another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Good to Go

I'm packed and ready to get out of the hotel. One more day at work, leaving just a bit early, and I'll be leaving Phoenix on the way back to Aurora.

This isn't much of an update. I still need to flesh out the outdate from last weekend, but it's been pretty busy this week. We've een getting out of the office at about 8pm on average, several times a bit later, and then I had to find a place to eat before crashing. Look for another update by Sunday -- maybe even today if I can take a few moments.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Kathy!

Kathy's already got it up on her blog, but I want to wish her a Happy Golden Birthday over here. So visit her blog and leave her a greeting.

More from me late tonight.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

A Few Odd Things

Appropos of nothing, here are a few little things that I've meant to mention, just because blogs are for random stuff like this:

If you've seen the T-Mobile ad with the talkative tween cheerleader (and it's probably around most everywhere, I just saw it a bit ago here in Phoenix), then you've seen our high school's cheerleader uniform. I do wonder if it's because someone from our area works for the ad agency (seems likely), if the high school sold some old unifoms as props, or if the cheerleaders buy their own uniforms and one was donated to Goodwill and then discovered for a prop. The girl can't be a high schooler, though, she looks like she's about 10 or 11. By the way, the first letter, always obscured by the girl's arm, is 'W'. WVHS -- Waubonsie Valley High School.

Even if it's not, the colors and design are the same, as are the "..VHS". It's gotta be.

I miss Tivo when I'm not home, mainly for the replay feature, to just spin the TV back a few seconds. For example, on the local news a bit ago they were talking about the national weather and mentioned Champaign, IL (as it, "the front extends from Kansas City to near Champaign, Illinois". Except I swear the guy mispronounced it, something like "cam-peen". I wish I could have rolled back to check.

Hey, Letterman's Top Ten list just re-used a joke from "Arrested Development" -- the "Inner Beauty Pageant".

They're replaying "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" on Cartoon Network (well, it is basically a cartoon), but they aren't playing the full theme song!?! Just the little instrumental intro. That ... that's just wrong!

OK, that's enough randomness. This is just to keep fresh stuff on the blog, so folks don't feel that checking for an update is waste of time. Now it's your turn!

Sorry for wasting your time.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cut to the Chase

Hi again from Phoenix. I enjoyed a weekend off, which is far too rapidly coming to an close.

Yesterday was pretty much entire devoted to baseball. Not that that's an unusual Saturday for me. :-)

I slept in for a while on Saturday, finally dragging myself out of bed around 10 (after staying up late -- I'm a night owl anyway but the time change also messes with my schedule).

Anyway, I eventually got out and headed down to Chase Field, as I intended to go to the Diamondbacks game that night, and wanted to get a ticket ahead of time. While I was at the ticket window, I noticed that they have a stadium tour scheduled to start at 12:30 -- i.e. about 20 minutes from that point. So, I picked up a tour ticket as well.

There were about 15 people on the tour, including a woman who just couldn't shut up about Mark Grace*; her husband, daugthter (embarassed by her mother), and son-in-law (chuckling about the whole thing); four twenty-something guys who wanted to make fun of everything (and had a field day with the Grace fan); a couple and their three kids (teen boy, toddler boy, infant (girl?)); and a few assorted others.

The first half of the tour as basically around the main concourse -- places I could (and would) go before the game just as a fan with a ticket. The tour pointed out a number of things that I wouldn't have seen, though, and some things that I may have guessed at but not known. For example, there are a bunch of metal picnic tables, arranged in three tiers, deep in right field. Fans can buy tickets for the tables, $15 apiece, and bring in a picnic lunch and enjoy the game. Pretty cool. Those same table become the auxilliary pressbox for big events, such as when the Diamondbacks were in the World Series or for this past spring's World Baseball Classic. Also that there is a class of tickets, right down the foul lines and in the upper deck, that are only sold on the day of the game, and for $1 apiece, so pretty much anyone could have the chance to see a game live.

Anyway, eventually we got into some sections that I wouldn't otherwise be able to see. We toured a skybox suite (one of the smaller ones, we were told) and the pressbox and press lounge. Then we rode down the elevator to the lower levels, which are the areas around the locker rooms (which we wouldn't see, as this was a game day). As we walked through, we passed a group of guys, one of whom I decided had to be Prince Fielder and so they must all have been Brewers players (in street clothes, of course). Sure enough, when I saw him later on the field I could confirm that that was Prince Fielder. We also ran into Bob Melvin, the Diamondbacks manager. He had been exercising by running the steps of the stadium (in 110° weather), and was coming in just as we were going out into the Diamondbacks dugout. You can check my new profile picture, which I had taken while in the dugout right by the phones to the bullpen and the helmet rack.

The dugout was the end of the tour, and I went back to my car to figure out a place to have lunch. I decided that, since I was in downtown Phoenix, I could just park in preparation for the game and a place I could out of easily, and then walk to a place to eat. I had a downtown map that purported to show a number of restaurants.

