Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, June 29, 2009

I don't even know who this guy is, but at least he looks human.

Your results:
You are Qui-Gon Jinn

Qui-Gon Jinn
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Mace Windu
Lando Calrissian
Jabba the Hutt
Jar Jar Binks
Overall, you're a pretty well balanced person.
But maybe you focus a little too
much on the here and now.
Think about the future before its too late.

(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)

Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Test

...In Bed

I visited my mom in ABQ this weekend, and we went to our preferred Chinese restaurant. My fortune cookie read, "Believe in yourself, and you will succeed." Great, but while I'm job hunting, I'd prefer that others believe in me, too. Maybe I'll just follow Garfield's advice. "I believe I'll have another cookie."

I'll be hitting the road again tomorrow. I have to take one of our company trucks to an account in San Antonio, TX. It's a long day's drive, and since I'm not used to driving any further than ABQ, and since I won't be starting at my preferred time of dark-thirty a.m., I'm going to stop for the night along the way and finish the trip in a few hours the next day. The manager of the account there will take me to the airport, and I'll fly back, and Boss's boss will pick me up at the El Paso airport to bring me back home. "On the road again..."

I might have to learn to drive long distances after all. I got home tonight and found a voice mail from Friday (naturally, it was recorded just 20 minutes after I left town) from the guy who interviewed me for the Chattanooga job. They don't bother calling if you don't get the job, right?

Part of me wants to hold off on calling to see if the Colorado Springs opportunity stays open after someone else is interviewed tomorrow, but part of me worries that I'll lose the chance with someone who wants me if I don't call Mr. Chattanooga back.

(Note: this was supposed to be posted after it was written on Sunday, June 28, 2009, but due to ISP difficulties, it was delayed a day.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Like Flames to a Moth

"Ooh!" Zzzzt!

"Ooh!" Crackle!

"Ooh! Ow!"

That's the status of my job hunt so far.

University job = I made the "short list", but not one of the four interviews (what do those four have that I don't have?). Las Cruces job #1 = out of 131 applicants, I stand a snowball's chance in Las Cruces. Las Cruces job #2 = they didn't tell you yet that we filled the position three weeks ago? Oklahoma City job #1 = we didn't state it in the job posting, but we actually want someone with 15+ years experience as a general manager. Oklahoma City job #2 = we didn't state it in the job posting, but we actually want someone with "train the trainer" experience. Chattanooga job = I was the last of four telephone interviews, and the manager optimistically said I would have an answer in 24 hours. (Considering that would have been today, and it's almost 9 o'clock p.m., either he was too optimistic, or he's waiting for the other three applicants to turn him down before he offers it to me.) Aspen job = just an automated response saying that my application was received (yeah, and that's all I got for the Las Cruces jobs, too). Colorado Springs job = they have an on-site interview Monday, and if they don't like him/her, they might ask to see my resume (but what's the chance that they will if they're already seeing someone in person?).

Maybe I should apply for that U.S. Virgin Islands job, even if I don't have the background they're looking for. What could it hurt?


Monday, June 22, 2009

Just don't call me P.P.

I finally got around to reading the book A Peacock in the Land of Penguins (by B.J. Gallagher and Warren H. Schmidt, 2008, Simple Truths), which Boss's boss gave to each of us for Christmas. I should have read it sooner; maybe I could've used some of its advice when dealing with the changes occurring at work. Then again, it doesn't really delve into what to do when your happy community of mixed birds is suddenly invaded by a fat tomcat that wants to seem threatening and powerful even though it has been neutered.

The story centers around Perry Peacock, who was hired by a business run by penguins. Perry eventually learns that he will never be a penguin, no matter how hard he tries, so he leaves and finds a place where all sorts of birds are welcome. I identified with some characteristics from most of the birds mentioned, but this description of Perry really fits me.

He could write well and was excellent at managing his budgets. He was creative and imaginative, and at the same time, practical and sensible.

He had many friends and admirers in his own land, and was very popular and well-liked.

That darn cat!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Easy Rider

I used my new bike for the first time yesterday. A local chiropractic/therapy office offered free bike tune-ups yesterday, with the purpose of making sure your bike is adjusted suitably to your body. Naturally, there were issues, but since the therapist who helped me was nearly as tall, he understood what I needed.

