Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cover your head.

It was supposed to get cold (below 40 deg. F) last night, so when I headed in to the gym this morning, I expected to be shivering. I had on my shorts and T-shirt, a medium-weight jacket (zipped up), and a knit hat and some gloves. It was just about 40 F, and I was comfortable, even though my legs were exposed. I didn't wear the sweatshirt I brought. I think the difference was covering my head and hands.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Five Years On

Today marks the fifth year since my father died.

In a mentally disturbing coincidence, I was at a bowling friend's birthday party last night, which echoed the Halloween party I had hosted during my father's final hours. The night before, I was at another bowling friend's casual party (followed by a bar visit). And, of course, there was the disciplinary action at work which I alluded to in a previous post. It was a week full of happy and sad.

It was a total mindf*ck.

I'm looking forward to Halloween being over, so I can get on with November. (Plus, I'll have candy!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'll bring dessert.

I was thinking... if you're invited to dinner at someone's house, why not take a box of Twinkies as a "hostess gift"?

In Which I Remind You of My Pop Culture Ignorance

Thanks to my anonymous friend, I have learned that "Debbie Downer" was (or still is, for all I know) a character from Saturday Night Live. Since I normally have been in bed for hours before the program airs, I can't offer you any more explanation. Instead, here's the sketch.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I wonder if The Noog counts as a "big ol' city".

I generally loathe country music, but I like the refrain of this song. I need to remind myself of it every time Froggy or Miss Kitty get me down.

Incidentally, this was the first time I had seen the video, and I think it's pretty nice, too.

Does your point of view depend on context lenses?

Yesterday, a conversation with two employees included the phrase "anal-retentive". (For those of you who have ever seen my T-shirt, yes, it does have a hyphen.) One employee asked the other what he meant, so the other one explained.

"I thought that was 'meticulous'," the first one said.

"It can be," I interjected. "It depends how you use it. For example, you could tell me, 'Gee, boss, you sure are meticulous'. But, when you go home and talk to your girlfriend, you say, 'Boy, is my boss anal-retentive.'"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

It has been a tough week. I can't discuss the personnel issue that happened two days ago, but before I could administer the company discipline notices to the employees today, they were at it again. I had to tell one of them that I've requested approval from our HR department to terminate him.

I just hope that my employees who were given the random, monthly drug test today all pass.

After this, I think I need to name my Gator.

Every morning, when I get into my utility vehicle and let it warm up, I wipe dew off the windows. I frequently have to wipe off condensation from the inside, too, especially after I've been occupying the enclosed cab. The dew and condensation almost immediately return (dang humidity!), so I have to switch on the windshield wiper for a swipe every minute or so. I don't like having to rewipe the inside periodically, either.

Even just to exit our equipment yard and take the shortcut through the alley to our office, I drive unwisely, what with an obscured windshield and only one hand on the wheel as the other switches between wiping off the inside and reaching for the windshield wiper switch, which is overhead and to my right, somewhere. It's not until the sun comes up an hour or so later that the windshield remains clear (on both surfaces). I'm almost afraid to think of what it will be like when the weather gets colder, or on cloudy days.

I always make sure my headlights are on, until the windshield is clear. I figure that if I can't see other drivers, they might not be able to see me. Of course, this makes it the ideal vehicle to use when escaping from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's second nature to me now.

In an e-mail thread to Betty about cartoons, I said the following.

Thankfully, they don't tire with age. I still get mileage out of the story about how I hooked my parents on _Pinky & the Brain_. (No pun intended with "tire" and "mileage", I swear!)

I've blogged before that I pun even in my sleep. I'm glad this isn't a potentially lethal issue.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Latest Sniglet

Are you familiar with that smell after someone mows the lawn? I hereby dub it "grassoline".

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grumpy people make me smile.

It's not easy being a Pollyanna, you know. Debbie Downers (I like that better than "Negative Nellies", so I stole it from a new friend) constantly wear at me. Circumstances swirl around me, and it's not always easy being the "rock solid, market wise" one (as Gimpius Maximus once dubbed me).

