Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Which I Lose My Shoes

We're no stranger to snow in Maine. With the first major snowstorm of the season under our belts, I've started to do what many people up here do this time of year: wear different shoes outside, and bring my work shoes to change into at work. By swapping shoes at work, you don't get your nice shoes wet or damaged at all from the salt and slush.

Because I'm a considerate guy, I bring a plastic bag to put my winter shoes in after I've changed into my work shoes. That way they don't get the carpet at my desk all wet and dirty, thus making less work for the cleaning crew. Lots of people do this, so on Monday when I came into work, changed out of my sneakers and into my work shoes, placed my sneakers in my plastic bag, loosely tied up the handles and set them on the floor by my desk, I thought nothing of it. 

My shoes sat in their plastic bag all throughout the day, waiting quietly by the side of my desk. As my shift ended and I started gathering my things, I bent down to grab my shoes, but they were gone. At first I thought that my cubicle neighbor was playing a prank on me. He denied it, and at this point in the evening, there was no one else around that could have taken them. No one except the cleaning lady. 

I recalled that she had been making the rounds not too long ago, emptying the trash cans at all of the desks for the night. I had been sitting at my desk for a couple hours without getting up, and had been sitting there when she came through collecting trash. She must have thought that they were trash, and took them with her.

By the time I tracked her down, she was vacuuming on the other side of the building. I questioned her about the shoes, and she recalled picking them up. I told her that they weren't trash, that I needed my shoes back, and she seemed surprised. She told me that she wasn't sure if they were trash or not, but assumed they were after a moment or two of thought. When I asked her why she didn't ask me about them before just assuming (since I was right there at the time, within arms reach of them, in fact), she just shrugged and mumbled something, and started walking towards the janitor's closet.

I followed her, and watched as she dug through some bags of trash to retrieve my shoes. They were still in their plastic bag, thankfully, and had been shielded from all the coffee sludge and dirty tissues that had been tossed in after it. She apologized to me afterwards, and I told her it was okay, because in the end, it was. That doesn't mean I wasn't upset about it, though.

If you ever needed an example of why it's best to never assume, remember this story. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

In Which I Wish These Exist

I don't watch a lot of television, but it seems that lately every other commercial is about some new prescription medication. They tell you all about how much better you can feel, or how much longer you can live by taking this new drug, and at first it sounds good. Promising, even... but then they get to the side effects.

For the latest sleep aid, they promise you that you'll fall asleep fast and stay asleep. Just be aware of the fact that you might start doing shit in your sleep, like cooking a five-course meal, driving your car across town, or registering for a break dance competition. They also advise that you might experience intense urges, specifically of the gambling and sexual nature. Maybe it's just me, but if I have to worry about all of that, I'll just pop a few Benadryl with a shot or two of whiskey instead. Bam. Problem solved. 

For the drug that can help lower your cholesterol, they promise results in just weeks... so long as you prepare yourself for the inevitable side effects of burping uncontrollably and excessive gas, blurred or double vision, sweating, and fatigue. Considering that I get all of those symptoms from eating a bowl of chili, I'll save myself the co-pay and just cut out all the fatty foods in my diet and start exercising more than once a month.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking prescription drugs. I myself take prescription medication daily to help control my allergies and regulate my immune system. It's just that there are so many commercials and advertisements out there these days where it feels like one can't be expected to live a healthy and fulfilling life without at least one prescription drug to help them get there. 

Here's another thing. Who the hell comes up with the names for these drugs? Sure, it's likely more pronounceable than the name of the medication itself, but some of the names are just ridiculous. Onglyza? Viagra? Boniva? Restasis? Lipitor? Flomax? Abilify? Some of the names out there sound like they'd be better off as names of planets. I bet that every pharmaceutical company has a group of people who just sit around and come up with fucked up names for their newest drug. 

And that got me thinking. Here are some made-up medication names that I came up with.

For your seasonal allergies, try Gahbleshusone!

For male impotency, try Potentizine!

