Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Credit where credit is... Don't.

One of the guys at bowling said, "Hey, do you want to do something this weekend?", and since I can listen to a re-airing of A Prairie Home Companion online, I said I guess so.

We ate dinner at the Mellow Mushroom. Do you know how hard it is to find a pizza place that offers sliced meatballs as a topping? Almost as hard as finding a pizza place that offers a white pizza. (Note: I have seen only one place that offers lobster pizza since my parents spoke of one in Milwaukee, where they lived after they got married.) I'm going to have to go back to this place because I couldn't eat both at once -- and, maybe, if I don't go on a Saturday night, it won't be so crowded and loud. (Don't bother with dessert. A short walk will take you to an ice cream place where you can get a good sundae for less than a $6 lemon bar.)

Just up the street, past the perfectly good theater they closed last year when they opened the new one for no good reason other than it was new (according to my companion), is the movie theater. (Gosh, I love the proximity of things in downtowns.) I had warned him that I wasn't a movie-goer, but he came to understand this when I noted that two of the movies available were sequels of movies I hadn't even heard of in the first place. One is based on a video game (a video game?); one is a chick-flick (ick); one is yet another Robin Hood movie (with an Australian actor in the lead) -- and what's the deal with 3-D movies nowadays? I thought 3-D died with Vincent Price. (Actually, I thought it died before Vincent Price.) We settled on the sequel of something called Shrek. It was actually pretty decent for a stand-alone movie, as the beginning gave me enough background to follow along.

The next clue to my companion that I'm not a movie-goer was the mild chest pain I suffered when I saw how much the ticket was. And, no, I do not want to donate that extra fifty cents to the local hospital (although I might have needed their help if I had gone to see what the concession prices were) because I'm already aghast at paying $9.50 to see a movie. Isn't there a cut-rate theater in town that shows movies weeks or months later for just a couple of bucks? At least we didn't go for the 3-D version, which would have cost a third more. Next time, can we at least go to a matinee (which is only slightly better priced)?

I was pleased, however, when I saw that the theater had a wide aisle between upper and lower tiers. Someplace in this world actually offers leg room! (And I only had to retract my legs twice, when theater-goers walked by.) If the rocking seats had stayed in the slightly reclined position, I might've fallen asleep. Check that. Sleep wouldn't have been possible because the volume was cranked to a nearly painful decibel level. (You remember that scene in the Tiny Toon movie How I Spent My Summer Vacation? Buster and Babs go to a movie. When it starts, the sound blasts them back into their chairs, and the movie screen shows, "The audience is now deaf." That's what it was like.)

At the end of the movie, I was interested in seeing the song credits (for what is ostensibly a children's movie, it sure had a lot of songs that I recognized). Naturally, they were at the very end of the credits, just before the year and copyright information.

For the life of me, I can't understand why everyone and his dog has to be included in the credits nowadays. In the "good old days", like the movies shown on TCM, you see just the actors and the key production people. (Incidentally, the guy's name you see on some of the old Technicolor productions was on my mom's side of the family.)

I'm serious. When I saw "Facilities" listed in the credits, I knew they had gone too far. When you go to a movie, do you care about the people who change the light bulbs, clean the toilets, or mow the lawns at the building where all the computer animators work? If someone filmed a movie here where I work, would they also need to credit the nursery that grew the trees you see in the background? What about the truck driver who delivered the trees? What about the employees who planted and watered and fertilized the trees? Enough is enough.

Well, yeah, I was cranky. It was six hours between meeting for dinner and the end of the movie (what with all the strolling around downtown we had to do because we missed the earlier showing), and I normally would've been in bed three hours before that. Wouldn't you be cranky, too?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Or would you rather be a fish?

At the pool this morning, I saw a label for swimming flippers. The text is in italics, followed by my comments.

Flippers must be snug fitting to avoid damage.
Damage to what: the flippers, your body, the pool?
Be sure to wet feet before putting them on.
What about those of us without detachable feet?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I could buy 15,700 thoughts.

Actually, I could buy more than that, considering the phrase is, "A penny for your thoughts," in the plural.

Last night was the last night of our bowling season. (Fear not, I'll bowl in the summer, too!) I didn't bowl as well as last week, but I did surpass my average (which I had knocked up a pin because of last week) greatly. (I think I found exactly where to put my feet in starting position, and I have a general idea of how to move, so I'll use this summer to practice.)

It was cake night. Oh yeah, there were awards, too. :) I won the men's most improved average (10 pins) for the season. The prize was a refrigerator magnet (or, I suppose, an anyplace magnet) from the U.S. Bowling Congress. The league treasurer said I was submitted for two other awards (because of last week), but they hadn't arrived yet.

