Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Friday, July 30, 2010

To Pee or Not to Pee

I had my first random drug test at work today. Not only was it awfully coincidental that it occurred just a year after they hired me, but it was frighteningly coincidental that everyone whose last name begins with B or W was on the list.

I just hope that those poppy seeds in my lunch on Tuesday don't give me a false positive result...

What goes next - candy?

I was in the dining hall the other day, to get some water after having been outside for a few hours. Since there were no students there, I took a look at the soda machines, to see what they offer. (I always drink milk when I eat there, and, besides, the students are usually jammed two to three deep in front of the machines anyway.) I noticed that all of the sodas were artificially sweetened.

I mentioned this in our daily management meeting and found out that this is a new change because the headmaster doesn't want the boys consuming so much sugar. (I wonder if he drinks his coffee black.)

First no girls in the classrooms, now no sugar in the dining hall. Songs like this are becoming increasingly outdated.

Does anybody really know what time it is?

I need to stop getting into my books so much.

At the barber shop this afternoon, I read a mystery set in Alaska in the autumn. When I was in the chair, the TV news had a story about a wanted bear in Montana. (Must've been a slow news day.) As I glanced at the picture, I thought, "It looks awfully green up there." Then I realized that it's still only July and remembered that it was autumn only in the book.

On the way to my weekly cheesesteak, I was behind a brand new Mercedes-Benz with a temporary tag which expires on August 21. "But that's... Oh, yeah. August hasn't happened yet."

This is why the world should pay me to stay home and read, rather than interact with everyone.


Thanks to a reference in the e-comic PhD, I now am following one called Unshelved.

It's primarily about working in a library, but they did have a bit about painting walls not long ago, which I forwarded to Froggy. Every week, they also post book recommendations (which, judging from the spelling and grammar - or lack thereof - I'm guessing are submitted by young readers and not librarians). I thought this comment was humorous.

Why I picked it up: My mom handed it to me and said she thought I'd like it. I was reluctant, because the back cover couldn't have made it sound blander. But, you know, it was my mom.

Why I finished it: The moment the enemy assassin got into an invisibility suit. Suddenly it was a whole new ball game.

I'd give it to: Gary, who chews through international espionage thrillers. He'll be surprised to find a little science fiction in his soup.

Every Good Boy Does Fine / Good Boys Do Fine Always

It's a lot easier to be a good boy when there's no temptation in the first place.

The donut place across from the bowling alley is a Krispy Kreme. I don't like Krispy Kreme; I prefer Dunkin' Donuts. (Actually, I prefer Tim Horton's, but since I live in the U.S.A. and not Canada, it's not an option.)

There are now two Dunkin' Donuts franchises in the Noog metropolitan area: in Hixson (north of town) and Ft. O. (south of town). Thankfully, I think that's too far to drive just for donuts. (However, I did go to Ft. O. this past weekend to eat at The Apocalypse and buy half-price annual flowers at Holcomb Garden Center, so, since I was in the neighborhood...)

There used to be a Russell Stover candy store in the bowling alley parking lot, but they closed a few weeks ago. According to the sign on the door, the next closest stores are in Manchester, TN and Athens, TN. You want me to drive how far for candy?

It's tough to be virtuous and resist temptation when there's no temptation to resist.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Puns

(You have been warned.)

1) When you're going to kiss someone, you tell them to pucker up. When you tell someone to kiss your ass, do they need to pucker down?

2) If someone doesn't pass the exam to become a certified compost facility operator, does that make them non compost mentis?

Every day with him must be "Opposite Day".

For a while, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt. I figured he was using Noog Logic and I just didn't understand him. Now I suspect that he's just wrong.

First off, they call him "coach", even though he's just the weight training dude. (For that matter, the "trainer" doesn't train the athletes; he tends their injuries.)

