Monday, August 31, 2009

Drillers Baseball, Take 2

Our bank was giving away free general admission tickets to a couple of Tulsa Drillers baseball games last week. Hey, we don't even like baseball but we had fun at the last game, so why not?

This time the game wasn't quite as fun as last time, even though many of the same elements were in place. Same home team, same pointless mascot race, even a similar traumatic injury to a fan.

Don't sit there... seriouslyIn both games, a fly ball went into the exact same area of the stands and hammered some poor fan. This time, two guys next to the injured fan ripped off their shirts and starting making crude tourniquets. Ouch.

We got kicked out of an unmarked reserved seating section, which was fun. We honestly weren't trying to hijack seats, so I didn't think it was necessary for the guard to throw me over the little fence and into a hot dog vendor. I got spicy mustard in my eye. Plus, all he did to my wife was wink and kiss her on the cheek. I sense a double-standard.

Speaking of a double, we saw one of the rarest occurrences in all of baseball. The Phantom Double Play.

Yeah, you look cool... just don't missHere's how it works: A runner was on first, with a guy up to bat. He hit the ball directly to the Driller's shortstop, who casually flipped the ball to second base. So, the runner from first base is out, right? Yeah, except that the second baseman wasn't touching his base. He threw the ball to the first basemen just before the batter made it over there. But the first basemen wasn't touching his base, either.

At first glance it was a perfectly executed double play... except that neither runner got tagged out. That takes a very special kind of incompetence. I was honored to have seen it.

Hooray for useless swag!Finally, there was the obligatory swag. Somebody wandered through the stands handing out Whataburger coupons. Not only do we not like Whataburger much, there's not one near where I live or work. Oh well... useless coupons are far better souvenir than a fastball to the face.

Friday, August 28, 2009

City Of ... What?

In Owasso, a "City Of Character" resolution was passed some time ago. -

Functionally, what this means is that Owasso puts banners up across the city that proudly display this month's character trait. Right now the trait is "Faith", which they define as:

"Confidence that actions rooted in good character will yield the best outcome, even when I cannot see how."

The banners are usually English on one side, Spanish on the other. We drove by one of those banners recently and saw this:

City of iron?

Accept no substitutesI had no idea that the Spanish word for faith is "Fe."

Owasso is a city of iron.


Thursday, August 27, 2009


I mentioned that our dishwasher died, right? It wasn't so much that the motor died, or that it sprung a leak. We developed rust spots on the racks.


We got really concerned when we opened up the dishwasher and all of our stuff was coated with black specs. We had a rust explosion...


Ungood. Since the dishwasher was 10 years old anyway, it was time to upgrade. We got a nice Whirlpool machine, really large inside. The lack of rust was a big selling point.

When not in use?...But I gotta be me, and part of that means scanning the instruction manual for silliness. Whirlpool did not disappoint. There's a section in the manual under "Dishwasher Care" called, "Storing the Dishwasher". It talks about how and where to store your dishwasher when it isn't in use.

Can't you just imagine me unhooking a dishwasher and hefting it up into the attic every couple of days? I don't know where else I'd store it. The garage is full and the spare bedroom is packed with paperback books and LEGO.

Call me crazy, but I kinda think we'll store it there under the cabinet when it's not in use.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Coffee Pot Saga

Last week I mentioned that our office coffee pot was removed. What follows is the rest of the coffee pot saga.

Around the middle of last week, the new vending company recognized our distress and threw us a couple of life preservers. It started with a new coffee pot two floors above us. When OoRah heard this, he grabbed his mug and ran for the elevator.

A mighty fount of blessingThe rest of us were huddled together trying to stay awake when somebody ran into our department and shouted, "Free coffee on three!"

There's a coffee vending machine on the 3rd floor (we are on the 2nd floor). The vending company decided (was forcibly convinced) that the coffee vending machine would be free until they were able to replace all the coffee pots for us.

There were no less than 5 of us programmers who roared up the stairs. It literally sounded like a thunderstorm.

'Spit take' in 5... 4... 3...Later, a large group of us were gathered and sipping our brew. OoRah mentioned that his coffee from the new metal pot two floors up tasted funny. After a bit of discussion, we hit on the theory that the new coffee pot was *really* new. Therefore, it needed to have several empty runs to wash out all of the aluminum residue.

Keep in mind that OoRah was drinking a cuppa from this suspect machine as the theory was developed. The look on his face at the words "aluminum residue" was fantastic.

Shiney!Late last week, the dream was finally realized. We got our new office coffee pot. It has one of those nifty metal pots, so we ran *lots* of hot water through it to make sure that OoRah was the only one of us who would be tainted.

