Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chicken and Waffles

We tried a new restaurant for lunch today: Herman's Soul Food and Catering. (No, we weren't the only white customers.) In keeping with my attempt to learn more about the South, without actually adopting any Southernisms, I ordered a regional specialty that I haven't yet seen at any other restaurant: chicken and waffles (with a roll and a side dish; I chose white beans).

They brought me six, fried chicken wings on top of a homemade waffle, and single-serving packets of margarine and maple syr... Sorry, it was breakfast syrup. (I didn't look at the ingredients then because I didn't want to be disappointed; I see now that I should have, for then I at least would have been prepared for my aspartame-induced headache).

Yankee that I am, I ate the chicken wings first and had the waffle for dessert. I presume that Southerners and soul food aficionados might pour the syrup over both and eat them together. It was worth having once but nothing special. I'd like to go back and try the fried pork chops.

Some people should be so lucky.

Last night, I had my second sci-fi dream in a week. (Last week, it was about proto-Daleks, which Betty, the Doctor Who expert, assures me did not agree with the official way Daleks were created, so at least I know I'm not absorbing material out of thin air.)

This dream was inspired by the original miniseries of V, which Sci-Fi (I refuse to use their new, stupid spelling) aired yesterday, before ABC aired the premiere of the remake (which I won't watch out of principle because I have yet to find a remake that's better than the original).

I dreamt that I was in a resistance movement (against lizardlike aliens or something else, I don't remember) and that, when I was nearly caught, I decided to hide in a mall for five days because no one would think of looking for me there. When I arrived at the mall, I saw ex-Thing One and ex-Thing Two shopping. Then I rolled over and lost the dream.

Incidentally, I thought that the original V carried over very well to this day and age. Good guys vs. bad guys and shoot-outs with laser pistols never seem to go out of style, and the images of the shuttles flying between the mother ships and Earth didn't look hokey or unbelievably fake -- although I am biased, since I think all the computerized effects nowadays look unnatural and therefore unbelievable. The nougat across the street is chomping at the bit to see the new version of Clash of the Titans, but I wonder if it, too, will overemphasize new technology in special effects and lose the youth-appealing charm that drew me to the original. (Plus, I like mythology.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blooming Idiot

I lived in Las Cruces, where there are just two seasons (Summer and Not Summer), for so long, I have forgotten what Spring is like. Now I'm trying to figure out how it's not already 80 degrees and why the Spring-flowering bulbs and trees are blooming in progression and not all at once. (The Okame cherries are done, the forsythia have peaked, and the Yoshino cherries and Bradford pears are at the start of full-bloom.) Even for a horticulturist like me, it's downright weird.

A couple of weeks ago, before our most recent rains, I used up my extra retaining wall blocks at the corner of our apartment building -- and then realized I needed more. So, I bought more. As I was setting them in, I uncovered some bricks. Then I uncovered some more bricks. And even more bricks. I have between two and three dozen unearthed. I started using some of them for edging between the planter and the sloping driveway, but they look bad. I'd rather use more wall blocks, but that would take a lot more effort and more money that I don't have, so if I get motivated again, I'll stick in the bricks anyway.

Of course, I can't do all this work to create planters without imagining what they might look like full of plants. However, since I don't want to spend a lot of money, and since no one else will take care of the plants if/whenever I move out, it's kind of stupid to fantasize. But those croci and daffodils around town look so nice, and the tulips and hyacinths are almost ready to bloom, and then there are all those Summer-flowering plants, and this corner will let me grow sun-loving plants that I can't have in my completely shaded bed, which would look pretty darn nice choked with impatiens this summer...

It appears that some of the plants in the bed right in front of my apartment survived the winter. I see shoots emerging where my Agapanthus and blue-green Hosta were. I'm not so sure about the Christmas fern, the asparagus fern, nor the Purple Dome aster, though. (If Spring is stretched out here, there still might be weeks before they start growing.) My Lenten rose, I'm pretty sure, is dead. There are a couple on campus that are blooming like all-get-out, and mine has nothing to show for itself. Oh well, it was nearly dead when I bought it (heavily discounted) last year, so I'm not surprised. If the aster has indeed died, I want to replace it with an Honorine Jobert Japanese windflower.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Am I? Where Am I?

