Friday, July 30, 2010

I. Can. Tell.

A while ago I posted an open letter to my students and in it I mentioned that I can tell when they are texting during class.  Texting secretly from a classroom desk requires the phone to be held in the lap which means the neck and upper back are held at a particular angle in order to see the screen and operate the keyboard.  This angle is unique to texting, it seems.  I'm pointing this out again because people seem to honestly think they are being subtle about it.  I'm here to say that this is not possible.  Not.  Possible.  So stop because I and every other instructor who has their very own cellular telephone knows what you're doing and we're making a mental note and it may bite you in the ass at a later date.

This got me thinking about other things that people do that are impossible to misinterpret.

For example, I was at a sandwich shop the other day sitting at a table waiting for my oder to be ready.  A guy came in and was standing at the counter ordering his food.  He had his hand in his pocket and from behind his shorts started kind of jiggling a little.  No, he wasn't doing that.  What he was doing was either scratching himself or, I dunno, fluffing his "pillows"?  Disclaimer:  Now I do not now have nor have I ever had male genetalia so I am not an expert as to what sort of care and maintainence is involved.  However, based on how often I see men jamming their hands into their pockets and making adjustments it must be an area that requires a lot of fine tuning.  Is it super itchy?  If so, is it naturally that way or are the super itchy guys less than fresh?  If it's not itchy, are they in pain?  If so, is it so excruciating that it requires immediate and public redress?  I only ask because women experience discomfort in personal areas as well but it seems to me that our way of dealing with it is to, well, deal with it.  We endure until we have a chance to fix it without putting on a show.  Most women would risk a punctured lung from a rogue underwire bra than start meddling with their girls in the middle of, say, ordering sandwiches.  (See how I did that?  Full circle, baby.)  Perhaps they aren't itchy or in pain and are merely touching base, if you will.  Like Monk needing to touch all the parking meters, perhaps it has a calming effect.  My point, because I have one and I should probably get to it, is that a hand in the pocket to jiggle coins or something else strictly genital-free looks nothing like a hand in the pocket intended to scratch and itch or lift and separate or whateverthehell is happening.  So, guys, people can tell you're doing it.  Maybe other guys can't see it happening because if they could then they would have to admit that their own forays into personal shipping and handling are visible as well.  Women notice it, though.  The next time you hear a women mutter, "Ugh, seriously?!?!", under her breath look in the opposite direction of her gaze and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Nose picking.  This one is particularly relevant to me because I had to ride the train with a guy yesterday that literally picked his nose, rolled it on his fingers, maybe dropped it onto the floor, maybe touched it to his mouth for the entire 45 minute ride.  I don't know exactly what he was doing with it because I was too busy craning my head around far enough to keep him out of my peripheral vision.  I must have looked like the girl from The Exorcist I was trying so hard to spin my head around and away from him.  Honestly, if I had been on that train much longer I would probably have spewed pea soup all over as well.  And I didn't eat any pea soup.  So, anyway, this guy clearly thought he was being stealthy about it.  He seemed to be trying to do his digging quickly and with purpose so that he could remove his hand for phase II, The Rolling.  What he didn't realize was that any amount of time with finger in nose is A) really, really obvious and B) an eternity for those nearby.  It doesn't look anything like nose scratching.  I don't know why but it just doesn't.  Thus, I would like to add nose picking to the list of things that can not be mistaken for something more innocent.  Also, the reason I had to endure the Booger Show was that I was in the window seat and The Nose Goblin was in the aisle seat.  In order to get away I would have had to look at him, ask him to let me out, and then pass through is boogerified air space.  As it was, I had to do this anyway because he was riding the train aaalll the way to the end of the line in Providence.

So Far So Good

In my previous post I told you about my spooky encounter with a 4.5 year old who may or may not have seen catastrophic events in my future.  It's been a week and this is what I've got:

1.  The day he skeptically wished me good luck (Friday?) I waited in vain for a bus to take me to the train station before the train actually came and went.  This caused me to have to hang around for an extra hour and a half for the next train.

