Thursday, July 31, 2008

Greatest misspelling ever

After reading this article (courtesy of Eric D. Snider) and Seriously, So Blessed, I've become more aware of what my roommate from Wisconsin used to call the "Utah accent."

Now, my Wisconsin roommate definitely had an accent. I would describe her accent as "rounded" or perhaps, "Canadian" (a term with which she violently disagreed). She described the Utah accent as "lazy." I can see what she means.

In Utah-ese:

fill = feel
sell = sale
will = wheel
well = whale

When you really think about it, doesn't everyone have an accent to someone else? But for the most part, people who speak English can understand other people who speak English. The amusing part comes when the regional oddities of the spoken word creep into the written word, particularly in the spelling.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the greatest misspelling of all time (as found on a blog that I will not post on this forum):

The word is "intill."

As in, "I never noticed you had an accent intill I read what you wrote on your blog."

Ironically, the rest of the blog was fairly well-written which made this misspelling stick out like a sore thumb.

That's all for now. Intill next time...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gimme one good reason

A telemarketer called just now to "update their records."

I told him we had no interest in being updated and asked that he remove our company from their calling list.

"Yes, ma'am. I can certainly remove you from our list. I just need a good reason I should do so."

"Because I told you to."



*he waits for me to elaborate*




*he is outsilenced by the master*

"Okay, ma'am. Uhhh...thank you for your time."

At the car wash

One cold February night, when Chewie was still a tiny puppy, the three of us piled into my car and headed to the gas station. I needed gas and car wash since, for weeks, it had been way too cold to wash the car by hand. We were a little surprised that the car wash was open because many stations close their washes in the wintertime. We naively considered ourselves very lucky.

As I pulled the car into the wash, Brett rolled down his window.

"What are you doing? Roll up the window! It's freezing out there! I've already put down the antenna. " I snapped at him.

"Hold on... I'm just so curious..."

"About what?"

"What are these brushes made of? They don't look like fabric, but they don't look like regular bristles either... Pull forward a little bit so I can see..." Brett leaned his whole body out the window, stretching his arm toward the floppy tendrils on the giant roller-brush. "Just a little bit more... further... up just a weeeeee bit more..."

*Click* My front tires rolled onto the activation plate. Water began to drizzle onto the windshield.

"Ack! It's starting! Get back in here and roll up the window! Quick!"

Brett fell backward into his seat and fumbled for the automatic window switch. He pushed up on it, but nothing happened.

"It must be on child-lock! You do it!" he cried as the giant brushes began to spin and pick up speed.

I tried the window switch on the driver's console. The window started to ascend. It rolled halfway to the top, and then... stopped. It refused to budge. Brett wiggled it, banged on it, yanked on it, and swore at it, until...

*SPLOOSH!!!* A gigantic tidal wave of freezing cold sudsy water shot in through the 8-inch gap at the top of the window. I screamed. Brett spluttered. The puppy dove toward refuge in the back seat.

The water kept coming and coming and coming. Brett stood up as best he could, put his back to the window and spread his thin jacket across the opening. The giant bristles beat on his back and another wave of arctic water poured in.

The soapy spray passed overhead again, then a double rinse, and an extra pass with a spray wax (curse you, deluxe wash!) and we were finally clean, inside the car and out.

That window had never malfunctioned prior and has never malfunctioned since. As soon as we pulled out of the car wash, freezing, soaked, and defeated, the window saw fit to work once more. Very funny, Honda Civic passenger-side window. Good one. Joke is on us.

But lest you think this was not a learning experience for us, we did come away with one tidbit of information:

The giant floppy bristles on the giant roller-brushes in the car wash are made of rubber squeegees. Just though you'd like to know. Pass it on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yes, we have no bananas

There a charming little fruit stand on the corner near where Brett's parents live. The summer crops have arrived and a variety of hand-lettered signs advertise the fruits that are available for sale.

FRESH CHERRIES (sounds delish!)

JUICY STRAWBERRIES (I love strawberries... especially the juicy ones!)

RIPE PEACHES (Mmmmm... peaches!)

But my favorite?


Well, thank you for noticing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You are afraid of the claw

One day at work, I was really, really, really, really bored. I had nothing to do but stare at the walls, twiddle my thumbs, and marvel at the intricacies of the human body.

I started staring at my hand. Really staring. My knuckes suddenly seemed fascinating and I flexed my fingers over and over again to watch the tendons and ligaments work in perfect union just under the skin. I marvelled at the multitude of things I could do with my hands and how each bone and muscle must function properly in order to perform the most simple task.