Ah, spring: when a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of income tax and the decennial census.

I use a popular computer program to complete my taxes. Usually, it works very well. However, it isn't quite suitable for someone who moved, only kinda sorta, during the year. My mailing address changed to TN, but I still have a mortgage in NM. My paycheck is in TN, and it's not a "temporary" change because it's not an assignment that will end after a specified time, but I'm still a NM resident because I'm registered to vote in NM, and my car is registered there. Hence, I still have to pay state income tax there. (It is a blessing, though, that TN doesn't have state income tax.)

The census form doesn't care about any of that, though. They just want to know where I am at this moment. That's kind of weird because TN legislators will think they represent me, and my sales taxes will go to TN's budget, but I'm a NM voter. The census cares even less that I might leave TN some time in the next ten years. (That's what happened in AL ten years ago; I filled out the census form then moved back to NM six months later.)

At least they sent me the "short form" this year. Twenty years ago (can it actually be that long since I was a college freshman?), my R.A. handed out census forms to all the guys on our floor of the dorm. As it happens, the only two people who received the "long form" were the two students whose families happened to be in the process of moving between states (and trying to convince the university that we actually were state residents so we wouldn't have to pay out-of-state tuition). Our R.A. helped settle our confusion by telling us to consider our home as where the breadwinner lived. (Ah, for the good old days when only one parent's salary was sufficient to raise a family.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I could use all the help I could get.

In today's campus mail, I received a notecard (dated yesterday) stating the following.

Dear [Cap'n],
We just wanted you to know we prayed for you by name today at Moms In Touch. We appreciate all you, and your staff do to keep the grounds looking so beautiful and well kept! Thank you so much for all you do. It is especially pretty now that Spring is finally on its way! God Bless You.

Gee. I hope they pronounced my name correctly. It would be disappointing that, after all their kind prayers, God sent his blessing to someone else.

That explains a heck of a lot.

My friend Gimpy told me last night, after many years of relating my computer woes and annoyances, "Technology hates you."

See? It's not my fault!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grampah can't do math in his head?!

It took a while, but I finally figured it out this morning. The woman who jogs on the indoor track runs 1.5 times faster than I walk.

First, I had to wait for a day we were both heading in the same direction. (She always jogs counterclockwise.) Then I had to notice that she kept passing me at the same point. (It was conveniently at the end of my even-numbered laps.)

I started by trying to figure out, "If I walk two laps and she doesn't pass me until the second lap, how much faster is she going?" However, my head would get all muddled until I felt like Pooh Bear.

Then I had the realization that helped. "What if I figure out how much slower I'm going?" I could make that work. I also counted how many laps she ran. (That helped a lot more.) She ran three laps for every two laps I walked. Ergo, she runs 1.5 times faster than I walk.

But, you know me. I had to keep thinking. If she had been running twice as fast as I walked, she'd be running 100% faster. But doesn't 100% mean the entire amount? She must have been running 50% faster. Doesn't 50% mean half? Yes, but that doesn't mean she was running half as fast.

If 100% means twice as fast and 50% means half as fast, then how come 75% doesn't mean just as fast? Arrgh!

Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff...

(By the way, this post's title is a line by Frederick in Frasier.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I happened upon this blog, which shows someone holding up historic (i.e. black and white) photos of locations at those locations. It's an interesting idea.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Verdant Rule #3

I came up with a new rule (not to be confused with "Chlorophyll's Law", my 10/20/08 post) today. Since The Golden Rule is already taken, and since The Definite Article is kind of limiting considering that I'm up to three now, and since the good Cap'n's rules should be green and not gold, I'm going to call them my Verdant Rules. They aren't commandments or laws, but they are, IMHO, good rules to live by.

Verdant Rule #1: Women are evil. Men are pigs. People are stupid.

