Monthly Archives: November 2010

Lame Adventure 122: Sneezing Matters

Recently while speaking via Skype to my across-the-pond colleague, Elaine, she asked me:

Elaine:  Anything new with you?

Me:  I sneezed 51 times last week.  Thus far, that’s 270 sneezes since my birthday, but those 51 sneezes account for more than 19 percent of my sneezing total this year.

Elaine’s expression was a cross between stupefied and irritated.

Elaine:  Don’t you have anything better to do with your time than count your bloody sneezes?  Maybe I should start counting my farts?

She shifted her weight and for all I know emitted such a powerful silent-but-deadly at that moment she could have felled the entire New York Giants defensive line.

I suppose Elaine raised a valid question about why I have been counting my sneezes for six months now.  When I commenced counting my sneezes on May 4, the day I turned the 14th discrete biprime and the 5th in the {3.q} semiprime family having the prime factors (3.17), I vowed I would do so for the entirety of a year.  I intend to continue this mission unless an unforeseen situation, such as finding myself felled by a piece of space junk, or possibly one of Elaine’s high octane farts, leaves me so impaired I lose the capacity to maintain this count for another six months.

Since I am still able to breathe freely, from May 4 through November 3, I have sneezed a total of 278 times.  Over the course of those 184 days, I have emitted an average of 1.5108695 sneezes per day.  What constitutes half a sneeze I am at a loss to define, but there have been several times where I’ve felt a sneeze coming, but it chooses to remain stuck in my sinuses, which is a most disagreeable feeling on par with an ear drum that will not pop or hearing any song sung by Celine Dion.

Oh! You and your stupeed sneezes!

Below are some highlights of my 278 sneezes.

The nose that has launched 278 sneezes.

The week starting Monday, October 25, through Sunday, October 31, was my high water (or, more accurately, my high mucous) mark.  I did not have a cold but I sneezed incessantly that week, the aforementioned 51 times, accounting for 18.346% of the total.  The first week in May that I began this count I sneezed 24 times.  In August, there was an astonishing* period of nine sneezeless days between 8:52 pm on Sunday, August 15, while writing an email to my sister, Dovima, until 1:32 pm on Tuesday, August 24, following a gynecological exam.  Following is not the same as during the exam proper, nor have I sneezed during other recreation of a horizontal nature, but I did sneeze in bed (alone) at 1:03 am on Monday May 17.

I have had numerous occasions where I’ve sneezed at my place of employ, the Tile Dust Bowl of America.

I’ve sneezed on planes, on the subway (the 1 local is a favorite sneezing place and fellow passengers often say, “Bless you” to me), and in my sister’s car while driving in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I’ve sneezed while urinating on Friday, July 16 at 8:05 pm.

I’ve sneezed ten minutes into the August 8 episode of Mad Men (third episode of Season 4 called The Good News).

I’ve sneezed while watching plays – Gabriel (Atlantic Theater Company), The Little Foxes (New York Theater Workshop), Angels in America Part 1 (Signature Theater Company), Orlando (Classic Stage Company), and while waiting for Gatz (the Public Theater) to start.

I sneezed thunderously in a lobby that could have doubled as an echo chamber while waiting with Milton before the doors opened at the 3LD Art and Technology Center.  We had tickets to Lawrence Wright’s one-man show about the ongoing crisis in Gaza, The Human Scale.  My sneeze earned us the stink eye from the elderly couple ahead of us even though it was not a sprayer.  Milton vividly discussing how his company’s resident thug knows where he stores the pizza cutter, which Milton is sure the thug will use to slice their boss, also rated us additional disapproving glances from the female half of that equation.  I noticed during the performance that she slept soundly through most of it.

I’ve sneezed while watching films – Toy Story 3, Nowhere Boy, but my entire experience at this year’s New York Film Festival was sneeze-free.

I’ve sneezed while having my blood pressure checked at my gastroenterologist’s office.  My blood pressure was 109 over 72.

I’ve sneezed while writing this post, but that sneeze will count in my tally of sneezes for the next six months.

*Astonishing for an otherwise avid sneezer.

Lame Adventure 121: A Steaming Pile of Play

On a cool and rainy evening, still suffering post-election stress, Milton and I ventured out to see an off-Broadway play with a two hour and forty-five minute run-time including intermission.  Following the advice of the old adage claiming a picture is worth a thousand words, posted below is our illustrated review.

Steaming pile of play.

Even though we agreed with the fundamental message of the play, which views this nation with a very jaundiced eye, it was peppered with sit-com style jokes that conflicted with the allegedly important drama that left us feeling detached since few of the characters were remotely believable.  How many straight guys in New York would tolerate their live-in girlfriend carrying on an open affair with a lesbian in Boston for two years before getting teary and asking her to make a choice?  I know the Straight Guys in My Orbit would likely ask these questions:

Straight Guys in My Orbit:  Is the girlfriend hot?  Any chance of a three-way?

She was attractive, but zero chance of a three-way.

