December 09, 2004

Well, the pre-procrastination, procrastination and paper seasons have passed and it is time for the fourth and final phase in the drama that is each semester at the RUC... that's right... exam time.

i figured i should fill everyone in on the momentous happenings in the life of timmy over the last couple weeks... let's just say that the screwing that occurs to me on a regular basis has become near-continuous... with apologies to will frickin' ivy, i have no choice but to appropriate his terminology of 'ownage'.

My name is Tim Van Alstyne, and i am a victim of ownage.

oh no and i am not talking about pansy partial ownage here. no i am clearly a wholly owned subsidiary of the RUC and of pretty much every other individual and organization in my life. the ownage that has occurred in various aspects of my life have merged together to form a ginormous 'ownage monster' that is proceeding to devour me.

How am I owned? let me count the ways. in the interests of not being a complete jerk, i will freely admit that a combination of poor planning, apathy and absent-mindedness on my part had a role to play in the development of this saga. nevertheless the number of external factors that have combined in just the right way to screw me is frankly incredible.

1a) the fact that i was given four days to pay $650 for a plane ticket to amsterdam for my spring break missions trip,

1b) got two flat tires,

1c) have no on-campus job (more on this later) and

1d) and the vagaries of the weak-dollar economic policies of the current american president which have led to a ridiculously strong loonie

1) combine with the result that I have come up substantially short on my tuition payments. so now i get to go home and beg my credit union for money, likely at absurdly high interest rates, so i can come back to school. cuz if i have to live at home next year ill friggin die

2) i am on the cusp of failing the physical education class again. for those of you who do not know the saga, this current section is my third attempt to pass what is the most insanely easy class offered at any postsecondary institution anywhere. however to pass this class one is required to either 1a) work out for two hours a week or 1b) lie and to 2) go to class at 8 AM and to 3) hand in a multitude of insignificant labs and exercise logs. thanks to my mad organizational skills and early-morning abilities i have managed to fail this class twice (well, i dropped it failing the second time). it may or may not happen again depending on whether i ace the exam. any normal person at this stage would have a good chance to pass. however i doubt that karma will pass up the chance to screw me over once again. jehan, cheryl, you can probably tell joyce she's got a good chance to have someone to sit with in class next semester. the way it looks, i did manage to get all my labs and logs in but one of each of them was late, so that's two automatic zeroes. and i wrote my midterm without having studied, so that mark could be as low as 55-60 or as high as 70-75... i'm a pretty good guesser plus a lot of it was common sense, so i'm pretty sure i passed it.
Basically if i ace the exam i'll come out with a C, and if i do OK on the exam i'll get a D.

3) thanks to don russell, former director of financial aid and on-campus employment at the RUC, i received no on-campus job. well that is not precisely accurate. in fact, i did fill out the form last year stating that i wished to receive a job this year. i also noted that i did not want to continue the job of changing the sign, which is quite likely the worst job at redeemer, i can't think of any worse ones anyway. nevertheless, in spite of this and also the fact that as an international student i am supposed to receive priority placement since i cannot legally work off-campus, i was re-assigned to this job. (for a more in-depth discussion of this shitty job, including how i never got paid for the work i did, check out this post from February and this post from September).

Well, I was planning to put together all the emails i'd gotten from my boss telling me to change the sign so that i could, well, get paid. however the charger for my laptop battery (or whatever, i don't really remember what exactly was wrong) broke so i couldn't charge the battery, and when i got it back from Best Buy (the US version of Future Shop) the emails from my boss (and only them, nothing else) were gone... so i not only had no documentation of working, but i had no contract or anything in writing... essentially i was screwed.

i decided to go talk to my ex-boss and ask to be paid for working twice a week for three months, plus once this year. i knew i'd worked more like three times a week many times but i was aware that i couldn't precisely document it so i understimated my work history. i explained to him my math and told him it worked out to 37 1/2 hours here. he agreed. let me repeat that: I go "I have worked 37 1/2 hours and have not been paid" and he goes "I agree. You are owed 37 1/2 hours worth of pay."

he then proceeded to lecture me for not having gotten on this earlier. an acceptable, valid and expected lecture. i agreed with him that i had no leg to stand on although i silently did not agree with his characterization of this situation as entirely my fault seeing as i was working for school illegally for several months and was never given a contract to sign.

well at this point i was a little nervous. i figured there were two possibilities. either he would say 'ok, i'm going to get you this money that school owes you' or 'ok, i'm sorry but without documentation i can't pay you, hope you learned your lesson'. either would have been fair. i figured i either would get money so i could pay a good chunk of my remaining tuition, or a fairly decent ownage story to tell and a painful lesson learned.

this is where it gets weird guys. this is where all the streams of ownage combine into the great ownasaur that may or may not be devouring me alive, which has caused me to completely lose my sanity over the last few weeks.

he started off on a tangent:

So Tim, what's your GPA?

um what are you talking about i don't understand what do you mean... I'm not sure... I think it's at 6.6 but I failed a class last year, it'll go up when the retake grade comes in.

