Friday, October 31, 2014

Economic Intreigue IN SPACE! : The bad guys plan to pull a Flanagan

[Note that when people say, "on the moon", or something like that, they really mean "on this moon" in the same way people on this planet mean "on earth" when they say, "on the planet".]


"So where is Natasha, anyway?" Vasilisa asked Anatole.

"Right here," Natasha said.

"You have trouble at FarmLTD?" Anatole asked.

"No," Natasha said.  "Dmitri is definitely pulling a Flanagan."

"You're sure?"

"You will be too when you see the numbers."

"What's a Flanagan?" Vasilisa asked.

"Sorry, I forget that you don't know the same terms," Anatole said.  "It must sound like inside baseball to you."

"Sure," Vasilisa said.  "Baseball."

"A Flanagan is when someone destroys something under the guise of saving it," Natasha explained.

"So like if someone knew moving an accident victim would kill the victim," Vasilisa said, "and then convinced everyone that the only way to save the victim was to move them--"

"Thus killing the victim," Natasha said.

"And was never suspected of murder because they looked like they were trying to help."

"Yes," Anatole said slowly.  "But it tends to be mildly less morbid and done to institutions rather than people."

"Institutions?" Vasilisa asked.

"You know: governments, agencies, businesses, non profits, charities, universities, museums, libraries, book clubs, that sort of thing," Anatole said.

"So how does it work there?" Vasilisa asked.

"Well... let's illustrate with the present example," Anatole said.  "Natasha, you've got the data?"

Natasha turned on a monitor, plugged a small portable drive into the main computer, and said, "Yes."

Anatole and Vasilisa turned to the monitor while Natasha punched commands into the computer.  Anatole briefly considered pointing out that the lightest touch would be just as effective as Natasha's banging style, but he knew it was an argument he'd never win.  Instead he decided to talk to Vasilisa:

"Dmitri is saying that the only way to save FLTD is with certain cuts.  If he is pulling a Flanagan then those cuts will actually--"

"Destroy the company," Vasilisa said.

"Exactly," Anatole said.

Five columns appeared on the screen.  The first listed various departments and programs at FarmLTD, the next three listed numbers, and the last seemed to be a smattering of random information.

"From right to left," Natasha said, "we have costs, revenue, and net profit or loss."

"And the last column?" Anatole asked.

"Other useful figures," Natasha said.  "But they're less important and we can get to them later."

Anatole looked at various things until he found a date: the fiscal year that had just ended.

"This says FLTD is profitable," Vasilisa said.

"It's not uncommon for someone to manufacture a crisis in order to pull a Flanagan," Anatole said.

"Because you can't convince people to amputate if they know there's nothing wrong," Vasilisa said.

"What is it with you and medical analogies?" Natasha asked.

"I go with what I know."

Anatole said, "The fact that the financial crisis isn't real doesn't mean he's pulling a Flanagan.  People make up crises to push through action for all kinds of reasons."

 "I agree," Natasha said.  "Now look at this."  New columns appeared on the screen.  "These are the programs Dmitri intends to cut."

"Definitely a Flanagan," Anatole said.

"I don't get it," Vasilisa said.  "You learn a profitable company is cutting programs and you're unconvinced.  You learn that the programs also happen to be profitable, which doesn't seem surprising since the company as a whole is profitable, and you're suddenly convinced."

"A better visual aid, perhaps," Natasha said to Anatole.

"Yup," Anatole said as he switched on two more monitors.

The first reverted to the original data.  "This," Anatole said as he gestured to the first monitor, "is the company as it exists today."  The second data set appeared on the second monitor.  "This, is what he's cutting."

"I've already seen this," Vasilisa said, "you know."

"Yeah," Anatole and Natasha said at once.

A new data-set appeared on the third monitor.  "This is the present company without the programs Dmitri plans to dispose of," Anatole said.

"Compare that to the original data," Natasha said.

"It does cut costs," Anatole said as he gestured to the costs column on the third monitor.

"but since the programs are profitable..." Natasha continued.

"it cuts revenue more," Anatole said gesturing to the revenue column.

"And the end result is that now the company really is in a financial crisis," Vasilisa said as she looked at the column that showed the net profit or loss, which had switched from profit to loss.

"Exactly," Natasha said.

"And that's assuming FLTD does as well next year as it did this year," Anatole said. "Customer loyalty is a thing, but a lot of people don't want to put their lives in the hands of a company that can't even manage its own checkbook."

