Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

My mom called last night. She said I received a letter in the mail from the Gerber insurance corporation. (They have insured me since I was a baby.) The letter, addressed to me, thanked me for notifying them that I had died and expressed their condolences.

Excuse me?

Obviously, she's going to write back and tell them that they are mistaken. It didn't help that the letter arrived on the third anniversary of my father's death. I had a bad enough day at work, but to find out that I had died...

Friday, October 30, 2009

And on the seventh day, God went bowling.

Finally, I found something to do in The Noog on a Sunday! You can even eat a meal or drink beer while doing it! (Although I didn't.)

I participated in a bowling tournament, and I met a team (literally) of interesting people. Before I get too deep, though, I'll forecast that some of what I say might be misconstrued as insulting. It isn't intended to be so, but my wit is so anhydrous at times that some people consider me an extremely serious person.

The tournament was a benefit for the Chattanooga Locomotion, a full-contact, women's football team.

Um, yeah, you read that right, and you're probably thinking I spent the afternoon surrounded by large, sturdy, almost masculine women. (You'd be right). A couple of them wore makeup.

Ahem. Sorry. See what I mean? I will not, however, make a joke with the song lyrics, "Everybody do the Locomotion". (Oops.)

The woman who invited me said to be at the bowling alley at two o'clock. I hung out with the few token men, making small talk for half an hour, as the team chowed down on pizza, burgers, fries, etc. from the snack bar. After a comment about how we were told to show up half an hour before the real start time, one of the men said it was "lesbian time". He wasn't being negative, though. Some of the small talk was the story how he met his husband (his word).

I was teamed with two team members. I didn't talk much to Denisha; when she wasn't bowling, she was on her cell phone or bouncing around the lanes, chatting with everyone. I tried to chat with A.J., but she was too concerned about how poorly she was bowling and how she was trained for basketball but she made the team anyway. I couldn't ask her about the team, though, since she had just made the tryouts the day before. She reminded me a bit of the actor who portrayed the football-playing son-in-law on the former sitcom Reba. (But the actor is prettier.)

So what did I get for my tournament fee? Three games of bowling, a small water bottle with the team's logo (I do like the logo), and a season ticket to the Locomotion's home games. Anybody interested in watching a bunch of burly broads bash into each other during summer Saturday evenings?

That's Y'all, Folks!

Yesterday, I attended a weed/insect/disease diagnosis seminar, put on by several cooperative extension agents. Afterward, my coworker and I went to lunch with them.

Once the University of Tennessee football team talk was through, we got on to more interesting (to me, anyway) subjects. One of the agents mentioned he was glad the Phillies had won the first game of the World Series, not because he was a fan, but because he hated the Yankees.

He wasn't from The Noog, but it reminded me (through a stroke of coincidence, months in the making) of the Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam cartoon "Southern Fried Rabbit", where Bugs and Sam are in the South during the (U.S.) Civil War. Here's a transcript of the closing scene, courtesy of the folks that created the web page.

An injured messenger approaches the house on horse back (it is Bugs, disguised again) then crawls up the steps to the house
Bugs: Colonel! The Yankees! The Yankees! They’re in… Chattanooga!
Bugs pretends to collapse, too injured to continue.
Sam: Chattanoogee?!?!
Martial music plays.
Sam jumps on the horse left by the ‘messenger’ and rides away.
Sam: Chaaarge!

A ballpark. A sign saying “Exhibition Game – Yankees vs Chattanooga”
At the Yankee dugout, Sam is holding the players inside with a shotgun.
Sam: The first danged Yankee that steps out of the dugout gets his head blasted off!

Incidentally, The Noog does have its own (minor league) baseball team, the Chattanooga Lookouts. I ought to go to a game next season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Even Dr. Fronkensteen Had His Off Days.

My creation was killed, however, not by an angry mob of torch-wielding villagers (they rather liked it, as it turns out) but by a single person: the school's headmaster.

