Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things I Wonder About

I am off from school all week...and while most people look forward to these kind of situations, it actually makes me go a little crazy. Here are some of my thoughts from the past three days:

If someone took an IQ test then watched 24 straight hours of TBS's Tyler Perry's House of Payne and Frank TV (evenly split, of course), and then retook the IQ test...would his/her score actually go down?

Mylie Cyrus is only 16, and I am already sick of her. Let's just say she gets into drugs and doesn't reach her full life expectancy...and only lives until 66. That means I have 50 more years of wishing her dead. Why does that depress me so much?

How is it possible that at every second of every day there is at least one CSI AND one Law and Order playing on TV.

Why are my dog's nipples sagging? She is only two...and I didn't know that this happened to dogs AND humans. Man, it really is tough being a woman.

Does canned whipped cream expire?

I think I have asked this question before, but...Why DO I grow hair on my ears? Are they cold? Did this somehow keep my ancestors alive? I don't get this at all.

Why do they decaffeinate coffee? You either want caffeine or you don't. Yeah, yeah, yeah...I KNOW there is still caffeine in decaffeinated coffee. Why don't they just call it "less caffeinated coffee" or "O'Doul's" or something.

If I started texting while my students talked to me as a form of spiteful "How do you like it," would I get fired?

Why are gas prices under $2.00 now? Did they find more gas? Seriously...it was $5.00 a few months ago...I'm not an economist or anything, but this just seems odd to me.

If I put together all commonly themed stories I have written into something called a "book," and this "book" were made into a "movie" and Kate Hudson were to play my character...would she make my hips look fat?

When will my Google hits ever surpass "Mark S. Manasse?" I will give someone a dollar if they can make this happen.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chicken Bones Jonesin

This is a weird thing to say, but for the past 36 hours or so, I have had a chicken bone lodged in my throat.

No. This isn't comfortable.

No. It's not an entire wing, nor leg.

It's a small bone. Bite sized. Big enough to swallow, half-way.

The internet is a great place. I have learned about numerous remedies because, as I have found, there are many other idiots in this world that have also gotten chicken bones lodged in their throats. My brothers!

Yes, I have tried "eating a lump of boiled rice." In fact, I attempted to eat many lumps. That bone wouldn't budge.

Yes, I have tried eating "balls of bread." Strike two!

Yes, I have even tried eating bananas...the bone is still there...but man, I'm fucking full after all the rice, bread, and bananas.

And yes, I have to admit...I even tried gargling vinegar. I don't recommend it. It tastes like vinegar.

And yes, I also went on the look out for some "Root of Clematis," but this stuff is hard to come by...and is too close in spelling to Mark Clemens, a close friend of mine, that I don't like imagining ingesting.

***

The best part about having something incredibly stupid like this happen to you, is all the other advice you get:

Have you tried swallowing it? No...I didn't think of that. Hey, you seem to be quite the "out of the box" kind of thinker. Any financial advice for me?

You should drink lots of water. Just tilt your head back while you drink. Great. Now I'm choking AND have a stupid chicken bone lodged in my throat.

Try "loosening up" your throat. You try loosening up YOUR throat, you idiot.

Stop using your teeth. Sorry...that's a different conversation.

So...it's just a waiting game now. Best case scenario...I get to poke a hole in my trachea. I have always wanted to do that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things People Do That Annoy Me

It annoys me when...

A movie comes out based on, derived from, or adapted out of a novel, and every time that movie is mentioned, a person says: I really LOVED that book. Oh, they made a movie about it? I had no idea... Really? Then why have I heard you say that ten times? We all think you are very well read...now shut the fuck up.

Someone says or (better yet) writes: That being said... What the fuck does that mean? Who is that? What is that? Try making sense while wasting my time...

Upon finding out that I am deathly allergic to peanuts, I am asked if I have ever eaten a Snicker's bar. No, you idiot...what does "deathly" mean to you? *In a Joe Pesci Voice* What? I'm scary how? Like a ghost? Am I here to haunt you?

Students ask after missing a day of class: Did I miss anything? Nope...nope...we shut down school when you aren't here...so we did absolutely nothing during your absence. I'm just glad you came back to class today...otherwise, we all would have gotten REALLY far behind.

