Thursday, May 28, 2009

Compaq Recall

I got an e-mail message today. The message read something like this -

It has come to our attention that a percentage of batteries sent out with our Compaq Presario portable PCs may severely overheat, possibly causing fire, or, in rare cases, explosions. We are cooperating with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to proactively recall laptops which may contain said exploding batteries. This list has been expanded from the last three recalls, dating April 20, January 30, and October 14. If the serial number on your laptop begins with any of the following letters
(a list of at least 26 letters follows)
and you are currently using the laptop, calmly step away from the machine. Try to remain calm as you remove the plug from the outlet. If you are lucky, the battery will die before it explodes. If you are positive your settings have been changed to power off when the laptop is closed and you are feeling especially brave, you may lower the lid with a broom stick. We highly recommend giving the machine a minimum 10' berth until it has returned to room temperature. If you are using a different machine, please visit our website now for information on how to deactivate the ticking time bomb your child is playing with in the other room.

Thank you and we hope you purchase Compaq again!

(okay, it might be slightly paraphrased...)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ready for the Races!

So, I'm the first to admit that I'm not a great bicyclist. Running, that's my thing. Biking, it's a way to get from place to place without using gas, all the while getting a little exercise.

So I started up again a couple months ago, one or two days a week, and I was pretty rusty. Labored breathing and straining muscles up a tiny hill; sore butt after a short ride, all that. But I've felt like my muscles having been responding recently, getting into bike-riding form for me.

I was pumping along up a hill, a gear or two higher than normal, going pretty quick, barely breathing hard, thinking to myself, "Man, I'm getting good at this."

At precisely this instant, a 106lb sorority girl on a pink banana seat bike, tramp stamp showing between her ultra-low rise jeans and x-small belly shirt (which also managed to barely conceal her size D breasts), idly combing her hands through her thick mass of perfect blonde hair, flew past me (hands free), without even a flush to her cheeks. In the street. Without a helmet.

Well fuck me. Whatever, her Daddy bought her an expensive bike, I'm sure. Sorority girl and all, you know how they are. I've got my 6 year old $50 Target bike. It's the inefficiency of the bike. I'm sure of it.

A ridiculously large man, butt crack and love handles proudly exposed, sped past me next. I'm sure it's easier to pedal when you've got the weight behind your thrusts...right?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fuck-me Eyes

I was a sorority girl in college. (I can actually hear my mother chiding me right now - I should say I'm in a sorority now, once a sorority girl always a sorority girl...but working on a college campus I reguarly get mistaken for a college student - and therefore assumed to be immature, disrespectful and worthless for anything but tuition by all non-undergrad students in Ann Arbor, and saying you're a sorority girl does not help this image.) Having been a sorority girl, I know what "the eye" looks like. After all, I gave it hourly at the very least. In fact, one of my many sorority knick-names was "Fuck me Eyes." Uhh...for the eyes part only, of course.

Riding in to work on my bike this morning I a wildly unusual amount of the previously stated "eye." I was a bit later than usual and debated for awhile whether there were just more people out in general? Maybe it was the beginning of new term and there were different people out? Maybe it was all in my head? But no, no, it was most decidedly not in my head. Tons of guys, HOT guys, hot college-aged guys no less, were looking me up and down. Fake-tanned, bottle-blonde girls were checking me out. I was wearing sneakers, jeans, a sweatshirt and a really sexy bike helmet; I'm not sure why anyone would give me a second glance while I'm racing towards them yelling "On your left!" and rolling my eyes continuously, and though occasionally it does happen, this was abnormal. Extremely.

I realized when I got to work that I was wearing my sorority sweatshirt. Go Sigma Kappa! =)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sidewalk Biker

I've started riding my bike to work again in the nice Spring weather, and have discovered several interesting little factoids that I may have known before but just repressed from last fall. I'm GREAT at repressing memories if you didn't know.