For my winter annual display at the front gate, I decided on borders of alternating color in the beds. Think of a rectangle inside a rectangle inside a rectangle inside... The outer rectangle was lemon yellow Viola. The line inside that was white Viola. Next I repeated the lemon yellow. For a change of pace, and to use larger plants so I wouldn't have to blow my whole budget on tiny flowers, I repeated the white but with flowering cabbage. Then I used purple flowering cabbage. I kept alternating those until I reached the centers of the planters. We don't have a digital camera at work (and then I would have to figure out how to post the pictures here), but the effect was something like this.

I had run my choice by Skippy (the blog name I have settled on for my boss) before buying the plants. I had originally thought of trying rainbow chard or some of this peacock kale, but he advised me not to go too wild and to use the cabbages. It turns out even he underestimated the headmaster. Our client called me and said that the headmaster has "about 0.01% tolerance of change". Wow, I've managed to find someone more resistant to change than me!

So, we ripped out the cabbbages and replaced them with this mix of pansies in the school colors. Now I'm hunting new places on campus to hide the homeless cabbages.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

All Roads Lead to Rome (Georgia)

For the second weekend in a row, I've ventured down to Georgia. This sounds like a trek, but the state line is about only five miles away. You'd think that, given my upbringing in South Jersey, where any number of bridges to Pennsylvania or Delaware were just a few miles away, I wouldn't have a mental block about it. However, nearly 20 years in New Mexico, a state where you have to drive an hour or more to get to a city of any decent size, has trained me to believe that a trip to another state requires a detailed route map, several rest areas with indoor plumbing, and a cooler of food in the trunk, just in case.

First, however, I ventured downtown to check out Chattanooga's Oktoberfest. This was even less about a Bavarian wedding celebration (note the photo of a liter of beer) than the Georgia Apple Festival was about apples. Oh, sure, one of the local brewpubs (the glamorous, self-inflated one) had beer for sale on the Walnut Street Bridge, but the rest of the booths had artists and face creams and candy and cheap jewelry. And, let me tell you, neither of the women behind the table of The Hot Chocolatier (emphasis theirs) were anywhere in the realm of hot. I should sue them for false advertising.

Voice-over: (mumbling)
Me: What?
Voice-over: (mumbling repeats)
Me: It's supposed to be the chocolate that's hot, not the person selling it? Well, that's not what the sign says.
Voice-over: (mumbling)
Me: Yes it does.
Voice-over: (mumbling)
Me: Oh, forget it.

There also was a booth for The Noog, a somewhat non-traditional visitors' bureau. The web page claims, among other things, that locals also call the city Chattaboogie and Chattavegas. (Oh. Yeah. Right.) What I want to know is, if this place is The Noog, does that make those of us who live here Nougats?

If you didn't infer it from my previous comments, I was underwhelmed by the abundance of art and dearth of beer vendors at Oktoberfest. Still, I was game to explore (since I was already there, I might as well), so I stopped in the enclave of artists' tents at the far end of the bridge, scanned the booths, and just as quickly walked out -- and noticed the words "Used Books" on an awning of the store two doors down.

Sigh. I didn't buy art. I didn't even buy a beer. But, I did come away with a bagful of books. (Betty, does it count against my monthly quota if these books were purchased expressly for donation to the school library? Well, yeah, but after I read them, I mean.)

Next (after dropping off the books at home), I headed south. My quest was a rubberized raincoat (not one like this or this or this) to replace the one I own, which is falling apart, even too much for a "work" raincoat.

The closest K-Mart, the store where I had purchased my current raincoat, is in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia (called Fort O by the Nougat across the street from me). I was feeling adventurous enough to explore the way down there, and besides, if I went north, to the K-Mart in Hixson, I would have felt obligated to stop by Nana's, and I've been a good boy this week and don't need any extra calories.

By the way, there was no break in civilization between Chattanooga, Rossville, and Fort O, which helped the journey feel more like a jaunt than a trek. I was almost confused how to get there, though, since it involved a left turn (I think) at an intersection where three roads crossed at non-square angles. I mean, it felt like a left turn, but if I activated my turn signal, would the driver behind me have expected me to turn onto the road I didn't want, since it was the closer option? Besides, none of the Nougats in front of me had a turn signal (although that seems to be standard here), and they all turned on to the same road, so I didn't bother with mine, either. When in Rome...