For example, I just got back from visiting one of my employees in the hospital, where he is recovering from cancer surgery. It was difficult keeping his spirits up before the surgery, when the prognosis was worse than reality. Now that the surgery is over, and it turned out better than expected... Do you know how hard it is to be funny enough to cheer someone up but not make him laugh so hard that he hurts?

Then my buddy Robomarkov has needed my support working his way toward a divorce. If that weren't enough, two other blows to his psyche and stamina followed. (I'm not at liberty to discuss them.) It's also difficult to provide positive support repeatedly without dipping into the fount of negativity, but I'm managing.

Mind you, my life isn't all bad. Actually, I'm glad for having Miss Kitty and Froggy as Debbie Downers at work. Froggy is a constant reminder that, when you expect something negative, that's what you get. Miss Kitty is like the yin to my yang (or is that the yang to my yin?). At the start of June, she stopped instigating conversations with me. In our daily managers meetings (where we sit across the table from each other), if there's anything she needs my crew to do, she will ask Skippy, not me. Then, at the start of this month, she completely stopped talking to me. Even if I say nothign but "good morning" when she walks in the door, she won't answer. (Thing One picked up on this right away. Skippy observed it once but, ignorant saint of a man that he is, probably assumed she didn't hear me rather than chose to snub me.) Her morning shift supervisor waved and smiled when we drove by each other. Miss Kitty, who was driving right behind her, ignored me. Actually, I've started to enjoy this. I now make a game out of it: being nice to her on purpose. I can't help but grin. Once, I laughed because it's so funny.

The old me would've called her a "bitch on wheels" or a "sour old cow". The positive me prefers to think that this is her way of approaching a painless retirement. Imagine the poor, old dear so downcast at leaving me behind at the end of the year, that she forces herself to ignore me, in the hopes that it will make her departure less painful. She even separated her preparations into two, three-month parts, kind of easing into it, you know? Oh, however will she live without me?

Dang it, I'm smiling again! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nuns and priests must be dying from starvation.

I thought this excerpt (from Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh, 1938) was amusing.

"No nonsense with women. You and Sonia seem to be sitting in each other's pockets. Have you been living together?"

"When you're hungry," said Garcia, "you eat."

"Well, this isn't a restaurant, and you'll please remember that. You understand?"

I, for one, am sick of the self-service buffet. ;)

I'm too old to become a famous quarterback, anyway.

On my way home from work yesterday, I noticed that someone had tried hiding a football behind a tree. (It wasn't that big of a tree, obviously.) After I picked it up, I tried holding it like I remember my gym teacher telling me: fingers on the laces. I couldn't keep a grip on the thing, let alone be able to throw it properly. I know my hands aren't big, but I have kind of long fingers. I wonder how big the hands are of NFL quarterbacks. That's the sort of statistics they should be keeping.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I wonder how they framed it.

Gotta love the work order requests we get at an academic institution.

"We have a plague that needs to be hung up in the SAC."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Getting (a) Shot

The school offered its annual, free (to students and staff) flu shots yesterday. Free? Count me in!

They had Snoopy bandages to put over our boo-boos this year. Snoopy is cool enough, but then I spotted another box on the table. "May I have a Scooby-Doo bandage instead?" Scoob's the man! (Well, yes, I know he's a dog, but you know what I mean.) Last year, the choice was between Spongebob Squarepants and Spider-Man. (Spidey rules!)

Scooby-dooby Doo,
Fightin' the flu,
Scooby-dooby Doo,
Where are you?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is that vaguely vulgar, as in, "Eat foo and die"?

My insurance agent, of all people, sent me an e-mail about his company's contest. Here's the prize.

One lucky foodie will win airfare for 2, hotel accommodations for 2 nights in the heart of South Beach and $500 spending cash. Our escape also includes a Food Network Magazine exclusive prize - a trip for 2 to attend the Food Network Magazine lounge in South Beach, Miami in February 2012.