First, I needed air in the tires. Then I heard about slime tubes and bike levers, and there I was figuring out how to work the kickstand.

He had me ride my bike in the parking lot. After discounting my poor form from lack of experience (but I only ran into the curb once!), he raised my seat and moved it back. Now the seat is above the maximum recommended by the manufacturer, but I do want to pedal without my knees reaching my chin, don't I?

The other therapist, who had been helping the person before me, argued against rotating the handlebars forward, as that would make me reach and lean too much. Obviously, he didn't see that I have monkey arms, so reach isn't a problem. He also hadn't seen me ride; the guy helping me said my "knees were almost hitting the handlebars". That's me: all legs.

It turns out the ideal bike for me will be longer (more distance between the seat and handlebars), not taller. Okay, taller would help some, too. However, for a free bike, it wasn't a bad deal. I'll be able to use it for learning and practice, and when I'm ready, I'll trade up to a better model.

I spent some time riding clockwise in my parking lot that afternoon. Then I rode counterclockwise, just for variety. I also practiced shifting gears. The guy told me that 1-1 was "granny granny", or the easiest gear for pedaling up steep hills, so I got it down to 3-7 for my level parking lot – and it still was too easy. I could pedal a bit then circle with just momentum.

I'm all set for more lessons. Ready, Coach?

By the way, it's green -- just right for the Cap'n.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I feel another song coming on.

The other day, we had our monthly cake and ice cream for employees, in honor of every employee whose birthday falls within the month. Naturally, they came in droves and scattered at quitting time. As Thing One and I cleaned up, I quipped, "The party's over. It's time to call it a day."

It didn't take us too long to clean up, and, since quitting time for the crews is early in the summer, I said, "It's a quarter to three. There's no one in the place."

Thing One suggested a different song, considering the climate we are being subjected to in our last days of the contract. "Take this job and shove it."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After this, I'll sing "Xanadu".

It's interesting... Well, I mean other than my recent tendency to get America's song lyrics stuck in my head... It's interesting that I have to talk myself in to things, whereas most people have to talk themselves out of them.

Yesterday evening (I do almost as much thinking while on the sofa as I do when brushing my teeth), I was pondering whether or not I should apply for a job in Aspen, Colorado. "You can do it," I told myself. "You're intelligent. You can do anything." Then I started singing. "You can do magic. You can have anything that you desire." (It's a good thing the voice in my head can carry a tune.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The "Stupid Questions You Never Thought of Asking" Series

This will be the first in a (hopefully) short series of questions that are so stupid or pointless, why bother asking them in the first place?

1) How do people making a TV show decide which side of the bed the man and the woman sleep on? Do the writers specify it? Do the actors say, "This is the side I always sleep on"? Do they flip a coin?

Friday, June 12, 2009

The world may never know.

Earlier this school year, a professor who taught me in college joined a committee I was chairing. I asked friends and coworkers if I should continue to call her Doctor, as I had as a student, or by her first name, now that I was an "adult". Answers included to call her Doctor because that's her title, to call her Doctor because that's what I always had called her, or to call her Doctor unless she said it was okay to call her by her first name.

She e-mailed everyone recently that she will become an administrator at another university. I haven't seen her since the committee meeting. I won't be able to find out what she prefers me to call her.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

P-p-p-puppy power!

Two former employees were like favored pets to Boss. Every time they did something, they'd scamper up to Boss, hoping for a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. "Aren't I a good dog?" they'd seem to simper. Then they'd scamper back (although the older employee lumbered more like an old bloodhound) to root up the grass some more or be a fierce guard dog against those next-to-harmless squirrels/coworkers daring to invade their territory. I won't say what I called them (to protect Boss's anonymity), but it was a hink-pink very similar to Doug's Dogs.

I don't know why it took me so long to realize it, but Sub now behaves the same way toward our client, whom I call Static. (Another disgruntled coworker called him Radio Frequency, but given that I never understand his communications, I deemed him Static, and it stuck.)