Voice-over (whispering): You're not in Georgia, yet.
Me: Oh. Right. Sorry.

Once I arrived (without getting lost), would you believe they didn't have any raincoats? I'd understand that in Las Cruces, but it actually rains in this part of the country. No luck at K-Mart, Big Lots, Family Dollar, Dollar General, or even the thrift store across the street. There are two thrift stores I know of here in The Noog which I can try, but I'm running out of options for an inexpensive raincoat. Any suggestions before I start looking at Target, Sears, or other, pricier stores?

Voice-over: (mumbling)
Me: Seriously? You want me to go into Wal-Mart?
Voice-over: (mumbling)
Me: Yeah, I know I own stock in the company, but that just means I want everyone else to shop there.
Voice-over: (mumbling)
Me: All right, but you're going to pay my medical bills -- and take care of my mother, should I not survive at all.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I decided to try the Italian restaurant near the Fort O K-Mart, even though it obviously used to be a Pizza Hut. The canned Italian music and the touristy, informative placemats were a nice touch, but maybe it would have seemed more like a serious attempt at a restaurant if there were other patrons there. (I mean, other than the family with three granddaughters under the age of five, one of whom would not stop crying.) Indeed, when I bit into my ravioli and experienced a flavor I'm more accustomed to tasting in something that has been breaded and deep-fried, I ranked this place the second-worst Italian restaurant I've ever been in. Maybe I should've tried the Mexican place next door instead.

Incidentally, I've noticed a number of place names from elsewhere. There's Troy in Alabama, Rome and Athens in Georgia, and Dayton and Cleveland in Tennessee. Aren't there any towns in the South that aren't named for other places? Oh, that's right: The Noog.

Friday, October 23, 2009

That's the last time I eat quahogs and scuppernongs before bed.

I've had some remarkable dreams the past couple of weeks, and the one this morning was so disturbing, I feel compelled to share it with you. (Misery loves company, after all.)

Two weeks ago, I dreamt the beginning of a new Pink Panther movie (with Peter Sellers, not Steve Martin). Earlier this week, I dreamt that I was bought a bottle of apple beer at a swim meet, and I liked it. (I figure it was leftover brainwaves from the Georgia Apple Festival.)

This morning, I dreamt that Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were going on vacation, so Alice and Henry Mitchell took Dennis (the Menace) to the museum. It was almost a joyful scene, the parents taking their young child to appreciate culture. Then the scene switched to the Wilson's, stepping onto the dock to walk to their ship. Suddenly, Mr. Wilson keeled over, with a heart attack. People begin performing CPR, and I look to my right, to see if the bystanders are as appalled as I am that Mr. Wilson's tragic end comes on a patch of greasy, wet asphalt just before a sunny cruise. In the crowd, I spotted my mother, wearing an awful, brown coat she hasn't had since the 1970's, dabbing at her eyes and nose with a handkerchief, and Ethel Kennedy (Robert Kennedy's widow), in a black coat and hat with a veil, doing the same.

Ponderous Ponderables

A couple things have been weighing on my mind since I dressed after my workout this morning.

1) Why are institutional toilet seats black, while the toilets themselves are white?

2) Why is the top buttonhole of a polo shirt horizontal, while all the other buttonholes are vertical?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It works out to 4.1667 cents short.

Monday finally ended about 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. You'll recall ("I'd rather be in Philadelphia", 10/20/09) that I didn't realize it was Monday until Tuesday afternoon. Monday finished hitting me about the head yesterday morning, before slipping away quietly.

Speaking of slipping quietly, I was composing a post about the fog as I walked my laps yesterday morning. It snuck in on Tuesday morning in the 34 minutes between getting home from the track and leaving again for work. Yesterday, I noted during my laps that the fog I could see in the valley wasn't getting any closer and that the haze on campus appeared to be clearing up. Then, as I rounded the curve, I saw that the fog had crept up on little cat feet behind me. I felt like the guy in Ghostbusters, who was overtaken by all the ghosts from the subway.