Unfortunately, the map lied. Oh, it showed the location of restaurants, but it said they were open for lunch on Saturday. Specifically, I was looking for more of a sports bar/restaurant in hopes that they would have the Cubs game on TV (they played a late Saturday afternoon game, and where one of only a couple games at that time).
Eventually, I settled on the only place I found open, a pizza place where I could get a slice, a salad, and a soda for $5. Good pizza, but downtown Phoenix was dead, dead, dead. I guess that's a Saturday in July.

Eventually, I headed back to the stadium, and a sport bar in the stadium courtyard had opened up. There I had a couple of beers and was able to watch the end of the Cubs game. I did so while chatting with a guy with his girlfriend who sat down next to me at the bar. The guy was a Mets fan (and the Cubs were playing the Mets), and he knew his baseball pretty well, so we wiled an enjoyable hour.

When the stadium gates opened up I went inside and did what I usually do when visiting a new ball park: I went to my seat, watched some batting practice, and then I walked around everywhere I could to check the angles and the amenities. I got pictures of the field from all around, climbed high into the upper deck both down the lines and behind home plate. I pretty much covered everything by the time the game was ready to start.

My seat was half-way between home and first base, maybe slightly more toward home, and only 22 rows off the field. Actually even fewer since I was right behind the corner of the Brewer dugout, which cut into the stands. It was actually only about 12 rows back from the dugout.

The game quickly became a blowout -- the Diamondbacks scored in each of the first four innings and built a 8-0 lead. Chris Capuano pitched for the Brewers and was hit hard -- even though he's shutout the Cubs in three games this year. Brandon Webb, for the Diamondbacks, was pretty much unhittable. The game ended 8-1, with the Brewers scoring a late, meaningless run.

Anyway, that was about it. After the game I talked to Ellen and Bob on the phone and then came back to the hotel to crash.

Today I drove around for a while, including driving about an hour into the desert west of Phoenix -- albeit on the interstate -- so no adventure, I just wanted to check out the landscape. Which is pretty desolate. I then picked up some more memory for my work laptop, so it wouldn't run like such a dog when running the data analysis for the site here. However, when I got back to the hotel I put that in and then couldn't get the computer to boot. While I tried to get that computer working again I had the Cubs game on TV in the room, and watched the Mets score 11 runs in one inning to take the score from 5-2 Cubs to 13-5 Mets (Mets eventually won 13-7). So, a frustrating afternoon. However, I finally figured out what I did wrong (I didn't get the modem card reseated properly after I loosened it by mistake -- which caused problems even though I'm not using the modem). So now this laptop has twice the memory and we'll see how much it helped).

And that's it for the weekend. It's now 11pm, so I'll watch Futurama and hit the bed so I'm set for more in the morning.

* Footnote: OK, if you're not a baseball fan, Mark Grace is a former baseball player, played about 13 years for the Cubs and then a couple years for the Diamondbacks, and is now a broadcaster for Diamondback games. The woman and her family were also from Chicago, and had apparently met Grace recently -- perhaps because the woman was an insistant fan.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


So, my friend Steve and I went to the Cubs game on June 30 -- Cubs vs. White Sox. On the way, he asked what I was ready for.

I said "Disappointment".

They didn't disappoint with the disappointment.

But, let's walk through the past couple of weeks:

Tuesday, June 27, I went to the game with my brother, Bob. Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs scored two runs in the bottom of the 8th innning to take a 5-4 lead, only to give up four runs in the top of the ninth, with the second (and go-ahead) run scoring on an error by "closer" Ryan Dempster. I left after the Brewers scored their third run of the inning, confident that the Cubs could not come back from a two-run deficit in the 9th, so I didn't see the Brewers actually take a 3 run lead. Brewers 8, Cubs 5.

Friday, June 30, I went to the game with my friend Steve. Cubs vs. White Sox. The Cubs gave up three runs in the first inning, only to make it close again by scoring two in their half of the first. That was the last time they were very close to scoring, though, while the White Sox slowly built their lead. We left after the 8th inning, confident that the Cubs could not come back from the four-run deficit they had at the time, and not wanting to watch the White Sox fans celebrate (and their were a lot of them). White Sox 6, Cubs 2.

Saturday, July 1. Cubs vs. White Sox again, and I went with Matt, Ryan, and Bob. This time, the Cubs led most of the game, scoring three in the first and adding a few more. The White Sox tied the game in the seventh, but the Cubs again scored to take the lead, 6-5, in the bottom of the seventh. Dempster got the first two outs in the ninth, but then they had a virtual repeat of the Tuesday game. The White Sox got an infield hit and a walk, and then their obnoxious catcher hit a three-run home run to take the lead 8-6. I don't think the ball even landed before I said "Let's get out of here". White Sox 8, Cubs 6.

Saturday, July 8. Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers. Ellen, Kalen and I drove to Deerfield to meet Bob at his condo, then continued on to Milwaukee for this early evening game (6pm start). Rain was slightly threatening, so they closed the roof on Miller Park. The game was close and interesting, and the Cubs actually played pretty well for the most part. Cubs 3, Brewers 1.

