Thursday, November 29, 2007

Newbold Revel

My father's mother's mother's mother's mother's father's father's mother's father's father's mother's father's father's mother's father's father was Robert Carl Revel, born in 1486 in Northamptonshire, England.

Sir Thomas Malory's father's mother was Alice Revel Malory, born in 1450 (or so) in nearby Warwickshire.

Do you think we're related?

(Updated to add a generation between Tom and Alice.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I forgot to shave.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How I hurt my knee

On my way home from the Apple Cup on Saturday (Huskies lost, boo!!), I decided to stop by a house in Broadview that we were thinking about buying.

Well, it was pretty late at night (around eleven), so the neighborhood was dark and quiet. I parked my car out on the street and got out, doublechecking the address. The house was a small two-bedroom on a fairly large corner lot. The windows were all dark. The garage door was open. The garage looked empty. The driveway had an even cover of leaves, which indicated that no car had driven on it recently.

I walked up to the house and peered in the window, but couldn't see anything. The streetlight made too much of a reflection. The exterior of the house looked in so-so condition. I went over to the garage and stepped just barely inside. Before my eyes adjusted, I heard a noise.

I froze.

Just barely audible, it sounded like a whisper. It sounded like it was in Russian, or some other Slavic language.

I stepped back.

A chair scraped the concrete floor in the darkness. In a thick accent, a man commanded, "You, stop!"

I turned and ran. More shouting erupted behind me. There had to be several of them in the garage. I zigzagged my path to my car, just in case they had guns. Sure enough, gunshots exploded behind me. By that point, I was breathing too hard to hear them fly past. All I know is that none hit me or my car.

I slammed the door shut behind me and raced out of there, gravel shooting up from the tires. As I buckled my seatbelt, I glanced in the rearview mirror. The Russians swarmed out into the street, heading for a plumbing company van that I hadn't really paid attention to before. Some of them took shots at me, but they thankfully missed.

As soon as I pulled out my cellphone to dial 911, the no-battery symbol appeared and my phone said "Powering Down." My hands jittered from the adrenaline rushing through my bloodstream. I had to get to the police, but where was the nearest station? I knew of one over by North Seattle Community College, but I was heading north on 3rd Avenue and couldn't very well make a U-turn past the van of Russian mafia (or ex-KGB or what's the difference).

So I sped northward on the empty two-lane street, going about fifty miles per hour straight through the stop signs, hoping against hope that a policeman would see me and pull me over and deter the Russians from attacking me. What did I ever do to them? I didn't hear any secrets, I can assure you that!

But no police were to be found. After less than a minute, the road turned abruptly right, at the border between Seattle and Shoreline. I have absolutely no idea where the police stations are in Shoreline, so I kept going east on 145th. I sped right through a red light, got a green crossing Aurora, and as I zipped back and forth through the light traffic, I could still see that plumbing van in my mirror. I was gaining a bit of ground, but not enough to lose them.

Approaching I-5, I wanted to get on the southbound ramp so I could go to the North Seattle police station, but there was a backup of cars in the right lane, so I was passing on the left. I slammed on the brakes (and put on my turnsignal), but they wouldn't let me in!

The Russians fast on my tail, I hit the gas and headed for the northbound ramp. As I cut across that intersection, tires screeched all around me (but oddly, nobody honked their horn). On the onramp, I passed a slow SUV by driving in the HOV lane. The Russians did the same.

To cut a long story short, I'll just say these two things: I'm glad I filled up my gas tank Saturday morning; and the State Patrol was incredibly lax Saturday night on I-5 between Seattle and the Canadian border.

I must admit, I had no plan at this stage, except just go go go go go. I really should have used that drive time to formulate a strategy, but I wasn't thinking too clearly, what with having been shot at!

It was around midnight when I blasted into Canada, the Russians still just a few hundred yards behind. Most of the lanes at customs were closed, so I just drove over some orange cones and into British Columbia I went. In my rearview mirror, I saw the Russian van and a Prius(!) do the same thing. The Prius was actually between the Russians and me. I had absolutely no idea who they were.

The Canadian border patrol were a bit more on top of their game than the Washington troopers. Before we got out of the border compound area, they were driving their cruisers to block off the street and close the gates and throw out the spikes and all that. They weren't quick enough to catch me or the Prius, but they stopped the Russians cold.

As the sound of machine-gun fire filled the night behind me, I drew a heavy sigh of relief. I cruised north on highway 99 towards Vancouver, trying to figure out where I should stop for the night. I was way too tired to be heading straight back home. I was way too *wired* to be driving anywhere.

And then the Prius rammed me. They just slammed their car into the side of mine, nearly sending me careening off the highway. I jolted back awake, fighting the steering wheel to keep the car on the road.

I glanced over at the Prius. It was full of pirates.

They looked like Seafair pirates, but a whole lot meaner. One of them was leaning out the window, brandishing a scimitar.

I seem to recall having passed a similar light-blue Prius on my drive north, as I had weaved back and forth through traffic, but I certainly didn't remember the pirates. I certainly didn't remember cutting them off. I guess I should have paid more attention.

I hit the gas.

My old Corolla can get almost 40 miles per gallon on the freeway, which is almost as good as a Prius, right? I just had to hope that their tank had even less than mine.

I took a couple freeway turns at random and suddenly we were on city streets in Vancouver. I heard gunshots in the night, but I think that might have just been gang warfare and not the pirates. I never saw them with anything more than swords. Very sharp swords.

I came to highway 1 and hopped on, westbound. To cut a long story short, this turned back into highway 99 at some point and we ended up at Whistler. My car was running on fumes at this point.