Each league member also received a portion of the prize fund, depending on where his/her team was ranked. We were dead last -- but, in our defense, we started later in the season, so we had fewer chances to win in the first place. (Incidentally, we won the roll-off last night, so we placed third for the season.)

So now the question becomes, "What should I do with my prize money and the 50/50 raffle winnings from earlier this season?"

I could save it and pay for 11 nights of bowling next season (and have three dollars left over). I could buy books (which I donate to the school library after I read them). I could treat myself to a fancy dinner (although, judging from how I object to the prices at average restaurants, why should I pay this much for a steak?). I could buy twenty weekly cheesesteaks (and have $4.40 left over), but that treat is expected and budgeted for, so I should spend the money on something special or unexpected. I could buy sheets for my new bed. (Note to self: buy new bed.) I could pay for some bowling, some books, and some cheesesteaks.

Any suggestions? I'll listen to whatever you offer, no matter how screwy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm the first in Miss Kitty's harem.

It turns out that the swimming coach decided to prance around the pool in a "speedo" (brand name for a bikini-style swimsuit that many people use for a common name, like Jell-o or Band Aid) while everyone was gathering for commencement. Since the pool was separated from the gym by nothing but a wall of windows, the woman in charge of commencement put a stop to that pretty darn fast!

Of course, Miss Kitty had to add her negative comments that the coach shouldn't be seen in that style of bathing suit because he doesn't have the body for it, unlike me. I'm flattered, but I'm not a toothpick-thin Olympian. I wonder if they make any of these suits in overweight-but-not-quite-chubby size. You might suggest I wear one of the longer trunks, leggings, or bodysuits now made for competitive swimmers, but I'm afraid they might accentuate my generously sized rear, even if the suit is black.

So, what do you think? Red or orange to match my fiery, sexy personality? White, for the see-through factor? (Um, okay, maybe not the best choice at a boys' school.) Powder-blue, to match my eyes? (Note to self: add powder-blue contact lenses to shopping list.) How about zebra or tiger stripes?

Welcome to Hicksville.

An employee of Froggy's crew commented yesterday that he thinks we didn't send men to walk on the moon, that it's just a hoax. I didn't think there really were people like that.

When you think about it, it couldn't possibly be a hoax. Sure, the moon rocks at the Smithsonian could have been hacked out of a quarry somewhere, and you can put whatever you want on television, and those video transmissions from the moon are as grainy as the famous Loch Ness Monster photos, but there's no way that a government administration can carry on such an expensive, notable, multi-year scheme without someone leaking the truth.

Well, not an expensive, notable, multi-year scheme that makes us feel good about ourselves.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I feel like celebrity week on "Wheel of Fortune".

Yesterday morning, I dreamt about Cher driving a tank. This morning, I was cooking lasagna for Mark Harmon.

I will be so glad when commencement weekend is over and I can get back to sleeping normally again.

Maybe they use New Math.

I've been holding back as long as I could, but I can't do it any more. I must whine that I can't figure out how and why people around here do things the way they do.

Example 1: This year's graduating class is 170. However, when I checked out the setup in the gym this morning, I saw at least 20 rows of 32 chairs. That's 640 chairs. Maybe the graduates will sit in the bleachers and their families will sit in the chairs?

Example 2: They requested a total of 150 chairs to be set up for Advanced Placement exams. Do they mean to tell me that 150 out of 170 students are smart enough to take AP exams? (Seems an awfully high percentage for a school that emphasizes athletics.) Now consider two exams being given simultaneously (according to the schedule, only one or two exams will be given at any time). Seventy-five students, I suppose, took Spanish, and the other 75 took French -- or maybe they took both languages, since the exams are given on different days. But what if a student took Spanish and Computer Science? Oh well, I suppose if he's that smart, it'll be no problem to take both exams at the same time.

Oh, that's right. They do things differently at a private school.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ho Li Zhit

Does that look Chinese enough to pass the censors? Japanese? Korean?

There was no fortune cooky involved last night. I'm not sure any cooky could've predicted this. (And, if it had, I would so play those lottery numbers on the back!)

I had an awesome night at bowling last night. I was on fire -- except my teammate, the fireman from Fort O., wouldn't hose me down because he wanted to win. We did. Big time. In my best game, the guy who was tabulating the scores said our team won "scratch" (before adding the handicap). We won all three games and total pins. Not bad for the team in last place. Narf!