People can't remember my last name, and guess at it with such absurdities as Mr. Manassass or Mr. McNassass, or my personal favorite Mr. Smith.

I have to watch a game with bad announcers who clearly just copy what they have heard other announcers say. It's like a modern day version of playing telephone, except I have tapped the line, and have to listen to a bunch of retards over and over again. Normally, I would pay to listen to retards...but not during Laker games...Laker time is retard-free time, by law.

People say "...And I thought you were an English Professor..." at the stupidest times...like after I make a text messaging or IMing typo. Who are you? Better yet, what are you? I feel like retorting: Yeah, and I thought you were a fucking normal person, but...eek...guess I'm as good at judging personalities as I am at constructing complex and error-free ideas such as "Thx..c u 2 nite" via my cell phone. I'll be sure not to leave out any pertinent information in the future so that you can see the thematic undertones of my IMs if you are going to become a literary critic over every single one of them. How about this, Faulkner, why don't you learn what a fucking indefinite third-person singular pronoun is and how to use one before you comment on the fact that I left out a vowel during my drunk text last Saturday at midnight.

And finally...

Hollywood makes fifteen fucking wedding movies/year in a not so veiled attempt to glamorize the institution for young women, so that they only become terribly disappointed later when the "love of their life" realizes that they only got married because they were "supposed to" not necessarily because they wanted to.

Case in point, there is this movie coming out soon called "Bride Wars." Yeah, that's right, "Bride Wars." Want to know the complex intricacies of this brain buster? Here is what I got from Rottentomatoes.com:

Anyone who has seen BRIDEZILLAS or known their (uh-oh, there's that indefinite pronoun mistake...and I thought you were a movie synopsiser) own frantic fiancée understands that weddings can bring out the worst in people. This comedy stars Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as two brides-to-be who become former friends and new rivals when they schedule their weddings on the same day..

Rivals? They actually fuck with each other for what I guess is about one hour. If my calculations are correct (and you know they are), they will have about a twenty-minute build up where we get to see how close they were as friends, then the one hour of "hilarity" ensues (from the previews, it appears that rascal Kate Hudson tricks Anne Hathaway into becoming orange during a tanning session...what a goof! Then, Anne Hathaway, not to be out done, tricks Kate Hudson into dyeing her hair blue...And you know how women feel about their hair! Yes, true comedy here, folks), followed by about another fifteen minutes of resolution where we learn the moral: This is a stupid fucking movie....and you just wasted 1.5 hours of your life and about $12.00. But golly, those two girls sure are cute!

Seriously. This is a movie? (And if someone tells me they read the book...) What the hell is this telling the 16-year-olds who are going to see this shit? (a) I must get married (b) It must be lavish (c) I am going to fuck with anyone who stands in my way. Super....

I remember after my buddy Chris and I watched How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days (strangely, also with Kate Hudson)in the theatre (don't ask...) we both wanted to punch each other in the balls. There were these two teen-age chicks sitting behind us who APPLAUDED...APPLAUDED after the movie was over...so we both simultaneously, and without planning, STOOD UP AND GLARED AT THEM...how bad does a movie have to be to actually physically move and give someone the stink eye? We were later arrested for "Bullying After Shitty Movies" (This is actually called The Kate Hudson Law)...

Point being, I'm sick of this. No more wedding movies. No more cop buddy movies. No movies about cars going really, really fast.

That being said (tee hee), can we just get some original thought...how about a movie about cop buddies getting married inside a really, really fast car.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I am Once Again Underwhelmed by Sprint

One time, Darron sent me a transcript of a series of emails he had with a bookstore after I blogged about not being able to get a discount card.

Ultimately, after the customer service rep tried to end the conversation with "I hope I answered your questions." Darron replied with something to the effect of: "While you did answer a question, you didn't answer MY question."

That was running through my mind during this wonderful exchange with Kassandra from Sprint. It sounded like such a promising name, too: Kassandra. Sexy. Kinky. Kassandra.

Nope.

On the bright side...I didn't have to recreate this ridiculous conversation...technology has made it so I can literally just cut and paste idiocracy! Thanks, technolgy!

***

System Kassandra has joined this session!

