Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old Fart Futility Update #1

Old Fart Futility Updates (OFFU) will be issued occasionally in an attempt to ease the pain of the author’s declining mental acuity. Writing humorously about the forgetting and the fumbling and the foggery may inspire other Old Farts to learn to live with their declining faculties. Also, instead of throwing phones and cussing, I may think “Oh goodie, another entry for OFFU.” And maybe lipsticked pigs will whistle ‘Stardust’ as they fly to the Moon.

ITEM 1 “ET THROWN PHONE”: We have new cell phones. They are as basic as one can buy unless you unearth the one the Gordon Gecko used in the 1987 movie Wall Street. (It’s roughly the size of a canned ham, and all it did was make phone calls.) The problem today is all those New Phone Update Nazis who keep adding unnecessary features—like Frogger 3-D or Sasquatch Alert or downloads of Lawrence of Arabia for my 1-inch screen.

One new feature is particularly galling: My new phone “locks” itself after each use for no apparent reason. To use the phone again, you must “unlock” it and poke “OK.” To add to the fun, there are no buttons on the phone marked “Unlock” or “OK.” None of the buttons on my New Phone have words, just Post-Modernist hieroglyphics. One button has a squiggle. Another has an arrow. A third has a tiny picture of Mamie Eisenhower.

Recently, before I could dig it out from all the crap in my Man-Purse (you got a problem with that, Scooter?), my Phone from Hell sent the caller to voice mail, and greeted me with a taunting “Missed call. Do you wish to retrieve it?” message.

I pushed a button, pretty much at random. (No matter which button I push, nothing good ever happens.) Nothing happened. So I pushed two buttons. The screen ordered me to “Press Unlock, then OK.” I pushed two more buttons. Nothing happened. I changed the order of button pushes planning on the “Infinite Number of Monkeys” algorithm to bail me out. Nope. After about thirty more tries, the screen displayed the word “Unlock” and suggested I push a button directly below it, and then one beneath the word “OK.” I did. The screen then said “”Press Unlock, then OK,” adding “Suckuh!!!” I typed in a message telling the phone what it could do with all its buttons. It ignored me.

That’s when I threw my phone. I took care not to pull a Russell Crowe and cleared the room of hotel clerks before I aiming at a pile of clothes. I missed and hit the wall, earning me the nickname “Matt Leinart.” When I retrieved the phone the screen said “Ouch.”

ITEM 2. “COFFEE DESTATICIFICATION TRICK” One of the disadvantages of the plastic bins that come with Burr Grinders is the coffee gets an electric charge while being ground. Stick a plug in the newly ground coffee and your can toast an English Muffin to a golden brown deliciousness.

If you don’t want a muffin, however, getting the coffee out of the plastic bin involves a lot of slamming and banging. The first bang occurs with the lid still on, and is designed dislodge the coffee on said lid. Unfortunately, this causes said coffee to spew out the entry aperture of the bin. That causes a mess and is a waste of good coffee. So today, I solved the problem—I thought.

After I grind, I mix and match two sets of coffee beans in a small cereal bowl. With the first batch already in the bowl, I ground the second batch. My plan was to bang the bin right next to the cereal bowl, causing the spewed coffee to lands in the bowl. Problem solved, Old Fart style.

Interesting factoid: When you misjudge the distance just the teensiest bit and slam the bin full force on to the rim of the cereal bowl instead of the counter, you can launch the coffee already in the bowl throughout the entire kitchen.