Wednesday, August 29, 2012


There was a rambling office conversation. I wasn't a part of it, but I'm told that it started with some expressions of frustration. Somehow, Big Dawg's vintage Bozo the Clown doll was invoked, probably for use as a stress-reliever.

"We should get an inflatable Bozo the Clown punching dummy," somebody suggested.

"Yeah, we could put it right here in the middle of the office!"

Hit me Baby, one more time!There was gleeful discussion of inflatable punching objects flying around the office. Visions of rampaging rage-fueled Hulked-out programmers danced in everyone's heads.

But M16 was skeptical. He looked at all the fragile objects in harm's way and said, "We'd have a big problem the first time Jeff punches it."

LadyPatsFan grinned wickedly. "Yeah, it'd hurt him."

Reality is a harsh mistress. With four simple little words, I went from "explosive fury of wrathful vengeance" to "cracked toothpick".

They all laughed more than I care to think about, but I'm told in particular that Big Dawg had trouble breathing for a while. That's hurtful, man.

I wouldn't even have known about the conversation except that LadyPatsFan couldn't stand the thought of picking on me without getting to see me suffer. She was still grinning wickedly as she told me the whole thing. She spared nothing.

"It hurts because it's true," I admitted.

I think she's *still* grinning wickedly at me.

(FYI: There's no blog post this Friday. See you next week!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vintage Optimus Prime

If you're not jealous, you're not paying attention.


Some of his stickers are peeling. Most of his joints don't *quite* work like they should. But I love him.

"Is that a gun in your pocket or are... oh. It's totally a gun. Got it. Right."

Plus, he's got an elevated grabby thingy.

I bet *you* don't have an elevated grabby thingy.

Actually, now that I think of it... did that thing actually have a name?

Prime says, "You'd love me even if my name was Bubba!"

And he's RIGHT.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Stories From My Past: In All Things

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
    1 Thessalonians 5:18

I used to work Technical Support. I was the poor dork you'd call when your computer upgrade didn't work out right.

I've heard it all. There were a few folks who were genuinely polite and thankful for the assistance. There were plenty willing to dish out a "by association" guilt trip, where the customer knows I'm not at fault but is going to yell anyway. There was plenty of furious screaming, as if I personally was responsible for the customer's bad experience.

And once, there was quite possibly the only guy who actually read that "give thanks in all things" Bible verse and put it into practice.

Right from the beginning, it wasn't a normal support call. "I bought this sound card," he explained. "I hooked it up, [techie details], and praise God it's not working."

I could hear him smile as he said "praise God". He continued, "We're gonnna be using this for [plans], but praise God we're stuck right now."

There was no sarcasm in his voice at all. It continued throughout the call. "Advanced Settings... yeah, praise God that's showing an error." Every time, I could tell he was smiling as he said it. He actually meant it.

I heard his wife in the background. "Have you got it fixed yet?" "Not yet," he replied. "We're gonna have a big long distance bill, praise God."

During reboots, he'd tell me stories. "I got cut on some rusty metal about 3 months back, so praise God my tetanus shots are up to date. I'm still a little sore, but... Oh! Praise God, a General Protection Fault!"

We eventually got his computer working, which earned a predictable response.

I think about that call every now and then. I'm pretty sure I should have learned a lesson from it, but praise God I'm not sure I did.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peanut Butter And Never Mind

We were at a restaurant, just relaxing. I couldn't help but overhear the waiter as he served food to a nearby table.

"Here's your [whatever], and here's your [whatever], and here's your Peanut Butter and Jelly minus the jelly."

It was so unexpected, and it hit my funny bone just right. I laughed so hard I snorked.

"It's not a 'P.B. and J.'," I cackled. "It's just a P.B.!"

My wife rolled her eyes.

Meanwhile, the kid who got the semi-truncated sammich was glaring at me. I struggled to get my laughter under control.


I looked up. Offended Kiddo was slingin' ice cubes at me. While I watched, she made the two-fingered "I'm watching you" gesture. Then she spit on another ice cube and flung it at me.

"Honey," her mom said. "What are you doing?"

"Mommy, that's the bad man who laughed at me."

Her mommy glared at me and patted the side of her purse meaningfully. Then she handed Offended Kiddo another ice cube.

I looked at my wife. "We should probably go before this turns violent."

A waiter leaned in and whispered to me, "Just so you know, I've been offered a sizable tip if I spill a tray of drinks on you."

I slipped him a twenty. "Check please."

