kris

The Folly of the ice bath

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Since we've been working out at Velocity Sports, the lactic acid has been building up in our legs, arms, everywhere. The two of of have been hobbling around the house, ow ow owing as we sat down, stood up, moved.

Last Friday night, I couldn't stand the soreness anymore, which is unusual, because I like the soreness as a general rule, and decided to take an epsom salt bath. A nice hot bath.

Kris came in and said, no, no, I shouldn't be taking a hot shower and hot bath, I should be taking an ice bath. Greg Wolff would swim in the ocean after a day of tournament play. Half of the men on Mischief took turns trying to sit in a bathtub full of ice and water at both Regionals and Nationals this year. Watching them sit, or rather, try to sit, in the ice water is worth the laughter it inspires in observers.

A beautiful gift

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I don't like crowds. Everyone close to me knows this fact, knows that groups of about 40 is my limit, knows that I'd rather "gouge my eyes out with hot forks of displeasure" than fight the good cheer of the shopping crowds around Christmas time.

So, when Kris asked me to run errands with him today, errands that included shopping, I carefully weighed the joy of spending a rare day with Kris against the value of the four months of my soon-to-be shortened life that I'd lose from the stress of crowds, and answered, "Sure!"

I made it to Starbucks before the thought of the impending crowds made me ball up into a classic defensive pose and wish I were anywhere but in the car driving to the mall.

Kris must have sensed the "Everyone, why are you not home sloth-like watching television? Why must you all be on the streets right now?" vibes eminating from my body, because around that moment, he gave me the most beautiful, the most joyous, the happiest gift he has given me in the last year:

He followed my driving directions, and turned left when I suggested it.

He hasn't done that since 2004.

Wow! He's fast!

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In these last few weeks, I've come to realize that, yes, I need structure for my workouts. I certainly have the best intentions when it comes to exercising, but the lure of sleep, or fixing one more bug, or reading another chapter in King Solomon's Mines, via Daily Lit (which I highly recommend as an easy way to read a book, less than five minutes a day to literature bliss). Or, heaven forbid, it's cold out. Cold and dark, bad combination for my evening workouts, to be sure.

ASA Baseball was great for structured workouts, the small class size (that would be two: Kris and I) also helped. Gino was fantastic. The facilities were ridiculously close. Yeah, I miss those workouts. Miss them, and have spent the last year trying to find a good replacement.

A couple months ago, Paul Youn made a mention of a sports training facility, Velocity Sports, in San Carlos. Based on the various injuries I had during the season, waiting until after the season ended seemed like a good idea. Now that the season is over, I followed up on Paul's suggestion and made arrangements for Kris and I to check out Velocity Sports.

The facility is two blocks away from the San Carlos train station, and about 20 minutes away from work by car for Kris. San Carlos isn't terribly convenient, but the location is somewhat workable. I trained up, Kris drove, and we had our first class.

When we showed up, there were ten other people already in the lobby, waiting for the class to start. I followed Kris in, and we joined the rest of the class to go over a roller-stick warmup, followed by walking dynamic stretches, crouch-extend-crouch-jumps, step-ups, sprints and situps. The class size made addressing specific needs difficult, but I thought the trainer did fairly well with what he had. Normally, classes are limited to 10 people, but three people showed up unexpectedly (Kris and I were both expected).

Honestly, looking at the description of the classes, I was expecting to have a hard time with the class. I was expecting to jump into Gino's fourth month classes, with ladders, med ball throws, upper body impossibilities like clapping pushups, and six minutes of intense abs. What I wasn't expecting to be the fourth fastest person in the class. Kris says fifth, but I'm convinced I could beat one of the guys he thought was faster.

We did the sprints as shuttles: we divided into two groups, each group standing in a line thirty yards apart, facing each other. One person would sprint the thirty yards toward the other group. The next person in the opposing group would start sprinting when the previous person crossed the thirty yards next to him. We did six sprints total.

After three sprints, several of the people in my group turned to me when Kris ran past on his sprint. "Wow!" they exclaimed, "did he run track in college? He's fast!" Confused, I looked around, and realized they were asking about Kris. "Oh, no, he played baseball in college, but we both play ultimate frisbee." "OH!" they all exclaimed. Apparently that explained everything.

When I told Kris about the story afterward, he laughed. Yes, he was the fastest there, but clearly the bar was set low if he was, "Wow, he's fast!" fast. We continued to laugh most of the way home.

I think we'll be signing up for the offseason workouts there. The train makes the deal. The morning sessions have fewer people, so we'll probably try those.

Velocity Sports also has team training, where a team can rent the facility for an hour for group training tailored to its needs. The rate is reasonable ($175/hour), so I'm going to suggest offseason training for the team. If we can get 12 people signed up for 10 weeks of training once a week, it'll be $120 per person, but tailored for us. Could be fun.

