Monday, January 31, 2005

My friend had a baby this weekend. Yay.

They were scheduled to do a C-section early Saturday morning. The new in-thing with babies is to save all the stem cells from the cord blood so you can create a clone army a few years down the road. I was assigned the task of receiving the blood package form the doctor (cleanly packaged in a box) and then call the courier to have him pick it up. Bottom line, I had to be at the hospital at 7 am.

It was about 5:55 when I was getting ready to leave that I realized I couldn't find my wallet. This is not uncommon for me. The problem was that the hospital had a 10 dollar parking fee, and I thought it would be kind of tacky to ask the new father for money to get my car out of the garage. I found a wrapped roll of $10 in quarters, then grabbed all the loose change I could fine in case I needed to grab something to eat. Then my friend calls me and asks if I can pick up orange juice so we can have mermosas to celebrate. Now I need another 10 dollars to stop by the store. I had no choice but to run into work and hope that my wallet was there. I did and it was.

Baby fine, mother fine, DNA chillin' on ice.

This is me rushing to get the fresh blood off to the courier:


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Monday, January 17, 2005

Welcome to Wally World

Today I drove up with Dutch to Mt. Baldy to go skiing. I had to do a lot of preparation this weeked: I needed a new pair of gloves (I accidently inverted the inner lining on my old pair), I needed new goggles (I accidently smashed my old pair into a tree last year) and to be smart, I rented skiis at a local shop last night so we wouldn't be delayed at the mountain.

It was a super easy drive, we were at the mountain in just 1 hour. It took us about 20 minutes to park, get suited up, and head to the ticket booth. Only to discover that the mountain was closed because of high winds. Crud. We went back "into town" (which was made up of a closed diner, a shed selling plastic sleds, and a one room visitor center) for about an hour, just to kill time. We tried again at 10:30, but the mountain was still closed so we drove back home. Got back home around noon, went online and found out the winds had died down and they were open again.


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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Something Fishy

Late Monday night, around 12:30am, I heard a strange, slowly repeating sound: drip...... drip..... drip.... It was raining that night, but this noise was coming from inside. I got out of bed and discover my fishtank had a slow leak.

A few things you should know: First, you cannot fix a leaky tank. Oh sure, you can buy special aquarium glue but from experience I know it just never works. And you're certainly not going to do much about it at 12:30 in the moning. Secondly, used aquarium water is valuable. A healthy tank has lot of good bacteria in it which you won't have if you simply fill up a new tank with fresh water. You can also kill your fish by changing the water quality too quickly. "They" say you shouldn't change out more than 10% of the water a week max. If you have strong fish, you can get by with doing a lot more. My little buddies have suffered through my care before, (Fish adventure #1) so I knew they could handle a 5-gallon swap on a 10-gallon tank.

The leak was slow, but I didn't want it going all over the carpet. (been there, done that.) So I did the first thing any red-blooded American male would do: I wrapped the tank in duct tape. That held it back for 10-15 minutes, but the water still seeped through. The tank was sitting on a milk crate and there was no way to simply put a bucket underneath to catch the water. Instead, I cut the side of an old styrofoam cooler I had and slid that under the edge of the tank. I then used some paper towels which acted as a wick and drew the water across the bottom of the tank and down into the cooler. It got me through the night.

Next day, I bought a new tank. If you have to switch tanks anyway, you might as well take the opportunity to clean the water and give it an extra fine filtering. That will clear out most of the particles clouding up the tank but still keep the good bacteria. I do that by doing a slow siphon- maybe 1 gallon every half hour. I started to siphon 5 good gallons into the new tank, and siphon the rest into a garbage pail to dump down the toilet.

Unfortunately, I "had to" play World of Warcraft at 8:30. (I told people I would be there to assist on a mission). I was just beginning to get rid of the bad water, so I started the siphon. When I went back to check on it 2 hours later, this is how far the water level made it:

That's just WAY too close.

So far, fish are fine in their new home.


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Monday, January 03, 2005

Somebody had a bad day

(seen from my window)


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Sunday, January 02, 2005

One of a Kind beats Kings

Brad hosted a poker tournament this week. I've never played poker before, and I was a little intimdated showing up. There were 15 people there, and although it was just a "friendly game", most if not all of the other people played on a fairly regular basis. One guy played in a tournament in Tahoe shortly before. So I felt pretty outclassed and didn't want to embarrass myself too much by not understanding all the rules and etiquette of the game. All things considered, I think I did pretty well. Out of 15 players, I came in first place.

I'm as shocked as you are. I think there were 3 factors that contributed to my victory:

1) I got good cards when I needed them.
Hey, I admit it, a got lucky a few times.

2) Watching World Poker Tour paid off.
Although I had never played Texas Hold Em before, I had watched it on Travel Channel with friends. And some of the discussions stuck with me.

3) I'm a spaz.
Part of being a good poker player is being able to read your opponents. I don't think some of the better players knew what to make of me. I get flustered if a waitress tells me they're out of Coke and I need to choose something else, so you can imagine how I must feel when I get "raised 1000". In this case however, I think it worked to my advantage. Suppose we're playing poker, and you bet 200 and I immediately call. (these are terms I pretty much didn't learn properly until the tournament.) You might think "hmmm... Mister P. called that pretty quickly. He must have a decent hand. But he didn't raise, so he probably doesn't have a great hand." What I'm ACTUALLY thinking is this: "Would you look at how messy my pile of chips is?! I don't have time to both figure out what to bet AND stack the chips into equal-sized piles, so let me just avoid making a decision and pass the action on to the next guy, so I can make my stacks nice and neat." Hey, it worked.

I did feel a bit bad for Tournament Dude. I'm sure he enjoys playing poker very much and must have been frustrated sitting at a table with someone who had to sneak off to ask the other Mister P. if an Ace could be a low card in a straight. But I certainly didn't feel bad enough to give back my money.

Fluke? I dunno. We'll have to wait until next time and see.


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