Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Survey

We here at Me, CherkyB like to keep our fingers on the pulse of our readership to make sure that we're delivering the quality entertainment demanded by the one or two readers who ever actually "pay" for the content. As such, we occasionally poll our readers on a variety of subjects.

Tonight is one such night. Purely hypothetically:

What would you do if you saw someone throwing out a Diet Dr. Pepper inflatable punching bag?
I'd say to myself, "Self, that'd make a nice present for my grandson. Too bad it's broken."
I'd get thirsty for a Diet Dr. Pepper.
Rescue it, cuz my son-in-law simply loves to find and patch endless holes in inflatable punching bags.
I'd be reminded of my first "girlfriend", who met a surprisingly similar fate.
Free polls from

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Couple of Dum Basses

I dunno what it is, but I've been fishing a lot lately. I think it's called a hobby or something.

Yesterday, Carl Jr., Rico, and I went off to Riverbend Ponds to fish after work. This is the location at which that famous story Cooler of Death occurred. This is the first time Rico has joined us for the after-work fishing, as he finally found his fishing license in the dryer.

I was raring to go, as I had a fistful of new lures that I wanted to try out. In the roughly 1.5 hours of fishing, I caught 4 fish, all with the same lure. Oh, did I mention I have a new favorite lure? The Rapala Jointed Shad Rap in black over silver. It was 3 bluegills (one of which was decent-sized) and some kind of bass that was 8-10". Rico also caught a couple of these bass, and we spent a long time arguing over what they actually were.

They had characteristics of both a smallmouth and a largemouth. In particular, they had a small mouth and the spunk of a smallmouth, but they had a horizontal spotted stripe along the side much like a largemouth. I believe that with enough googling these turn out to probably be the spotted bass, but reports differ as to whether these exist in Colorado or not, though I gather from these guys that they do.

I had to pick up HannahC from gymnastics at 7:00, so I dutifully set my alarm and packed up in time to get her. As I was leaving, Carl, Jr. inquired, "What time is it?"

"10 to seven."


Then he kept fishing.

Today, as the three of us were heading to lunch, Carl, Jr. said, "Soooo...I'm not allowed to go fishing after work anymore for a while."

Apparently, he fished until 7:30, then strolled into the old house and was confronted with some version of the age-old, "Where in the hell were you?" that a married-with-children man gets when he comes home an hour late for dinner and didn't so much as call, and being a fairly innocent soul, he responded with something to the effect of, "I was fishing," rather than lying through his teeth like he should have done.

So now Carl can't come fishing anymore.

And then, as luck would have it, Rico said, "Yeah, I got in trouble, too." He then proceeded to tell a story about how his girlfriend never cooks, but she decided to cook yesterday, and he didn't know. Except that she called him on his cell a bunch of times to tell him, but he didn't answer or listen to the voice mail cuz he was fishing and, not being married, he has no obligation to be at anyone's beck and call.

Which means that of the three of us, I'm now the responsible and reliable one.

I'm pretty sure I'll crack under the pressure presently.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Something Not to Do 16

On Saturday night, The Mrs. and I had just finished watching "National Lampoon's Barely Legal," which I've just learned was only named that on the video but was called "After School Special" during the couple days it was in the theaters. Purely hypothetically, imagine this conversation followed:
The Mrs: "It's amazing."

Me, CherkyB: "What?"

The Mrs.: "Your taste in movies hasn't changed in 23 years."

Me, CherkyB: "So?"

The Mrs.: "I just think it's amazing that you still watch exactly the same kind of stuff you did when you were in high school."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh. Like your tastes have changed."

The Mrs.: "They have. I like to think they've broadened."

Following that up with the response, "It's not your tastes that have broadened in the last 23 years," would be Something Not to Do™.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Mrs. Disses

Me, CherkyB: "I found a nice, used bass boat for $3900!"

The Mrs.: "What would we do with that?"

Me, CherkyB: "Uh...Fish?"

The Mrs.: "No. I mean how would we transport it?"

Me, CherkyB: "Oh. It comes with a trailer!"

