Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How did it get to be MMX already?

I caught the copyright date for a TV show yesterday. Has it really been ten years since we marveled at the year being a simple "MM"?

A Vaguely Inappropriate Text Message from Ancient Mesopotamia

For some reason, my cell phone doesn't always ring or vibrate when I receive a voice mail or text message, so I'm often surprised when I open it to check the time. Yesterday afternoon, it told me that someone with a phone number I didn't recognize said, "Ur sugar is here".

After a minute of pondering, I guessed that it meant "your". I also pondered that it was very odd because I don't have a Sugar, and even if I did, she'd know better than to send a personal message to my work phone. I figured that someone had misdialed (although, considering the nature of the message, that seems kind of surprising), and I deleted it.

Imagine my surprise when one of the maintenance guys drove by me just after I had left the office and said that he had brought the case of sugar I had ordered down from the dining hall. Oh. Yeah. Right.

Well, it's not entirely my fault. After all, I had sent an e-mail inquiry, so I didn't expect a text message in reply, and it didn't come from the one food service manager I have programmed in to my cell phone, and it was utterly out of context when I read it. What else could I have thought?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Music videos weren't invented in 1982.

For some reason, I had a Spike Jones song stuck in my head this morning, so I wasted a heck of a lot of time on Youtube listening to the various ones posted there. It also amused me to watch some of the band's antics, from their TV show and from movie shorts. Here's one that tickled my fancy.

Another of Life's Little Ironies

Trying to pick up a fingernail cutting when you've just trimmed your fingernails.

Yup, that's about the wittiest thing I could think of, which is why I haven't posted for several days. (Maybe my brain has melted in the humidity.) Nothing exciting has happened either.

Well, we did have a tree on campus get struck by lightning Friday afternoon, but since no branches fell, and the tree isn't even charred, I figured it wasn't exciting enough for my audience. The bark was split a little, but since it's a sycamore, it's only noticeable if you knew what the tree looked like beforehand.

No puns. No excitement. No wonder I feel like I've lost my motivation.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Her Highness's Throne

The head of the campus computer department fancies herself the queen of the realm. Her office was remodeled this year. She has a separate air conditioner than the rest of her department. She has a special air filter because she thinks she's allergic to everything. (The remodeling, which out of necessity involved dust or fumes, had to be scheduled during her vacation.) Now she wants a new toilet -- I think. It's not exactly apparent in this e-mail she sent.

While I appreciate the improvements [Froggy] made to my plumbing situation, they have not resolved the issue. At least once a day I find myself utilizing the plunger. While this is no doubt good for my upper body strength, it does very little to improve my state of mind and tends to leave me grumbling about the inadequacies of this particular piece of equipment.

Sounds like a personal problem to me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'd hate to see the size of babies in Georgia.

My crew had to move a little bit of rock today. In a kindly moment, Froggy suggested we use a "Georgia buggy" instead of a wheelbarrow. Since I'm a "damn Yankee", Froggy had to explain to me that it is a motorized wheelbarrow.

The one we borrowed is a Muck Truck, specifically the 1/4-ton capacity model. That means it can hold -- and self-propel with -- 500 pounds of rock in it. That's just a teensy bit more than the weights I'm using in my workout, so I'm kind of glad I didn't have to help.

You may call me "Qomolangma Feng".

Thanks to Betty, I've had a new round of stupid internet quizzes to take. (Whew! I was going through withdrawal.)

It appears that I am the "Office Old-Timer" (as if you couldn't guess), and I weigh the equivalent of 157 pints of beer. However, I didn't even understand the questions in the "Are You Damned?" test, so I'm guessing I'm not. Here are some other results that might amuse you.