Those things are impressive, I have to say. The pot is super-hyper-insulated, so much so that the outside was actually cold to the touch. I lifted the lid and the burst of steam nearly took my eyebrows off.

So, after a tumultuous week, we have a coffee pot at work again. Ordinary "joy" seems so shallow now.

I'm told that those metal pots are kinda hard to clean, but I'm not too worried about that in an office environment. We all know that an office pot will never be cleaned anyway. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Cookie Bandit

I think this guy may win the award for "Dumbest Criminal Ever." Check it out... he tried to rob a bank with a cookie.

This is embarrassing... I left my gun at the bakeryMan Armed With Cookie Attempts Tulsa Bank Robbery

I have to know what his threatening note said. "Hand over the cash or I'll cookie you." I'm not sure what that means, but I'd be concerned.

"Gimmie all the money or I'll knock you off your diet!" Harsh. The bank teller with the Weight Watchers pamphlet and elastic waistband is looking at a lose/lose proposition.

Do not underestimate the joyful wrath of cookies"Open the safe or the cookie gets it." You basic classic hostage situation. Sad. Cookie violence is on the rise.

"Crumbs in your lobby if you don't pay up!" I don't know how effective the violence-against-carpet threat would be.

"Ninja throwing star hidden in cookie. Don't make me prove it!" OK, now for this one I'd have to call his bluff just on the off chance that he'd really do it. How cool would that be to fall victim to ninja-cookie awesomeness?

The audacity of phone"Please... need money 4 food." This reminds me of the folks going through food lines at homeless shelters and taking pictures of things with their cell phones. You have to admire the chutzpah that takes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Vacation That Wasn't

We're gonna need a bigger backhoeMy dad told me the story of the first vacation that he and mom tried to take after I was born. My gramma came over to babysit me, but Mom n' Dad didn't even make it out of the driveway before a water line broke in the yard. The car was packed and ready to go, and a geyser of water was spraying up out of the front lawn.

This kind of genetics I can do without.

I was supposed to be on vacation this week, you see. My wife and I had everything packed and ready to go two days in advance, we were so excited.

About three weeks ago, we had relatively minor but unexpected repairs on my car.

Two weeks ago, we had relatively minor but unexpected repairs on my wife's car.

Last week, our dishwasher died and had to be replaced.

A few days after that, one of our garage door openers died and had to be replaced.

Ah, the forever black stink of deathAnd finally, Friday evening, the nerve under one of my lower left molars died and is going to have to be dealt with.

That's right. I was going to get a vacation this week. Instead, I get a root canal.

I wonder how Dad's *second* real vacation went.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Passion Fruit Tree

Yeah, babyThis is going to sound so weird.

There's a bridge (The "Fajita" Bridge) I walk across most mornings between my office and the parking lot. Near its peak, there is a tree that has grown up very near the bridge.

One day recently as I walked over the bridge and past that tree, I swear I heard a woman's voice. It was a sultry voice. It said, "Oooohh... god....."

Trees don't normally respond to me like that as I walk past. In fact, most organic entities don't respond to me like that. Let's just say that it's a foreign experience for me and move on.

I simply don't know what to think. There was no one else on the bridge, and no one up in the tree. I *had* to have imagined it, but it sure sounded real.

Now every time I walk past I look up into the tree. And near the tree. I even try to lean over and glance under the bridge, which is hard to do while acting casual.

I know I'm probably insane, but if something crazy is going on in that tree, I don't want to be the last to know.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Window Shopping

My wife and I found ourselves in the mall over the weekend. I love looking around at the mall... there's always something goofy to amuse me.

For a start, I'm always amazed at how early Hallmark puts out Christmas decorations each year, and how out of place some of the ornaments look. For example, check out this Star Wars ornament... what says "Christmas" better than an ornament celebrating the immanent violent death of one of the good guys?

Hm... then again, maybe it's perfect, in a weird sort of way. :)

Granted, it's just a trick of the camera angle, but I do think that Wolverine stabbing Darth Maul in the head is a festive event suitable for *any* occasion.

The label on this one reads, "I'm a decorative fan!" I'm glad the item was kind enough to identify itself. Without the label, I would have been convinced this was a statue of a penguin with a dog's head.

Now these are kinda cool. They are the size of office name plates. I can just imagine this little jewel sitting on my desk at work. After all, office futility jokes never get old. :)

Finally, my favorite. This sign was delightfully misplaced. The entire six-foot tall rack was full of decorative bowls and wicker baskets.