I also noted that there was a man running laps, who ended up following me into the weight room. I noted that the annoying, black Chihuahua (unassumingly named Diablo) up the street was up awfully early yesterday morning, and so were the people in another house, whose lights usually weren't on. All of these things seemed strange because they don't usually occur when I'm exercising.

I thought it odd that someone had moved the clock in the weight room ahead one hour. After all, Daylight Savings Time doesn't end in the middle of the week. Besides, you "fall back" in the autumn, not "spring forward".

It didn't quite disturb me that the lights were already on in the shop when I arrived. George Jefferson has a key, and he might have arrived early. "But what's Cold Miser doing here already?" I wondered. Indeed, why were so many of my crew already in the shop?

Faced with the overwhelming evidence that the timeclock and the clock on the wall of my office (to which no one else but the campus locksmith has a key) agreed with the weight room clock, I realized that, somehow, I was an hour late to work.

But I went to bed on time the night before! But I didn't oversleep -- the alarm clock went off!

When I got home yesterday afternoon, I checked my alarm clock. The time was correct, but the time for which the alarm was set somehow, mysteriously, was an hour later than it was supposed to be. Did someone break in, disable the security system, change my alarm (but leave the contents of my fridge alone), reset the security system, and relock my door? (Again, only the locksmith has a spare key.) Did I subconsciously reset the alarm myself, so subconsciously that, even after the fact, I don't remember it at all? Is it a (hopefully rare) glitch I should expect for buying such an inexpensive alarm clock? Or did Monday just whammy me again?

The day got better, though. As I arrived for our daily managers' meeting, I was handed an actual landscape plan for the new dorm -- on real paper, computer rendered, with an actual scale, even! Then, I found out that I would get a real breakfast, rather than the two overripe bananas and protein bar still waiting in my gym bag, because the assistant head of security's wife had won breakfast for 15 people from Bojangles. Yes, Wednesday (or was it really Tuesday, also trying on its Halloween disguise?) is a much nicer day than Monday.

Still, I ought to have a chat with the locksmith.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Incidentally, the product is a pair of speakers for my office computer. They are made in China, which should explain the obvious translation dissimilarities in the following (and in the preceding, for that matter). I provide the actual instructions in italics and my comments in standard text.

1. Keep the product away from the following conditions: high temperature, damp, rainy, and violent bump. (Wouldn’t Violent Bump be a good name for a rock band?

2. The product is forbidden to open hastily, in order to avoid the accidents of electric damage or others, you can take the help from the professional engineer if you want to repair it. (Did you hear that, product? You’re not allowed to open hastily.)

3. Shut off the power immediately if some broken bits or liquids are dripped into the product for the carelessness, and you can use it again after the checking by specialist. (Wise idea: always have a specialist check out your bits if you think they’re broken.)

4. Please turn off the power switch when you finish using it, and pull out the power plug if long time no using it. (After I turn on the speakers, I’m done using the power switch. Therefore, I should turn off the power switch, according to the instructions. Then I’ll need to turn on the speakers again. Then I’ll need to turn them off again...)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

I know the calendar says it's Tuesday, but I think it's really Monday trying on its Halloween disguise. Since lunch, I was sprayed three times by sprinklers -- once in the crotch (it's a good thing I'm wearing navy blue trousers) and once in the rear -- and someone on my crew broke yet another car window by propelling a rock with a string trimmer. Oh well. As Mrs. Slocombe once said, "Haccidents will 'appen." At least it was a Toyota and not the BMW on the opposite side of the parking lot.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Owl's well that ends well.

For your reading pleasure (I hope), here is yet another tale of my weekend.

