Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I also identify with his thinning hair.

Believe it or not, I watched a lot of TV this weekend.  Would you believe it more if I said most of it was old?

I watched this week's episode (taped on Monday) of the PBS series American Masters about Carl Sandburg [new], the 2009 remake of Race to Witch Mountain [old], It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World [old], Lady & the Tramp [old], Murder by Death [old], Auntie Mame [old], and this week's series premiere (taped on Thursday) of Elementary, CBS's update of Sherlock Holmes [new].

I wanted to watch the Carl Sandburg episode because he was from Illinois and my parents were from Illinois and because my mom has a copy of his book Rootabaga Stories on the shelf (although I haven't read it yet).  (If any of you don't think you have heard of him, he's the guy who said "the fog comes on little cat feet" and called Chicago "City of the Big Shoulders".)

It made me think of my past attempts at poetry and how I might want to try again.  It mentioned Poetry Magazine, which I though was an awfully neat idea and might want to subscribe to once I have a job again, but I see on the website that every issue is available for free online, so why bother?  (I also wonder why a monthly magazine offers its subscriptions in 11-month increments.)  So, I browsed through the website and found this (prose) offering from Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket).  Then I saw "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot (I've heard of both but haven't read yet, so I thought I'd try him since there was a convenient link), and I identified with this stanza.

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I also recalled my last thoughts of reviving my poetry, when I bought several books about poetry but which didn't contain instructions on number of lines/stanzas/rhyme scheme/meter/etc. about the various forms of structured poems that I could try to emulate.  Now, though, I have the internet, so I should probably be able to find those easily enough now.

I watched Witch Mountain because I never saw the original, although I recall liking the sequel.  The remake was okay, but I can't picture the Eddie Albert version having quite so many car crashes and special effects.

I watched World because it has been a while since I saw it and because I like a good laugh.

I watched Tramp because I never saw that.

I watched Death because that's one of the movies I wouldn't mind seeing over and over again.  (For those of you with kids, rent it for them because they deserve to see Maggie Smith as someone other than Professor McGonagall.)  Also because I like a good laugh.

I watched Auntie Mame because I wondered if it had anything to do with Mame, the musical movie I have seen.  It does, but this post is already long enough, so I won't bother explaining.  (You can look it up on IMDB if you're curious enough.)  Also, it turned out to have been a good laugh.  I wasn't ROTF, but I did LMAO.  (There's a scene, late in the movie, where a man hits his head on a mobile, which I found hysterical, but that scene might be lost on you if you're not 6'3" tall and aren't used to hitting your head on things.  Plus, I have a habit of laughing at things in movies that the rest of the audience doesn't laugh at.  You could say those are inside jokes which go over their heads.)

Finally, I watched Elementary because the British update of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock) proved to me that "variations on a theme" could be done well (and probably is better done than trying to recreate the original).  It was all right for a first episode, but I do want to see more groundwork laid to establish the characters.  I suppose that's a good way to go about it, or else the entire episode would've been about Holmes and Watson instead of any detecting going on.

That wasn't all I did this weekend.  I did pack more owls, though I've decided I should pack books next, or else I'll use my good size boxes.  I can do that tomorrow, and I should start wrapping my artwork.  (The trick will be to leave enough books unpacked such that I'll have something to read up to my as-yet-to-be-determined moving day, so I don't read all the books I intend to take with me during the move.)  I'll also need to label my boxes (I bought a marker and more packing tape today) before I get too many done and can't remember what's in them.

I learned that I could not pack boxes for a living.  First off, I recalled the two packers who boxed up nearly everything in my parents' house (which filled the largest moving truck I've ever seen, to within three feet of the door) in three days.  I'm not anywhere near that fast.  Plus, I was incredibly bored with the process and wanted to postpone it even more than I already have.  Watching stuff on TV was a lot more enjoyable.

Friday, September 28, 2012

One More Thing

A couple weeks ago, I read a book Thing One has about dream interpretation, specifically the symbolism of many objects or actions.  I don't think it has dirigibles in it, though.  Why on earth did I dream about them the other night?