Second, nothing he says makes sense. As I walked my laps one day, I heard him talking about a magazine (he might have used the word "journal", but I have issues with what he described, so I'm not entirely sure a refereed, scientific journal would have printed it) article he had read about weight training research in Russia. The dude said that Russian researchers documented that starting boys in weight training before puberty was not harmful; indeed the boys ended up 1.5" taller than their fathers. I was seven inches taller than my father, and I eschewed physical activity as much as possible when I was growing up, so what does that say for the research? Moreover, he said the same article found that the boys were easier to train as they aged. Well, duh! Plus (and this is where I have another doubt about the scientificness of the article), that's a second variable, and good research tests just one variable at a time.

Speaking of him not making sense, when he isn't training the football players who aren't there twice a day all summer (high school sports in TN are regulated like college sports, so if they aren't authorized to practice during the summer, I must not have seen them in the stadium nor the weight room every weekday), they do the opposite of what he says. When they were running back and forth on the field, he kept yelling, "Push! Push! Push!" (Since they were neither pushing nor pulling, I figure he must have been training them to become obstetricians.) Yesterday in the weight room, he yelled (no, he doesn't always yell, but it sure seems like it), "I want everybody on this side." The boys promptly scattered throughout the room. Later, "Everybody, listen up!" was barely audible over the rap and heavy metal music he blasts in the weight room, so it's no wonder the boys kept exercising (a key component of which seems to be picking up barbells and immediately dropping them on the floor).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

On the way back from picking up sod the other day, Skippy and I passed a Fort O. restaurant I absolutely must try: The Apocalypse Authentic Greek and Italian Restaurant.

Yes, you read that right: The Apocalypse, not The Acropolis. (That's a good restaurant, too.)

According to the review linked above, "The menu states, 'We Specialize in Royal Service'." I have a better slogan: "The last place you'll ever eat."

Friday, July 23, 2010

So much for the little notebook in my back pocket.

The laws of statistics and probability caught up with me today. I had absolutely no time to move before the sprinkler right by the irrigation timer turned on -- pointed right at me. Considering I've been manually starting that system for three weeks now, I think I did pretty well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You can fool some of the people some of the time.

On my way out of work yesterday, two of the housekeepers driving by stopped. I was in my workout gear, so the one driving said she almost didn't recognize me out of my uniform. I made some sort of polite, slightly humorous remark, and she told her coworker (who's kind of new and hasn't been properly introduced to me yet) that I'm just as "friendly" and "pleasant" as when she met me a year ago. She also tossed the word "outgoing" in her flattering description of me.

Her don't know me very well, do her?

Lady in Red

"That was no lady. That was some down-on-her-luck woman who happened to knock on my door second."

She knocked on Pinocchio's door first, and for some unusual reason, he was home. (He's almost never there, let alone during a weekday afternoon when he's normally at work.) I saw she had dark hair, and she took a seat on my porch chair. I figured she was the woman who started renting one of the downstairs apartments this summer and had locked herself out and was waiting for her husband to come with the spare key.

About ten minutes later, she knocked on my door. It was a woman who appeared to have had a hard life -- and it just got harder. She asked me to call the police and see if an officer was on his way because she had been raped and robbed and was tired of waiting. "Tell them it's the woman in the red dress."

I called the non-emergency number, and the dispatcher took my information. When I said there was a woman on my front porch who claimed to have been raped and robbed, it was business as usual. When I said, "She said she had called before and said to tell you it's the woman in the red dress," the dispatcher said, "Oh!" (How many other women had called in claiming to have been raped and robbed yesterday afternoon?)

This sounds like a bad standup routine, but... How many police officers does it take to respond to a phone call? Three, and each one has to drive his own car.

I didn't see any cameras, so you're not likely to see the front of my apartment on Cops some day -- especially since she didn't freak out or hit one of the officers or anything. After about 20 minutes, they drove off with her.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I've already earned this week's cheesesteak.

So help me, I've figured out a mechanical problem. It took me about five minutes, but I did it.

The guys were trying to figure out why our sweeper broom was turning the wrong way. It turns out that they had wound the belt incorrectly around a double pulley. I had no clue how to fix the problem; all I did was identify something that didn't look right.

I guess that's why I'm the manager.

The Two-Flat Polka

Oh, how to describe yesterday?