Not that I have anything against wicker, but the thought of some fool trying to cook with it on a BBQ grill does make me smile. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Safe And Secure

I will rough you up, sonny-boy!
Respect mah author-i-tay!
Scruffy and I were at lunch last week when this frail, skinny old man walked in. He had some kind of a bag with him, and he was wearing a yellow shirt that said "SECURITY" on the back.

I had a lot of fun imagining this bony elderly guy working as a bouncer at a hard rock concert. The frothing mosh pit dancers would never know what hit them!

He chatted with the deli owner for a minute and then left. When he walked out, I said to Scruffy, "I didn't feel any more secure while he was here. Did you?"

While I'm at it, I feel compelled to mention a positive life change that Scruffy has made recently. He has almost completely given up soda in an effort to cut down on his sugar intake. It's all part of his "baby steps" plan to get himself into shape to run marathons or somesuch. At this rate he'll be an iron man in 52 years.

I mention it because Scruffy only allows himself one soda a week. He partakes during our weekly lunches. You know what that means, don't you?

*I* am Scruffy's guilty pleasure.

Rawkin', baby.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coffee Emergency

At least they left all the gunk that was underneath itThey took our coffee machine.

I stood there, horrified, looking at the spot where the blessed machine used to be. I nearly dropped my mug. My stomach lurched.

"This cannot be!" I cried.

Hair Stylist nearly spit out her lunch laughing at me. "Now Jeff," she mildly scolded, "It'll be OK."

My nonverbal skeptical eye-widening was my reply.

"They're changing vending companies," she explained, still choking back laughter. "I think we're going to get a new one later today."

The lack of certainty did not encourage me. I sagged at the knees and leaned against a wall for support. "I may cry."

My pathetic little show was starting to get to her. Hair Stylist was actively rocking back and forth with laughter. "There's a coffee machine up on the next floor. I don't know if they've taken it yet."

"I'd better run," I replied. I left the room in a blur. I could hear a *thud* behind me as Hair Stylist hit the floor laughing.

I was too late. They'd taken that one, too.

It was a long afternoon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tulsa Drillers Game

Last week we went to a Tulsa Drillers (minor league baseball) game. It was the first time I'd been to a baseball game since that time when I was a little kid and I fell out of the stands. I crash-landed on my hot dog but don't worry, that's not a euphemism. I wasn't hurt, but I remember crying because I'd gotten grass and dirt all over my ballpark frank.

Somebody go help P-Ziddy, will you? I'm willing to bet he's hyperventilating by now.

Anyway, this game was far less physically damaging to me. Despite appearances, I was not the only one in the stands:

It was a cool evening... who needs fans?

One of the Driller's players is named "Jeff", and he hit a home run during this game. It was pretty sweet... I wore a big goofy grin and told anybody who'd listen that I just hit a home run. It's amazing what people won't believe.

Of course, no thinly attended game is complete without the rhythm-less folks in the stands somehow failing to "stomp! stomp! clap!" in time with the beat even though the loudspeakers were actively playing "We will rock you" at the time. I was pretty impressed... I hadn't seen incompetence like that in some time.

Speaking of incompetence, there was the obligatory running of the mascots:

For the record, that is not my hot dog... or my egg roll... or my collapsing mustard stick

Toward the end one of the opposing batters hit a fly ball that went up and backwards, eventually crashing down loudly on the covered "roof" over the top of the stands. The stands were already emptying out at that point, so the metallic crashing noises were especially loud.

The very next pitch he also hit up onto the roof of our stands. By then the crowd was thin and quiet enough that lots of people heard me shout, "Why do you hate our roof?!?"

Not free.I gotta be me.

As we left some guys were handing out Arby's coupons. During the walk to our car, I heard a lady behind us happily telling her husband, "Look! A FREE Arby's roast beef! It's only $1.99!"

Sometimes the joke just kinda writes itself, you know?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Don't Judge My Hair

I love this website.

Lemmie give you a taste.

This lady looks like she's rubbed balloons all over her head.

I have no idea what happened to these poor saps, but apparently they liked it.

Is it just me, or does that handsome lady on the right look like Jay Leno?

This lady apparently had a small bird crash into the side of her hairdo, where it died.

There are no words.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hot Air Balllon

This is an actual picture of an actual hot air balloon floating over my neighborhood.

Not a dramatization

Outstanding! I wonder what a hot air balloon was doing here? Hm...

The Top 10 Reasons a Hot Air Balloon Would Be Floating Over Jeff's Neighborhood:

10) To get to the other side

9) Neighbor lady 3 homes south was sunbathing in her backyard

8) Trying to harvest angel wings

7) Searching for the last of the old analog TV signals

6) Trying to see Russia from my backyard

5) Hoping to get away from those "helpful" Best Buy salesmen

4) Wanting to see what "cloud" tastes like

3) He's on an adventure, just like the Goonies!