"So," Vasilisa said, "they fake a financial crisis to create a real financial crisis."

"That's just the start," Natasha said.  "Remember the figures I said we'd get back to?"

Vasilisa and Anatole nodded.

"Third from the top is FLTD's reserves," Natasha said.

Vasilisa's eyes went wide.  "They're smaller than the shortfall."

"Which means that the company will have to borrow or sell assets to close the hole," Anatole said.

"And combined with the expected drop in their credit rating as a result of all this," Natasha said, loudly punching in a command that caused a figure in the fifth column to change, "They won't be able to reasonably borrow enough to undo Dmitri's cuts."

"Which means that even if they fire Dmitri and get someone at the helm who really does want to save the company--" Anatole said.

"FLTD gets locked in a death spiral and will be gone in three to five years even under the best possible conditions," Natasha said.

"Which would leave Xenosites the only manufacturer in the industry on the whole moon," Vasilisa said, finally catching up.

"And that," Anatole said, "is how you pull a Flanagan."

"I might be sick," Vasilisa said.

"That's a pretty common reaction to your first Flanagan," Anatole said, "but take some stomach meds or something because it gets worse."

"How could it possibly get worse?" Vasilisa asked.

Anatole turned to the main computer himself.  After a few quick commands a map of the system appeared on the center monitor.

"In theory," Anatole said, "anti-monopoly laws should prevent Xenosites from being the only supplier on our moon, but with FLTD out of the way these are the only other suppliers in the system."  Green dots lit up on the map.

"They're nowhere near us," Vasilisa said.

"Worse they're nowhere near the trade routes that lead to us," Anatole tapped in another command and lines appeared on the map connecting various planets and moons.  "Even the most efficient shipping routes," a few more tapped commands made some of the lines become highlighted in yellow, "would be indirect and make off-moon alternatives prohibitively expensive.

For a time the only sound was the quick quiet tapping of Anatole entering commands into the computer.  Then projected prices appeared on the right monitor.  "Xenosites could raise their prices six times over before it would be economical to buy from another company.

"The whole moon would be their captive consumers, with no choice but to buy from them."

"It gets better," Natasha said.

"And by 'better' I assume you mean 'worse'," Anatole said.

Natasha punched in a few commands and all three screens were taken up with information on Xenosites "exciting new venture".

"Xenosites Financing?" Anatole asked.

"If you can't afford their product then worry not, because Xenosites Financing, the latest addition to the Xenosites corporate family, will allow you to pay for it in just twelve easy installments.  For a modest interest, of course," Natasha said.

Natasha punched in another command and one screen showed a standard payment plan.  "It looks all nice and cozy now," she said, "but if you factor in how much they'll be able to raise their prices once they're the only supplier on the moon... all of a sudden,.." she punched in a command and the numbers changed.

"The average resident could barely make the minimum payment!" Vasilisa shouted.

Anatole agreed, and had a sinking feeling.  "How long would it take to pay off the loan, with those numbers, if you only made the minimum payment?" he asked even though he was quite sure he didn't want to know the answer.

Natasha punched in a few more commands and Vasilisa said, "That's longer than most people live," so quietly it seemed the life had fled from her.

Natasha nodded.

"That's their endgame," Anatole said.  "They get Dmitri to take out FLTD with a Flanagan, which leaves their hands clean.  They hike up prices once this entire moon is their captive market.  People have no choice but to go to their new financing division for help.  And--pretty soon--everyone on the moon owes them.  They get financial leverage over the whole population of this moon ... for generations."

Anatole found a chair and collapsed into it.

"So," Vasilisa asked, "what do we do about it?"

"I'm gonna need some time to think," Natasha said.

Anatole nodded.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Off my meds

There was a paperwork problem.  It hasn't been fixed yet.  As a result, I'm over a week off my medication (I think, time is sort of squishy right now) I'm back into depression and, I think, in withdrawal.  Life hurts.  Hope is extinct.  Everything sucks.

Just so you know.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Apparently being snubbed is the same as being happily talked to

Correction: Someone said it was the provost, it was in fact the executive director of public affairs Chris Quint.  Which makes more sense because I was pretty sure the reporter called him, "Chris," and the provost is named James.  I have corrected the following to reflect that.


I wasn't going to talk about my university today, I figure that everyone's been hearing enough about it.  That said, this one is sort of new for me.

