29 September 2008

An award + How to Drive Across a College Campus

I received this award from the lovely and funny Vodka Mom over at I Need a Martini Mom.


Deb does a great blog and is ridiculously funny. She's in my 'Must Stalk' folder (and yes, I do have a folder with that label in my feeds.) Stop by and read her if you get a chance. Previously, she sorta needed the martinis since she's a teacher. I think she needs a steady supply now since I started following her blog.

I'm going to pass this award on to three four more than worthy blogs.

First up is J-money over at The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy. Her regular posts are hilarious and I love reading her blog. Her LOLHouse (find the rest yourself...you'll want to) posts venture into freaking comic genius-land. Go there, enjoy.

Next up is the Jennster at Jennster's Blog (I don't know how she came up with the blog title, but it's pure genius.) She's thoughtful and funny and makes the best 'come hither' face. We're still waiting to see if her double dog dare works on Southwest airlines.

The next to last is Kelley at Magneto Bold Too. This will undoubtedly inflate her opinion of herself, but she deserves it. Plus, she has auto-humble built into this post. She's also an Aussie but don't hold that against her. Go, read.

Addendum: I'm giving a forth award because I scraped a little extra time together and Marinka at Motherhood in NYC is one of my favorite reads. I love her sense of humor but at the same time fear for her husband's sanity. Stop by her site and make some small talk in her comments...she loves that.

I'd like to give it to you all, but there's only so much time in a day people. Plus some of you already have it or Deb just gave it to you, thereby stealing my choice. She's a snot like that. (and some of you on my list are dudes and the award has a big heart on it. Yeah, I just can't bring myself to do it. I should make some award with power tools on it or something for this purpose.)

(I lifted this straight from Deb since I'm the occasional lazy-ass) Now, there are really no requirements, except perhaps this: In a blog entry, if you have time, share with us a blog that makes you laugh, makes you wonder, makes you sigh and makes you cry. If you choose to do nothing that’s okay.

Part Two which includes the aforementioned driving on campus bit.

This advice could apply anywhere with numerous pedestrians, but college students seem to think they have a divine right to dart...no, not dart, that would imply some sort of speed...to mosey in front of vehicles. They never seem to realize that these 'vehicles' significantly outweigh them and can cause things like bodily harm and even, potentially, the cessation of ALL bodily functions. Forever.

Every day I have to drive onto campus. This is an extra special experience because students are heading to classes at the same time. I, however, have a three-point plan that keeps them from slowing me down. I will now share the plan with you for the good of mankind:

1. Drive slightly over the speed limit: Not much over mind you; a ticket won't do you any go in making it to work on time. Just enough over so that the student thinks, "I don't know if he can stop in time."

2. Never, ever make eye contact: Those little assholes stare right into the car. If they see you're looking at them, BAM, straight into the crosswalk. It's a sign of weakness to them. If they don't see you looking at them, they won't assume that you will stop before you hear a loud 'thump.' If they take the chance anyway, you'll probably catch them in your peripheral vision and be able to stop in time. If not, no biggie. There's a lot of other students out there.

3. Play loud music: Preferably heavy metal. Even if you don't like it, just get one CD for the purpose of rapid transit. You could probably even write it off as a business expense. A massive guitar riff and some dude belting out,

"I sit, in my desolate room, no lights, no music,
Just anger, I've killed everyone,
I'm away forever, but I'm feeling better,
How do I feel, What do I say,
F*ck you, it all goes away"

usually makes the students scatter like a bunch of slaughterhouse workers when immigration shows up. That and it also makes them feel as though you won't hear the loud 'thump' and won't even bother slowing down.

That's the end of my PSA. I hope it helps and many thanks to System of a Down for providing me with such awesome scattering music.

