Saturday, October 15, 2011

The case of the pilfered half-and-half

They brew coffee where I work, but if you want dairy additives for it you're on your own. Fair enough. It is a nonprofit, after all.

I don't like to drink my coffee black, so I buy a pint of half-and-half each week and keep it in the office fridge. I used to simply write my name across the top of the carton, but I guess that wasn't a clear enough indication of ownership because someone decided it was acceptable to take from me on a regular basis.

I know about the thievery because I have just the right amount of OCD in my personality to put the carton back in the fridge in the same position each time I use it. When I return and find it turned around, or askew, or notice that there's less liquid in it, it's clear that someone else has been using it. On one occasion, the offender even had the audacity to leave the smallest bit of liquid behind in an almost-empty carton, like some twisted gesture of sharing.

Honestly, how lazy or cheap do you have to be to do this on a continual basis? I can let it go if it happens once in a while. Heck, people can even have some if they just ask me. But this person did not have the decency to do that. So I tried sabotaging them.

To be fair, I had already sent out an annoyed email to all of my coworkers complaining about the thieving. The result was temporary, at best. Any sense of guilt or remorse on their part didn't last very long, and the stealing eventually resumed.

I bought a "decoy" carton and experimented with extra ingredients. Hey, it's my property and my prerogative to put in it whatever I like. If someone happened to take some without authorization and got an unpleasant surprise in their cup, it served them right for doing something they shouldn't have. With my office being the size that it is, though, I could only narrow down a list of suspects but was unable to pinpoint exactly who the culprit was. I wasn't even sure if the miscreant had gotten a taste of my special mix, although I sincerely hoped so.

Revenge plot abandoned, I decided to institute a "triple-locking mechanism" consisting of three binder clips clamped over a sticky note with my name written on it that's folded over the carton top. I figured the less convenient it was to help themselves, the better the chances that a person wouldn't bother. My method appeared fairly effective for a stretch of time, as the crookery seemed to decline.

Recently, however, the perpetrator got brave or desperate and breached my security system. In frustration, I resorted to adding the note seen below.

I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before the bandit strikes again. I suspect that any notes I post are but temporary deterrents. I could stop being so stubborn about all of this and just use another container to store my stuff, but I really hate having to maneuver around someone else's bad behavior.

And now there is actually a more intriguing question on my mind: Are the half-and-half thief and the individual who has been taking leftover food from multiple coworkers one and the same? Hmm.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's in a name?

As much time as I took picking Hank out at Petco, we also tried to put a thoughtful amount of consideration into choosing his name.

We've had two fighting fish in the past, and I remember giving equal deliberation to their names, too.

The first was an ornery guy we decided to call Rocky. Now that I think about it, we may not have taken very long to arrive at that one. Kind of a cliche, I suppose, that we gave him a fighter's name, but it fit. He showed how tough he was—or thought he was, anyway—as he flared his fins and swam furiously back and forth in response to his own reflection on the tank wall. It was sad when he eventually got sick, faded away and lost the good fight forever.

We named our second fish Parker. He was red and blue, which reminded us of Spider-Man and his alter ego, Peter Parker. So Parker it was. Parker lived with us for at least a year, but then it came time for us to move from the East Coast to the West Coast and we had to find him a new home. I wish we could have taken him with us, but a cross-country move for a little fish wasn't feasible.

Now, the new guy. His bright blue coloration seemed an obvious clue to a potential moniker. Shades and hues are plentiful: Indigo, Midnight, Navy, Powder, Electric. But none of them fit.

We thought about jazz and musicians in that genre, but neither myself nor my hubby are versed in it or familiar with its icons. Any name we might draw from that scene seemed contrived.

At one point I even suggested variations on "blue" as a synonym for sadness, but that ended up being kind of a depressing direction to explore for possibilities.

The new guy temporarily remained nameless.

