The Trashman Chronicles III: Austin Adventures Part 1 – Rental Car Ridiculousness

TTMC

texashat

Finally, our latest installment of The Trashman Chronicles is here! No creepy and shady pyramid schemes this time (though I keep seeing the company trying to take over job fairs!). Today I’ll finally start talking about my trip to Austin, Texas, to visit the one and only Angel Leal! So you’ll get to see what I was up to instead of devoutly writing for my legions of faithful readers.

So our story begins the morning of September 18, a Thursday. I woke up and was waiting for Dad to pick me up to take me to the airport. My flight to Austin wasn’t until 9:30 or so, but since I live about 20 minutes away from the airport and the infamous Tampa morning traffic, that trip turned into a wonderful 1 hour bumper to bumper romp through the heart of the city to TIA. I checked in and checked my bag, went through security rather painlessly, bought myself a ridiculously overpriced sandwich, and sat down by the gate, waiting to board. I checked everything like 5 times, like my boarding pass and my rental car reservation. So I boarded, we took off and I passed the two hours watching The Office Season 1!

The flight was relaxing and peaceful, no turbulence or anything. I got into the airport at about 11 AM Central and I made some calls to tell everyone I made it. The Austin airport was unexpectedly small, but was really nice. Tons of food places and bars. It was squeeky clean! So down the escalator I went with my laptop bag and my Rays hat in hand to baggage claim to wait for my bag. After picking it up, it was time to find the Advantage Rental desk to pick up my reserved car. The layout of the bottom floor had rental companies to the extreme left and right. I first looked to the right, seeing Avis, Dollar, and Hertz signs. Ok, I’ll go left, I thought. After walking all the way down, past Thrifty, Budget and a local company, I was like, uhhh I’m pretty sure Advantage is AT the airport! So I walk all the way across the concourse again to the right side, and there it was, hidden behind the giant signs of the other rental companies! And the sign wasn’t illuminated! Not a good sign… and certainly a foreshadowing clue of the events which would transpire.

advantage

So I walk up to the line, I was next… only one person ahead of me at the desk with the agent. Then apparently there was an issue… they were there for like 20 minutes figuring things out! I looked over at Enterprise… 2 agents… Dollar? 2 Agents… Avis? 4! So I guess they were understaffed. That’s ok I guess. Good thing I was next. By the time it was my turn, the line behind me was about 7 deep. Poor souls. I handed my reservation info to the agent… who just so happened to be an Asian woman… so for future reference we’ll call her Tricia Takanawa.

tricia

Tricia seemed nice enough, she had a nice smile and she began to type away furiously, asking typical rental questions, options, upgrade, waiver… blah blah blah. So finally, it came time to pay. I had PLENTY of money on my debit card, and I had about 200 dollars of credit on my Visa, so I wasn’t worried. Oh… but let the surprises begin! At the time of the reservation online, my quote was for a compact car for about 95 dollars for 4 days! Unheard of cheap! So I was really excited and I decided to reserve it. My total when I came up to the counter? 215 dollars.

WHAT!?!

Apparently there was an underage fee of 25 dollars a day! so, 100 dollars!!! plus taxes. My goodness. But I had the money, and Angel and I really planned for a car so I was just like, ok sure, let’s do this. Then an even bigger surprise- Tricia tells me: Oh, is that a debit card? Yeah, that’s another 300 safety deposit. It’s refunded when you return the car. So my debit card was going to be charged 515 dollars. I could do nothing but shake my head. But like I said, we needed the car. Swipe.

DENIED.

Really? So I’m like ok so if it’s my credit card, no 300 deposit right? Tricia said that was the case. Ok, well, here, try my credit card. Swipe.

DENIED.

Wow. I instantly started sweating and worrying. Angel is going to kill me. So many scenarios running in my head. But I was like. Well, let me just transfer some money into checking from savings. So I called the bank and made the transaction… and I had to wait in that 7 deep line I talked about. Tricia saw me and smiled, as she noticed I was back in line. So I waited 45 more minutes to finally get to Tricia again. I pull out my card and Tricia’s like: Nope, sorry… after a card is denied there is a 24 hour hold… sorry. I almost exploded. How could you not tell me that when you knew I was planning on transferring money, letting me wait in line all this time? Tricia’s response? Oh, my shift’s over… good luck with that. Ask other companies if they have cars. So my lovely trek began. From enterprise I went to Dollar, to Avis, to Budget, to Hertz… all 9 companies present had 0 cars to give to walk ups. UT had a game and there was a big festival in town. No cars at the airport. I went outside and just sat down in despair. What was I going to do? How could I show up with no car?

Brainstorm.