System Connected with Kassandra

Kassandra: Thank you for contacting Sprint. My name is Kassandra. How may I assist you today?

Me: (yes...that's such a cool name. This should go well) Hey Kassandra, I have two questions

Kassandra: I'd be glad to assist you today. For account verification, may I please have the 6-10 digit pin number on the account or could you please answer your security question for me?

Me: (Yes, very well) Security question, please

I wait two minutes.

Me: (hmmm) What's the question?

I wait two more minutes. She asks me…and I immediately answer.

Kassandra: Thank you. Please give me a moment while I access your account.

I wait five minutes

Me: (very...well???) Still accessing?

Kassandra: You may go ahead with your question.

(So, in sum, ten minutes into the time saving "online chat" feature of Sprint.com, I get to ask my questions. This is not going as planned.)

***

Me: OK, I have two questions. (1) I am trying to activate a new phone I bought, and the codes I am entering on the website are not working...so I need help with that. (2) How do I make sure my contacts from my old phone make it onto my new phone...

Kassandra: Great. We can set you up on the wireless back up feature if you'd like. This is $2.00/month. It backs your contacts up onto a web site, because both of your phones are compatible with this service. If you are interested, that is. Allow me to send you the site.

Kassandra: Kassandra pushes page, http://www.sprint.com/wirelessbackup

Me: No thanks. (They are not going to get me with another charge!!!) How do I personally get the numbers from one phone to another??

Kassandra: Otherwise, you can enter them manually or the Sprint store can back up the contacts for you. This is also a good feature in case your phone is stolen or lost.

Me: Great...but how can I just transfer them from one phone to another by myself? This is my question.

Kassandra: If you use the wireless back up feature, you can.

Me: Can this be a one-time two dollar charge?

Kassandra: No, this is a monthly charge. The Wireless Back Up feature is the only way you can, yourself, get the contacts to the new phone. Or you can enter them manually, or the Sprint store can do this for you at no cost.

Me: So I have to go to a Sprint Store...I can't do this for myself for free unless I do it manually?

Kassandra: If you would like for them to transfer your contacts from the old phone to the new phone, yes. You would be required to have both phones.

Me: I see

Then I get this canned message:

Kassandra: It is my job to ensure that I have fully resolved the issues that prompted you to chat with me. Have I resolved that issue and do you have any additional questions or issues today?

Me: I am curious, why can the Sprint Store do it automatically for free but I need to do it manually or for $2.00/month

Kassandra: You pay a monthly fee because you have your contacts backed up in case your phone is lost or stolen.

Then I get the canned response again.

Kassandra: It is my job to ensure that I have fully resolved the issues that prompted you to chat with me. Have I resolved that issue and do you have any additional questions or issues today?

Me: You haven't really answered my question, to be honest with you, but that's fine. I appreciate your help anyway.

Kassandra: The Sprint store does not charge you because you are switching the contacts from one phone to another, just once. The wireless back up feature holds your contacts for you in case anything is to happen to your phone so you do not lose all of your contacts.

Me: I totally get that...I just don't see why I can't do it myself "just once" without having to go to the Sprint Store.

Kassandra: I apologize.

Me: Oh, no worries. It just seems like a waste of their time and my time. I know it has nothing to do with you. Anyway, thanks for your help. I'll just go to the store.

Kassandra: I understand. You're welcome.

And we part with another canned message:

Kassandra: Thank you for contacting Sprint. Our goal is to make your chat experience a great one. There will be a survey after this chat that you may fill out to advise us of how we are doing. Please disable all popup blockers before this chat session ends to ensure you are afforded the opportunity to participate. Should you have any additional feedback or comments you would like to provide regarding your chat or chat agent, please send us an email at:

So I once again learned that Sprint is just not logical. I want to NOT bother them and do something for myself....but I can't. My choices are (1) paying $2.00/month for something I need to have happen one time or (2) inputting all the phone numbers manually or (3) going to the Sprint Store so THEY can transfer the numbers...when that's all I want to do for myself.

An Intervention

My dog, Maggie, the famed Pug, has a problem. I should have seen the warning signs, but maybe I didn't want to see them. As with any family member...I love her to a fault...I love my crackhead dog.