The Mrs.: "No. I mean, how would we pull the trailer? Are either of our vehicles capable of pulling a trailer?"

Me, CherkyB: "I drive a pickup truck !$@%^!"

The Mrs.: "So what? Can you tow anything with it."

Me, CherkyB: "I can tow 7000 lbs with it. Have you ever noticed how it has a trailer hitch on it? It's a class IV hitch."

The Mrs.: "Are you sure?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yes, I'm sure."

The Mrs.: "And you don't think a bass boat weighs more than 7000 lbs.?"

Me, CherkyB: "No. It's a boat. It's smaller than the truck and made out of fiberglass. It weighs less than the truck does."

The Mrs.: "It doesn't sound like a good idea to me."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Lazy Days of Summer

Ever notice how there used to be a whole bunch of blogs that had new posts every day, and now, they mostly don't? I blame summer.

This morning, I got up feeling like we should do something fun. I said to The Mrs., "We're going to do something fun today."


"I don't know; it hasn't been determined yet. Maybe go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo."

"That's a two hour drive."

"Yeah, but we have time."

"No. We'll go tomorrow."

So, "we" decided at that point not to do anything fun today. Fun will have to wait for tomorrow. I went outside to scope the yardwork, and I noticed one of our tomato plants had fallen over, despite being in a tomato cage. I picked it up and stuck the cage back in the ground, but it promptly fell over again. I also noted that another of the three plants was listing badly.

After poking around in the garage a moment, I said, "Ah ha! What is called for here is a trip to Lowe's!" MaxieC was with me, so we decided to go together. Then, upon informing The Mrs., HannahC decided to go, too.

Now, see, taking both childrens to Lowe's is usually problematic, as all they do is fight with one another the whole time. This is because M-F during work hours, they don't get any discipline whatsoever, so they get in the habit of misbehaving.

But, I decided to risk it, as if I brought The Mrs. along, she would for sure insist we stop at JoAnn Fabrics for just 90-1000 minutes, and that I watch The Childrens that whole time because she "can't shop if she has to watch The Childrens." And then she'd need to spend another $150 on house plants at Lowe's because she'll have decided she doesn't like the soil she planted the old ones in and wants to change it, but might as well change the pots and plants, too, at the same time since she's right in there anyways.

Or some close approximation of that.

I made a list of everything needed from Lowe's, mostly, which included a bunch of pvc pipe for a couple teepee's that The Mrs. is going to sew for The Childrens as a surprise. Plus, three 10' lengths of rebar, cuz nothing is better for staking up tomato cages than 5' lengths of rebar (obtained by sawing said 10' lengths in half, for those of my readers who like to follow along with their lips as they read).

Then, we piled in the winivan, which MaxieC insisted on taking so he could watch a Veggie Tales DVD the whole way. And we were off.

To Sportsman's Warehouse. Hee hee. Tricked you silly childrens.

See, yesterday Carl, Jr., made me fish at his favorite fishing spot after work, and though the only sign of fish we saw was a couple Bluegill (one of which Carl, Jr. caught) and a big carp that I spotted right before leaving, I still managed to lose my favorite lure. It was a buzzbait, and I loved it because of how you could skip it across the water in all kinds of mess and never snag it on anything.

Unless, of course, you manage to cast way out by a bunch of logs in the water and the wind gusts right then and it takes the line up over a tree branch that is 20' up and 30' to the right of you and out over the water.

Then, you can kiss your favorite lure goodbye.

Oddly, I never caught a damn thing with that lure. It's funny how things become your favorite despite being utterly useless. Take a look at your friends and family. You'll find yourself nodding in agreement.

And the fact that you religiously visit Me, CherkyB, kinda underscores my point there, doesn't it?

At any rate, I picked up five new lures: two new Cavitron buzzbaits (same kind, different colors), two Mepps Aglia with red spinners with white Van Halen stripes on them (a #1 and a #2), and a Rapala Jointed Shad Rap in black over silver. The Childrens had a great time looking at the million-billion lure they have there.

