Friday, August 26, 2005

Mighty mighty and letting it all hang out

It was a few months after I graduated, but I had returned to the city for The Doktah’s birthday party. A bunch of us got together and had cake and ice cream, and then went up to a local bar for some drinks and dancing. While we were there, The Doktah put in a request for Brick House by The Commodores and made me promise to dance with her when it came on.

So we waited at the table until we heard the familiar strains of our song. “Let’s go dance!” The Doktah said, and off we went. We had a great time, dancing away. Brick House is a great song, after all. And while we danced, we sang along with the music. The last time the refrain came around I sang it again:

Play that funky music, white boy!
Play that funky music, hey!
Play that funky music, white boy!
Lay down and boogie and play that funky music till you
– Wait, this isn’t Brick House!”

Thursday, August 25, 2005

While we’re on the subject, I also have a “being repeatedly kicked in the leg” thing

One day I was just sitting at my desk, and The Doktah came up behind me and stuck her finger in my ear. Just like that. No warning, no precedent. One second I was merrily typing away, the next second I had her finger in my ear. Needless to say, I was startled.

“What the – what are you doing?!” I shouted as I jerked my head away.

“What?” The Doktah said. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t know you have an ear thing.”

An ear thing? Now, I readily admit that I have a pigeon thing. I also have a dog thing and a bug thing, and I should tell you that The Doktah knew that I don’t like people to touch my ankles, which may qualify as an ankle thing. But it was a bit rich for to claim I have “an ear thing” because I am uncomfortable with people sticking their fingers in my ear!

After I regained my composure, I explained to The Doktah that in polite society, it is generally considered rude to insert one’s finger – or any other object – into someone else’s ear. Apparently, The Doktah had thought that such a gesture was just an acceptable method of teasing among friends. It seems that her older sisters used to torture her in all kinds of creative ways, and she never got a good handle on what was off-limits.

Eventually, we established that, rather than my having “an ear thing,” The Doktah just has an “extremely tolerant of aberrant behavior in others” thing. So if you meet her, feel free to stick your finger in her ear.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

At least it wasn’t a bikini top

You know what’s really awkward to be wearing when you meet your housemate’s girlfriend for the first time? Leopard print pajamas.

Monday, August 15, 2005


The Husband never listens to anything I say. A typical conversation between us will go like this:

Scene: The Husband and I are watching a movie on TV

ME: Hey! It's that guy from Law & Order!


Two minutes pass

HUSBAND: Hey! Isn’t that the guy from Law & Order?

This sort of thing happens constantly. So when I heard a discussion on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me about a recent study demonstrating that men have a harder time listening to women’s voices then men’s, I couldn’t wait to tell The Husband.

“Husband,” I said, “I heard that there is a study showing that men have a hard time listening to women’s voices because they are more complex.”

Completely without irony, The Husband said, “What?”

Well, when we bought official World Series caps last year they were too small

Last weekend, Father-in-law and Mother-in-law were in Maine at the outlet mall, and Father-in-law called The Husband to ask him a question. “What’s Mo’s hat size?” he said.

“What?” said The Husband. “I don’t know!”

“What do you mean you don’t know!” cried Father-in-law. “How can you not know her hat size! You're married to her!”

Friday, August 05, 2005

And like a phoenix, it rose from the ashes

The Doktah was a recipient of a prestigious graduate fellowship from the Whitaker foundation. Whitaker fellowships are awesome, because they include a certain amount of money every year expressly for computer purchases. I think it’s $1000 or so, and if you don’t spend it on computer accoutrements, you lose it. So, in her first year as a Whitaker fellow, The Doktah bought herself a desktop computer.

The Doktah was very generous with her stuff, and she set the new computer up in the lab and gave us all permission to use it. At the time, there were not enough computers to go around in the lab, so this was a pretty sweet deal. The Doktah had only a few rules to go along with the use of her computer:
1. The Doktah had priority of its use.
2. No one was allowed to install or download any programs without The Doktah’s permission.
3. No one at all was allowed to install Napster.
4. For the love of God, no Napster.

See, this was back when Napster was free and legal, but some people were apparently using it towards illegal ends. You may have heard something about it. But The Doktah found that, anytime Napster was installed on her computer, it got really screwed up.

She uninstalled it over and over, and spoke to the person responsible many times. Eventually, she stopped finding Napster installed on her computer. But the Napster-like problems persisted. She realized that the guilty party was installing Napster at night, downloading songs, and then uninstalling the program. He thought that he would get away with it that way, but her computer went screwy anyway.

Then one day, The Doktah was working on some data analysis and suddenly her file was gone. Poof! Gone! She went into the C-drive to look for it, and found that her files were scattered haphazardly all throughout her computer with new names and file extensions. Tension mounted.

The Doktah figured she might have gotten a virus on there, so she went to click on the icon for her virus software. “Um,” she said, “why is my auto-protect turned off?” Someone had turned off her automatic virus protection without her knowledge or consent.

She turned it back on and started a scan, but she had to stop it at 10,000 viruses found, because the software couldn’t handle it. She called the IT people, and there was a lot of congregating and discussing of options. Eventually, they came to the conclusion that her hard drive had to be wiped. Reformatted. Erase everything, start again.

But first The Doktah had to back everything up. And, thanks to one of the 10,000 viruses, this was no easy matter. Since all her files were moved all over the place, she had to go into every file directory by hand, change the name of the file, and copy it to a CD. One at a time. And she thought reanalyzing data was bad.

We never figured out who shut off the virus protection or why. Our best guess was that someone using the computer, probably downloading songs through Napster, found the little announcements of “file infected” annoying. Sort of like the people in this town who shut off their carbon monoxide detectors because they won’t stop beeping.

You walked from where?

We moved into our new house last weekend, and The Husband's great-aunt and cousin stopped by. It turns out we now live about a mile from her house. During the course of the conversation, Great-aunt said, "We used to walk here from Somerville every day!"

Now, Somerville is approximately 30 miles from where we now live, so I found this pronouncement rather astounding. "Somerville?" I said.

"Yes! There were no cars then! We had to walk!" she replied.

"But, from Somerville? That's pretty far," I said again.

"Yes. We did what we had to," she told me, apparently thinking I was a typical lazy young'un.

I couldn't believe she really walked from Somerville every day. If she said a town that was five miles away, I would have believed her. But 30 miles? I turned to the cousin and said, "She is saying that they used to walk here from Somerville every day."

"What?" he said? "No, Centerville." Centerville is a neighborhood of my new city about 2 miles away. That I can accept.