Thursday, November 29, 2007

Say WA!?!

From the Things I Can't Make Up File

The state of Washington was trying on a new motto a while ago. After spending over $200,000 doing, uh, research, a committee of clearly over-caffeinated, sun-deprived folks settled on Metronatural to replace Say WA! which had promptly fell flat on its face right out of the gate. I preferred a distant runner-up Come see the orcas while you still can!

The motto fiasco bubbled to the surface of my consciousness the other day thanks to a student's scribbling at the bottom of his paper. After diligently working numerous steps and showing all work, he proudly wrote "... and Wa-La! We have the answer!"

Wa-La?!? Talk about disassociation. I refuse to admit to how long it took me to figure out that he was referring to the term voila, which you may recall is French for the ancient Greek word eureka.

As painful as that un-word is to say, it is not at the top of my personal list for language debacles. My all time fave comes from a high school student who proudly wrote Sike! on the board, complete with circles and stars for a stronger rubbing-it-in effect. No amount of discussion could convince him that the word derived from psyche, itself an offspring of the ancient Greek word whacko.

And again I ask you, Say WA?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Two days later, I find this

Just thought I would post a blog before I go back to skipping across my shiny hardwood floors and suddenly springy carpets. And looky what I found in my rss feeder:

This is not the vacuum I bought but now I'm thinking I need one for other flat surfaces in the house. Please note the length of the cord. Even in miniature, there's enough there to cross the street. Is that kitty litter being sucked up?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

One Day It Happens

For my birthday a few weeks back, I received a card that said:
One day it happens: You think to yourself, "You know, that music is kind of loud," and you reach over and turn it down. And you are 40.

I will not beat the dead horse discussion regarding how the number the volume dial is set to is inversely related to one's age until hearing aids are needed. Today I will add to the list of age determining tools.
The measuring stick I speak of is the importance of household appliances and the effect of their performance on your well-being. More specifically, I am speaking of vacuums.

There are many levels at which appliances can be used to measure your age. The first is the fact that household appliance are even on your radar as a topic of contemplation. The second is that you went out and purchased a new vacuum rather than just using the one that was left behind by the previous renters or by the roommate who never used it even though it was his/hers. The third is that you did research into which vacuum is best on hairballs, both human and feline, pet hair, human hair, and hair of unknown origin. The fourth is that, even though it is Saturday and there is not a category 5 hurricane or a blizzard or a herd of wilderbeast outside your window, you chose to vacuum your entire house because you were so excited to have a new vacuum and you could not wait to see how it performed. For gaia's sake, you even got an extra hour of party time tonight because daylight saving time is over and you spent it vacuuming!

My personal experience, very recently, is that I was ready to throw out all the rugs, both throw and wall-to-wall, into the trash because they were filthy and only getting worse even though my Roomba was trying its hardest to keep up between my miserable bouts with the other so-called vacuum. You know it's bad when walking across the rug sends up little clouds of dust much like softball players do when when trotting across the infield. It was bad. So out came the Consumer Reports and off to Costmo we went. Upon arriving home, we couldn't wait to get the super sucker out of the confines of the packaging and plugged in. (Side note:
the cord on this thing is so long, we can vacuum the neighbors' houses without changing sockets. Is this a symptom of McMansionitis?)

Much joy!! Our rugs are blue! Not gray—blue! The one in the hallway is green! Not gray—green! The one in the breakfast nook is tan! Not tan—tan! OK, that last rug didn't change color so much as it did texture. Just as joyous.

So, one day it happens. You think to yourself, "You know, I really need a new vacuum," and you go out and buy one and use it and love it. And you are 40.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Catching my breath

Oh, I hardly know where to begin. Mainly it's because I haven't blogged in so long that I have no idea where I left off.

Item: The latest instrument of torture to evolve in the realm known as The Meeting almost wiped out the math department here at humble little community college on the hill. I am speaking, of course, of the webinar. It used to be the case that the dungeon master had to be in the same room as the jailbirds. Now the disher of the punishment can be thousands of miles away and oblivious to the fact that his or her droning voice is causing your brain to leak out of your ears. I am not kidding when I tell you that fifteen minutes into the long-distance powerpoint presentation, I was asleep. Proximity is not a variable in the function that calculates the pervasive potential of powerpoint to pulverize perspicacious perceptions. When I came to, I heard the woman answer her cell phone—for the second time—and not miss a beat as she inserted the phrase "I'll have to call you back" into the description of how the counter on the screen will increase as more students sign in. And as we know five is greater than three so we know two more students have signed in.

Dante could not have imagined this horror. We thought Grizelda (not her real name) could hear our comments via speaker phone. The first clue that this was not the case was when I and a colleague were on our feet, bent over the table and screaming into the phone, "Grizelda! Can you hear us?!?" Her shpeel, which was appropriate only for elementary school-aged children, continued unabated. It was so odd because she did pause moments earlier and was responding to a question she must have heard. Well, given evidence that she couldn't hear us, L started packing up his bag while R and I started to laugh about Grizelda's obliviousness and mind-numbing voice. She was still droning on and on and on and on when suddenly L knocked the receiver off the hook and—we hope—disconnected Grizelda. When I could stop laughing long enough to open my eyes, I couldn't see R until I looked under the table. He had fallen out of his chair and was on all fours, pounding the floor and laughing so hard he couldn't breathe.

It's a good thing the windows to the conference room are frosted. Let's just keep this little incident between us, shall we?