26 September 2008

Hello, Tech Support

My job at the university I work at is mainly to run the servers, but I also help out with incoming phone calls. 90 percent of them are actual problems and I deal with them well, but then there are those calls. The calls that are forwarded straight from either hell or Moronica, the land of dipshits. These are actual calls that have happened all mashed together. The words in orange are what I thought but restrained myself from saying through sheer force of will and professionalism. Names have been changed to protect the ignorant.
Me: Hello, tech support.
Dickweed: (A leftover term from high school, even though I have never seen the actual flora in any clime. I don't think I want to either.) I need more space on my home drive. It says I'm over my quota.
Me: Let me check for you. Um, you have the entire Abba discography stored on your home drive. When you remove that, you'll drop below your quota.
Dickweed: How did that get there?
Me: Not by magic. Some unsupported applications use your home drive by default.
Dickweed: What would that be?
Me: It's in your iTunes folder, so I'm going to go with that.
A slight period where I explain where the folder is, how to get to it, and how to move the files.
Dickweed: There, the files are moved. Thanks!
A short period passes and the phone rings again.
Me: Hello, tech support.
Dickweed: Those files disappeared from my iPod.
Me: Like I care. I'm just glad they're off the server. Hmmm.
Dickweed: How do I get them back on?
Me: I don't know, I don't use iTunes and it's an unsupported app.
Dickweed: But I bought those.
Me: Not my freaking problem. You still have the files where we moved them to.
Dickweed: But how do I get them back on the iPod?
Me: Did I just tell you that I don't know how? Furthermore, I don't care. Dammit, I'll have to play the 'rephrase the same damn answer over and over again until you go away game.' I'm not sure. Perhaps if you looked in the iPod manual...Because I am not going to figure it out FOR you.
I usually start reading blogs at this point and practice all the possible variations of 'I don't know' until the endgame:
Dickweed: Maybe if I tried copying the files back to the original folder?
Me: That would put you over your quota again. So don't even try it.
Dickweed: So how can I get them back on there again?
Me: I think I need to come over there and kick you in the ass hard enough for you to savor the taste of poop. <practiced silence until>
Dickweed: Well. I guess I'll ask some friends and maybe check the manual.
Me: God forbid you read the manual and learn how to use your crap. Okay then, have a nice day.

I'm usually very willing to help and genuinely enjoy talking to most of my end users, but some people get me going. They're habitual idiots and I think most tech support/service oriented people get them. I should have more enjoyable tech support stories soon. Hell, I could probably do tech support Fridays.

24 September 2008

Office Tour

I checked the stats from yesterday and they have, in fact, changed. All your souls appear to be on the plus side of the ledger now.

Today I bring you the office tour as inspired by gathering dust. it's sorta of neat to go through and take stock after you've been somewhere for a while (12 years for me.) Some items pick up a significance and others don't. (The photos are linked, so if you want to embiggen them, click on them)

From office tour

The view on the way in complete with laptop, desktop, big blue lightbulb (I used to have an utter moron a professor that could not figure out -- after four freaking years -- that you had to touch the metal to turn it on) and Go board. Also the institutional desk o'doom. If anyone snaps and starts shooting, I'm covered.

From office tour

Because Darwin matters...

From office tour

My third desk. Note the stylish coat rack by Dell. That tea mug rules btw. You put your tea leaves in and water and it strains through the bottom into your cup.

From office tour

The much needed warm shirt since the HVAC department on campus keeps it at a balmy 63 degrees in the Summer. Espresso maker.

From office tour

The test server. Sure it's missing a drive, but that's why it's a test server.

From office tour

Yes, I have a TV in my office. I never turn it on though. I just figured since they have a cable hookup I should have a TV. Assorted manuals and networky crap.

From office tour

Desktop and associated detritus.

From office tour

The pics and guardian dragon.

From office tour
I have not killed that plant and it has been nearly three months.

From office tour

Yeah, baby. Toys. The Wife was worried The Boy would choke on the magnetix, so it was my gain. He'll never see it. Tea, stuffed creatures. Snot sucker in the upper left that I use to clean my fountain pens.

From office tour

CD's, tools, manuals, and my Harley fountain pen by Waterford.

From office tour

Arrrrr...piss me off and ye get ta walk the plank matey.

From office tour

The board where I lay stuff out occasionally.

From office tour

The corkboard. Note the sexy pinup calendar. Mmmm...fountain pens. Sorry, it's one of my fetishes. That and watches even though I rarely care what time it is. Check the sign in the lower right.

From office tour

The mug says it all.

From office tour

Creepy desktop wallpaper.

From office tour

Views out my window. Awesome mountains.

From office tour

From office tour

I run along the river some mornings. It's nice to watch the sun come up over the mountain on the left and light up the river.

19 September 2008

Hey, I didn't choose this...

Things I never thought I'd say:

"Predator does lousy in freestyle. He doesn't give himself enough shock travel and always ends up breaking his truck."
"That track looks tacky today. We're going to see a lot of rollovers and bicycling." (and we do.)
"He can still race. It just looks like he broke a sway bar." (the official diagnosis later: he broke a sway bar.)

