Desierto norte de Chile

Monday, June 25, 2007

No more rewards

Today I had an interesting run-in with Citibank, my credit card provider. I had opened a credit card account with them last May (2006) during American Airlines' 25-year AAdvantage anniversary, and part of the promotion was 25,000 free frequent flier miles and no annual fee for a year. I called Citi back in March to close the account (not wanting to be charged the annual fee in May when my free year was up), and the customer service rep. enticed me to stay a member a little longer by giving me 3,000 free miles. (Not a lot, but enough for me). She said that my account would not be charged the annual fee until August, and that I could still call back in July and close it - with no penalty. Well, I saw the $85.00 membership fee on my June statement, and called today to complain. Turns out that either I misheard the customer service rep, or she got confused and said August instead of June (perhaps she looked at the "08" on my card as the month instead of the year, since the card expires 06/08). Either way, the membership fee was there to stay. Fortunately, Citi said their policy is to pro-rate the annual fee (since you pay in advance for the coming year), and because I called in June, the proration (is that a noun?!) was 100%. So I no longer have a miles-earning credit card, but I also don't have to pay the $85 fee. While disappointed at the miscommunication back in March, I guess I shouldn't complain at the pretty sweet bonus of 25,000 American Airlines freq. flier miles.

On a related note, I'm 5,400 miles short of 100k, at which time I become eligible for AA's OneWorld alliance redemption, Distance Zone 6. Basically I can take a trip - of up to 16 segments - of up to 20,000 miles flown. A possible itinerary: OKC-DFW-JFK-MAD-BCN-AMM-ATH-BUD-HEL-OSL-LHR-DUB-ORD-OKC. Maybe that will be my reward for persevering these next (three?) months in the final push to complete my dissertation. We'll see, although I confess it would be a fun trip!

Enjoy the week ahead!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One hundred fifty reasons to smile

Can you believe that this is my one hundred fiftieth blog entry, starting in August 2005? It's been an exciting (almost) two years, filled with:

- travels to 22 countries on 4 continents
- cross-cultural adventures (and mistakes!)
- a wonderful girlfriend (but no, we're not still together)
- steady research progress
- many new friends (and good times with old ones, too)
- great weather, of course!
- dozens of meteorology lectures (most good, some great, probably a few duds)
- family reunions (I think every time I see my immediate family it's like a reunion!)
- six amazing bible studies (Barbados Campus Crusade, Norman summer tour part trois, Austria Hauskreis, Tim et al., Norman summer tour part quatre, and now Thai / Taiwan / USA potluck)
- a ministry project to serve the poor
- half a dozen weddings
- mountains climbed; ski slopes skied; hundreds of miles run
- amazing food and fun parties
and, hopefully, a more mature Brad

Thanks for reading, and here's to the next hundred and fifty posts!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More rain on the way?

The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) has released its twice-daily precp forecast this morning, and it indicates a > 6.5" bulls-eye in east-central Okla. Will it happen? Not sure, but woah, even if 1/4 of the rainfall totals verify, we'll get over an inch. I guess "Lake Kraettli" (the semi-permanent pond that develops in the street next to our apartment after 2 consecutive drops hit the pavement) is here to stay this week!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It was a gorgeous sunrise

Last night my friends and I held our weekly potluck / bible study / card game. The food was - as always - amazing (hailing from Taiwan, Thailand, and America), and we caught up on life as we watched the first half of the NBA game two blowout . After eating, we shared a nice glass of bubble tea and came back to my apartment for bible study. Our group is looking at the sermon on the mount in Matt. 5, and it's going very well. I was particularly encouraged by vs. 5:14, where the end result of our good works is that God is praised by others. Pretty cool stuff. To cap the night off, we played slave (a Thai card game), and I was every position (queen, slave, 2nd slave) except the king. Maybe next time! Everyone went home about 12:30, and I checked and sent a few emails and retired to my room around 1:00. After lying there for about 20 minutes, I realized that I had a big problem -- I was tired but could not go to sleep at all! I got on the computer and checked up on any impending tropical activity (invest areas in N. Atl and N.E. Pac; N.E. Pac seems most likely to develop). It started raining so I surfed over to the radar page. Then I remembered a link my friend Trygve gave me in Austria where you can watch clips of t.v. shows online, so I checked out some Seinfeld. By then it was getting to be 3 a.m., and I reasoned that I would really need some sleep to function today, so I got off the computer and tried to doze off. About 4 a.m. I realized it was futile, and decided to do something productive with my time. Thus I worked on my research proposal for the post-doc position in the Department of Geophysics at the University of Chile in Santiago from 4 until about 6, at which time I stopped to enjoy the glow coming from the sunrise out my window. Finally about 6:30 my body gave up and dozed off, only to be awoken by my alarm (which I had set for 7:36 a.m., and forgot to reset). I got about four hours of rest/sleep last night, which is enough to make me groggy but functional. Hope your night was better!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Active Atlantic & Arabian sea

The global minimum in TCs has definitely ended, with Tropical Storm Barry forming in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend and coming ashore in Florida on Sunday.
The remnants of Barry provided some well-needed rainfall over northern Florida, southern Georgia, and up the east coast (see drought monitor figure below),
with some locations exceeding 5" of rain. Also, Gonu is currently at Category 5 in the Arabian Sea, and it is expected to approach the coast of Oman in 48 hours and then perhaps recurve towards Iran/Pakistan.

Things are definitely getting active again!

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