I am Mount Everest!
Which Extremity of the World Are You?
From the towering colossi at Rum and Monkey.
As Mount Everest (or Sagarmatha, or Qomolangma Feng) you are the highest mountain above sea level in the world, at 8848 metres or 29,028 feet. That's pretty damn big. To put that into perspective, you are twenty-seven and a half times taller than the best the entirety of the Netherlands can manage. Of course, you're not actually the biggest mountain on Earth. Mauna Kea is 31,796 feet, or the equivalent of Everest with the Scottish mountain Suilven perched happily on top. And you're not the farthest from the equator - that's Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador. And Olympus Mons on Mars knocks all of the above into a cocked hat at around 80,000 feet. But when you're named after someone with a beard as impressive as that of Sir George Everest, who cares about the competition?

I'm Charles the Mad. Sclooop.
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.
A fine, amiable and dreamy young man, skilled in horsemanship and archery, you were also from a long line of dribbling madmen. King at 12 and quickly married to your sweetheart, Bavarian Princess Isabeau, you enjoyed many happy months together before either of you could speak anything of the other's language. However, after illness you became a tad unstable. When a raving lunatic ran up to your entourage spouting an incoherent prophecy of doom, you were unsettled enough to slaughter four of your best men when a page dropped a lance. Your hair and nails fell out. At a royal masquerade, you and your courtiers dressed as wild men, ending in tragedy when four of them accidentally caught fire and burned to death. You were saved by the timely intervention of the Duchess of Berry's underskirts.

This brought on another bout of sickness, which surgeons countered by drilling holes in your skull. The following months saw you suffer an exorcism, beg your friends to kill you, go into hyperactive fits of gaiety, run through your rooms to the point of exhaustion, hide from imaginary assassins, claim your name was Georges, deny that you were King and fail to recognise your family. You smashed furniture and wet yourself at regular intervals. Passing briefly into erratic genius, you believed yourself to be made of glass and demanded iron rods in your attire to prevent you breaking.

In 1405 you stopped bathing, shaving or changing your clothes. This went on until several men were hired to blacken their faces, hide, jump out and shout "boo!", upon which you resumed basic hygiene. Despite this, your wife continued sleeping with you until 1407, when she hired a young beauty, Odette de Champdivers, to take her place. Isabeau then consoled herself, as it were, with your brother. Her lovers followed thick and fast while you became a pawn of your court, until you had her latest beau strangled and drowned.

A severe fever was fended off with oranges and pomegranates in vast quantities, but you succumbed again in 1422 and died. Your disease was most likely hereditary. Unfortunately, you had anywhere up to eleven children, who variously went on to develop capriciousness, great cruelty, insecurity, paranoia, revulsion towards food and, in one case, a phobia of bridges.

I'm a lesbian first lady. Woo
Which Famous Homosexual Are You?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey
A Roosevelt yourself, you married your fifth cousin Franklin; despite the obvious incestuous overtones, your six kids were happy and healthy.

When Franklin got elected, you became perhaps the most controversial first lady ever - you spoke out for the rights of women; for the rights of the poor; for world peace. You were even a member of a union while your husband was in office - and when he died, you were the head of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

All of which is pretty kick ass, but to top things off you had a hot and steamy relationship with the lesbian journalist Lorena Hickok, who was so madly in love with you that she halted her career for you. Unfortunately, you couldn't give up your public life that easily - leaving her heartbroken.


Monday, June 21, 2010

We prefer the term "investigative journalist".

I can't put Wally back in the pond yet because it's nearly covered in duckweed. We got a swimming pool skimmer and used it to sweep some duckweed off the water on Thursday and Friday. (I took the weekend off.) Minutes after I cleared a section, it was covered again. However, the layer of duckweed in that area is thinner, at least. I figure I should be done in a few centuries.

It seems to be a good workout for my shoulders and back, what with the sweeping motion and the lifting to empty the net onto the grass. It also is a little calming, just standing there, raking the muck from the pond. I can understand a little why some people enjoy fishing, although, if one is going to sit quietly for hours on end, I'd much rather do it in the shade, with a book.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The One Place in the South where You Can't Linedance

After work yesterday, I ventured over to the closest DMV office to obtain a TN driver's license. I never thought I'd see the day it was quick, easy, and painless (enjoyable, even) to go to the DMV.