Then, we hit Lowe's, where The Childrens didn't fight all that much because they were still so excited about the new lures and the prospect of perhaps going fishing later in the day (which we did not do, as tomorrow is the day we're allowed to have fun).

Upon returning, I decided to mow the lawn, but first, I decided to check the air filter cuz My Precious has still be running a little rough even after the fuel filter change. The filter was a mess, so it was off to the newer, closer Lowe's.

I love days like that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Young Again

The grand experiment mentioned at the end of this earlier post ended positively for the future of The Mrs. - I slept some on one of her down pillows and was very shortly overcome with asthma. In addition, the weather has been nicer, so The Mrs. has moved back up from the basement bedroom.

And I've had asthma every single night since then.

To remedy this, we decided to head off to Macy's semi-permanent clearance sale, where damn near everything in the store is enough off to be within the realm of competitive with what a normal person would consider a fair price. Pillows were 20%-50% off, and we loaded up. I got myself a "regularly $100, now just $49.99" memory foam pillow, and HannahC noticed that this was more expensive than the pillow she had picked out for herself, so she immediately switched. MaxieC got a new pillow that he refuses to sleep on because it is "too thick" (to be fair, it's about twice the thickness of MaxieC). And The Mrs. not only replaced her down pillows with fiber fill, but also scored a big, giant "body pillow" which she has used in order to replace both her "knee pillow" and her teddy bear (who is almost completely worn through).

Despite the removal of down from the marital bed, I continue to be stricken with breathing troubles during the night. Troubles that can only be explained by an allergy to The Mrs. herself.

However, the memory foam pillow has thus far proven to be quite a hit. I used to wake up each morning in pain which I first blamed on the mattress, though acquiring a new mattress did not solve the problem, and then I blamed it on just being old beyond my years. Since switching to the memory foam pillow, though, I'm sleeping much more restfully and waking without back pain.

It's like I'm young again.

Only without the hope and dreams and aspirations.

I may have to run back and snag a second memory foam pillow. I normally switch off between two pillows during the night because I don't like when my pillow gets hot, but I didn't want to blow $100 on unproven technology. I wonder when the clearance ends.

Tomorrow, The Mrs.'s brother swings through town on a bidness trip. We're having fajitas for dinner because there is some kind of tradition that you must always have fajitas with The Brother. I don't understand it, but it's not my place to meddle with The Mrs.'s fambly and their traditions, what with me being an outsider and all.

The Brother's fajita recipe is the best I've ever had, though. They're almost enjoyable, as opposed to most Mexican food that you just stuff in your face and hope to god you can choke down enough to tide you over until you can find some proper food like a steak or fried chicken or mac'n'cheese.

Or a Taco Bell.

I found new life in the back pond on Sunday. HannahC has been reporting that there were three baby goldfish (she named them all "Minnow"), though for weeks I have seen but two. Then I finally saw the third. I also found a bullfrog hanging out in the skimmer box. We had bought four bullfrog tadpoles a couple months ago and hadn't seen them since, except for one I pulled out of the filter the next weekend. Now we've got at least one bullfrog.

So lets see...that's:
  • Dog: Freddy
  • Rat: Jackie
  • Grasshopper: Giant
  • Grasshopper: Speedy
  • Crickets: Unnamed - maybe 20 of them
  • Leopard Frog: Tiny AKA Frogger
  • Bullfrog: Bully
  • Koi: Charles
  • Koi: Whitey
  • Fancy Goldfish: Spotty
  • Fancy Goldfish: Spotty (a different fish)
  • Black Catfish: Lethel
  • White Catfish: Eddle
  • Koi: Shimmer
  • Koi: Shiny
  • Baby goldfish: Minnow
  • Baby goldfish: Minnow (a different fish)
  • Baby goldfish: Minnow (a different fish)
I think all the pet spiders and ladybugs are are dead.