I flipped my hands over to examine the palms. I looked carefully at the lines criss-crossing the palms and at the swirls of my fingerprints. I wiggled my fingers some more and began to think about how strong my hands are (in comparison to the rest of my body). I bent my fingers into a claw-like shape the pushed on the fingertips. Yup. Those are some strong fingers. I'm pushing as hard as I can and my claw isn't collapsing at all. How useful, I thought.

Hmmm... useful.... useful for what exactly? Well, anytime I need to grip something, especially if I'm going to grip and then pull. Like if I was opening a really heavy door. Or, let's say I needed to dig in the dirt but didn't have a shovel. Strong fingers might come in handy. Maybe I got into a fight and needed to claw at someone. It would be very useful to have strong fingers with which to claw at your opponent, I would think. Especially, if you wanted to claw their eyes out, right?

But if you were fighting an able-bodied opponent. surely they would be resisting with their own strong hands and fingers. How would they do that exactly? Well, the most obvious way would be to grab my wrist and try to keep my claw away from their face. Which would be harder? Trying to claw someone's face or trying to keep your own face from being clawed?

This was worth an experiment. I tightened my fingers again and began to move the claw toward my face. I grabbed my wrist with the other hand and tried to force the approaching claw away from my eyes.

It was an epic struggle. I contorted my face and began to make sound effects to add drama to the scene. Left hand approaches... no! It's forced away by righty! Right hand seems to have an extra advantage, but wait! Argh! The claw gains some ground as righty wears down! Will Andrea loose her eyes after all?! There can be only one winner! Only one will be victori...

"Andrea. What the h*ll are you doing?" a co-worker asks from the doorway.

I'm startled by her sudden appearance. Think fast, Andrea! "I was, uh, stretching."

"Really? Why were you growling?"

"Well, you was a stretching-noise."

"Uh-huh. Right." She looks at me strangely for another minute then leaves, unconvinced.

I just thought it would take too long to explain to her my fascination with the mysteries of the human body. Well, that and she did catch me trying to claw my own face off. That's a little embarassing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Argument Clinic

I had a strange and frustrating dream the other night. When I woke up, I told Brett about it.

Me: So, I had this dream last night that I was in a room full of people trying to lead some sort of discussion. But whenever I said something, someone in the group would argue with me. It was so frustrating. They argued with literally every single thing I said.

Brett: No they didn't.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's the gift that counts

I have serious issues when it comes to buying gifts for people. My usual and customary tendency toward indecisiveness becomes a crippling and paralyzing force when faced with picking out gifts for friends and family. If my friend and I were at the store together and he or she picked up an item, showed it to me and said, "I would absolutely LOVE to have this EXACT thing! This one! Right here! This one I'm holding RIGHT NOW!" I might feel confident in my decision to purchase it for him or her. Maybe.

The blame for this singular facet of my personality lies square on the shoulders of my friend Portland, about whom I have spoken on a couple of occasions.

It was Christmastime and our friendship was such that we exchanged gifts on special occasions. Other than family, I didn't have a lot of people to shop for that year. That was good because I also didn't have a lot of money. I thought if I could find the perfect gift for Portland, he would know that what I lacked in money I made up for in thoughtfulness.

So, I began to think. The more thought, the better, I thought. For a gift to be truly thoughtful, it must take into account the preferences and personality of the recipient. It should say, "I know you well enough to know that you would like this." Personally, I also really like to receive gifts that are things I would use if I had them but would never actually go out and buy for myself--useful but slightly impractical. Also, a dash of creativity goes a long way toward saying, "I was thinking about you."

Well, Portland didn't have a lot of diverse hobbies. He liked music, but he only deemed a few select artists worthy of his time. He collected rare, bootleg recordings of worthy performers but he already had every recording known to man. I didn't want to risk trying to buy something rare that he might already have or that he might deem unworthy.

Portland was also into computers. His personal computer was always a work-in-progress, waiting for the next memory or operating system upgrade. I would be way over my head trying to find the latest and greatest computer thingie.

But, an idea slowly formed. I knew that his computer was in the basement and that the basement was pretty cold in December. We would often chat in the wee hours of the morning and he would complain that his parents had turned off the heat when they went to bed. His ill-tempered cat occasionally deigned to sit on his lap to keep it warm, but for the most part he had to wear layers and layers of clothes.