For my "worst" game, I bowled 11 pins above my average. My other two games were both above my highest score ever. My series (sum of the three game scores) was more than 150 pins higher than average. I've dreamt fondly of breaking 500; last night's was well over that. After being wiped off the top three for high handicap series months ago, I suddenly placed myself at number one for the high handicap game. If I hadn't missed that last pin in the last frame of the first game, our team's handicap series would've tied for first. (Second place isn't bad, either.) Poit!

I was so close to my first "perfect" (all "marks") game; if we had been playing nine-pin no-tap, it would have been a 300 game. I had five (count 'em: five) strikes in a row. Egad!

Ready for it? Breathe deeply now. (You're going to need that breath to scream for me.)

My average is (was?) 141. My highest game was (was) 189. I bowled (in this order): 226, 158, 193, for a series of 577. Fjord!

The saying is, "Save the best for last." Apparently, I took that to heart because last night was the final competition bowl. Next week, we're doing a "roll off". I wonder if I can bowl this well two weeks in a row.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

I've finally had my first negative report. The headmaster's wife phoned Skippy (the afternoon after she left me a voice mail at almost 11:30 p.m.) and worried that she wasn't communicating effectively enough with me.

I read off my notes from her voice mail and noted, for each one, that it was either done that day (one of them twice), the day after she requested it, or it was scheduled for today, or it was a no action item (which was utterly incorrect anyway).

Skippy said that the woman was probably used to my predecessor, Elmer Fudd, who would pull his crew off of whatever they were doing and take them up to her house as soon as he got the request. Skippy suggested that I call the head's wife to let her know I received the message and to let her know when I've scheduled her wishes to be fulfilled. (Um, not in those words; I've added sarcasm.)

Note that the woman neither requested nor demanded that I return her call, nor did she request nor specify a deadline for the items, except for one (and that one she had requested already and I had scheduled already). It appears that, because she's married to the person in charge of the school, it's my fault. I will never get used to that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Big, Bad... er, Coyote

When I took Wile E. for "walkies" (moving him to a different location at the retention pond so that the geese don't get used to him, although I wonder why I bother any more since I haven't seen or heard the geese since I set him out, which probably means that he works, which implies I need to keep setting him out there, so the geese won't come back) this morning, I noticed out of the corner of my eye something slipping into the water's edge. I thought it might be a turtle, but a few seconds later, I saw a brown, furry head peep at me from the water. It looked like a muskrat or beaver. Apparently, it's smart enough to realize that Wile E. and Wally are fakes.

This Little Piggy

I figured you all are breathless with anticipation to hear how my yogurt experiment (see 2/18/10, "I don't want to cook yogurt.") turned out. Officially, it's still ongoing, since I have a couple more variables to test, but I think it was successful.

Result #1: A typical bag (12 oz., I think) of frozen raspberries from the grocery store is sufficient to mix with one tub (32 oz., I think) of yogurt. (Bonus result: I don't need to add any artificial color.)

Result #2: I do not like vanilla yogurt, especially mixed with raspberries. Vanilla vs. plain was one of the variables I tested.

Result #3: The yogurt tastes better if I let it sit for a day after mixing. This goes along with my mom's determination of the same with onion soup mix and sour cream (or yogurt) for dip.

Result #4: The yogurt and raspberries mix more evenly if I mix them together all at once, rather than try to equalize portions between two containers. Note that this is impossible to do in the original yogurt container because the volume of raspberries exceeds the amount of available volume in the container. It is much more effective (and easier and less messy) to mix the ingredients in a bowl and then return the mixture to the original container and a smaller one.

Ongoing experiments for which results are not yet available: store brand A vs. store brand B, and low fat vs. non-fat.

On Sunday, I made myself pancakes. (All right, so I used a mix, but it's still pretty impressive that I managed successfully on the first try.) I learned that one strip of bacon leaves enough fat in the frying pan (Did I mention there's no artificial ingredients in my kitchen?) for two consecutive pancakes. The box instructions said it would make seven to ten pancakes or three waffles. How small are the pancakes supposed to be? I made three of them, one at a time, in my 8" (or so) frying pan. I also wonder how large their idea of waffles is because frozen waffles are much smaller than that.

I must hereby apologize for all the approximations so far. You can tell I didn't prepare this post ahead of time, or else I would have given you exact measurements.

In other food news, I was informed by e-mail yesterday ("I have spoken with most of you..." obviously means the people who were here last year and already know about this tradition, but not the newbie who apparently enjoys getting hit upside the head from behind with yet another "but you/your crew always do this") that I must help prepare a steak lunch for my crew next week. Here's part of the e-mail. See if you can spot the Whammy.