Verdant Rule #2: If your birthday falls on a Friday or a Monday, calories don't count for all three days of the weekend.

Verdant Rule #3: Do not waste the first sunny day; you don't know if there's going to be a second.

That being said, I'm going to log off, shut down my computer, and go home and enjoy a beer and a book on my front porch until it's cheesesteak time. Work can wait.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What else could I say?

Last night, my bowling teammate was defending himself to someone for not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day.

HIM: "But my ball is green!"

ME: "You should see a doctor about that."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kiss my ass; I'm not Irish.

This is truly an Americanized holiday. My friend from Ireland says there's no nationwide partying with green beer on March 17.

The dining hall served today, among other things: green rice, pistachio pudding, shamrock-shaped sugar cookies with green sugar on top, green cornbread, and green soft-serve ice cream. (For some reason, they had barbecue pork instead of corned beef and cabbage.) I had the pudding, even though it was green, because I like pistachio pudding, and it has been a while since they served it. I could have eaten my salad without lettuce, broccoli, celery, and cucumber, but it wouldn't have been much of a salad then.

I wear a uniform to work now, so there's little freedom of expression. (I suppose I could wear wild socks.) In previous years, I would proudly wear my orange shirt on St. Patrick's Day. I saw one student in a toned-down, nicely coordinated green and brown ensemble (blazer, sweater, tie, shirt, pants). I saw another student in a sportcoat that can be described only as "Yikes!" (Honestly. I exclaimed out loud when I saw it, and I quickly looked away, lest I burn my eyes.) It's a little late for today, but are you pondering what I'm pondering?

I think so, Brain, but where are we going to find orange socks our size?

I don't try to think I'm better than everyone else...

...but this sure helps.

Froggy insists that he's a Yankee because he was born in Michigan. Now I haven't looked up any "You might be a Redneck if..." links, but these characteristics certainly qualify.

1) He owns a pickup truck. (It's red.)
2) The number of dogs in his immediate family outnumber his wife, child, and stepchildren added together. (Add in his ex-wife, and you'd be close.)
3) He talks like a Southerner. Examples:
a) "Winder" instead of "window"
b) "So I called her back, and I says to her I says..."
c) "That's my most educatedest guess."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hearing Things

I was awakened in the middle of the night by what sounded like a diesel train horn. "It couldn't be a train," I thought. "I don't live by the tracks here, like I do in Las Cruces." I didn't hear it again, and I fell back asleep.

During my laps this morning, which I did on the indoor track because it was too windy outside, I thought I heard another train horn. At that time of the morning, I can faintly hear train horns from the outdoor track, but I was inside this time. Maybe I'm hearing things.

Aren't you glad this wasn't yet another post about some weird dream I had? (But, if you can offer an explanation for shopping for Christmas decorations, a customer who talks to socks, and the staff of Grace Brothers, I'd be glad to read it.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday in the Dark with George

Well, Daylight Savings Time has begun again in the U.S., and aside from further confusing me what time it is now in Arizona, where Robomarkov lives, it is now darker in the morning and lighter at night. This might mean nothing to Betty, who works rotating shifts and often has to sleep during the day anyway, but for me it means that it's dark again when my crew starts work and light at night when I go to bed. There's something wrong about that, but we early morning people probably are a minority, so writing our elected representatives probably won't do any good.

On the brighter side (ahem), if you ever wish to visit me, do it during the summer. When I moved here last July, I was walking around downtown on a Friday night, glanced at my watch, and realized that it was still light out at 9 o'clock at night. Not only would you get to do cool things in more daylight, you'd get at least a few minutes of amusement out of my confused reaction.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Maybe I can do it if I keep my raincoat on.

Our second thunderstorm of the day is nearly past us. Walking back from the dining hall, any part of me or my clothing that wasn't covered by the raincoat is now sodden. (I'd like to take of my pants to let them dry, but I think just about everyone at the school would prefer that I don't.) Even our optimistic 8th grade baseball coach has admitted that it's too wet to have a game on the field this afternoon. I don't know, though. The fields are just about ready for crew practice, and then the teams wouldn't have to drive all the way down to the river!

