Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Multi-Purpose What Now?

We've established by now that Nikki is smart. Smarter than me, for sure, not that that's too hard. But how much smarter than me is she? Well, take this for example:

That is Nikki's patent award for inventing a "Multi-Purpose Coiled Tubing Handling System". How much smarter than me is she? So smart that despite the text telling me what it's for, I have absolutely no idea what it's for...do you?

"A system for reducing the effects of heave movements of a wellhead in an offshore drilling device is provided that includes a frame; a coiled tubing stack supported by the frame; and a heave compensation system for controlling an amount of load transferred from the coiled tubing stack to the wellhead to reduce relative movements between the coiled tubing stack and the wellhead."

Yeah, that's what I thought.

I'm far more excited about this patent than Nikki is. I'm all like, "Wow, that's amazing, I'm so proud of you, well done, that's brilliant, can I come to the award ceremony?" and she's all like "tch, there's a bloke down the hall with 43 of these, it'll be really boring, it's only a buffet anyway."

So, okay, she's smarter than me, but she's wrong about this and I'm right, because it is amazing and I am really proud of her. Well done darling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sliding Guide

The best thing about having hardwood floors is the ability to slide across them in your socks. I have, so far, identifed the following 5 runs in the new house:

1) The longest run in the house. A good run up will easily get you from my side of the bed in the master bedroom to the front door. The only hazard is a tight dog leg just outside the spare bedroom. If you get your initial angle wrong you will have to hit the emergency brakes and walk to the shoe rack. It is not recommended to attempt this run in reverse, as you're usually wearing your shoes when you come in the front door and not removing them before sliding will result in Nikki killing you.

2) Easier than run 1, this one stretches from the master bedroom to the kitchen. This run is much better in reverse, and could be useful for ferrying drinks to the pool next summer. Of course, you probably don't want to attempt this bare foot unless you drip a lot of water on the floor on your way in, which will result in Nikki killing you.

3) More dangerous than it first appears. Run 1 and 2 traffic has priority here, so be careful, but this short run from the kitchen to the study can be fun. The kitchen tile gives you plenty of traction for a good run up and once you get on the hardwood there's no stopping you until you hit the pile of boxes. Unlike Hollywood stunt boxes, these are full of books. You need to make sure you can stop in time, because reassembling that pile of boxes will kill you.

4) Simple run for beginners. Come in the front door, leave your shoes at the shoe rack, which is at the very start of this run, and slide to the living room. Conveniently ends near the bar, where you can continue slowly killing your liver.

5) Runs from the kitchen, past the dining table to the living room. Another easy run, but do not attempt this one in reverse. If you get the angle wrong from the living room you could crash into the dining table. My mother will sense the disturbance from 6000 miles away and right around the time Nikki has finished killing you my mother's plane will touch down and she'll bring you back to life to kill you again. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What would you do?

A theoretical situation that bears absolutely no relation to anything that may have happened in the past, may currently be happening or may be about to happen in the future...

A woman one day decides that she needs some vegetables, so she and her husband go shopping. The husband knows that his wife is particularly fond of Farmer Brown's vegetables so they drive all the way out to his farm. Farmer Brown's vegetables are rather expensive, but they are some of the tastiest vegetables in the area, so it's worth the drive and extra cost.

The woman chooses four onions and a lettuce and Farmer Brown offers to deliver them on Tuesday, which is fine with the woman as she doesn't need them until Wednesday. The woman and her husband leave the farm and take the long drive back to town.

Tuesday finally arrives and the eager anticipation of the tasty vegetables has kept the woman and her husband excited all week. The phone rings early in the morning and the husband answers it, "Hello."

"Ah, hello Husband, it's Farmer Brown here"

"Hello Farmer Brown, how are you today?"

"I'm fine thanks, I'm afraid I have bad news though. When I told you I had lettuce, I made a mistake, I was actually looking at my cabbages at the time. I won't have lettuce for another three weeks."


