Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, September 29, 2008

I wonder if she knows Pharfignewton.

If books like this one can get published, then I should have no problem with turning some of the ideas in my head into best sellers.

I made my bed, now please don't lie on it.

My condo association held its annual party this past weekend. Actually, it was more a party for our condo president (the only other year-round resident) and vice-president (who lives near Dallas and only visits for the party and our annual meeting in January). Our much-of-the-year resident was on another of her many long trips, and the renter and I didn't invite anyone, so all the guests were friends of the pres. and v.p.

The v.p. and her husband just finished renovating and redecorating the condo which they own and rent. (Nicely done, much more neutral color scheme than their own condo, but I still don't share their tastes.) The guests then clamored to see how other units are decorated. Since I was taught to respect my elders, and since there were about two dozen of them at the party, how could I say no?

I warned them ahead of time that I was doing some spring cleaning (it's spring in Australia, so there), so my place wasn't really presentable. (On the other hand, it's the only one that actually looks lived in. The others resemble photos from magazines: pretty but uninhabited.) Naturally, they oohed and aahed about my rooftop garden, my kitchen, my private elevator. Naturally, I threatened to chop off their hands if they took any tomatoes. (Naturally, I didn't.)

An interesting thing, now that I've been in most of the condos, is that, even though I have the third largest unit, it feels like the biggest. Maybe it's the windows. Maybe it's the floor plan. Maybe it's my color scheme. Maybe it's my lack of ornaments/art/clutter (unless you cound the wall of bookshelves in my living room). Maybe it's because it's not a conglomerate of rooms so tiny that you need to go into the next one to change your mind. Maybe it's just that, being on the second floor, I get to feel superior over everyone else.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mine's bigger than yours.

I live in New Mexico, the fifth largest state in the U.S.A. (I don't have a source; you have to look it up yourself.)

I received my bachelor's degree at, and work for, New Mexico State University. I have heard (unconfirmed) that, when all the campi*, university ranches, county extension stations, and other land holdings are added together, NMSU has the most property of any university in the world.

Last week, I attended a meeting with some folks from El Paso, Texas. One of them stated that Fort Bliss (north of El Paso) is larger than the state of Connecticut -- but you know how Texans like to brag about how big things are in their state.

* the correct plural of campus. (It's Latin; deal with it.)

Turn off here.

After some thought, I have finally determined that my dislike of people who won't (maybe can't) stop talking (like Ob or Thing Two) predates being introduced to them. There are several people whom I dislike because of this habit. I feel like a contestant on The Dating Game.

"Our next bachelor is a tall horticulturist from Las Cruces, New Mexico. His hobbies are reading, gardening, and being shy. His turn-offs include low doorways, mushrooms, and people who won't shut up. Meeeeeet Captain Chlorophyll!"

Can't get away from it all

On a lark, I decided to search my company's job postings to see what was out there. Since this is a worldwide company, I thought it could be interesting. I selected "Other Countries". No luck.

Palau (wherever that is): no jobs.
Puerto Rico: no jobs.
U.S. Virgin Islands: no jobs.
Guam: no jobs.
American armed forces: no jobs.
European armed forces: no jobs.
Pacific armed forces: no jobs.

American Samoa, for some reason, wasn't even listed.

There weren't even jobs open in the Federated States of Micronesia. What is this world coming to?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A weak double-pun

We caught someone stealing legal paper at work, so we threw the book at him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Weird Bug and Turtle Guy

On my walk back Saturday morning from the farmer's market and the Rodin exhibit at the art museum, I was approached by a man who appeared to be of the "homeless" ilk: unshaven, messy hair, ill-fitting mismatched, out of season clothes (who else wears a ski vest in the summer?). He was so proud that he had caught a grasshopper for his pet turtle that he just had to show the first person who came along. In fact, he seemed prouder that he had figured out what his turtle likes to eat (he had tried giving it some fruit) and then repeatedly described how his turtle creeps along very slowly (duh, it's a turtle!) then suddenly reaches out its neck and snaps up a grasshopper.

Being terminally shy, and ever-mindful of my mother's admonition not to talk to strangers, I felt quite uncomfortable with this encounter. (Run away! Run away!) As such, I did not offer him the two bits of advice I thought of while he was speaking to me. First, the grasshoppers might be easier to catch earlier in the morning, when it is cooler and they are moving more slowly. Second, buddy, if you hope to catch more than two for your turtle (one in each hand), you're going to have to have something to carry them in.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You must be thinking of my evil twin

The best thing about being a Gemini is that, when something sounds utterly unlike me, I can always blame it on the other half of my personality.