I had been invited to a showing of art made out of rusted metal (think "yard art") on Saturday afternoon. Despite the clouds and gloom, despite the 47 degree temperature, and despite the wind chill, I went. Some of it was quite good (the happy frogs, for example), and some pieces (such as the table bases) were made of new, painted metal. Plus, the artist said she was in the middle of creating a life-size horse, but she was dissatisfied with it, so she cut off its head. (I suppose Ichabod Crane won't want to buy it.) I ended up chatting with her about her garden. (Well excuse me, but even you would find it interesting that she's growing hardy bananas in her back yard.) I also walked away with a large (15" tall) owl sculpture that I hope to put in my perennial bed (and doubly hope the neighbors won't steal or vandalize) and a 6" tall one for my desk. Not to worry, I managed to withstand temptation and left the other two large owls there for other buyers. After that, I tried out the meatball sandwich at a pizza place on that side of town and the banana split at a soft-serve ice cream shop. (Neither is worth driving all that distance for.)

On Sunday, I headed for the Middle-of-Nowhere, Georgia (actually the town of Ellijay, which the natives pronounce as it's written, interestingly enough, unlike Ooltewah, TN), for the annual Georgia Apple Festival. It was an hour-and-a-half drive, the directions weren't entirely accurate, it was cold (35 degrees), and it ended up being nothing more than yet another "It's October, so let's have a craft fair full of Christmas schlock and other handmade stuff no one in their right minds would buy, but what gimmick should we use to lure the suckers?". On the bright side (literally), the sun finally came out (so it felt warmer than it was, and my attitude was brighter, too), I arrived ten minutes before the scheduled start time, so there weren't even any Boy Scouts there to collect the "suggested donation" of $2.00 for parking, the temperature warmed by the time I left two hours later, and there were, indeed, two vendors selling apples (Winesap, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Granny Smith, and Rome Beauty) -- for a lot cheaper than you can get at a farmer's market or a grocery store. I carried home a peck (in a bag) of Winesap, per the head of school security's request, a peck of Rome and two caramel apples, per my quiet neighbor's request, a half peck of Mutsu for myself (no sense buying a full peck and discovering I don't like them), half a dozen miniature owl figurines (from a Thai woman who also had lived in Austria), and a large (11"x17"), matted photo of an owl looking straight up. If I ever have houseguests, they're all going to end up staring at this photo, trying to get a perspective (since owls are known for swiveling their heads, not tilting them back) and, maybe, wondering what the owl is looking at. The festival staff kindly had school buses shuttling fairgoers back to their cars in the remote parking lots, so I got all those heavy apples back to my car with no torn ligaments or dislocated shoulders.

After the apple fest, I drove ten miles north to Cherry Log, GA and ate lunch at The Pink Pig, a barbecue restaurant. As advertised, it was full of pig figurines, pictures, and other memorabilia. I did not run into Jimmy and Rosalynn, though. (It's reputedly the Carters' favorite barbecue place.)

On the way home, I took a wrong turn, thanks to those not-quite-accurate directions, and ended up on Georgia's curviest road through the forest. (When you see one of those road signs with squiggles, with a smaller sign below it which reads, "Next 22 Miles", you know you're in trouble.) At one point, I glanced out the side window and said, "Wow, look how blue the water is!" Then the rational side of my brain said, "Hey, buddy, you're nowhere near the ocean, and the only lakes in this country that large are the Great Lakes and Great Salt Lake." I looked again and realized it was the sky. "What the heck kind of road am I on?" I wondered (but with more vulgarity).

But, since you're reading this, you'll know that I arrived home safely. Plus, my innate sense of logic got me back to the interstate without having to ask for directions!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nor Any Drop to Drink

Amazingly, it's not raining right now, and there's only a "chance of sprinkles" in the forecast for today. We might actually get some work done!

The weather has reminded me of my internship in Missouri in 1993, the year of the great flood. There were only four days in the month of July when it did not rain. The ground squished with every step I took (which is what today reminds me of then).

At that internship, I was required to write an essay containing my thoughts for the summer, which would be published in the garden's member newsletter. I started it with the following.

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink.
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

That's from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It's also the only time an editor "corrected" my spelling to "rhyme". Do you think, maybe, I meant it that way, or maybe I was writing about frost (rime) atop the retired sailor's weatherbeaten, oceanside shack (a "sea shanty", if you will)?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Person, Place, or Thing

My parents got along very well (which you can probably guess, considering they were married 51 years and had three children), but one of the things that irked my dad was that my mom often doesn't use nouns. I usually could figure out what she was talking about, but then again, I was a product of them both, so maybe it was genetic.

