Friday, April 18, 2008

Excuses and Other Filler

Man, I fell off of my Blogging schedule last night! I never posted the Thursday Quiz results! Unforgiveable lapse.

Current Excuses

I've been working pretty hard on non-blog things for the last few weeks, which makes me feel all grown up. And by "all grown up," I mean productive, engaged, useful, and kind of stressed out and tired.

Not that I'm out there washing the feet of the poor, mind you. The most grueling item has been the bathroom remodeling project. Do you have any idea how long it takes to remodel a bathroom from scratch, if you've never done it before? No, of course you don't. You are either a dynamic young person who has the good sense to rent and not worry about plumbing, wiring, and the application of ceramic tile, or a successful middle-aged person who was smart enough to choose a career path that now allows you to hire contractors -- professionals who, like you, know what they are doing. But really, I feel sorry for you, for you may never know the mysteries of grout and mastic.

Then, there's a major gonzo quilting project chewing up some time. And, last week I had to go pick up Nieces #3 and #4, be a dynamic uncle figure for a week, and then return them to Sister5000. I co-organized a small 70th birthday party for Ma & Pa5000. We have been trying to keep the yard and garden from degenerating into a state of explosive feral chaos. The truck broke down and had to be towed to the shop after attempts at home repair (opening the hood, trying to look knowledgeable, checking the wiper fluid level, trying not to look emasculated) failed. There is an employment-related matter (yawn...) that has been requiring lengthy stretches of my leisure time. And finally, last night, there was an almost unbelieveably large backload of laundry to be taken care of. Really, I didn't know we owned so many clothes.

So there they are, some of the leading reasons why I've fallen behind on my blogging. I hope no one is too upset that the launch of the "Classical Fridays" six-part series will have to be delayed until next Friday. What, no one's upset? Not at all? Aww....

Future Excuses

Well, the main future excuse is that it will be summer. Although it has been an oddly cold spring here in the City of Roses, with temperatures still dipping literally into the thirties, I remain confident that consistent glorious splendor is right around the corner.

The other thing I want to mention is that I've joined the Board of our local Friends of the Library organization. It's a big ol' volunteer commitment, but local readers will understand. The Multnomah County Libraries are AMAZING!

TQXXXIII: The Disaster Quiz

Judging by the poor turnout and low scores, this week's Thursday Quiz was the worst yet in terms of my inability to distinguish between general and specialist knowledge. Apparently, other people do not share my familiarity with the annals of disasters and catastrophes. This raises the disturbing question of why I am interested in terrible events in which many people die in often horrible ways. I will have to talk about it with my analyst.

Ha! Just kidding, of course. I don't have an "analyst." I've never even been to New York.

Anyway, here are the winners:

Elizabeth, who seems well-versed in Grim Studies, takes the Gold Star. It's her first Gold.

Mrs. 5000 takes the Silver, her fourth.

Three additional contestents got 6 of 12, and proving the dictum that "half the battle is showing up," that earns them Stars this week. d got there first, to claim his first Blue; Karin and karmasartre take the Green. It's Karin's eighth Star but her first Green, which rounds out her collection of Star colors; she's only the sixth quizzer to complete a set!

As long as we're talking about unpopular quizes

In the unlikely event you enjoy last Monday's Quiz, you'll be happy to hear that there were a second set of maps that I had prepared and lost, but have now found again. So, for those of you who can't get enough of map identification with the convention of North=up thrown to the wind, here's a few more to play with.

Meanwhile, over on the reading list...

The next book has been selected through the now-traditional semi-random process. It is Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, a book that I know absolutely nothing about. It has an evocative cover, though, and it's a Mrs.5000 favorite, so that's a good sign. I'll start it sometime next week.

Until then, see you Monday for MQXXIV!


Anonymous said...

But Mr. 5000, no fair to give us our grades without telling us what the right answers are. What if you made a mistake in correcting our disasters? And how are we to avert future tragedies, if someday we have to choose between building seismically unsound fortifications and overloading steamboats, without this valuable knowledge?

Cartophiliac said...

