Friday, September 30, 2005

Stupid people

It seems they are all around... Here's a useful page that explains them, why they exist, and the 5 rules to live by when dealing with stupid people. Long, but a funny read with funny pictures.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chilly morning

Whew, today was a bit nippy to ride the motorcycle, being a balmy 36 degrees this morning, but I decided to ride the 16 miles anyway. I'm trying to ride the motorcycle more, both to save on gas, and to just ride more.

I put the liner in my jacket, which was good since even on the 40-50 degree mornings I get chilled without it. I didn't put the liner in my overpants, thinking that I wouldn't need them. Wrong. I was good for the first five miles, but after that my quads were quite cold.

I put on a neck warmer but I didn't get it around my chin, which I was thinking wouldn't be a problem. Again, wrong. I should have put on my mouth and nose warmer too but elected not to. That was a mistake, but not as uncomfortable as the exposed chin. I'll need to figure out what I can do to stop the visor from fogging up too. For a couple of mile stretch I was driving with the left half moderately fogged and the right half completely clear. Weird since my breathing isn't obstructed.

It takes a little while to get used to the thicker winter gloves. I lurched off the line when the light turned green in Hudson (the only light on my way to work) due to cold hands and thick gloves. I'm sure I've looked more graceful.

I think I'll get those handlebar warmers, but other than that, I think I'm set to ride as long as the roads stay dry. Only saw one other motorcycle this morning, a full dress tourer. I'm glad to know I'm not the only crazy one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kickball trouble

Last night our team, Matt's Rats, played our fifth game. We finally won a game, but no one enjoyed the game and the win was bitter sweet at best. The team we were playing was previously known for being a bunch of jerks, so we weren't in a good position when we started.

The first few innings went quickly with few, if anyone getting on base. My first kick was a line drive to the third baseman who caught it in the air. My second attempt was where it all went wrong.

I had a good low kick towards the third baseman who fielded the ball after a brief fumbling, but he was a good thrower and I was going to have to run at maximum speed if I was going to beat the throw to first. I put my head down and sprinted as quickly as I could. I followed the chalk line until I saw the bag, looked up and realized that the first baseman, a petite woman weighing maybe 100lbs, was standing fully on first base. I had barely enough time to get my hands up before I ran into her, totally flattening her and launching her at least a foot from the bag. Everyone was pissed. They were looking like they wanted to start a fight, yelling that I should have run for the orange side of the double wide first base bag (to the right of the line I was running down). I was apologetic. This sort of thing happens in one form or another in basically every game (in fact it happened to our team a few innings later where a runner to second took out our shortstop as he went to back up second base).

After that their team got a bit riled up and was able to tie the score, 2 to 2. We likewise got riled up, but mainly wanted to shake off the event. The next inning I made all three outs, a suitable response, though it didn't make me feel any better. My team tried to console me and told me to shake it off. I tried as best I could.

An inning or two later, a guy tried for a double and was thrown out at second (I was playing second base). I had a foot on the base when the ball came to me, but since it wasn't a force, I had to reach around and tag him (easier said than done with an 8" rubber ball). The ump called him out, but people began to shout that it wasn't a force and that he was safe. He had slid into second, but was currently touching it, so I touched his shoulder with the ball and said "You're out now for sure." He then put his hand on the bag and I removed the ball. He was complaining that he was safe, and removed his hand from the bag, which he was still sitting next to, so I tagged him again on the shoulder. Whereupon he hit me with the back of his fist in my groin (I was standing, he was sitting). Appalled I asked the ump if he had seen it. He had, and said he was appalled too and the guy was out. I was expecting something more along the lines of ejected, but no such luck. Once again my teammates consoled me and told me to shake it off.

There were some more calls that were more in our team's favor than theirs, all of which I either agreed with or didn't see (during one of which they convinced the umps, after about 5 minutes, to reverse their call, putting a man on 3rd). One of the suspect calls was a force at second where I had my foot on the third base side of the bag, giving the runner a clear path to the bag, which the team argued I wasn't touching, but they were clearly wrong; the runner even agreed that he was out.