This behavior makes me sick. I do my job. I do it well. I don't curry favors or special treatment. I follow the rules. I am consistent. And, based on the number of people (even the troublemaker!) who say they're going to miss me, I am liked by nearly everyone. Now who's the loyal dog?

Perhaps my dislike of this behavior stems from childhood. Part of me is deeply ingrained with "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but now add a useless, annoying character in the mix. Forget about "jumping the shark"; add a precocious brat to the show, and you've ensured a rapid though painful death.

Scooby-Doo went down the tubes when Scrappy was introduced. Gimme a Break was a good show until Joey Lawrence joined the cast. (I still detest him and everything he has ever done.) The Cosby Show had Raven Symone. Even my favorite Pinky & the Brain was utterly abysmal once Elmyra came along.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's alive! Alive!

Although it may limp a bit.

After a short discussion with G and a video from Bicycle Tutor, I determined that I should loosen the front brake, slip the wheel in, and retighten the brake. It appears to have worked. Still, I wonder how "easy release" this wheel actually is. What's that? Oh, you're right. The wheel is easy release; the brakes aren't.

I spun the wheel to see if it wobbled; it didn't. However, after two revolutions, it rubbed enough somewhere that the wheel stopped, so I have to figure out where and fix that. I feel like a small-animal vet used to working with kitties and puppies who is suddenly asked to fix a goldfish's broken fin.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

No Bloody Knuckles (Yet)

I borrowed metric allen wrenches from Worker Bee yesterday, so I started assembling my new bike after work. The handlebars are on. The seat is on. The pedals (once I realized that that cardboard rectangle inside the carton was a box of parts, not merely a brace or spacer) are on.

The manual isn't the greatest ever written. It seems like they tried to include assembly instructions for three types of bikes, and I spend more than half my time trying to figure out which one I have. The useful pictures aren't very useful, considering that the text uses words for parts not labeled in the diagrams (or may be called something else, for all I know). The most fun was step #7, which told me to turn the bike right side up after mounting the wheel. The problem is that there was, at no time prior in the manual, any instruction to turn the bike upside down! (Indeed, one couldn't do that and still insert the seat.)

For the time being, I'm stuck at the wheel mounting step. The manual describes how easy it should be, but this portion of the manual is written either for bikes without handbrakes or for bikes whose brakes aren't preassembled. I'm going to have to call Schwinn today and have them talk me through it (as long as it's between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time because God forbid that anyone try to assemble his/her bike after work).

By the way, one beer wasn't enough yesterday. I might need two today.

Monday, June 08, 2009


My car is nearly out of gas, so I walked across the street to my ATM to acquire money for refueling. The ATM was "out of service". Okay, so I'll drive to the next nearest one, drive back to the gas station, then drive back to work; it's retracing my steps, but I'll do it. I started my car and saw that I should have enough gas to make it until tomorrow morning, so I changed my plans and decided to drive straight to work from the second ATM. It was a great plan, but the second ATM was "out of funds". The ATM in the student union darn well better have money in it today! What a way to start my birthday.

That's on top of me forgetting to turn on the dishwasher last night, when I went to bed. It was a natural error, considering that, being a bachelor, I never use enough pots or dishes to necessitate the dishwasher. Anyway, that means I had to pull out a spoon and bowl, handwash them for my oatmeal, then stick them back in the dishwasher. (Yes, I remembered to turn it on before leaving for work.) Yeah, I know I'm tempting fate this way, in case the dishwasher malfunctions while I'm not at home to shut off the water, but chances are it could have done the same thing last night, when I was asleep and unable to hear anything wrong.

The whole reason I needed to use the dishwasher was to clean up stuff from my party this past weekend. (I invited Boss, Thing One, Tweety, our mechanic, and even Worker Bee, who doesn't work for us any more, but I didn't invite Sub. We all were very careful not to mention the party when Sub was around. Does that make it subterfuge?) I had a remarkable turnout: far more than my usual 25% of invitees. Granted, all of them were "fashionably late", and I was sitting there for half an hour, wondering if anyone at all would show up...

