Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Icky Sticky

Oops, I was referring to the humidity this morning. I hope the school doesn't block me.

I have learned that, because we're a grades 6-12 school, some web pages are likely to be blocked for "adult content". Thus far, I have been unable to view Robomarkov's and Dave White's blogs (both on Livejournal), but I can post to mine and read Betty's (both on Blogger). Robomarkov had me try numerous other websites (news pages and popular sites where adult materials and/or viruses are likely to be found), and they all worked. I can't view the Sticky Fingers barbecue restaurant web page either. (Are they serving up something other than barbecue sauce?)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ask a stupid question...

I just had my second decent night's sleep since moving to Chattanooga. It figures, just before I fly back to New Mexico, two time zones away, then drive back to Tennessee over about three days. Playing "Guess the Time Zone" is fun for my brain but taxing on my body.

I really used to enjoy it when I would fly somewhere. Invariably, someone in an airport would ask me the time (airports do not, as a rule, provide clocks for confused travelers; that would be helpful, after all). I would look at my watch, pause, and ask, "Which time zone?" I don't think that has happened since most people started carrying cell phones.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Add "Mr. Coffee" to my list of sobriquets.

After Saturday's post, I ate at Five Guys Burgers & Fries (and enjoyed their nearly Boardwalk Fries) and Bojangles. I also discovered that Ringgold Road might possibly be my favorite road in Chattanooga (actually East Ridge, TN, but I suspect only the townies insist on the distinction). It has both The Book Company, a used bookstore (not as large as COAS in Las Cruces nor McKay's in Chattanooga, but still good), and a bowling alley on it.

On Sunday, I had breakfast at Aretha Frankenstein's. (Alas, they were all out of men's T-shirts!) On my drive back home (and I do recommend driving around a new city at dawn on a Sunday if you actually want to see things and find your way without running into anyone every 50 feet), I saw where The Terminal brewpub is and Niedlov's Breadworks, so I drove back to the Terminal for lunch (Niedlov's is closed on Sundays), and will go back again, for the beer, the menu, and the friendly and interactive serving staff (one employee, not my waitress, actually had a conversation about the book I was reading, longer than, "What's the name of the book you're reading?"). I had pizza for dinner at Portofino Italian Restaurant (which also served Greek dishes, hence the incongruous and random switch between Greek bazouki music and the theme from The Godfather).

How am I able to bring you this astounding array of new gustatorial delights? It's because the school's dining hall was closed last week and will be again this week, so I have sought my overindulgence in calories elsewhere. (Not to worry; I'm still walking my 12 laps around the track every day.) Faculty and staff on the campus are allowed to eat for free.

Have I mentioned the school is very generous?

Besides the increase in salary, this place has so many perks compared to my last job. I get a discount at the bookstore, eleven shirts and pants, free uniform laundering (wear five one week, send them for cleaning, wear five the next week, etc.), cheap rent in a campus-owned apartment, a cell phone, an office as big as my last one but which I don't have to share with 1.5 other people, the copier, the fax machine, and the network printer (and it has windows!), and the people are so darn nice that I'm suspicious. (That's not necessarily my fault; it's a natural reaction to the negativity and hidden meanings at my last job.)

Mr. Coffee. Perks. Get it?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

…and the horse you rode in on!

Are you familiar with the way that sentence usually starts? That was my mood, alternating with grateful, last night. I am lucky to be here to tell the tale.

For the first weeks I have been in Chattanooga, I have borrowed the pickup truck or the car belonging to the school’s athletics department. Last night, I had the car. I intended to go Downtown to drink (er, and eat) at The Hair of the Dog. I drove the car home from campus with no problems. I left the house and thought I heard and felt a slight shudder, somewhat like having a flat tire, so I pulled over and got out. The tires looked fine. I got Downtown with no problems. As I searched for a free parking space, that’s when I realized that the brake pedal went all the way to the floor with no effect whatsoever!

I managed to not hit anyone or anything, got the car going slowly uphill, turned a corner, rubbed the tires against the curb, and put the car into park. Then I called the school’s security officer, who called for a tow truck to bring the car and me back to campus. No, wait. First, I prayed to God and thanked Him that the situation wasn’t worse, that I hadn’t caused any property nor bodily damage, and that I had the brains to get the car stopped. Then I called security.

