THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: April 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Big Toe Captain - Part 1

Sitting in my office today, I noticed the nail on the big toe of my right foot was longer than I like. I could see the sharp, hard edge of it pushing against the fabric of my oversock. Gosh, I sure wanted to trim it. Right then and there.

But that's just indecent to do in an office setting, isn't it?

So I didn't do it.

Photo Credits: here

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Loess You Know, The Better - Part 1

Here's a question bound to prompt heaps and scads of rational, interesting discourse (or not):

  • Which is the coolest Loess Hills?
  1. Loess Hills around Natchez, Mississippi; or
  2. Loess Hills of Western Iowa.

Please discuss.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

On My Eraser - Part 1

Because I make a lot of mistakes in my day to day work, I like to use pencils when I mark up documents that I am reviewing. Using pencils lets me use erasers. To undo my many errors.

The Sanford Magic Rub eraser (pictured above, click to enlarge (oo-la-la)) is the mack daddy of pencil erasers. Buy one here. You will not be disappointed. And if you use it often you might even get to experience the phenomenon I experienced recently here at the new job . . . .

I was given two pristine, new Sanford Magic Rub erasers when I arrived for work my first day. I had specially requested them. Having good erasers was a condition to my willingness to accept the employment. Well, actually that's not true. Not at all. But doesn't it make me sound tough? And cool? Seriously.

But, to my considerable dismay, both erasers were sort of dry and crumbly. During use, I felt like I was going snap it in two. This was not what I was expecting. But I perservered. And, ironically, my brain did not even try to find a solution. My motor skills simply adapted my erasing technique so as not to harm the eraser. I decided to live with it.

Well, fear not, friends. The crisis has been averted. Normal erasing technique is once again acceptable. Yes, tonight I noticed, for the first time, that both of my erasers have, perhaps through use, perhaps through the gift of the virtually ever-present humidity of sunny Houston, Texas, perhaps they were never actually dry and crumbly and I was mistaken to have that impression. Whatever. It matters not. Both erasers are now moist to the touch. Rubbery to employ. And spectacularly effective to remove penciled mistakes.

Isn't life sometimes just a sugar cube???

Dig it.

Photo Credits: here (erasers)
here (cool painting of sugar cubes)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Envelope Please ...

OK, Ladies and Gentlemen . . . and the "Seriously." Award for Best PDD Impersonation goes to . . .

The Velvet Fog . . .

for his spectacular performance in the comments section of this post:
The Great Undersock Revelation.

Congratulations, Phineas!
Keep up the good work!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

On Probabilities and the Alphabet - Part 1

This entry will eventually be about the alphabet. And probabilities. In each case, sort of.

But first, in the category of True Confessions, here is another:


OK. So the magazine cover may have been misleading. But what I've confessed is true. And consider this. My undersocks are mostly cotton and partly lycra-spandex. I purchased all of them from Target. Most of them are white (or were white, at least, before I washed them with my dark-coloured oversocks).

Each time I bought some I bought several packages; each package contained two pairs of these socks. The packaging for each of the pairs was identical, but the socks in each package were not. Each pair is at least a little unique. On some pairs, the toes are sort of cross-hatched and tightly woven. On some pairs, the heel pad is thicker than on others. On some pairs, the support for the ball of the foot is narrow. On some pairs the support for the ball of the foot is reasonably thick.

As an aside, these are women's socks (perhaps that part should have been the "true confession" part of this entry). Men's socks don't work for undersocks on my feet. They're too big. Not tight. Not that my feet are that small. I wear size 9.5 or size 10, depending on the shoe. But men's socks in big-box discount retail stores (where I prefer to shop) are generally sized to fit most men's feet (size 11-13, etc.). Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that the socks are women's socks explains why each of the pairs is different? Women's personalities tend to fluctuate so much from day to day. Maybe their feet change too?

But I digress ... so back to our story.