The Signs:

Hunger. When there's food around, she doesn't notice me anymore. It's like I'm not even there. What I mistook for stupidity was actually munchidity. Here she is seen after eating an ENTIRE cake.

Non-Responsive. When I ask her how her day went, she doesn't respond. I thought this might because she's a dog...and dogs don't talk...but no. I was wrong. It was the drugs.

Secretive. I should have been more curious about her hanging out, alone, in her room. I never thought to look under the bed...I wanted to respect her privacy. Every kid has his/her "porn" collection...but when I found bag after bag of Del Taco that she had stolen out of our garbage, I should have known.

Manic. She races around and around for hours at a time...usually after being in her room. I thought this was excitement. I thought she was happy to see us. I never put the crashes together with the bursts of energy. I did notice the extremes, but she's just a dog...my baby. How could a eighteen-pound teenager have a problem?

Vacant: The lights are on, but nobody is home. If you haven't seen it, here is a video of her during a drug-filled haze.

So, I'm an idiot. I never put all the signs together. It took a slap in the face to wake me up.

***

Three Nights Ago:

Maggie wanted to play and she kept doing lap after lap after lap around the house. Girlish exuberance, I thought...but when she stopped for a second, and let me pet her, her heart was racing...like a cocaine addict's. Tauni keeps her Coke out of sight, so Maggie can't get into it...but I knew something wasn't right.

When Tauni came home, I mention Maggie's odd behavior...and she looks in Maggie's room and looks over her stash.

Coke is still in there, so that's not it, she screams with relief.

She has some in celebration.

On further examination, though...we found the actual source of Maggie's problem. Maggie had gotten into Tauni's other addiction: Sports Beans, and was high as a kite off the caffeine.

This stuff is much harsher than Tauni's nose candy-like substance, so I don't even touch it. Tauni needs that extra high, though. She's on the edge. A Coke-Sports Bean edge. I never stopped to think what kind of example this set for our dog...Maggie was simply following in her mom's footsteps.

Caffeinated off the Sports Beans, Maggie didn't sleep the rest of the night. Neither did Tauni.

Me, the drug free one, slept like a baby.

***

Two Nights Ago:

I notice Maggie is acting strangely again...she is speeding around our house, and her heart is racing. More Sports Beans??? Tauni and I search her room, and we find nothing. We had taken away all her drugs...so we couldn't figure it out. We looked her in the eyes and asked her:

Maggie, do you have a problem?

She just stared at us, with her big puppy eyes. She refused to answer...so we took her silence as a "no." What a mistake!

***

Yesterday Morning:

We are getting ready to leave for work. This is normally a time of anxiety for Maggie. She usually starts to tug on our pants or socks to make us stay. Not this day, though...she seemed like she was finding another way to cope....she seemed distant, yet peaceful.

As I am about to walk out the door, Maggie walks by with something in her mouth. She is looking for a place to be alone. Tauni and I follow her and our worst fears come tumbling out of Maggie's mouth. We yell at her to drop whatever she has...and she begrudgingly does. With remorse in her eyes, she walks away...and we find MORE SPORTS BEANS.

Our Pug had hidden then around the house so that when she needed a quick fix, she could take some more. Mom/Dad are leaving -- Sports Beans. They won't take me to the park -- Sports Beans. They haven't cleaned up my poop mat for a day -- SPORTS BEANS. What an addict doesn't understand is that escaping from the problem isn't an answer...it's just a way of ignoring the real issue.

The severity of her problem was now very, very clear. She KNEW this was something she shouldn't be doing. She KNEW we would take them away from her. She KNEW that she might want the high again...so she HID the Sports Beans from us....and she took them out during a time of great need, when we would be leaving.

***

We talked it out with Maggie...and Tauni knew what she had to do. She vowed never to do Coke again...and to be more careful with her Sports Beans. Maggie has been going through withdrawals, but I know we will make it through...together.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Whitney Houston Is an Idiot

Today was an in-class writing day. My students had two hours to respond to a prompt we had been working on for a few class sessions. Before we started, I thought it might be good idea to remind them about time-management...so I wrote the following on the board:

Time Management -- You have two hours total

Pre-writing ______ minutes

Writing ______ minutes

Editing ______ minutes

Total 120 minutes.