We're thinking of going on vacation in September, but I don't think we can afford the pet care. I suppose it could be worse. We could be collecting large, unruly dogs.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The briefest of fishing tales

The fambly and I went back to Frank Easement Ponds last night for a little evening fishing. The Mrs. caught about an 11" largemouth using a hook with worm and a bobber. I caught a little 5" largemouth using a Rapala floater. The Childrens failed to catch anything (though The Mrs. caught her fish with MaxieC's rig right after he got tired of fishing).

I got in a lot of good practice with a buzzbait, so the trip was not completely in vain.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Playing Hooky

Yesterday was my birthday. My loving daughter presented me with a rainbow Rooster Tail fishing lure, and my darling wife prepared Taco Bell for dinner. Well, except I had to drive us to Taco Bell, pay, and bring the food to the table. Other than that, though...

It being Thursday night, at least the boyz bought me my drinks.

Today, I had the urge to try out the aforementioned lure and the new reel that I got myself for my birthday. As luck would have it, all the meetings I normally have on Friday afternoons got canceled. As luck would also have it, yesterday Rico wanted to see the pond near my house that was rumored to have bass in it (rumored by me, on account of I've talked to fishermen there who claimed to have caught some), since we were eating lunch not to far from there.

We hadn't intended to eat lunch where we were. We had intended to go to Carl's Jr., which is one more exit south. But Rico got to talking about wanting to check out that pond, and I was telling him how to get to it, and Carl, Jr., was driving and listening (cuz he likes to fish, too), and he accidentally started following the directions and got off the highway at the exit for that pond, and not the one for Carl's Jr.

Carl is fairly easily flustered when he drives.

So we ate at the Arby's there, then went to check out the pond, which is formally named "North Frank Easement Pond at Frank State Wildlife Area," but I'll just call it "the pond." We saw lots of bluegill teaming along the periphery. Interesting, as my fambly had tried fishing that pond one before (our first fishing of this season) and gotten skunked. But we only fished for maybe 20 minutes that time.

For over a week, Carl, Jr., has been hauling around his fishing gear in his trunk in case we could sneak off ever, and I've been bringing mine since Monday. Well, we finally decided that today was the day.

So we grabbed a quick lunch and hit the pond. Early afternoon is a pretty lousy time to fish, but mostly I wanted to play with the new reel, so going at a lousy time means getting a lot of casting/reeling practice.

We fished for over an hour, trying one lure after another. We could see fish jumping here and there, and we could see schools of bluegill at various places, but just could not coax any bites.

Eventually, we started working our way around the perimeter of the lake. Carl, Jr. at some point switched to a bobber and a yellow, feathery jig (kinda like this one). About five minutes after that, he caught himself about a 7" fish. I was a couple hunnerd yards away, and he was yelling how it was some kinda fish he didn't recognize. When I got over there, he declared that he was pretty sure it was a largemouth bass. I checked my "Colorado species identification" guide that I always carry with me just in case I accidentally ever catch a carp again, and sure 'nuf, it was a largemouth.

I immediately dug out a bobber and a jig that looked almost identical, though mine was greenish yellow rather than canary yellow. We kept fishing and working along the shore back towards the car (had to be back to work in about 40 minutes), and I got my first strike of the day. This is more than an hour and a half from when we started.

It felt like something big, and it took a bit of line with it. I got to use the fancy rear-drag control on the new reel to increase the drag slowly as it tired, which made it extra fun. What I ended up with was a 15.25" largemouth. Carl, Jr. snapped this photo using my cellphone:

The minimum size limit at this pond is 15", so this guy squeaked in to being legal, but I threw him back anyways. The Mrs. and I are going out for dinner tonight, and Carl, Jr., and I were in our work clothes and had no decent place to put a fish. Though it was tempting, given we were only about 5 minutes from my house.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Marital Bliss

Or some approximation thereof.

For a long while now, I've been having fairly frequent asthma attacks during the night, and I wake up almost every morning with a touch of asthma and a decent amount of coughing. I've long suspected that this was some sort of allergic reaction, as aside from frigid air and exercise, allergies are the only thing left that trigger this in me. However, being on a steady dose of Zyrtec hasn't helped much at all. Now, at last, due to pure chance, I have figured out the cause.