2.  That Saturday, I realized at about 9 pm the night before participating in a triathlon that I was getting a cold and not suffering from allergies as I'd previously thought (hoped).

3.  The triathlon was rough.  See # 2. 

4.  For my last week of teaching this summer I was blessed with not just a cold but also a...blemish...on the side of the bridge of my nose slightly above where my glasses rest.  Not only was it unsightly but every time I pushed my glasses back up the nose pieces hit it and basically sent an electrical jolt of pain throughout my entire body.  I don't know how the bridge of my nose is connected to the rest of my body but it is.  Perhaps it went into my brain and each time I hit it whith my glasses I actually gave myself a mini lobotomy.  I'm not ruling it out.

5.  Huppy came home from work early yesterday.  It seems she's coming down with a cold.  So, yeah.

Hopefully you're reading this list and thinking that this isn't so bad because it isn't.  I could have made a list twice as long of stuff that went my way this week.  So I think it's safe to say Dr. Doom Lite was just trying to freak me out.  I hope he put that on his list of things that went his way this week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Sword of Davocles

We had houseguests last night.  Huppy's brother and his two kids (4.5 and 6 years of age) stayed over last night on their way to a fabulous vacation destination.  Since I'm teaching a summer class right now I had to get up at 5:30 to catch the train.  Since the kids are 4.5 and 6 they were already awake when I left at 6:10.  I went into the living room to say goodbye and to tell them to have fun and they were kind enough to tear themselves away from some kids show that involves a buch of obviously stoned guys in blue jumpsuts to give me a hug.  The younger one gave me a hug and said goodbye.  As he's heading back to the couch he adds, "Good luck."  You may think this sounds sweet but he said it in that exact tone that people use when they think you're going to need it and it;s not going to help.  You know, they way people say "Good luck with that." 

So now I'm left wondering what he knows.  His name isn't that far off from Damien the creepy kid from The Omen movies and he does sometimes talk in a demonic-sounding voice (which sounded more pro wrestler to me before but now I;m not so sure).  So what started out as a normal carefree Friday has now turned into a danger-fraught gauntlet of doom.

Just in case Junior Spooky is correct, I want you all to know that it's been nice knowing you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Woman Vs Wild

The house in which I live is bordered on two side by wetlands.  As such, despite being in the city we get a lot of nature passing through.  Deer have been spotted a few times.  Our last batch of koi (not the current batch) were likely carried off by a heron.  Each spring ducks disturb the sanctity of the back yard in their efforts to perpetuate their species.  They make up for it by bringing the baby ducks by later in the year, baby animals being almost always painfully cute.  In the winter the yard is criss-crossed with tracks leading in and out of the wetlands and often to and from under the wraparound porch.  It's definitely something I very much enjoy about living here.

Well.  Recently things have taken a more antagonistic flavor.  I suppose you could say the heron eating the koi was not nice but, really, it wasn't so bad.  The fish just went from being there to not being there with no drama in between.  This is different.  This is a raccoon.

The first time the raccoon knocked over the garbage can and pulled all the grosser (is that a word?) elements of the garbage out I was fairly sanguine.  I mean, really, the raccoon is a scavenger and the lid wasn't on very tight and I didn't actually know there was a raccoon living nearby bad.

After that I was careful to put the lid on and pop the handles up in order to secure it.  See, I'm human and we humans are smart enough to have invented locking garbage can lids.  Ha!  Go dig in someone else's garbage with your cute masked face and your creepily childlike hands!  It seems that my evolutionary superiority complex was ill-advised.  The raccoon knocked the whole thing over and since the lid didn't go flying off like last time he or she used those dexterous little mitts to painstakingly pull all the gross stuff out through a thin opening that formed between the can and lid when the can settled onto its side.

This is when Huppy the engineer stepped in.  I got a picture message on my phone later that day showing the garbage can augmented with not one, not two, but three bungee cords.  This was war.  To my untrained eye, I would estimate that our garbage can could probably be dropped from a plane without releasing its contents.  I'm happy to say that, despite making it somewhat laborious to actually use the garbage can, it seems to have worked.

