NOT the next Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Yesterday I found Kiki (the 9-year-old) dipping pork-rinds in a bowl of what looked like cream cheese. Since I often eat them with french onion dip, and since I love fritos with cream cheese, I dipped one and prepared to pop it in the ol’ cake-hole.

Sandra: “That’s not cream cheese. That’s cake frosting.”

Me: throws the pork rind in the sink in a panic “Cake frosting? Kiki, what are you DOING?”

Kiki: “Daddy, they’re GOOD this way.”

There you have it. I’ll not vouchsafe pork-rinds and cake-frosting for you, but my 9-year-old will.

–Howard

Jet-lag reset

Right now it’s 5:15am back in Joburg, which is where my biological clock thinks I live.

Earlier this evening (here in Utah) I spent an hour or so walking around outdoors, with the sun still visible in the sky, in order to convince my internal alarms that bedtime was still a few hours off, rather than several hours ago.

Come midnight I’ll be doped up on Excedrin PM (diphenhydramine citrate — an antihistamine whose effects on me taper off sharply after 10 hours)… my goal is to punch the biological clock’s reset button smack-dabbity hard, skipping any real jet-lag entirely. I expect to sleep until 10am tomorrow, even if I have to retreat into a darkened basement room for the last four hours of my nap, thus getting a good night’s sleep, AND making up for the sleep lost both in transit and in the time change.

They say something about “the best laid plans of mice and men,” but I forget exactly what it is. No worries. This plan involves lots of “laid” (don’t go there) and exactly no mice, so nothing can possibly go wrong.

–Howard “famous last words” Tayler

I’m back…

So tired.

I thought about sitting down and writing a travelogue. I thought better of it. The only part worth telling is the last leg of the flight, where I sat next to an “unaccompanied child,” in this case a five-year old named Destiny who needed a big, helpful friend more than I needed sleep, but I’ve already told all the details to Sandra.

Sooo tired.

I need to stay awake, though. Right now it’s 12:30am in Johannesburg. If I take a nap, I’ll be back up at 1am, and nobody wants that.

Sitting here in front of the computer is uncomfortable. In the last 36 hours I sat for at least 30. My fat bottom is one big coach-class bruise.

In other news, I’ve gained 6 pounds.

–Howard

“Appropriate Use Of Humor”

In the speakers’ meeting they counsel us foreign speakers to be careful with humor, because it doesn’t always translate, even when everyone is speaking english. In fact, they tell us, we should not use humor at all.

Asking me not to use humor is like asking the democrats not to bash Bush, or Rummy not to put his foot in it, or the Italians not to take pizza quite so seriously. I mean, I suppose I COULD give the humor a wide miss, but that runs so contrary to who I am that I’m not sure who I’d be when I was done.

In my last session of the day I was discussing Linux commands that GroupWise administrators might want to be familiar with. I hammered hard on the “man” command (usage: >man [command]) which allows you to Read The Freakin’ Manual from a command prompt, and do so on almost any Linux command you’re faced with. On every slide, as we discussed a command, I’d remind them that if they wanted more details, they should use “man.”

It occurred to me that this was starting to sound a little sexist. Apology for inherent sexism is often funny… unfortunately, this occurred to me at the wrong time.

We were discussing a command (I’ll get to it in a moment) and I gave them the “man” mantra. I then apologized.

“The feminists in the room are probably unhappy that there’s no “woman” command. Sexist or not, you can’t do a “woman mount” and get anything useful.”

At this point I realized that “mount”‘ was the wrong command for making this particular joke. Or maybe it was the exactly RIGHT command, because the entire room burst into laughter, with the women in the room laughing the loudest.

It was probably funnier for the fact that I didn’t MEAN to tell a dirty joke. Honestly, I didn’t. When I tell dirty jokes intentionally I wink, or rimshot, rather than blushing and looking around the room to see if my boss is watching.

–Howard

p.s. That was my last session. The network comes down in a few minutes, then I’m off to the airport, so that’s the last you’ll hear from me from Africa.

Writer, Illustrator, Consumer