I recall waiting around the DMV office in NJ. In NM, you not only had to bring a book to read in line, it needed to be an encyclopedia -- and that was just to wait in line to get a number! (See also my 8/14/08 post "Because, you know, we don't wait in line enough already.") I think I'd prefer dental work over the NM DMV. In The Noog, it's vastly different.

First off, you are seen immediately by a person as you walk in the building. (Actually, I waited about a minute while the woman -- not a line of people -- ahead of me was helped.) The man at the window photocopied my documentation, paper clipped it to the necessary form, instructed me which parts of the form to complete, and gave me my number.

Second, you sit in a waiting area with more chairs than people (I wish I had a camera with me) and complete the form. As soon as I completed the form and put my pen into my shirt pocket, my number was called!

Third, the woman behind the counter (or man, depending on who calls you) will be friendly. She will smile. She will call you "young man" even though she's not much older than you. (I presume she will call you "young woman" if the gender is appropriate.) She will completely miss a joke pointed at you (if you're wearing the school work shirt I was) by the assistant next to her. She will speak to you politely and use a volume and tone of voice that is entirely intelligible. She will tell you an astoundingly affordable price for your license.

Fourth, you barely sit down to wait for your photo when a different woman finishes handing over the new license to the person before you and takes your photo. (I think I held my smile longer than I waited.) Then you don't bother opening your book because the guy who joked before makes a funny gesture to make the next person photographed smile, and -- Voila! -- your license is ready!

Fifth, you drive up the street (practically next door) to celebrate the occasion at Tubby's. (But, to preserve the sanctity of Cheesesteak Friday, you order a burger and jalapeno poppers instead. You'll get your cheesesteak tomorrow, after all.)

Sixth, you're smiling. You're smiling because you're going to get a good, tasty dinner. You're smiling because getting your license was a lot easier than you expected. You're abso-frickin-lutely beaming because the entire process, from parking in the lot to reentering your car, took less than half an hour!

I think the only downside is the license picture itself. Whenever I see a picture of myself nowadays, I am disappointed that I look so old. Then I think I look like my dad. Then I'm disappointed because it's not a bad thing that I look like my dad.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You Probably Think This Post Is About You

I ate the last of my birthday cookies from the dining hall yesterday. As I nudged the plastic bag they had been kept in, I thought I saw a loose, chocolate chip move. However, it kept moving. It wasn't a chocolate chip; it was an earwig. I was so disgusted, I didn't even try to finish the crumbs in the bottom of the bag. I think I'd rather have clouds in my coffee -- and I hate coffee.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

(W)all(y) is not lost.

It turns out that Wally did not wash out of the retention pond in the storm. However, he was on the very edge of the overflow drain. We found him when one of my employees was trimming around the pond and said Wally "scared the crap out of" him. (I guess he works.)

/Singing/ "Oh, my gator's back, and you're gonna be in trouble. Hey-la, hey-la, my gator's back."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Listen very carefully because I'm only going to say this twice.

"Biometrics is very important. Biometrics is very important." That's what the coach said to the kids Friday afternoon and again today.

Hmm... Bio- means "life"; metr- means "measure"; -ic is just a suffix we English-speakers put on the end so we don't sound like the French, who tend to swallow the last syllables of their words -- and no puns about "swallowing your r's"; this is a high-class blog, thank you very much.

Oh, who am I kidding? Around here, the more puns, the better -- or is that the more puns, the badder?

It looked more to me like a group of athletic campers, not wildlife campers, to me. What does measuring life have to do with sports? Oh well, maybe they were exercising before an annual bird count or something. Then again, if you're going to count lions or something, it might be very important that you're in excellent physical condition. (And, if you can't outrun a lion, at least you'll provide good muscle for her to eat.)

The coach also told them to do "power skips", which have to be "explosive, explosive, not like you're skipping through the flowers, through the flowers".