For those pesky sexually transmitted diseases, try Prophylaxole!

For mild to moderate depression, try Nopressionale!

For the Münchhausen, try Placebocide!

As always, talk with your doctor to see if any of these drugs are right for you.

(Originally posted here.)

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, November 25, 2011

In Which I Am Thankful

I may be a day late for this, but I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I would venture to say I have the most to be thankful for this year than I have in recent years. After all, I've got a beautiful, healthy daughter, a wife that loves me, jobs that provide, and family all around. What else could a man need?

Besides all of the awesome gadgets and technological wonders that are going to be awesomely cheap today, being Black Friday, I mean.

The Boss had to work on Thanksgiving, so I stayed home with Baby Badass. I wanted to do something special for The Boss but didn't have all of the necessary pieces at home to do it, so I put a 21st-century spin on it. After tracing Baby Badass' feet and hand, I made this:

I hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving. For those out braving the stores today, be safe.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Which It's Not Very Helpful

When I got my smartphone last August, one of the first things I did was install and setup Google Voice. It is, among other things, Google's version of what a lot of mobile providers call "Visual Voicemail". You can use it to do a lot of things, but I use it only as an alternative to traditional voicemail. When someone calls me and I don't pick up, Google Voice picks up and the caller leaves a message like usual. On my phone or on the web, I get the recorded audio of the message, plus it gets transcribed and put into easy-to-read text by good ol' Goog.

Well... more or less. The transcribing part leaves a little to be desired.

Here are some particularly poorly transcribed voicemails I've received in the past few months.

As you can tell, the transcription was not very helpful in making the decision as to whether or not to actually listen to the message. This next one is a bit better, but still confusing:

The one that I got most recently was indecipherable, even the audio portion. I get robo-dialed a lot and get a lot of wrong number calls (thus the reason for needing an easier way to sort through my voicemail without having to listen to all of them), but I still haven't figured out if this call was actually about.

It's certainly certain, is it? And I have to wait until Friday to listen to the message? That's not very convenient. I appreciate the effort, Google, but I appreciate the laughs more.

Check it out for yourself, if you haven't already (and if you've got an Android phone. Not sure if it's out for iOS.). If you get some weird results, or have already, share 'em!

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Which I Have an Audience

Editor's Note: Not a fan of fart jokes? Skip this post.

When I'm at home, I'm not shy about the noises my body makes. I'm of the mindset that there is more room on the outside, so why keep the various gasses trapped inside? I don't run to the bathroom to pass gas (unless its been a odorous day), but I'm not a pig about it. If we've got company over or if The Boss and I are having a nice meal, I mind my manners. The same rule applies when I'm at work.

If I'm in the men's room at work and I've got to break wind, I only do it if I'm the only one in there. I don't want to be known as the guy who fogged up the bathroom, especially if the owner of the shoes behind stall number two belongs to one of the managers in the building. If I come into the bathroom with a fart locked and loaded and there are other guys in there, I keep it to myself. 

Sometimes, though, nature has its own way.

I entered the men's room this past Saturday to squeeze the lemon. I was standing there at the urinal, taking care of business, when I felt a fart creep up on me. It was a strong one, and I found myself faced with two choices. I could tighten up, thus stopping the flow mid-stream, or I could open the gates and release the kracken. I hadn't checked when I came in to see if the bathroom was vacant or not, and from my vantage point there was no way I could tell. Stopping mid-stream didn't seem like a safe choice, and the bathroom was quiet, so I let things go and hoped for the best.

As it would turn out, this was no ordinary fart. It was a ten-second, multiple personality fart. It was like a well-rounded college student, fluent in many different languages. Squeaky, bullhorn, crackly, edgy. I was completely subject to the wills of this beast, and when it was over, I felt short of breath enough to wonder if there had been some sort of vacuum effect at play.

There was a heavy silence in the bathroom for a few seconds. I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking I was in the clear. I was foolish to think so. From the handicap stall down at the far end of the bathroom came a slow clap. 

