Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Technology Camp

Ah yes- Technology Camp. The words bring tears of joy to the hearts of most little dorky kids like me.* However, this summer's technology camp is a different sort, more of the heartbreaking variety. Indeed, for the next 10 to 15 business days, my technology is going away to camp.

It started with Lil' Blanco (my iPod), who began giving me sad iPod face:

45 minutes into my long-ass 7 hour haul from Austin to Lubbock last Friday. Even the singing of the
"Growing Pains" theme song served as no source of comfort to Lil' Blanco in his time of crisis. Fortunately, there are 5 days remaining in his window of warranty. His box (via FedEx) should be arriving soon to take him off to exotic New Jersey where he'll spend the next two weeks and come back completely brainwashed (ie: sans music).

The second little big issue has been brewing since before Christmas, but I was hesitant to do anything about it because I knew what it would mean-- living WITHOUT MY LAPTOP for some duration of time. Finally, today, I could take it no more. See, there's some sort of problem where the AC adapter has to be plugged in to the AC power port at exactly the right angle in order for the computer to operate on AC power and also to charge the battery. Apparently that little glitch indicates the need for some internal re-circuitry. Lappy McLaptop (who has no actual name, unlike Lil' B), will be going to Camp Dell (location undisclosed) for the next week to receive a new
motherboard. The hardward support man assured me that DHL would take excellent care of him on his way to and from camp and that he'd be all new and refreshed upon his return. I'll always have his memory (literally, I have to take out the hard drive before sending it away).

I guess that everyone has to let go a little bit at some point. If you live anywhere near me, though, be prepared because there's a good chance I'll be popping in to check my e-mail, hear some tunes, and maybe blog a little while the kids electronics are away.

* The author never actually has been to a technology camp, nor is she sure if such things actually exist, although she's positive that somewhere there is a grey, windowless room filled with little kids with big glasses who spend their summers writing code 'til all hours of the night. There are no arts and crafts at technology camp, but internet dating is huge.

Monday, May 29, 2006

While the cat's away...

As you likely know (if you've talked to me at all since last September) I work part-time at a store belonging to a rather well-known and widespread chain that contributes to the well-being of society through massive caffeine consumption (in addition to other principles). I really quite enjoy my job there, although lately I may have become somewhat extremely bitter, which isn't a thing one should be when simply pouring coffee is at the center of one's required duties.

Nevertheless, I ADORE the people with whom I work (for the most part), and truly enjoy getting to spend time with them. It's a lot of fun. We sing and dance and laugh and talk to customers and make drinks and occasionally clean the drains (or do some other not-as-fun tasks).

The other morning during a slow part of our day we were engaged in enjoying our time at work (aka: playing around). Somehow, the practice of holding up signs in front of the security cameras to be read by the person(s) in the back room was begun. It was funny. Really funny. However, signs didn't seem to be cutting it, and-- having seen MI3 a day or two prior-- I thought it would be hilarious to draw pictures to put in front of the security camera. In retrospect, this may not have been my most shining moment of ingenuity (hmmm... they are SECURITY cameras after all... they are being VIDEOTAPED... they are there to document any sort of HIJINKS that might occur in the store), but it was really early and I had little sleep in me from the night before. Entertainment value was premium in the moment.

I drew a picture. We came up with a way to rig it so that it would be visible in the camera. We checked it out on the security screens in the back. We modified the plan so that the drawing would appear less blurry. We decided the picture should be bigger. I drew a new picture, we re-modified the attachment apparatus, attached it to the camera, looked at it, laughed, noticed that there were still some problems (the bigger picture and longer support device were dropping below the view of the camera). However, before there was an opportunity to troubleshoot for maximum silly picture viewing potential, the store started to get busy and we were pulled to other tasks. The illustration and assorted sundry items keeping it attached to the camera (stir sticks, stickers) were left in place, but they were far from our minds.

That was until our manager came in.

He seemed to sneak in-- although he came straight to the register-- noticed the appendage to the security camera, had us remove it, looked at it in disgust without saying a word before carrying it and his beverage to the back. We were mortified. Goofing around is fun, until you get caught. Then it sucks.

The picture was pretty hilarious, though, although now I'm not sure exactly why. Why is it more fun to look at an image of something through a camera than in person? Maybe it's not, but it sure was funny that morning. I snatched the contraband sketch off the back desk before leaving and scanned it so that you can make your own judgment call- it's still pretty great to me. Oh, and we didn't actually get in real trouble. Not yet, anyway.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Mild Superlative

I have recently come to discover the beauty of the usage of mild superlatives. Yes, mild superlatives. Let me explain. I was recently talking with a friend on the phone [wonder of wonders] about plans to get together to work on papers and/or get some food in the process. She made the statement, "I AM a little bit starving," which gave me pause and planted the seed of the concept of the mild superlative.

A mild superlative is simply that-- taking an extreme situation and watering it down. For example:
I'm a bit exhausted.
I kind of love it.
It's slightly miraculous.
He's moderately gorgeous.

I called my friend out on her comment and we discussed the topic a bit more in depth, along with the sociolinguistic notion that gender might have some effect on the usage and emission of such devices.

Really though, I think the concept, the product, and catching people using mild superlatives in real life is a little bit hilarious.