Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Three New Records

1) Approximately 1/3 of my invited guests attended my party this weekend. My usual attendance is only 1/4, so I beat my record.

2) I ordered food for just 2/3 of my guest list, figuring that not everyone would show up. Although half of the people I bought food for came to my party, they didn't eat as much as the caterer expected Noogats to eat. I now have more leftovers than I thought possible, and I'm not sure it all will fit into my freezer.

3) I think I'm going to learn what the record is for how much leftover cole slaw and potato salad one person can eat before making himself sick.

I spent the day after my party goofing off: playing computer games and reading. I read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. (Note to self: Read first thing in the morning. That way, if you get another book that makes you think, you can spend the rest of the day in mindless activity, so you won't be thinking so much that you can't fall asleep.) I found a few paragraphs that almost meant something to me, but just this one made the cut.

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.

I think I've "gardened" enough trees and flowers to qualify.

Now what the heck am I supposed to do with three pints of leftover barbecue sauce?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crazy about Classics, Vol. 2

I can't believe I forgot to include this song with my favorites. Thankfully, one of the local public radio stations aired it last night, during my drive to bowling.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another forgotten favorite

You may think that disco is dead, but some of us still have fond memories of 1976 in the United States.

Red, white, and blue ice cream, anyone?

How Dry I Am

I have been edified in my quest for alcohol. First off, alcohol can not be purchased before 12 noon on Sundays. (This restriction is not limited to the South, though.) Second, in Tennessee, beer may be sold in grocery stores, but not wine. (You have to buy the grapes and make it yourself.) This leads to third, in Georgia, grocery stores may sell wine. This is why Costco set itself up in Ft. O., rather than The Noog. (It doesn't explain their pitiful beer selection, though.) Fourth, in the South (Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, among others), liquor may be sold only at liquor stores (which may also sell wine and beer). So, if you're coming to visit, you'd better let me know in advance what your preferences are, so I'll know where to take you.

At the liquor store I discovered last night, I picked up small bottles of gin, vodka, rum, and American whisky for my upcoming party. (I thought that big bottles would be a waste, since I drink little and infrequently -- and I didn't have enough cash in my pocket for regular size bottles of each.) They stock Robomarkov's favorite vodka (which I can't link to, because I can't spell it) and an Irish whiskey (or did I mix up the appropriate spellings of whisky/whiskey for each country?) which my friend Gimpy recently learned was "potent". I didn't purchase either of them (I'll go back later, with more money), but I mused that, as expensive as I think the bottles were (you think that's bad, just wait until you pay for the alcohol inside them!), given how long one bottle of booze could last me, I'd definitely be getting my money's worth.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh, hey! Dummy.

Note to self: Think of checking your phone line before calling to order the food for your party, rather than assuming the phone will work. (It's amazing what we take for granted.)

Sick and Tired

On Saturday morning, something I had eaten told me that it didn't like the living conditions and broke its lease and moved out early.


Despite returning to the bathroom frequently, I painted the inside of my closet. In the afternoon, I showed Thing One how to take the school's bus to The Maul, even though I had to sit down frequently to rest. (Yes, we could've gone another weekend, but the coupon was about to expire.) On Sunday, I slept in. (It probably would've felt better if I hadn't woken up every hour during the night.) Then I put things back in my closet and polished my replacement bookcase so I could start loading it.

Oh, didn't I mention the replacement bookcase that came on Friday, or my discovery that I had no phone service? It would've made a lovely story, except I don't think I can concentrate long enough to write it. I'm still feeling tired, and I have a battle between gnawing hunger in my stomach and, "No! You don't want to eat that! You don't know what it'll do to you," in my brain. I'm also moving at about half speed. (I think it's forward, at least.) I'm going to tell Skippy that I'd like to hang around my office today, rather than roaming around campus, as I usually do.

Friday, February 18, 2011

There's a warm wind blowing, the stars are out, and I'd really love to see you toni... this morning.

That song has been stuck in my head a few days, probably because the weather has been so nice. It got me thinking about the phrase, "It's an ill wind that blows no good," and I think I got my first clue into the difference between "that" and "which".

What is it? It is an ill wind that blows no good.

What kind of wind blows no good? It is an ill wind which blows no good.

Of course, I could always look in various style manuals to see what they say, but that would be the easy way out.

And since I'm on the subject of songs and slight differences, I'll add one to my list of favorites. The version with English lyrics is commonly known as "Never on Sunday". The instrumental version (which we played in high school marching band, sans bouzoukis) is "Russian Gypsy Dance". However, why provide a video for either of those, when The Muppets have one?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And I hope it loves her, too.