At the end of the long night, we won 4 to 2, but no one was happy about the win (except a few members of the team that played them the week before). My neck was beginning to stiffen up, most likely as a result of crashing into the woman at first base, and I was in a fairly foul mood. Half of the team went to Matt's bar (our sponsor) in Saint Paul for beer and burgers. They told me that things like this seem to happen every week, though this was obviously the first time for me, and I shouldn't worry about it.

Next week we have a bye (and I'd be in California anyway). Hopefully this will give us time to get back in the spirit of kickball -- having fun.

Very busy

I haven't been blogging lately because I've been pretty busy, at least for me.

Last week I was on vacation while Mom came out from California to visit and see if Minnesota might be the place for her. We looked at over a dozen houses, seeing one, actually the first, that was really great. Eventually she decided that it wasn't for her, but Minnesota probably was. I think I'll be seeing a lot more of her by the middle of next year.

There's lots of work to be done in my basement to convert it from one giant unfinished room plus a half finished bedroom and turn it into a home theater, wet bar, workout area, and bathroom.

Towards that end I got 6 recessed lights installed, along with their requisite new drop from the main electrical panel, and a dimmer that doesn't seem to be quite useful (the first 50% of the travel basically does nothing).

I then started working on making the walls for the bathroom. Since I don't know what kind of bathroom I want (tub, shower, steam shower, etc.) I don't know how wide to make the room, so I don't know where two of the three walls are supposed to go. That left me with just the back wall which was obvious as to where it needed to go. Unfortunately, there are three drain pipes and two flues where that wall need to be as well. Since I no longer use the tank water heater, I was able to remove its flue and get the flue vent to be no more in the way than the one drain pipe that I was going to have to make a soffet around, so that's cool. I made two mini walls between the drain pipes, did the soffet, had fun with power tools and a powder actuated nailer (drives nails using a 22 caliber-like gunpowder charge).

I also added hot and cold water lines for the wet bar, right next to the drain pipe for the washer, which I plan to cut into as soon as I find a store that sells PVC in increments less than 10' long. Cutting into the existing water lines was fun. I didn't think to leave a faucet running when I turned off the water shutoff so there was a fair amount of pressure when I cut into the lines. No worries, I had a bucket right there and there was little over spray. I then I had to take the pipes off their hangers, so that I could slip insulation over them, which would further drain the pipe and require me to jump off the ladder and run to the bucket to get it under the draining pipe. After doing two water lines with no leaks, I was quite happy.

To round out the vacation I got lots of TV watching in, drove around and looked at some new and used cars (just for fun), and slept in as much as could.

All in all, it was a good vacation, but not nearly long enough. Now I just have to figure out how wide to make the bathroom...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Little party

Last night Sara had a little birthday party for herself at my place. Her actual birthday is Sept 19, but I guess she's busy that day so planned it for the 10th instead.

She invited a bunch of her friends, and I invited a couple of coworkers. Unfortunately, it appeared that several other people were having parties that night, so she didn't get a great turnout, and several people had to leave early to go to other parties.

It was a Mardi Gras themed party, planned long before Hurricane Katrina, so I got Hurricane glasses, the fixings to make Hurricanes, and 190 proof Everclear to soak Maraschino cherries in to go onto the umbrella in the Hurricane. Everclear is not legal for sale in Minnesota, but luckily I work in Wisconsin where it is legal for sale. When I told the young girl working the register that fact she replied "No wonder why so many people come in here and ask for it!"

The party went slowly at first, but eventually had a good turnout and people were talking and having fun. No one wanted to make the first slice into the homemade cheesecake (which is a pretty common thing for Minnesota), so after an appropriate amount of time I made the first cuts, took a big (yummy) slice for myself, and moved it to a prominent position on a table whereupon it was quickly devoured.

Towards the end of the evening, I was slicing some bread with my meat carving knife. The hard crusted bread made starting the cut difficult since the carving knife doesn't have a point. I had my fingers curled back and against the blade, but when it slipped, it still managed to embed itself into my left index finger's nail. Apparently quite deeply since it didn't stop bleeding for more than 10 minutes. If it hadn't been under the nail it would probably need a stitch, but I'm hoping some compression bandaids will prevent scarring and a permanently mangled fingernail.