My brain has been trained in matters legal. Brains trained in matters legal are programmed to identify and solve problems. My brain noticed that sorting my undersocks either was not successful or took a very long time to achieve. And as a certified, card-carrying anal retent, it doesn't work for me to have the undersock on my left foot not match the undersock on my right foot. So the situation I found myself in often enough for my brain to identify it as a problem was spending a long time matching up the undersocks. Upon the occurrence of part 1 -- recognizing that a problem existed -- my brain shifted over to part 2 -- solving the problem.

First I remembered how my mother trained me to solve this problem: safety pins. When I was younger (say, 10 to 12 years old), my mother did my laundry for me. But she would not wash my socks unless I had safety pinned each foot's sock to the other foot's sock. This way the socks stayed in pairs and made for easy sorting after the washing was complete.

Not unexpectedly, I still have some of the pre-adolescence/adolescensce resistance to admitting that was a good idea and that it would be an effective way to solve my problem (i.e., the large time commitment required to adequately sort my undersocks). Plus I didn't have enough safety pins at the house the day my brain decided I needed to solve this problem so I couldn't have implemented that solution even had it otherwise been satisfactory.

So my brain thought of another solution (and here comes the alphabet part of this post). I washed all my undersocks. I dried all my undersocks. And I undertook to sort all my undersocks. I found adequate natural light (I had previously discovered that the lighting in my closet and our master bedroom was inadequate to allow for accurate sorting). I blocked out, mentally, enough time to do the job right. I committed to the process. And I implemented the solution my brain recommended.

Each time I successfully matched a left undersock to a right undersock, using a blunt-tipped black Sharpie permanent marker, I wrote large capital letters on the various socks; e.g., I wrote a large "A" on the left sock of the first pair I identified and a large matching "A" on the right sock of the first pair I identified. Then a large "B" on the left sock of the second pair I identified and a large matching "B" on the right sock of the second pair I identified. And so on.

This solution worked (and had the added benefit of being psychologically and emotionally acceptable to my not-fully actualized brain). I reduced my sock sorting time dramatically. And I materially improved my comfort, both mental and physical, in that now when I grab a tightly-balled pair of undersocks from my drawer in the morning, I have every confidence that I will find matching undersocks. And I have not yet been disappointed.

The other morning, though (and here we get to the probabilities part of this entry), I picked the pair of undersocks on which I had written the letters "Q." When I unwrapped the tightly-balled pair of undersocks, I was struck immediately by the brightness and the crispness of the lettering on this pair of undersocks. I can't remember that I have ever worn the "Q" pair of undersocks since the day I wrote the letters on the undersocks. Which got me thinking, idly, how that was possible.

I wrote the letters on the socks last summer (I think). I've done my laundry at least one dozen times since then (sometimes I wear more than one pair of undersocks in a day, especially if I practise juggling). And I've not intentionally shunned the pair of undersocks with "Q" written on them.

Below is a photograph of the pair of undersocks with the letter "Q" on them. And for comparison, next to those undersocks is the pair of undersocks with the letter "F" on them. Look at the road wear on the "F" pair. Those suckers have been walked hard and put away soiled a time or two, it seems. By the way, I did not yet launder the pair of socks with the letter "Q" on them; the photograph represents the condition of the lettering on the day I made my observation that perhaps I'd not worn this pair before.

Photo Credits: here (for the magazine). The photo of the undersocks is courtesy of Garrett's personal archives.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On Blissful, Restorative Slumber - Part 1

Since I changed jobs, blissful, restorative slumber has been more difficult for me to achieve. The combination of owning (and paying for) two homes, organizing and addressing transfers of technology from our old house to our new house (e.g., phone, internet, and cable), and one or two minor head colds and cough-y throats, plus the significantly more front-line nature of my new role at my new employer led to me spending more time awake or almost awake, brain idly (or not so idly) planning and strategizing the next day's activities.

So this made the experience I'll be recounting in this blog entry all the more worth celebrating.