First, he reminded me of the Currie sisters in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series. One of them always echoes the end of everything her sister says.

Then I thought of Tiny Tim (the singer, not the Dickens character). Except, instead of tiptoing through tulips, more like this...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Feeling tired and run down?

I was busy yesterday. I finally massaged next year's materials budget into a form that satisfied Skippy, so I started my ordering. My crew finished taking down some weedy trees by an administrator's (on-campus) house so he could have a new shed built, and then, since the slopes were still wet from Wednesday night's rain and couldn't be mowed safely, they took down the dead half of a tree on a school property off campus. After work, I walked my laps, went home and showered, and drove back to campus to discover that the compressed airhose outside the mechanic's shop wasn't working. Thankfully Skippy was still at work, so he unlocked the building and corrected whatever the problem was.

The whole reason I needed the airhose was that my driver's side, front tire was going flat rapidly. Example: Wednesday afternoon, the nougat across the street phoned to ask if I had looked at my car lately. The tire was very flat -- so flat I wasn't sure I could drive the three blocks to campus. I aired it up (the hose worked that time) and drove to bowling. After bowling, just 2.5 hours later, the on-board indicator told me to check the air pressure in that tire again.

Since it was past time for my 5,000 mile oil change anyway, I drove to Pep Boys. I have a club card there that promises free tire repairs. Wouldn't you know it? The nail that had punctured my tire was too deep or too sideways or something, such that the tire couldn't be repaired and had to be replaced, so add 100 bucks unexpectedly to the bill.

The service rep. kept apologizing that they didn't have a tire to match the other three. I told him I didn't care, as long as I could drive safely. Besides, I think this establishes a pattern.

After I had my first car about a year and two months, I was driving it home from Alabama to New Mexico, and while stopped at a gas station, I saw a bulge in the side of the tire that the other three tires didn't seem to have. "Is it supposed to look like this?" I asked my dad. That was about the only time I'd ever seen him look alarmed. We had the tire replaced, so a little more than a year after buying the car, I had three plus one tires. This one was just a year and two weeks after buying the car. Oh well, at least I know to prepare for this the next time I buy a car.

After getting the car serviced, I treated myself to dinner (with a free birthday dessert) at Longhorn Steakhouse. The hostess said I could either be seated immediately at the bar or wait 15 minutes for a table. Since I was alone, I chose the bar -- and then waited about as much as I would have if I had wanted a table.

Have you ever watched a fancy restaurant bartender on a Thursday evening? She was almost swamped. She never stopped moving with all the drink orders and ringing up everyone's bills. Plus, she had to serve me food. I tipped her generously when I left.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Apparently Not

On second thought, it appears that all my post times, even those several days old, changed. Oh, well. Nobody ever said that I understand computers.

Testing... 1... 2... 3

I finally figured out (I think) how to change the time stamp on my posts from Mountain to Eastern, so it doesn't look as if I'm up and blogging at an even more obscenely early hour than I actually am. (This post should show a little more than two hours later than the previous one.)

Do you do this, too?

It's not that my birthday is more important than any other day of the year, but every time I see mention of it, it jumps out at me.

I had to phone our solid waste contractor to complain that the dumpsters were supposed to be removed on Tuesday but they weren't. How was I so sure? Because when Miss Kitty told me the date she wanted them gone, I noted that it was on my birthday.

On the paper I post each week for us to mark down that we have taken our temperature every day, my birthday jumps out at me.

Heck, even in the "Dangerous Brains" episode of Pinky and the Brain, Brain mentions that the moon will be closest to the earth on June 8.

Then there was the time I took my English 101 final on December 7, 1989 but wrote December 7, 1941 on the paper -- and neither the professor nor I noticed until I received the graded exam back.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Happy anniversary!