At least three TV news stations were sharing equipment and a reporter.  This led to some unnaturally long pauses, especially when some of the stations had everything they wanted and others not so much.

That's not really a problem since nothing was live anyway.  But it does sort of leave people standing around not sure what to do while wires are being connected and disconnected, microphones being added, removed, or adjusted, and so forth.

So here's what happened:

There was a press conference.  It ended.  The executive director of public affairs unexpectedly gave an unscheduled interview.  That was on my way home so I stopped to watch.  Apart from the two cameramen, one reporter, and the PR guy there was no one there but me.  The interview got put on hold so that the equipment from various news agencies could be disentangled and one of the cameramen could go home.

After the interview was put on hold and the PR guy was left standing there looking like he had no idea what to do.  After a little bit of that, and when it became clear that it was going to take several minutes before the interview could resume, I asked him a question.

He responded, nicely enough, with mostly vacuous boilerplate but also a promise that he'd grant me an interview when he finished with the TV news.  He didn't say that he'd do it "happily", he said that he "would be happy to" but the post title really does sum up what happened.

So he went back to standing there looking like he had no idea what to do and things went back to silence.  There aren't crickets in that area, you see.  Other places I pass on my walk home there are all kinds of bug noise, but in that particular spot not a damn thing.

Every so often a leaf fell.  It is fall, after all.

I seriously wondered if he knew what it meant for an interview to be on hold while he did his befuddled mannequin impression.

Eventually everything was sorted out, the reporter resumed the interview, and it ended not long after.  He did a half turn, shot me a dirty look, turned the remaining ninety degrees, and walked away.

During the time after he promised me an interview but before the on-hold interview resumed, another spectator had shown up.  I mentioned to her that I didn't feel like I was being happily talked to.


I'm not surprised that he lied to me.  The words he said felt like something he had practiced a thousand times to the point that he didn't even attach meaning to the words but just saw it as a rote response.

That said, I was prepared to pull my notebook out of my bag (my pen was already out) and preform a legitimate interview.  It's probably been a decade since I interviewed anyone and that was done via email and about a game.  A good game, but still a game.  This would have been an interview with someone in power on the front lines of what is a national issue in the United States.  And, of course, now that I have Stealing Commas I actually have a place to publish an interview.

But it wasn't to be.  If there is one thing this administration has made clear, it is that they have no intention of being honest with students.  This just shows that they are, at least, consistently dishonest.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

T-shirt Tuesday: Austeritas Delenda Est

Latin for "Austerity must be destroyed," and a play on the famous line of Cato the Elder (who said that Carthage must be destroyed) it seemed a very sloganific thing.

Also appropriate as austerity measures are set to destroy the study of classics at my university.

So I put it on a T-shirt.  And a bumper sticker.  And a button.  And a magnet.  And so forth.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Personal Testimony: Me and my university

I've never done witnessing, never made an altar call, I'm not big into evangalism, but I'm told that telling your story is something you should do on occasion.

I came to the University of Southern Maine after a year spent doing nothing.  I don't mean a year spent relaxing.  I mean that I have clinical depression, it'd be almost a decade before we found a treatment that worked, I hadn't even met the psychiatrist who makes up the other part of that "we", and I did nothing.

If you've never done nothing, I highly recommend against it.

Depression sucks.  I remember a time when, for months, beyond eating, using the bathroom, and occasionally drinking water, I could not muster the energy to move.  I watched the Shawshank Redemption too many times to count because I couldn't mange the effort needed to stand up, cross the room, and change the DVD.

Pushing, "Play," on the remote every time it looped back to the main menu after the movie had finished was preferable to listening to the menu loop or having nothing going on at all.

And so my time was spent semi-supine on the couch during that period.

That was a not-so-bad time as these things go because there was something (the Shawshank Redemption) going on as opposed to nothing.

But then I managed to apply and then went to the University of Southern Maine as a math major.

I took Latin as an elective because I'd done it in high school and figured I'd keep on doing it.  I didn't know it but that choice landed me in a stellar program even though the university, even then, didn't acknowledge it.

At the time Peter Aicher was in charge but that passed back and forth between himself and Jeannine Diddle Uzzi.  Peter Aicher you know from TV.  If you missed him on the National Geographic Channel you probably saw him on Discovery, if you missed him there then probably The History Channel, if you missed that then Nova, and if you missed that then probably some other channel.

