Monday, July 28, 2008

L is for the ... Last Thing You Want To Hear

I am going to be rich! I found ... the Money Angel ... in my Inbox AGAIN. I WILL be richer in four short days because the internet never lies.

This is one of the things I really hate to hear. There are a few more ...

I also received tne news that the very nice son of deposed Nigerian Finance Minister has more that $20,800,00.00 to deposit into my personal bank account ... simply because I'm a stand up guy. I have also just learned that the beautiful French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, has some nude photos that will be published on Friday in Vanity Fair's September edition.

After reading all of this "news", I went over to Maria's just eat your cupcake and the topic of "Things you hate to hear" came up. Intrigued by the coincidence, I read on. She has a list of 18 things you hate to hear.

So, of all the things you hate to hear, which is the worst of them? Which one is so bad that it is the "Last Thing You Want To Hear?"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

K is for Knowledge

Bloody plumbers ... and their accomplices.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

J is for J.R. d'Newlywed

Just got back from a fun wedding ceremony and reception. J.R., a friend from work, married his charming girlfriend, Catherine. Here they are exchanging vows. If only my little bitty camera could have caught the nuanced lighting and ambiance ... it was really beautiful.

It seems that every wedding ceremony has something unexpected happen that really makes the event memorable. The unexpected happened for this wedding when one of the ring bearers couldn't take standing still anymore and just sprinted off, running a few laps around the chapel - laughing, singing and having a good old time. Poor J.R. and Catherine were mortified, but all of the guests really enjoyed it. I snapped this picture when he came around for the second lap. Check out the basket he's carrying - the rings are still in there!

After the young man with the rings was captured ... the Bride and Groom exchanged the rings, were pronounced "joined in Holy Matrimony", and then kissed. It was so nice.

Then came the Reception. J.R. and Catherine really know how to feed people right. They had a great buffet line that featured some super tasty Brisket ... yep, I went back a couple of times. Here's the Groom's cake.

There were tons of gifts. i think the coolest gift was a bouquet of origami roses ... made of money. Whoever made the flowers did a really good job. It was fantastic!

Here is Mrs. Skeeter going back to the buffet to get me another piece of that tasty brisket. That's her in the dress. I'm getting her some champagne.

Would anyone else care for glass while I'm up?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I is for Idiots

The Evil Corporation uses Microsoft Outlook for eMail. As far as it goes, it's the kind of software that perfectly fits the Evil Corporation - it's too big, requires too many resources, and fails dramatically whenever you need it most.

When you open an eMail with Microsoft Outlook, you can do several things with the eMail ... all laid out in exactly the wrong order. Since the buttons to "delete" or "navigate to another eMail" are all the way to the right of the top toolbar, it is so much easier to click one of the first available buttons - "reply","reply to all" or "forward".

Thus with the click of a single button, some well meaning and considerate person sent everone in the Evil Corporation an eMail today. It let every single one of us know that there was going to be a fire alarm test in one part of one building at precisely 1:30 this afternoon. Fortunately, I was not privy to the replies that said "I don't work in that building" and "I don't care." Unfortunately, I did receive the 61 different "Reply to All" eMails that let all 23,000 of us know that someone either did not work in that building or did not care.

The "Reply to All" button should come with a battery of mandatory tests before it could be used. One of the tests must determine if the person who is actually capable of lifting their knuckles up off the ground when they walk. Maybe this could be done by optically sensing a low, sloping forehead crowned with a prominent and single furry eyebrow. Not to specifically "profile" the Great Apes, the viciously territorial "Lesser Included Proto-simians" could be uncovered by pattern matching algorithms that detect "me makem" couplets containing {favorite bodily functions}, {political party blathering}, or {bumper sticker bliss}. Since it seems to be too difficult to detect the sounds of "an ass braying in the field", could we at least check senders for a prehensile tail in order to help keep the "fecal flingers" out of my Inbox?

A special place in Hell is also reserved for the self-appointed Authority who replied to all 23,000 employees exhorting them (in all caps) to "READ THIS - DO NOT REPLY TO IT OR ANY OTHER EMAIL". That person will be joined in the Fiery Lake by the NINE IDIOTS who did reply.

Monday, July 21, 2008

H is for HAWG!

Let's face the facts, ladies and gentlemen. There just ain't nothing like hawg. It's good!

Here in Norman, Oklahoma, we have a lot of places to get some hawg. The best one is Rudy's Country Store & BBQ. Yes, they are a chain store.

Yes, you can bring the whole family, sit down and enjoy dinner. Then get a tank full of gasoline before you leave the premises.