There was the crew meeting with which I start every day. When I walked in, only half the crew was there. One arrived to work late. I got an e-mail from the son of another. Another arrived to work late. One didn't phone in or show up at all.

When I was pulling up my pants in the bathroom, I hit my head on the doorstop-thingy that keeps the stall door from slamming into the wall and breaking the tile. This is a common occurrence for someone my height, and I still haven't managed to injure my head in any way, but... This time, the vibrations from my head carried down my body, out my fingertips, and shook my belt so that my cell phone promptly fell into the toilet. (The school's inventory/procurement guy is checking on a replacement for me -- I mean, for my phone.)

There was the employee who said he got a flat tire on the mower, but that's okay because it keeps going flat.

Did I mention that all the mechanics were gone yesterday? The auto mechanic (on Froggy's crew, so I don't know why) was out. Mayberry (my small equipment mechanic) is on his annual, three-week mission to China. His Holiness (my part-time, small equipment mechanic) was the one whose son sent the e-mail saying he was out sick. And that's why we couldn't even do something as simple as air up a tire, because the air hoses and attachments were locked away.

Compounding that was the employee who got two flat tires on his truck, both on the driver's side, and, the more I think about it, the less I understand it. 1) He didn't see the jagged, metal, signpost bases sticking out of the sidewalk. 2) Why was he driving on the sidewalk? He must have been cutting the corner. 3) He really must have been cutting the corner if he was turning right but got the tires on the left side of the truck.

I'm kind of surprised that the soundtrack to my dream this morning was "School Teacher Blues" instead of this:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oatmeal for Dinner?

This afternoon is my periodic weigh-in before working out. I don't know what it will tell me, but I've been eating less this summer, so I'm hoping that will equate to weight loss.

The reason I've eaten less is because I have a protein bar for dinner, instead of the usual sandwich and chips. (I still have my large meal at lunch in the dining hall.) Because of my workout, I eat a protein bar. Then, I might as well not eat anything else (maybe a piece of fruit) for dinner. During the school year, I had the protein bar and fruit for breakfast, since I worked out in the a.m., and oatmeal on the days with cardio-only.

If my summer routine helps me lose weight, it might be worth extending into the next school year. However, I can't have the protein bars for breakfast and nothing for dinner. Maybe I should have oatmeal for dinner?

Can I convince my brain that maple & brown sugar oatmeal is a suitable dinner? Well, if I can tell myself that Cake for Breakfast is all right, then why not?

What do you mean?

As I brushed my teeth this morning, I pondered the title of yesterday's post. It was an allusion to The Wizard of Oz -- the movie version, at least. I haven't actually read the book. The only one in the series which I have read is, I think, Tik-Tok of Oz. (Lord knows how my mother bought her sons just one of the books and not all of them.)

Then, for some reason, I tried to figure out if L. Frank Baum (or the scriptwriter, if it wasn't in the book) meant something by telling us (viewers, readers, or just plain children) to "ignore the man behind the curtain" and focus on the grand and glorious illusions. Maybe it was just irony -- or even intentional humor, since it's obvious to most kids that the man was creating the illusions.

Then I realized how dangerously close I was to breaking my own rule about not offering symbolism or imagery (of which, as I have alluded to before, I have a particular dislike -- not quite hatred -- thanks to one horrific year in high school English class). However, I found a loophole, so I'm not a sinner. The Oz books were intended for children. Children's stories often have lessons or morals included. Therefore, I'm looking for meaning, which is entirely different from symbolism and imagery. (Because I said so; that's why.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pay no attention to the man behind the chain link fence.

I actually have an interesting item to share with you for once -- and it's work-related, no less! It appears that I have not met the most famous man I've never heard of. (He did wave to me, though.)

You see, somebody must know somebody who knows somebody, and he said, "Sure, why not let this guy practice in our stadium, even though it will interrupt our workers, cause the head of security to get all flustered, and make campers gawk through the fence rather than participate in the actual camps their parents are paying for (not that they can tell him apart from any of his teammates at that distance, anway)." Okay, so that last part (after the word stadium) didn't enter into that somebody's head at all, because they never think about actual logistics. (And you could tell him apart, if you saw him drive in and noticed he was the only one in a blue shirt.)

