Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get It Off Me! Get It Off Me!

I suppose I should have written this yesterday, since it happened yesterday, and because of this, I got to go home early yesterday. Sure, the power came back on right about the same time I got home, but it worked out for the best because I was still able to get my projects done on the laptop, plus I didn't have to wear pants.

But let's go back to the beginning of the day. Actually, let's go back a year or two, when I broke the zipper on my jacket. It just snapped off when I was pulling it up one day. The zipper itself still worked fine; it just didn't have the part you pull on anymore. Which, incidentally, is called the puller. You don't really need the puller, though. At first I tried to replace it with a bent paperclip, but it was way too pointy at the end, so I wrapped some masking tap around it. That didn't really help at all and looked incredibly stupid, so I just gave up trying to replace the puller and started grabbing the slider between my thumb and index finger and pulling it up and down that way. The skin on my thumb would occasionally get stuck in the zipper, but otherwise it's worked perfectly all this time.

Then on Saturday the slider got stuck midway up the zipper and wouldn't come undone. I could pull it all the way up to the top, but it wouldn't go any further down than that midway point.

Rather than trying to fix it, I switched to my winter coat. It's getting colder anyway. Okay, we can go back to Monday morning again. I put my winter coat on, walked with Brianna and Michele to the car, and bent down to but my laptop bag in the back seat. Just then I felt something land on my head. I immediately reached up to swat it away. It was long and wriggly.

"Ah!! There's something on my head! I think it's a snake!"

"A snake?"

"Yeah. Maybe it fell out of a tree."

Well, a snake could've fallen out of the tree. It's cold out. Maybe he slithered up there, hung out on a branch, but then it got too cold for him and he fell out and died on my head. Stranger things have happened. But it turns out it was just the drawstring on my coat. It flipped onto my head when I bent over.

Stupid drawstrings. I hate those things. And these ones have metal aglets at that end and they always swing around when I walk and smack me in the teeth.

So um, that's what I've been up to. Oh, on Friday, clean-cut Spare Change Guy was at Park Street station and asked me if I had any matches. I did not.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Can Finally Sleep at Night!

This had been bothering me forever: who are Huey, Dewey and Louie's parents? They always seem to be with their uncle Donald, or uncle Scrooge, who is actually Donald's uncle and their great-uncle. But if Donald is their uncle, then he must have a brother or sister, right? And for that matter, if Scrooge is Donald's uncle, who is Donald's father? And where did all these parents go, anyway? I seem to remember even Mickey had two nephews. How did Disney get this family-friendly image when nearly all of their characters' parents are either seemingly non-existent or die horribly?

I don't want to get off track, but I have to mention that friggin' song is on again. I wish Sugarland was a Disney character's parents.

Anyway, I've always thought it was weird that everyone was an "uncle" and wondered if Duckburg was populated by genetic test subjects who reproduce asexually (which would explain why so many characters walk around pantsless yet lack any visible genitalia) by growing spores on their backs like Gremlins. The truth may be too disturbing to reveal, so the elder Ducks tell the younger ones they were just left on the doorstep one night by shiftless relatives. Oops. I think I just spoiled the ending of M. Night Shyamalan's Duck Tales.

But thanks to the internet, now we know that Huey, Dewey and Louie do, in fact, at least have a mother! Check out Carl Banks' Duck Family Tree.

So now we know that Scrooge is Donald's maternal uncle. Donald's mother's name is Hortense Duck (née McDuck) and his father is Quackmore Duck. He also has a cousin named Gladstone, who was orphaned when his parents overate at a free-lunch picnic. Which leads to the obvious conclusion that Donald is part goldfish.

He has a twin sister named Della Thelma Duck, who is Huey, Dewey and Louie's mother. Finally! Well that's a load off my mind. Curiously, no father is mentioned. Could they have possibly been immaculately conceived from medichlorians? Well, according to wikipedia, there is an unnamed father, but he was sent to the hospital after the little hellspawn stuck a firecracker under his chair, which is how they fell into Donald's care in the first place.

So there you go. Mystery solved. Although none of this explains Mickey's nephews. Or why Goofy wears clothes and walk on his hind legs, but Pluto is a naked mute who drinks from the toilet. Actually, Goofy breaks all the Disney archetypes. Donald doesn't wear pants, Mickey walks around shirtless like he's Matthew McConaughey, but Goofy wears pants and a shirt. And, unlike his sterile and/or sexually repressed friends, Goofy actually has his own kid. Which means Goofy had sex. Sloppy, goofy sex.

But since it's Disney, there's no mother. She probably fell off a cliff got caught in a bear trap or something.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Faith and Begorrah! Me Poor Ears!