Free airfare and hotel sounds good, but do I want to sell my soul for a chance to see the "Food Network Magazine lounge"? Heck, I'm so socially unconscious that I barely am aware that Food Network is a cable channel. (Note: I'm not providing a link to its website because I might accidentally learn something about it, and I'm happy remaining ignorant to what the masses enjoy.) Even if I skipped that grand and glorious opportunity, is there anything interesting to see in Miami besides the beach?

Just go to the link below, hit the Miami Foodie Escape tab on my Facebook page and enter to win!

Aw, shucks. I can't enter because I'm not on Facebook.

You heard that right, I'm one of the few netizens smart enough to be a member of the resistance. (Doctor, if you're listening, I'll help you defeat whichever flavor-of-the-month alien trying to take over our planet, and I have some friends who can help.) In fact, if I were at all capable of using my computer for more than games, e-mail, and a few documents, I'd tell Microsoft to take a flying leap.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When's the last time you ever thought of looking under your own rear end?

Last night, I finally figured out what made the cracking noise in my bed at the start of August.

I had overcome one portion of my laziness and decided to put empty boxes (the packaging that hold things you use everyday* but don't want to get rid of since you know you're going to need them again when you move at an unspecified point in the future) under my bed. Sure, my bed has spiff drawers under it, but they don't go all the way to the middle, so there's space (a vast amount, as I found out) between them, where I can hide things I don't need to get to.

As I was bellycrawling, I saw a dark streak in the center support rail for my platform bed. I wondered if it was a naturally occurring mark in the wood or if it was open to the other side. When I got close enough to reach it, I felt that it was a rather large crack. Aha! I wasn't imagining my bed breaking, but I couldn't see what cracked until I got under the bed. Now I have to dig out the purchase paperwork and see if it's still under warranty -- or maybe I can go to a lumber yard and buy a 2x4 to put in its place.

* Interestingly, my toaster oven is smaller in all dimensions than my microwave, but its box is larger than the microwave's.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flattery will get you nowhere.

As I was walking to the campus gym yesterday morning, one of the security guards stopped me and asked who I was and where I was going. This wasn't a new employee. In fact, he has seen me several times at that hour of the morning (night) before.

"I'm sorry," he explained, "from the back, you looked like a student."

Geez, I know it was dark, but how did my big ass possibly get overlooked?

A Textbook Example

Skippy has been hinting for months for me to accompany one of my work crews all day, to keep them on course. He doesn't realize that's impossible. He finally out-and-out told me to follow the crew yesterday. Naturally, it didn't work.

I retrieved my Gator and parked it in a place convenient to the starting worksite and the daily managers' meeting. I picked up a piece of trash and began walking toward the worksite (and a trashcan). An employee from the other crew stopped me and said he needed a key -- from the keybox back at the shop. I turned around and started walking back to my Gator -- and was stopped by my small equipment mechanic (that is, a mechanic for small equipment, not a small mechanic for equipment, although he is slight of build), telling me the tractor still has a battery problem and what he was going to do to diagnose it.

I drove back to the shop and gave the employee the key he needed. I drove my Gator back, parked it, and was stopped by the mechanic who had confirmed his diagnosis and was going to buy a new battery. I continued to the starting point and the trash can, and I decided to use the bathroom while I was there. Naturally, that's exactly when I was called over the radio and my cell phone rang at exactly the same time (and exactly when my hands were otherwise occupied). The radio message was telling me that the missing employee had arrived and needed to be let into the shop to clock in. The two missed phone calls (with no voice mails) were the employee trying to let me know he had arrived. I headed back to my Gator to go back to the shop. (At least I finally had the chance to throw out that piece of trash.)

I let the employee in. He grabbed his ring of work keys and his uniform shirt, and he went to get his equipment. He put it in the back of my Gator, so I could take him to the worksite (assuming I'd ever get there myself), and then he realized that he hadn't clocked in. So, I let him back into the shop and finally got underway.

As soon as I dropped off that employee, another one approached me and asked if I could drive him back to the shop, so he could clock out and leave for his doctor's appointment.