Twenty cans

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"I bought Safeway out of vegetable stock. They were on sale."

"How many did you get?"

"Twenty cans."

"Hmmmm, that's not a lot. Remember when we thought we had an infinite supply of veggie broth?"

"Yeah, those were the days. What ever happened to those cans?"

"You kept making soup."

"Oh... yeah."



Lessons learned

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You know, sometimes you don't want to hear the words. You don't want to know the opinions of people from your life 15 years ago, not because their opinions hurt, but because they're good opinions, and you wonder how different your life might have been if you had known their opinion.

At Fru's wedding tonight, I knew a relatively small number of people attending the event: Fru has a lot of friends who love him and I'm one of the truly blessed people who have Dan in my life. I am a better person for knowing him. Of the people at the wedding who I do know, nearly all of them are Techers. Most of them all recognized me. Some didn't.

One conversation went something like, "Do I know you?"

"Yes, we went to Tech together."

"You went to Tech?"

"Yes."

"Oh my god, are you? Are you Kitt?"

"Yes, I am."

"Oh my god, it's great to see you!"

Big hug for both of us.

We chatted for a bit, with another Techer overhearing us and interjecting, "Yes, this is Kitt, the freshman everyone had a crush on."

I looked over shocked at the person who made this comment. He continued talking to the person next to him. "No, everyone had a crush on her. I had a crush on her. I just couldn't go up to talk to her." "Dude, did you know she just walked up to me and asked me out?" "She did?" The conversation continued, with my standing next to the two of them, my jaw on the floor. Aside from the fact that I had no idea this guy had had a crush on me, much less "everyone," he was also one of the really good-looking guys at Tech when I was there.

The moment hung there. He said it as an off-hand, matter-of-fact comment, one that was a statement of fact from events that happened over a decade ago, but the comment stopped me. I wanted him to talk about it. I wanted to know what he meant. I wanted to rage about the unfairness of the statement, that had I known how different would my life had been? My god, would I have just made the same mistakes with this man that I had made with the other men I dated at the time? Or would I have learned the lessons in love I needed to learn much earlier? Would things have been different? Or the same? My god, tell me, would my life have turned out better?

I continued talking with the group when our picture was taken, a group of Techers in a mini-reunion at a friend's wedding so many years later. All the lives that had continued since those times in school, so many lives with different directions, so many choices made. The comment riding shotgun in my head as I chatted and laughed with these people.

We walked back into the banquet hall after the quiet of the balcony where we had our picture taken, the noise in the hall matching the noise in my head. The music loud in the back of the hall, people talking animatedly in the front.

And suddenly I stopped, the chaos and confusion of the moment gone.

I saw Kris.

He was sitting next to Fiona, the two of them laughing at something Kris had said. The rest of the evening mattered little, the questions I had about my classmate's comment no longer needing to be answered.

I made mistakes in college. I was unobservant and clueless and self-conscious and awkward and needy. I learned my lessons late, the lessons in love the hardest to learn.

But, I learned them.

And this man is the result of those hard-learned lessons. I couldn't ask for a better partner, friend, husband, lover.

What's that?

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"What is that?"

"Oatmeal."

"Really? So what's that?"

"Blackberry sauce."

"Is that whipped cream?"

"Yes."

"Dessert at 10 am?"

"Nah. Breakfast!"

Tragedy of the coyotes

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Kevin sent out an email a few days ago about the death of two Gendors, Gendors being a coed ultimate team originating from Southern California. We've played the team several times over the last two years, sometimes winning, most recently losing (I call extenuating circumstances surrounding a combination of both our lack of ability to adapt to their style of play and their cheating a little bit (yeah, yeah, yeah, always an excuse, but this time, I think it's somewhat valid when you have players double teaming the marker, then claiming that Kris has a reach of greater than 10 feet, which I assure you is not true)), and I played with several of the players 9+ years ago when I was learning to play in Los Angeles.

Good lord, have I really been here that long? Ugh.

According to the first article Kevin sent out, the players died while trying to avoid hitting a coyote driving home from Regionals in Scottsdale, Arizona. The driver and the front seat passenger were both killed, the two passengers in the back survived with scratches. All four passengers were wearing seatbelts.

Over the next few days, more details were told about the accident. The driver swerved to miss coyote, sending the car broadside into the guardrail, causing the vehicle to roll.

The driver swerved to miss a coyote.

As I read the words, I paused. Kris and I had hit a coyote several weeks ago, and as I read the words, I couldn't help but think if Kris had reacted differently, would we have died?

Our plan after spending part of the week with Kris' family, his parents, his sister and his sister's family, was to head to Phoenix to fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico for Kyle Smith's wedding. Our flight out from Phoenix was around 9:00, so we needed to be at the airport around 8. I recalled Mom saying Flagstaff was about three hours from Phoenix, so we figured leaving by five would be plenty of time for the drive down.