Butterflies Are Free

As I continued photographing and packing my new owls, I discovered a stained glass butterfly in the trove.  I figure it must've been in the box of owls I bought en masse.  (There were a few stained glass owls in the box.)  It was hard enough resisting the owls I saw on the shelves, but when the man said they had an entire boxful as well, I told him to wrap them up, sight unseen.  Well, my memory is kind of fuzzy about that (succumbing to one's addiction tends to do that to one), but that must've been what happened, as I didn't recognize several of the owls I packed today.

Incidentally, the sheer variety of owls I have purchased during the past three years astounds me.  The concrete one on my porch is two feet tall, but I found two, in my bookcase (which I should perhaps rename the Wolery), which are a smidge smaller than the nail on my little finger.  And don't get me started on the subsets of owls in my collection.  I mean, how many owl bookend pairs could a man possibly need?

What wagon? Where? I didn't see any wagon.

I told Thing One this is what happens when she leaves me unsupervised in the discount section at Barnes & Noble.  I mean, I only went in there on a quest for one book I intend to give my friend Betty (they didn't have it, of course), so to fill my time while Thing One was being helped with her Nook problem, I browsed.  In my defense, one of the five books I bought will be a Yule gift for my friend Gimpy, and all of them were on sale.  Besides, now I have books to read during my move -- not that I didn't have plenty available already.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I finally did it.

What did I do?  Take your pick.

1) Filled up my first mini-CD of photos (apartment, car, belongings, owls).  There are 212 pics on the disk.  The sad part is that my owl photos haven't even completed the ones I bought at the recent estate sale, let alone all the ones on my shelves.  In my defense, I'm smart enough to put several figurines into one shot (so I'm not wasting pixels one at a time), but I take them from the four cardinal directions, so it's more than one shot per item.  By the way, here's the photo I promised (a long time ago) of the outside of my apartment.  Mine is the one on the left.

2) Started wrapping and packing aforementioned figurines.

3) Expanded and taped some boxes, to be ready for packing.  I knew I had saved the two, which originally held my nightstands, for a good purpose!  Um, the only problem is that I had thought of using them (since they are so large) to hold my vacuum storage bags of clothing and linens, but I can't get them through the doorway to the kitchen.  Why not?  Because my fancy bookcase blocks part of the doorway.  Here's a shot of it.

Now before you get on my case (no pun intended), Betty, I'll remind you that most of my books are in Las Cruces and Albuquerque.  Plus, the doors mean I can display my owls yet not have to dust them -- yay!

4) Pulled empty boxes out from underneath my bed.  Some of these boxes are from particular items that I can repack into their original containers, and some (mostly Girl Scout cooky boxes) are really nice to use for carrying books or other dense items, which is why I saved them.

5) Made Thatsalotta Soup.  I packaged it in old margarine tubs (and other reusable containers), each containing one meal's worth.  I figured on having soup for one meal every day; I didn't figure on having enough for 14 days!  Now you know why I named this soup the way I did.  (I thought I had cleaned out my freezer?)

6) Made another batch of brownies.  Yes, they're not exactly healthy, but I had to get that second box of brownie mix off my shelf, rather than packing it, right?

7) Made some follow-up phone calls for jobs I had applied for.  It turns out I called just in time for one of them, since the H.R. person said she hadn't received the e-mail, and she expects to meet with the boss on Friday, after he's done with a landscaping project.  The second one made me feel good, until my rational side kicked in.  (I'm sure it's purely self-preservation, to keep me from being too disappointed if they don't want me.)  The woman who answered made it sound as if she knew who I was (although she might've been responding that way only because I had identified myself as a job applicant) and said that the clients had been traveling but would be given my resume on Thursday.  (She didn't say anything about other resumes, but my rational side says that might be because she was talking just to me, not to a group, so she wouldn't need to mention the other applications, if there are any, which presumably there are, for such a high paying job in a ritzy town.)  Whatever way you look at it, neither woman told me that I wasn't wanted.