I did so, and by then it was time for the daily managers' meeting. By the time we got done with that (it was more like Froggy holding forth at an audience for an hour), it was time for the crew's morning break, so I couldn't observe them. I went back to the shop, checked for any new e-mails, and played a few rounds of Freecell.

At that point, I realized that I hadn't yet turned on the sprinklers to keep our new seed and sod moist, so I went around campus and did that. By then, I had half an hour before we managers would leave campus for lunch to celebrate Froggy's and Officer Krupke's birthdays (last month, but we're finally getting around to it, for reasons that would fit in well with this post but also would make it longer than it already is), and I really wanted to check on the status of the tractor, so I went to the mechanic's shop. He filled me in, I went to turn off the sod sprinkler, and then it was just enough time to use the restroom again before lunch. (At least I had time to go to the bathroom yesterday. Some days, I don't get that much.)

Lunch took two and a half hours, all told (waiting for everyone, driving nigh on forever, eating, listening to Skippy hold forth, and driving nigh on forever back to campus). I brushed my teeth, checked e-mails -- and then it was almost time for the crew's afternoon break, so no sense heading out onto campus just yet.

Finally, I did go to check on the crew. I drove through all the areas where they are scheduled to mow every Monday, saw that they had skipped a couple, and found them in Tuesday's area, where I instructed them to go back and do what they had skipped. (The crew supervisor was so upset by this that he has called in sick this morning.)

Sure, Skippy has a point about keeping tabs on my crew, but I think you understand why I can't.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Long Day's Journey into Noog

Last Friday was the day we observed Labor Day (since we worked on the actual holiday). I woke up and worked out as usual, but then I had breakfast at Aretha Frankenstein's. (Maybe that's how the pun got into my head.) I discourage you from ordering the Mexican omelette.

I walked over to campus and turned on all the irrigation, to make sure that our new seed and sod stay moist. (Oops - I forgot to do so yesterday.) Then I started painting the bottom half of the front of my apartment building. For some reason, those shingles were painted dark green, but the rest of the front (and the entire sides and back) were gray. I think the building looks much better now that it's a uniform color. It lightens up the front porch, too. (Thing One asked if I had cleaned up the front porch; she didn't say anything about the new paint.)

Saturday was my lazy day. Wait, I take that back. I went to the back to deposit a check and withdraw some cash for Sunday, and I also irrigated the fields and sod again.

On Sunday, I drove Thing One and V (a coworker from the business office) to the Georgia Apple Festival. I bought some tiny (I do mean "tiny". Two of them are no bigger than my little toenail.) owl figurines which complement the ones I bought from the same vendor two years ago, and some matted owl photos (three for $20 was a great deal). Thing One and V didn't buy anything. That is, they didn't buy anything at the Apple Festival.

On the way to lunch at Bud's Pink Pig restaurant, we stumbled across the Cherry Log Festival. It was much smaller than the apple festival, and both Thing One and V bought a sack of sweet potatoes. Then, we stopped by two orchards we had passed on the way to the apple festival, and I bought a bag (1/2 peck) of Stayman Winesap apples and a bag of Arkansas Black apples. V and Thing One bought some Rome apples. (One orchard was more crowded, probably because they had paid for signs along the road, but its prices weren't any higher than the other, and they didn't have any different cultivars. I won't link to its website because they have enough publicity.)

I was close to nodding off on the drive back to the Noog, but we arrived home safe and sound. We had been gone about eight hours (nearly half of that was driving), but the weather was good, and we didn't spend too much money, and we brought home some healthy foods. I think it was a good weekend.

Dr. Frankenstein in the Modern Age

How many times do I have to tell you, Igor? I'm a cosmetic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction. Please stop referring to this office as a "build-a-pair workshop".

Friday, October 07, 2011

An Ovine Love Song

"My Sweet, Embraceable Ewe"

No, you're not misreading that time stamp, and the pun is proof that my mind does strange things if I'm kept up past my usual bedtime.

I have seen the future, and I am scared.