For some reason (gee, I don't know why!), this song is stuck in my head.

Somebody pass me the soap, please.

Self-flagellation comes next.

This post is becoming increasingly outdated each day, but I'm certain now that I made the right choice.

On Monday, the weather was gorgeous. (The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful.) It was sunny, clear, and over 70 F. I debated working late (getting some actual labor done) -- briefly. The day was far too nice to waste, kind of like that day in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I went home, opened a beer, and sat on my porch and read the afternoon and evening away. I also ate my dinner out there. Ahh.

That changed on Tuesday, right at lunchtime. Halfway through the four or five minutes it takes me to walk uphill to the dining hall, clouds moved in and the wind picked up. I ate, checked on a couple sites on campus, and went back to my office. In an hour, the temperature had dropped six degrees, and it kept going. We've had clouds and rain since then, with no easing off until this coming Monday. Yep, it seems I made the right choice to relax on Monday.

However, the initial impetus of this post was that on Tuesday (and again yesterday), I spent a couple of hours shoveling dirt and weeds out of the curbs and off the sidewalks along my street. (I had done my side of the block last summer; now I'm clearing in front of the unoccupied lots across the street.) Tuesday, I stupidly forgot my work gloves, so I started getting callouses and generally roughening my normally soft palms and fingers. I also got several cuts and scrapes on the backs of my hands (from pruning that mulberry between the sidewalk and the wall, which stubbornly refuses to die after repeated cutting), so now my hands look more like a "real" man's hands. I felt that it could've been considered penance for my "wasted" afternoon.

Hmm. Time to load up my palms with hand creme. ;)

Hello? Is this thing on?

I haven't been able to post for a few days. I could read my blog and others, but I couldn't view comments. I cleared my cookies this morning then restarted my computer. That seems to have fixed it. That is, only if you're reading this...

Monday, March 08, 2010

An Afternoon in Idiotville

I had what amounts, for me (a single introvert), to a busy weekend.

After work and before cheesesteak on Friday, I started cleaning my apartment. (Okay, and I also finished a book.) I did it more thoroughly than usual; I even mopped my floors. The reason was that it was a special occasion: my first piece of furniture was arriving. Actually, I did the cleaning because I needed Pinocchio's help to carry it into the apartment, and I didn't want him to realize how untidy I actually keep the place.

Saturday morning, I picked up my new possession. (What happened to my goal of not cluttering up my place with things?) It came from a teacher who was selling off a few pieces of furniture. (He explained that his wife just "couldn't make it work" with the rest of their decor. Now am I expected to decorate the rest of the room based on this piece?) It wasn't the sofa I've been yammering about, nor the bed that I really want. It was a coffee table -- with drawers! (The cherry finish is a little redder than you see in the link.) I haven't figured out what to put in the drawers yet (having drawers to hide things in is always a plus), but I've already covered the surface with the TV schedule, the remote controls to my TV and VCR (laugh if you want, but that VCR gets me more channels than I'm paying for), and the scale drawings of my apartment.

I spent the afternoon in Idiotville, Froggy's nickname for The Maul and Big Box Row (my names for the area). I took the school's free bus for students. (I'm not about to deal with the crowd of stupid people plus have to park among them, as well.) I bought my protein bars at GNC then walked down Big Box Row to the European Market for a loaf of rye bread (not as good as the bakery in ABQ, but better than from a grocery store). Apparently, I was subconsciously influenced by all the idiots because I walked the wrong way down Big Box Row at first. On the brighter side, that burned up more calories, and it killed some of the three hours between being dropped off and picked up. I ate at Red Robin (and stretched that to almost an hour and a half), and then had 35 minutes to wait until the bus returned. (Yes, I had a book.)