He is, quite simply, the world's foremost expert on Roman Aqueducts and he gets asked to speaking engagements around the world.  In addition his understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of Greek Mythology is incredible, and if you want to understand the architectural propaganda of Rome as the Romans understood it, you'll want to buy his latest book.  Plus, who else can make James Joyce make sense?

Jeannine doesn't have quite the same level of fame, but she is no less good at her work.  She realized that an incredibly important area of study had been overlooked by two thousand years of scholarship and, with her debut book, worked to fix that by writing what is still the definitive work on the subject.  She has advanced our understanding of childhood, both actual and symbolic, in the ancient world, particularly that of outsiders.

She's taught a class for Harvard via the Center for Hellenic Studies and done so in Greece on a trip that visited virtually every major archaeological site in Greece, Crete, and the Cyclades covering over three thousand years of history.

Her translation of Catullus, which is revolutionary, awesome, and, unlike so many, not diluted for the purposes of sanitizing, will be  published by Cambridge soon.  (I've had the good fortune of reading some of it pre-publication.)

Which is to say, when I chose to take Latin as an elective I stepped into an amazing program without realizing I had done so.

If I'd done some research I'd have found out that the University of Southern Maine had a stellar reputation.  Since then I've heard some say that the reputation has been tarnished.  That's inaccurate.  Tarnish is what happens to silver when it's allowed to age like a fine wine.  Plus a layer of tarnish forms a protective layer on the surface of an object preventing further degradation.

If one takes a whiff of my university's reputation now they'll quickly realize that what the reputation is coated in is not oxidation, it's been dragged through copious piles of excrement.  Despite popular rumor, excrement is apparently not corrosive, but it is toxic and it does tend to make things worse if not cleaned up.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

For four years I showed up to classes every day, despite my still-untreated depression and the two hour walk to get to the university, kept my head down, and earned a degree.

Then my sister was going to start a business.  Though I was told I only had one class left to graduate I decided to take a semester off so that I might help her.

This was 2008.  The global economy collapsed before our eyes and the credit market froze.  The loan we would need to start the business became impossible.  (Since then someone else used the same idea and has been a great success.  Having an idea first means nothing if you don't reach the market first.  That said, I'm happy someone else did it because it fills a need that was previously unfilled.)

Inertia and depression took over.  I spent another year doing nothing.

When I returned with the plan of taking that one class it just felt weird to come for one class only, so I looked for an elective.  I'd never studied ancient Greek, beginning Greek was being offered, so I took that.

It turned out the one class I supposedly needed was just a computer error.  I could have graduated before the year I spent out of school.  I could drop all my classes, put in the forms, and gradate with no more effort if I wanted to.

I took the Greek anyway.

In getting ready to apply to graduate and receive the degree I had already earned I realized that, via electives, I had earned a classics minor.  All I had to do was declare.  While filling out that paperwork Peter pointed out that in another year I could turn that minor into a major and graduate with a double major in Math and Classics.

So I stayed.

At this point something needs to be explained.  I don't make friends well.  I get along with people at school well enough, but I've never been good at the transition between friends at school and actual friends who you see for reasons other than having the same class.  But because of seeing them a lot and small class sizes I got to know the classics students and the two professors very, very well.

They've become like a second family to me.

When the time came to graduate with a double major there were two things on the horizon, both of them tempting.  Peter gives a class in etymology that everyone who takes it raves about how good it is.  Jeannine specializes in art but I had never once taken an art focused class with her.  Peter was giving the class, Jeannine was teaching an art class.

I decided to stay around just one more year to take those two classes.

I am not good on buses.  (I'm getting better.)  Especially the kind of buses that a multi-city university would hire to run people between their different campuses.  People are crammed in like sardines, unfamiliar voices assault you from all sides, it's like chaos itself rammed through your senses assaulting your brain.  And above all it's uncomfortable.

The art class was on the distant campus.  The bus over was generally sparsely populated and thus not so bad.  The ride back was a level of Hell that is omitted from the Inferno simply because bus technology did not exist in the time of Dante.

Jeannine gave me a ride back to the Portland campus almost every class.

It was a hard time in her life, both personally and because she was chair of the Faculty Senate and this was the semester of the no-confidence vote against Selma Botman.  Controversy and attention she never wanted was dumped on top of her.