8) That's a lot of stuff already.  I think I'll reward myself by reading another book -- and eating a brownie.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Things You Never Thought You'd Learn

The radio reporter talking about the demonstrations in Spain today mentioned that some people in the crowd were spreading Maalox on their faces to reduce the effects of tear gas.

Friday, September 21, 2012

So Close, Yet So Far

I learned how to use my dad's digital camera this week.  It turns out that the owner's manual is pretty helpful and fairly accurate (if you don't mind flipping back and forth between pages).  I learned how to finalize the pictures left on the camera, and I put in a new disc and took shots of the outside of my apartment building.  I also learned that my computer's CD drive can read the mini discs from the camera, so I was able to see 4 discs worth of pics my dad took.  The only thing I haven't figured out yet is if I can view the unfinalized pics still in the camera through the USB cord to my computer.  (I tried it this morning, but it didn't seem to work, so I have no photo of my apartment for you.  Not yet, anyway.)  Now that I have all that figured out, I can start taking pics of my furnishings (to prove for insurance purposes that I own things) and owl collection (since I can wrap and stow them into a fragile container quite easily).

I found out this week that the San Antonio job within my company was "withdrawn".  That's two down and five to go (not counting two others I'll apply for today).  All of them are outside my company, which means I'd have to start all over with benefits, vacation, and retirement savings.  (I could transfer my current 401(k) into my independent IRA, so that wouldn't be a problem.)  Most of them are in southern California and one in Maryland (the two for today are near Atlanta).  Naturally, I'm hoping for one of the California ones, since I'm not very accomplished at managing snow removal, although the Atlanta ones would make the move less expensive.

I've had more dreams than usual this week, not even counting last night's nightmare about work (the first in weeks, so I must be feeling better).  I had one dream about Tintin, although when he left with a knapsack full of jewels, he seemed less on a return-them-to-their-rightful-owners mission and more on a Robin Hood one.  Another night, I dreamt I was at a shopping mall in a world where talking animals and humans interacted normally.  (Maybe it was Narnia.)  Three beavers and I had to evacuate a restaurant when animal handlers attempted to transfer a tranquilized lion from one site to another.  (Maybe it wasn't Narnia, after all.)  I made sure the restaurant door latched securely behind us.  When we were allowed back inside from the mall proper, the male beaver, still terrified of the lion, scurried into the ladies' restroom as a woman was exiting.  I approached a waitress, to ask her to perform a "search and rescue" mission, when I woke up (on my own, without the usual interruption of my alarm clock).

I didn't have this song stuck in my head when I woke up, but you can understand why I thought of it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Falling off the Wagon

My friend Betty blogged this week about buying more books, which is a perpetual problem for her.  Maybe it's the phase of the moon or something, because I just bought a bunch more owls.  (Is there a term for a group of owls?)

I guess it's my fault that I pointed out the "Estate Sale" sign to Thing One, and I surely didn't have to buy any of the knick-knacks in the woman's house, and I really shouldn't be wasting my money when I don't have a job.  However, her family was so eager to clear out the house, and there were so many knick-knacks that my purchase hardly made a dent, and you know the owls are going to a good home, and where else could I buy so many for that amount of money?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Day in Busytown

I'm really writing this just so you know I'm still around.  I haven't been all that busy.  It would be more effective if I had a closer deadline to pack all my stuff and move (and, for that matter, a place to move to), so I've been pretty idle.  I do keep marginally productive by reading old newspapers (so I can recycle them or use them for packing materials) in between rounds of a computer game.  Sure, I'd read more papers if I did just that, but it wouldn't be as fun.  Anyway, this is basically an update to let you know I've done something other than sit around the house and mope.

