Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Minivans Are Tangible Evidence of Evil

Well, I've got some time to kill so let's make a blog entry, shall we?  I am having my CPAP machine adjusted (a task that I am not trusted to do on my own) and the respiratory therapist is slated to arrive here between 11 and 1 to do this 30 second task.  I really wish I could remember if I chose 11 to 1 over some other time slot because if I did I need to go give myself a swirly or something because this is crap (vs cpap - ha!).  I'm hungry and I want to leave my house.  So, back to blogging:

The title to this entry is a bumper sticker that I saw many years ago and may or may not have purchased.  The car that I covered in stickers is now living out its golden years in New Orleans with Andy so I can't go outside and confirm if that one is on there or not.  Regardless, at the time I thought it was perfect and I kind of still do.  I have no doubt that there are people reading this who drive a minivan so let's just say I'm not talking about you.  (I might be but let's just say I'm not)  Here are some things that I don't understand about my fellow drivers:

1.  I have driven many minivans over the years.  I will admit that they are not the easiest to back up and be fully confident that you are seeing everything behind you.  Still, other than that, they are no harder or easier to drive than any other vehicle commonly found on the roads.  So why is it that so many people drive them as if they have no freaking idea how to do it.  They change lanes too soon after passing because the minivan is longer than they expect, they park like ass clowns because the minivan is wider than they expect, and they drive like frickin' Dale Jr. because apparently the engine is more powerful then they expect.  Is there too much shit happening inside the van to be paying full attention to what's going on outside?  I'm aware that some people in SUV's have this same difficulty but what makes it so galling in minivans is what happens after they just ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of you.  You know what happens.  They give you the look like you are some kind of assassin sent from the future to single-mindedly try to kill their precious children.  SUV people will also pull out in front of you or cut you off but the difference is that at no point will they even acknowledge that something bad almost just happened.

2.  What is up with people's obsession with backing into parking spaces?  I feel like this is getting more prevalent lately.  I can't figure out the benefit of doing this.  They're trading the process of backing out of a parking space for backing into one so there's no less driving in reverse.  In fact, it's easier to back out into a whole parking lot lane than it is to back into a single parking space so overall it's more work.  For the same reason it's not saving time because it's quicker to back out then to back in.  So...I don't get it.  There's only one reasonable explanation in my mind:  they're planning on robbing the place because that's how getaway drivers park.

3.  Truck nuts.  Not OK.  Ever.  They actually make me sad for the driver who is clearly so profoundly insecure and worried that someone somewhere might think that his lifted diesel Dodge Ram is a female truck that he had to attach male genitalia to it.  I'm not even going to get into the insanity of assigning a gender to your vehicle (mostly because I do it).  I wonder if there is some sort of analogous feminizing car accessory out boobs that go on the grill.  I'd look it up but I'm resolving to try to learn at least a few new wholesome things before I add to my already considerable repertoire of inappropriate knowledge.

4.  Am I the only one who pays attention when moving from an offramp to a new highway to whether or not there is a merge lane?  There's one like this near the mall here and almost every time I take the exit when I get to the bottom of the ramp there is a car stopped at the bottom watching the other cars go by.  The problem here is that there is a merge lane so the idea is to keep going, use that blinker and merge into the traffic.  Easy peasey.  I'm pretty sure it's a standard thing in road design.  I've seen it before lots of times, I swear.  If you're one of those people be sure to look in your rear view mirror.  If you see a person in an orange Jeep waving their arms and yelling, that's me.  If you don't read lips, I'm saying "You get your own lane, you funky idiom!"

I want to share one thing with you all before I go.  I've come up with an expression to describe when people are operating their vehicles in an unsafe or obnoxious manner.  Feel free to use it but if it gains worldwide popularity be sure to remember you heard it here first.  Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you....

Drivin' Douche

Monday, December 28, 2009

How The Mai-ty Have Fallen

I hope everyone had a nice holiday (or just a nice last week of December if that's what it was to you).  Mine has been, until about 30 minutes ago, full of personal triumph.  Let me start with the ways in which I have been kicking ass lately:

1.  I went to Maine for Christmas with Jenn Hupp (hereafter to be referred to as Huppy because, really, how can you not?) to hang out with her brother's family.  In an unusual plot twist,  I did not get a cold while I was there nor have a I gotten sick since I returned.  My joy is tempered by the fact that Huppy got sick instead.  Still, woot!