1. Portugal
2. Mississippi
3. India
4. Delaware
5. Argentina

jovaliquilts said...

These map rotations make me feel like I'm taking organic chemistry, not geography. Eek! Couldn't you have thrown in Colorado?

Here's a thought: You could put my score on today's map quiz (zero) on your list of disasters. I'm disastrous at disasters, but I'd get that one!

Mrs. 5000 is right -- you need to include answers as well as scores in case anyone wants to implement their own scenario. My personal disaster creation is usually completely intuitive, but sometimes a good plan comes in handy.

Michael5000 said...

@Mrs.5000: Oh, right, good point.

1,2,3: The Aleppo Earthquake, the Sultana explosion, and the Johnstown Flood are all the real deals.

4: St. Joseph is still there, and as far as I know has never been ravaged by tornados.

5: The Yellow River Floods, with their millions of victims, were real.

6: Heavens, no. The Hindenburg fire killed 36 people, not 1400. Not only was it not the worst aviation disaster, it was far from the worst blimp disaster. The Akron crash killed twice as many people. But it didn't have cameras pointing at it.

7: Those particular L.A. Riots, I completely made up.

8: The Texas City explosion is for reals. Nitrogen fertilizer is extremely explosive; it's what was used against the Oklahoma City Federal Building, for instance.

9: Bangladesh, yep.

10: Mt. St. Helens did erupt, but in 1980 rather than 1982, and more significantly causing around 50 deaths, rather than 3200.

11 & 12: Bhopal and Lagos, yes.

McGuff said...

Much like not playing ones regular lottery numbers on the one week they hit, I'm ashamed to miss several recent quizzes - expecially Disaster Thursday. I was again actually working for a living, collaborating with a fairly bright woman (among others) from Louisiana who is fond of 'axing' people questions. For a professional, I can't believe she can't drop that bad habit - especially with how much we tease her about it.

Anyway - I scanned the disasters on my PDA and thought I had most all of them down - even to the point of raising the "how many people died in the Hindenburg disaster?" question at our ungodly 6:30 am breakfast meeting (see what I mean about working?) - but no one bit.

To learn that 6 questions earned stars kills me. A late entry might have earned the coveted blue I need for a complete set (my prior blue being honorably revoked some weeks back).

But I can't submit comments from the trusty Motorola Q - so no entry from Southeast Texas this week.

Sorry, sorry, sorry to have contributed to any sense of fading interest in the quizzes and the constantly entertaining M5K oeuvre. And for the record, I'll admit that I've never had regular lottery numbers. Maybe I should - it would beat that nutty job thing I've got going.

McGuff said...

Here's my "favorite" disaster, if you will.

The S.S. Eastland Disaster, July 24, 1915, Chicago. The third-worst ship disaster in terms of loss of life, exceeded only by the Titanic and the Sultana. Description below is not my own:

The Eastland was docked between LaSalle and Clark streets on the Chicago River. The Western Electric Company had chartered the Eastland and three other ships to take their employees across the lake to Michigan City, Indiana, where they would spend the day at the annual company sponsored picnic.

After pushing off from its berth on the dock, the ship (which had a documented history of instability) began to list to the port side from the uneven distribution of passengers and the extra weight of the lifeboats, allowing water to pour into the ship from openings on the starboard side. The boat quickly capsized and rolled over, trapping many people in the lower deck or beneath the ship.

844 dead, including all the members of 22 different families.

Much like the Sultana, this is fairly unknown to many, even to lifelong residents of Chicago, like my beloved Ms. Finn, who learned of this moments ago (though she is pleased to report 8/12 on a belated Thursday quiz attempt).

Anonymous said...

Yikes! I went back t the disasters and felt a little sick at the real tolls.

Hey, your blogging blockers are laudable. Oh man, you are installing tiles. Luckily, I knew a contractor who was friends with my ex and he gave me a very good price for the remodel I had to do to avoid the black mold thing. Being without the use of the place for three days was bad enough, I cannot imagine not having the use of it until I finished such a job.

I looked at the answers above for the maps. So I cannot guess. But I am taking the idea for another purpose. So thank you!