Problem was, we were at the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is another 80 miles north of Flagstaff.

So, instead of 146 miles in three hours, we had 226 miles to go in three hours.

We left by 4:45 AM, but didn't realize the extra 80 miles until we were leaving the park and saw the signs. We immediately began trying to figure out if we could make the flight, or if we should just start driving to Albuquerque. We could make the wedding if we started driving immediately, the flight was questionable. I pulled out the map, told Kris which way to go, and off we went, in an attempt to make the flight.

Unfortunately, I told Kris wrong. The map was misleading, and the road I asked him to drive along wasn't a multi-lane freeway-like road, but a forest-lined two-lane highway, He drove as fast as he dared along the road.

At one point, a coyote jumped out in front of the car.

Kris slammed on the brakes when he first saw the coyote, but was unable to stop in time. The car struck the coyote. We killed it. We believe it died instantly, based on the lack of movement looking back, but that may have just been wishful thinking, we don't know.

My reaction was much different. I screamed and brought my hands to my face, covering, perhaps to ward off the impact, much the way a mother throws an arm out to stop the passenger from flinging forward. I started crying. I cried for the coyote. I cried in frustration of the events of the previous week. I cried for the rabbit I struck driving 15 years ago. I cried and cried, and Kris couldn't do anything but drive, reach out to touch me and watch.

Ten minutes later, a migraine started and I began to lose my sight.

I told Kris what was happening, crawled into the back of the car and fell asleep.

Three hours later, I woke up 10 miles away from the Phoenix International Airport. Kris managed to get us to the airport in record time. He may have been driving over 100, I don't know, I was asleep, but it was a fantastic drive made while I was sleeping.

We made the flight, and made it to the wedding (which was awesome with the lightning and thunder punctuating the ceremony).

The image of the coyote, its final moments of life, are still remarkably, tragically fresh in my mind. The loss of two ultimate players reminded me of that moment. I believe the loss of their lives, two young men in their early twenties, is far more tragic than the loss of the coyote.

Would the driver had swerved if he knew the outcome? If Kris had swerved, would that have been our fate?

Can I blog about it?

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"Heh. I approve. Can I blog about it?"

"No, no, you can't. You've blogged about it enough. Farting is, like, its own category now."

"Is that really so bad?"

Recursion

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I made some comment to Kris recently about how I wish I had more formal computer science training. I took all of two programming classes in college, and learned the rest on my own. I believe I do okay, since programming is essentially solving one big logic problem, but every so often I solve a problem with brute force instead of creating an elegant solution.

Kris offered to help me out with the formal computer science education, and suggested we go through his Algorithms book. I agreed, figuring it would happen not before next year, given all of my copious free time.

When I was at Hackday yesterday, Kris pinged me and asked if PHP could handle recursion, which cracked me up (the answer being, uh, yes, of course). When I said yes, he asked me if I could write a recursive function that printed out a series of numbers, from one to the single function argument N. The two keys to this problem were recursion and single parameter.

Counting down from N to 1 was easy. I figure both are easy, but counting down is clearly the easier:

function kris($n = 1) {
  print "$n ";
  if ($n > 1) {
    kris($n - 1);
  }
}

Oddly enough, counting up was harder for me. I told Kris he couldn't offer any hints, and eventually I figured out a convoluted solution using a static variable. My solution clearly showed me my lack of CS education. Kris' solution was much simpler:

function kitt($n=1) { 
  if ($n>1) { 
    kitt($n-1);
  }
  print "$n ";
}

As Kris commented, people forget you can do the recursion first, and the action second, when writing recursive functions.

A candidate at Kris' work was unable to solve the problem, and he wanted to see if I could, especially since I was commenting on the CS education I didn't have. I did solve it, but not correctly.

Next time, I'll have the trick. This time? I felt like an idiot.

8:37 to job

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On Wednesday, Kris had a job interview. Two days in a row he had to get up in the morning too early for the two of us with natural sleep-until-noon tendencies. Good thing I convinced him to get up early the day before, to practice.

Always pragmatic, Kris timed the drive into to interview. He was leaving early enough to catch the carpool lane, and the office would be closer than previous work places, so he was hopeful for an easier commute. He also planned to time the drive back, to compare the two.

After the interview, which he felt went pretty well, Kris started the timer on his watch, and started his drive home. He received a phone call as soon as he started drivingand immediately thought, "What the? Does Kitt have a webcam in my car?"

Oh, the suggestions that man makes to me... Time to find a mobile webcam system...

The call was, indeed, not from me. Instead, the company he just interviewed at was calling to let him know they wanted give him a job offer.

Surprised, he looked at his watch.

8 minutes, 37 seconds to job.

Top that.

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