Someone (I'm guessing a girl) painted, "I [heart] your :" on the rear window of a student's vehicle.

"I love your colon"? (Or maybe it was a proctologist.)

I looked at it a bit longer and thought, maybe, the "r" was supposed to be a "(". Then, it would be "I love you" and a smiley face -- or it wouldn't. I've never seen the emoticon smiley face :) in reverse (characters in mirror image, not transposed), like (: Maybe the person who wrote it is dyslexic and didn't realize her mistake. Maybe she's just creative. Maybe she's so besotted with the boy that she can't even text properly. Worse yet, maybe she's the person who puts the words on a book's spine the wrong way, so you're cruising along the shelf, with your head at a 45 degree angle to read both the vertical and horizontal titles until you find that one book that makes you snap your neck the other direction to read it.

Or maybe she really does love his colon.

Riddle me this.

Last night, I dreamt the answer to a riddle. It's an old, familiar riddle, but I can't quite recall the correct wording, so I don't want to attempt it here and ruin it for you.

In the dream, one person posed the riddle to another, and he left, puzzled. The questioner went into another room and said the riddle to a church secretary, who responded, "Oh, everybody knows it's [answer]."

Well, I didn't know that. I've heard the riddle several times over the years and never figured out the answer. Even more strangely, no one has ever told me the answer. So then, how did I know the answer when I was asleep?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Speaking of inappropriate things to do with New Mexican foods...

The St. Bernard kindly treated a group of us to lunch at Champy's fried chicken yesterday. The chicken was good, but people in the South should leave well enough alone when they try adding other cultures into their menu.

The fried jalapeno basket on the menu was not poppers; it was canned jalapeno slices which had been breaded then deep fried. There was barely a hint of spiciness in them. The buttermilk fried pickle spears (definitely a Southern thing) tasted like nothing more than hot pickles, and who wants hot pickles? (Answer: Southerners) The St. Bernard also ordered the smoked sausage, cheese, and pickle plate. The sausage was good, but the pickles (unbreaded this time) were warm again, and the orange cheese (maybe cheddar) had paprika sprinkled on it. (Ooh, how exotic!)

No one at the table had ever tried the Mississippi Delta homemade hot tamales with slaw and crackers, probably with good reason. Mississippi tamales? With cole slaw and crackers? I was too afraid to order them.

I'm afraid of what would happen if I ate one of those carrots.

Last night, Thing One and I explored the new Costco in Ft. O. I discovered that there are a few differences between this one and the one in ABQ. For example, I could buy corn muffins and vanilla chocolate chunk muffins here but not in ABQ. The biggest shocker (and disappointment, since I wanted to stock up for my upcoming party) was the liquor section. To be precise, the non-liquor section. There was a vast selection of wines but extremely few beers and no liquor. It looks like I even have to keep buying my favorite beer at supermarket prices (unless, of course, the mondo beer store sells 12-packs, too). Darn the South, for being so alcohol-restrictive!

Since it was a new store, we played tourist and moseyed along each aisle. It was entertaining to see the things people will buy, the packaging for items, or the brand names. Are you familiar with the popular restaurant style that hangs fake antiquey stuff on the walls (and ceilings) in the hopes that worrying if that banged-up tuba above your head got so banged up by falling on previous customers will distract you from the menu prices? Well, those restaurants often include placards from old (or old-looking) produce brands. Last night, I found a good one to add: Organic Bunny-Luv carrots.

The store also had bags of what looked like red chiles but were labeled "sweet peppers". Mild I could understand, but sweet? Add in the fact that they were greenhouse-grown in Ontario, and you can understand why Thing One and I were all but screaming, "Run away! Run away!"

Of course, that could explain part of the dream I had this morning. I dreamt I was looking at a package of water balloons, some of which had a trickle of water in them, to give them some shape and to give the package some heft. Some of the skinny red ones looked like red chiles, and the off-color green ones were, indeed, like green chiles (the color of canned chile, not fresh). Then I stepped up behind some people to enter a restaurant, but it wasn't really to eat; we were extras providing background in a movie. A guy who looked like a dirty New Mexican (you might think I'm stereotyping, but if you've ever been in New Mexico long enough, you know exactly the type of person to whom I'm referring) was supposed to get into line, see that he recognized the couple in front of me, and hug the woman -- except I had gotten in between them. She told him to hug someone inside the restaurant instead, which I thought was kind of stupid, since his arms were already outstretched to hug her, and I hoped my body was blocking this awkward exhange from view of the camera. In the meantime, I was looking forward to seeing what the actor portraying the suspicious guy over there would do... Then my alarm clock went off.

Before I forget, here's the last of my favorite songs that I can think of for the time being.

