Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Santa's Deer Stand

Today is Halloween, so it's a perfect time to start decorating for Christmas.

I love how the reindeer is hiding under the penguin's binoculars.

What? Too soon? Oh, OK. Since it's Halloween, here's a pic of our pumpkins.

Stay tuned, because Friday I'll have an update on thing that I haven't had an update on in quite a while!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Click... Click... Click...

Every once in a while, to promote good heart health, I like to climb up on a ladder and do righteous battle with a ceiling fan. It keeps me young.

This time around it was our living room fan, which is happily way up high on a vaulted ceiling. The fan was clicking so loud that we could hear it over the movie Battleship. Think what you will of the movie itself, but there's no way we should have been able to hear a ceiling fan clicking over all that noise.

We hit the internet. That mighty repository of all knowledge and lore told me that I should identify which fan blades were out of whack and tape pennies to them. So up the ladder I go.

It's a tall ladder and I'm a tiny, terrified nerd. Still, I had a mission. I picked a couple of fan blades more or less at random and taped 6 whole cents worth of my life savings to them.

And the clicking STOPPED. Holy buckets!

I did a little happy dance and then went back up the ladder. No way I'm gonna leave pennies lightly taped to those blades. Can't you just imagine my ceiling fan launching off a whirling copper rain of destruction? I'd blog it, but I'd be unhappy about it.

So I taped the pennies down nice and firm. Still no clicking. I put the ladder away, and ... wait for it ... the fan started clicking again. Of course it did.

Off to the store we went. I bought a ceiling fan balancing kit. Then, the ladder came back out. Up I go. I took down the pennies, then turned on the fan... no clicking.

The balancing kit was unopened. The fan was whisper-quiet. I looked at my wife. "I've found the solution," I told her. "The ladder fixes it. We can't put the ladder away."

"I don't think that's ideal," she replied. "It's no problem," I said. "I'll put some 2x4's across the lower rungs so it'll double as a coffee table."

She made me put the ladder away. Thankfully, there's still no clicking.

Anybody need a ceiling fan balancing kit?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Leftover Mug

So, there's a coffee vending machine at work (up one floor from my office). It blurts out little paper cups of the perfect percolation. All very normal.

There are multiple trash buckets in this break room, one of them only around 10 feet away. Even so, lazy people frequently drink their paper cup of coffee and then leave it on top of the vending machine. It is a rare day that there's not at least one paper cup sitting up there.

Last week I saw...

Hm. That's not a paper cup. Is that?...

Oh my. Yeah. It's a mug. Somebody actually left their mug up there.

How nasty must that mug be for somebody to want to pitch it? The inside of that thing must be awful. Even better?... the person probably drank out of it, *then* gave up on it and put it up there. Yummy.

I thought about pulling it down and wrapping it as a Christmas present for somebody, but there's nobody I hate that much.

FYI, last week was a "blah" week for me. You can tell because I'm leading off on Monday with a presumably moldy coffee mug. I'd say I've hit a new low, but my regular readers know better.

Anyway, because of my abundance of a lack of things to write about, this will be my only post this week.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


At work, some of our systems are being upgraded. The new toys are going to be pretty nice.

There was a conversation going on about the upgrades. "Instead of having to [techie nonsense], we'll be able to [techie delight]!", M16 shouted. "I can't wait!"

"Yeah, this will be nice because [techie BS]," I said. I like to pretend I know what's going on around me.

P-Ziddy, of course, cut right to the point. "So you're saying that we're getting a Performing Arts Center instead of a dirty stripper pole?"

A Barber's Pole. Because I am *not* going to do an images search for a stripper pole. :)
The stunned silence lasted almost 5 full seconds. Then, Big Dawg started to choke.

"No!," he shouted while coughing and pawing at his head. "I need to un-hear that! Pour bleach in my ears!"

Somehow we got Big Dawg calmed down before he pulled off his ears.

P-Ziddy is an urban poet and a workplace hazard all rolled into one.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Second Floor

At work, my office is on the second floor. Know how I can tell?

I'm so glad I don't work on the first floor. I can just imagine somebody coming up to me and asking, "Where's the second floor?"

"Well, we're on the first floor right now. That must mean the second floor is over across the street and under a manhole cover."

The next one to walk up would say, "Excuse me kind sir. I'm having trouble locating the second floor. Might you assist?"

"Go in the elevator and press '7'. When you step out, go to the restroom on your right. Drop a quarter in the toilet and make a wish."

P-Ziddy will get this joke. Ask him.
Before long I'd either be punched or fired. Either way is bad for Jeff.

True story - My office used to be on the third floor, and my desk was in view of the stairwell. One day, a lady came half-way down those stairs, then leaned way over so that she was looking at me with her head nearly upside down.

"Excuse me," she asked. "Is this the basement?"

"No, this is the third floor."

"Oh." Then, the lady turned around and went back upstairs.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Focused On The Wrong Thing

October is "Pastor Appreciation Month." My wife and I usually get a card for each of the leaders at our church.

We were standing in this aisle at Hobby Lobby...

My wife was looking at the cards. "I like this one, do you like this one, what about this one," and so on.

Of course, I had to notice all the cheap party favors (AKA "Plastic Flotsam") they had right across the aisle from the cards.

"Whoa! Twelve plastic noses for ONLY THREE DOLLARS!"

We stood there for a moment looking at each other in utter silence. My wife had a handful of Pastor Appreciation cards, I had a handful of plastic noses.

