Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome to Griffin's Gym

Some of the weight machines I use have the following stickers on them.  "Stay clear while machine in use."

A Frank Self-Assessment

Before getting dressed after swimming this morning, I figured I'd take a year-end look at myself in the mirror, to see what condition I'm in.  It was just as I feared:  I look nothing at all like Frank.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I knew I should've gone to bed at seven.

It's not like I was exhausted or anything; I just felt tired at 7 p.m. yesterday.  I thought I could relax in bed for a while with a book (rather than playing computer games and reading while waiting for my next turn, which is what I had been doing).  I decided it was way too early and waited an hour before taking my book to bed.  Wouldn't you figure I slept like crap last night?  (Insert title here.)

I was dreaming about my bowling league.  Judging from the conversation, Ronald Reagan had just been reelected President.  I wondered if my college friend Helgi was around, and then I started doing the math.  Let's see... that was 1984, so he would've been twelve, so, no, he wouldn't be in this adult's bowling league.  For that matter, I would've been thirteen, so what was I doing there?  (Based on my limited exposure to Doctor Who, I figure that this type of confusion is standard for humans new to wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.)  One of the bowlers suggested we meet "at the bowling alley on Brainerd Road" next time.  Another one asked for directions.  As I pondered what to tell him, since the only alley on Brainerd Rd. I know about (in 2011) obviously couldn't exist yet (in 1984), someone else gave him directions, and said it was the one "near Watercress Road".  Oh, yeah, I know where that is.  I thought I might drive by to see what was there now (in 2011).  I got into my car and leaned forward to put my key in the ignition switch, but I couldn't because it was on the passenger side, and I had to wait for a fat woman to buckle her seatbelt first.  Then I realized that the woman's husband was in the driver's seat, and I was in the back seat.  Before I could get my key into the ignition, and before I could figure out if I was in my car or theirs (which I called a Volvo, but it might not have been), my alarm clock went off and woke me up.

Obviously, since this dream was about bowling and contained a tangential reference to Doctor Who, I blame Betty entirely for the dream.  There might even really be a Watercress Road for all I know.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Truth is stranger than accurate hearing.

I have NPR's "Morning Edition" on my computer while I'm trying to type my blog posts. This is an admirable feat, considering how terrible I am at multitasking, especially at trying to ignore words being spouted at me while I write or read words.

This is why, during a news item about politics, I presume the announcer said "leaders", but I heard "looters of the House and Senate".

If multitasking were normally this fun, I might try it more often!

A Rant on Behalf of my Employees

Our official days off for the holiday are today (since Christmas Eve is on a Saturday) and Monday (since Christmas is on Sunday). The past two years, Skippy has let everyone go home early (about lunchtime) on the day before our days off. It didn't happen yesterday, so my empl...

Wait. It did happen? What? When?

Mid-afternoon, I phoned Skippy (who was on an errand to Atlanta to pick up something for someone to put in some building on campus) to let him know our brush-grinding contractor had started working, and I also wondered aloud why campus seemed so empty and Froggy and Thing One's cars weren't outside the office. That's when I found out that we had been allowed to leave at noon. He sounded surprised that I wasn't aware of it.

No one called me or left a voice mail on my cell phone. No one called me or left a voice mail on my office phone. No one e-mailed me. No one sent me a text message. No one made an announcement over the two-way radios that all managers and most staff members carry. No one told me in person. (Yeah, I know, how old-fashioned could that be?)

I can't prove it, of course, but I have a feeling that Froggy and Miss Kitty assumed that everyone would be let go at lunch "as usual", phoned Skippy and browbeat him into agreeing to it, and then chose not to inform me. Possibly (if I want to be nice), they thought Skippy would tell me. Maybe even Skippy sent a text message to the managers but accidentally left my number off the list.

As a result, everyone else got four hours paid not-work, and my crew got two. Come Monday, I'm going to raise a stink in our management meeting. I'm going to be nixed, of course, when I say my employees are owed two hours of comp. time, and Froggy is going to claim it's my fault that I didn't know. (Miss Kitty would say it, but she's back to not speaking to me.) Razzlefrazzlesnarfin...

"Life isn't fair, Calvin."
"Yeah, but why can't it ever be unfair in my favor?"

All I want for Christmas is a five dollar sweatshirt.