A couple of months ago, I got my own office under cartoonishly ridiculous circumstances. So now I'm all the way down the hall from Joe, which sounds nice in theory, but it seems like he's in my office now even more than when I was next door to him. That's mostly because the back-up computer was moved to my office. We really only use it if we need to scan something (which is maybe twice a year) or if we need to pull a job off of--or put a job onto--the archive. By the way, Joe dubbed the backup drive "Hogwarts", which he thinks is hilarious. Anyway, no sooner had I sat down in the new office, Joe's in here saving old jobs to the archive and checking every ten minutes to see if it's finished. I told him I could check for him, so he doesn't need to come down here all the time. The estimated time to finish downloading was 40 minutes, so coming in to see if it's done every ten minutes just seems pointless.

That computer also has the scanner, which we very rarely use, but when I first moved into the new office he was in here every morning using the scanner. Why, you ask? Because his wife checked a sock-knitting book out from the library and it was due back soon. I guess she liked it, but didn't want to pay outrageously inflated book-store prices for her own copy, so Joe was scanning the entire book, page by page, to make full-color printouts. You can't make this stuff up.

But I don't even care. Joe is small potatoes. White noise. The thing that's been slowly driving me insane since I moved to this end of the studio is my boss's radio. Her office is right next to mine, and she's a country music fan. And it's on all day.

I don't know a whole lot about country music, but I guess like anything else, it can be broken into smaller sub-genres. As far as I can tell, the station she listens to is soft-rock staples as sung by today's names in country music, whoever the hell they are. So far I've heard country versions of Boyz II Men songs, Eagles songs (which were practically country to begin with so it just seems redundant), Walking in Memphis, that Aerosmith song from Armageddon...it's like they took MAGIC 106.7's playlist and twanged it all up. Oh, and every day at noon they play the Star Spangled Banner, because anyone who isn't constantly waving a flag until they get carpal tunnel syndrome is a Commie bastard who hates our troops.

It's not all national anthems and adult contemporary hits as performed by guys with giant beltbuckles. About four times a day, Kid Rock (Not country!) inexplicably shows up to sing a song about singing Sweet Home Alabama (Also not country!), sampling quite a bit of the melody from Sweet Home Alabama, and, for some reason, Werewolves of London (Not even the same country!!) But I'd cover myself in peanut butter and lie on a fire ant hill while headphones duct-taped to my head play Kid Rock singing about singing someone else's song on a loop for a month if it meant never having to listen to the most annoying, repetitive song I've ever heard. Even more annoying than Move Ya Body. Well, maybe not. But it's up there. And it goes like this:

"oo oo oo oo oo oo, oo oo oo oo oo oo, oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo"

And continues on like that for nearly four minutes.

After hearing it every day for two months, I had to look it up, just so I'd know who to direct my unbridled rage at. It did take a little work, since the wall between our offices absorbed all the audible lyrics other than the steady burst of 19 "oo"s, which came through loud and clear. What is the secret of the "oo"s? Typing a bunch of "oo"s into Google didn't really help. But adding "annoying" and "country song" yielded some results. So, I hereby direct my unbridled rage at Sugarland, and "All I Want To Do." Congratulations, Sugarland, you just made my enemies list.

In other news, I won't be going back to the doctor to settle this whole Marfan Syndrom kerfuffle until next month. I suppose it could be worse. I could have Foreign Accent Syndrome.

Don't laugh. There are dozens of them. Dozens! Did Madonna suffer so kind of massive head trauma we don't know about? I wonder if Trina's got an Irish brogue now, since her little accident. The thing I don't understand, you know, beside the fact that they start speaking in a different accent to begin with, is why they can't just switch back. Have you ever seen a movie where you didn't realize the actor was British until you hear them use their real accent in interviews? Well, if you can "do" an accent, couldn't you just "do" your old voice if someone threw a toaster at your head one day and you suddenly sounded like Colonel Klink?

I'll bet the dozens of people with Foreign Accent Syndrome get asked that all the time, and it probably ticks them off. It's like when you lose something and everybody says, "Where was the last place you had it?" Wow. Why didn't I think of that? Another mystery solved there, Encyclopedia Brown.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

They Should Call this Blog Johnny Deformed

You know how people ask how do you know if the refrigerator light goes off when you close the door, and they think they're being clever or something, but it's a stupid question because there's a button that switches the light off when it's pressed, and since it's right in the door track, the weight of the door turns it off? You can press it with your finger when the door is open, for crying out loud. I don't know where I was going with that. I think it had something to do with what I do when I'm not blogging. I'm not some monkey here for your amusement, I've got a lot on my plate right now. It's not like when I'm not posting here, I go into stasis or anything, in a giant, hermetically-sealed Tupperware container 300 feet below the surface of the Earth, where an advanced society of mole-men monitor my vital signs and flood my mind with gamma rays encoded with subliminal messages, effectively making me a sleeper agent in their quest to take over the Topside. That's just silly. How could these mole people even survive up here, what with their poor vision and their photo-sensitive skin?