"Dude," said the occupant of the stall, thunderstruck. "That was epic!" His clapping intensified, echoing off the tiled walls of the bathroom. 

I gave no response. I just zipped up, washed up, and got out of there as fast as I could.

Oh, well. If I'm going to be known as a workplace bathroom farter, I might as well be at the top of my game.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

In Which It's Everywhere

Up here in Maine, the prime for the fall foliage has passed. Whatever leaves that are still clinging to their branches have lost their luster, evidence of Winter just around the next corner. There is still some beauty left, though. You just have to look for it.

You can click on the image for a larger version. This fallen leaf, its purpose of providing life to the tree it came from long since complete, is still a beautiful thing, even when stuck to the ground from the evening rain. Beauty is everywhere.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Which It's All About Location

When it comes to sign placement, it's all about location.

Take this sign, for example:

This is a crude sketch of an actual sign I saw recently. Just some guy offering up some manual labor for cheap. I had no problems with it, except for the fact that a shadow was cast across it. In truth, it looked more like this:

At a quick glance, the sign appears to be conveying a different service altogether. Much like those VAG Construction guys, a bit of foresight in the design and placement of the sign would go a long way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

In Which You're Seven Months

Dear Baby Badass,

Time is a very fluid thing for you right now. I imagine to you it must be just periods of wakefulness between feedings and diaper changes, between nap-time and play-time. As you get older, time will take on more of a shape, an aerodynamically perfect shape that glides by regardless of your readiness to move on with it. When you have a child of your own someday, you'll find yourself wishing for the ability to slow things down so you can catch the things you think you're missing.

Every night I come home from work, I drop my bag by the door and kick off my shoes. You turn your head to see just what is making all that noise, and you see me. You beam that smile of yours that breaks my heart, a smile with two teeth on the bottom, and you coo and giggle. As I pick you up and pull you close, your smile still going, I breathe in your smell and my heart mends.

I go without seeing you for less than twelve hours every workday, and yet it seems like each day you are getting bigger. You're eating more solid foods than formula now, and love all your fruits and veggies. You love to bounce and throw your toys around, and have an affection towards your morning dose of SpongeBob SquarePants or Phineas and Ferb. You are babbling up a storm now, cooing and screaming happily and almost never crying. You are this close to crawling, and love to prop yourself up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth. You are developing your personality, your likes and dislikes, and I'm afraid that I'm missing so much of you when I'm away. 

After I change out of my work clothes, I sit down with you in my easy chair and your mother runs down how your day went at day care. You nestle into the crook of my arm and work on your bedtime bottle, and a stillness comes over me. When I burp you and coax you into gentle sleep on my shoulder, you reach up and touch my face and look into my eyes as you drift off. I could stay like that forever, with you in my arms, and it hurts so much to know that I simply cannot.

As much as I want to grab a firm handhold on time and slow things down so I have more time to cherish the moments like these that I've written about here, I know that even if I could, I shouldn't. I need to let you continue to change and grow, and it would be selfish of me to deprive you of that. I just need to soak up every moment I have with you, and etch it permanently in my mind so I can have it with me always.

After you've been asleep for a little while, your mother comes and picks you up to take you to bed, ending our nightly routine together. The area of my shoulder and chest made warm by your soft skin quickly cools, and most nights I have to force myself to not get up from my chair and take you back from your mother for just a few more minutes. I take small solace knowing that all I've got to do is wait until tomorrow and I'll get to do it all over again.

As contradictory to it all as it may seem, tomorrow never comes soon enough.

I love you so incredibly much. 


Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Which I'm Thankful For Such Specificality

I took a sick day yesterday to catch up on some rest. When lunch time came around I dug around in the freezer, and came across some single-serving flatbread pizzas that I couldn't recall buying in recent history. They were just starting to get freezer burnt, but still looked salvageable. I took one out of the box and briefly scanned the cooking directions.

