Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bad glass juju?

I ask the question because I got some bad juju going on today...

My day started at 0545 with my Blackberry (yes, I still use a Blackberry, and I believe that President Obama and I are the last two users left on the planet) vibrating in its alarm mode to wake me up gently without waking up the other sleeping members of the Campello household.

I reached over rather quickly, as I always do, in order to attenuate the device, as the vibrations eventually shift into a rapidly escalating "Sunrise" music if the person being woken does not pick it up and turns the alarm off.

As I did, I accidentally hit the glass of water that I always have by my bedside, and which is usually a plastic glass, in case I knock it off in my groggy state, and it falls on the floor. The problem is or was, that last night I had a glass made out of real glass.

The fall from the night table to the wood floor usually wouldn't break a tempered glass like this solid one was, but the laws of Murphy took over and the glass, full of water to the brim, took a trajectory between the night table and the bed itself, and its edge managed to hit the metal edge of the undercarriage of the bed itself.

Luckily, it a good tempered glass, and it only broke into 347 pieces instead of a million shards, while at the same time, and in defiance of nearly every physics laws of any planet with significant gravitational pull, soaked the side of the mattress.

It also made a lot of noise.

"Mom?", came Anderson's concerned voice from his nearby room, now awoken by the noise and slightly alarmed. He has been well trained, and only calls on Mom if there are any issues during lights out operations in the Campello household.

"It's OK honey," responds my wife's fully awake voice, not the usual early morning, vocal-fry voice, "Daddy dropped his glass of water... go back to sleep."

"Good luck with that," I say softly (very softly) to myself softly as I wander into the bathroom to grab a towel to soak up the water off the wooden floors and scoop up the broken glass before anyone steps on that. Ten minutes later the floor has been taken care of, and in somewhat of a miracle, not a single shard of glass has made its way to my hands.

A quick shower and I'm ready to head out. 

As today is the day that I pick up Anderson from school, and take him to his swim practice. Since while I'm there I usually spend that hour surfing the net on my iPad, I grab my iPad, my WiFi device, my Blackberry, a bag of nuts, his giant-assed backpack full of his swimming gear, three slices of cheese, a little plastic container with some leftover chicken, my water bottle and my car keys.

Should have made two or three trips, because as soon as I get to the van and start unloading, I drop not the WiFi device, nor the Blackberry, or bag of nuts, or his giant-assed backpack full of his swimming gear, or any of the three slices of cheese, or the little plastic container with some leftover chicken, or the water bottle, or the car keys.

Nope, I dropped the iPad, which of course, and as designed by Apple, does a perfect corner landing which results in multiple cracks across the surface of the device.

Hey! I'm still not mad - but now I'm aware that shit like this comes in threes... so Lenny is gonna be super alert this morning while driving on the beltway as I head north towards a Maryland fort named after a Union general, but I'm not naming names in case NBC alleges that I'm heading to someplace named after a Confederate general, if any of those still remain.

I get to my destination safely, and once in the nice office, I log into my computer, get distracted by something on TV about some lady with a lot of names who's been busted as a leaker at the Treasury Department, and my screen saver times out. Now fully distracted and not as wary as I was just 30 minutes earlier, I absent-mindedly, and for the first time that I can recall, ever... ever... type the wrong password into my system, which immediately locks me out, as I have it designed to allow only two tries, beacuse the Lenster never fucks up his password.

Until today, that is.

Now I need to go to the IT gods to get help, and thus I start that trek, now slightly wary once again of the way events are turning out this morning - it's not even 9 o'clock yet, but I'm back in DEFCON 3, just in case.

I get my computer unlocked rather easily by a nice IT guy who looks to be about 12, and breathe a sigh of relief - crap like this comes in threes, and in my mind the three bad things had already occurred and the kid is home free.

Not so fast - you see, there were two "glass" things (the glass of water and the iPad glass screen), so in reconstructing what happened next, it is clear that another "glass" thing was in storage.


There is some kind of code in Montgomery County that dictates that floor levels between doors have to be even and have some sort of ramp if the floor descends on the side of the door that opens. This is clearly not the case (or it is not enforced) in Anne Arundel county. How do I know that? Because as I was leaving this building on a side door, on the other side of the exit door, there was a lower floor which descended a full human step.

As if that was not bad enough, as I stumbled upon the unexpected drop, there was a well-worn furniture dolly on the floor... right in front of where my foot, or anyone's fucking feet coming from the other side of the blind door, as it opened towards the lower level floor, would land.

 Notice that I described it as "well-worn", as this is important to the series of events which took place next. The dolly's protective carpet edging around the corners were all but gone after many years of service... nothing at all like the image to the left - but nothing but sharp wooden corners at the edges.