No, It turns out I've just been on Facebook really busy at work. For like, months now.

But I'm giving you an update, not just because I've been nominated for something, but also because I got myself all freaked out last week about some genetic defect thing that I may or may not have.

It started last Monday. With so many sto---HOLY SHIT! Sorry. They're doing something to the roof at work. We can hear banging and whirring power tools all day. Just now a big piece of...something...just flew past my window, like a big chunk of Styrofoam or insulation. I don't know if they dropped it by accident or threw it down to the dumpster, but it hit my window ledge, a piece broke off, and it continued on the the ground seven stories below. For a second I thought it was a person. Crap, that was scary.

Alright, what I was saying was, with the election dominating the news pretty much since 2006, there were hundreds of weird little articles coming out that somehow involved presidents or elections. For example, do you know why elections are held on Tuesdays? One of these articles was about Presidential diseases. Michele sent it to me because some people believe Abraham Lincoln had Marfan Syndrome, and from the description, it seemed like I might have it, too. Here's some of the symptoms:

Tall, thin stature with long limbs. Check.
For most people, armspan and height are roughly equal - in people with Marfan Syndrome, armspan is longer. Check. 73" height, 76" armspan.
Long, flexible fingers and toes. Check.
Easy dislocation and loose joints, as well as scoliosis or abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine. Check and check. When I was a teenager, they told me I had Kyphosis (From the Greek Kyphos, meaning hunchback. Fan-friggin'-tastic.) I had to wear a back brace, which didn't really help my already unnecessarily low self-esteem.
Sunken or pushed-out breastbone. Check.
Vision problems. Check.
Weak blood vessels (especially the aorta) and abnormal heart valves. Um...I don't know. But I did have the hiccups for FIVE DAYS.

Anyway, it was all actually pretty interesting, until I got to the "Prognosis" part, where my life-expectancy was basically halved. So, yeah, it rattled me a bit. It shouldn't have, first of all because I can't even confirm I have this thing, and even if I do, it says with proper medical treatment, the AVERAGE lifespan is increased to about 70 years. 70 is the average, so half the people must live longer than that for it to be the average, right? Isn't that how math works?

Well, it's better to get all worked up over nothing than to suddenly drop dead in ten years, so I did something I hardly ever do: I made an appointment to see a doctor. I figured since I was going to be there anyway, I made sort of a Top Ten list of "ailments" or whatever that I've had for years, but were really too small to go see a doctor for on their own. I don't know, I'd feel silly setting up an appointment to tell a doctor that, despite my narrow build, I constantly smash my shoulder on door frames that I have more than enough space to walk through. But if it's thrown in with a list of other stuff, that somehow makes it easier. So, under threats from Michele and my boss, I made an appointment for last Thursday.

The medical center I go to (which I hadn't gone to since the hiccups incident), is right across the street from the Braintree train station, so I took the train from work and walked over there. On the way, I saw a woman walking ahead of me fall to the ground. It's always tricky when someone falls, because if they're hurt, they're going to need help, but if they're not, the last thing they want is for anyone to draw attention to their hilarious pratfall. She had pretty much gathered herself together by the time I reached her, but to be safe I asked if she was okay. The woman turned around and just gave me this blank, eerie stare. She looked like Morton Downey, Jr., with big coke-bottle glasses. I thought maybe she didn't hear me, so I asked again. Still nothing. Well, nothing but an evil, ungrateful death-stare. Amazingly, though her ankles are apparently made of spaghetti, she managed to hold on tightly to her lit cigarette the entire time. I should have pushed her back down, the crazy broad. I only offered to help in case someone I knew happened to drive by and I didn't want to look like a dick. Jeez. And that face is going to haunt my dreams.

After that, I got to the building and checked in. There was some kind of scheduling conflict with the doctor, so they sent me to a nurse practitioner rather than waiting hours to see my primary care physician, who I couldn't pick out of a lineup anyway. It was a good meeting, but unfortunately I don't have much else to report about it for the moment. She took my list, made a photocopy of it, and said while you can't just look at someone and say they have Marfan Syndrome, it looks like I have Marfan Syndrome. I have another appointment coming up, but it hasn't been scheduled yet. The next one will be with a geneticist. I guess I feel better now. I'm not freaked out anymore, it's not really a big deal either way. It just explains my creepy wizard fingers. At least Michele will stop nagging me about going to the doctor. Now all I have to do is go to the dentist. I may have cracked a tooth last Wednesday. I've been avoiding anything hard or crunchy and chewing with the right side of my mouth since then.