Brisket is the first thing on their sign ... for a reason. It rocks! Be sure to get the original sauce. It's hot, a little sassy, but comes in stingy little "to go" serving sizes. so be sure to get plenty of extra.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

G is for Graduation

Do any of your friends occasionally transform into hypercompetitive little shits? One of mine does and it drives me nuts.

Here's the basic facts. We are the same age, but he is a few months older than me. Both of us work for the Evil Corporation, but he was hired in before I was by about a year. We were hired in to the same section, and worse yet, into the same team. I was promoted to Lead about six months before he was. Several years and promotions later, we once again have the same pay grade in the Evil Corporation, but I was promoted before him by almost a year. Both of us have Masters degrees. I have one in Physics and he has one in Computer Science. Of course, I graduated before him so he had to have a higher GPA. Yes, I missed all A's because of one horrible, horrible course named "Statistical Mechanics and the Kinectic Theory", which is hatespeak for conjuring all the cold, dark arts of thermodynamics by rubbing twigs of statistical principles together to make fire from collections of Bose-Einstien and Fermi-Dirac bastard particles.

A little over a year ago, this friend of mine walked into to my cubicle and said that he had signed up for "an educational opportunity." It would help with his next promotions he said. Of course, I had to sign up too.

How important is this "educational opportunity"? Without Graduation on your resume, you will not advance - period. It is necessary for promotion and social networking. The people you meet in this course of study will be the leaders of the Evil Corporation. U.S. Presidential Candidate John McCain lists a version of this "course of study" as his highest educational achievement. My friend and I were very happy to eventually be selected for admission to the "course of study."

My friend completed the course a couple of weeks ago. Naturally, I will finish later (Tuesday of next week) than him because *HE* didn't have to spend time in Turkey or any of the places the Corporation likes to have people visit. Now here we are ... still waiting for the posting of our final scores. I think the result will be a tie. So does he. Thus the tie breaker ... the best prank phone call to the School. Naturally he surprised me by making the call from my cubicle.

one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy, and ...

FACULTY ADVISOR: "The School". How may I help you?
HIM: Hi! I have a question about Graduation.
FACULTY ADVISOR: It's online. There's really nothing to it.
HIM: Do I need a webcam?
HIM: How will you know I'm wearing my cap and gown?
FACULTY ADVISOR: Sir, you don't need to wear anything.
HIM: My parents won't like that. They're going to take pictures.
FACULTY ADVISOR: That's not what I meant.
HIM: So it's OK to wear a cap and gown?
FACULTY ADVISOR: If you want, yes.
HIM: Who's going to deliver the keynote lecture?
HIM: If you don't mind, I have prepared some remarks. Can I have five to seven minutes of time at the podium?
FACULTY ADVISOR: Sir, I don't think you understand.
HIM: I know I'm not the Valedictorian, but I tried really hard and if they're not going to speak, it's only fair that I -
FACULTY ADVISOR: That's not it. The graduation is online.
HIM: That's alright. I have an internet connection and a microphone. I'll wait to begin the speech until you've finished playing an MP3 of the National Anthem.
FACULTY ADVISOR: No! The whole graduation is done by a batch job that runs on the server and updates everyones' personnel records to show course completion. You don't have to do anything EXCEPT log back into the the system after 4:06 pm Wednesday and print off your diploma.
HIM: Can I salute the printer?

Click ... buzz ...

I know you read this blog you hypercompetitive little smart alleck. You are NOT going to get in the last word ... no matter how good it was.

Monday, July 14, 2008

F is for First Words

An idea from Kookaburra ... about the first postings on his blog and the responses that it garnered ... made me think that "F" should be for the first words on my blog.

Just a month short of two years ago, my writing instructor Mel Odom gave eveveryone an assignment to start a blog. His idea was that everyone would write something every day and it would help their writing.

Katie was the first to leave a comment. It was just one word - "yeah!!!" Katie is one of the most interesting poeple I know. She's funny, smart and really pretty too. She writes for Blogcritics and a couple of other sites too. She's finally finished a novel and is tearing headlong through her second. Love those exclamation marks dear. You are my hero and you rock.

This is my 121st post now and so much has changed over the last couple of years. I've made a whole bunch of new friends along the way. I never thought that publishers would send me books for free just so I would review them. I guess anything is really possible these days. Still meeting with old friends from the Writers Group on Wednesdays. In case anyone asks, that's where Katie, Justin, Steve, Sara, Marissa, Jason, Joe, Terri, Lisa and I will be. See ya there too?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

E is for the Elephant ... in the Room

A dear blogfriend and kindred spirit, M. from the Cornhusker State, received some bad medical news last week. I read the words and my heart sank. She's a brilliant writer with a wonderful, passionate voice that rings out ... especially in the whispers you stop to hear. I fear for the worst. She says no sympathy please. She'd rather not talk about the elephant in the room.

