They grow culture in a petri dish.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Don Cheadle is At It Again...!

Man, Don Cheadle just won't quit with me! I know that I've already devoted blog space to the man's unholy obsession with me, but this past weekend has brought me fresh evidence that the man can't get enough Violet. While Andretta, Jolanda, and I were shopping last Friday, I got the weird sensation that I was being watched. Again! Lo and behold, I saw this poster of Don Cheadle in all its snarky, cheese-caked glory. Yes, he's joined the (Red) campaign, and this poster is ostensibly an advertisement for its products. But look closer...

First, you'll see that he's taking off the product, taking it off. He's pulling it up and to the front. Up...and to the front. Does that look like advertisement for the product, or like a simple come-on for a certain Miss Violet? I'll let you be the judge. More evidence, m'kay? Is he selling underwear? No. Then why, sweet Jesu, am I seeing tighty-whitey? Tighty-whities, I must remind us, aren't even sexy...except, apparently, on Don Cheadle. Third: what's that look on his face supposed to mean? Really!?! It isn't going to make me think of my philanthropic help preventing AIDS or feeding Africans. In fact, it makes me think of considerably less philanthropic endeavors which would make Mrs. Cheadle chase me down a poorly-lit street with a rolling pin. Fourth: Don knows I can't shop at the Gap—my booty is too generous to buy what they are selling. So, why have this delicious poster placed facing out? So I'll see it, of course.

Gentle readers, I have tried to talk some sense into Mr. Cheadle, and I am at my wit's end. I can only hope that your generous donations to the (Red) campaign will help bring Don around again. It's about the less fortunate, Don; Violet...she's just an unattainable, gleaming star. Admi(red)? We'd all like to be.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bunch of Freakin' Ass-hats

Well, it's 11:30, and my morning is shot. Shot to hell. I started trying to reserve A/V equipment at 9:30. I talked with S— in the Media Stuff* Office. She and I ran through all of the equipment we'd need for the keynote speaker's address. No problem. She told me the rental prices, and I figured I'd put through the requisition for payment for equipment rental. A requision which needs to go through today. As I was filling out this online form, I was asked questions which I didn't know the answer to like "address?," and "Federal ID number," and "circumfrance of the Earth." Figuring that the Media Stuff Office could answer at least two of these questions, I called back. That is when all-uneducated-hell broke loose.

I first called S— back and requested the pertinent information. She informed me that she "usually doesn't work here" and didn't know the info I needed. Instead, she referred me to Sa— who was sure to know this info. I called Sa—'s number and was connected to A—. A— informed me that, not only is Sa— not in today, she's not going to be in tomorrow, either. I asked A— if she could tell me the address and Federal ID# of the Media Stuff Office, and she quickly fell into a comprehensional chasm between a) "what is the Media Stuff Office doing for you?" and b) "who are you trying to pay?". The answer to "a" would be "their job." As for "b," I admit that this woman was making me start to doubt my own best instincts. To clarify, though, let's think this out: I'm ostensibly renting equipment from the Media Stuff Office, so my guess is that my money...bear with me going to the...MEDIA STUFF OFFICE, asshat! A— informed me that her co-worker T— would call me back and try to help. I'm guessing that the least that T— has on A— is that she isn't a mouth-breather.

Trying a different course, I called Andretta, Darise, and Jolanda. Fortunately, Jolanda was home. She told me that we'd gotten the equipment free of charge last year because the speaker was listed as a special lecturer on Andretta's syllabus. Fantastic! I thought that we had to have the keynote listed on a faculty member's syllabus, but I can certainly provide a syllabus listing the keynote as a special lecturer. Armed with this knowledge, I confidently called S—back. In my sunniest, I'm-not-a-bother voice, I told her this new information. To my frustration, though, she informed me that, again, since she doesn't usually work here, M— will be responsible for making the call on this. Where's M—? Nobody freakin' knows! Asshats! He's not in his office...his voicemail is full! Huzzah! I am left to believe that nobody freakin' works anymore. At least, nobody in charge. These offices are left to the barely-functional-but-pleasant (S—) and the barely-literate (A—). I mean, honestly, when my request for the physical address of your office starts you wheezing into a panic attack, methinks this job isn't for you.