I know that lesbians operate by a different set of rules, but some of us equate bisexual with bad news and bisexual living with a guy as total nightmare.  This smitten lesbian character was extremely sexy, sane and smart … an unrealistic trinity, but I did enjoy the fantasy.  Milton added, “I liked her boots.”  The third scene between the two women was flooded with an ocean of cringe-inducing hysterical crying that was so over the top ridiculous, if we did not have dead center seats, we would have trampled each other jetting for the exit.

The guy sitting next to me did not return after intermission, prompting Milton to remark, “I envy him.” Milton was particularly annoyed with the use of news event video montage in-between scenes.  He thought the sole purpose of this device was to distract us from the stagehands that were moving furniture.  When this travesty concluded, Milton noted that it seemed to have several endings.  I thought that the playwright could not decide which one to choose so she worked in a few.  I would have killed all the characters to ensure no possible chance of a sequel.

As we left in a crowd of fellow disgruntled theatergoers I heard a woman remark:

Remarking Woman:  That scene was particularly terrible.

Me:  Did you hear what that woman just said, “That scene was particularly terrible”?

Milton:  What scene was she referring to?

Me:  I don’t know.  Pick a scene.

Milton:  For the $40 we blew on tickets, I wish we’d spent the night drinking and talking about the election.  This weekend, I swear I’m going to do nothing but write every cliché I’ve ever heard in my life and call it a play.  It can’t be any worse than this.

That threat made me cackle like a loon, until I reached my subway stop, for that was a sobering experience.  I discovered my stop was closed.  Deeming the precipitation not umbrella-worthy, I trudged six blocks in a cool mist that completely fogged my glasses.  Visually impaired, I entered the next subway station with my hair inflated into a giant cloud of frizz.  It was easily a foot wide on either side giving me the appearance of a latter day Larry Fine on hair steroids.

Larry the Finest

Lame Adventure 120: The Highlights of My Election Night

Pickings were slim …

The first highlight came courtesy of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews hilariously asking Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann if she was hypnotized, as she evaded his repeatedly asked question if she would press for either Congress or the media to investigate Democrats for “un-American attitudes” now that the GOP has control of the House.

The other highlight was a car commercial for the Nissan Leaf featuring a polar bear.

I don’t want a Nissan Leaf.  I want to hug a polar bear since I’m feeling pretty endangered at this moment, too.

Lame Adventure 119: What is That?

For the past two weeks, the usually ignored generational divide in the office has reared its head in a most peculiar way.  For my colleagues with the combined age of 76 – Ling, Under Ling, and my sidekick, Greg, their computers have been constantly malfunctioning.  For Elsbeth, The Quiet Man and me, combined age of 155, our computers are working fine, if Elsbeth’s inability to download email attachments is ignored since she forwards her emails with attachments to me to open.  I am unsure if my superior’s difficulty is hardware or PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair) related.

Approximately two weeks ago, Ling was no longer allowed access to the server via her Mac, the problem traveled to Under Ling’s Mac and it pretty much went downhill from there for both of them for a while.  Our Graphics department was essentially crippled.  They were both frustrated.  Elsbeth was all over Stu, her husband and our company’s founding father, to jump all over Aaron, our IT guy, to do something about this immediately.  Stu body-slammed Aaron, Aaron did respond, but he’s not a Mac guy.  Often, when Ling was on her break, Aaron would sit at her desk and appear to be doing something, but afterward, as the problem continued, we deduced that what he did best was shed his beard all over her keyboard.

Ling was so repulsed, she considered going home sick.

Just as Ling and Under Ling’s problems seemed to subside for reasons that are clear as mud, Greg’s problems with his vintage PC began to escalate.  He alternates between two CPU’s under his desk, one worse than the other, but he had jury-rigged a system for himself that I don’t try to understand, but it seemed to work, and he seemed content.  Greg is not a complainer and knows to only get me involved as a last resort.  Since neither of his malfunctioning ancient CPU’s were allowing him access to the server, he mentioned it to me, and I suggested he call Aaron.  Thinking about short and curly beard droppings littering his desk, Greg performed emergency life support on one of his CPU’s and it regained a pulse.  Unfortunately, his first term Clinton era monitor blew out.  Greg announced:

Greg:  I know where to find another monitor!

Me:  Okay, find it.

Greg went on an archaeological dig in our warehouse and returned with another decrepit piece of hardware.  He hooked it up and proclaimed that it worked fine.  Super.  Problem solved.

Later that day, I was returning from a meeting I had with a member of the Accounting department.  As I walked past Greg’s desk, his new old monitor caught my eye.

It appeared to be splashed with dried blood.

Greg was sitting, typing his tile labels.  I gasped:

Me:  What the hell is that all over your monitor?

Greg (defensive):  I didn’t put it there!

Animal, vegetable or dried gore?

Me:  I’m not accusing you of putting it there, but look at it.  It’s disgusting!  Should you be wearing a HazMat suit to read your e-mail?

Everyday is Halloween Greg-wear.

Me:  Seriously, I want to know what is that?

A voice from the back of the room reads my mind:

The Quiet Man:  Arterial spray.

This observation brings to mind the classic “I Shot Marvin in the Face” scene from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.  If you’re squeamish, don’t watch.