I took some Nyquil. I went to bed at about 9:00 pm. Quickly I fell into what must have been a quite deep sleep. Thereafter, I woke up. I felt totally refreshed. I felt like I had been asleep for a very, very long time. I felt fantastic. But I noticed that it was still dark outside. So I thought I'd look at the clock before getting up to start another exciting day. I figured maybe I had 30 minutes or so more to sleep. As good as I felt, I was sure it was just because I'd gone to bed so early that I'd awakened a few minutes before my normal 6:00 to 6:30 am.

I rolled the dial on my Blackberry[1]. It lit up. My eyes focused on the clock part of the display. It read "11:49."

This, friends and neighbors, was a spectacular outcome. Not only did I already feel well-rested and refreshed from my deep, blissful, restorative slumber, but I had over six hours yet to sleep before it was time for me to undertake normal morning activities.

So, happily, I plunged back into dreamland.

Thank you, Nyquil!

* * * * * * *
Yes, I sleep with my Blackberry at my side -- it functions as my lifeline for electronic communication with the world, providing the world access to me at the world's convenience, enabling me to be an attractive hire to people shopping for lawyers who will make themselves available on such terms. It is also my alarm clock. What a wonderful, amazing, liberating device!

Monday, April 17, 2006

On Long-Ago Embarrassments - Part 1

Events today conspired to remind me of a couple of quite pathetic and embarrassing episodes from my teenage years. Both of the events shared in this post occurred at or relate to chain casual dining establishments located in Des Moines, Iowa.

If you're wondering what events these might have been, the only thing I'm willing to tell you is that just today, I have listened to the song Faithfully by Journey fifty-three (53) times. So far.

In the first place, I remembered when Bennigan's restaurants first became popular. Or at least when I first started hearing about Bennigan's restaurants. It was the 1980s. It was also the period when I first starting making the trip from Grinnell, Iowa, where I lived during high school, to Des Moines (the "big city").

I never ate at a Bennigan's during the 1980s. I have still never eaten at a Bennigan's.

I never ate at a Bennigan's during the 1980s because I was too intimidated. Their commercials made Bennigan's seem like such a classy place. And I just knew that I was not up to the test. I was completely convinced that I would do something so thoroughly wrong at some point during the waiting for the table and the ordering and the eating and the paying for your food and leaving phase that everyone in the restaurant would stop what they were doing to cruelly humiliate me with their mocking. And that I would probably be so startled and embarrassed by the suddenness of their rebuke that I would spontaneously urinate. In my pants. Sparking another round of laughter from the haters.

So I never ate at a Bennigan's during the 1980s.

But I did eat at Baker's Square - more than once.

In the second place, my technique for seduction was beyond repair. And my results accurately reflected this situation.

With regard to the specific technique I'd like to discuss today, on more than one occasion, I left handwritten notes for waitresses at restaurants thanking them for the gracious hostessing and offering them, for the cost of a long-distance phone call (yes, I included my phone number), a chance to become my girlfriend.

I can remember sort of generally how this played out one night at the Baker's Square on Merle Hay Road. Because I was understandably embarrassed to be leaving these notes for these waitresses, I generally had to try to orchestrate some diversion that would distract the other people I was with so they would not see me leave the note on the table. This was frequently difficult.

The other difficult part of the transaction was that I was desperate to see the waitress' reaction to being blessed with this opportunity of a lifetime. When I tried this trick at Baker's Square, I was driving. So I just sort of didn't leave the parking lot for several minutes after everyone was in the car. I can not remember my excuse. And of course the whole time I was trying (and probably totally failing) to watch the table we'd been sitting at through the window of the restaurant for that moment when the waitress first picked up my note. Fantasy-life Garrett thought for sure that she would read that note, be flattered and flustered and in love with me for the charming words I'd written on the wrinkled napkin and run, at once, out of the restaurant into the parking lot, desperately hoping we had not yet driven away and that she and I could begin at least the sexual part of our relationship immediately right then and there, even though I was with a reasonably large group of people.

I did see her pick up the note, in this particular case. The Baker's Square caper. She read it. She looked around, puzzled. She showed it to other people working in the restaurant. She put it in her pocket. And she never called.