That's your cumulative GPA. What was your GPA from last semester?

Uh, I don't know... couldn't tell you offhand what the crap i'm so confused.... what does this have to do with the price of tea in china

do you do stuff like this when you're writing papers? what do your profs say?

Um I get by I guess, I usually get B's but I could probably get A's I guess... uh oh where is this going this can't be good

here's what i'm gonna do tim


I can pay you for 20 hours' worth this month...


... and in January, come back in here...


... bring your report card in and we'll look at that and see what happens from there, okay?


lets recap guys. this is not a dispute over whether i earned 37 1/2 hours worth of pay. this fact is not in question.

neither is this a question of whether i can legally hold redeemer accountable. thanks to the shady way in which i was asked to work illegally for months and never given a contract to sign once i did become legal, there is no way in hell any court would ever award me money. plus i have neither the money nor the time nor the desire to go to court over what amounts to 17 1/2 hours at minimum wage.

oh no. my boss and i both agree on these. however the key point on which i have received ownage is this:


This is wrong on so many levels. So, so many levels. It's unethical, immoral and idiotic. I won't deny that the same lack of organization that helped to get me into this mess has also affected my schoolwork. but i'm pretty sure this is not the right way to deal with it.

i feel like a tool for having to point this out but: you're supposed to get paid based on such criteria as how many hours you work or how quickly and well you do the work or how many of a product you produce or how highly the work you do is valued. in my case the wage is set at a fixed rate, the minimum wage.

Things that should not be taken into account when the paycheque is being made out:

--whether or not the employee is wearing an orange shirt

--the number of trees in the employee's back yard

--whether or not the dow jones industrial average is up for the week

--the employee's school marks

i could go talk to the guy again. (thanks to lack of documentation i can't go over his head to his boss). however given the fact that he thought this was a good idea in the first place, i do not think it is wise to insert my severed cranium into the mouth of the lion for a second time in the hopes that the lion will re-attach my head to my neck. or something like that. my best bet is probably to go back to him in january (and this is where the last piece of the ownage puzzle falls into place)...

i can only hope i don't self-destruct as i try to explain away that D- in physical education...

Posted by Tim at December 9, 2004 03:25 PM | TrackBack

At least you're alive and have cool friends. :)

Posted by: Katie at December 9, 2004 09:58 PM

oh yea. i'm so thankful for what i've got. and i enjoy making fun of what i don't have. like the four hundred bucks school owes me. :)

Posted by: Timmy at December 10, 2004 02:53 AM

Oh Timmy...
It's events such as this that make you a patient enough person to live with my boyfriend ;)

Posted by: Laura at December 10, 2004 03:19 AM


Life gets better once you graduate. Trust me on this.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 11, 2004 10:38 PM

On a completely different topic:

I am changing the sidebar on my blog. The "redeemeresque" category of blogs is one of those that will no longer be used. If you are currently listed under that heading and want to remain on my sidebar, please let me know if you would like to be listed under "the next neocalvinism" or "the neighbourhood."

Since this applies to you, please indicate your preference (if any) in the comments to my recent blog entry that has the same text as the paragraph above.

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at December 13, 2004 01:42 PM

Redeemer is "the man", Tim, and we've got to battle him. We've got to hound him, and provoke him, and revolt against him until he breaks. We can do it, we are the people!

Posted by: Jake at December 14, 2004 02:58 PM

Over at my blog I am wondering:

"It is [...] important to have a vigorous dialogue over the medium-term cultural purposes of such a movement: How do we want to change the world? What difference do we want to make to the common life, in the public square, in service of our neighbours? How does the long-long-term messianic cause of the Reign of God - Pro Rege - translate into particular historical responsibilities in our own generation, and the next few generations?"

I would be delighted to hear what you think are the cultural priorities for neocalvinists in our time.

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at December 16, 2004 04:39 PM
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