Who am I talking about? F*ck if I know, so I asked one of my employees. I had to write it down, and even then I misspelled his name (but that's what happens when your parents name you after a hot dog and lunchmeat brand) and misunderstood which team he used to play for.

Anyhoo... The (U.S.) football player Peyton Manning practiced on our football field yesterday, he and five teammates. He's the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, whom I remember as the Baltimore Colts, which should tell you about how long ago it has been since I paid any attention to football. (Am I really turning into my parents, who remember the Brooklyn Dodgers and Milwaukee Braves?)

"Did he go to our school?" I asked. "No, but he did play for Tennessee," my employee replied. Skippy later clarified this for me that Manning played for the University of Tennessee, not the Tennessee Titans (who used to be the Houston Oilers). The reason he was in the area is that he has a house in Ooltewah. The reason he came to our field instead of any other high school in or near The Noog (including Ooltewah) might be because the Colts play on an artificial surface, and we have fake grass in the stadium. It might be because of the "somebody who knows somebody" aspect. It also could be the fact that we can lock up our stadium to keep gawkers to a minimum.

Big fat hairy deal. As long as we could keep scrubbing those temporary paint lines off the artificial turf, I didn't care. I've heard he might come back today. We have to put the goal posts back up, but as long as he lets us have one end zone while he and his buddies practice at the other end, I'm okay with that.

Oh, and for any fan girls (or fan boys) out there who care: yes, I did see him with his shirt off. My comment? "It looks like his nose was broken some time in his life." Skippy said, "Well, if it was, it must have been before the four years he played for Tennessee." The fireman on my bowling team (after he got over being upset that I didn't call him to come gawk at Manning, whom he remembers playing for the university) said that Manning was the only quarterback for UT who went on to the NFL without leading UT to a national title. (This has been your useless trivia fact for the day.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Weeba-weeba, Wonka-wonka, Garpox, Gumbage, Whoopee!

Usually, the soundtrack to my dreams is a song that I've heard in the past few days, but it has been years since I've seen any of Fraggle Rock. Just for that, I'm going to get it stuck in your heads, too!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Little Excitement Never Hurt Anybody (Else)

Because two of the school's borders are major thoroughfares in The Noog, it is quite common to hear the sirens of emergency vehicles at any hour of the day or night. However, when I was returning home the other day, I realized that, not only were the sirens not diminishing as they passed by, they were getting louder.

I looked down the road. "Holy crap!" I exclaimed. "They're coming up my street!" I was ready to trade the door key in my hand for my cell phone, so I could alert campus security, but one of them was already on the scene.

It was a false alarm -- a really stupid false alarm. Still, it's good to know that four fire engines will show up even if you don't need them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What does Michael Phelps have that I don't?

Aside from oodles of Olympic medals, gazillions of dollars in product endorsements, the waistline of a 12-year old boy, and people throwing themselves at his feet, regardless of his looks?

I don't want any of that, anyway. (Okay, a slimmer waistline would be nice.) All I want is to be able to swim in a straight line. I can't finish one length of the pool without bumping into the lane divider or the wall. I need to make a friend in the Noog who knows how to swim, so s/he can watch me and tell me how to fix whatever I'm doing wrong.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Maybe we should call it a "haik".

Since Skippy was out of town today (at a karate competition in North Carolina for his son), I sent him a text message this evening, to let him know how the day went at work.

"Gushers repaired. Bad mood eased. Workout refreshing. Cheesesteak tonight."

He replied, "Is this haiku?"

Close, but I need another syllable. What if I replace "eased" with "erased"? It's not accurate, but does that really matter in poetry?

Wonder Twin Powers... er, Triplet... er...