Sound like gibberish to you? Yeah, it would have to me before The Boy too. I don't know how he found it. It must have been some random channel surfing on my part, but he loves monster trucks. When you get right down to it though, it's sort of a blessing. A long race is a smidge over 30 seconds. He could have gotten into nascar. That would have blown. Those damn races last way past sensibility. Maybe if I took a nail gun to the head -- I'm thinking it would have to be at least a 2-inch nail -- I would be at the approximate frame of mind it would take to sit through a nascar race. It just bores the crap out of me. No offense if that's your bag.

Anyway, it's funny to watch The Boy play with his toy monster trucks and do a play-by-play on the races. He has all the announcer tag phrases down. He does whole competitions and blurts out things like, "That broken spindle is gonna keep Scarlet Bandit out of the finals!" or "He did not get both tires up the stack. That will be a five-second penalty."

The other day he fell off his bike (he's fine btw, they should make tanks out of little boys. They would be indestructible. Unless mommy is looking. Then the tank would break down in tears every time it scratched its paint and ask to be held.) and it was due to a "problem with the rear steering. It must have broken when he ran over the last car stack." Yeah. I see that a lot on my bike too.

It's fun to watch kids grow and I can't wait to see what other interests he picks up in the future...as long as they don't suck, of course. He's doing okay for now though. I guess I'll have to wait until he can actually read until I can foster his interest in writing. I guess I'll just have to watch the Monster Jam finals in Vegas for now.


16 September 2008

They really shouldn't let me in the doors

I went to church the other day by myself. It's good to get some face time in so the priest doesn't forget us. The problem is that when I'm by myself, my thoughts wander...

Priest:  "blah, blah, blah...table of the uterus which is the symbol of death and rebirth."

Me:  Huh? I would have thought the uterus would be more of a life and rebirth symbol...and why is the priest talking about uteri anyway? That's awfully liberal for church. Oh...Eucharist, not uterus. That makes more sense then. I should pay attention.

Priest: "...welcome you to the exaltation of the cross.,,"

Me: Sonofabitch. Is this a special mass? I'll be pissed if this thing creeps over an hour. Oh, well. I could think about stuff for my blog to pass the time. I could do another church piece...

Priest: "<insert something churchy here>"

Me: Okay lady, the baby was really cute when he was all smiles and giggles but now he's crying. They should put something in the church...perhaps a baby room...for crying children. Oh wait. What's that? In the back of the church? Behind the glass? Oh, it's a fucking baby room. Use it dammit.

Guy in cool poncho thing at the front of the church: "Blah, blah, blah."

Me: Is that dude behind me clipping his freaking nails? What the hell is wrong with the guy? ...and ewwww by the way. Where are those nail clippings going? That's just wrong. Maybe if I turn and give him the Hairy Eyeball he'll knock it off. Nah, I'll have to shake hands with him during the whole "offer you a sign of peace" bit. Fine. I'll just put up with it. You're going in the blog though pal and I hope your mention this shit in confession. There's gotta be at least one "Hail Mary" assigned for clipping your nails in church. Someone's gotta clean that crap up.

Yeah, yeah, here's the money.

Hey, she looks really cute in pink. Heh, Pretty in Pink. Dammit, now I have The Psychedelic Furs stuck in my head. That should mix well with a hymn later on.

The Wife isn't here, I wonder if I can skip the Eucharist? Nah, it'll make sure the priest knows I'm here. Besides, I am feeling a bit peckish.

Got my Eucharist...munch, munch, munch...and that's a big N-O to the shared cup o'wine sister. God's blood won't wash away herpes, so I'll stay on the safe side. Hmmm...still peckish. You would think that Jesus would be more filling than that.

Walking back to pew...wow, she's cute.

Sitting down. Damn, I have Jesus stuck in my teeth. I don't want to pick my teeth in church though. Although I'm sure that nail-clipper boy behind me wouldn't have any qualms.

I hope I remember all this stuff for the blog.

Priest: "and so mass is ended."

About time. That was a hair over an hour. I'd better pick up a bulletin so The Wife knows I was here.

Later, an imagined scene in the confessional (I say, 'imagined' because I don't do the whole confessional thing. That's for people that really sin hard and actually feel bad about it):

Me: "Forgive me Father for I have sinned."