2.  I actually spent all day today working on lesson plans and syllabi for my Spring 2010 classes.  I know, right?  This sudden ability to focus prior to the last minute comes from the fact that I have agreed to teach six classes in the spring (full time is 3 or 4 classes).

3.  For years I have made something called peanut butter popcorn (an awesome treat I learned from my Grandma Kelley).  It tastes so good but I tend to make a mess when I make it.  Today, however, the fog parted and I had the epiphany that I could do everything I needed to do in the microwave eliminating a  lot of the mess.  Yes, I am 38 and it is late 2009 and I just frickin' figured out how useful my microwave can be.

These things have made me feel like I'm doing all right, navigating through the world, kicking ass, taking names.

Then a little while ago I stood up from the couch to go check out a cat-related noise and I somehow managed to get my right foot tangled up inside my left pajama pant leg while in mid-stride.  This had the effect of hogtying my feet together and I pitched forward sprawling on the floor missing a doorway by inches.  I mean seriously, I've been doing so well and suddenly I can't trust myself to walk and wear pants at the same time?  For frick's sake!

Huppy witnessed this incident in its entirety and once I was vertical again we had this conversation:

Huppy:  "You weren't actually that close to hitting the doorframe.  You did some traveling while you were writhing around."
Me:  "Oh, that's good.  I mean, it would have been fine either way.  I would have used my catlike reflexes to keep from getting brained."
Huppy:  "Really.  And where were those catlike reflexes when you were trying to walk across the room?"
Me:  "Uh..."

Tomorrow my goals are to do more lesson plans, wear my clothes right-side out, and to not fall down.  And no fires!

Update:  It's now been 24 hours and one of my toes is purple.  Again, how is it that I can't successfully walk and wear pants at the same time.  I've had a TON of practice!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Menace II Society

I hope that someday I can make this blog into a place where I weigh in on deep issues, make astute observations, perhaps give my readers a new perspective on something...

Today is not that day. Instead I'm going to tell you (for not the first and certainly not the last time) a story about how I made an ass of myself today. Ready?

This is finals week where I work. This means I have a ton of grading to do. Unfortunately I am almost incapable of grading at home. Home has too many things to do other than grading so I typically go to a restaurant, park myself there, and tip heavily. Tonight I decided to try a local Thai restaurant. It's a pretty small place and a little family was at the only four-top so I sat at a little two-top, placed my order and started to get organized. While I was separating the finals into a stack for each of the three versions, I got a whiff of someone toasting marshmallows. Despite the fact that I hadn't gotten my dinner I immediately started fantasizing about ordering whatever it was that smelled like roasted marshmallows. Here's a neat tidbit: If you put your napkin on top of a candle it ignites and smells like smores. Yup, in the midst of all of my organizing I had set stuff on top of the burning candle at my table. By the time I realized what was going on the napkin was pretty well engulfed so I picked it up and walked toward the bar to ask for a glass of water. One of the other customers was nice enough to let me extinguish it in her ice water.

Take a moment and imagine how mortifying it was to set my napkin on fire and have to douse it in someone else's water.

I'll wait.

OK, now try to imagine how extra mortifying it is, after the napkin fire/dousing experience, to return to the table and discover that the final exams were now on fire. Seriously. I'm not sure it's possible for me to be a bigger horse's ass. Fortunately, copier type paper doesn't burn nearly as fast as a paper napkin so I was able to bat this one out with my hand. At this point I blew out the candle, put all my grading stuff away, ate my food, and left.

I don't think I'm going to do any more grading tonight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So You Think You Can Function

I was watching the season finale of So You Can Think You Can Dance this evening and needed to go to another room to grab some paper.  As I stood up the showed a clip from a Bollywood performance and since those are my favorites I stopped for a moment to do a little dance.  Naturally, I was asked what on earth I was doing so I said I was dancing and that if I wanted to I could do what they were doing on the TV.  Considering the amount of flipping and leaping that was going on I had to say this with a hefty amount of confidence and bravado.  Sure, I can do that I just don't feel like it.  After making this pronouncement I turned and walked right into door.