The weird guy I see at the bowling alley only on Friday nights ("weird" in this case means he talks a lot, to me, to anyone nearby, but mostly to himself, and doesn't need an answer to keep going) thinks he has seen me elsewhere (at Wal-Mart, of all places). No, the only reason he recognizes me is because I made the mistake of staring at him (because he kept talking to himself) long enough to make eye contact when I first noticed him a few weeks ago, and now he knows I'm there every Friday.

Side note: I had been the only one in that part of the alley, and I had been bowling well, until he arrived and started (continued?) talking. Then I realized that he should have been several lanes over. "Hey!" the guy behind the counter yelled to him, "Leave that guy alone. He has his own league over there."

Anyway, the point of this post is that the weird guy is not the first person to think he has seen me elsewhere. However, he is the first one to say so in Chattanooga. (My favorite is the guy who thinks he saw me driving a classic pickup truck on the NMSU campus.)

The saying is that everyone has a doppelganger. How many of us are there, though, who have more than one?

Nor Any Drop to Drink

Ugh. I spent all afternoon yesterday seeking (and finding, unfortunately) leaks in the irrigation system around the middle school building. I took 20 flags with me to mark any problem sites, and by zone ten I had used 16 of them. It was late; I was tired, overheated (couldn't drink any of the irrigation water because it comes from our retention pond, not treated water), and I was more than a bit cranky, so I went home. I'll check out the other six zones today -- if I have any time after trying to replace all the broken (or missing) sprinklers I found. That also means the hole dug around the leak under the fence downhill from the middle school will stay open, and I'm going to pretend that the leak I couldn't find (but I know it's there because the other sprinklers are suffering from reduced pressure -- the ones that pop up at all, that is) isn't there because I don't need to dig yet another hole.

Of all the times for my irrigation guy to go on his annual mission to China and for there to have been no rain for the past two or three weeks...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Even I thought I was kidding.

Recently (6/18/10), I blogged about linedancing in the South. Believe it or not, it happened last night at the bowling alley. It wasn't to a country song (the playlist at the alley tends more toward rap/hip-hop or hard rock), but the better part of a large group (when you walk in and see the snack bar prepping about 50 burgers, watch out) queued up and started dancing.

It was really funny when I saw them continue it right out the main doors.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

It's not my fault!

Yesterday marked my first anniversary of living and working in The Noog. I wanted to wait until today for the announcement, though, to make sure my first year was completely up. From now on, nothing that happens here is my fault (especially the weather). Froggy will probably try to argue the opposite, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. In fact, since I've been here a year, it's about time to put on those boxing gloves, doncha think?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I done dood it!

Since I started a new workout routine this morning instead of yesterday afternoon, since there were no kids around to witness if I failed, since I was walking a few laps to kill time between swimming and when I could get into the weight room, since the workout equipment at the end of the indoor track includes a pull-up apparatus, and since I was pulling more than my body weight in the back exercise in the routine I was done with, I decided to see if I could do any pull-ups or chin-ups.

This is a big deal for me. Never in my life have I been able to do any pull-ups or chin-ups. This, naturally, was very embarrassing when every other boy in gym class could.

I surprised myself. Not only could I do a pull-up followed by a chin-up, I was able to replicate the feat three times (once during each lap; I wasn't going to tempt fate). I might actually try it again someday, now that I know I can do it -- maybe even more than one at a time!

Okay, I now know how to ride a bike and can do pull-ups/chin-ups. Anything other physical feats from childhood I haven't succeeded in yet?

Oh. Right. But, no, I'm not going to attempt the rope climb. (Nice try, though.)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Twenty Years of Revenge

We (facilities, on behalf of the school) started tearing down a campus-owned residence yesterday. It probably started its life as a house then was sectioned into ten apartments, but most recently served as mold habitat and one apartment. According to everyone else here, the school has been wanting to tear it down for years, but they were waiting for the final resident to move out. It wasn't quite condemned, but it was in such poor condition that my coworkers had ironically nicknamed it "the Hilton".

Froggy had such loathing for the building (and for the twenty years of repairs he has had to do there to keep it habitable for just one person) that he told the demolition guy that he wanted time in the operator's seat. Apparently, revenge is a dish best served with the fork of a trackhoe.