Despite many of Ann Arbor's main streets having bike lanes, I ride my bike on the sidewalk. This is mostly because people driving cars go fast and don't pay attention to the world around them, while people walking go slow and don't pay attention to the world around them. There is always a constant stream of cars flowing past while I seldom see more than one or two people on the sidewalk (and even then they're almost always undergrads, who barely count anyay.) And I've had the good luck of having this decision reiterated multiple times in the past few weeks.

First, I actually watched a biker, in the bike lane, get hit by a car right here in good ol' Ann Arbor. (The car was making a right turn, I'm guessing this is the most common way for bikers to get hit.) Bike knocked over, bloody road-burned legs, all the goods. I didn't stay around to check for broken bones, my EMT license being expired by 8 months and all...okay, maybe this makes me a terrible person, but she stood up, and there were other people with cell phones out there to help her. What was I going to do? Put her on the back of my bike and take her to the hospital? Anyway, I'd really prefer not to have this experience from her point of view.

Second, the end of my ride after work has a huge hill and the sidewalk has extra waves in the hill to accomodate the constant driveways so I decided one day to try riding on the street. I regretted my decision immensely when I was weaving from exertion at the top of the hill in the bike lane the size of my front tire when a gi-normous semi-truck flew past at 45 miles per hour, swerving with it's own exertion in the lane not originally intended for anything but horse carriages. You know when you're driving on the freeway on a really windy day and when a truck passes it blocks the wind momentarily, but then you practically lose control when the wind hits you again? Imagine your little car being a bike instead. And now imagine the next vehicle to come flying up the hill being a bus. I will stand by my decision to ride on the sidewalk, extra hills and all.

While riding on the sidewalk, I have the fabulous opportunity of interacting with many exciting individuals. Let me point out here that's it not at all unusual to see a biker on the sidewalk anywhere in Ann Arbor, and is certainly expected in the general campus area. The common courtesy phrase as a biker passes a person walking is "on your right/left."

So the other day I say my polite but loud "On your left!" as I get close to a blonde girl (most likely an undergrad unfortunate enough to be stuck taking classes over the summer, at 8 in the morning no less!) She is pleasantly to the right side of the sidewalk (an unusual occurance) so I don't slow down as I approach her. Upon hearing my declaration, she literally pivots on her left foot, turns 180 degrees to face me and stops cold. "Excuse me?" she oh so politely asks my front tire as is barrels towards her. Turning TO your left when I say ON your left is one thing. But then NOT figuring out that I'm riding into you after you're staring at the tire tracks running up your shirt? Really?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Frozen in Place

I walked out the door at 6:30 one morning last week in running shorts and a tank top, a far stretch from my deep winter outfit of tights, leggings, sweats, sports bra, turtle neck, jacket, gloves, hat. I bounded down my steps, the screams of weather men in my ears, “highs of 78 degrees, 82 degrees, 83!” Spring has arrived! At the end of the porch steps, my leg muscles began to harden; halfway down the path, my fingers stopped moving altogether, the blood leaving them significantly colder than the rest of my body…my brain decided to reject this information. By the end of the path, I had completely frozen in place. As my brain struggled for comprehension, slowly freezing itself, I recalled the full weather report, “low of 28 overnight, rising to a high of 78 in the late afternoon, 82 on Friday and up to 83 on Saturday.”

The sun hadn’t yet broken the horizon. I was outside in 28 degree weather in shorts and a tank top. I cracked the ice forming on my lips and tongue enough to yell “Ben, help!” It came out as only a squeak. I stayed frozen to that spot until 7:45 when the temperature finally broke 32. Stiffly entering the bedroom, dripping melted ice from my hands, legs, forehead, my husband cracked an eyelid at me, “You took a long run this morning, huh? You’re all sweaty too,” rolled over and went back to sleep. I gave him my worst fire-y glare but even that seemed to have frozen. Bastard. This is clearly his fault.