If you would like to participate and be a part of thanking our collective employees with a nice lunch, I think we are thinking Tuesday, May 25th, 1pm. If your crew is coming to eat, then you will be participating in the preparation.

Did you find it? That's right; she leads off with "if" but then mandates my participation with "will". (The one I didn't expect you to find is that this lunch is an hour later than usual. A handful of almonds at 10 a.m. is barely enough to keep me going between a bowl of oatmeal and yogurt at 6 a.m. and lunch at 12 p.m. Now I not only have to cook for my employees, I have to do it on an empty stomach.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rock-a-bye Baby

On Friday... or was it Thursday? Yes, it was Friday because that's project day.

On Friday, I successfully embarked on a journey to the second floor of a building, on the outside, using the boom lift we have rented. I was nervous, but I didn't feel any fear. In fact, as long as I used both hands to hold on to the rails of the bucket, or to the tree we pruned, I was fairly comfortable. Of course, there wasn't any wind to speak of because we were so close to a building, and we (the guy actually operating the lift and me) didn't go up the full 45' the lift is capable of, so there wasn't any swaying, or else it would have been yet another day of accosting the dining hall manager and saying, "What do you mean you don't have any booze? I need a drink!"

Just for the heck of it, watch this. It's entertaining and decently edited. It could use some refinement, but couldn't we all?

Friday, May 14, 2010

A well-done medium is rare.

I can say it safely now, since it was mailed yesterday. For the past week, I was a Neilsen household.

I was mailed a pamphlet (and five $1.00 bills for my troubles) to fill out with the programs I watched or recorded. They'll probably be surprised at how little I watch, not to mention that the vast majority of my viewing was "recorded to watch later" because I go to bed so early. I wonder what percentage of the population I'm supposed to represent. There can't be very many of me out there. (Can there?)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I've heard it's a lot more fun with someone else.

One of the sheet sets I use on my bed tends to come loose, for some reason. Every few days, I wake up and find one of the corners under my pillow instead of clinging to the mattress. It's a minor inconvenience, though it puzzles me why it occurs only with this set of sheets and not the other.

The past couple of weeks, I've had to refit the sheets every morning. One morning, in fact, I had to refit both corners at the head of my bed. I figure I'm tearing up the sheets more often because I have been feeling stressed at work. I tend to be an active sleeper anyway, so repressed tension appears to be releasing itself at night, and I'm now downright rambunctious in bed.

At Least I Didn't Waste the Chance

A couple of Wednesdays ago, I thought I was having a bad day, so I decided to treat myself to dinner on the way to bowling. The first restaurant I pulled into was closed for some reason, so I went to a different Chinese place. The food was okay, nothing impressive, but the fortune cooky was delightful.

"You deserve to have a good time after a hard day's work."

At the time, I found it eerily appropriate. Now, after the last week and a half which culminated in me actually going home on time yesterday, I find the fortune ironic.

Froggy asked if I played the lottery numbers on the back. He claims that you should always play the numbers if they include your age. (They do.)

Should I play the numbers because the fortune came true? Is there an expiration date? Do I have to play the same numbers all the time (if I ever do it again)? Should I play the numbers because they include my age? Do I need to play the numbers before my birthday next month, at which time my age no longer agrees with the numbers? Should I play the numbers because the fortune came true and because they include my age? Should I play the numbers because there are worse ways to waste a dollar? (Tickets do cost a dollar, don't they?) How do I even play the lottery?

Monday, May 10, 2010

My baloney has a first name...'s C-H-E-A-P.

After reading about how my morning went, you can understand why I was longing to go home and eat a baloney sandwich with barbecue Fritos, and probably a Dr. Pepper to drink -- while listening to this song from my Dr. Demento collection.

Alas, the baloney is in my freezer, so I'll finish up the last slice of ham. I do have "Baloney" available, though. :) (Note: the following video is not lewd, licentious, obscene, or vulgar, so it's utterly safe for work in that regard, but your groans, screams of anguish, or even guffaws might not be welcome in an office setting.)

Oh, Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be.

The day started off with one of my employees telling me that "somehow" the irrigation system for the artificial turf (yeah, I know, but work with me here) went off yet again (the third time in the ten months I've worked here) while the heads were covered, blowing out the rock around the heads so now there are lumps and depressions around the heads (for the third time). So, we have to cut apart the "carpet" for the third friggin' time, repack the rock, and reglue the carpet. (Did I mention this will be for the third time in ten months?)