I then asked them to take out a piece of paper, and create their own time management plan.

I then wait...figuring this may take a minute or two to think about and accomplish.

I wait.

I wait.

It appeared some of them were still not done for some reason. Wow...they are really putting a lot of thought into this, I think, proudly.

After about five minutes, one of my students raises his hand...and asks:

"Did you want us to fill out the chart, too?"

Sigh.

And I was reminded at that moment about patience and perspective. I didn't laugh. I didn't smile. I didn't give any inclination that I wanted to jump out of my skin.

I simply walked over to the chart I had written on the board...pointed to the blank spaces and said: "Yes. Yes. I think that would be an excellent idea."

Our future...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloweened

In the emergency room, the triage nurse calmly asked me questions, but it was hard for me to answer. The combination of Benadryl and drug-addict speak going on behind me made my responses muddled in my own mind.

The nurse wanted to know how much pain I was in...and all I could hear was moaning...thankfully, this time, it wasn't mine. Are you having trouble breathing?

Kind of...I want to laugh.

***

The woman behind me grunts as responses...and hasn't bathed in days. I can smell the Old Crow. She wants medication because her hip hurts....but she won't confess to how many drugs she has had. When cornered, she pretends she doesn't understand English, and then is told she won't receive any medication unless she answers the questions. Her moaning and ESL-ness stop. She drinks a lot, she confesses, but no drugs. Then the moaning starts again. It's so fake...but she won't quit. She keeps this moaning up for over an hour.

I'm quiet...and trying to keep my dinner down.

***

The wannabe patient at the triage window is arguing with her cane. Yes. Her cane. It is, to my knowledge, not a magic cane...nor is it capable of speaking. But she argued with this cane to get off the ledge of the window that separated the haves in the treatment center and the have-nots...those waiting to get in.

I been bit by a spider! She proclaimed to her cane. I know it, too. I'm black...VERY black...and where I be bit...it's all red.

Her cane didn't believe her...and the receptionist asked her to sit down. Majority rules. Two to one. She sat down.

***

My intestines start to turn inside out. I don't know how else to explain it. They just do. My body doesn't like peanuts...and they seem to invert my insides. This is how I feel when I am asked to return to the waiting room. My throat didn't close up this time...I got to the Benadryl in time. My mouth, filled with over-salivating spit, gets a cup and a seat. I'm fine with that. The "I'm going to die" feeling is gone.

Upon my return to the waiting room, I am surrounded by the moaning hip lady, waiting for her meds, and the spider woman. She sees a pincher bug on the ground. She leaves her cane out of this one:

OK, everyone. Everyone, LISTEN UP! I don't want you to think I'm retarded, but I am afraid of bugs. I am going to kill this one!!! And she stomps and stomps and stomps on the pincher bug. It doesn't die. Both the spider lady and her cane find this to be an omen. They move to a different seat in the waiting room.

I really want to puke...my reaction is getting worse. I try to think of anything but my swollen body...and the nausea.

***

It is Halloween, so there are drunk idiots there...two seem to be about 18. One is named Bitch the other named Ho. I know this because they have the following conversation:

Bitch, you better hope yer foot aint broken.

Ho, it's fine.

Bitch, you fuckin' lame.

Ho, you graduate from college with that mouth?

Bitch, fuck you. I graduated from high school. Now, I wanna burrito.

Ho, I can't fucking walk.

Bitch, you such a bitch. I'm hungry, bitch. I don't care 'bout yer fuckin' foot.

Ho, seriously, you a ho.

Bitch, you a bitch. I'm gonna tell 'em we'll be back.

Ho, OK, but I can't fucking walk.

Bitch, it's ok...you can limp to the taco shop. I needs a burrito up in here.


And they left....limping and cursing all the way.

***

I was under observation for over an hour...and this time, I was lucky. I got the Benadryl in my system before the hives, and the throat, and the vomit.

I imagine how it would feel to die from this allergy...and I think that it would suck. Itching and puking and suffocating to death.

No, I tell the fifth person of the night, I don't have my EpiPen on me...they look so upset...like I'm the stupidest person they have seen all night.

Man, that hurt most of all.