Part of me wanted to go home, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some barbecue Fritos, and go to bed. Another part of me grabbed a cliché and beat the wimpy me over the head with it. I decided to get back on the horse that threw me and get my dark beer, darn it! (As you can guess, I pretty much needed it by this point.) I borrowed the truck, drove around campus first to test the brakes, and headed back Downtown. I found a parking space just around the corner from where I was stranded.

The sign on the door said that, because of the recession, the pub would not serve beer on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights. I checked with my attractive and interactive waitress; no, they were not kidding. I needed a beer, demmit! I asked for Dr. Pepper. Their soda machine was on the fritz, and the employee they had sent out for two liter bottles hadn’t returned yet. Oy vey. I explained the look of frustration/exasperation on my face, and the waitress suggested that they had some bottles which, because of their high alcohol content, were considered liquors and could be served. Perfect!

She provided a menu, and I selected Skull Splitter. There was a darker not-beer on the menu, but I chose this one because it is from Scotland. It turns out I made the right choice. It was a very dark amber but clear (not cloudy), very smooth from start to finish, and with a flavor that didn’t hit my tastebuds over their heads with a cliché.

I selected another cliché in honor of the failed brakes and decided to pull out all the stops. [Insert groan here.] For dinner, I had the Guinness chili (excellent flavor, but the fine grain of the meat made me wonder if I was eating something other than beef), the Tramstopper (barbecue meatloaf -- not something I’d seen anywhere else, and something I’d not necessarily eat again) with French fries (loaded with seasoned salt, so I couldn’t use the malt vinegar conveniently located on the table), and dessert.

The pub’s desserts (not shown on the online menu) were a daily special or the Fried Black and Tan, described as Bananas Foster meets brownies. I asked what the daily special was. They were out of it. (Of course they were.) I had the Fried Black and Tan. There was a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce drizzles, and lighter cubes and brown cubes. When I cut into them with my spoon, I confirmed that they indeed had been fried. The brown ones were fried brownies. The lighter ones were what I’d describe as fried cheesecake. (Gotta love the South!) That was a definite get-again.

For lunch, I had gone across the street from campus to Café Lemont. It was a superb choice. I had barbecued spareribs (a little sweeter than I prefer), white beans (mixed with pork and onion and a touch of smoke flavoring), fried green tomatoes (something I had never dared try before, but I’ve been oddly adventurous since arriving in Chattanooga), a roll, sweet raspberry tea to drink, and a piece of chess pie for dessert. I haven’t tried the chess pie yet. It looked like a blondie to me, but one of the housekeepers whom I saw at the restaurant and with whom I ate said it is lemon flavored, which I like almost as much. The mouse in my office didn’t get to it in the afternoon, so I took it home and put it in my fridge.

Both restaurants were too expensive to be regular hangouts for me, but I definitely would return to both. Other than the car, I made some excellent choices yesterday -- but the car wasn’t really a matter of choice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What’s in a name? Hopefully, good food.

The new Chattanooga phone books arrived last week, so what else is there for a TV-less, radio-less, book-less bachelor to do except look for restaurants, since the cafeteria is closed for two weeks and I’m getting sick and tired of ham or PB&J sandwiches (at least until I bring back my kitchen supplies from New Mexico and can prepare hot meals)?

Unfortunately, the yellow pages aren’t very helpful as far as telling what kinds of food are served at the restaurants, unless their names are Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy (can a burrito seek asylum there?), BBQ Shack, or Shogun Japanese Steak and Sushi Bar. Still, some of these places sound appealing.