Sometime while I'm here in Phoenix I'll try to go to a Diamondbacks game, probably seeing them play the Brewers (again with the Brewers) sometime this weekend.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Valley of the Sun

Now with typo correction, though maybe not all of them.

I'm sitting in my hotel room in Phoenix, probably should go to bed even though it's 10pm here. But, let me do at least a quick dump on what's been going on. Here's the summary of the past couple of weeks:

1) I got the powder room done, but for the door casings. At least it's usable.
2) I went to four Cubs games. They were 1-3 in those games, and the three losses were miserable.
3) I saw "Superman Returns" with Matt and Ryan.
4) I got Legends #117 out the door.
5) I got pulled into a lot of things at work, and on top of that needed to get prepped for this trip to Phoenix.

I think the rest of this post I'll just deal with the powder room construction, and hit the other bits in subsequent posts:

OK, I believe when I last left off I had put in the floor uderlayment. After that, I got the floor marked where the tiling would start. I also figured out that I wouldn't be able to cut the floor tiles by etching and snapping them, like I did with the wall tile, because the floor tile is thicker and tougher. So, knowing that I had more tiling planned, I went ahead and bought a new wet saw to cut the tile (mmmm ... power tools). The wet saw made life pretty easy for the cutting, even the curves needed to fit around the toilet flange. And, since the floor tiles were only a total of 18 pieces, that part went smoothly and pretty quickly. That happened on Sunday, July 2 I guess (I can't exactly place it any more).

I know that the next step was on the 4th of July. Here's where things went to bad and then worse, and then back to OK. First, before grouting the tile, I wanted to re-install the toilet flange and waste pipe for the toilet. I'd cut off the waste drain pipe before to put in the underlayment without having to do a lot of fitting around the flange -- I just took out the toilet flange, laid out a solid piece of underlayment, then cut out the hole for the toilet from below, using the hole in the sub-floor as the template. Besides, the old toilet flange was pretty junky and a new one was in order anyway.

To re-install the flange, I'd gotten most of the PVC pipe fittings I needed before, but didn't have the actual pipe, so Matt and I went to Menard's to pick up some of the pieces we needed. OK, I now blame Menard's for the next foolishness. They sell 5' and 10' sections of all the PVC pipe the stock, but they had no 5' pieces of the 3" pipe for the waste pipe. So, I picked up a 10' section. The pipe didn't quite fit in the car, almost though. I had the 10' of pipe in through the trunk, diagonally through the car, and resting on the dash. I looked like it was just barely going to fit, so I tried to close the trunk. That didn't quite work, the trunk popped back open. It was almost there, though, so I had Matt lift the pipe from the inside of the car, and managed to get the trunk closed.

When I got into the car, I noticed that the front edge of the pipe had hit the windshield ---- cracking it.

So, sometime while I'm here in Phoenix, Ellen and Ryan will take my car to get the windshield replaced. So, add a couple hundred dollars onto the cost of the bathroom.

If only Menard's had one of the 5' sections. I only needed 11" of it anyway.

So, we got back home, and I cut the pipe, and started gluing. Now, a couple things to know about working with PVC pipe -- the primer and cement are powerful stuff -- you don't want your nose anywhere near them. Like model cement/airplane glue to the tenth power. Second, the cement is pretty unforgiving. You have a few seconds to move the pieces (i.e. seat them tightly) before the glue starts setting and leaves the joint immobile.

Well, the first time, the pipe was a little long, by an inch. Probably because I couldn't get the pipe seated as far in fast enough before it wouldn't go any further. Having committed that far, there was really nothing to do but cut out the pieces I'd put in and try again with other pieces.

However, I didn't have extra fittings, so I sent Matt back to Menards for a 90° elbow and a short connector while I did the cutting.

Alas, there are male-female elbows, and also female-female elbows. I needed the former. Matt didn't know which I needed, and got the latter. Not his fault, I wasn't clear. So, I went to Menard's to return the piece Matt got and get the right now.

I got back, tried to install the toilet waste pipe, and then time I got the pipe about a inch short, mainly because I was trying to allow for not getting the pipe fulling seated and left too much of that allowance.

This was about 5:40, on July 4th. I'd noticed earlier that Menard's was staying open until 6pm on the 4th. So I had just barely enough time to get back to Menard's -- maybe -- and get more fittings.

I made it with a minute to spare, and this time got two connectors and two elbows. Just in case.

Of course, with those additional pieces in hand, I got the pipe right on the third attempt, and now I've got the extra fittings to be returned.

Anyway, I got the toilet pipe installed, grouted the floor with little to no extra problems. The grout was completed late in the evening of the 4th, the grout sealed on the 6th, and then the toilet and sink re-installed on Saturday the 8th (with only a small false start on the sink. The towel ring and toilet paper holder were then put in place, and the powder room is virtually complete.

OK, that's enough for tonight as I'm falling asleep.

Next, the tragic saga of the Cubs games.

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