The sweatshirt I wear to work is too big. (Imagine me saying that about anything.) That's what comes of assuming that I could buy the same brand and style I already have for working out, just in a larger size to have the proper sleeve length. It appears that I do have to try on every item of clothing I want to buy from now on. (Oh dear, what about underwear?) At least I paid only five bucks for it in the first place.

I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas.

I think the rain is over for a couple of days. I hope. At least it's not snow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bowling with Doctor Bob

Last Friday was the school's annual faculty/staff bowling tournament. I had two good games and one terrible one, so I averaged out to average. Don't ask me who won, because I don't know. The winners were supposed to be announced at the faculty/staff Christmas party that night, but I'm not allowed to attend that. Apparently, it's okay for me to partake in a "blue collar" event, but hobnobbing with administrators is something Skippy saves for himself. (Or maybe it's because there's alcohol served at the party.)

I had met my teammates before, and actually whomever put us together did a pretty good job of matching our personalities. One of them is a guy who likes to be called "Doc", instead of his first name, by his coworkers. I have trouble not calling him "Doctor Bob", not only because his name is Bob, but also because he looks like Soupy Sales with a really large nose (not the shape of Rowlf's, but that obvious).

On the off chance you have no idea of whom I am speaking, here's the debut of "Veterinarian's Hospital".

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hiring and Test Firing

The mystery I'm reading during my morning cardio has a character whose husband is running for office. The character has to attend public appearances and be shepherded around by the campaign manager and appear as a happy, supportive wife. That appears to be much like real life. (We will presume, for the sake of argument, that the same occurs if the wife is running for office and the husband plays contented spouse.)

What if, however, the spouse doesn't want to do this? "I'm sorry, dear. I love you, but I hate this job you're going for." Indeed, why do spouses need to be visibly supportive of politicians' lives?

What if political offices were handled like "normal" jobs? What if candidates were "hired" instead of elected? As applicants, the candidates would provide resumes of relevant, past experiences. Debates would be replaced by interviews. (Where I used to live, the League of Women Voters would submit a list of questions to each candidate. The candidates' answers (or statement that the candidate did not respond) would be printed in one issue of the local newspaper.) Questions about religion, family, ethnicity, disability, etc. would be prohibited. (That should clear out some of the fluff from campaign coverage.) Applicants would be hired for short-term contracts and could reapply, if interested, when their contract is due to expire. Applicants also could be fired for cause (recalled) before the contract ends.

The bathroom book I'm reading is by Werner von Braun and concerns a theoretical trip to the moon. (The book was written in the late 1950's.) My first thought was to wonder if President Kennedy was influenced by von Braun when he set the nation's goal to land on the moon, knowing it was theoretically possible, rather than just wanting to "beat the Russkies". My second thought, regarding the book's illustrations of the moon rocket, was that the rockets were almost exactly like that. (Well, yeah, if you're going to design a rocket, you'd be a fool to ignore advice from von Braun or Robert Goddard.) My last thought (so far; I'm not done the book yet) was that von Braun's idea of the capsule that returns from the moon to the earth was extremely like the Space Shuttle: airplane-shaped and designed to glide through the atmosphere. I marveled at the concept which was put forth twenty years before it was actually implemented. (Yes, a little part of me realizes that this probably is a suitable incubation time for developing the technology and getting Congress to provide funding.)

I wonder what other ideas are out there?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Please show me what I've won, Vanna.

Hmm, based on my previous post, maybe the beautiful weather is what I won. Let's see if you agree I deserved it.

You'll recall that Miss Kitty hasn't spoken to me in almost six months. Until today, that is.

She got so mad in our daily managers meeting that she spoke angrily to me today. All I did was offer to print out a form one of her employees might need, and she blew up, saying that it's her employee and she can print it. I think she was already upset by the employee, so even though I pointed out that I was the only one here whom the insurance company sent the form to, so it makes sense (ah, that's the problem!) for me to print it or e-mail it to her, she vented at me. It's a shame Skippy wasn't there to witness it -- or maybe she felt safe enough to get mad out loud because he wasn't there.

Anyway, there's just half a month before she retires and leaves town, so I don't care. Actually, it means that I beat her at her own game, since I got her to talk to me before her six months ended. (Ooh, that's gotta hurt.)