I am allergic to my wife.

As odd as it may seem, every now and then The Mrs. sleeps in the basement guest room. This is invariably triggered by the weather - either it's so windy that the windows rattle on the second floor, keeping The Mrs. awake, or it is so hot that the air conditioner can't cool off the second floor, keeping The Mrs. awake. She likes to head down to the cool, quiet basement for sleep in these cases. I, on the other hand, am not willing to abandon my bedroom for any such trifles. Especially since when The Mrs. heads to the basement bedroom, The Childrens follow her like the Pied Piper, and they all sleep happily in the one tiny room.

Faaaaa---...k that.

But anyways, we had a windy day about a month ago where she slept in the basement, and I had no asthma during the night, and I woke up with no coughing in the morning.

I found it odd but chalked it up to coincidence.

Now, however, we've had two very hot nights in a row where The Mrs. has slept in the basement, and I stayed in our bed, and both nights I have had no asthma, and both morning I have had no coughing. I feel more healthy than I have in months. The Mrs., again by sheer coincidence(?) is coughing a ton more in the morning than she normally does.

I've gotten to wondering if it is her down pillows causing the trouble, as I am deathly allergic to down. But she has left one of those pillows in the bed each and every time. It could still be that it requires somebody to be tossing and turning on the pillow to kick up enough down to affect me, so tonight I plan to sleep on the down pillow she leaves behind while she is in the basement.

If I am still asthma-free tomorrow, I may have to trade The Mrs. in for a newer, hypoallergenic model.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Excitement Builds

This week is promising to be a very exciting week. On Wednesday, we have a dinner with my boss's boss and all her staff. For some historical reason, I am considered part of her staff despite the fact that I no longer work for her. So we'll be dropping The Childrens off at one of HannahC's friend's houses along with some pizzas and then heading to a fancy restaurant in Olde Towne.

I try to keep my work life and home life separate, as like all great performers, I play a different role at work (decisive, argumentative, possibly somewhat insane technical leader) than at home (passive, brooding slave to wife's every whim). I'm not quite sure which role to affect whilst surrounded by co-workers in the presence of The Mrs., and of course, there's the risk that the two sides may catch on to my flexible personality and like the other side better.

Then on Thursday I turn 40. A sad day, really, as I'm supposed to stop binge drinking when I turn 40. This despite the fact that it is Fat Camp night and Rico has insisted on driving me, since it's my birthday and all. I'm leaning towards just not going rather than putting up with all the psychological abuse I'd have to take from The Mrs. if I had the slightest, teeniest, tiniest hangover Friday morning.

See, I'm already over the hill. Every morning when I get up, I groan with pain. I am not now, nor ever have I been, a morning person. Yet, The Mrs. has decided that these symptoms of approaching death that I exhibit each and every morning take on a whole new meaning on Friday morning. Yes, instead of marking imminent return to the dust from which we are all made, she interprets it as a sure sign of me having been happy the night before.

And we certainly cannot stand for that. Nope. Not one iota.

My favorite is when she walked in on me once while I was sitting down to put on my socks and said, "Too hungover to stand up, huh?"

No. I'm just to old to be able to balance on one foot while putting my socks on first thing in the morning before I've had my coffee. But you just keep on telling yourself that you can nag me into being young again.

Though, if nagging were all it took, married men would live a lot longer than single men.


Then Friday is another "Kids Night Out," where we drop The Childrens off at the museum and get to go to a fancy restaurant in Olde Towne. We are at this point flummoxed as to where to go. I'm pretty sure it won't be to Lucky Joe's for the fish-n-chips special.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Trench Warfare

Today I dug another trench. Back in the day, I used to be quite a trench digger, but these days, even a little 10 foot long, 9 inch deep, 5 inch wide trench causes my body to ache at the end of the day. I should have used my pick. I forgot completely about the pick, and I used the trenching shovel and the digging bar. The soil here is very hard. The pick would have been the perfect tool. Oh well. I have at least two more trenches to go.