2) Preparing for the next great Biblical flood

1) It's part of his diet - cookies have no calories at 1,000 feet

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No Fat Chicks

BewareScruffy and I went out to lunch the other day. Thankfully, there was no Fergie on the radio. Instead, there was a genuinely distressed guy at the table next to us who was bearing his tortured soul to his friend. We overheard most of it. It went a little something like this:

"OK, so there's this lady I work with, [name], who is just FAT, you know? She's not just a little porky, she's FAT! (arms spread wide to demonstrate, face wrinkled in disgust)

I blame society"Well, we were at the company picnic, and I was just sitting there. Wasn't talking to anyone, just sitting. And my wife started in on me... 'Are you staring at her? Why are you staring at her?!?' I looked, and there was [name], and my wife thought I was staring at her!

"I told her I wasn't staring and she didn't believe me! She's all upset, saying, 'I didn't know you liked them fat!' And I'm desperate, telling her, 'Honey, how could you possibly think I'd find *that* attractive?

"I eventually talked her down and she stopped yelling at me, but every now and then she still gives me a sideways look, like she doesn't quite believe me. My wife thinks I like fat chicks!"

He slumped back in his seat, a sad little "What in the world am I gonna do now?" look on his face. The poor guy was at the end of his rope.

This is *way* funnier than the jokes you write on purpose!As for me, I was about to turn blue with the effort of not laughing. Scruffy kept his composure better than I did, but we both lost it after they left.

I gotta say, the lunchtime entertainment got a LOT better once that dang Fergie song went off the radio.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Electrical Emergency

Actually, we only have the one lamp, and our flower bed is only 9 square feet or soWhat a day. My wife came running into the house and said, "I think I did something bad!" Our conversations don't usually start out like this.

I stepped outside with her. She had been trimming bushes in our flowerbed when she accidentally cut into the electrical line for our landscape lights. Time for Jeff the Hero to spring into action!

I started by leaning in closer to inspect the damage. I touched the line where it had been cut. I was barefoot and standing in a puddle of water at the time.

When I woke up a few minutes later, I had been thrown several feet away. It's a good thing we didn't go for the industrial strength lights, or the shock might have bucked me into the street.

Highly conductiveA more careful look revealed that I'd need to patch the wire. Since there wasn't enough slack in the wire to pull the two ends together, I improvised. I grabbed a wire coat hanger.

Once I straightened the coat hanger out, attaching it to the dead end of the wire was a piece of cake. The live end was a little tricky, though. I wasn't too worried when it started to smoke, but I did panic a little when the sparks started.

The fire department responded quickly, thank goodness. We only lost about half the flowerbed. I'm sure my eyebrows will grow back.

Do not touch my PC, or I will explode and smack you on the foreheadFinally, it was time to turn on the lights and make sure they worked. I leaned over the photo-sensor to simulate dusk. When it clicked on, one of the lamps exploded and smacked me on the forehead.

The good news is, the other lights work better than ever! Even when my eyes are closed, I see bright flashes of light.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Overseas Visitor

The moon always looks like this in Japan. Always.My buddy Midnight Brewer is an old college friend who's been living in Osaka for the past 7 or 8 years. He came back to visit, so we got to join him and Metacow's family for dinner.

Midnight Brewer is a teacher over in Japan, and he told us this great story (which I will shorten a bit and almost certainly miss on a few details). It seems that one of the teachers at a local school got into trouble with the school board over something stupid. It was a minor thing, but the school board was 'ticked and wanted to make an example of him.

The teacher went to the board (his principal came along for moral support). The teacher humbly explained what had happened, and earnestly said that he intended no offense. As a show of his sincerity, he brought a gift for the school board... a stone from the top of Mount Fuji. He graciously offered his gift to the board and put himself at their mercy.
Seen one stone, seen them all
The board was impressed. They accepted his gift, and pardoned his actions. As the teacher left, his principal (also deeply impressed) said, "Wow... was that stone really from the top of Mount Fuji?" "No," the teacher replied. "I picked it up here, just before we went inside."


I thought it tasted like the feather-down pillow of eternal sugary fluff, but that's just meLater in the meal, we got a piece of tiramisu for desert. Forks were distributed, and we all took a bite.

Metacow's oldest daughter (8) was impressed. "Daddy, it tastes like a cloud!" Metacow chuckled and said, "Really? I've never tasted a cloud. What does a cloud taste like?"

He never heard her answer. Instead, his youngest daughter (4) chimed in. "*I* think it tastes like angel wings!"

