Monday, March 23, 2009

Out of Office Auto Reply

Hello and thanks for emailing. I'm out of the office until next month. I'm done grading your crappy papers and tired of you complaining over a participation score from 3 months ago that only has a .02% impact on your final grade (which, by the way, wasn't a passing grade anyway, and that participation score ain't gonna make one twit of difference).

I've rewritten the department schedule seventeen times in a futile attempt to make everyone happy and to keep anyone from starting another rumor about me and my devious intentions/rampant nepotism/favoritism/racism/sexual discrimination/age discrimination.

Normally I'd say that I'd get back to you upon my return to the office, but I won't, so I am not going to say I will. I'm out.

If this is in regards to a lawsuit against someone else through which you hope to railroad me into incriminating myself in testimony, please contact someone with an actual administrative job. The current wait time to sue me is 9 months.

I leave tomorrow on a several day adventure from Seattle to Pasadena on the 650GS. So far it looks like I only have to get south of Eugene, Oregon to get into some reasonably dry weather.

I just have to make it to Pasadena by Friday to meet The Colleague, who is taking the faster/warmer route via commercial airliner. I figured out today why The Colleague likes flying so much. It's the free porn, isn't it?

I will post frequent updates on the ride via Twitter, which shows up right here on this very blog for your viewing pleasure. More from the road!

1. My bracket is screwed. I am terrible at these things. Mostly because I don't really care.
2. The Huskies keep breaking my heart in this tournament. I think it's easier when they don't make the post-season. At least this year they didn't get far enough to have their spirits crushed by UConn again.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The New Boat Search Committee

Newly Boatless Couple Seeks Salty Cruising Sloop for Summer Sailing and Potential Offshore Adventures. Must be under 30', willing to undergo a complete makeover, content sitting at anchor for several days in a row in Canadian harbors, and able to carry some sail in heavy air. Full-keel preferred but not required.

With the title of The 'Hood officially transferred, the New Boat Search Committee has officially convened.

We have been accepting applications for some time, with the clear caveat that the position of New Boat would be filled contingent upon funding. With the funding in place, it is time to begin serious screening of applications. The committee is also accepting letters of support for any of the candidates listed below:

Pacific Seacraft 25
Strengths: Painfully cute, unique, and totally affordable. She looks salty and has a proven bluewater resume.
Weaknesses: The specific boat we are looking at would need new sails, a fair amount of engine work, and a rebuilt interior. Also not the cheapest of the bunch. The lack of headroom (and the lack of a head) work against her.

Commentary: She's cute as hell and would be a blast to sail. A 25 foot boat is also a lot easier and cheaper to moor, haul, paint, repair, and maintain than a larger boat. Imagining being caught out in the Straits of Juan de Fuca in a big blow in a 25 foot boat isn't terribly pleasant...

Contessa 26
Strengths: Well-known circumnavigator with a solid design and decent performance.
Weaknesses: Not as traditional in looks or design as some others. Would need new sails. Engine is a question mark. Most expensive of the bunch and still might need some work. Most are in British Columbia, which makes viewing one a bit of a chore. Now, if we had a boat we could sail to Sydney and look at a few...wait...

Commentary: This is technically the "fastest" of the boats currently under consideration, though when you're talking about full-keeled cruising boats fast isn't really a consideration. The Contessa 26 has a little more head room than the PS 25, but not much, and only at the companionway. The simple sloop rig has a lot going for it, and the engines, if in decent shape, are more than enough to power the boat through the chop.

Cape Dory 27
Strengths: Full standing headroom, actual head compartment, full v-berth, big cockpit, sloop rig. Full-keeled cruiser that can go offshore with no worries. Classic looks, good design, and good sailing characteristics.

Weaknesses: The specific candidate in question is in rough shape. This is a project boat to be sure. The main concern is the single-cylinder Yanmar engine that is probably dead and even at its best is too small for the boat. With an 18 HP engine, this boat would be pretty close to ideal.

Commentary: The committee is going to visit this candidate soon and make a more detailed assessment of her needs. What looks like a bargain might end up costing much more in the long run.

Write In Candidates?
Mind you, this is not the complete list and we are still taking applications. Please send us resumes of qualified boats.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Theater of the Absurd


SETTING: Suburban community college with industrial architecture and a 1-1 student-car ratio. It is the early 21st Century and the country is in the middle of an economic crisis that has no immediate end. It is late winter, but there are occasional signs of spring, including the wildly misplaced application of low-rider jeans and exposed midriffs...