No, I'm not crazy. It's just me saying that it's the 10th anniversary of the day I turned 29. Besides, it sounds much better than telling you I'm now as old as Jack Benny was for most of his life.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Cheesesteak Fry-day

The good thing about birthdays is that, if you're signed up for restaurants' e-clubs, you can eat free (or nearly so) for two or three weeks. Don't worry; I'm sure to tip the waitstaff based on the total before the discount.

On Friday, Miss Kitty, Froggy, and our administrative assistant (whom I can't recall if I have a nickname for) and I went to Skippy's college roommate's barbecue restaurant near Nashville in honor of my upcoming birthday. (You are a very careful reader; you noticed that Skippy himself did not go. He attended a funeral.) Skippy's boss and his boss's wife joined us there. (The boss paid.)

Even though it was my lunch, I nearly didn't go at all. Less than an hour before we were to leave, one of my employees (31 years old, 6'5" tall, a shade over 300 pounds of muscle and fat) complained his chest felt sore. "Sore like you overworked your muscles or sore like an elephants stepped on your chest?" I asked. "Sore like someone just punched me," he replied. Well, he didn't feel any soreness in his shoulders or upper arms, so we chanced it. "Now I'm having trouble breathing," he said.

Uh-oh is right.

Would you believe that the student health center was closed that morning, so there was no nurse to evaluate him? (Just because classes ended the day before and camps don't start until today doesn't mean there aren't people on campus who are liable to be stricken with something.) I took him to the office to get Skippy's advice whether or not I should take the employee to the hospital, but Skippy wasn't there. The employee said his pulse was fine; he thought it might be heat stress. I gave him two cups of water and an aspirin and told him to call me in the morni... er, to let me know after the morning break how he was feeling.

I was worried, but I left for the restaurant anyway. That night, on my way to cheesesteak, I stopped by his house. He was fine, and I scored bonus points for caring enough to check on him.

After we returned from Nashville, I phoned Skippy to tell him where I had put the to-go order we bought for him. (I mean, in which refrigerator.) He said he was at one of the hospitals with his daughter, who had nearly severed her thumb. I sent him a text message after cheesesteak (since he seems to like them -- text messages, that is; I don't know if he likes cheesesteaks -- and since I didn't want to interrupt whatever they were doing, wherever they were doing it, with a ringing cell phone) to check on her, and he said her thumb was broken and needed 30 stitches. (He'll probably tell us all the gruesome details in this morning's meeting, so let me know if you're curious what happened.)

This morning, I had a voice mail from an employee who received a summons to appear in court today and one from an employee who said his wife shut the truck door on his hand yesterday, so, all in all, it wasn't a good weekend for everyone but me.

I'm tempted to cower in my apartment until all this (whatever this is) is over. No, wait. Then I couldn't use any more of my birthday coupons. Oh, what a dilemma.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Fame at last!

On my way to the barber shop yesterday afternoon, I had the windows rolled down on my car (it was only 91 degrees, after all). At a stoplight, I heard a young woman yell, "New Mexico! Whoo!" She waved. (She was in the passenger's seat.) I waved.

At the next stoplight, she held out a facsimile of a New Mexico license plate with "TAOS" in the middle.

That reminds me: My registration expires this month, so I get to learn all about the Tennessee DMV. (Hey, that rhymes!) The license plates here are boring, though, in comparison.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Alas, poor Wally.

(Hey, I was able to work a Pinky & the Brain quote into the title!)

I learned of another casualty of Tuesday night's storm. Wally, our floating gator head to keep geese out of the retention pond, is gone. His tether and framework were still in the pond, but his skin was missing. We suspect the floodwaters carried him off.

Oh, well. I always can hope that someone found him and made an alligator purse out of him, so he still can be useful.

I'd rather not know if he's "magically delicious".

Before you run screaming from yet another bowling post, keep in mind that it could be yet another tree falling down post.

I'm on my way to determining the secret of bowling success -- at least for me. Putting my feet in just the right spot for my stance is a contributing factor. The way I move is a contributing factor. However, I identified another possible variable last night.