Priest: "Go on." (I'm sure the priest would say something more pithy here.That would require the experience of an actual confession though...which I lack.)

Me: "I was working on a blog entry in church."

Priest: "Was it reverent?"

Me: "I'm going with 'no' on that."

Priest: "How irreverent was it?"

Me: "Mildly.?" (Sure, it would have gotten me burned at the stake back in the good old days, but this is modern times now, baby.)

Priest: "Ten Hail Mary's"

Me: "Ten? The dude behind me was clipping his nails! During your sermon I believe."

Priest: "No one likes a snitch"

Me: "Hey now, I didn't mention any names. I'm just saying. I mean really. Ick, right?

Priest: "I'll give you an 'ick' on that, but let's focus on you for now. Anything else?"

Me: "Does not having the Apostle's Creed memorized count?"

Priest: "How long have you been going to church?"

Me: "On and off for...um...most of my life."

Priest: "and you don't have it memorized yet!?"

Me: "I wasn't really paying attention most of the time."

Priest: Sighs. "Just get it memorized and send the next person in."


14 September 2008

The Party

The Boy is turning six so we decided to throw him a party. We figured we would keep it simple, just the neighborhood kids and two other friends. Overall, the party went well but we learned some things along the way. There only seven kids there, but five of them were girls between the ages of five and seven. We have a boy.

1. The purple dinosaur mask is the most coveted by the young female humans in the entire color spectrum of dinosaur masks.

2. The winner of a fair-and-square rock, paper, scissors match is not respected by female-kind. That's simply uncivilized.

3. My wife can come up with awesome comments like, "I don't care who gets the blue cup. Why don't you two go in the bathroom and stay there until you figure it out?"

4. Girls practice fickleness early in life.

Question:  "What kind of ice cream do you want?"
Answer:  "Vanilla."
I turn away. "
No, chocolate."
I nod and turn away again. "
Wait, vanilla."
All this in the space of 8 seconds.

5. Next time colored party favors are involved with masses of little girls (which, in my life, will hopefully be never) there will be only one color. Preferably snot green.

6. Once little girls settle on a balloon color, they like them tied to their wrist so that other conniving, little girls will need blades to remove them from their owner. I offered to tie 40 or so to one girl's wrist just to see if we could get her airborne. She declined, sensing a ruse was involved.

Then there was the, "That's my ice cream," comment. I had to point out to the girls that they were both vanilla and both unopened. That seemed not to matter. The order in which they were presented was paramount. I walked off.

I notified a grandparent who had arrived that their granddaughter would be out in a second after we hammered out an issue involving A) balloon color and B) mask color and without missing a beat she said, "Invited a lot of girls did ya?"

Does everyone know about this besides my wife and I?

Despite all the bargaining over who was getting the purple dino masks, I'm pretty sure we won't see the lasses prowling the neighborhood with them on. The boys on the other hand, will be seen with them on regardless of hue.

Not all oddity occurs among females though:

When everyone was leaving The Boy said, "I'm going to let my balloon go."

I said, "Don't do that buddy. That's a domestic balloon and will never make it on its own in the wild."

He turned away. Humor is lost on the younger set sometimes. He then let it go and then complained that he had no balloon. I informed him that his grandparents were inside and he should go visit with them.

I would like to point out that I read a lot of blogs and was still woefully unprepared for party girlishness. C'mon people. I leave comments. Help me out next time. Oh well, I probably wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it anyway.

Next time we have a party, (a long ways off I hope) maybe we'll keep it to all boys. That way we'll only end up having to repair things around the house.


11 September 2008

Escaping the Mower

The other day I was out with The Boy and we decided to mow the lawn. It's sort of fun too. He pushes along side of me and we have a good time doing it.

We got about half of the yard done and I noticed a large moth just sort of hanging out in the grass right in the path of the mower. I stopped the mower and and he asked why.

"We should help this moth out of the way," I said. I was thinking this is a great way to teach him how to be nice and respect nature and all that other stuff we're supposed to impart as parents.

We raised some butterflies earlier in the year and he got a kick out of that, so he scrunches down next to me and gets a good look at the moth. He didn't want to hurt it, so I picked it up. It was didn't fly away instantly so The Boy got a chance to hold it gently in his palm anyway. He plopped it back into my hand and I tossed it into the air.