Aha! thought I. What about a big box full of keeping-warm stuff? Polar fleece blankets were very popular that year and all the stores had stacks of them piled on the shelves. I picked out a manly pattern, lest a snuggly blanket seem too girly. I added a Far Side mug (he was a fan), several packets of gourmet hot chocolate, and a pair of those stretchy gloves, which I thought would keep his hands warm while he typed.

My package was complete. Because of the fluffy blanket, it was a very large box, but not heavy. I mailed it off and waited for him to tell me it had arrived. He called a few days later.

"So, I had to go to the post office today and pick up a big box...a big box from Camino. It had your return address on it..." he told me coyly. "I wonder what's in it."

"You haven't opened it yet? I'm surprised you're waiting until Christmas. I wouldn't. If you want to open it ahead of time, go ahead. I'm not going to wait to open yours."

"Well, since I probably won't send mine until after Christmas, you won't have to wait."

"Uh, okay. Open it if you want, though."

"Well, my brother was here when I brought the box home. He's dying to know what's in it. He's been bugging me non-stop all day. I might not be able to put him off. He's excited because it's such a big box, but not heavy. We can't even guess what it might be. I'll let you know if we do open it, though."

The peer pressure eventually got to be too much and he didn't end up waiting until Christmas. During our next conversation, he was much more subdued.

"So, I opened the box. Thanks for the present. It's really nice."

"Yeah? Did you like it? Did you get what I was trying to do? It's all stuff to keep you warm. You know, since you spend so much time in the basement on the computer."

"Uh, yeah. I get it now. I, uh, wasn't sure before. So, yeah, thanks."

"Wasn't sure? What do you mean? You sound weird. Was it damaged?" I began to worry that the mug had shattered or the cocoa packets had leaked all over the inside of the box.

"No. Everything was fine."

"Well, what is the deal then? I can tell there's something wrong."

"Well, it just that... um... this is mostly my brother's thing, so don't get me wrong or anything... it's just that well, you have to understand, he was really excited to see what was in the when I opened it... well...I mean I really liked it when I first saw it..."

"Just spit it out!"

"Well, when I opened it, my first thought was, 'Cool, what a great blanket!' But my brother was there and he said, 'What kind of crap is this? A blanket? What did she do? Just grab the first thing she saw when she walked into the store? How stupid!' But that's not what I thought, honest. That was all my brother."

"Well, I don't really care what your brother thinks. The gift wasn't for him, anyway. It doesn't surprise me that he doesn't 'get it.' So what's the problem?"

"It's just that...after he said that... I got to thinking, 'What if she did just grab the first thing she saw?' And then I got to thinking that it did kind of look like something that someone who didn't really want to buy a gift would pick out. So, did you really want to get me a present this year or did you just get this because you had to? Because, if not, then I'll just send this back to you..."

I was speechless. My gift, the one I had been so proud of and had taken such care with, was not only unappreciated, but had sent him into a state of paranoid frenzy about whether or not we were actually friends.

More than anything, though, this was an indicator of his very, very weak character. His brother's mindless comments influenced him so greatly that he began to dislike the gift that, by his own admission, he initially liked.

Serious injury inflicted. It haunts me to this day. I'm scarred for life.

The next year (why we were still friends the next year is still a mystery to me) at Christmastime, I went shopping for him again. I made one stop. I grabbed the first shirt I saw in his size. It looked exactly like a shirt he already owned. I called him and told him I was sending something but that I had put absolutely no thought into his gift and that I truly did buy him the first thing I saw and that he should prepared to be disappointed.

The irony was lost on him. He had forgotten the previous year's debacle. When the package arrived, he called to tell me how surprised he was.

"Well, I was expecting something stupid because you kept talking about how lame it was...but when I opened the box, there was this really cool shirt inside. I love it! It's just like one I have! Why would you think that I wouldn't like it?"

Why, indeed. I guess, for some, it really is the gift that counts.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Begging for more

I have heard the cries of my eager public for "new material." Well, not really. But, here's some old material to tide you over until another serious injury comes my way.

I started this post after Memorial Day, but didn't get around to finishing or posting it until July. The blog-thingie gods saw fit to assign to it the date I had started composing it instead of the date I actually hit the "publish" button. I'm sure that's some kind of special feature that I should be grateful my blog service offers, but I think it's stupid. And the three seconds of investigatory work I put into the project trying to change the date yielded no immediate results.

So, enjoy.