Our regular substitute has a superstition that he must cover the scorekeeping monitor whenever he bowls, or else he won't bowl well. Taking a cue from him, I stopped looking at my score during the game. Now I can't promise that's what gave me my all time highs a couple weeks ago, but it does let me relax and not dwell on what past frames could have gone better. That week, though, he tried bowling without covering the monitor, and he did poorly (almost entirely psychological, I'm sure). Last night, I told him I'll have to determine if not looking at my score helps me at all, or if he's just my lucky charm. If there's ever a week he doesn't show up, that's the week to test that particular hypothesis.

In the meantime, I'll keep starting at the same spot on the boards. It let me bowl a 136, 202, 164 last night, for my first legitimate 500+ series. (I don't necessarily count the one from two weeks ago; I consider that entire night a fluke.) I can't remember the character's name from the particular episode of Frasier (he was on just one episode), but he said, "You've got to lick it and stick it."

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

If I get at least one of these songs stuck in your head, maybe you won't notice that I didn't have a witty title.

I think the storm is passing north of us right now, but I'll keep this short, so I can log off before lightning surges through the super-dee-dooper surge protector and fries my computer.

I spoke too soon (as it were) when I posted this morning. We did have another tree come down in last night's storm. It was a Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford') next to the tennis courts. Never fear, since it is almost half a year away from Christmas, there are no homeless partridges.

Actually, it was only half of the tree. Thankfully, it fell away from the indoor court, but how long until our luck runs out and one of the falling trees hits a car or building? In the meantime, I have decided to name the tree Eric.

If you have to ask, "Why 'Eric'?", then you're obviously not familiar with this song (which I will rectify forthwith).

That's right; it's Eric the Half-a-Tree!

My question has been answered.

On April 20, I posted the question, "If April showers bring May flowers, what do July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, and April showers bring? The answer, which I discovered last night, is June thunderstorms, of course!

After five minutes of thunder, the heavens opened for about half an hour. For a half hour after that, it rained steadily. The Weather Channel claimed we had just over 5.5" of rain in May, which I'm likely to agree with, but just 0.2" last night. Obviously, wherever their weather station is (probably the airport), it wasn't outside my apartment. It rained so hard, our gutters overflowed (and leaked through my kitchen ceiling again), the back yard was mostly underwater, and the arroyo nearly overflowed its concrete sides.

One of the campus security officers stopped by my apartment after the storm to tell me that one of the new trees we planted before commencement (just a week and a half ago) had fallen over but that he hadn't seen any large trees damaged*. I checked it on the way between the gym and my office a few minutes ago, and I see that it was tipped over by the wind but not broken. There were a lot of small branches on the sidewalk I take to the gym, but we got off surprisingly light.

*Umm, that would be since Sunday night, when the second of the three trees on my "can we please take these down before they fall down?" list broke in half. I should start a pool for people to bet on when they think the third tree will fall.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Upstairs, Downstairs

I got to see in the recently unoccupied apartment partly below me. I couldn't live there. The living room is too small (especially for my new sectional sofa), it's like a dungeon unless all the lights are on, I'd always worry about flooding or creepy-crawlies, and even conscientiously quiet neighbors like me upstairs would keep creaking the floorboards.

I also got a tour of the recently unoccupied house a few lots down the street. I could see myself living there. There are a living room, dining room, and kitchen, as you'd expect. There's also a room (with a closed-off fireplace) I would turn into my study, with tall bookshelves lining the walls, and a narrow room with east-facing windows that I'd turn into a plant room. Plus, there are two more rooms (one with another closed-off fireplace) and a bathroom that could be a guest suite or a place for my mom to live, if things get bad. Upstairs is the master bedroom and bathroom; that's it. The stairs are kind of narrow, but that's for the movers toting my furniture to figure out, not me. :)

I asked Froggy how long I'd have to work here to qualify for that house - five years? He said he doesn't think the school would let a bachelor live in a house that size.

Oh, yeah. I also could do things with the yard, but that goes without saying.