Wednesday, April 29, 2009


As many of my good friends know, I am sometimes hard of hearing. Well, it's more like I'm hard of synthesizing (and sometimes it is also to my advantage to pretend to be hard of hearing... though I did fail the hearing test in high school--that's what you get when you sit in front of the trombone section). I can mostly hear just fine, but what I hear is a bunch of tones and sounds that take a while to come together in my brain as a cohesive sentence or phrase with meaning. That's why I prefer movies with the captions on--I lose about half the dialogue otherwise.

I don't know if any of that is directly relevant to this story, either. Oh well.

I was at Whole Foods the other day and at the checkstand I busted out my re-usable Disneyland tote (I really dislike the word "tote", just in case anyone was wondering) to start loading my groceries in. When the cashier had finished ringing all my items she said--or at least, these are the words I heard-- "Bag, credit, or donate?"

I paused a moment to let the words reassemble themselves in my head, but they made no sense.

"What?" I asked.

"Ten cents off or donate," she said.

I still had no clue what she was talking about. There was a guy waiting in line behind me. I considered saying, "I'm sorry, I don't know what you're asking," but for some reason I didn't. Instead, I echoed her to see if I'd heard right:

"Ten cents off?"

What I really wanted to say was, "What the heck are you talking about?" but she took my echo to mean, "I pick the 'ten cents off' option." With a decisive jab, she pressed a key and brought the transaction to a close.

As I left, it dawned on me that what she probably meant to say was, "Since you brought in your own reusable grocery bag, we would like to offer you the option of either saving ten cents on today's purchase, or donating ten cents to a worthy charity. Which would you prefer?"

Why don't people just speak plain English?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hymnal Communication

Last week, the choir director asked me if I could accompany him for a "special musical number." I agreed, and he said, "I'll have the music to you by Monday."

By Wednesday I still had no music, so I called him up and asked what was going on. He said that someone else was doing a musical number--a male sextet--but that the choir would still be performing for the closing hymn. Great, less work for me!

Saturday the chorister called me and gave me the hymns for Sacrament meeting: 3, 185, and 124. You'll notice there are three hymns there. Apparently she didn't know the choir was singing the closing hymn.

It got even better when I got to church, however. When I looked at the program, not only were those three hymns listed, but an intermediate hymn was listed as well. Fun times.

I put up the numbers for three hymns on the wooden hymn display (I don't normally put up the numbers, but the other choir was there, and they were doing a piece with two organists, so I couldn't seat myself at the organ and glare impatiently at the choir conductor). After the choir had left and I'd started playing prelude music, a fellow (I have no idea who he was) asked me, "Did you see that there's an intermediate hymn?"

"Isn't there supposed to be a special musical number?" I asked.

"Uh," he said.

"And the choir's singing the closing hymn too."

"I don't know anything about that." He turned to a member of the bishopric who had just come onto the stand. "Brother Hodge-podge, do you know anything about a special musical number and the choir doing the closing hymn?"

"Yeah," Brother Hodge-podge said. "There's going to be a special musical number, and the choir is singing the closing hymn. Why, what does it say on the program?"

Ha ha ha. I love how well we all communicate with each other. But at least none of it's my fault; I just show up and play.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Today for Earth Day I:

1. Went shopping and used my Disneyland bag instead of the grocery bags.

2. Took the train to work.

3. Walked to catch my train one stop later than I normally do, and got off one stop earlier than I normally do, in order to get more exercise and enjoy the beautiful nature of springtime.

4. Used a reusable water bottle instead of a cheap bottled water.

5. Bought a screen kit so I can open my window and enjoy the lovely weather without entertaining small critters as house guests.

Uh... I guess that's it. And some of those are things I do on a regular basis, too, so it wasn't particularly for Earth Day that I did them. But oh well. Happy Earth day anyway!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Stories I wanted to add to the last post, but didn't:

1. Acoustics convention.

I went to an acoustics convention once, and it was one of the most fascinating things ever. I had no idea what half the stuff they were talking about meant, but I understood the music part of it, and I understood most of the dolphin lecture (one lady did her presentation on water in a dolphin's ear, or something like that), and I understood other random parts that made me impressed with myself for understanding. Perhaps someday there will be hope for me.

2. Biology with Queen Tuffet

Several months ago I was going through some old papers, and I found a note from Queen Tuffet, which she'd written when we were in college. Apparently we'd had some sort of argument, and she was making up her half in the note. It kind of killed me, though, because in one part of the note it said something like, "It really would be helpful though if you tried a little harder to not fall asleep in biology. That way I wouldn't have to come home and reteach you everything." That is great. I love that note. It's so true. I was falling asleep all the time in that class. It was a nice big room, no lights, a glowing screen up front, quiet...

3. A week of blogs for Olive

I think not yesterday, but the Saturday before that, or maybe it was Friday, Olive told me I should write one blog entry every day for a week. I said ok. But then on Thursday I just sort of forgot, and the rest of the week I was really busy (I actually cleaned the house! Woohoo!), so I didn't make it.

That had nothing to do with physics, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

Sorry, Olive. I came close, I guess. :o)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dating Physics

I don't know how many of you know this, but the way I passed my physics class in high school was by learning to play the bagpipes. Yes, the bagpipes.

I am not a science person. Something in my brain just doesn't quite click with that area. This is not to say that I don't like science, I just have not such an aptitude for it. I waited until Queen Tuffet came up to college to take biology, just so she could help me pass it. That's how overwhelmed I get.