I decided not to do much work today, because it was up in the 90's and blazingly sunny. So, you know, just one little trench. I was adding a sprinkler head to zone C6 as I had this fairly large area (about 20'x4', only it was an arc) that got almost no water from any sprinkler. So the lawn there turns brown and looks like death through the hot days of summer. Then it kinda perks back up a bit in the fall and comes back quite well in the spring. So I added a head in a place that mostly covers the area. I can't completely cover it because with our pathetic water pressure, the longest throw you can get out of a popup is about 10 feet. Even the ones that claim to go 20 only go in my yard.

Adding a sprinkler zone required a trip to Home Despot. Normally, I go to Lowe's instead of Home Despot, but I ended up getting 11 $25 gift cards for Home Despot from work as part of their "kudos" system, but I never redeemed them over the last couple years. Then, the program ended (it was replaced with a centralized system that has a lot more choices and in which you can "let it ride" to get one big gift certificate somewhere instead of a million-billion $25 ones.), and so I had to cash out. Hence, I have a stack of 11 $25 gift cards.

Well, I don't anymore. Now I have only 4. The Mrs. decided to re-pot all her plants with very fancy pots because, "They're free!" Plus, I got some high temperature spray paint and a wire brush for my angle grinder in order to repaint the smoker, which, being a big piece of Chinese crap, rusted through its paint in slightly under a year. I put four coats of RustOleum grill paint on it (that's two whole cans - cans are always best in pairs). Hopefully, that'll hold for a year.

I am now going to soak my sorry, aged body in the hot tub. The ibuprofen is starting to kick in, and there's nothing like some ibuprofen, a soak in the hut tub, and some for of whiskey-base beverage to sooth an aching ego.

Friday, July 11, 2008

No matter how much you don't want to

...every now and then, you find yourself agreeing with Jessie Jackson.

On a lighter note, tomorrow is HannahC's 8th birthday party. Her birthday was Tuesday, but the party of course had to be on a weekend, what with it being summer and all. I was today informed that my job was to supervise the children as they jump through the sprinklers.

I can't imagine a worse job. Especially since there will only be a high of 80 tomorrow given the cold front that moved in this evening. I hope they don't break any of the sprinklers. Already, I have large brown patches in the lawn because I refuse to run my sprinklers every day. I'm trying to teach my grass to live on 15 minutes of water three times a week.

I spooled up my new fishing reel tonight. I couldn't wait any longer. It was just sitting there on the kitchen counter mocking me.

This morning, I almost tossed the fishing gear into the truck on my way to work. It was shaping up to be the kind of day where I didn't have much to do in the afternoon, and Carl, Jr., had been carping about how we never sneak off to go fishing. But, at the last minute, I decided that I didn't want to go fishing without my new reel, and I didn't have time to load it up with line before work. So no sneaking off to go fishing for me today.

Carl, Jr., had brought all his stuff. He's very dedicated. I wonder how long he's had all that gear in his trunk.

Next week, unfortunately, will be very busy for me. So I probably missed my one opportunity to sneak off fishing for a long long time.

I need to clean out the tackle box. It's so full that it barely shuts, and most of the stuff I never use and will never use. Like the two copies of everything that comes with a kid's fishing combo. They live their little assortments of jigs and lures, but none are actually all that useful.

We stopped at Harbor Freight Tools this afternoon after lunch. I'd never been there before. Wow, is most everything in there absolute junk! I mean, it was hard to believe the tools were actually meant to be used. They looked like props. But I did manage to find a ratcheting cargo bar for the pickup, which is something I've needed for 5 years. As I was reading the directions, I realized that the person writing them had clearly never used the thing, as the way it actually worked and the way the directions said it worked bore very little resemblance to one another. I also loved the part where it told me to be sure that I was wearing approved safety goggles and work gloves before adjusting the bar.

I think I'll head off to bed now. Nighty night.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

It must be rough

being stupid.