Please... not my wings... I need them...Conversation was disrupted, to say the least. Just as the laughter started to subside, Midnight Brewer chimed in with a very sincere-sounding question. "How do you harvest angel wings?"

Metacow didn't miss a beat. "You know, down at the angel farms in Arkansas."

Wow. Angel farms in Arkansas. I say this a lot when I'm around Metacow... I just can't top that. :)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Two More Work Stories

Big Girls Don't Cry

Why does Jeff hate me?Scruffy and I meet for lunch about once a week. We were sitting down in our normal spots about two months ago when Fergie's song "Big Girls Don't Cry" started playing on the radio. Our background music was tainted.

I hate that song, you see. I don't know if I can specifically state why, I think it's just a matter of taste. And I hate that I don't like it, honestly. Fergie's got a nice voice, she's attractive, but whether alone or with the Black-Eyed Peas, she's never once been involved with a song I like.

The song finally ended, and my mind was at rest. Until the next week, when we ate there again... and they played that song on the radio... again.

I don't know why Jeff hates us... it must be something Fergie didI forced myself to laugh at the coincidence, but really all I wanted to do was cry. The next week, the same song. I was starting to develop a nervous 'tic by the fourth week. I said to Scruffy, "Have you noticed how lately every time we come here..."

I didn't get to finish the sentence. The song had started up. I am not a big girl. I started to cry.

The past few weeks, Scruffy and I have not eaten lunch together. Sometimes he's got a meeting, sometimes it's me. Once we were rained out. But that's just what we tell people.

The truth is, we fear Fergie.


Last Friday, Big Dawg and I were walking into the office together. As normal, most of the conversation centered around the fact that it was Friday and our general joy about this fact.

Just before we passed the break room we started to hear voices. Somebody shouted, "At least it's Friday! Whoo-Hoo!"

BooBig Dawg immediately echo'd the shout. "Whoo-Hoo!" We heard a thud.

A few steps more and we could look in the breakroom. Hair Stylist and Serenity were in there. Serenity had a hand over her mouth and was laughing. Hair Stylist had almost literally fallen to the floor in shock. She wasn't expecting her "Whoo-hoo!" to be returned.

So, last Friday Big Dawg nearly injured a co-worker. This Friday, to be safe, I'm keeping my distance. :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

When Nature Calls

First let me say in advance that this is a bathroom story. It's not anything more than PG, but since I'm usually pretty aggressively G-rated, I feel compelled to warn (entice?) you.


Pardon me, if you would please...The other day I was in the downtown library and felt nature's call. Things were proceeding normally when the bathroom door explosively crashed open. A guy RAN in, panting and grunting.

When I say he RAN, I'm not kidding. He was a blur as he whooshed past and into the far stall. He slammed the stall door shut so hard that everything rattled.

Less than a second later there was the sound of fabric tearing. I guess his zipper was stuck.

Less than a second after *that*, he uncorked his... well. Let's just say it was not discrete. In fact, have I already used the word "explosive"? Just checking.

This happens *every* time I get lost in the self-help section!Moments later, when my ears popped and I could hear again, he was mumbling out loud to himself. "Oh, lordy," he pondered. "I never... wow. I bet that's horrible. I bet those people need a courtesy flush."

I wanted to laugh, but I didn't dare breathe.

Psychotic, but courteous. There are worse combinations, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Smoke Detectors

Last weekend I got to replace the smoke detectors in our house. It shouldn't have been a big deal. Then again, *I* was involved.

This is our signal to run screamingWe started by trying to find a ladder that I hadn't already fallen off of. Once a ladder figures out how to buck me, it's over. The crazy things make a game of it. I swear I can hear them giggle as I approach. Once, after getting a fresh carpet-burn on my forehead I swear I heard a faint metallic "Whoo-Hoo!"

Then there's the art of removing the old detectors. This should have involved nothing more than a screwdriver. After nearly impaling myself on the screwdriver and being bucked twice, I hit on a new technique. I learned that the old detectors were unable to hold my body weight. Armed with this new knowledge, each old detector was removed with a ripping noise, a yelp and a crash.

A quick Epsom Salts bath helped to calm the bruising. Time for Phase 2!

Thank you, Billy Mays! We miss you!Attaching the new detectors to the wall should have been another simple "screwdriver" task. Having learned that there's no such thing, I decided to embrace alternative adhesive options. I attached each new detector to the wall with a combination of super-glue, safety pins and Hercules Hooks.

They'll hold my weight now. I can swing from those baby's with the greatest of ease.

Of course, 10 years from now I won't be able to replace them with anything less than a shotgun. Should be pretty easy, though... what could go wrong?