I went up to Enterprise and asked about their in town locations. They said they most likely had cars, and they were cheaper. YES! So I called Michael, and he made reservations for me online at the Enterprise closest to the airport so the taxi ride wouldn’t be TOO bad. And it actually proved to be 50 dollars cheaper than Advantage, and no stupid deposit, just around 170 dollars- 60 dollars of that being the young driver fee. I can deal with 60 dollars instead of 100.

So! NOW I could call Angel because I had a plan (I had been avoiding her impending wrath for some hours now) In the end she decided to come to the airport and meet me before we both got the car, since we had to wait 2 more hours for the car to be ready. So by now it was 2 PM, and I rounded up all my bags and… where’s my Rays hat? Could this day get any worse? I dropped it somewhere… so before going up to the bar, I went around to places I had been and I even went to lost and found! Apparently, the Rays are so hot that someone took my hat and kept it!

But at last… everything was settled. I went up to the bar and waited until Angel got to the airport. I tried this beer called Shiner Bock, exclusively from Texas. It was really, really good. I might put it ahead of Michelob Amber Bock!

shiner

She finally got to the airport. It had been a long 2 months since I had seen her, let alone hold her. As I came down the stairs, you could see her a mile away with hit eyesore- I mean ostentatious purple backpack. After saying hi to each other, we got a cab… our cabbie was a pretty cool dude, a native Nigerian driving a tricked out Chrysler 300… nice ride. It was with him that I had my first encounter with Austin traffic

traffic

Yikes.

WELL, after a looooong afternoon and actually not finding Enterprise the first time around (it was behind a giant Ford dealer and it looked shady…) we got to the car (30 Dollars later) and drove to Angel’s apartment! We affectionately named our Kia Rio “KIKI.” We have tons of pics of her inside, but none of her. Sad!

Next time we’ll actually get to see stuff I did in Austin, including a literal Dinner and a movie at this place called Alamo Draft House and a algae-filled swimming adventure! Stay Tuned!

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The heap Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (2-3)

Finally, the next segment of the list is here. It’s been a long weekend of celebration as the Rays finally wrapped up the AL East crown. And thanks to avid the heap. reader Michael Rodriguez, I may have a ticket to Game 5 of the ALDS. Let’s hope it doesn’t get there.

Anyway! The here are 5 more honorable mention films and the next 2 on the list!

Honorable Mention Films

Independence Day Will Smith seems to always pop up. Great call for world unity against extraterrestrial extermination. Bill Pullman might be the most badass prez of all time.

Solaris (1972) Another alternative reality movie… this time we follow the adventures of psychologist Kris Kelvin and his own interaction with this strange realm in space…

Contact Apparently, intelligent life also uses radio waves as a means of communications. They also really, really want to talk to us. Maybe we’re the aliens!

Galaxy Quest Simply Hilarious. A nice little spoof on cult sci fi series a la Star Trek and Star Wars. Actors having to really play a space traveling crew? Tim Allen pulls it off… perhaps one og his best films

Starship Troopers Paul Verhoeven has had a strong showing on the list. ST could have easily made it… but we had to chose. A disturbing commentary on current state of affairs, and an equally frightening view of a totalitarian militaristic future.

3. Minority Report (2002)

minority report

In 2054, murder has been virtually eliminated in Washington D.C. thanks to the implementation of the “Pre-crime” unit. So basically, agents such as Tom Cruise’s character John Anderton work quickly to create a case against the foretold perpetrators as well as actually determining the location of the uncommitted crime. He believes in the system, and is a huge promoter of it going national, because it could have prevented the kidnapping of his son in the past. The of course, things change when it is he who is predicted to murder a man he doesn’t even know, yet. What ensues is a frantic attempt to escape the judicial prophecy of the “Precogs” and a action packed effort to change his slated fate. what makes the film so applicable is the way it comments on the post 9/11 hysteria of citizens as well as government, as obvious invasions of citizen privacy were being mulled. IMDB: 7.7 Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

2. E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982)

ET

Spielberg’s E.T. might be one of the most powerful existential epics of all time, and certainly the most notable in the Sci Fi genre. ET is left behind after his spaceship leaves unexpectedly. He is eventually found and taken in by Eliot and his siblings. ET becomes their secret, as they try to keep him safe from the real world, the world of possible exploitation and science- a world of adults. He wants to return to his planet, as we are constantly reminded by “ET phone home.” But during his time with the earthlings, he is able to preach a message of love, compassion, and understanding, as his emotions start to become synonymous with those of Eliot and visa versa. Also, Spielberg creates a dynamic contrast between the innocent stage of being a kid, full of imagination and the dull pessimistic reality of adult life. The most memorable scene (thanks in part to John Williams’ delectable musical arrangement) is when Eliot is able to fly on his bike with ET in the basket, the ultimate tribute to fantastical possibility and unhindered imagination… much like the film itself. IMDB: 7.9 Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

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