May 28, 1999
It was a really quiet kind of day. The Friday before Memorial Day usually is pretty quiet. All the folks gone from work to take advantage of the three-day weekend. The morning was misty, but the day cleared as it went and by lunchtime it was gorgeous and sunny out.
Cary occasionally takes me aside to explain that the kind of sun you get up here in Colorado isn't like that low lands sunshine. There's 6000 feet less atmosphere between you and that nuclear reaction, so you'd better be careful. I usually listen to the least the tone of the advice, and don't go out without sunglasses and occasionally even where sunscreen just to be sure.
John forgot his sunglasses when we went out at lunchtime, and since we were heading south he asked me to drive. The sun really is that fierce up here when it's out on a totally clear day. So I did, something I regretted a little because he promptly decided we should go a different way than I knew. He wanted to know how to avoid traffic, and the problem was that he didn't really know the way he wanted to go. This was something guaranteed to make my blood boil. After a few wrong guesses I did boil over and we ended up on the freeway I knew and quickly got to the theater.
Sadly, the plan wasn't exactly to cut out at lunchtime to watch the movie. Instead, we bought the tickets for four of us for later that evening and headed back. Since we were now going north and John still wanted to find the new way, he drove back.
We found that we'd missed our way by exactly one block. A good thing to know for the evening's drive through rush-hour. The alternate route would take us well beyond normal high-traffic areas and, surprise of surprises, we drove right by K.T.'s barbecue!
Of course we stopped for lunch. The line was just enormous, but it was quick moving. As we stood there, we met some of the guys from the company across the street and then we met up with our marketing department! They asked us to get them a table before going to the back of the line, which now had doubled, out the door. John got hot links, I got their "lite" pork sandwich which had about a quarter pound of slow smoked, tender pork with a fairly tangy sauce. The tables were all well-equipped with three bottles of barbecue sauces that varied in heat. I really enjoyed the mild, sweet Texas-style sauce. John really enjoyed the extra hot sauce. The cole slaw was dense, crunchy and creamy with mayonnaise.
The best part of lunch, though, was being able to sit out in the beautiful day. That intense sunshine was wonderful to just soak up while enjoying those flavorful sandwiches. The marketing folks joined us and we had fun talking about the problems of troubleshooting from symptoms. Trying to go from the results to the reason. Loren had this great story about how, periodically, this line at a razor plant would just go nuts, churning out thousands of defects for a few days and then just as suddenly return to productive action again. They started charting the problems, and found that they happened very regularly. It was nearly predictable when the problems would start and when they would stop. They found that it had about a 28 day cycle. Eventually they found that they could link to the phase of the moon. It turns out that the razor blade edge tolerances were so fine that the gravity pull of the moon could actually throw the machine out of alignment.
We got back to work around 1:30 and Jenny appeared soon after from her run. She'd actually brought ice cream on the back of her bike this morning because I said I'd bring in some of my ginger beer. It was really funny having her walk by in the morning and tell me that the ice cream had been very cold. I brought four bottles, and it was a little funny running around with brown bottles. Though, on Fridays, plenty of people drink a beer in the afternoon. So it raised no eyebrows. Though, with as much as Jenny and I giggled over the ginger beer and ice cream, I'm almost surprised no one commented.
So, anyway, the idea was to make ginger beer floats, but I hadn't brought a bottle opener because John always has one attached to his keys. The problem was I couldn't find John. Peter took pity on us and showed me how to open a bottle with just a house key. That's pretty cool trick. In return, we gave him the ginger beer float too. Jenny found some beautiful glasses and the ice cream in the fizzy ginger beer made three distinct layers. The pale gold of the soda below, the creamy white of the melting ice cream in the middle, and then a dense layer of foam floating on that. It was really pretty.
Everyone liked the ginger beer. Yay!
John showed up eventually and got his float as well.
The rest of my afternoon was spent on cleanup. Various loose ends from the morning. There wasn't really all that much left to do because the due date was today for this stage. When John got out of his afternoon meeting, I was ready to go to the theater. We drove on down, met no traffic, and were joined by Ryan and Francis. Ryan had had to go home and get Francis and set Jonathan up with his babysitters. We went in and saw The Phantom Menace.
I didn't like it. Ah well. It was even more simplistic and fate-ridden than anything in the first series. It once again stole from other myths and haphazard fashion, and it rode more on special effects then on characterization. At least the first serious had Han Solo, the one real human being who wasn't a full out caricature. Here there was nothing but a visual roller coaster ride.
Go see The Mummy.
At least that was the conclusion I came to with my sister Kathy. Turns out nearly every conversation I have about The Phantom Menace turns into, "Go see The Mummy. It's good!"
We went towards home, stopping for gas and juice drinks because I was dying of lack of blood sugar and dehydration.
There were half a dozen girls at the counter, giggling in that way that, in high school, often meant that I was probably better off not hearing what they said. They were also stealing glances at me, furtively looking and then looking like they were trying not to look. But the word "mermaid" caught my attention and one of the girls asked another, "Do you think she's a mermaid?"
I wanted to just hit myself on the head for underestimating them, for my own prejudices. I have to admit I hadn't really given them the credit for that kind of imagination. I was the stupid one.
Anyway... I really hope I learned from that.
Dinner was leftovers.
This was because I got a box in the mail and it was my gold pearl Parker Vacumatic. I had won it on ebay a few weeks ago. The cap was filled with dried ink. The nib was just caked with ink and looked horrible. When I had the cap off and the end cap off I could blow right through it. That meant that the diaphram that enabled filling the pen was no-goodski and would have to be replaced. I expected that as the seller had said that that was the case. I am going to wait for my sister to fix that, because she has the experience and the materials. There were a few things I could do.
I soaked the nib, then took a toothbrush to it. While I let that soak some more, I took Q-Tips to the inside of the cap and swabbed out gooky balls of ink. Yuck! Then I had fun and used car wax on the plastic bits until the dull gold just gleamed. The nib slowly got cleaner and cleaner as more and more blue water flowed into and out of the nib section. Finally I ended up with an absolutely gorgeous, two-tone nib with a gold arrow and two fields of platinum white on either side. Wow. That was quite a difference.
The feed was still bleeding ink, so I left it to stand in a glass of water for the night.
Sadly, I only dreamed of manifests and task lists.
Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.