Someone was either moving in and out, and (I think) the dolly was being used to help carry some loads from the edge of the door to the sixteen milimiters to the double glass doors leading to the steps which descended to the street in front of this building's side entrance. And someone had left it right in front of a door that opens towards that area, with a blind drop of eight inches or so.

I accidentally stepped onto the empty dolly, which lurched forward as my momemtum was progressive (cough, cough), and I lost my balance. I managed to grab the door push-bar and did not fall, but the dolly shot forward towards the double glass doors.

Normally, those doors would have been closed, and normally, a carpet-edge-protected dolly would have just bounced off the thick glass doors, and normally - even if well worn and sharp as these dolly's corners apparently were -- chances are that the dolly would have struck the door on one of its sides, rather than a sharp corner - a 50% chance to be exact.

Even if a dolly's sharp corner struck the glass dors while the doors were closed, the incidence angle would most likely just cause the dolly to bounce off the doors... the double glass doors.

However, in this case, whoever was the Einstein who was moving in or out -- and whom had left the fucking dolly on the other side of a blind-opening door which descends onto a blind step -- was in the process of coming back into the building. And he had just pulled one of the glass doors towards him, so when the dolly (now at a perfect 45 degree angle of incidence), struck the glass door (also at a perfect and no longer perpendicular or horizontal angle, but perfectly angled to receive the sharp corner in the most destructive manner angle posible) was hit, it shattered into a perfect cobweb of fisures threatening to explode into a burst of broken glass.

I know it was him, because he was carring a medium sized box - certainly not dolly-worthy, but maybe he had more boxes coming, although it seemed to me (in retrospect) that this Einstein should have placed the dolly (if he was moving in) on the other side of the door and thus the higher step level!

And thus, in the precise timing sequence that I step on the dolly, and it goes flying forward, and Einstein opens the glass door, and the dolly smacks the glass door and shatters it, a third actor enters the stage, as another twenty-something gent is coming up the steps, absorbed in something important going on in his phone, and not looking at the Keystonian (reference to Keystone Cops for you Millenials - look it up) comedy developing in front of him.

And he was coming up the steps and the dolly was flying down the steps, having bounced off the glass door, and now looking for more victims.

And phone boy, of course, now steps on the descending dolly and goes lurching slightly forward -- and his phone goes flying south and lands (on its corner of course), not on the soft grass that cover 75% of the area in front of this entrance, but on the 25% cement sidewalk, which - as we'll find out soon - shatters the phone's glass screen... cough, cough.

Did you notice that I wrote that phone boy went "forward"? This is important to the story, because some part of phone boy - not sure which - then hits the shattered glass door, which, up to this point has valiantly been holding all the shattered glass within the frame of the door, as a good, well-tempered glass was designed do.

But upon being hit a second time, the glass door lost its temper and exploded into a trillion pieces, covering both Einstein and phone boy in glass shards.

"Are you guys OK?", I ask, truly concerned about these two young guys, and somewhat impressed that Einstein didn't drop the box that he was carrying during this whole sequence.

"My phone!!!!", screams phone boy in horror looking at his empty hand, apparently not caring that he's covered in glass. He looks around, sees the phone on the sidewalk and runs towards it.

"What happened?", asks Einstein slightly dazed, and certainly confused. "The door just exploded...", he adds.

"Somebody left a dolly on the other side of that door", I point out to him, and stop there. I can see that he's reconstructing the incident in his mind. "Are you OK?", I ask him. He nods - not offering any more contributions to the conversation.

I walk over to phone boy, and ask him the same question. "My phone!!!", he responds in agony.

Later on, it dawns on me that - technically, if you count his phone - four "glass" incidents have happened today.

I hope that the bad juju is over for the day... although my lower back is feeling a little tender after that "funny" step onto the dolly.

And it's still morning...

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: January 15, 2019. 

The Peninsula School of Art is currently accepting exhibition proposals for 2020 and 2021 in their Guenzel Gallery. 

Exhibitions of all media will be considered. Exhibitions will be chosen by the Director of Public Programs with support from PenArt’s Gallery Committee. Exhibitions are awarded based on criteria including, relevance to the our educational mission and overall artistic quality. 

Artists, curators, groups, and/or organizers are welcome to apply and will be notified approximately one month after the deadline. No submission materials will be returned. 

Exhibition Proposals should include: Cover letter including description of proposed exhibition Digital portfolio of 15-20 images, or a single link to a maximum five minute video of current artwork, representative of work proposed for the exhibition. Include artwork title, medium, size, and year. Resume Artist statement and biography 

Contact information including: telephone, address, and email. 

Please email question and all submissions to Kendra Bulgrin: and