Awhile back, a colleague reassured me that all of this stress and frustration is worth it. "It's better than digging ditches," he said. In retrospect, I'm thinking that somewhere off in an idyllic ditch, a worker is pausing in reflection. "This is hard work," his buddy says. "Yeah," he drawls in reply, "but it's better than assigning reading that students don't complete; writing that they execute poorly; fighting with an administration over the 'usefulness' and 'productivity' of your work; putting together a conference; working through bureaucracy..." You get the picture.

* not this office's real name.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Jolanda's Birthday in St. Arrrrr!

This week was Homecoming Week at UF, so what's a harried grad student to do? Run! Get out of town! Aieeeeee! It was also—as is the case with these annual events—Jolanda's birthday. She decided that she wanted to go to St. Augustine. On Saturday, we all rose at the crack of 9:30 and piled into her car. At first, we thought it would just be the ladies—Jolanda, Andretta, Darise,....Lanolin,...and myself. Fortunately, though, we were joined by the guys—Marlin and Kenyon. Yea! Here we are at St. Augustine Beach where we all met up. We took a long walk up and down the beach with only the pier to orient us. (Also, I should note that we were incredibly lucky to get a picture of Marlin, as these were taken with his camera, and he was our designated picture-taker throughout.) After the beach, we went to the A1A Brewery for lunch, but, regrettably, they'd lost power and couldn't serve lunch. Something to do with construction on the old Bridge of Lions maybe. Instead, we went to the Mayan Cafe and then got some dessert at at fantastic chocolate shop next door. Then, we walked down to the old fort which cost $6 to tour. We got about $6 of entertainment pretty quickly as it was time for them to fire the cannon, and by "them," I mean fake troops. The cannon-firing was pretty cool and loud, but they didn't use an actual cannon ball. I'm thinking that, if they had, I would have paid around $10. And, then, if they'd aimed well enough to take out one of the boats, I'd have paid $20. I learned something pretty important from this experience: I think I want to wear a costume in my chosen profession...After the fort, we went down to St. George Street to do some shopping. We happened upon a fantastic store with shirts and cool purses. I got a little Christmas shopping done and bought a new purse for myself. We also pretty-much cemented the fact that Andretta wants to be a pirate for Halloween. Personally, I really need to get a handle on my own costume because I'll use it as my new blog picture. How to top Courtney Love? Enquiring minds want to know. Anyway, we got home at around 6 or so, and let me tell you I got a great night's sleep after all that walking.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brief Interview with Me#1: What happens when they start pouring the cement foundation for the construction area next to your apartment complex?

I'm so glad you asked...well, first, I'd say that you get a little message from the complex manager stating that this should cause no trouble whatsoever but to call if you encounter any. This is a sure sign that said activity will cause a hell of a lot of trouble and not to bother her.

Interesting. When might one expect this cement pouring to start?

In my case, it started around 1 in the morning. When I was asleep. Be assured that I woke up, cursed a couple dozen times, and inserted my handy 32-decibel-rated earplugs to block out the noise.

So, what does your typical cement-pouring endeavor sound like?

I'd say that it sounds like a copier and a paper shredder operating at the same time about 10 feet away from your bed. I mean, assuming you're in your bed when this starts. Ohyeah, and there's the incessant "backing up" beeping like you get from a commerical truck. And occasionally what sounds like a forensic expert cutting through bone. Did I mention that this happens at 1 in the morning? This happens at 1 in the morning.

In your estimation, what is worse—the sound of cement being poured in the construction area next to your house or your loud neighbors?

Good question...that one takes a lot of thought. I'd have to say "loud neighbors." With the cement mixing, you get a steady stream of predictible noise. With the loud neighbors, you never know when it's time to slam a door, cannonball into the pool, "woo-hoo!" upon exiting one's apartment, or simply throw a shoe repeatedly against a neighbor's wall. See, these are less consistent noises, but they are more likely to drive me into a psychotic rage. Plus, the earplugs don't block all of this.

Did you ever confront your neighbors about this noise or register a complaint?
Yes and yes. At the aforementioned "shoe" episode, I scared a little sense into them. After about the third or forth shoe hit, I threw open the door, jutted out my p-'jammied torso, and proclaimed, "DUDE! What the F***!?!" This caused the five male shoe-throwers (and/or shoe-throwing accomplices) to scatter. Not too shabby for an ovaried-one. Plus, just last weekend, I lodged a formal noise complaint against them with my complex. I'm talking a typed, itemized list and everything.

What if neither of these actions works?

If neither of these actions is fruitful, I happen to know the location of a soft sheet of newly-poured cement...