On the other hand, the employee should get a bonus for not telling me until today, so that I could enjoy my weekend. :)

Then we got a call that one of the students participating in the run/walk (that we hadn't been informed would be taking place) vomited on the artificial turf. Skippy phoned the company, since none of us has ever encountered this sort of situation before (Miss Kitty has only cleaned up vomit on floors, and my degree is for working on real grass, not the plastic kind). Their only suggestion was to rinse it with a hose.

Then we couldn't stripe the soccer field as we had planned for today because we couldn't mow the field because the middle school students were having their own Duck Day (and now I can't find a previous blog post about it, so I suppose I'm going to have to explain what "Duck Day" is at some point), and they were on the soccer field, even though I was told they'd be on a different field entirely, so we couldn't do our work.

Then the yahoo I'm going to have to find a nickname for told me that some students were going to play football in the stadium after lunch. So much for starting to repair the rock and carpet there!

Oh, and for the record, the upcoming softball tournament that he said was coming up so we could stripe the fields, but he didn't tell us when it would take place (nor how many teams would participate nor if visitor parking would be needed nor...) also began after lunch.

On the bright side, the librarian gave me a smile as she headed to the track to walk her laps. Well, not that a librarian's smile is unwelcome on other days of the week, but I surely appreciated it today.

Is it any wonder I have this song stuck in my head now?


What a week! I was so busy at work, I didn't have time to post.

Really. On Friday, I had just turned on my computer (about 7 a.m.) when someone came to my office (and someone else phoned at the exact same time) to tell me that the dumpsters I ordered had arrived. Unfortunately, the person for whom I ordered the dumpsters hadn't arrived yet, so with the confused help of a phone call... Well, if she doesn't like where we put them, let's see her move them.

Plus, I got home so frazzled and tired every day (why do I never get to leave on time on Fridays?), I didn't feel like doing anything. Heck, I spent all of Sunday watching Scooby-Doo movies on Cartoon Network and playing a computer game.

I didn't even feel like telling you guys about my feat on Wednesday. Or maybe it was Thursday. (See? That's how busy my week was.) Thanks to absolutely no warning (or else I would've assigned one of my crew to do it), I accompanied Froggy onto the roof of a building to prune tree branches away from the building so a painting contractor could work there.

Yeah, I managed to climb an extension ladder. (Froggy was nice enough to let it be on the one-story part of the building.) Yeah, I managed to get off the ladder, onto the roof. Yeah, I managed to walk on the (sloped) roof rather than just stand teetering near the edge. The difficult part wasn't even reaching over the edge to use the chainsaw-on-a-stick to cut the branches. What was hard to do was not to think about the fact that the branches were all against the three-story part of the building. (Our campus slopes so much that you can enter on the ground floor of a building, walk through the building without climbing any stairs, and be on the third floor before you know it.) Actually, I was sort of okay with that, except whenever a vehicle drove by on the road below.

There was one amusing occurrence while I was up there. I was waiting (sitting) for Froggy to come back with a tool to adjust the chainsaw, and a squirrel approached me on a branch we had partially cut off. Perhaps I'm anthropomorphizing here, but I saw a surprised look on his (or her) little face. I'm not sure what surprised the squirrel more: that the branch suddenly ended instead of continuing to the roof as it once had, or that one of those big ol' humans was up there, staring back at him/her.

Now I'm not going to be all macho. I'll admit I was afraid most of the time. However (and this is almost as amazing as getting me on the roof in the first place), there was no panic. Mind you, I'm not too keen on ever doing it again, but at least I know now that I can.

Until tomorrow, when I might need to get into the boom lift to hang protective nets between the soccer field and the parking lot.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Here we go again.

Guess what. Another tree fell during last night's extensive thunderstorm. (It wasn't as bad for us as it was in Nashville, though.) I know what my crew will be doing this morning...

However, unlike the tree last week, I didn't get a phone call about it, it's smaller, and it's blocking the road (so I had to walk in someone's yard on my way to work out this morning). Similar to last week's tree, it is the same species (Celtis occidentalis, Hackberry), and it didn't fall onto anything and cause damage.

Hello! My Name Is: Old Horse That's Good with People

The bathroom I use to shower after working out (it's a bathroom with lockers and a shower, but it's not a locker room) had a couple of boys' nametags in it this morning. From what I can tell on the calendar, there wasn't any event this past weekend for which the boys would have needed nametags. Oh well.

What? Oh, the title? Well, that's just a nametag for a tame nag.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Come one, come y'all

Never let it be said that there is nothing to do around The Noog. On Memorial Day weekend, I could attend the first Hillbilly Olympic Games. I'm not sure it's worth $5 a day though, even with toilet seat horseshoes and bobbing for pigs feet.