This past Saturday, Elmer Fudd invited me to lunch and an afternoon of conversation.  It was enjoyable (although I think I figured out that an ingredient in the dessert gave me an MSG headache).  On Monday, I took a bunch of old newspapers and mixed paper (and a small amount of plastic and steel cans) to the city recycling center.  I also had Thing One review my cover letter for a job application in San Diego and sent off said application via e-mail.  (All this before lunch.)  Today, I stowed some winter clothes and spare towels into my second set of vacuum-suction storage bags you might've seen advertised on TV.  (I've noticed, if you cram a lot of stuff into them, especially sheets, which aren't as fluffy as comforters or pillows, they don't compact anywhere near as much as shown in the commercials.)

Oh, and I also set aside my boxes of books to be donated to the local library.  I can't take them away yet, though, because I have four books (well, three plus the one I started at lunch) left to read before I do that.  That should free up some floor space for my next pile of newspapers for recycling.

Oh well, at least I'm doing something.

Friday, September 07, 2012

I didn't really want to go there, anyway.

I received an e-mail today, informing me that I was not selected for one of the in-company jobs for which I had applied.  "Although your qualifications and experience are notable, we will be moving forward with other candidates whose qualifications more closely match the business needs at this time."  I wonder how much of that is "soft soap", considering that I currently work at a site only slightly larger and supervise a few more employees than the site with that posting.  How much closer to the "business needs" could someone be?  It's probably just a form letter they send to everyone not selected.  A negative part of my head nags at me and says, "Maybe they had someone in mind already and just went through the motions of posting the job because it was required."  Well, that's nicer than the negativity that says they rejected me.

It was a surprise to receive that e-mail.  As I checked my application status regularly, that posting remained at "application received" until today, when I saw it (after reading the e-mail) as "submitted, but not selected".  The other posting for which I applied had changed several days ago from "received" to "under review".  I figured that meant the recruiter got it.  The number of days it has been "under review" makes me think the recruiter's desk is backed up with all the other job postings to review, so s/he hasn't gotten to mine yet.  On the positive side, that means I haven't been rejected yet.

It would be nice if there were more people wanting to hire horticulturists right now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Giveaways on my Doorstep

That's the first time I ever saw a scavenger take entire garbage bags from a trash can.  (Usually, they're looking for just aluminum cans.)

I was being sneaky.  I decided (since I have to move, since I hadn't thrown them out yet, and since I had come across a large, really heavy duty trash bag) that I would take my old work shoes and exercise sneakers (complete with boxes) and throw them away in one of the polycarts sitting in front of the vacated house across the street.  After all, there already were plenty of trash bags on the ground around them, so what's one more?

Mind you, I did it when I got back from my daily walk, when it was still dark enough and early enough that no one would be around to see me put my trash in front of someone else's property.  It was just as well I did it yesterday, too, since it's pouring rain this morning, and since it appears I have a new downstairs neighbor who left at 6:00 this morning.  I mean, who gets up that early?  (Besides me, of course.)

So, I put the five shoeboxes into the trash bag and placed it into one of the polycarts.  Since it was Monday and since trash day isn't until Friday, I figured that the landlord would come back to put the other trash bags into the polycarts and not notice the extra one already in there, or I'd be nice on Thursday night and do it for him, and then he wouldn't notice my bag at all.  I didn't figure on the guy who drove up (with his kids, since day care costs money, which he doesn't have, which is why he's scavenging) and pulled my bag from the polycart and placed it into the back of his minivan almost immediately.  (The bag did have a generous tear in it, so I figure that he immediately saw it was shoes and might be useable or worth something.)  He tore holes in the bags on the ground and took just one of them (which, by the look of it, was very heavy).

I didn't donate my work shoes or sneakers at any thrift store because I had worn them pretty well out and figured no one else would want them.  Maybe I figured wrong.  Maybe this guy is so bad off that even worn out shoes are better than nothing.  Maybe he'll get them home, see they're in such poor condition, and throw them away anyway.  Either way, I did get a little zing of pleasure that I wasn't sending something potentially useful to the landfill.

Now, anybody want the stray cat that has been hanging around my apartment all summer?