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...