Now my question is if I can duplicate that effort next weekend. The school's bus also drops off students at a local movie theater, and in that plaza are a Goodwill store (source for cheap stuff), a Dollar Tree (I'm looking for cheap frames for the certificate and picture from our team's victory in the faculty/staff bowling tournament back in December), Provino's Italian restaurant, and Factory Direct Furniture (which, based on the prices from the circular, makes me wonder if the furniture is cheap as well as inexpensive). Can I spend three hours there, even if I account for measuring furniture I might like? Oh well, as long as someplace lets me sit and read until the bus comes back for me.

Sunday was comparatively quiet. I read. I played computer games. I watched a bunch of Scooby-Doo on Cartoon Network. In the afternoon, I finally settled on where I wanted to place those surplus retaining wall stones that were left from my flower bed border. I put them between the corner of our building and the sloping driveway that leads to the downstairs apartments. But now I see that I could use about eight more to finish off that level nicely, and I really want to put two short rows closer to the bottom, and that would be about a dozen blocks, and do I really want to spend my money on landscaping materials when I have furniture to buy? Of course I do! (I want to, but I don't need to. I wonder if I have the willpower to "just say no".)

What with all that, I didn't finish the book I started. I'm kind of disappointed in that, but I finished the weekend with a sense of accomplishment for actually having achieved something.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bessie, Lucy, and Cecille

One of my employees came to my office to pick up more coffee for the crew. (The coffee, creamer, and sugar are in a cabinet in my office so that no one with sticky fingers can take any home.) He made an offhand remark about my plants being named Bessie, Lucy, and Cecille.

Now I'm needlessly confused. I have eight plants, so which of them are the three he named? Worse yet, what if one of them dies and I don't know it's Lucy? How am I to know if I should sing, "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille," or not?

Before you get your knickers in a twist about me sticking a Kenny Rogers song in your head for the rest of the day, try this one instead.

Alternatively, you can think of Bessie Smith. Incidentally, it's getting nearer to The Noog's annual Bessie Smith Strut, part of the Riverbend festival in June. Anyone want to join me for a night of barbecue and blues?

I can bench press 3,240 pounds.

Only not all at once.

One of my employees asked how much I bench press. I told him that I do three sets of 12 repetitions at 90 pounds. (That adds up to 3,240 lbs.) I figure, though, that he, like many other people, was thinking of how much weight I could push at one time. How often am I called upon to do that? What matters more to me is what my pecs look like in a T-shirt.

I'm ready to move up to more weight, though. Should I push 3,420 lbs. or go for 3,600 lbs.?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Another Day, Another First

There was absolutely no wait for my haircut this afternoon. Usually, I sit for an hour (at least) until it's my turn, and then the barber takes 20-30 minutes to cut my hair. (That's about a minute per hair.) And none of that includes the drive to and from the barber shop. My whole trip took less than an hour today.

The next pleasant thing to happen this week is supposed to be 60 degree weather this weekend, but I'm not holding my breath.

Gobble Gobble

I roasted two turkeys last night. I've never even cooked one before. Of course, it could be because I was "on fire".

If you haven't guessed yet, I performed very well at bowling last night. Before the tenth frame of my second game, our substitute teammate said, "If you get three strikes, you'll score 167." Yeah, right. How possible is that? Okay, anything's possible, but how probable is that? Apparently a lot more probable than I realized.

Does it count as four in a row if your next strike is in the first frame of the next game? It doesn't matter anyway, since I got four in a row later in that game!

And, no, I haven't hurt my arm patting myself on the back that way. (I have long arms.)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

That's me in the corner.

Have you ever been to a gym where there are mirrors on all the walls? I don't know about you, but I'd rather not see myself everywhere as I try to get fit, and I don't want anyone else there seeing me all over, either.

However, if I stand near the corner just right, the mirrors on each wall miss part of my body, and I look thinner. I noticed that in the NE corner of the weight room this morning. What's stranger is that I had once noticed that in the NW corner. Maybe this phenomenon gradually moves over time, like the Earth's magnetic poles.

Anyway, that's how I want to be photographed for the dust jacket of my book.