One of my coworkers (the housekeeping manager, whom I have yet to nickname), however, drives me crazy for exactly the same reason. For a couple of weeks, she has been fretting about not knowing when basketball practice starts (so she can change her locker room cleaning schedule or sweep the floor or something). So, yesterday, when she said she would assume practice would begin after the students' fall break (which is this weekend), I was all right -- until she said she then would start cleaning the mats every day.

Mats? Basketball doesn't involve mats. Oh, wait, you mean wrestling, not basketball? Sheesh. How could I possibly have misunderstood? It would be just like boarding an but the won't tell you the

The manager does this with her general conversations (i.e. gossip), too. She enjoys eating lunch with me in the dining hall and saying, "Oh, he's a drinker," or, "She's been married four times," or, "They were seen coming out of a room in Such-and-Such Hall together, and neither one of them has an office in that building." When her stories get lengthy, starting about the woman she saw, then the woman's daughter, then granddaughter (or even stories about her own grandchildren), she'll keep saying "she", and I start wondering if so much could happen to a single person (outside of a soap opera, at any rate) -- and then she'll toss in a "he", and I will be totally confused about whom she is discoursing.

I've thought of one way to amuse myself with her habit of dropping nouns, rather than be irritated by it. I'll just plug in random words myself, kind of like Mad Libs. Of course, there's the danger of chuckling out loud in meetings because I'm so witty, but it'll help pass the time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Never hire me to plan your wedding.

Just in case you are curious, it's raining again. Not only did the raindrops falling on my head (hey, there are worse songs to have stuck in one's head!) tell me this, but the "Nowcast" did, as well. (Nowcast?)

Note to self: before leaving work on Friday, check the forecast for more than Saturday and Sunday, so I know to pack my raincoat in my gym bag for Monday morning, rather than the lightweight jacket that absorbs water rather than repels it. (Or get off my duff and finally sign up for satellite TV and internet access, so I can check weather from home.)

It's nice that I live just three blocks from work and that I'm given a utility vehicle to drive, so I won't get any wetter going home to switch jackets this morning.

Incidentally, the forecast for the next seven days calls for a 30% to 80% (depending on the day) chance of rain each day.

You say you want a revolution.

Thomas Jefferson said something about people needing a revolution every 20 years to keep the government on their toes. (Or at least that idea is attributed to him.) For me, it seems like every 10 years.

When I graduated high school, I moved from NJ to NM to attend college. When I dropped out of graduate school, I moved from NM to AL to work. It so happened that my 10-year high school reunion also came that year. Aside from the debacle in AL causing me to return to NM the following year, I have just moved from NM to TN, again for a change in job. It so happens that this year is my 20-year high school reunion.

As much as I enjoy stability, circumstances seem to insert major moves for employment every 10 years. It makes me kind of wonder where I'll be 10 years from now.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I miss my dad.

At the end of this month, it will be three years since my father died. Of all things, a radio report of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics reminded me of him yesterday.

The reporter obviously was speaking to a different audience because she emphasized that CCD technology was what made digital still cameras possible and that the initial advancements were "boring" and incomprehensible to laymen. Speak for yourself, lady.

My ears first perked up when she said "Bell Labs", which I know invented several things used by RCA. My dad worked for RCA for 27 years, for several years in the broadcast division. One of RCA's inventions during that time was the CCD television camera, which was far better than any other TV cameras on the market. The reporter mentioned the cameras but not who created them.

My dad would have liked hearing the report. He probably would have fired off an e-mail correcting any inaccuracies, too. He would have appreciated that such groundbreaking work was finally recognized. Maybe he even met Mr. Boyle or Mr. Smith.

It's not just milestones in life I want my dad around for. It's also the little, unexpected conversations that will never happen.

Clement Moore I'm not.

The moon on the breast of the squishy, wet grass
Called down unto me, "Don't slip on your ass!"

It rained nearly an inch (0.95") Sunday night and just over a half inch (0.55") last night. Do desert rats float?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ask, and ye shall receive.

