Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A joke from one of my highly innappropriate high school students during our Easter Monday lesson today:

What did the egg say to the boiling water?
It's going to take me a while to get hard, I just got laid by a chick.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Rabbit Died

These rabbits fortunately did not die, they are some of the precious buns who live in the wild on our street.

For whatever reason (maybe because it's Easter), the conversation turned to the "Rabbit Test" while we were coloring Easter eggs this afternoon. I have often heard the phrase "The rabbit died" as an idiom for someone being pregnant, but never knew the horrible truth behind it. In the early part of the last century, a test was developed to test for pregnancy by taking a sample of the possibly pregnant woman's urine, injecting it into the ear vein of a female rabbit, then waiting 36 to 48 hours to dissect the rabbit and examine its ovaries. If the woman was pregnant, the rabbit's ovaries would change in response to the hormone hCG, interestingly enough, the same hormone detected by those trusty pee-stick tests you can get at your corner pharmacy. It seems the rabbit would die regardless of a positive or negative result, because either way, the bun had to be cut open. I can't imagine they'd have put the little guy under anaesthesia, sewn her up and saved her for the next test if the result was negative.

Anyway, happy Easter all, and let's all celebrate the cheap and easy availability of bunny life-saving pee sticks at our local pharmacies!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Haircuts by Bob*

To get my spring break off to a roaring start, I accompanied someone to get a haircut in a town nearby Beaverton on Monday. The sign outside the salon announced a very inexpensive price, so we thought "Why not give it a try?" with the childlike innocence of foreigners. We ventured into the house, which is actually the barber's house, a pretty old house with a funny smell at that. The salon was the front room to the right when one enters the house. We loitered in the hallway next to the stairs after not seeing anyone in the salon area. Out of the kitchen which housed an avocado green refrigerator, probably a collector's item, popped a man's head. "I'll be right up," he announced. So we entered the salon area. Wilhelm was excited to find a cockatiel and parakeet in the corner of the salon, and as I started removing his coat and hat and he was busy peeping at the birds, the barber entered the room and said, "Oh, no, I don't do guys that small, he won't even fit in my chair." Somehow this always happens, at salons people always think Wilhelm's hair should be cut, but we do that at home. Anyway, the correct customer then took out the photos of his best haircut and said, "This is how I'd like my hair." Barber Bob glanced at the photos, tossed them to the side and whipped out his electric razor. "You want a lot off, huh?" was all he said. And did he start cutting! Wow! He turned his customer away from the mirror and shore him like a sheep. His customer had a worried expression on his face, and I probably did too. I decided it would be best to stop watching, and as my eyes wandered through the room, I noticed a giant rifle, much like the one pictured above, standing in the corner of the room. I guess Barber Bob must not get many complaints with that standing in the corner. Or if he does, he takes care of the problem so word of bad haircuts doesn't spread. Or maybe it's there because Barber Bob's shop is across the street from the county jail. Perhaps he has a contract with the police to, um, take care of any inmates that escape street clean up duty. Whatever the reason, it wasn't only the gun that made us pretty much satisfied with the haircut. Where else can you get a haircut for $8.50 these days?

*Barber's name has been changed

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A quick trip back to Germany

I can't take credit for this picture, it was borrowed from Mid-Michigan Dining. Go there for a true American perspective on Aldi.

"Are you from Europe? You don't look like you're from here." That was a pleasing greeting from my friendly Aldi cashier today. Somehow it was nice to hear after being fully annoyed this morning doing my laundry and being stared at like an alien in Beaverton, having a gas truck driver pull out in front of me (hey, my car's already smashed up, so what does it matter?), and having some lady cut in front of me in the supermarket line. Twice. Once as I was talking to Wilhelm when she just oh-so-casually slipped in front of me, and the second time when an extra cashier opened up a new lane. I was headed over to the new lane and this spry bun-wearing senior with dyed brown hair hopped in front of me for the second time. Then I saw her in the parking lot and swore at her under my breath.

But back to our little trip to Germany. Aldi is always refreshing, because it's so different. Well, Saginaw is different too. After living in small-town Beaverton and working in white-bread Midland for 7 months, we are sort of losing contact to the world. It felt so nice to be somewhere with such a colorful mix of customers, all friendly, not staring and suspicious like the Beaver-townies, or even the Midlanders. And everyone says such bad things about Saginaw, but everyone was very nice, returning Wilhelm's shoes to us when he kicked them across the store in a fit of rage, or asking if other dropped items were ours when the child screamed.

At Aldi, it feels so nice and homey to have to put a quarter deposit in the shopping cart to unlock it, rather than just grab a cart and leave it stranded in the parking lot somewhere as at all other American supermarkets. And not to have the cashier pack my items into 10,000 plastic bags (of which I now have a collection of probably a million overflowing from under my sink), but into another cart and let me fend for myself on how to transport my goods home. The Aldi shopping experience in America is pretty authentically German, with two major differences: the cashiers and the other customers. The other customers are nothing like German Aldi customers. They aren't complaining about some weird obscure price problem, or just about any other thing from the store to their health to the weather, they don't have sour looks on their faces, and they don't push and shove other customers or stand too close in line. They actually say "Excuse me" if they would like to get past you, or just wait patiently while you block the aisle, knowing that at some point, you will move. The American Aldi cashiers are also always very nice, with a friendly greeting and they will often chat with you about your purchases, or whatever else may interest them about you, as mentioned above. American Aldi cashiers seem genuinely nice, whereas cashiers at other retailers seem fake nice. Maybe my perception is altered because of the excitement of shopping at a German supermarket chain, but in my few trips to Aldi, I have had nicer, chattier cashiers than in my thousands of trips to Wal-Mart or Meijer. Yay, Aldi! You made my day.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

My poor car was once so handsome, now it has an even more broken up grill (on the left) and that big fancy dent in the hood from the car-deer impact. Like I said, it could have been worse. A lot worse.
I hate deer

Unfortunately, the one I hit wasn't that far away when I saw it. It was right up against my windshield.

This is not the deer I hit, but very similar. It was dark when I hit "my" deer, and by the time we got back to take a picture of it, it had been reanimated and had left the scene. No, it didn't die, which is very disappointing to me. Never before have I wanted something so dead as I wanted that deer to be. But it was just in shock and later jumped up and ran away after defacing my car.

Well, today is another day of firsts. I hit my first deer today. Fortunately, it was a small one, and fortunately I was able to brake when I saw the idiot jump out of the trees on the side of the road, but it still screwed up the front end of my car. Honestly, it could have been worse, but I still cursed like I think I never have before, using words in front of my son that probably made his tender ears burn. But, other than burning ears, no one was hurt, so all is well. The car still drives, you can still put the hood up, it just has a bit more character now.

The whole scene was quite comical. Driving home from my brother's house, we were on a curvy road and apparently this deer was scaling the bank of the river, because it came running up from the bank of the Tobacco River. I saw it, honked and braked, but the stupid idiot just kept going, and ran right in front of my car and I hit it. Because my car is kind of low to the ground, the deer flew up onto the hood, against my windshield (which fortunately didn't break), and was projected 2 meters up into the air in a great arc to the other side of the road, where it landed. We drove back and the stupid thing was just lying next to the road gasping for air. However, 5 minutes later upon our return to take a photograph of the deer, it was gone. It had fled the scene. Never before have I wished that I carried a rifle under the seat of my car as my grandfather did, because I would have loved to have really done that deer in.