Today, I was listening to the radio, and they were discussing the recent ticketing of a protester who allegedly trespassed at a McCain town hall meeting in Denver. They had a caller on the line who was explaining the whole thing. The "private security guard" from the venue whole filed the trespassing complaint was actually secret service. However, they called him a private security guard because the secret service has recently been outsourced to Blackwater.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Paralyzing fear

It's not often that I venture in the the strongholds of The Enemy, but sometimes The Mrs. drags me off to one. Thus, yesterday afternoon, I found myself in the Humanities building at The University of Northern Colorado.

I lived here for close to a year before I even knew there was a University of Northern Colorado. Apparently, they don't have a football team that plays CSU, so we never hear about them. But, there it is. Right in the nice part of Greeley.

Or thereabouts.

The Childrens are there for a summer camp this week, and we had to trek out there to register for the class sessions for HannahC. MaxieC is too young to have class sessions. He just has one group all day. HannahC has to change every 45 minutes or so.

It started off badly when The Mrs. called for directions. She wrote them down. This is what they said:
Going north on 11th Ave 1 block past 20th St is
She handed me these directions triumphantly and then added, "We're supposed to look for parking lot L."

OooooooK. I punched up the intersection of 11th Ave and 20th St in her GPS. Nope. Sorry. It was listed as a crossroad, but when I selected it, it didn't do anything. Just ignored me.

So I got out that devil we call TomTom, and it found it right away. Off we go.

As we crossed 20th St on 11th Ave, we had our eyes peeled. Oddly, it appeared to be a residential neighborhood, with the university a block to the right of us, but also behind us. The Mrs's GPS has the university grounds shaded a different color, so I when we got to the northernmost end of it, I swung over a block to where the school was and started tracing the perimeter back the way we came.

In a few minutes, we stumbled across the building we were looking for and the infamous Lot L. Here is what the directions should have said:
Going north on 11th Ave, turn left on 20th St.
Go three blocks and turn left again on 14th Ave.
Go a block and you will be on campus where you will intersect another street which for no good reason is also named 20th St.
Parking Lot L will be on the far right corner, and the building will be on the far left.
You see how much better it flows with that whole middle part about being on 14th Ave, not 11th, and there being two 20th Streets that are parallel and a block apart, on in the city and one on campus? Yes, it's a bit wordier, but still.

The Mrs. and HannahC headed into the building while MaxieC and I sat in the van, and I tried to remember how to create a "favorite" in the GPS based on where I actually was. The Mrs., you see, has to schlep The Childrens back and forth twice a day for a couple weeks, so she'll need the GPS to guide her.

As much as I bitch about the user interface in TomTom, there are things that are simply downright stupid in The Mrs.'s GPS. Like, for instance, adding favorites. It goes like this:

Setup->More->Personal Information->Address Book->The Mrs.->Add Address

See, if you just push "Address Book" on the main menu, you can only navigate to something already in the book. You can't add an entry. Adding can only be done from the setup menu.

Oddly, TomTom separates these two functions as well, however by slightly fewer menu screens. It also forces you through the setup menu. So what is with the f'k on that?

When we head inside, there are throngs of over-parenting parents (this is a summer camp for "high achieving childrens" or something like that. I'm not allowed to call it "genius camp" anymore, on account of The Mrs. doesn't want HannahC to get a big head. We had to submit standardized test scores and references and such in order to get in.) who are pouring over the class listings while their children run around in yellow t-shirts with the olympic symbol on them (which they'll get sued for if they didn't license it, just like Olympics of the Mind did before they had to change their name to Odyssey of the Mind back in the early 80's) and try to get cookies from the free cookies table and are continuously told, "You are only allowed one and only after we have completed your course selections and turned in the paperwork and have had it checked!"

And, you really know you're at the nerd convention when they even have gluten-free cookies available.

MaxieC and I looked around, rolled our eyes, and wandered off. This is when I discovered that we were in the Women's Studies section of the building. Gaah! I quickly checked my T-shirt to make sure it wasn't going to get me mugged. It was just a Bad Boys Bail Bonds shirt, "Because your momma wants you home." Nothing offensive about that. Plus, there didn't seem to be any professors around. Why would there be on the weekend? It's not like there is actually any research involved in Women's Studies. It's largely just a matter of citing "experts" in the field who cited other "experts" who cited you, and no one can figure out anymore at what point the statistic you are talking about was just made up out of thin air because everybody has a long chain of circular references and nobody will fess up to being the first to say it.