Between the dreams I've shared with you and the songs I've described as my favorites, I wonder what impression of me that leaves with you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The nose knows.

In response to yesterday's mention of the $25 candle, my friend Gimpy offered this link: Man Candles. (Note: although the pictures for the Beach Babe candle, which I'm guessing smell like coconut tanning oil, display no nudity, they certainly are inappropriate for viewing while at work.) Bacon and Pizza I can understand, but who wants to smell Fishing Dock (dead fish, I presume)? And, if you want to smell Garage, why not just step into one?

What I'd like is a candle that smells like roasting green chile. Heck, I might even shell out 25 bucks for one.

I'm going to make a snappy, new day!

It doesn't matter that I can't snap my fingers. I won't even inflict a Mr. Rogers song on you.

I'm exhilarated by my morning workout, and the weather forecast calls for sun and warmth all week, just like yesterday. :) I know that we still have half of February and all of March to get through, but I'm going to take this week and use it and enjoy it while I can.

The warm weather also brings with it fresh growth of cool season weeds, quite possibly including wild onion or wild garlic.

Yes, that was Donald "Duck" Dunn playing the bass guitar. You might remember him better as I do, playing in the backup band in the Blues Brothers movie.

Monday, February 14, 2011

An Alarming Day

I had a busy, mostly productive weekend.

On Thursday, my rug arrived (a week earlier than I expected), but I couldn't get it into the apartment myself. I phoned Skippy, but, after an hour, I gave up and drove to the furniture store, to pick up my nightstands. I arrived minutes after they closed. Cursing Skippy's name, I drove home and asked Thing One to help me carry the rug. We got it into my bedroom just before breaking her wrists. (That's funny; my end wasn't that heavy.)

On Friday, I chauffeured Thing One and her dog to the vet then took Thing One to breakfast at Aretha Frankenstein's. I finally got a T-shirt there! (Yay!) It cost $20. (Gasp!) I also enjoyed the kielbasa they used in the Polish Eggs.

Afterwards, we drove to the Idiotville Maul so I could purchase more place settings at Dillard's. The substitute saleswoman was helpful (even though her perfume was overpowering), but since she was just filling in, she didn't know if we could order the out-of-stock colors for in-store delivery. When her supervisor finally got back (I did find a tablecloth, table pad, and these humongous (9" tall, 26 oz. capacity) beer glasses on clearance during that time) from whatever he had been doing, he told us that he couldn't and that I'd have to order directly from the website. (So much for saving on shipping.)

We also stopped by a place called the Yankee Candle Company (Thing One's idea, not mine). I don't care how large it is; who would pay $25 for one candle?

Then I went back to the furniture store and got my nightstands. It's just as well my telephone stand hadn't arrived yet, since both boxes filled the cargo space of my vehicle. (This time, the trick was fitting the boxes through the doorway narrowed by my bookcase.)

Speaking of my bookcase, I phoned customer service and was told that there is no technician in my area to inspect my reported damage, but would I mind if they replaced the bookcase with a new one? So, I'm expecting that changeover this Friday.

While I was getting the nightstands, Thing One was browsing and fell in love with a sofa, but she wasn't sure her mother would like it, too. So, on Saturday we stopped by the office to borrow the digital camera, so we could e-mail pictures to her daughter to show to her mother. It turns out the security system in the main office is different than the one in my office and my apartment, so I couldn't figure out how to shut down the alarm that went off. It made me feel better that the security guard on duty was just as puzzled as I was. (I should've tried my "disarming" smile.)

Back at the furniture store, we took photos (and discovered that the fabric looks entirely different under the store's fluorescent lighting, under natural light, and under a camera's flash). I also collected the incidental table that I had ordered (I think the drawers are the right size to store my napkins, and Thing One suggests I put booze bottles in the cabinet portion), and that filled up my cargo area again, so it's just as well the telephone stand still hadn't arrived.

I filled the rest of the day by filling my bedroom. I swept and mopped the floor. I laid the rug. I set up the two nightstands (in the process, discovering that I can lift 43 kg. straight up out of the box - go me!). I saw that the incidental table projects a few inches in front of my closet, but if I can't live with it there (and if Froggy can't or won't install an electrical outlet which would let me rearrange my living room and free up a space in there), Thing One found a space in the hallway, just outside my bathroom, so everything seems to be working out.

The only letdown from the weekend was Sunday, when I couldn't finish taping my living room closet for painting because I ran out of tape. Well, that and I ran out of motivation after Friday and Saturday. (By the way, did I mention that we had Friday off from work?) So, I need to buy painter's tape... and some more shelf liner, since Thing One gave me a shelf she didn't need in her closet (it's handy having mirror-image apartments)... and I need to refuel my car... and I need milk and bananas.