Thus in high school I learned to play the bagpipes. This was great because a)not only are the bagpipes cool, b)not only did Schmath's sister play the bagpipes (and Schmath's sister is just as cool as Schmath is, so you know that's pretty cool), but c)the physics teacher was the head of the bagpipe-playing group. Happy day. That (and some notes from my friend who was in the class the year before) was what got me through high school physics.

Since then, however, there's been a strange connection trying to emerge to reunite me with the subject.

I went on a date last night. That is really quite shocking news, I know, but I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, right? Then at church today the girl I visit teach said she had someone she wanted to set me up with, and that's when I recognized the strange connection: she wants to set me up with a fellow who is a physics masters student at the U.

Remember that time in college when I went out with that composer?--except it turned out we were never actually dating, apparently, but that's a different story. Well, he was a physics major, and was thinking of getting a masters degree.

Then after we never broke up (because we were never going out) he set me up with Chess, who was a physics masters student, and I dated him for a bit.

The guy I went out with last night is not a physics masters student. He is a materials engineer, which involves physics and chemistry. There was much talk of physics last night though. Well, not much talk, maybe, but talk.

And now someone wants to set me up with a physics masters student.

What is this strange connection? Why physics? I'm not saying it's a bad thing, not at all--I am quite impressed at people who excel in that field. I just think it's a curious coincidence.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Celebrate Normality!

Every year Disneyland has a theme or "slogan," if you will. Last year it was "The year of a million dreams." This year Disneyland is endorsing mediocrity. Their slogan is "Celebrate Everyday."

From the OED:

everyday, n. and a.

3. To be met with every day; common, ordinary. Of persons and their attributes: Commonplace, mediocre, inferior.

If the slogan were "Celebrate Every Day," I might be inclined to approve. But it's not. I received a postcard from Elegyrl with this disappointing slogan on it, and more can be found online:

Celebrate Everyday fastpass holder

Alas, Mr. Incredible was right.

Hurray! You're average! Let's go to Disneyland!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dry Rain

I found it ironic today as I drove to work through the rain that I was applying lotion because my hands were dry.

I love Utah.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford

Someone at work showed me this video. Man, if I'd only known this sooner!

SNL: Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford

Cracks me up every time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stupid Questions

Some people say there's no such thing as a stupid question. I beg to differ. While I agree that what may sometimes seem like a stupid question is not necessarily always stupid, there really are those truly, genuinely, stupid questions out there in the world. Which is not to say that the asker of such a question is stupid; I just don't think they actually try to figure it out before asking.

Here are my favorite questions I have been asked while at work:

"How many scoops are on the double cone?"
(My answer: "Two. And one scoop on the single." WOW.)

"Are there brownies in your brownie nut fudge [ice cream]?"
(This is not actually as stupid as you might think, since there are some ice creams out there that just have a brownie flavor, and not brownie chunks; however, he indicated with his hand the correct vat of ice cream as he asked me, which ice cream clearly had several dark chunks in it--thus it was, in fact, a stupid question.)

"[These sheets] say 100% cotton. Do you have anything better, like 200 or 300?"
(I explained to her that 100% cotton was THE MOST amount of cotton you could have in a product. I was hoping she was mixing up percent cotton with thread count, but to this day I'm not actually sure...)

And, most recently:

As she showed her test to me, pointing to the top of the first page where it said "YOUR NAME" in front of a long blank line: "Am I supposed to write my name here?"
(...Did you really make it to college?)

And heck, now that we know I deal with tests, I may as well add one more. Sometimes teachers give two part tests. The first part is multiple choice, and the second part is write-on. The multiple choice part involves a bubble sheet, which we run through the bubble sheet scanner; the resulting scores are then posted on a screen in the hall. The second part, obviously, must be collected by the teacher, read, and graded. It really cracks me up when a student hands me the test and watches as I run the bubble sheet through. Then they kind of look nervously at the write-on part and say, "Will that show up out there too?"

Um... no. We don't have any mini ninja teachers to grade the tests in ten seconds flat. Sorry. You'll have to wait for your teacher.

Man, I love people.

Anyone else have any great stupid question experiences?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Musical Trax

I ride Trax to and from work sometimes, which can get pretty interesting, especially since I ride late at night. But that is beside the point to this post.

When the train pulls into and out of the station, it has bells that ding to warn people to get out of the way. Normally when the bells sound, I don't pay too much attention. I mean, I stay out of the way and all, but it's just warning tones, like a car honking or an elevator dinging. The other day, however, the bells were ringing in a rhythmical pattern: two against three.

Huh, I thought, That sounds like two against three.

I listened for a moment to see if it would stay that way, or if they'd fall out of synch, but they stayed in time.

It's a little thing really, and how many people notice the bells dinging in time with each other? But it made me smile.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'd Rather Be A Hammer Than A Cell Phone...

I'm quite sorry for the parents, but I must admit, this article from the Associated Press made me laugh:

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A cellphone used by a 13-year-old Wyoming girl to run up a nearly $5,000 phone bill will text no more - thanks to her angry father and his hammer.

Dena Christoffersen of Cheyenne sent or received about 20,000 text messages over about a month, and her parents' phone plan didn't cover texting.

Her father, Gregg Christoffersen, said he thought texting had been disabled on her phone.

It's disabled now - he smashed the phone to pieces, hours after getting a bill for more than $4,750.

The family says the phone company Verizon has been willing to knock the bill down to a reasonable level. Dena has been grounded until the end of school.

She said she feels badly and has learned her lesson.