I took a name-translating quiz this morning, once using my given name and once using my SCA name. Neither one sounds like me. (In fact, put them together, and are you sure they're talking about me?)

Here's the one based on my given name.

My Indian name is Boy-of-the-night.
Take English Native American Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Here's the one based on my SCA name.

My Indian name is He-who-is-playful.
Take English Native American Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Just for fun, I plugged in Chlorophyll. Ah, this one is much better!

My Indian name is mightier-than-all.
Take English Native American Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Listen up!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you remember me relating the "Monday Morning Meetings" of our management team and how they're full of hot air, repetition, football talk, and very little content. The silver lining is that, save one in July, we haven't had one of them since March. (They have been replaced by Sub and Ob bustling into Boss's office and shutting the door behind themselves.)

You also may remember me saying how I was ignored during those meetings, so that I quickly learned not to bother opening my mouth. (Side note: during a company training a few years ago, we did a role-playing scenario in which some of us wore hats with words on them, and everyone else had to treat us the way the words instructed. After the second time everyone ignored what I said, I knew that the instructions for the participants were, more or less, to treat me the same way that Boss and my coworkers do, so I just kicked back and let the session go on around me. At the end, the facilitator started with the person on my left and proceeded clockwise, reviewing everyone's thoughts. After the person to my right was done, the facilitator skipped me and continued on. I guffawed so loudly [I'm generally not afraid of laughing out loud in public] that I startled some people. They had no idea how true-to-life the situation was for me.)

Imagine, then, how I felt yesterday during a day-long planning session yesterday for the Las Cruces Metropolitan Planning Organization, for whom I serve as NMSU's member on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee. When I spoke, people around the room looked at me and (get this) listened. The note-taker even wrote down what I said! It was downright eerie. Even worse, it was so contrary to what I am accustomed to, I thought it was wrong.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Let there be light.

"Then God commanded, 'Let there be light', and light appeared. God was pleased with what he saw. Then He separated the light from the darkness, and He named the light 'Day' and the darkness 'Night'. Evening passed and morning came; that was the first day." (Genesis 1:3-5, Good News Bible)

While I was in Albuquerque for my mother's birthday this weekend, the electrician connected all of the non-working lights on my veranda to the two that do work. I'm glad he was able to do it, and he did such a neat job that there are only two places (out of sixteen) where I can see the new wiring, but I'm afraid I disappointed him with my reaction.

Apparently, he thought he'd surprise me by leaving the lights on for me to see when I arrived home. He phoned me that evening and asked if I had gotten home yet, and I told him I was in ABQ. "Oh," and, "I guess I'd better go back there and shut the lights off then."

I walked around my veranda and the condo property last night to see if the additional lighting made a difference. The electrician said my neighbors "loved it" when he had them on as a test. Maybe I would have loved it, too, if there weren't a full moon last night, shining down on everything. Ask me in a couple of weeks, when the moon is new, if I can see a difference.

Inside, it is noticeably brighter with the new lights shining through my blinds, but it didn't keep me from sleeping.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Highly Illogical

The following appeared in the Tue. 9/9/08 Waste News e-mail.

Taxicab group claims switch to hybrid vehicles is unsafe

Sept. 9 -- A trade group representing taxicab fleets in New York City claims a switch to hybrid vehicles is unsafe for drivers and passengers.

The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents 27 fleets and more than 3,500 taxis in the city, alleged hybrid vehicles are "unsafe and incompatible with the rigorous demands of New York City taxicabs."

A report commissioned by the association claims hybrids are not designed to hold partitions that are mandated by the city Taxi and Limousine Commission. These partitions, which keep drivers safe, allegedly block side-curtain airbags, become easily dislodged in accidents and prevent drivers from safely keeping away from front airbags. The partitions also limit backseat legroom, the association alleged.

The group filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court urging that hybrids not be used in the city.

I have a big problem with the logic behind the lawsuit. "Hybrid" refers to the vehicle's engine, which has no effect on the design of a taxi chassis (you like that?). The partition problem sounds like an issue with the make and model of car, not its power source. If there's a conflict between partitions and airbags, cab companies either need to redesign the partitions to make them compatible with side airbags, or decide whose safety is more important: the driver's (remove the airbags, keep the partitions) or the passengers' (remove the partition, keep the airbags). Moreover, why wouldn't the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade just tell its members not to purchase incompatible vehicles? It sounds like an issue of individual business decisions, not a lawsuit.