"Yes, sorry, I didn't realise until today, when the delivery boy came to load your order into the basket on his bike."

The husband explained the problem to his wife, who decided that she liked Farmer Brown's lettuce so much, that it would be worth waiting another three weeks.

"Okay, Farmer Brown," said the husband, "we'll wait for the lettuce, what time are we getting our four onions today."

"Oh," said Farmer Brown, "the delivery boy didn't take them since your lettuce wasn't ready. I can cancel your order and refund your money, or give your four onions to Postman Joe to drop off on Friday."

By this time the husband was very tempted to cancel the order and go and get a lettuce and four onions from Farmer Green instead, but remembering how much his wife loved Farmer Brown's vegetables, sighed and said, "Okay, send them with Postman Joe."

Friday arrived and the husband got home to discover that Postman Joe had delivered not four but six of Farmer Brown's very expensive onions. This was almost certainly a mistake on Farmer Brown's part. He has never been known to give any of his very expensive onions away for free and had not indicated he was going to do so in any of the conversations he had had with the husband.

Whilst the husband and wife wait another two and a half weeks for their lettuce they can certainly use Farmer Brown's two extra onions but the question is, should they?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Camera Phones

It is possible that you have heard me ranting in the past about the utter uselessness of camera phones. Their quality is rubbish, the lens is always manky and they make your phone bigger than it needs to be. Well, whilst all this is still true, I now have one. My company provides me with a blackberry and the smallest one on the market is the Pearl which happens to have a built in camera. Useful or not? Let's decide. Here is a sampling of the pictures I have taken over the last few days with it.

In Ikea. We needed a cutlery holder thing for the drawer, but only realised they must keep them in the kitchen furniture section when we were in the cutlery section, which was miles past it. I went back and grabbed these, my preferred choice, but took photos of the other options as I knew I would not have final say in this decision.

Verdict: Useful.

Our back garden. A scary looking spider lives on the back of one of the wooden poles that holds the stuff that you burn to keep mosquitoes away. I haven't yet removed it, but I'm posting this picture here in case it bites me when I do and someone at the hospital asks "what kind of spider was it?"

Verdict: Useless.

The Blue Fish House. Nikki and I met Arnaud and Denise for Sushi on Saturday night. We tried this place as our previous favourite sushi restaurant is back in the old 'hood and therefore too far away. The BFH was good, but maybe not as good as Kaneyama. The search continues. This photo is now my home screen on my phone, replacing a different picture of Nikki that previously graced the screen.

Verdict: Gorgeous.

San Felipe, near the 610 loop. Many of Houston's janitors are on strike for higher pay and benefits. Last week they chained themselves in a circle on Westheimer and Post Oak, outside the Galleria, bringing traffic to a halt for hours. Today they protested a block away on San Felipe. They didn't block traffic this time, or at least not when I was driving past, as you can see by the way a car zoomed into view just as I took my picture. I wouldn't have minded if they did, since I would have got better pictures and we were right outside the California Pizza Kitchen after leaving the gym.

Verdict: Fight the power brothers. I'm with you. Well, across the road from you stuffing my face anyway.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 3, 2006

The Return of the Queen

Nikki got back on Wednesday just before midnight. By midnight on Thursday:

The living room had been rearranged. The positioning of the sofas was less than optimal and so we swapped them.

The bedroom had gained a full length mirror with some shelves behind it that rotates through 360 degrees and a 5 foot tall 6 drawer dresser.

The kitchen...ah, the kitchen...the kitchen had everything removed from every cupboard it had previously been placed in. These were then either put in the same cupboard in a way that was somehow better than the way it had been before or moved to an entirely new cupboard in a way that made it more accessible. The kitchen table was removed, along with its' four chairs to join the bar stools in the garage. This was replaced with two counter stools.

I don't know whether these changes have had an instant impact or if the mere fact of having my wife home is what has done the trick, but the house I've lived in for the past month now feels like home.

I may even unpack some boxes this weekend.