Curtains open to a show a typewritten memo projected on a large screen. The memo reads, in part "Due to the required budget cuts, we are raising class size by five students per section and suspending the purchase of bottled water for staff lounge water coolers."

Screen lifts, exposing an industrial-looking meeting room, with two dozen faculty - mostly white - sitting at what appears to be a department meeting.

Dean Mary Misstep: Before we get to the rest of the agenda, I want to ask a quick question about protocol. Being new here, I don't know how I should go about assigning the much-coveted window office being vacated by Sally Sociologist. Is this usually done by seniority, or -

Pear Shaped Woman: I just want to clarify that I heard you say you are new here and don't know what to do about this situation. Is that correct? (scribbles something in her notes)

Larry Lecturer: I want to thank you, Mary Misstep, for bringing this out in the open so that we can all be a part of the conversation. This helps with the perception of transparency and fairness, and that makes us all feel better about the job you are doing.

Asian Pear Shaped Woman: It is my understanding that this is done by seniority and since I am the next most senior person, that means I would get that office -

Vinnie Veteran: Look, back in the day, we just moved offices whenever we wanted to, and if we disagreed, we'd go to the bar, get drunk, and fight it out. That's how I got the corner office. That's also how I got my third wife...

Pear Shaped Woman: So what I heard is that this is indeed a question of seniority? (scribbles something else in her notes)

Actual Academic is seen furiously entering a text message into his iPhone.

Larry Lecturer: There are several people who aren't in attendance at this meeting and I know they would want their voices heard, both individually and collectively. I'm not comfortable continuing this line of discussion without everyone present.

Dean Misstep: Ok, ok. I didn't mean to open up a wound here...

Susie Sociologist: I realize I already have a window office, but it is an undesirable one in a bad location. I have the smallest office of any of the window offices, and because it is on the north side of the building I get no direct sunlight. It's discriminatory, frankly. I believe I should get the opportunity to relocate to a more desirable window office before anyone with less seniority gets to move.

Vinnie Veteran: That sounds right. I'll help you move if you want. (winks)

Pear Shaped Woman: (Reading from notes) I believe that we should be using variables other than seniority to determine this issue. Shouldn't we be applying our diversity standards to this decision? As a white woman, I can still say that a woman of color should get first choice of an office. (Pats Asian Pear Shaped Woman on back)

Dennis Disinterested is seen reading a message on his iPhone and entering a text message in response.

Actual Academic is seen immediately reading a message on his iPhone.

Asian Pear Shaped Woman (in tears): My current window office is 10 doors away from my closest department colleague. I feel segregated from the rest of my department and it has a very negative impact on my life as a scholar, a thinker, and a person of color.

Heidi Hilarious: My office has a door and a window, and has the distinct benefit of being at my own house. Can we move on so I can go home?

Pear Shaped Woman: Not all of us, Heidi, have the benefit of a house or a family or a life outside of this college. I find it inappropriate for you to flaunt your happiness in front of all of us.

Asian Pear Shaped Woman: I just...I can't...I...This is so hard for me...I...the indignities suffered by people like me at this college just never seem to end...

Dean Misstep: Ok everyone. I've heard what you have to say. I guess I will hold off to make this devision until I have had a chance to sit down with my attorney and come up with a plan that is not in violation of the contract. And, oh, look at that, we're out of time. So we'll table the remaining items on the agenda for spring term. That means we will have a fill agenda in April. Remember, many of you are losing your jobs due to budget cuts, we are increasing your class capacities by 20 percent across the board, we are charging for parking, there is not more professional development travel allowed, the computer system will only be available from 7 am to noon Monday through Friday, textbooks will be marked up 150%, bottled water service will be suspended, the library will be mothballed, and the student union will be rented out to Health and Human Services to use as a methadone clinic. Now get out there and keep up the good work!

Faculty: Yay! It's Friday! Let's all awkwardly go our separate ways and not acknowledge one another!

Dean Misstep: Oh, and don't forget that the division office is down to two secretaries working swing shift. If you need any assistance you will have to come in after 6 pm! Thanks everyone!

Asian Pear Shaped Woman (to Pear Shaped Woman): Do you think I got the office? I went off script there for a minute...

Pear Shaped Woman: I have it all in my notes. If you don't get the office and I don't get yours when you move, I think we have a good case for an unfair labor lawsuit.