Kris + bad mood = Kitt

On the way home from Labor Day, I was driving along 17, stuck behind some car whose driver decided the best speed to drive was the exact speed the car next to him was driving. The driver was clearly not a 17 regular (not that I am, either, but I do know for the most part how to drive that road), as he kept braking in the turn, instead of before the curve and accelerating through the turn.

Kris heard various mumbles, "Move it!" "Come on! What the heck are you thinking, person?" "What are you doing braking now?" and other obvious frustrated mutterings.

At some point on the drive, the curves favored us, and the car in front of us was two and a half car lengths in front of the car in the lane to our right (on this two lane highway), allowing me to slot between the two cars and (shudder!) pass the speed-matching car in the right lane.

As I did so, Kris piped up, "You should pull in front of them, and brake."

Stunned, I replied, "That sounds like something I would say."

"I'm in a bad mood."

"The part of Kitt will be played by Kris in a bad mood today."

"Yeah, well..."

Couldn't be subtler!

So, we're sitting in the living room this morning: Kris on the couch watching baseball (Oakland vs. Baltimore), I at the table programming.

At some point, I commented about something and turned to look at Kris as I spoke. He looked over a me with a funny look, then let one rip.

After a pause, I commented, "Subtle."

And then burst into song, to the tune of "Couldn't be Happier" from Wicked:

    "Couldn't be subtler!
    No, you couldn't be sub-tle-er!"

"Yeah. I really thought that was going to just slide out all silent."

Cockroach effect

Damn, I really need to upgrade. I need to tag for real. Bah. This weekend I'll be heading to the colo. Enough whining.

Of course, upgrading means I'll have to go through and retag all my posts. Sigh.

I read about a study done years ago with cockroaches and competitiveness. In the study, the speed of a single cockroach's walk from one end of a chute/corridor/walkway to the other. After the times were recorded, two cockroaches were placed in the chute and were again timed.

The second time the cockroaches were timed, they were much faster. The introduction of another caused both to speed up, presumably in competition.

The cockroach effect is very much a person effect, too. And not in just, say, sports. Cars driving on the freeway will speed up when another car is going to pass (on the right or the left, actually), people will move more quickly to reach a line more quickly than another person walking to the line, joggers will run faster if there's an audience, small things like that.

Tonight, in a true example of a cockroach effect, I ran the neighborhood loop in 19:31, including a stop for a twisted ankle and two slowdowns to figure out what was going on.

Of course, not dragging Annie the whole way might have helped my time.

Kris went for the run with me tonight, offering to drag, er, walk, er, trot Annie along the way. After about a quarter mile, he asked, "Is this your normal pace?" I hemmed and hawwed, then admitted, that no, he was being my cockroach, pushing me along faster.

Considering I ran the loop on today's snack of champions (two slices of butter pound cake) 6 minutes faster than just a week ago, I'm happy my fitness is coming back. The stretches and strength training are helping my legs considerably.

Look underneath, already

On Wednesday night, Kris and I went with Heather, Megan, Megan, Heather's friend, Warren, Kate, Beth and Chris to see Wicked, the musical. The musical is based on the book Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, a copy of which has been sitting on my desk for, oh, several years now. The tragedy of that statement becomes apparent if you realize the book is actually a loaner from Kris' friend (and my ex-classmate) Eric Newman, who loaned Kris the book for me, and has since left Oracle and no longer works with Kris.

Must read loaner books faster.

Must read...

The show itself was entertaining. We had fairly good balcony seats (off to the left, but with few people in front of us) and the audience was amazing! Lots of young people, some children, mostly high school girls and college women out with their friends. For a Wednesday night, the place was packed. Well, for Friday night, it would have been, too.

Thankfully, Heather was wise and gave me an aisle seat (need to be first to the restrooms!), but I thought I would be wise and use the restroom before the performance.

Which brings me to this open letter.

Okay, ladies, listen up.

When you are in a public restroom, and you are waiting for a stall, if a line forms behind you, do us all a favor, will you?

Bend over or squat down, and look under the stalls.

Yes, you can do this.

No, we won't laugh.

As a matter of fact, our bladders will thank you. Especially if you find an empty stall (you know, the ones with no feet under them) and use it.

If you happen to be in a tight, gossamer dress that will split if you were to bend over to look under the stall, then for heaven's sake, ask the next woman to do it.

But use those empty stalls!

There were, once again, empty stalls because no one bothered to look under the doors to see if they were occupied. I don't get it. How freaking hard is it to look under the doors? Look, dammit, look!

On Wednesday, there were 3 empty stalls (of 12). When I realized there were three, I waited until there were two women in line in front of me (neither bothered to look), then went into one of the empty ones.

The other two can find their own empty stalls.

My bladder's full.

The restoration of Peterson fields

We started the restoration of Peterson Middle School North Fields today. We knew about what we needed to do to make these fields playable for Regionals at the beginning of October. We knew the task might be daunting. We knew we needed lots of man power. And we knew it would be hard.