In spite of that she was able to help me, and I don't just mean with the ride.  My depression was still untreated.  At this point it wasn't because nothing tried worked, which has historically been the reason, but because nothing was being tried at all.  I'd fallen out of the system and wasn't even getting people trying to give me treatment.

Those rides, the talking done during them, and her support in other areas, made me better.  Being better is not the same thing as being cured, it is not even the same thing as being good.  It's less bad.  When everything is bad, less bad is something vitally important.

Indeed, sometimes I did actually leave a conversation with her in a state of actual good.  Mental wellness in a time when unwell wasn't just normal but almost, if not quite, uniform.

The rides between campuses might have been a one-semester only thing, but the support was not.  At times when I couldn't think, couldn't work, couldn't accomplish shit, Jeannine was there for me.  She was always supportive.  For the longest time she was the only person in my life without high level professional training in mental illness who had even an inkling of how destructive depression could be.

She showed me compassion when other people didn't give a shit.  She showed it consistently, and she did it regardless of how badly things were going in her own life.

She isn't just my teacher, she's my friend.

It wasn't too much later when I went to the university's Counseling Center (for the second time) and got on the road to getting not just better but getting well.

Two things happened before I got on a medication that worked.

One was that I looked into what staying around for longer could be used for and settled on getting two separate degrees instead of one degree with a double major.

The other was that I got laid very, very low by a depressive episode.  (Without getting into medical terminology too much, I have both chronic and acute depression.  Chronic makes everything bad forever, acute makes some things really, really, really bad for a while.)  I failed everything.

Right now what I really want to do is overwrite that period.  I can do that, I just have to retake the classes I failed.  For some reason the classes are scheduled such that I can't retake them in nearly as short a time as I failed them.  (It was possible to take them all at once before, that's how I failed them, but now their times conflict with each other.)

I've earned my two degrees.  I just want to replace that failure with success.  This isn't for GPA, though it will help with that, it's for myself and my mental health.

Since I started paying attention, the university has been claiming huge deficits (and then earning surpluses every year which always earns an, "Oops, we were wrong about the deficit, but this proves we're awesome and credit to us, not those who did the work," from the top but never gets a, "There seem to be systemic problems in our accounting mechanisms that are making us think we're running deficits when we're actually running surpluses year, after year, after year.  Maybe we should fix those problems.")  The solution offered is always the same, "Cut everything."

The cuts always, without fail, target profitable programs which makes no sense.  If you cut profits you lose money, not save it.  In previous years pointing that out was enough to stop the lion's share of the cuts.  This year not so much.  Two days ago I was at a Board of Trustees meeting.  After hours of citizen testimony, some from CEOs saying that they would find a way to pay for one of the programs because they needed it to train their employees (there had only been 18 days notice so no one had time to come up with a plan, you see), some from economists and accountants pointing out that cutting profitable programs would loose money, some from people saying that cutting French in the state with the second largest French speaking population, an extremely large boarder with Canada, important trade relations with France, and a steady stream of French speaking immigrants, was probably a bad idea, and so forth, the Board voted to cut the profitable programs and lose money.  Logic ("This will make you lose money, and is thus counterproductive") is no longer persuasive.

When they came for others, I spoke out;
When they came for others, I marched;
When they came for others, I demonstrated;
When they came for others, I stood up to be counted;
Now they're coming for my degree, my teachers, my friends.

In spite of snow and rain, in spite of blizzard conditions that sometimes, somehow, don't get school canceled, in spite of an ongoing stream of ephemeral administrations that don't care about me, in spite of once falling into an open manhole (the snow made it so you couldn't see it was open), in spite of the fact that I've worn holes in the soles of all of my shoes and now they let water in, in spite of the mismanagement at the top wearing a hole in my soul, I show up.  I come to school.  I walk two hours in and two hours out.  In eight years of attending (non-consecutive) I've missed only four days of classes (had a nervous breakdown; didn't set foot outside my house for a week.)

I've put more energy and effort into the University of Southern Maine than any of the bastards who make decisions.  I've certainly put in more money.

These days it's always a question where tuition will come from, in the beginning I put it in up front.  Believe me, I wish I still had that money.  The first two weeks of this semester I miscalculated and ran out of food two weeks before I had money to buy more.  I scoured my house and found peanut butter.

I lived on that for two weeks.  Not peanut butter sandwiches.  I didn't have bread.  Just peanut butter.