If anyone asks how I got the bruise I'm going to tell them I was dancing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mmmm...that's some good foot!

So I called my friend Maureen Friday afternoon to make plans to get together that evening.  Before we could get very far, though, the person she was meeting showed up and she told me she'd call me back in a few minutes.  No problemo.  I'll pause here and let people know that when I'm home alone for a while I tend to get a little squirrelly.  About ten minutes later my phone rang and it said "Private Caller" on the caller ID.  Based on Maureen's profession, having a blocked number is very reasonable.  So I answered the phone singing a variation of Tina Turner's "Private Dancer" (You're my private caller, a caller who's money, you'll call who wa-ant to...) and I got this:  "Um, is Maia Kelley there?"  Craaaaaaaaap!  It was my doctor's office calling to confirm an appointment for next Tuesday.  When I get there I fully expect to be handed a referral for mental health services.

I might take it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Open Letter to Students Everywhere

Dear Students,

I have a very simple message for all of you from your teachers.  We can see you.  Based on my years of teaching experience, I can only conclude that you don’t realize we can see you.  Is it TV?  Do you think there’s a piece of one-way glass between us like on the detective shows.  In that case, you must think us deranged as we roam the front of the room happily nattering away at what we think is a big ass mirror.  No, that’s not it?  OK, then perhaps you think we’re just not that swift.  We’re too dim to notice the things you do while we teach.  I don’t know if I’d hang my hat on that theory either, students, because if that’s how slow you think your teachers are, what does it say about you?  I know, I know, get to the point, you gas bag.  Fine.  Here’s what students need to know:
  1. When you sit in the back of the classroom and stealthily mine for nose gold, I can see you.  Yes, you’re very clever sitting in the back row so the other students have their backs to you and can’t see this activity.  But I can.  Every time.  You don’t realize I can see you because you’re too busy sliding your eyes sideways to make sure no one near you can catch you in their peripheral vision.  Please stop.  Please.
  2. Those desks at which you sit?  They don’t have any fronts or sides, just tops.  So while YOU might not be able to see your own hand digging around to get at that persistent itch you so very clearly have, I can see it just fine.  Hey, everybody has had to do the shimmy a few times in their life when struck by a wedgie or some other personal discomfort while in public.  But seriously, some of you folks have this happen waaaay too often.  I’d like to refer you to my blog on odors and its related suggestions on hygiene.  And by “folks” I mean boys and men.  Despite the fact that we are subjected to commercials on the topic of feminine itch I have never seen a female student do this. 
  3. Guess what!  I have a phone too.  I even know how to send text messages!  I know!  And I'm so OLD!  This means I know what it looks like when you do it while I’m teaching.  When a person is bent over using both hands to fiddle in their laps with something just out of sight they are either texting or about to get arrested for public indecency.  It's cool , though, I can respect your decision to place text messaging above paying attention in my class.  I’ll assume that you will in turn respect my decision to rank sleeping in tomorrow morning above meeting with you in my office to help you learn the material that I was teaching while you were texting.
  4. Finally, here’s one of the ways I know you’re trying to cheat on a test.  No one takes a test and only looks at their own paper and nowhere else.  Sometimes people stare ahead vacantly and sometimes they look up at the ceiling or down at the floor.  Want to know where they don’t look?  They don’t look at me.  The only reason a student will repeatedly look at me during a test is to see if I’m looking at them.  And I am.  Sure, eventually I might not be looking somewhere else when they check but by that point I’m already aware of their intentions.  So, be my guest and copy that answer from your neighbor.  This is not my first rodeo, boys and girls, and I never give people who sit next to each other the same version of the test.

I know this seems like a lot of information but it really does all boil down to this simple message:  I.  Can.  See.  You.  Thank you for your attention in this matter, students.  It feels good to get this information out there.

Your Math Prof

P.S.  Yes, this will be on the test.  Duh.