Without speaking a single word, my wife somehow encouraged me to respectively return the noses to their rightful hook and then stand silently while she picked cards.

In my defense, we could have included a plastic nose with each of the cards. "I picked this one just for you!"

Oh well. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Stolen Credit Card

Several of us at work had lunch together. When the waitress brought our credit cards back to the table, she handed me Monty's card.

"I think I just won the lottery," I said. Monty disagreed. "Give me that."

"Hey, what's your credit limit? Never mind... I'll find it."

Everybody laughed. But I wasn't done yet.

"I hope your credit lasts long enough for me to clear out the LEGO store."

P-Ziddy nearly choked on a bread stick. "Where else would I go with a stolen credit card?", I asked.

P-Ziddy composed himself and joined in. "Where's Jeff?... He stole a credit card... Is he headed out of the country?... No, Dallas."

Seriously... where else *would* I go?

Monday, October 08, 2012


Wilber? Gordy? Babe?
My oldest nephew (12 years old) got to show a pig at a local county fair. His pig was under-sized and so he didn't qualify to win anything, but it was still a fun time for him.

On the way home, his parents were talking about what to do with the pig. "We could just butcher it and call it good." "Yeah, or we could breed it, sell the piglets and see if we can make our money back on the thing."

They settled on breeding, but my brother-in-law didn't want to buy or borrow another pig. "We could just A.I. it," he said.

During this conversation, my nephew was in the back seat, acting like he understood what was being discussed. "Yeah, A.I. sounds like a good idea," he said. "That would work."

They settled on "A.I." for the pig.

When they got home, my nephew went to the computer and hit Google. He learned that A.I. in this context means, "Artificial Insemination." He even saw a brief informative YouTube video about how the process is done.

Just smart enough to know I'm glad I'm not a pig
A few minutes later, he found his parents. "Mom, Dad, I know what A.I. means now. I'm gonna be busy that day."

After telling me the story, my sister challenged me. "Be honest... you didn't know what "A.I." meant, either."

I grinned. "Hey, I'm a programmer. To me, A.I. means Artificial Intelligence. I figured when you're done you'd be able to play chess with the pig."

Pig takes King's Rook! Checkmate! Oink!

Friday, October 05, 2012


So, I've got this toy pitchfork at my desk. Mostly it stays hidden, but sometimes I take it with me to meetings. I call it the "Holy Scepter of Authority."

Big Dawg took issue with the name. "It's a devil's pitchfork," he complained. "It should be your 'unholy' scepter."

"There's this thing called 'irony'," I pointed out. "You may have heard of it."

"It's plastic, not iron."

"Hey! Show some respect for the Holy Scepter of Justice!" I thought about what I'd just said. "I mean, 'of authority'. Or something."

"It keeps changing," Big Dawg said. "It's a poly-morph."

"Yeah," I replied. "It's my Holy Poly-morph Scepter of Authority!"

Big Dawg shook his head. "I prefer 'Poking'," he explained. "Or 'Prodding'. That works too."

Quickly we combined the names. "It's the Holy Poking Prodding Poly-morph Scepter of Authority and/or Justice!"

"We need an acronym."

We thought about this a moment. If you take the first letters of "The Holy Poking Prodding Poly-morph Scepter"...


"It's a spitting sound," I said, my voice full of awe and wonder.

"From now on I'm calling it your raspberry," said Big Dawg.

"I'll allow it."

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Lost Property

A package arrived yesterday.

Oh! I got a fragile package... or maybe it's just a sign pointing out that I am fragile? Only one way to find out!

Peanuts. Why did it have to be peanuts?

Buried among the peanuts, a large and very thick manila envelope.

Inside the big thick envelope, a much smaller "normal" sized envelope. I'm getting close!

Inside the small envelope, a folded-over post-it note. Inside *that* was another, smaller folded-over post-it note. And inside THAT...

Hello little friend!

The guy I bought my vintage Optimus Prime from found this, and delivered it to me. Turns out I was missing one of his guns.

Now I am complete! *ahem* I mean, now Optimus is complete. Yeah. That's what I meant to say...


Monday, October 01, 2012

The Miracle Of Fire

The ignitor went out on our gas stove. Not to fear! Jeff "Lord of the Flame" is on the case!

I'll even show you how I did it. Basically, the ignitor is just a thing that plugs in under the stove and makes the hotness. So, you have to unplug that and plug in the new one.

I started by removing this panel from the back of the stove.

Later, I learned that I had removed the wrong panel. (shakes fist) Dang you, rogue panel!

Anyway, you also have to pull out the bottom panel in the stove so you can get to this...

Note the space invader, screwed into the back of the stove. I'm not sure why he's there.

I didn't have much luck getting the old one unplugged until I resorted to cutting wires. Here's a blurry pic of the two elements side by side. I couldn't prevent the blur, because I was shaking with anticipation.

Here's the new ignitor, all screwed into place. Notice anything about the screws? Like, how you can't see them? The screws go into the underside of that gas pipe.

Yeah, *that* was easy. Arg.

I should also mention that I was on my knees, leaning across the oven door, head well into the guts of the oven. At one point I needed both hands, so I was actually leaning on my chin and hoping my jaw wouldn't give out before I got the screws tightened. Don't tell my dentist.

Anyway, here's a pic of it all lit up.

BEHOLD! The miracle of fire! Yeah, baby!

At this point, there was only one thing left to do... play with the bubble wrap.

Look at those huge bubbles! Let the good times roll!