather be in even my least favorite class than at home sick. Around the time I arrived in the ER, I was actually supposed to be interviewing for a on-campus job with technical services. I think it’s more than fair to say that I really would rather have been at the interview!

Fast-forward a few weeks and I’m firmly settled into my new routine, including that tech services job. (Yay for Semi-gainful employment!) Monday and Wednesday are my ‘long’ days – starting with my first class at 10:00 with my last class ending at 20:00. The new job has me here a few extra hours, but for some of those hours I was just hanging out in the LGBTQ center chatting with people anyway. (I do still get one day a week which I get to do that. This makes a good balance between being social with other students and getting a little income.)

Being here in Wisconsin it should come as no surprise that we’ve had several days of very hard snow. Thus far, I have only had one class canceled due to snow and that was a decision by the professor, not the school. While the school has closed due to snow twice this semester, both closings were for evening classes and neither affected me directly. The one canceled class did allow me time to catch up on some non-school related activities, although to be honest I kind of wish I had not already been dressed when I saw the email about the cancellation — I could probably use the sleep!

I should also post thoughts on individual classes, but I’m not going to do so right now. (I’m writing this during some down time at work and I’m off to do a walk around before I go home for the evening.)