You can't take me anywhere.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Full-Contact Sudoku

My oldest nephew (12 years old) had a very important question for me. "Do you Sudoku?"

"Occasionally," I said.

"Ha! Can you finish Expert mode puzzles in less than 3 minutes?"

He whipped out his iPad and pulled up the high scores to show me. "See?", he bragged. At the top of the list was his name, and a very impressive "82,325" high score.

"Wait a minute," said my mom. She peered at the screen. "Something's wrong here. Your highest score was 83 thousand, wasn't it? Oh, wait..." Mom grinned wickedly. "I remember now. That was *my* high score, not yours."

Nephew turned bright red. "I'll beat that right now." He started tapping at his screen.

Dad chuckled. "You and your Grandma could be a team, you two could beat anybody."

Nephew tapped in a few more numbers, but then got his elbow caught in the back of his chair.

The Elbow-Snatcher!

"Uh-oh," Dad said. "Looks like we've got a sports injury here."

My mom jumped in. "It's like tennis elbow, right?"

Nephew was turning even brighter red from embarrassment. Dad and Mom didn't let up.

"You'll have to put a brace on it and play hurt."

"Good thing I'm the one with the high score, since I'll have to carry the team."

I chimed in, mimicking a sportscaster. "Team Nephew is playing today with a 25-second handicap due to an elbow injury."

Nephew's face was completely hidden by now. He was looking down at the iPad in his lap, trying to ignore us.

I leaned in close. "It's OK man," I told him. "Chicks dig scars."

I don't think I'm his favorite uncle anymore. :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Starfury: Andy's Triumphant Return!

You remember Andy, right? He's the dime-sized pilot of my Starfury model, which is currently mostly painted!

Yeah, I know. It's a blurry pic. That's OK though, because it's a bad paint job.

I know it's been nearly a month, but I have an excuse. You see, I had to start painting outside due to the *lovely* paint / paint thinner fumes. And then, Oklahoma Summer happened. Every time I'd step outside and open up the jar of thinner, the fumes would catch on fire.

So, there it is, in all its glory. Now I can probably work on it inside, since any last painting will be little details here and there.

Up next... cockpit glass, a few last paint details, and then DECALS.

I'm terrified.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Say My Name

I know several people who work in the same Downtown area that I do. I rarely see them of course, because we're in different office buildings. It is a rare joy to occasionally see a friendly face.

Recognize me?
I was out wandering one day and saw my next-door neighbor. Recognition lit up on both our faces.

"Hi!", I said, smiling.

He smiled too. "How's it goin', Gary?"

Aaaaaannnnd... I deflated. Gary? What?

"Hey there, *you*." I deliberately left out his name. "I'm fine."

We chatted for a bit, and then parted. The very next day I saw him again, but this time we were in our front yards.

"How's it goin', Jeff?"

"Oh, *today* you know my name."

I guess I've been called worse things than "Gary". But not by much.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Never Did Get That Lollipop

This will only hurt if your insurance is bad...
Last week I went back to the Podiatrist. We talked about my lingering foot pain, adjusted my shoe inserts and so on.

She offered a steroid injection for my heel pain. I accepted, but I also gave her a warning. "Last year, you gave me an injection down by the toes. It hurt so bad that I nearly broke the arms on your chair, and I lost control of my other leg. It started flapping around like a hummingbird wing. You had to call a nurse in here to sit on it while you worked."

"Oh," she said. "Let me bring in somebody before I start, then."

She leaned out in the hallway. "Intern, come here please."

In walked the intern. She was a short little petite girl, and she looked to be about 4 months pregnant. "Stand next to him, and put a hand on his knee, please."

I was stunned. Intern gave me a sweet smile. "You can look over at me instead of the needle if that'll help."

Side Note: from the "I'm not making this up" department

My google image search for "kind gentle woman cartoon" brought up a picture of Wonder Woman.

My second search for "kind gentle woman smile" brought up a picture of Michael Jackson.
"Do I *look* like I'll need a lollipop and a hug when this is over?"

"It's OK to be scared," the intern assured me.

I looked back at the doctor. "This isn't gonna work. If this leg starts flappin', I'll break her."

"I guess you'd better sit still, then."

"It'll only hurt for a little while." The intern was patting my knee and giving me a gentle wise old motherly smile, which was slightly creepy given that she couldn't have been older than 20.

"You know," I told her, "You're not here to be moral support. You're supposed to be the muscle."

The doctor broke in again. "I'm going to jab you now while we're all still young."

I looked back at the intern, panic in my eyes. "Both hands. Lean on this leg. Hard. PUSH."