Oh yeah, we did retrieve her dog from the vet on Friday, in case you were worried that we had left the poor girl behind.

Since I did all that driving (and have more to come), I think today's favorite song should be this.

When I was little, I thought the D.J. on my parents' radio station had put the horn sound effects in himself. When I grew up and bought the CD for myself, I was surprised to hear that's exactly how the song was recorded.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No accumulation on roads or sidewalks!

And it's all supposed to melt today! And we have tomorrow off! And it's going to be in the 50's all weekend!

I had already planned to share this favorite song with you today, but I thought a little inspiration would help you get in the mood, too. (Warning - this version is a lot longer than the excerpt used for the current TV commercial with the baby elephant.)

I'm going to be bopping all day!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

This so totally doesn't fit the mood I'm in.

I'm in a pretty good mood for a Wednesday, when we have to lay 10,000 sq. ft. of sod before the snow starts to fall. Hence, the song stuck in my head is a seasonal one, but since I'm sharing some of my favorite songs, you get to hear this.

Don't worry. Tomorrow's song will be far more upbeat.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

If I had any fish in the freezer, it would be bass ackwards.

I submitted work order requests for some little items in my apartment that I can't handle myself. (I checked the sink trap, but it still drains slowly. That's the extent of my expertise.) When I let the workman back into my apartment after lunch, to complete his work, I saw that he had reversed the hinges and handles on my refrigerator/freezer. I know I requested it, and I know it will be infinitely more useful to take out items and put them on the counter, instead of carrying them around the open refrigerator door, but it is so utterly weird to open the doors and see all my food in the wrong places.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Oops. Wrong song.

Last night, I was thinking of my favorite songs. I don't have just one and probably couldn't choose one above the others, even with a gun pointed at me. It should probably come as no surprise, then, that this one was stuck in my head when I woke.

Incidentally, I once learned lyrics to "Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends" in Latin. I'll transcribe it here using English punctuation, and my spelling might be a bit off, since my notes (if there are any left) and Latin book are back in Las Cruces and since I learned the song (Oy!) over two decades ago, but it's amazing what can stick in one's mind for so long.

Amicis paludis tuis
Telepeditis esto benignus,
Sit etiam mater anas,
Ubi semper est humiditas.
Putasne hoc finem ese.
Ita est!

I'll share more of my favorites with you over the next several days.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Ding Dong Dell

The middle school secretary phoned this afternoon and said that a student reported a cat down in a storm drain. When I arrived, there was no cat to be seen, but six students were hanging around there, and they had managed to drop the grate into the drain.

My guess is that the cat was scared by so many howling humans that it took off along one of the drain pipes. I (with help) put the grate back over the drain and will check there tomorrow, and see if the cat has returned. Thus, it remains to be seen if you can call me Little Tommy Stout.

You can take the boy out of science, but you can't take science out of the boy.

I did my monthly "jog a mile so you know you can still do it and remind yourself why you hate jogging" around the indoor track on Saturday morning. As I passed the bleachers, which were pushed closed in one big stack, I thought of mitochondria, churning out that ATP for me. Way to go, guys!

Friday, February 04, 2011

From another "teacher".

Having watched a few kids ... this year develop what I personally think are unhealthy addictions to XBox and other computer games....

Is there such a thing as a healthy addiction?

I also must ask, "This year?"

I'm okay. You're okay.

Dick Clark told me this morning that it's all right for me to lust after more than one generation at once. The rest of the dream was weirder than normal (even for me), so I won't scare you with it. Mind you, I thought the slot machine in the wall outside the main entrance to the hotel in Miami was pretty neat.

Now I have this song stuck in my head.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

And this guy teaches students?

We received this work order request the other day from one of the dorm parents, who teaches English.

There's no air conditioning in our apartment right now and I wanted to ask you about it. During a couple of brief conversations with Wendell this summer, he said we'd be able to have some control or ability to change the temperature to make our place cooler in the winter. Right now, we can get some heat but we get no AC. All settings on the minus side produce the same temperature, which is simply the "no heat" temp.

Any way to change this or is this something we have to live with? Thanks.

Keep in mind that this request was sent on February 1, the day which the low temperature was 46 degrees F, and the high was 53 deg. F. It was cloudy all day, so one couldn't even say that passive solar heating had overheated the apartment.

Froggy's response was, out of earshot of Skippy, "Open a f---ing window."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

In honor of today, I shall invent a new, alcoholic drink.

I already have the name for it; I just need to figure out what to put in it. I'll call it Hound Grog.