* * *

Photo Credits: here (Bennigan's) and here (Baker's Square).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

On Being True To Your Word - Part 1

As of this minute, I am keeping this promise. See below.

This photograph was taken (as you can see in the lower-left hand corner of the photo) on March 28, 2006. Our company took a tour to one of the drilling rigs operated on our properties. We had over twenty people on the tour, including children, investment bankers, lawyers (many, many lawyers), geologists, spouses, engineers, hedge fund financiers, and accountants. We were quite a group.

It was great fun.

It was a gorgeous day, although it had rained very heavily shortly before we got to the drillsite, leaving the drill pad very puddled, muddy and generally soggy (the drill pad is an area several acres in size on which the drilling rig, the camp trailers for the rig hands, the drill pipe, the shacks where the mud loggers do their mud logging, and other accoutrements of the trade supporting the drilling activity). You can sort of see in the picture that I have my jeans rolled up. This was necessary to avoid the mud. It was mostly successful. Some of the bankers and lawyers were in nicer clothing than was ideal given the mud, but folks were generally good-natured about it.

The drilling rig itself was a significantly more impressive structure than I had anticipated. It was really tall (maybe 150'). The footprint of the rig itself was quite large. Of course if I had thought about it I might not have been surprised by this. The rig is in the process of drilling a hole over 15,000 feet into the earth, so it makes sense that a pretty significant piece of equipment is required to achieve that result.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

On True Confessions - Part 1

  • This morning when I got dressed I put on a pair of light brown slacks.

  • But before I left the house I changed into dark blue slacks.[1]

[1] This entry inspired by Jim's Journal.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On Deep Thoughts - Part 1

I wonder if the following statements are true?

  • Many financially successful people are capable of thinking deep thoughts.

  • Many financially successful people did not become financially successful because they are capable of thinking deep thoughts.

  • Many financially successful people are financially successful because they are disciplined enough not to be distracted from successfully executing the activities that make the financially successful by deep thoughts that occur to them.

And speaking of deep thoughts, I know for sure and for certain and so on and so forth that this one is true. Seriously.

  • If a tree fell in the forest pictured above during the period after that picture was taken, it wouldn't change the image.

Photo Credits: here


Sunday, April 09, 2006

April Swimmings Bring May (may bring) Head Colds ...

Today is Sunday. April 9, 2006. It's a few days after the beginning of spring. As has been previously discussed in these pages, our new house has a swimming pool.

We have lived in the new house since the beginning of February.

Today we went shopping at the mall. Our car was parked in the sun. When we got back to the car, it was quite hot inside. The digital thermometer in our 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan (sport model!) announced that the temperature outside was 78. I don't know what it was inside the minivan, but it was a lot more. It was hot enough inside and I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and blue jeans and it took the air conditioning long enough to bring the temperature down to something moderate that my judgment was mildly impaired. So I announced to my four year old daughter that we were going swimming when we got home.

She took me seriously, of course. I offered a nap as an alternative activity. She rejected that suggestion out of hand.

So we were stuck. Or at least I was. We went swimming. For over thirty minutes! It was not as cold as the water the guys pictured above experienced. But it was chillier than is comfortable for swimming.

I stick by my recommendation (previously un-voiced), to whit:

  • If you're committed to going swimming and you know the water is going to be cold enough that if you tried to slowly immerse yourself inch by inch you would never do it and if you didn't do it you would mildly break the heart of your adorable and much adored four year old daughter, just jump in feet first into a part of the pool that is adequately deep you will be totally submerged without your having a practicable way to avoid it.

That's what I did. We captured it on video.

I can't wait to see my expression.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

On Unanticipated Discoveries - Part 1


It took me almost three months, but I finally found it.

Something I enjoyed reading more than Harvey & Eck ... the:

Talk about your steamy page-turners. When lawyers talk about accountants, the windows fog up and prose gets pregnant.

Make no mistake.

(Sorry Erin.)

Photo Credits: here