It fluttered away aimlessly and then a sparrow came out of nowhere and ate the damn thing. The Boy and I just sort of stared for a second and he said, "I guess we could have left him there."

I laughed out loud and said, "Sometimes life bites you in the butt like that buddy."

Yeah, two lessons in one shot. The first being the traditional, "Be nice and respect nature." The second being, "Even if you escape the whirling blades of death, there can always be something just as bad just waiting for its chance." I didn't articulate that second lesson that grimly for The Boy, but I think the sparrow did an awesome job of doing it for me.

The lawn looks great by the way.


09 September 2008

The Curse of the Crapmobile

We have these neighbors. They come from a lower income background, but they're nice people. When they first moved into the neighborhood, they brought with them the associated crapmobile that seems to come along with the inability to pay for repairs. It spewed some smoke here and there, was generally unreliable as actual transportation, and often evoked the phrase, "Goddammit, they parked that piece of crap in front of the house again."

Overall though, I understood that they simply couldn't afford to paint it, fix it, reupholster it, put new tires on it, destinkify it, or put it out of its misery. Years passed and the car haunted the neighborhood.

Then one day, they got another. It was a different, a bit better kept, and ran marginally better. Unfortunately it seemed to have sucked any last vestiges of life out of the first car...which sat in front of my damn house few a week until they muscled it into their driveway. Where it sat and sat and sat. They would try to fix the original crapmobile occasionally but mostly it sat. Crapmobile II took over the duties until miraculously, it became as unreliable as its predecessor.

Eventually their son got a car of his own. A nice used model with no rust and actual paint that covered the entire car. The crapmobiles must have cornered the new car one night though and kicked its smarmy ass because within a week the engine had died. Hmmm...how odd and how inconvenient. Since new car was in the driveway with crapmobile II parked behind it, it seemed the best place to park the original was in front of my house. Evidently it was far more aesthetically pleasing to them to keep their curb appeal and put the shaft to mine. I took to taking up both possible spots in front of my house though so nuts to them.

Months pass and they get the new car running just so they don't miss an appointment with a telephone pole which puts new car down for the count.

Enter the relatives from Ohio. That's right, they're Pennsylvanians now baby. They even brought their own crapmobile (Ohio version) that had the convenience of being able to remove items from the trunk without even opening it! Woo hoo...they should get a patent on that bit of rust-inspired technology.

Enter the blazer. A nice, used vehicle. They put Crapmobile I up for sale. That was a hoot in itself. It advertised itself, "For sale. One deathtrap. Needs paint, tires, body work, and destinkifying. 500 dollars." The Bluesmobile (after the chase) would have sold quicker.

Crapmobile I got all depressed with the new competition and drove itself into the rear end of a truck. That was fun to watch pull into the neighborhood. They never bothered taking the 'for sale' sign out of the window. A few weeks later it was gone though. Satan must have called it home while I was sleeping.

Presently we're down to two crapmobiles (II and Ohio) and the blazer. I just don't understand how this can happen to people. I've driven cars for years before anything goofy has happened to them. I suspect a curse is at work. I don't know where it comes from but I suspect the curse is repelled by "steady income." Let this be a warning to you readers out there.

Oh, did I mention I can hear the Blazer coming from two blocks away now? The curse is back.


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03 September 2008

College Etiquette for Students

I work at a small university. The students are usually pretty nice, but I think there are perhaps a few areas they cold use some schooling in. I'll cover a few at a time. I know they have other things that they need to study right now, so I'll hit a few tidbits across a few posts so it can be absorbed in small chunks.

1. Since we're speaking of chunks...If you feel the need to 'deliver street pizza' (AKA ralph, barf, technicolor yawn, etc.) after a long night of bingeing and there's a choice between grass or the sidewalk, always choose the grass. I don't need to see what you were eating last night people. A little consideration goes a long way here. and yick by the way.

2. If you feel the need to talk on the cell phone as we step into the elevator, don't glare at me when I join in on the conversation. It's a public area and if you're going to be nattering away, so am I. Don't expect me to stare politely at the doors while you annoy the living shit out of me.

3. Don't send me copies of your spam. Yes, I know what it looks like. Hell, I even get some myself sometimes. We can't catch it all but we try. If you keep sending me your spam after I explain all this to you, I know a guy (me) who can put the freaking kibosh to your ability to correspond with anyone.

There. That shouldn't tax you too much for now. Go, enjoy the semester and do well.