For cooking such a small pizza in the oven, this was starting to sound like a whole lot of work. They expect me to not only take it out of the box, but also remove it from its plastic wrapper and discard of the silver cardboard tray? I'm exhausted already, and beginning to think the microwave option is going to be the better route. I apparently don't have to remove the plastic wrapper, and it cooks in a fraction of the time.

What disturbs me the most about this is not that the manufacturers of this felt the need to be so specific as to tell the consumer to remove it from the box AND the wrapper AND throw out the silver tray before putting it in the oven, but that they refer to the food as "product." That kind of disassociation scares me.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Which It's That Time of Year

I showed you last week a picture of Baby Badass all decked out in her Halloween costume. This week, you get a picture I took of her enjoying some nice, fall weather, and playing in the leaves.

It was a bit chilly that day, but she was a good sport and allowed me to get some pretty awesome shots before she started getting fussy. She didn't much care for the leaves, but I think if she had been a little bit warmer that may have changed. 

Now that I have a kid, I get to join the rest of the world in showing seasonal pictures of my kid to anyone who will spare a second. It's my right as a proud father, right?

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Which I Can't Bring Myself To Do It

If you see time remaining on a microwave leftover from whoever used it previously, do you clear it and set your own time, or do you use whatever is left?

I bet you clear it and set your own time. To do anything else would be crazy.

I don't know why, but the thought of using someone's leftover microwave time just seems wrong. It'd be like using their dishes, or drinking from the same glass, or using the same bathwater. Even though we're all heating up our Ramen noodles or leftover pizza or whatever in the same microwave, it would be sacrilegious to use the 37 seconds left on the timer from the previous person. 

Additionally, I'm pretty sure that any combination of these things would happen if you used leftover microwave time:
  • It could summon the robot apocalypse,
  • If someone saw you using leftover microwave time, you could lose friends on Facebook,
  • You could become afflicted with Scope-resistant halitosis,
  • Using previously stalled time could cause a tear in the time/space continuum, turning the entire world into Jurassic Park,
  • It could heat your food the same way it would if it was using your own set time.
Doesn't seem like a wise risk to take, if you ask me.

Happy Monday, folks.

P.S. Raise your hand if you clear out the unused time on a microwave, even if you are just walking by it and see it remaining on the screen. There's no shame in it. It's only slightly OCD.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In Which I Confess

Yes. I have a fish couch.

When I posted that picture of my daughter on Wednesday, it didn't even cross my mind that the couch she was sitting on was going to be what caught everyone's eye. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but Cute Baby In Cow Costume > Ugly Couch in my book. Before you think that The Boss and I bought this couch, allow me to explain:

We got the couch from my parents. 

They bought it secondhand originally, and gave it to us when they upgraded a few years ago. My mother made slip covers with the fish-paraphernalia fabric to cover the cushions to match the decor of their house. Believe me, it doesn't look nearly so questionable when it's in a room with wood paneling and other rustic, outdoors-type decorations. The original fabric on the cushions had this pattern of light blue squares with specks of red that reminds me of those 3D Magic Eye images that were popular ages ago. You know, the ones where you'd cross your eyes and an image appears


Try watching TV when you're sitting on a couch that keeps trying to shift into the likeness of a unicorn or some tropical oasis. When we got the couch we tried taking the fish slip covers off, but the underlying pattern was just unbearable. It was difficult to even hold a simple conversation over the volume of the couch cushions, so back on went the slip covers.

Replacing the couch isn't within our financial means, but we've had the couch for so long that we don't even notice it anymore. Someday we'll get something new, but until then, we'll spend our time with a fish covered couch.

There are worse things in life, right?

Have a good weekend, everyone. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Which I Have Livestock

I came home from work on Monday night, and there was a cow in my living room. Well, a calf to be exact. She's just a few weeks shy of being seven months old, but she's pretty darn cute.

It was too cold and icy on Halloween to really do much of anything, but that didn't stop us from getting her into her costume for a little bit. She is a bit too young to understand the significance of it, but if she's anything like her mom (and she is a lot like her), Halloween will quickly become her favorite holiday.