Also, I don't see how the taxi group can prohibit all hybrid vehicles from New York City, but I think that's probably an issue with a poorly worded sentence by the writer and not an accurate description of the lawsuit.

Legalese and a Euphemism

On the next city council agenda is the decision whether or not to install cameras at six intersections to photograph and cite drivers who drive through red lights. I read the draft ordinance (that thing with all the whereas's), and that's probably almost as fun as the discussion that will take place during the meeting.

First off, the vehicle which is photographed must be "driven by a natural person" in order for the citation to be valid. Also (and I don't remember the context, but it's too fun to pass up, and I am not making this up), "The singular includes the plural." I think a lawyer got his/her hands on this before it was made public.

Speaking of driving, you ought to know (or it's safe to assume) that poor drivers aggravate me. So much so, that I often break my normal silence and say unfortunate things about the driver's parentage, eating habits, and the like. Sometimes, though, I use perfectly polite words but in a disparaging manner. I caught myself the other day calling a driver "lousy pig snot". I started pondering that it's probably not the greatest insult, as it implies that, somewhere out there, there is high quality pig snot.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Once an overachiever, always an overachiever.

I found out yesterday that even large, network servers can get filled up. I couldn't "save as" a Word document, nor could I attach the file to an e-mail to send. The error message was that the hard disk was full.

I phoned new computer support, and when the old computer support guy who works for new computer support phoned me back, he said that I was #7 in the volume of files saved in memory -- out of 215 employees! That puts me in the 96th percentile -- about where I always scored in the Iowa Tests in elementary school.

It looks like I get to spend the day deleting files that are no longer needed or are, at the very least, old.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Monk-ey Business

This pun appeared in the August 2008 issue of Reader's Digest.

"I have C.D.O. It's like O.C.D. but with the letters in alphabetical order, like they're supposed to be."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I actually found a bicycle helmet that fits!

I went to two stores while in Albuquerque: Performance Bicycles and REI. P.B. was just like the store here in Las Cruces: no XL helmets on the shelves, and none in the back, either. REI had one on the shelf, and it fit, and it doesn't make me look like a dork, and it was reasonably priced, so I snatched it up.

My friend Gimpy suggested I title this post "Melonhead", but I thought "Lemonhead" would be better. I refer not to the candy but to the Ponderosa Lemon, which is far larger than the average lemon you can find in the grocery store.

The helmet I got was the Triton helmet by Bell (in black). The web page says it's, "a good looking helmet for the extra large of head". The web page also lists the price at $40 but I got it for $38.

While in REI, Gimpy suggested I pick up a cycling jersey sporting the colors of New Mexico's state flag. That way, he said, I wouldn't need a reflective vest to be more visible to traffic. Actually, the one in the store had a different design and was far more obnoxiously yellow and cost only $30. I tried on an extra large, and it fit okay in the shoulders, maybe a little loose, but had snug elastic around the waist. I figure it's supposed to be so, but I didn't want to try a large and disillusion myself. I'd like to see if I can lose any fat by bicycling first. Plus, I don't want to shell out money for specialized clothes if I'm not going to keep it up. (Forty dollars for a helmet is bad enough.)

A pleasant surprise I discovered is that cycling shorts are no longer restricted to the skin-tight variety. (My rear end in tight pants is something the world does not want to see.) I could buy these if I wanted to. However, most bike web pages do recommend cycling shorts for fitness or competitive trips because of the discomfort that can be caused by normal underwear. Cycling shorts have specialized underwear built in. I'm not too comfortable with the idea of not wearing underwear, but I suppose I'd have to see the shorts and try them on first. Or, I guess I could buy this cycling underwear and put it on under my normal shorts. (If you didn't click on the link because you were afraid of what you'd see, trust me. It's more decent than you'd expect.)

Actually, I do have a big dream about cycling now. I would like to see if I can do any long distance bicycle trips. I read about one in Reader's Digest, in which participants take a week to cycle across Iowa. I wondered if I could do the same but from here to Albuquerque -- or maybe cycle up to Truth or Consequences and spend the day at one of the lakes and get a ride home -- or maybe cycle out to the City of Rocks, soak in the hot springs, then get a ride home. G suggested that I participate in the M.S. Society's bike ride to Los Alamos. Of course, I'll need to train first. Anyone want to help? I'll be Sylvester Stallone; you can be Burgess Meredith. I won't even make you look at me in tight shorts.