Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Friday, August 31, 2012

I am a professional. Do not try this at home.

And this is why you should hire me to garden for you.  (I did mention I'm looking for a job, right?)

Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn't Garden - Gene Twaronite (Copyright 2009)

1) Plants die.  This is an indisputable fact, verified many times by independent observers around the world.  No matter how hard you garden or how great your gardening skills, the end result will always be the same.  What is the point of this futile exercise, if your plants are all doomed?

2) Plants grow.  Growing plants require lots more water, fertilizer, deadheading, and pruning.  The bigger the plant, the more work.  Soon you will have no time for anything else.  Is your life so worthless that you would give it all up for a shrub?

3)  Plants don't stop at one.  It is the nature of all living things to make more of themselves.  Before you know it, your garden, not to mention every square inch of your living space, will be awash in baby plants demanding your attention.  You brought them into this world, now you must take care of them.  The happy-go-lucky life you once led is over.

4) Plants attract animals.  The minute a plant pops out of the ground, some animal will find it.  Some will eat your plants.  Some will use them for construction sites or materials.  And some will just trample or pee on your plants.

5) Gardens get noticed.  It starts with an innocent compliment from one of your neighbors about "how nice your pansies look this year", but don't be fooled.  The compliment is a foil to distract you from what your neighbors are really thinking:  that your garden looks like crap and you don't know flowers from a hill of beans.  Pretty soon, your local homeowners' association Gestapo will be paying a visit to inform you that your garden does not meet neighborhood code and to weed it before nightfall or face execution.

6) Plants and gardens are imperfect. and so are you.  Since no plant is perfect and the state of perfection is but an ideal, the attainment of a perfect garden is physically impossible.  You will always feel inadequate and worthless to the task.  There are plenty of other things in life that make you feel this way, so why add one more?

7) Gardens attract thieves and lowlifes.  Your garden and all the plants in it might be so close to perfection, however, that it attracts the wrong kind of people.  They will steal your plants.  They will steal your ideas.  They will steal all your free time by asking you to make a garden for them just like yours.

8) Gardening involves the use of sharp objects.  Though gardening is often described as a gentle pastime, it is quite the contrary.  More often, it is a brutal affair involving lots of cutting, clearing, thrashing, sawing, tilling, and killing.  The books never mention the ugly wounds that can be inflicted by careless use of sharp trowels, not to mention rototillers.

9) Gardening encourages profanity.  At best, gardening is mostly a losing proposition.  You spend all those hours sweating in the hot sun, breaking your back and your fingernails, then planting, weeding, cultivating, and watering your little charges in an unending cycle of toil, only to one day find them all flattened by wind or ravaged by snails.  Though gardeners often claim to be closer to God in their gardens, the words that come out of their mouths at such moments are not exactly fit for God's ears.

10) Gardening causes insanity.  Ask any gardener:  once you start gardening, you never want to stop.  Performing an activity over and over again that always brings the same result -- pain and suffering -- is an unmistakable sign of insanity

They Should've Called It "Come Land with Me".

I haven't started packing anything yet to move out.  My first step is getting rid of the superfluous stuff which has accumulated in my three years here.  That includes getting around to reading all those magazines and newspapers I haven't read yet, so I can recycle them.  (It's nice, though, that I suddenly have time to read them all.)

In an old issue of Reader's Digest was an article of quotes from unidentified airline pilots.  The last one reminded me of last month's trip back home.

"Most of the time, how you land is a good indicator of a pilot's skill.  So if you want to say something nice to a pilot as you're getting off the plane, say, 'Nice landing.'  We do appreciate that."

As we approached the Albuquerque airport (ABQ), I sensed something, well, not "wrong" but "different" about the approach.  I couldn't tell you if it was a sound or a motion or what, but I knew something atypical was happening.  Even more disconcerting was observing the flight attendant's face.  (Her jump seat faced the emergency exit row immediately in front of me.)  I could tell that she knew something was up, too, but she didn't know what it was, either.  Then we heard the chime that means, "Flight attendants, pick up the handset because the captain has something to tell you."

After she hung up, I heard her explain to the passengers in the exit row that we had to pull off our approach because of winds from the wrong direction, caused by a thunderstorm that ended not long before (that's what I get for choosing a late afternoon landing during monsoon season), and that we were going to use the other runway.  The pilot didn't announce that to the planeful of passengers, though.

Even using the perpendicular runway, I could tell that the winds were disruptive to the landing.  As we exited the plane, I told the pilot he had done an "excellent job" with the landing.  I think he knew I knew the extra thought and effort he had put in, and I know he appreciated my words.

Naturally, this song is now stuck in my head (which is painful, considering how I dislike Frank Sinatra).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Low Can You Go?

I have lost my job. Note that I was not fired. I was "separated" from my responsibilities at our client’s site, but I am still employed by my company, for the next 80 days (counting from this past Friday). (At that point, I guess, I will be fired.) Until then, as I look for jobs (within the company or elsewhere), I am receiving a paycheck at my usual rate. I look at it as a kind of involuntary vacation. It’s a vacation because I’m getting paid but not working. I stuck the "involuntary" in there to remind myself that it most certainly is not a vacation. I feel as if I’m in limbo.

The reason I am no longer desired here is because I ticked off someone on campus enough for that person to request my termination. It was a person without any authority but with a lot of power. That person was not pleased, so s/he requested that I be fired.