Deep Hurting
And then... there was impact.

I don't remember much from the injection other than a white-hot blur of agony. After it was done, it took a few seconds to get my grip relaxed enough to let go of the chair. The intern gave me a quickie hug. "You were *so* brave!" Then she giggled and skipped out of the room.

"Did that just happen?", I asked. "Yes." "Did I hurt her?" "No." "Can I have that lollipop now?" "Get out."

I mentally added "Did not kick a pregnant intern" to my list of good deeds for the day.


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Whistling Incident

Big Dawg got a new phone and was showing it off. "Check out the default 'Text' sound!", he gleefully shouted. He pushed a button and his phone whistled.

"And it does THIS and it does THAT and it does ..." Big Dawg chattered on for a long time. Nice phone, I guess.

Later, I heard his phone whistle. It was a happy jaunty little melody. I tried to imitate it. I figured I could sneak up behind Big Dawg one day and do the sound... maybe he'd grab for his phone and hilarity would ensue.

Boyfriend for hire
Then his phone whistled again. And again. And again. Big Dawg had left his phone at his desk, and suddenly he was getting Text messages like a teeny-bopper at a Bieber-sighting.

It didn't bother me. I imagined throngs of adoring fans, gathered around my cubical and whistling at *me*. I grinned big. This was great!

In in the distance I could hear Impervious growling. "Why won't it STOP?!?" It just made me giggle all the more.

Eventually, Big Dawg came back to his desk. 5 voices shouted "FINALLY!" all at once. Big Dawg was baffled.

He sat down, and Impervious showed up at his desk half a second later. He was still growling. "Dude. Your. Phone."

I walked by, hands raised in the "Rock on!" position. "Dude! Your phone!"

Big Dawg spent the next few minutes finding his volume buttons. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


So... this appeared on my desk at work:

"Thanks, P-Ziddy!", I shouted. I could hear him chuckle in the distance.

It's a gyroscope with "Patrick" (best friend of Spongebob Squarepants) in the middle. He also appears to have Elvis hair. I don't know why.

"That came in a kid's meal," P-Ziddy explained. "Kiddo kept flipping it and shouting, 'OH NO!... SPONGEBOB IS SPINNING!'"

"How did I end up with it?", I asked.

"She got tired of it."

"Ah," I said. "So, when your three-year old outgrows a toy, it comes to me?"

"Pretty much."


I have no problem with this arrangement. If you need me, I'll be spinning Patrick.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Duct Tape Crafts

My niece and oldest nephew (10 and 12 years old) have started doing "Duct Tape Crafts". As a result, my parents have been buying them Duct Tape by the pallet.

My parents' house is now full of duct tape wallets and hats and flowers and such.

My nephew attempted to make a Top Hat, but when he was done the hat turned out too small. He's now using it as a bait bucket. Waste not, want not.

My niece made this for my wife...

It's an Oklahoma State University wallet! (some imagination required)

Her note was awesome. It said:

"Since you like OSU I made you a duck tape wallet out of orange and wite and i put OSU on the back."

The word "back" was written on top of some white-out. :)

"Just think how much your parents have spent on duct tape," my wife said.

I nodded. "You should send Niece a thank-you card, and Dad a sympathy card."

Go Pokes!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Damp Wallet / Ice, Ice, Baby

Damp Wallet

I've got a Christmas gift idea for this guy...
My wife and I went swimming with a couple of friends. The guy in particular is not exactly fond of swimming... this was the first time he'd been in the water in years. He didn't move around much, he just found a cozy spot near the side and relaxed.

After we'd all been in the pool for about a half hour, the guy got a horrified look on his face. "I forgot to take my wallet out of my pocket!"

It could have been worse, of course. It could have been his cell phone. It was still pretty hysterical though, watching him in a public pool, trying to discretely lay out all the contents of his wallet so it could dry.

Ice, Ice, Baby


Oh well. It'll melt down into the cup eventually.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Sad Song / Hello Kitty Donut

How do I GEEEEEEET you alone?
Sad Song

I know a lady who auditioned for one of those "singing" reality shows. But don't worry... no NDA's are about to be broken. :)

We got a message from her husband confirming the adventure. Some time passed, and we got another message from him.

"She got beat by a 15-year old boy. Time for beer."

Ah, I was *this* close to being able to name-drop!

Hello Kitty Donut

Somebody brought donuts at work a while back. One of them...

Wow. I have to admit, I'm impressed. It was almost too cute to eat.