To fill the awkward silence, all I have are a few small, ridiculous words that don't mean anything at all. I don't know what else to do but change the subject and hope for the best. She smiles and leaves me with a kind word and a smile. I'm so thankful for it.

Now we are ignoring her elephant and making the best of it. Zirelda was absolutely right - sometimes that's all we can do for each other.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

D is for Ducks ... & lots of 'em

Was down at the pond when a pair of momma Mallards paddled by with fifteen baby ducks in tow. These ducklings are doing pretty well. There just used to be onesies and twosies at most, but a group of 15! It's great, except when they try to cross the street, waddling along in single file ... it takes forever.

I hope this means that our efforts to control the feral cat population are paying off. The City is trapping the ferals, spaying/neutering them, and then releasing selected animals back into the areas where they were caught.

Friday, July 11, 2008

C is for Contentment

Tony and Darlene will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on July 23. It's hard to imagine that it's been that long. Mrs. Skeeter and I were guests at their wedding. It was a memorable wedding too! We still have pictures of the aftermath of these two lovebirds trying to feed each other a bite of wedding cake. I have known Tony since 7th Grade. We eventually graduated from High School in a very small town in southeastern Colorado way, way back in the very last Spring of the Carter administration.

The picture is really the way these two are. Darlene is a great person and loves to have fun. Tony is a great guy with a really wry sense of humor. The picture really came out nice in our hometown newspaper.

Best wishes to Tony and Darlene. Happy 25th Anniversary!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

B is for Born ... in the Age of Huggies

Dante said there is a special place reserved in hell for those who do nothing in a time of moral crisis. I think he would add a category if he had been born in the "Age of Huggies" ...

What kind of person throws out loaded baby diapers from their car windows and leaves them where they land? Does this happen in other states, or (as I fear) is this small southern state the only place on God's green Earth with such unnatural and despicable ... deposits?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A is for Acatamathesia

Am starting a "alphabetical" sequence of blog postings that my blogfriend Eva at Sveedish. She's just now finishing the meme.

So now for the explanation of the "A" word. There was a "disturbance in the Force" in the Evil Corporation a few days ago. In honor of the moron who over-reacted, I present a one-fingered word for the letter "A" - Acatamathesia - the inability to understand data presented to the senses. Cheers, Mate, you're number one!

On a lighter note, here's a meme within a meme.
1. Open your music library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod, whatever) [I made an empty playlist in Windows Media Player, then drug the entire "My Music" folder into it.}
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question below, type the song that’s playing
5. New question — press the next button
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool

* Opening credits: “Sanctuary” - number 117 of the Hearts of Space series. It's a hour of contemporary space music - contemplative classics with an eastern European focus. I love the Hearts of Space series. I write while listening to the programs.
* Waking up: "The Great Gig In the Sky" by Pink Floyd - Some great screaming from the very first album I ever bought - The Dark Side of the Moon.
* First day at school: "Shanghai Breezes" by John Denver - From the Country Roads Collection, a set of everything John recorded during his career. Like this one, some of 'em were real stinkers too!
* Falling in love: “After The Fall” by Trans Siberian Orchestra - Wow, this one strikes a nerve. This is a powerful, rocking statement made the way that only TSO can. Here's why ...

I wanted
To say this
Long before this dark would fall
At night I
Would pray this
Then wonder if God heard at all
For the chances I've had are now long gone
And that star is no longer wished upon
For on this night it seems too far away

Somewhere in the long dark night, without even being able to describe it, a person begins to pray for sunshine, and then the dawn finally comes. Life is good that way, ya know?