Or, as I like to say, "If you don't ask, you don't get."

Mind you, this doesn't always work. It would be more accurate to say, "You might not get it anyway, but you definitely won't if you don't ask for it in the first place."

This popped into my head earlier today, as I was perusing an office supply website instead of performing productive work. My predecessor left me some markers, push pins, binder clips, and file labels but no pens, scissors, nor a ruler. "How convenient and useful it would be to have some of these items!" I wished.

Then, as we were tossing trash into the roll-off this morning, I bent down to pick up a small, plastic bag of the kind that stores insist on giving you unless you shove your reusable, washable (though the plastic ones are like that, too), canvas bag of your own into the cashier's face. Anyhoo, the bag had brand new scissors in it, not even removed from the package! God is smiling on me today.

I presume He has the ruler and pens on back order.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The lights are on, but nobody's home.

I just finished my laps at the campus track. The lights had been left on overnight at the stadium, even though our big rivalry football game was away last night. I suppose it was to discourage retribution (if we won), exuberant celebration (if we won), or negative energy (if we lost).

It was tough getting in to the track for my laps. The main, pedestrian gates (which are usually open all the time) were shut. However, no one locked the drive-in gate to the stadium, nor the drive-in gate that passes under the stands, nor the drive-in gate to the field surface, where the ambulance parks during games. Ergo, someone seeking cardiovascular fitness would have trouble accomplishing his/her goal, but someone bent on destruction and driving a monster truck would have no problem getting in.

No, the level of illogic isn't any different here than anywhere else. It's just that my eyes have finally been opened to it, thanks to my boss telling me last week to prune off the new growth of the shrubs behind the dining hall. Obviously, it's not his expectation for plants to grow... or to grow larger than other, smaller species that could have been planted... or to conceal the utility vault they were planted there to hide in the first place.

Yeah, I know.

Friday, October 02, 2009

When you're hot, you're hot.

Last night was McCallie's annual bonfire for Reunion (not Homecoming) Week. It includes a large dummy made to look like a member of our rival's football team, which is stuffed with firecrackers (64,000 this year, twice as many as last year). My crew spreads sand to protect the parking lot surface, stacks the pallets to be burned, mounts the dummy (estimated this year to weigh 240-250 lbs.) atop a 15' high pole, makes the torches to light the bonfire, provides trash cans, and cleans up the next morning. Two administrators light the bonfire. The students do nothing but scream. This does not help me like the idea.

Note #1: This is so small-scale compared to Zozobra, it's not funny.

Note #2: As an introvert, I accept that the bonfire provides students an opportunity to socialize, but why have a bonfire? Why not just put them in a room somewhere? Then I don't have to stay up past my bedtime and work.

Note #3: Since McCallie is a boys' school, our cheerleaders come from GPS. When I was in high school, our cheerleaders were thin (and the "fronts" in the marching band notably not so), but they also had curves. These girls are nothing but stick figures. If we're in the South, where everything is fried, why aren't their parents feeding them?

Note #4: I was literally "behind the scenes" last night. I thought it was amusing when the firecrackers in the dummy's rear end went off first.

Note #5: Next year, wear earplugs and bring safety glasses (to protect one's eyes from flying debris). Even though I knew they were firecrackers, and even though I had my hands over my ears, there is a certain point of self-preservation at which your brain tells your legs, "This much noise and all these explosions can't possibly be good for you. Run away! Run away!"

Note #6: Same time next year then?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Death drives a Gator.

The employee whose walk I likened to George Jefferson's appears emaciated. He doesn't like me, so he scowls every time we drive by each other. (But he's a very negative individual, so he doesn't like most of his coworkers, either.) Today, his pickup truck was out of service yet again, so he had to borrow one of the John Deere Gators and was in a worse than usual mood. Also today (and because the Gator he borrowed doesn't have an enclosed cab, as mine does), it was chilly, so he had a black, hooded jacket on.

Imagine, if you will, encountering a gaunt, black-hooded figure showing little of his face, but what you can see of it is not friendly in the least. "And how was your day, dear?"