I can’t help but wonder if that person now is satisfied because I was fired. Indeed, what sort of person is gladdened by someone else’s termination? Does that person enjoy making someone else miserable? Is that person so unhappy with his/her life that s/he likes to inflict chaos in someone else’s life? I think any satisfaction that person might get from my firing won’t last for long. That person might be so unhappy in general that nothing could make him/her happy.

It reminds me of the last two times I lost my job. Regardless of how unpleasant the separations were, I ended up bouncing back and standing on my feet and not just surviving but thriving. I think I can do it this time, too. I was a little depressed this past weekend (I stayed in bed longer than usual and had no motivation), but I’ve put my name in for two jobs within the company (Montgomery, AL and San Antonio, TX) and started looking elsewhere. My company’s primary rival has openings in Daytona, FL and Miami, FL (but do I want to trade shoveling snow for hurricanes?). I’ve found other jobs posted in northern Louisiana and south of Tucson, AZ.

Now, where in the world should I go?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Freaky Friday

After a hurried Thursday, I thought Friday would be better.  I had just one more task to complete first thing, and then...

Okay, second thing.  The first thing was to call my mechanic and tell him my utility vehicle wouldn't start.  He came with a battery charger and started the engine right up.  We let it idle for a few minutes then shut it off.  He asked me to restart it, to make sure it would work, and it did.  I got out to thank him, and my keychain caught on my pants leg and was pulled from the ignition.  It was funny, though, the engine kept running even though the key had been pulled out.  I'd have to have him replace the ignition switch because...

Okay, third thing.  The second thing was to have my mechanic remove the remant of the broken key, which was lodged in the ignition, after it broke off when the keychain was yanked away.  (It's just as well I was going to take the vehicle to his shop anyway.)

After he fixed everything, I headed out to my intended worksite and saw a large rainbow in the sky.  I could see the entire semicircle (probably because the sun was so low in the sky).

The rest of the day was better.

Missed It by That Much

As I prepared my gym bag last night, I fretted that I would forget something.  I felt confident, though, that I packed everything I needed for my post-workout shower and dressing for the workday.  As I pulled things out of the bag, I thought I had everything.  It wasn't until I was ready to get dressed that I realized I hadn't put any underpants in my bag.

It's a good thing I live just two blocks away from work, so I can go home and rectify that.  Or should I just continue to freeball it the rest of the day?

Not a Pleasant Mental Picture

Today is the first day of the school year, so I am back to working out in the mornings.  I saw the swimming coach in the locker room, as usual, and he mentioned that he has to wear a coat and tie for the annual convocation.  "I've never seen you in a coat and tie," I said.  For that matter, the most I'm used to seeing him wear is his speedo.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bring it on!

Had I known the havoc those words would cause, I wouldn't have said them.  Of course, I'm rational enough to know that I didn't cause the sudden creation of the tour through the Academic Building last evening, but perhaps I was powerful enough to create the advance notice of said event, such that I scrambled at the last minute (at least many of my employees were going to work overtime anyway) to pressure wash two of the stairways that the construction contractor had already pressure washed.  I am in no way responsible, however, for the headmaster's whim to have us pressure wash a third stairwell -- an interior one, with carpet on the landing.  (Thus, it is entirely the headmaster's fault that the drain in said landing was clogged.)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

I already subscribe, anyway.

Yesterday afternoon, my cell phone rang.  It showed a number on the screen, so it wasn't someone I have programmed into the memory, but it was a local number, so I answered, in case it was work-related anyway.  I answered the way I always do on my work-cell, "This is Cap'n."  The female caller identified herself as working for the city's newspaper and would try me again later regarding a subscription.  She must be so used to reaching voice mail that she didn't expect a real, live person to answer the phone.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Here's how it works.

Well, sort of.

My awesome friend Betty has told us about the latest Mars mission in her blog.  I won't duplicate anything here, and I'll let you know that she's an astrophysicist, so direct any of your questions to her, not me.  I'm just here to supplement her knowledge with this video from, of all things, an online comic strip about graduate school.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Famous Last Words

Earlier tonight, during my weekly phone call with my mom, I told her that I think I had gotten over the time zone change from my visit to her.  Why, then, am I unable to sleep two full hours after I went to bed?  (Note:  I haven't had any caffeine since Thursday, and although I slept poorly that night, I slept well the two subsequent nights.)

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I was chatting with a friend today, and he told me that he feels a lot better about Noogats now that he knows me.  He was tired of everyone being so religiously conservative and traditional, and he thinks of me as eccentric (in a good way).  It's tough, you know, having all that responsibility for restoring his faith in humanity.

My first thought was of He-Man.  (You know:  "I have the power!")  He's so much more macho than Aladdin's Genie ("Supreme Executive Power!  itty bitty living space."), although the genie was more fun to have around.

I rather think I'm more like Captain Peacock in this situation.  When Mr. Humphries asked him, "What's it like to have all that power?" he replied, "Frightening."

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Admit it. You were thinking it, too.

My mom had the Olympics on TV.  Some sort of bicycle race was occurring.  My mom told a story about her first bicycle.  Her caregiver said that she likes riding horses but never could get the hang of riding a bicycle.  I offered, "That's because a horse is more stable."