I skidded to a stop on the icy pavement near the Blackcomb village center. Quite a few people were still about, huddled against the rain/snow mix. I still had my brand-new purple-and-gold knit hat, so I was dressed fairly well for the situation.

Bellowing incoherently, the pirates burst from the Prius before it finished sliding to a halt against a planter box. Their swords glimmered scintilatingly in the surrounding lights. Pedestrians screamed.

I raced across the plaza. Ahead of me through the light snowfall, I spotted a chairlift. I jumped over a railing, cutting to the head of the line. I screamed, "Pirates are after me!" But everybody stared at me like I was on drugs or something.

And then they saw the pirates. Everybody scattered, even the chairlift attendent. Actually, it wasn't really a chairlift, but more of a enclosed tram thing.

Anyway, I jumped into the departing tram car, barely clinging on with one arm through the doorway while I pushed away a pirate with the other. The pirates grabbed at me, swiping at me with their swords. The blades whistled through the air past my feet, but luckily missed.

They jumped into the next tram car and we began our speedy climb up the mountain. I swung a leg up, trying to get it through the doorway, but there just wasn't enough room. I gave up and focused on holding on for dear life as the treetops whisked by below my feet.

The freezing wind bit through my jeans, chilling my legs to the bone. My bare hands and nose collected snow and ice till they were numb. I started shivering uncontrollably.

The tram only went halfway up the hill, which is where you'd have to transfer to traditional chairlifts to get to the top. I decided this was high enough.

As my tram car approached the disembarking platform, I dropped to the snow beneath. I misjudged the distance in the dark (snow is featureless white, you know?) and landed awkwardly on the sloped surface.

And that's how I hurt my knee.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

An Idea

It's easier to vacuum if you don't wear your glasses.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Friday at the Office

As the first rays of sunlight blaze upon the Best Buy and Target across the small valley, I begin my day of work, toiling away in an almost entirely deserted office.

I think it's time to eat more leftovers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sunday was Corrugated Cardboard Day

How did I ever forget about Corrugated Cardboard Day? A coworker mentioned it to me today, regretfully writing, "I guess we have lost the corrugated spirit."

I'm just not keeping up with my holidays lately.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Water Football

I think football would be more entertaining if the field was flooded. Make the players work harder and perhaps even up the speed between slowest and fastest.

Since most fields are crowned in the middle, the sidelines would be much deeper than between the hash marks. The center would be calf-deep and the sidelines would be chest-deep.

The play would be called dead if the ball touched the water.

Hopefully nobody would drown. . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Guess Who I Met?

I found out this morning that I have the same dentist as Ken Schram.

I walked in the door, the hygenist said she'd be ready in a second, the door behind me opened. I turned and saw a familiar face, recognizing him quickly.

I said, "Hello."

He said, "Hello."

The hygenist came back to the lobby, said, "Hey, Ken," and to me, "I'm ready for you now." She commented to him that he wasn't wearing a coat and he replied that he liked the cold.

The only bit of complaining he did was complaining about the early hour of the appointment. (He is a professional complainer, after all.) He said he'd rather have bamboo shoots shoved under his nails than have a seven o'clock dental appointment. The dentist offered to cover the floor with thumbtacks and make him walk barefoot to his seat, just to get him prepared.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Five Hours in Spokane

I took my 31st and 32nd flights of the year today, to Spokane and back.

Spokane is a nice town. The freeway never has much traffic on it. I think I could almost live there. . . . Nah.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A week ago. . .

29-Glass Bridge Ceiling Orange

I finally got around to posting some photos from our brief visit of Tacoma a week ago, so go take a look if you haven't found them on your own yet.

At the glass museum:
6-Glass Bridge Column Museum

The glass entering the furnace:
15-Glass Furnace

At the history museum, a banner celebrating the opening of the (short-lived) first Narrows Bridge:
31-Narrows Bridge Banner

Friday, November 09, 2007

Five in Philly!

It's five o'clock in Philadelphia on Friday, so that means everyone in the country can stop working. The alliteration makes it right.

This doesn't hold true, and you still have to keep working, if you live in Fargo, Phoenix, Fresno, or Fairbanks. Sorry!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lunch in Portland

Yesterday, I was in Portland. Shortly before going to lunch at the Thai restaurant across the street from the job site, I skinned my finger. It wasn't bleeding much, so I just held a paper towel to it as we went to lunch.

While reading the menu, I decided that my wound needed a bit more care, since it was still bleeding slightly and I needed both hands to properly eat lunch.

I asked the waitress, "Do you have any Band-Aids?"

She replied, "No."

Positive that a place with sharp knives would have a first aid kit of, at least, meager proportions, I lifted my injured hand and repeated, "A Band-Aid?"

"Oh, a bandage. Yes!"

And she retrieved two small Band-Aids (or whatever you call non-name-brand bandages with sticky bits on the ends).

So why did she say "no" at first?

She thought I was asking for a dish I couldn't find on the menu!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

In the Mood for Good Food?

I think I celebrated the Holy Day of Nokí (Goddess of Food) a day too soon. Her holy day is today, and yet I stuffed my face last night. I hope She doesn't mind.

34-Melting Pot

We went to the Melting Pot in Tacoma. Everything tasted great. I just couldn't stop eating and miss anything. I don't think I need any food today. Sorry, Nokí!

I'm just glad I didn't have to look at the bill. Thanks, Ped and Geo!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Home Choice

Where would you rather live: a mansion in a slum or a shack in a country club?