Ankar’s Hoagies -- I tried to find this place this past weekend, so I could walk in the door and say, “Okay, you’re on,” but I was so busy looking for the address that I didn’t notice that the name of the road hooked right, but the paved surface kept going, so I ended up on the wrong street. I’ll try again and dare them to live up to their name.
Bamboo Restaurant -- for discerning pandas.
The Big Biscuit Barn -- I wonder how big.
Big River Grille and Brewing Works -- definitely on my list to try, along with the Hair of the Dog Pub (within a block of each other downtown).
Bleacher Bums -- sounds like a hot dog place.
Blue Coast Burrito -- the colors I usually associate with burritos are red or green.
Café Lemont -- It’s not that the name sounds good; it’s that it’s across the street from campus, so I’m going there for lunch tomorrow.
Café Yumbo Gumbo -- one hopes the gumbo is as “yumbo” as they claim.
Casa Rolls Dinner Drive Thru -- do they serve anything besides rolls?
Central Park -- these are little drive-up shacks that look more like they’d fit in on a Boardwalk rather than Central Park. (The burger was okay; the fries were eh. Definitely not Boardwalk Fries, no matter what the shack looked like.)
Chattanooga Choo Choo -- advertises “Unique Victorian railcar diner [for] fine dining in intimate surroundings.” (Not to be confused with the Chattanooga Chew Chew dog park.)
Chattanooga Food and Drink -- simple and understandable.
Cheeburger Cheeburger -- this place was packed last Friday (not just because a party of 15 beat me in the door), and the friendly host said it was more crowded last week. It probably won’t be my weekly burger place because the burgers were just okay and the onion rings were tasty, but I will have to bring my friend Gimpy there if he ever visits, so he can eat their Pounder (actually 20 oz. before cooking) and have his photo tacked up on the wall.
Comedy Catch and Giggles Grill -- I don’t think I could ever eat at a grill called Giggles.
Critters -- I wonder what kind of roadkill the special of the day is.
The Crust Pizza -- May I have sauce and cheese, please?
Defence Restaurant -- I wonder if that’s a typo or if the owner is from Great Britain or Australia.
The Deli Man & the Cake Lady -- They serve only lunch and only on weekdays, so I didn't get to use my coupon this past weekend. I'll have to try them next week, since the dining hall still will be closed.
Famous Dave’s -- I know a lot of Dave’s; can you be more specific?
Fat Floyd’s Deli -- You know the old saying, “Never trust a skinny cook.”
Fed-Up Café -- Where the slogan is, “Eat here and get fed up.”
Figgy’s Sandwich Shop -- Can you trust a Figgy as much as a Fat Floyd?
Five Guys Burgers & Fries -- Let’s hope too many cooks don’t spoil the burgers.
517 Subs -- If you're the 518th customer, you're out of luck.
Flatiron Deli -- Does anyone besides my mom even remember flatirons?
Fox and Hound Pub & Grille -- If this place is decorated like the Disney movie, I’m outta there!
Georges Restaurant -- Did he leave out the apostrophe? Is it a restaurant owned by George, or is it a restaurant only for guys named George?
GollyWhoppers Sandwich Shop -- Will I get kicked out if I walk in and ask to see their gollywhoppers?
Good Dog Restaurant -- If you sit and stay, you’re allowed dessert.
Happy Dreams -- I’d have happy dreams if the servers wore nothing but… Um, never mind.
Heavenly Wings -- Do the wings grow back every time a bell rings?
The Home Plate -- sounds like another hot dog joint, but this one isn’t downtown, near the stadium.
Hour Place -- better bring a good book, if it takes that long to be served.
The Ice Cream Show -- sounds like an offering on Food Network.
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches -- How gourmet can they be from a guy named Jimmy John?
Karl’s Family Restaurant -- advertises “Jesus Christ is the answer.” What was the question?
King Burger -- either the phone book staff needs to check their entries, or we have a serious copyright infringement suit in the near future.
Magoo’s Restaurant -- unless he has started wearing glasses, I won’t trust what he manages to put on my plate.
Master Blaster BBQ -- This place got the song “Bra Size 45” stuck in my head.
Mr. Happy -- Wanna make me happy? Have the servers wear nothing but… Um, never mind.
Mr. T’s Pizza -- I pity the fool who eats here.
Modern Dave’s Café & Smokehouse -- He must be Famous Dave’s up-to-date cousin.
Moe’s Southwest Grill -- You’re a long way from the Southwest, Moe.
Mom’s Italian Villa -- Funny, I didn’t see that in her will.
Moon Bottom -- This place must be for those guys whose pants hang down past their boxer shorts.
Murphy’s Eatz & Sweetz -- Let’s hope “eatz” doesn’t rhyme with “sweats”.
New York Diner -- I ate at this place last weekend, after not finding three other restaurants. It’s not a true diner style, but the menu makes a grand effort.
The North Chatt Cat -- Alliterative, yes, but is it any good?
Out of the Blue Café & Kites -- Yes, you read that right.
The Pickle Barrel Restaurant -- I walked by this place on my way to Cheeburger Cheeburger.
Rib and Loin -- This place has to be good. The phone numbers for their two locations are 499-OINK and 877-PORK.
Rumors -- Eat here, and they’ll be talking about you next.
Ryan’s Family Steak House -- Human: the other white meat.
Scarlett’s Tea Room -- Yes, the “Frankly My Dear” Suite is located upstairs.
Serendipity Delights -- You never know what you’re going to get, but you know you’ll enjoy it.
Sticky Fingers -- I couldn’t tell you what’s on the menu because the campus server blocks me from loading their web page.
Susan’s Kopper Kettle Restaurant -- Every place I’ve ever been has a restaurant like this, and every one of them spells the name wrong.
Sweeney’s BBQ -- This must be where Ryan got the idea for his steakhouse.
Taco Mac -- Oddly enough, this place was recommended to me because of their beer menu. Who knows if the tacos are any good?
The Terminal Brew House -- Where to eat after the wife threatens, “If you drink one more beer…”
The Big Chill & Grill -- sounds like a place for Baby Boomers.
The Purple Daisy Picnic Café -- and after we’re done eating our lunch in the meadow, lets sing songs and make garlands of daisies for our hair!
Tubby’s Real Burgers -- Fat Floyd and Tubby, I’m on my way!