Later, the hubby asked if we could just call him Hanky because he resembles a blue handkerchief as he swims, fins swishing to and fro in the water.

That's what prompted me to suggest Hank. It sounds less cutesy and more rugged. He is a fighting fish, after all. And, as Hubby pointed out, there's a character from the X-Men comic named Hank (a.k.a. Beast) who also happens to be blue.

So there you have it. That's the official story behind the name.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Monday, April 12, 2010

Seeing red

I continue to be amazed by the ignorance of people. This past weekend, I entered my nearby BART station using a red ticket—designated for riders who are elderly or who have a disability—and was immediately approached by a station agent who said that I had to exit and buy a regular blue ticket because I wasn't eligible to use the red one.

First of all, I happen to have a transit ID card that signifies I am qualified to use red tickets. I am legally blind—even though it might not be obvious because my eyes look normal and I don't use a white cane. Many people don't realize it, but there is a whole spectrum of visual impairment and blindness. Regardless, the whole point of having the ID is to serve as proof of one's eligibility to pay a reduced fare. End of story. Furthermore, when you browse the overall list of medical conditions that qualify individuals to obtain a transit ID, many of them won't be discernable to the casual observer. Do you think you can tell at a glance that someone has a heart condition? How about a hearing disability? Epilepsy? Or symptomatic HIV infection?

That's exactly why it is not supposed to be up to some improperly trained yahoo to make such judgments based solely on appearances—nor is it acceptable for said yahoo to throw out misaligned accusations at members of the general public. I told this guy I had an ID, and he said something lame about how I'm supposed to show it when I come through. If that really is the case, they've sure been doing a rotten job of enforcing this policy in the two years or so that I've been riding BART because I've never before been asked to do so. Had this station agent nicely requested to see my ID instead of confronting me in such a wildly inappropriate manner, I wouldn't have had to submit a complaint letter to BART. I don't know if anything will come of it, but I can only hope that someone gets the message and takes a good look at BART's flawed customer service procedures and lack of sensitivity to riders with disabilities.

Honestly, I think the more serious problem on their end is the fact that you don't need to provide an ID to buy red tickets. BART should revise this process if they want to reduce the chance of random losers fraudulently purchasing and using reduced fare tickets. And if the imposed penalty really is going to involve what only amounts to a stern order to go out and buy a full-priced ticket, it's hardly a deterrent to those intent on cheating their way out of paying full price.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A letter to Eddie

Dear Eddie Izzard,

Your show last weekend was excellent! We bought our tickets back in September of 2009, so there was a sufficient amount of anticipation leading up to the performance. We were a little concerned about going to Oracle Arena to see you; Oakland, as you may know, doesn't have the greatest reputation. Lucky for us, you have a ton of fans who joined us on the train ride in. It's a good thing, too, that public transit worked out because special event parking is apparently $30. I know you probably don't have any control over that sort of thing, but maybe the next time you go on tour you can pick a venue in our area that doesn't gouge its visitors quite as much. We even abstained from buying refreshments and made do with the water fountain because Oracle charges $4.50 for a mere soft drink. That's highway robbery.

Despite our thirst, we enjoyed seeing you live and in person. The blue lights, big screens and energy of the audience were cool. We wondered why you weren't wearing as much makeup as in the past, but we know you're not on stage to do a drag show. We understand that you are a comedian who happens to be a transvestite—of the "action" and "executive" variety, of course—and we appreciate your abundant intellectual funniness far too much to linger on such superficial details. And, yes, we know you fancy women. Besides, we deduced that makeup probably doesn't go very well with facial hair, which you now have in good quantity.

Thank you for sharing your impressions of a raptor and a jazz chicken. Thanks for revealing more astute observations and commentary about history, religion and life. (We especially like it when you question and poke fun at religion.) Most of all, thank you for giving us a heaping dose of entertainment. We hope to see you again soon.

Two friendly fans in Northern CA,
Cherie and Serafin