What we didn't know, however, was that we would find unexpected luck with the water supply, or how many little things can add up to a whole-lot-of-delay.

Today started off in the usual disorganized fashion of too many things to do, not enough direction and being unsure of what we need to do.

We arrived at the fields with 210 gallons of water from my house in the back of Doyle's truck. Although I thought I had gathered the tools we'd need to do our work, I soon realized were missing pretty much every tool we needed. We had a shovel (we needed 4); we had a wheelbarrow (we needed dirt), we had water (we needed pressure).

to be continued ...

Wherein Sam learns to fart

Several times during Sam's visit this week, Sam would let one rip. Sometimes they were big ones (big!), sometimes they were small but quite foul. Invariably, he would say nothing until called on it, and then only a giggled "'scuse me!" would be the answer.

I really can't stand when people fart around me. It drives me nuts. My fart-aversion probably comes from the infinite number times I was on the receiving end of my older brother's farts, though I'm sure I gave as sure as I got.

This is one time when asking for forgiveness after-the-fact ("Oops! Excuse me.") is definitely worse than asking permission before-hand.

So, I gave Sam one of the big house rules in my house. He has been learning that different houses have different rules: even though he can have only one juice box a day at Uma's house, he can have three really big glasses of (tragically caffeinated) root beer at Auntie Kitt's house! What a deal! We like Auntie Kitt!

And that rule is, "If you need to fart, go outside." If you fart outside, Sam learned, the smell dissipates into the outside environment and Auntie Kitt doesn't get mad. The best part is, of course, that if no one's around, you don't even have to say, "Excuse me!"

I'm not sure if the lesson stuck, but at least he was farting more outside than in when I last noticed the small fart.

Two days!

I leave the man alone for all of, what, two days and what does he do?

Date:     Fri, 22 Jul 2005 15:21:18 -0700
From:  	  Kris McQueen 
Subject:  [MisChiEf] hand update

I have scientifically proven, through a carefully controlled experiment,
that Kyle's face is tougher than my 4th metacarpal.  Traslation:  my 4th
metacarpal is broken, though the doctor said it was a clean break with
no displacement, whick I took as a relatively good sign.  Anyway, I see
an orthopedist next week to find out just how long it'll be before I'm
back to hucking.


He breaks his hand.

Two days!

Disappearing for a day

Ah, the event that happens every couple years or so.

Kris and I disappear, separately mind you, not to be heard from, for one, sometimes two days at a time.

For Kris, the first disappearance happened in 2000, when he vanished for about 10 days straight. Couldn't find him anywhere.

Subsequent disappearances have been followed up with unusual withdrawal symptoms, funny smiles and animated gestures of wand waving and spell casting.

I'll see him again in two days.

When he's finished reading the latest Harry Potter.

Then I'll get to disappear.

But not before I finish up some projects. One in particular needs finishing up sooner than later (hi, Bharat!). My reward for finishing up that one will be reading about Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts.

How's that for motivation?

Kris is always right

At least about airports and security lines.

So many times, Kris wants to show up at the airport so early I want to cry. I sometimes resist, and the start of the flight is stressful, waiting in line, wondering if we'll make the flight, what are all these people doing flying at the same time I want to fly, everybody go home.

He's always right about Seattle's airport. I'm always amazed how the line can grow so freakin' long so quickly there.

Several years ago, maybe 2001, Kris and I were in Seattle (for Potlatch, no surprise there), and had early flights back home. Kris won the argument for shuttle times, and we arrived at the airport just before 5 am.

Now, at just before five, the lines are quiet, short and quick. Kris hadn't been feeling good all night, and we were in such a security line when his stomach pains became unbearable. He told me to go through the security line, that he would meet me at the gate after he used the restroom. I decided to wait with him instead, and we dashed out of the line to the nearest restroom.

Kris was in the restroom for about 45 minutes. During those 45 minutes, I sat outside and watched the security line grow from the maybe 20 people in line when we left the line, to a queue over 300 yards long as it exited the main security gates and wound down the hall and back around several times.

At about 25 minutes into the waiting, it became apparent that we were going to miss our flight, as we wouldn't be able to pass through the security line and reach our gate in time. We still had an hour before our flight departure time.

How things changed in 25 minutes.

At 5:00 am, the difference between 4:55 and 5:20 doesn't seem like much, but it can mean the difference between making a flight and not.

When is the warranty up?

After watching Gone in 60 Seconds, Kris turns to me to ask, "When is the warranty up for our car?"

"Which one?"

"Your car."

"It's already expired."

"It's already expired?"

"Yeah. We bought it in October 2000. It's now 2005. The warranty expired."

"Cool. We should install nitrous in it now."


"Yeah, just what I need to enable my 'safe' driving. Even more power in my already too powerful car. Yeah, let's do that."

"But just think, Doyle will be willing to drive more. 'I can drive. Look, I brought an extra gallon of nitrous!'"