Archive for June, 2006

Lost iPod

My iPod is gone.  I don’t know if it was stolen, or if I lost it, but I brought it to work one day and it disappeared.  I’ve searched my office and my house and it is nowhere to be found.  No one has turned it into the Lost and Found at work.  So it’s gone. 

I should actually say that it is “our” iPod, since all of my wife’s Christmas music and dirges by The Cure and Morrissey were on it (She probably would have some interesting opinions about my music collection – which includes, among other things, rap, country, and heavy metal – but this isn’t her column).  

If I had to guess, I would lean toward “stolen” as opposed to “lost and sitting somewhere out of sight”.  The reason for this is that I can’t think of anyplace lost and out of sight that I haven’t checked.  And, if I dropped it, someone could have turned it in to the Lost and Found (“Hey look, an expensive piece of equipment that I could just keep for free…where is the nearest Lost and Found?”).  I suppose I could put up posters, like people do when their cats have been eaten by coyotes but they just don’t want to admit it to themselves, or to their children: 

LOST 

White 30GB iPod 

I didn’t write down the serial number

but you should still give it back. 

If you don’t, karma will get you. 

I suppose that if I really wanted to discourage someone from keeping it, I would lie and say something like “iPod has been contaminated with a rare and incredibly contagious skin disease.  Call owner for antidote.”  That might work a little better than the empty karma threat, but I’m not sure that it is strictly legal. 

The thought that my iPod was stolen really grates on me.  In the words of Vincent Vega (when someone keyed his car):  “Boy, I wish I could’ve caught him doing it.  I’d have given anything to catch that [bad word] doing it.  It’d been worth him doing it just so I could’ve caught him doing it.” 

But, no matter whether someone stole it, or it’s sitting in some dark corner waiting for me to find it, or if I accidentally dropped it into the Wachusett Reservoir; it’s gone.  There is no question that I am going to have it replaced, so now the big decision is:  do we go to his and her iPods? 

The Pro:  It would probably be good for our marriage.  For some unknown reason, my wife gets frustrated just by the fact that songs by 50 Cent, Charlie Parker, and Tool are even ON an iPod along with her music.  Not only can she not simply put the entire iPod on shuffle for fear that she might hear a Frank Zappa or Lynyrd Skynyrd song, but she doesn’t even like to have to click past all of my music to get to whatever Sarah McLachlan song she feels like listening to at the moment.  To be fair, when there are 25 different artist listings for 50 Cent (50 Cent with Eminem, 50 Cent with Little Feat, 50 Cent with Pete Fountain, etc.) it can be a bit much. 

In the same vein, I would like to be able to put the iPod on shuffle without hearing 7 different versions of Jingle Bells. 

Plus, it would be nice for me to be able to listen to my music without kidnapping all of our music for the entire day.  So, it would seem that his and her iPods are the way to go.  Except: 

The Con:  iPods aren’t cheap.  Not only do they cost more than the muffler on my car, they have all sorts of little gadget accessories that go along with them.  These accessories honestly cost more than a small, non-HD, color TV.  

For example, I had a little gadget for my old iPod that allowed me to transmit it to my car radio, but I have discovered that the “old” gadget doesn’t fit the new iPods (of course).  So, that’s about 50 bucks.  Unless I want to charge it AND listen to the radio at the same time; then there is a gadget for that that runs somewhere between 85-100 bucks.  Yes, it is ridiculous, but if we get his and her iPods, we multiply everything by 2.  In the end, we’ll probably need a home equity loan just to have a portable music collection; and that doesn’t include the cost of the music itself! 

So, it is the age old story:  Money or marital bliss? 

It would be much easier if I could just find that old iPod.  Maybe I’ll go look for it again; I just remembered that I forgot to look in the basement under the washing machine…

The Day to Day Grind Tim 30 Jun 2006 No Comments

The Pool is Green

It’s almost July, and my pool is green. I should be more specific: the water in my pool is green. Not light green. Not cute green; deep, mossy green. For anyone who does not own a pool, I can tell you that green is not the optimal color for pool water. To quote my wife, it’s “gross”. No one wants to swim in a green pool, with the exception of my dog (a very big fan of “gross”).

I would blame the constant rain for the green water, but after a significant amount of study, I have found that rain cannot be the culprit. First of all, rain is not green. Second, the same rain fell into my neighbor’s pool and it’s as clear as crystal. There must be another guilty party, because we have never had this problem before.

It is probably the new pool cover’s fault. We decided to buy a new cover because our old cover, really just a blue tarp, used to gather leaves and water and turn itself into a pond, on top of the pool, every spring. When removing the blue tarp, leaves and other good stuff (worms, dead rodents) would always seem to find their way into the pool, but at least the water would be clear.

The new cover, which was removed weeks ago, is very nice. The website for the cover claims that it is so strong; an elephant could safely stand on it without falling into the pool. That will come in handy if any elephants happen to wander into my back yard. I suppose it’s possible that the pool is green because some neighborhood elephant, having just enjoyed a large serving of asparagus, wandered onto the cover and used my pool as a rest stop; but that’s not the most likely scenario.