I happened to mention it to my teacher afterward, the teacher they want to fire, and she said that if anything like that ever happened to me again I should tell her.  She'd get me food.  That's Jeannine, she doesn't even know if she'll be fired (she'll find out on Halloween, which is strangely appropriate) and she's wishing she'd known that I needed help because she would have given it to me without hesitation.


If you would like to tell people not to set the university on fire:

The Board of Trustees (for the entire system, my university is USM):

The Chancellor (again, of the whole system):

The University of Southern Maine President (finally just my university):

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The state of my university

Things are fucked up.  The people in charge say things are fucked up.  The things which are fucked up are not the things the people in charge say are fucked up.  The primary thing that is fucked up is that the people in charge are saying things which are not fucked up are fucked up.

To wit:

In an ideal world the budget is a best guess as to expenses and revenue for the coming year and a plan on how to spend money such that money will not be lost.  Meaning that even if everything were perfect the budget would still not reflect reality.

The reality is that my university makes money.  My university system also makes money (individual universities in the system may lose money some years, but those loses are offset by the surpluses elsewhere.  That's the whole point of having a system instead of a bunch of isolated universities.)

The budget, every year, says that my university will lose a metric fuckton of money so we need to cut, cut, cut.

Thus the only real problem is that the budget is wrong, consistently, year after year, and always in the same direction.

If the administration didn't say that things were fucked up, nothing would be fucked up.  Their saying it is a self fulfilling prophecy.

While the deficits projected by the budgets are imaginary or fictitious (depending on whether you're betting on stupid or evil) the need to balance these budgets creates a very real deficit when it comes to spending money on things like salaries.  Since you need to slash spending by enough to make up for the fake deficit, real damage is done to the university.  What happens at the end of the fiscal year when actual legal reports need to be filed with non-fictitious numbers?  The money goes into the reserves.  That's how the reserves got so bloated.

The cuts do have an effect upon revenue.  A teacher who isn't at the university can't teach a class and so the university can't make money off the class.  So revenue is dropping.  It's just that so far it hasn't dropped enough for the university to stop making money.

The need to "fix" the projected-but-never-actual deficits means hard choices about who can stay and who must be let go but here, again, the administration does stupid things.  They get rid of profitable people.

Now it's important to remember that profit != value.  The university counseling center is of great value, but since the service is free (as it fucking should be) it doesn't make any money (and it's impossible to determine how much it retains by keeping student's we would otherwise lose.)

The reason for the focus on profit is that all of the things that don't pay for themselves need to be paid for, and since the deficits aren't actually real they are in fact being paid for.  What pays for them?  The things that make a profit.

By cutting profitable things, we have less money left to pay for the non-profitable things.  For example one program being slashed returns two dollars for every one dollar put in.  That makes for easy math.  Pay for one person and you get the money that you paid back, plus enough money to pay for a zero-revenue person with the same salary.

Flip that around and you see that if you get rid of one person in that program, you can afford one less zero-revenue person than you could before.

Now we're still in surplus territory.  They can already afford more zero-revenue people than they actually employ.  But once there start to be actual deficits the cuts to profitable programs will necessitate cuts to zero-revenue ones.

And that's when things will really go to shit.

The university is suffering enough when the horrific problems we face aren't actually real.  Once they are real it's going to get very, very bad.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cold and Wet

I'm trying to spread out posts.  The basic idea is that since I tend to not have enough content to fill up a week anyway, if I have three things to say in one day it's better to have the posts spread out over three days than to have them all on one day.

That's part of why I've had posts saying "On [two days ago]..."

Anyway, this is being written on Wednesday the 22nd.

I couldn't find my raincoat.  I think I know where my theoretically waterproof winter boots are but for some reason I didn't think to use them.

The coat I did use is in fact waterproof.  I didn't notice.  There's a surprising similarity between the feeling of cold and the feeling of wet and while the coat protected me from getting wet IT got wet (on the outside) and all of the cold of the rain went straight through it and into me.  My feet got hit harder.  My shoes and socks soaked through.

I didn't realize how badly things were going until I realized I was shivering.  I've been inside for an hour and forty minutes now, at least, I'm still cold.  Occasional shivers.

Weather.  I dislike you.

It should only be allowed to rain when it's warm.  There should be a law.

Rain gods of all stripes and genders should be forbidden from having cold rain.  (Except in places where the alternative is, say, drought.)  There are no extenuating circumstances here.  We have warm seasons, we have snow seasons, there is no call for rain when it is cold.