Good luck finding the toll-free number to call the insurance company and ask for the form. :)

When I'm 6" deep in snow and complaining about the cold, I'm sure you'll remind me of this day.

Depending on which online weather source you believe (and where the thermometer is), it's either 63 or 68 degrees Fahrenheit in The Noog. I'm in my shirtsleeves, thinking I didn't need my undershirt today. I had the windshield open in my Gator. Is this really December?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And the winner of the "Well, duh!" category is...

Yet another article explaining introverts to the rest of the world. If you don't want to spend the time reading it, I'll summarize it for you.

1) It says nothing we don't already know.

2) The authors misspell "extrovert" throughout the article.

3) Many of the listed characteristics nail me, but I won't repeat them because that would take up too much space.

4) My favorite line of the entire article is this. "It does not need to be cured."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Even my underwear was black (although I didn't plan it that way).

On Friday morning, we found out that Froggy's employee had succumbed to his cancer. (My employee's surgery last month was successful, and he started chemotherapy last week, so we expect to have him around a little while longer.) So, on Sunday afternoon, I attended his funeral. Knowing the general dress code of The Noog, I figured I wouldn't need a tie. I wore my "casual dressy" clothes (you know, the type I'd wear to impress a date, if I ever had a date), mixed and matched so that everything was black. I needn't have worried. Several people there weren't in black (including the deceased's children). No one was in jeans, though, so that's something.

Afterward, I went home and hung my Christmas lights. After all, nothing says "joyous celebration" like a funeral.

This, of course, begs the question, "So, Brain, what are we doing next Sunday at 2 p.m.?" The answer is, "The same thing we do every Sunday at 2 p.m., Pinky: go to a memorial service."

This time, it will be for the neighbor who died of cancer, the day after the employee. Egad, I hope this is the last one for a while.

Friday, December 09, 2011

It's Rhyme Time

A new vehicle appeared in our school's bus lot. It has arched windows, native American pots at strategic locations, a wide swath of basketweave pattern, and faded red stripes. It definitely doesn't look like one of our school buses. "What's the bus from Mexicali doing in the parking lot?" I asked Skippy. He explained that it was bought used (for a school with money, why don't they buy anything new?) and would be refinished to become our on-campus shuttle (since our precious visitors can't walk from the parking lots to the buildings).

I started thinking about this, once I realized that the city I named rhymes with our school's name. And it doesn't look like a bus so much as an old-fashioned means of public transportation. And, if my grandmother were to ask my mother about it, using her pet name for my mom, the question would come out like this.

What's the Mexicali trolley doing at McCallie, Dolly?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Me and My Big Mouth

It figures. The day after I say that it doesn't rain on my way to the gym but does on my way out... Today, it rained both before and after.

Oh, well. Having a perfect record is too stressful, anyway.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Coincidence or Consistency?

On days when rain is forecast, I walk to the gym wearing my raincoat but not needing it. When I leave the gym, it's raining. This always happens (so far). Why? This isn't going to be like all those light poles back in NM that turned off whenever I walked under them, is it?

Monday, December 05, 2011

a.k.a. Clean-Out-Your-Freezer Soup

Thing One offered me her turkey carcass to make soup after Thanksgiving. My cupboard isn't full of spices and seasonings, but I thought I'd give it a try.

I had the turkey skeleton (with enough meat still attached to make it worthwhile). Oh, hey, there's that leftover barbecued pork. Just for fun, I'll add some kielbasa. Hmm, need filler... Look, I have some barley! (Mum uses barley when she makes soup.) I think I'll stick in some noodles, too. (Soup is more fun with noodles.) Now for spices... Salt and black pepper, naturally. (And who cares about measuring, anyway?) I don't remember why I bought that container of dried, minced onion, but I know onion is a common, soup ingredient. (That one I did measure, guessing how much water it would absorb.) This probably would be a good time to use that little package of red pepper flakes I must have gotten with a pizza some time ago but didn't ever throw out because it would be wasteful, even though I never use red pepper flakes. Finally, toss in that package of frozen veggies, since it has carrots in it, and carrots, too, are a common, soup ingredient.

The soup turned out pretty danged good! (I could taste the red pepper flakes.) For a soup without any fancy (or even pre-planned) ingredients, it's super-effing remarkable. I'm thinking of calling it International Soup or Multicultural Soup. Accidental Soup wouldn't be too far off, either.