I limited the menu to just hamburgers, hot dogs, side dishes, drinks, and desserts. I simplified it further by buying premade hamburger patties. They were large (extending past the bun) and thick (didn't shrink too badly while cooking), but the texture and flavor were blah. I had smaller but better burgers last year, using the ground beef from the supermarket's meat section. (Maybe it's because I had my mom shape the hamburgers, and the little bit of love she sticks in makes all the difference.) These patties dripped a lot of fat, so I felt as if I was working at Rustler, with orange flames shooting up from beneath the grill. (Here's a safety hint for you backyard barbecuers, which I was able to remember myself: shut the lid to diminish the flames!)

On my invitation, I had given my guests several reasons for the party, and they could choose one: my functional veranda lights, my new dresser, my birthday, or "bon voyage, good luck, and don't let the door hit you on the way out". Three guests chose the birthday option. I received a $5.00 bill, a $15.00 gift card to Blockbuster Video, and a bicycle pump.

Robomarkov: thank you for the card. It was perfect!

Betty: thank you for having the full (or nearly full) moon for my party and birthday. (Now I just need a friend who can control the weather, so those pesky clouds wouldn't have been in the way.)

Yes, I received a bicycle pump. Yes, I have a bicycle now. It is a Schwinn mountain bike. (I won't bother linking to the web page because they show only bikes available from bike stores, not from general retailers or mail order.) It is green. It is still in pieces, since I don't have metric allen wrenches and I refuse to pay good money for something that might be sitting in my dad's workroom in the basement. (In the meantime, I'm going to borrow some from Worker Bee or Boss, so I can get it together.)

Best of all, the bike was free. Both Hunter and Rain Bird have "rewards" programs for irrigation companies who buy a lot of their products. The more we bought, the more points they gave us. We amassed enough that Thing One, the mechanic, and I got bikes, Tweety got a smoker, and Boss got a range finder useful for golf. Sub gets a baseball cap. He doesn't wear baseball caps. :p

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It’s official: I don’t exist.

I was in Thing One’s office with her and one of our vendors. As soon as the vendor walked outside, Sub entered and asked Thing One if he could speak with her. She said yes, but he remained silent. Being smarter than Sub, I realized that he didn’t want to speak in my presence, so I walked out. Sub immediately shut the door behind me.

He did not ask me to leave so they could talk privately. He didn’t even look at me.

This has been building for a long time. We in the office noticed that he stopped speaking to me unless he had to. (I don’t care about this. I’m kind of enjoying it.) He took over my duties without telling me. I now am taking up space in the office, collecting my paycheck. (I’m kind of enjoying this, too.) The one thing that does irk me is that he doing everything for the client but nothing for the company who gives him his paycheck. (Hey, Boss, can you give me Sub’s salary, too, since he’s working for the client now?)

Please let the IRS know that I no longer exist – but be sure that you tell them today’s date, so that they don’t try to take back the refund they gave me earlier this year.

"I Get An Oval" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

At the end of my haircut the other day, I happened to notice my face in the mirror. Sure, I see myself several times a day, but this is the first time I looked at myself. I noticed that my face is no longer round; it is an oval. That is, quite possibly, the happiest thing to happen to me this week.

Not to be outdone, the rest of my body is getting in to the act. At home, my bathroom mirror showed me that my hips are no longer wider than my shoulders. (I still have a rhinoceros butt, though.)

And, oddly enough, this "eating less" deal isn't as difficult as it used to be...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Not-so-Young and the Restless

Woe unto anyone who attempts to share my bed. I have a lifetime of evidence that I'm an active sleeper. (I wonder if I burn more calories that way?)

When I was little, I rolled off the bed during my afternoon nap.

A couple of years ago, I woke up in the morning and found the unused pillow from the other side of my bed, lying neatly on the floor, perpendicular to the bed. (See? Even when I'm asleep I'm fastidious!)

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up because I couldn't roll over. I couldn't roll over because that other pillow was next to me on the bed, parallel with my body. (No, I wasn't cuddling it; it was just there.)

A few days later, as I was making my bed in the morning, I noticed a headprint in the pillow I wasn't using. (It appears that my personal space is larger than I imagined.)

I have only one documented case of me talking in my sleep, and no one (including college room mates) ever said that I snore, so I might rassle wit' you a little, but at least I'm quiet about it.