And the winner of the most imaginatively named restaurant I’ve seen so far is…. Aretha Frankenstein’s. -- I don’t care how bad the food is, I want a T-shirt. (I also have a request from a friend for a coffee mug, if they have any. I’m going this weekend, so get your order in early!)

Let's all get under the Cone of Silence.

Most staff members or departments drive golf carts or utility vehicles around campus. I have my own utility vehicle. It even has a roof, windshield, and rear window (though no sides) -- because it actually rains here, not like in New Mexico.

Also, as with many of the vehicles, my department name is emblazoned at the bottom of the windshield. Not only that, it identifies me as the grounds manager, or, as they like to call it, Chief of Grounds.

If I'm the Chief, that means my regular contributors Robomarkov and Betty must be Max and 99.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I don't like your jugs.

I visited both local grocery stores this weekend and found an invitation to participate in a survey on each receipt.

One store asked why I chose a competitor over them. I replied, "Because I just moved to town and I've visited that store twice and yours once. That's why."

Now that I've opened their gallon of milk, I have a new response. I don't like that type of cap on the jug, and it's made of opaque plastic, so I can feel how much is left but not see it to make sure.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's never too early to buy beer.

I'm bored with sitting around the apartment. I have no TV. I have no stereo. I borrowed a book from the school's library on Thursday and finished it Friday night. (I guess I'll borrow two books next time.)

I went to the ATM, a fast-food joint for breakfast, and two grocery stores this morning. (I do more before 8 a.m. than some people do all day.) One supermarket had my favorite beer on sale. However, as the manager informed me, "It's too early to buy beer."

For crying out loud, I thought I left this crazy blue law behind in New Mexico. Do they think that, because I can't buy alcohol, I'm going to go running to church? Actually, I could do both because the church of my choice is just a mile from my apartment, and their service isn't until 11 a.m., so I could have breakfast, run errands, and enjoy a nice beer with my lunch all before walking to church.

My hidden gripe is that there were signs all around the beer coolers warning customers that it's illegal to buy beer before turning 21 years of age (a law common to all 50 states), but there were none warning people who have just moved here that they can't buy beer on Sunday morning. In New Mexico they roped off the liquor portion of the supermarkets. I ought to write the manager and suggest this idea.

No TV, no stereo, no books, and now no beer. What am I supposed to do for fun?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do you like movies about gladiators, Timmy?

I did a lot of traveling the past few weeks, and that question popped into my head as I pondered the new security measures on cockpit doors.

Since I was working from home, it was no problem for me to drive one of the company’s pickup trucks from our former client location to San Antonio, TX. I was blessed by being the one to take Sub’s truck away from him -- although I have no idea what he did to the steering wheel (it was coming apart in my hands) or the seatbelt (which was twisted more than a corkscrew).

I stopped in a little town for the night (and ate in the blandest Mexican restaurant in my life). It was fun driving 80 mph for most of the way between El Paso and San Antonio. After the manager there showed me some of the schools we maintain, he took me to lunch and dropped me off at the airport. A few hours later, Boss’s boss picked me up in El Paso and drove me back to Las Cruces.