We did make it up to the third floor during our wanderings, and there we found a couple anthropology professors actually at work. There is still a branch of anthropology that could be considered scientific, but I can't imagine it will last long if housed in the humanities building.

I like to peruse the cartoons that professors put up outside their offices. Humanities professors aren't known for their humor. Not like physicists. Physicists are a f-ing hilarious bunch, if you can understand the jokes as, like fine British humor, it's not actually funny.

Not JackAss 2 funny, at least.

Physicist 1: "I'm pretty sure there's a new subatomic particle. I'm going to call it a neutrino."
Physicist 2: "Cool. What's it like?"
Physicist 1: "Well, it's so high-energy that it blasts right through everything except for very, very dense objects."
Physicist 2: "Like Senator Proxmire?"
An old joke, I suppose. But I don't hang with any physicists cuz all we can ever scare up are semi-conductor physicists, and since they're the bunch of physicists who have actually found application for their work in the real world, their craven drive for monetary compensation has removed a lot of their humor value. Plus, they tend to be a bunch of dorks, and I hang with my fair share of dorks already, thank you very much.

One professor had a political cartoon about the evils of standardized testing, only it was photocopied onto a piece of paper, and then numbers were written on the cartoon and underneath it had a deconstruction of the cartoon. (1) The roof of the building represents that barrier created by standardized testing. (2) The child caught in the roof represents a creative child trying to break free of the bonds of conformity. (I'm paraphrasing here.) Blah blah blah.

Another had snippets from a feminist coloring book. The cool thing about that was that it was modern enough to have an URL. I spent some time pondering this cartoon from a coloring book called, "Girls Wll Be Boys Will Be Girls Will Be..." which I know to you, my loyal readership, sounds more like a nasty Brazilian porn site than the title of a feminist coloring book. First, of course, I was quite offended by the portrayal of a boy wearing a lacey apron. But once I got past that, I got to thinking. I said to myself,
"Self, is this a one-dimensional portrayal of a situation where the sex roles [I know I'm supposed to say "gender roles" in this context, but just because an entire field of study has endorsed a forced grammatical incorrectness does not mean that I, an outsider, have to subscribe to that incorrectness.] are reversed? Because if so, it is a rather feminized portrayal of how a boy would actually act - talking about making drums rather than actually doing it. Oh but wait, perhaps the author is deeper than I have assumed, and instead she is portraying how a girl would act if she had interests similar to a boy's - talking and building consensus rather than just taking over a pot and spoon and starting to drum. But if so, doesn't this endorse the politically-incorrect idea that girls and boys are innately different, thus undermining the thesis of the book?"
Imagine that. Finding a conundrum in a feminist coloring book.

To get back to the point that inspired the title, not long before we were leaving, HannahC handed me two pieces of garbage. One was a napkin, and the other was a scrap of paper. I located a garbage can by the cookie table and went to throw them both out. Then, suddenly, I realized the scrap of paper was recyclable.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Uh, no.

So I'm taking HannahC to farm camp today, just like I have every day this week, and being that it's the third day in a row that she's gone to exactly the same place at the same time with the same people, and I'm in a bit of a hurry as I have to give two presentations at work within the next hour and a half, I say, "So, it's OK if I just drop you off, right?"


I pull up to the curb in front of the door along with all the other parents, and I say, "OK. Have fun."

"Uh, no."

"What do you mean no? You said I could drop you off."

"No, you have to walk me to the door."

Then, I have to drive back to the part of the lot where you can park, park, and walk her to the door. We get right to the door and, without me even setting foot inside, she turns and says, "OK. Bye Dah," and heads off inside.

I have no idea what the purpose of that little exercise was other than that, as a female, she subconsciously structures her life in order to make mine inconvenient.