While this was a battle won, the war continues.  Thwarted by the web of bungees the raccoon faded back to regroup.  The next sortie happened while I was out of town.  Huppy was asleep dreaming Huppy dreams when she heard what was obviously a zombie with a gammy leg slide-thumping across the porch outside.  OK, was probably not the first thing that popped into her head but based on her description-after-the-fact that's totally what it sounded like.  At any rate, she eventually determined that it was the raccoon dragging the bag of birdseed across the porch.  Apparently the bag was too heavy to be dragged off to Chez Raton Laveur so after dragging the bag some distance Plan B seemed to be to just eat as much birdseed as possible while remaining on the porch.  Huppy was unwilling to actually go outside and shoo the creature away so, satisfied that the house was not being invaded (by zombies or otherwise), she went back to sleep.  The next morning, of course, there was birdseed to be cleaned up and, as an added F-U for the bungee cord thing, a pile of actual raccoon vomit.  Apparently there is such a thing as too much birdseed.

After that things got quiet again.  The closest thing to a skirmish occurred one night when Huppy was out of town.  I went outside after dark because the next day was garbage day and since I was home alone it fell entirely to me to remember to put the cans out at the curb.  If you know me, you know that I had to write a note on my hand.  Anyway, I go outside to kick some remembering garbage day ass and there's a bunch of noise and scrambling just out of sight on the stairs leading to the back yard.  I did not pee myself.  However, I did get a powerful jolt of adrenaline and some practice seeing how fast I can dive back onto my house.  Once my less primitive brain took over again I realized that it was probably just the raccoon snooping around to see if I left the koi food out.  (In addition to bird seed raccoons will also eat koi food- they seem to prefer the $20 bag over the $8 canister).

As of this morning the siege continues.  At 6:00 this morning I discovered that there appears to be raccoon poop near the back door.  While this is disturbing enough I'm additionally disturbed by the fact that a part of me wants to use it to figure out what the raccoon is eating now that my garbage is so effectively on lockdown.  I won't do that but the CSI-watching part of me kind of wants to.

All I know is that this raccoon does not want to bring poop into this.  I have three freakishly large cats in my house.  At any given time I am in possession of about 300 lbs of poop and I am not afraid to use it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond

I swear to you all that I don't mean to go so long between posts.  I think of things all the time but am not very good at keeping them in mind until the next time I'm in front of a computer.  This is fairly pathetic when you consider just how often I am in front of a computer (almost all the time).

Anyway, I'm here to tell you about last night.  Calm down, it's not that kind of story.  When at home I drink Caffiene Free Diet Pepsi.  I know, what's the point if there's no caffeine or sugar?  I agree but I drink both sugar and caffeine out in the real world so while at home I try to curtail it a bit.

Anyway, the grocery store ran out of my usual soda the other day so I was looking at the other Diet Pepsi options.  There's Diet Pepsi (obviously), Pepsi Max, and Pepsi One in addition to the Coke famliy of diet colas.  From what I can tell Pepsi One is the same as Diet Pepsi except they use Splenda as the sweetener instead of whatver they use in DP (aspartame?).  I figured Pepsi Max was the same thing with yet a third type of sweetener so I chose that one.

After drinking two of them and then going to bed I realize just how off the mark I was.  As I'm lying in bed I realize that I am wired for sound.  I think I might even have levitated.  I definitely saw sparks.

Holy crap, people, did you know that Pepsi Max is basically Diet Jolt?  Shit fire and save matches, how did I not realize this?  It's called Pepsi MAX, for crap's sake.  It's extreme!  (Remember when everything was extreme?  Now everything is green.)  There is twice as much caffeine as other colas.  Recall I drank two of them after 8 pm.

I do not know when I finally fell asleep but I can tell you that when the alarm went off at 5:13 a.m. it was rough.

I'll leave you with a video of Wanda Sykes doing a bit about falling asleep that would be funnier if it wasn't so terrifyingly true.
Wanda Sykes - Additional Thoughts
Futurama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaRussell Simmons Stand-Up Comedy