In the past, I have mentioned how helpless, hopeless, or self-centered (or all three) some of the faculty members are at this school. For example, we will receive work order requests to spray for ants in their houses. Can they not buy a can of ant spray themselves? Do they think it's beneath them? Can they not clean up their kitchens so the ants won't be attracted by food? (Or is that presuming too much of them?)

I've also noted how these same faculty members bring their spouses and children to eat with them in the dining hall. (That's odd. If they're not eating in their kitchens, why are there ants there?) I picture one of these children growing up and getting married and telling his/her spouse, "Sorry, dear. I don't know how to cook, so you'll have to do it for me."

However, I have refrained from commenting on their children -- until today. Yesterday, my observation confirmed a behavior that I have seen them exhibit before, and it frightens me that these children might end up ruling society some day.

When these children play, they often play in the street. This is not a big deal; children around the world do so. However, these children do not get out of the street when approached by a car. Indeed, they don't even move out of the way. They will stand there and look at the car stupidly, but they won't move. (They're similar to "dumb animals" that way.)

I daren't honk the horn or yell at the children to warn them, for their parents then would think I am frightening or even accosting their little darlings. I'd be in even bigger trouble if I ran them over. (But it sure would save this planet a lot of future troubles.)

Sea Shanty

Did you know that a sailors' song, beloved and thought of as charming by many, actually has its roots in shore leave, when the sailors sought out harlots in the port?

I'm referring, of course, to "Yo, ho, blow the man down."

Monday, October 03, 2011

I don't remember having a Triple Hunh Day before.

Three posts in a row is pretty rare, too.

Hunh - On my walk from my workout to my office, I saw that the electronic gate, which is usually open at that time, was closed.

Double Hunh - On my way around the closed gate, I saw that the nearby gate, which must be unlocked/locked and opened/closed manually, was open, as usual.

Triple Hunh - The light that campus security asked me to leave on all the time in my office, so their cameras can see if anyone breaks in, was off.

Maybe the electronic gate is broken, or maybe one of the security guys isn't doing his job. However, if no one working security on the weekend observed that the camera was dark and bothered going into the office to turn on the light as it's supposed to be, that's more than one security guy not doing his job.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure

It's not that we're codependent or anything, but yesterday was the first time I ventured out for a day of errands without Thing One. (She and her mom went downtown to the weekly farmers' market with a coworker.)

I went to Southeastern Salvage to buy a pot large enough for the discounted palm tree I got at the grocery store. (I browsed but didn't see anything else I liked.) Then I went to McKay's; I had decided to use my accumulated bowling prize money for books and CD's. I didn't find many of the books I wanted (after the third search, I really think that everyone else must like the books I like, so they hold onto them instead of getting rid of them), but I did find several CD's. (They were better alphabetized, but that's probably because there were a lot fewer of them to sort.) I was interested to note that used CD's cost about twice as much as used books, unless they're scratched (the CD's, not the books). I was more than a bit hungry by then, and it was after the post-church rush, so I had a late lunch (veal parmesan) at Gondolier Pizza. On the way home, I stopped by Aldi for groceries.

You're probably dying to know if I had set a limit on what I would buy at McKay's. Indeed I did, and I stayed within that budget. Well, pre-tax I did. That counts, right?

Remember to bend at the knees, not at the waist.

On Friday and today, I observed that the shower in the coaches' locker room has been dismantled (presumably to repair what was really wrong with it, rather than say that opening a valve fixed the problem). There wasn't any warning sign posted. Presumably, they think we're intelligent enough to see the shower can't be used. It's just as well that I take my supplies to the shower first, so I saw the situation while I still had my clothes on. Otherwise, I would've had to stuff everything back into my gym bag and mosey to the locker room down the hall, carrying the bag, my keys, and making sure my towel doesn't fall off.

Maybe the other locker room was designed to be used by 6th graders. The sinks and mirrors are lower than in the coaches' locker room. Indeed, I can barely see my chin at the top of the mirror, which makes accurate shaving a bit difficult.