Friday, September 03, 2004

impulses of motion and further notes

future stories:
raccoon story   

I had scored a copy of The Whos 'Who's Next.' Killer album, right? I'm listening to it rather quietly and my wife is bathing one of our children. Our oldest son, 4ish at the time, is listening with me. He's obviously enjoying it. My wife calls me into the bathroom to view some sort of unbearable cuteness just as the album is ending. Sure enough the cuteness is unbearable but I manage to stay in the bathroom and talk and play with my other child. I'm out of the room long enough for the album to finish playing.

My oldest son is technically adept but we, until this point, kept him away from the stereo. Never even really showed it to him because, as you well know, music is quite near everything. It encompasses all that is good, right and holy with the world and then some. So by necessity we have kept him pointed away from the stereo. Otherwise we might find it assembled into some sort of alien tracking device. You never know with my kids.

So, the album ends, and I'm vaguely disappointed. Music, and in particular, The Who, rocks. Suddenly 'Baba O'Reilly' starts playing. At impressive volume. My son has determined how to get this wonderful stuff pouring back out of the speakers and, by god, it needs to be louder. I don't manage to get back into the den until Pete Townsend takes off with the guitar and as I walk in my 4 year is swinging his arm in the standard Townsend move. As if he is trying to push all the blood in his body to the very tip of his fingers.

Have you ever wondered why Townsend played this way? Was it an easier method of playing the notes he needed? A good way to keep time? My pet theory is this: it felt good and the music itself manifested itself in this physical motion in his body. Have you ever had to shake your rump? You know what I mean then. I think this because my son had never seen or heard Pete Townsend play before. Yet here it is. You could take this to the jungles of South America and descendants of Incas would all be playing air guitar and swinging their 'strumming' hand round and round. They'd have no choice.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

sugar syrup

One of my co-workers was having a computer problem and he called me into his office to help him out. As I was working on the computer I noticed drops of dried softdrink on his keyboard. I noticed more softdrink splatters on the screen. "Must've had a mouthfull of coke and sneezed," I thought. Disgusting, relatively common occurence geeks are exposed to. I turned to ask him about a specific problem with his PC and noticed splatters on the wall behind him. It was like someone had bludgeoned a can of coke with a baseball bat. I didn't want to disturb someone with a vendetta against helpless cans of pop, but I had to know what had happened. I asked. Apparently my co-worker had bought a couple of six packs of soda and was pulling them from the plastic rings and placing them under his desk. As he got to the last couple of cans one fell out. In cases like this, I generally wind up cursing gravity as a real inconvenience. The reality was much, much worse. The can landed on the top corner slightly opening the poptop. The shaking from falling and landing caused it to fizz violently. Since the pressure was only released on one side of the opening, the can started to spin and spray coke around the room. As I looked around the I noticed sprayed drops of coke were everywhere. Floor to ceiling the room was covered. I think I would have cursed CO2 at this point.

Months later I was retelling this story and my co-worker was walking by. I asked him about his office and he said that he hadn't gotten around to cleaning off his whiteboard yet. Whiteboard writing can be really nice. The squeak of the markers as they slide smoothly over the surface of the board. The clean vaguely chemical smell of the ink. All ruined as you hit a drop of dried soda causing your marker to stick and chatter as your hand overcompensates for the friction. It would have been the first thing I cleaned.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

just some notes...

My father-in-law hunts elk in Idaho every year. He packs in on 3 mules and stays in the mountains for two weeks. Having mules is an adventure in itself. Yesterday I watched a farrier shoe the mules. Shoeing a mule is not a simple task. The hoof must be prepared, the shoe shaped and applied and the hoof finished. Mules are, as a rule, flighty creatures. Every time they see you the first thing that goes through their head is "Today he is going to eat me. He may not have eaten me in the past but today is the day." Distrustfull to say the least. Shoeing a mule, especially their hind hooves, keeps you in their blind spot. They are already waiting for you to gobble them up and since they can't see you they are especially nervous. A mule can kick forward or backward unlike a horse which (as I understand it) can only kick backward. So shoeing a mule is a sweaty task. Nervous, electric sweat. So as the farrier shoes, others try to occupy the time making small talk. You can't silently wait for the farrier to get the fool kicked out of him.

So we are waiting. As we are waiting I notice a large number of fire ants crawling about. The fire ant is my least favorite creature above even the completely unnecessary mosquito. If you are not in the southern United States you have the luxury of lying on the grass. I don't.

As we are talking I feel a small twinge near my nether regions. "Hmm, must have moved wrong and pulled a hair." Another. And another. This is a familiar sort of pain. I have a fire ant in my pants and he is taking it out on very sensitive areas of my body. I move quickly toward the rear of the barn, discretion, in this case, being the better part of not flashing my father-in-law. Once relieved of the offending creature I mosey (if you had had a fire ant latched on to your privates you'd have to move slowly too) back out to nervously wait for the farrier to get kicked. I just thought there was swelling after my vasectomy...