The most likely scenario is that the new cover, unlike the old blue tarp, allowed all of the winter sunlight into the pool. That sunlight, made up of a bunch of friendly individuals named Photons, got into the pool and started partying. The Photons, as photons will, invited along the Green Algae cousins to listen to some funky club music, called “photosynthesis”. The problem is that so many of the Green Algae cousins showed up that the pool turned green.

So, whatever the reason, it’s almost July and I have a green pool; counter-measures must be taken. The first step, my favorite solution to any pool issue, is called Shock and Awe. Shock is powerful concentrated chlorine, which should kill anything, and I have bottles and bottles of it. I wait until it gets dark (Shock is a bit nasty and doesn’t get along with the Photons) and pour 4 gallons into the pool. I go to bed and wait for the filter and chlorine to do their work.

The next morning, the water is still green. Aw.

I get more serious. A sample of the pool water is brought to the pool store. The pool store recommends algaecide (sorry Green Algae cousins). All viewable algae are brushed from the sides of the pool, and a healthy amount of algaecide is added to the water. I wait overnight for the algaecide to do its work and in the morning I see:

Beautiful, rippling waves of green.

At this point, I snap. This can’t be that difficult. I figure that Shock can solve everything, so I put a bunch of it into the pool: Shock, shock, shock, shock, shock. Gallons and gallons of the stuff; everything must go.

Everything, that is, except for the algae. The water is even greener than it was before, if that’s even possible. I can’t even see the bottom of the pool. I will probably have wave the white flag and call in a professional.

But, I’ve been thinking that maybe what my yard really needs is a nice basketball court. I could paint the lines and put up lights and I’d probably even paint it green. If anyone knows where I could get a good deal on a very large amount of cement, enough to support an elephant, please let me know.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 23 Jun 2006 No Comments

A Brave New World

Today is the first day of my graduate level English class and my throat is tight with anxiety. The minute I signed up for this class, as a test run to see if I might want to pursue my Master of Arts in English, I began to get nervous about it. I have some serious doubts about my ability to hack it. I haven’t been in a college class in 10 years, and that was for Business. Since that time I have dabbled as a hack columnist and pleasure reader, but I have none of the fancy writing skills that will be expected of me.

All of my friends and family members, none of whom are taking the class, say that I’ll be fine. I’m smart, they say (silly them!), and that should see me through. I wish it were that easy.

The classroom, which feels like it has absorbed a full day’s worth of the June heat, has three long tables set up in a U-shape. The table furthest from the instructor podium has been filled with my new classmates, most of whom are deep in familiar conversations with one another. I pick a seat on the far side of the room and move to it.

The chalkboard bears the words, “Let’s move to Rm 113.” I can only assume that it is someone’s plea to move to a room on a lower floor that does not feature the atmosphere of a wood-burning stove. I take my seat and quietly watch the other people while I try to ignore the sweat droplets rolling down my back. There is no doubt that these people are all English majors with experience and advanced writing abilities. I will be the only person in the room with a career in software support.

The woman to my right sips her iced coffee and swirls the ice around the cup. The ice makes a soft clicking noise and I wish I had thought of iced coffee…or of any drink for that matter.

The only other male present is having a loud conversation with his neighbor about how he wants to change the genders of certain characters. I assume that he is referring to something he is in the process of writing, but I suppose it’s possible that he is a plastic surgeon during the day.

The other people in class are talking about how short the break between the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the summer classes was. It’s obvious that most, if not all, of them are regular college students.

A woman walks into the room and places her belongings on a table in the back of the room. She then walks toward the chalkboard and stops in front of the words “Let’s move to Rm 113”. She stares at the words for a moment, and I can tell that she is calculating the possibilities that the professor wrote the note and that we are all sitting in the wrong classroom. The woman ponders that for a moment, then makes a frustrated grunting noise and walks out of the class. The chances that she’s headed down to 113 are pretty good.

Eventually the scheduled time for class to start arrives and with it comes a woman who walks into the class and tells us that the professor is going to be late and also that there is another class in Room 113. She does, however, have a course syllabus for each of us, which she proceeds to hand out.

I receive my syllabus and give it a glance. My heart leaps into my throat as I see that, in the month of June, I will be required to read 4 novels and their criticisms, give 2 presentations, and write 2 papers, one of which will be 15-20 pages in length. If I leave now, maybe I can still get some of my money back.

It’s time for a deep breath. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. No pain, no gain. No guts, no air medals. Pain is temporary but glory is forever. It’s now or never, come hold me tight, kiss me my darling…wait a minute.

The professor walks in, and he is a friendly looking younger guy. He’s carrying his infant son in a car seat and explains that the babysitter mixed up her dates. We all laugh, and it feels good. He starts to talk passionately about the subject and before I know it, I’m a college student again. Maybe I can do this. I think I can. Wish me luck.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 09 Jun 2006 No Comments

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