* Breaking up: “Bullets” by Creed - A blast from the last arena rock band ~ very apropos.
* Prom: "Yellow" by Coldplay - Not too bad. The theme of my High School Prom was something under the sea. Gawd, I have no idea why they picked that. The same committee that picked that tried to hire the band I was in then to play the Prom. Thankfully a teacher supervising the committee pulled the plug on that idea because he knew I really didn't want to play my own Prom.
* Life’s okay: "Voices" by Cheap Trick - "You didn't know what you were looking for until you heard the voices in your ear" ... well, people have been saying I'm nuts for years now. Guess this tune gives me away.
* Mental breakdown: "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick - A gem from the late 70s. Seems appropriate in this context somehow.
* Driving: "Magical Mystery Tour" by The Beatles - I swear I didn't just spin this up. Too cool 4 school. Like Eva said, good choice, Ms. Shuffle.
* Flashback: "Blues Power" by Eric Clapton - It just happens that way sometimes.
* Getting back together: "Skellig" by Loreena McKennitt - This song is a about farewells and lamentation. She says "The secrets lie within, The writers of the past." dunno how this has anything to do with getting back together. Probably better this one popped up rather than something harder to explain ... like "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye.
* Wedding: "Amazing Grace" by Elvis - I have a massive mp3 collection of Elvis tunage. Go figure this one would be the first one that comes up.
* Birth of child: "Knocking On Heavens Door" by Eric Clapton - It's a stretch to fit this one into context, but there has been a baby boom in the Evil Corporation. One of the new fathers has a baby with a desperate case of colic. So this new father comes into work looking like death warmed over. I know things will improve for the baby coz colic does go away, but when you're in the throws of it, you just feel like your knocking on heavens door. Yes, I have a whole bunch of Clapton songs. Love that guitar work.
* Final battle: "Sister Blister" by Alanis Morissette. Oh my ...
* Death scene: "Cantus Inaequalis" by Adiemus - A tragically appropriate choice from the "Songs of Sanctuary" album. This group sings songs made up of nonsensical syllables. Death and nonsense, what a interesting combination. Exactly like the war in Iraq. Peace now! I can't wait for November to come. I'm voting for Peace and against Nonsense.
* End credits: "Sunshine Reggae" by Laid Back - Right on! Like the man says ... "Gimme, gimme just a little smile. That's all I ask of you." Now everybody dance.

The Question that must be asked ...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Better Than Sex

At work today, a coworker brought me a piece of cake. "We have two birthdays in the office this week!" she said. There was one birthday on the 3rd and the another on the 4th.

Me: Thanks.

I take the cake and the fork. She stands there smiling, expectant, watching. We exchange short, false laughs. I stick the fork into the cake and cautiously pick off a bite. Her eyes tracked the bite into my mouth.

She: It's got sponge cake, pineapples, whipped cream and ... I crushed the nuts myself.

Crushed 'em herself. Why it is that everything this woman bakes contains crushed nuts? Is it just me? I mean I've seen the Rachel Ray on the Food Channel, and she's very easy on the nuts.

Still She stands there, with a curious, expectant smile. Not sure of exactly which "lesser included" social misdemeanors I'm guilty of ... so rather than asking, I chew. The cake isn't bad, in fact, it's kinda good, not that I am an expert, you know, at distinguishing between flour, sugar, salt, and ... arsenic, but the frosting is really good.

She: It's called "Better than Sex" cake. Well, is it?

I choke and come up gulping like a grouper yanked out of the icy blue depths. Like what! Seriously? Oh Gawd no, does She mean ... by myself, with someone else, or please no ... not with her.

It occurs to me that maybe (please God, I don't ask for much, just make it so) that She is speaking metaphorically. We are all professionals here. This is a staff office in the Evil Corporation. We have reputations to maintain after all. I look into her anxious eyes, and then down to her hands, to the bare palms she uses to crush nuts ... and an idea comes to me.

Me: Yep, the cake is good. The only thing that is better is to get your cake ... and cookies too.

She giggled right loud, slapping her hands together, approvingly. So I just went with it. George Karlan was right, it really is impressive just how many euphemisms for *IT* we really know. For a moment, there we were in a Garden, with snickering little similes and metaphors, butterflies, fluttering between flowers of innuendo that crown the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Gradually the smile on Her face faded into a dazzled puzzlement. Her hand slipped off the unpicked Apple. She frowned and turned away.

We weren't alone anymore. The cubicle-dwelling Corporate Morlocks were laughing and singing, evening offering a few euphemisms of their own. I stifled my evil hench-people (think whip and chair you lion tamers) and set them back to work.

Lost in thought, She was walking slowly back to her cubicle. Then She stopped and turned back to me, raising a finger. She looked me directly in the eyes.

She: What kind of cookies?

She really didn't know. I have never felt more sad.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

The annual City fireworks display for the 4th of July were especially good this year. It could be that there were more and better fireworks.

It could be that there was better weather for it. It could also be that this year we had the display ran by professionals.

As far back as I can remember, we have had a pickup crew of guys running the show. A couple of technical types and some volunteers. It saves money and all of that. Usually the only thing that goes wrong is a small grass fire when some sparks shower the ground.

Last year there was a problem with sparks, just like every year. The sparks started a fire that raced into the storage area for the fireworks. Two volunteers were very badly burned. They died within a week. The fireworks company that the City contracts with every year, brought out a professional crew to handle everything at no charge to the City. These folks were really, really good too. It was one of the best displays ever.

Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008