Three days later, I drove to Albuquerque. Two days after that, I flew to Chattanooga, TN, where I started my new job. It turns out that, while I was delivering the truck, I had received a message from the guy who interviewed me, asking me to call him, and two messages from an H.R. representative who wanted to speak with me about the new job I had accepted.

Yes, “Huh?” is an appropriate response.

I called back on Wednesday and accepted the job. He asked if I could start Monday.

Yes, “You want me when?” is an appropriate response.

I am now the Grounds Manager for Sodexo at McCallie School (pronounced like the magazine McCall’s) in Chattanooga, TN. It’s a private school (day and boarding) for boys in grades 6 through 12. I just finished my tenth workday here.

Maybe I’d better reconsider the title of this post, given my new surroundings…

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some things are best left unspoken.

Dear World:

I do not need to hear a man my father's age complaining that, after his prostate surgery, he no longer ejaculates during climax. Please cease this type of conversation at once. Thank you.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I am Brainy Smurf

After more than 25 years, you’d think I’d have lived down that reputation, but no.

As with most elementary school children, I liked the Smurfs for a while. The main thing that annoyed me (other than not knowing how Smurfette never ended up pregnant) was on the teaser for the show, when they played Brainy saying, “I was right. I was right.” (There’s an intonation there you just can’t get from the written word.)

I have been very circumspect about describing the end of our contract with our former client, other than telling people, “It was bad.” Today, I will break that silence a bit. I will reveal that, at the very end (less than two weeks remaining), Static asked for me to be fired. Boss’s boss refused and offered a compromise. Static refused that, so Boss’s boss told me that I would be “working from home”. I did some work via phone and e-mail, but basically I was paid to play computer games and look for my next job.

I won’t describe the silly reason Static contrived; I will tell you the truth. I discovered that Static appeared to be using money from our operating account improperly. (There are layers in there, but let’s keep this simple.) I called him on it via an e-mail and copied Boss’s boss. Static sent an e-mail to everyone who didn’t need to be involved that made it sound like I was interfering. I replied to said e-mail -- and copied everyone who didn’t need to be involved, as well as Boss’s boss -- and provided the text of my original e-mail, which Static hadn’t bothered sharing because it shed light on everything, including his suspect behavior.

A couple of days ago, Thing One and Worker Bee (who are working on closing the account as the client’s fiscal year reports are updated) called me, ecstatic. They told me that I was right on the money (pun intended) about Static’s behavior. They discovered two charges that he tried to slip in at the very end, which add up to over thirteen thousand dollars. (We will bill the client to get that amount returned to us.)

Sometimes it is oh-so sweet to say, “I told you so.”

Well, that's one thing that can be said in favor of marriage.

When your alarm clock goes off, your spouse can kick you in the rump and tell you to get to work.

I didn't hear my alarm clock at all this morning. I overslept two hours. (Sure, on the weekend, when I tried, I couldn't stay in bed, but on a workday...) My clogged ear, which had gone away on its own yesterday, came back with a vengeance. I stopped by the student health center to see what could be done. The nurse looked in my ear and confirmed it was earwax. (Well, duh!) Her only helpful suggestion was that I should go to a drugstore and buy some over-the-counter eardrops to loosen the wax. Ergo, I go.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Maybe I can find a cheap doctor...

...and he'll charge me a buccaneer!

I woke up last night and heard rain again. I woke up later and didn't hear the air conditioning running, so I figured the power had gone out. I woke up later and realized I couldn't be right because I could feel the breeze from my ceiling fan but not hear the A.C. I stopped thinking then, so I'd have a better chance of falling back to sleep.

I heard the A.C. again when my alarm went off. However, I realized that one of my ears seems clogged. I must have had my good ear to the pillow when I didn't hear the A.C. last night. I think I mostly cleared the blockage with a douse of my washcloth, but it still feels from the inside of my head that I'm stopped up. Time to find an ear/nose/throat specialist. It's a good thing I have insurance.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Monday the 13th.

Just in case I didn't know already...

1) I broke a utility vehicle. It's fixed already. It's just that a spring could easily slide off the accelerator, resulting in a vehicle that wouldn't go backward nor forward. The mechanic slipped a clamp on the pedal shaft so that it shouldn't happen again.

2) While at the mechanic's shop, the overhead door wouldn't lower. He claims it was before I pulled on the chain to "help" him, but I'm not so sure. I figured that I should make myself scarce before I helped him even more.

How many more hours until midnight?