Me and Dr. Kathy Sullivan

This photo:

In 1999, COSI, the Center of Science and Industry, moved from one location to another. On the last day at the old facility, we marched down a few blocks to the new location, which was still under construction. At the new digs, there was a big event to celebrate the move. Everyone on the COSI team had an opportunity to go up on a platform hand get a handshake and a photo with our CEO Dr. Kathy Sullivan and Dimon McFerson, CEO of Nationwide Insurance.

As you can see from this other photo from the event, Stuart (a man who knew beards before they became popular) is posed in the proper position with everyone following protocol.

I had a different plan.

I knew that Kathy and Dimon would continue to follow the procedure of:
1. position team member between the two
2. thank yous
3. hand shakes
4. pose for photo
5. push them off the platform and wait for the next person

My plan was slightly modified in that right before the photo was taken, I was going to turn and kiss Kathy on the cheek.

It was the perfect plan. All my other co-workers were following the rules and doing a great job of keeping the process flowing. I knew that no one else would think to do the turn-and-kiss and once I did it, no one would be able to copy it.

It was finally my turn.
Up on the platform.
Thank you. Thank you.
Handshakes.
Pose for photo.
And...

At the moment that I turned my head to kiss Kathy on the cheek... SHE DID THE SAME.

Our lips met. We both recoiled in surprise with laughter. CLICK!

So now, take a second look at that first photo. We are laughing and wide eyed in surprise. Dimon didn't know what had happened and was a little confused.

I was shuffled off the platform and we all had a good laugh.

I didn't know for a few weeks that the photo was not of us kissing. That's what you got back then with film. The photo was taken just a second too late. I was disappointed that there was no kiss photo, but the picture I have still tells the story.

I wonder if she tells her friends about the time she got to kiss me?

Should I update my birthday on Twitter? No.

If you lied about your birthday when you started your Twitter account, don't ever update it. Twitter will lock your account until your age is cleared up and that can take months or possibly forever.

Under The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Twitter is locking the accounts of anyone who may of posted anything while they were under 13 years of age. If you update your birthday, they run the math backwards, see that you were under 13 when you posted, and lock the account so that they do not get into trouble. It's dumb, but it's the easy way to make sure they don't run into trouble. 

Q. Should I update your birthday on Twitter?
A. No.

Q. What if I have updated my birthday and I am not locked out of my account.
A. You are screwed.

Q. No, really, what should I do?
A. Follow these steps as suggested by Twitter: https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/locked-and-limited-accounts

If It Works, It Works


There is the right way to do things, the wrong way to do things, and then the wrong way that is the best right way you have. My favorite type of wrong/best-right is the one that comes through getting cornered and fighting one’s way out of the problem.

In September of 2015, a team of folks from our company traveled to Turkey to help install interactive exhibits at the Kocaeli Science Center in ─░zmit. In preparation for this trip, we thought long and hard about the tools and hardware we were going to take. The tools were an issue due to the 220 V / 50 Hz power standard incompatibly. The hardware was troublesome because both the metric system and we knew were going to leave the unused hardware behind and didn’t want to blow the budget buying 100 of everything we might need. Our recon team went out a few months early and discovered we would have no problem buying the tools we needed locally. The hardware we would need was also available, but our scout team said we’d need a guide to navigate the maze of hardware. We brought the hardware we knew needed, some standard hardware we knew we might need for troubleshooting, and knew we could figure something out with whatever we could find locally.

When Alpha Team One (I know that’s redundant, but it sounds cool) arrived, they surveyed the space, assisted the client to understand how the space was laid out incorrectly, helped to modify it, unloaded the shipping containers, and ventured into town to buy the tools we needed. AJ went with Metin, our local interpreter, to the hardware store and AJ unwittingly became a local hero. We needed a lot of tools and AJ was like a long-haired, full-bearded kid in a candy shop. As they drove off with the van’s shocks aching under the weight of his purchases, I imagine all the store’s employees on the sidewalk waving goodbye with big smiles on their faces and then jumping up and down and hugging one another once the van turned the corner. Word of AJ got around and for the next few weeks, because he was so beardedly recognizable, seemingly random people would yell out his name and wave to him as he walked around the city streets.

Once Beta Team Two (I know) arrived, we were fortunate to follow in the footsteps and path cleared of brambles by the first team. They knew how to get around, when to drink tea, how to get food, and that any hardware run was going to require a dusty leather jacket, a fedora, a bullwhip, a shoulder bag, a map, and Metin. And several hours. The hardware store had hardware, but it was spread out over three floors of their building and seemed to be grouped by some arbitrary organization system that put bolts next to paint and nuts above the cast iron pipes. I’m assuming the heaviest items were located near the loading doors because when a worker tired of carrying something, it was dropped, and that became its location in the store.

Metin and Keegan at the hardware store.

Along the way, we found out that plumbing in Turkey is different from plumbing in the United States. Aside from the metric system and the normal issues that come from pipe/thread size, we learned that they use horse hair and Teflon tape in many applications where we might use two correctly sized fittings. If two pipes were not coming together as expected, they would wrap horse hair around the threads, keep it all in place with a few wraps of Teflon tape, and force the two pieces together like a couple in an arranged marriage.

I laughed at this until my final days on the project when I had my own plumbing issue. Due to a miscommunication, our team had dissimilar clear braided PVC hose pipe that came from a structure in the ceiling and needed to connect to the house water supply on the ground.  The 1” tubing from the ceiling needed a reducing fitting that would take it down to a ½” tube. We could not find anything in Turkey that could make this transition. We ordered the piece we needed, but it was three days away and we had a sign off with the client the next day. Chris let me troubleshoot this issue and here’s what I tried:
  • apply various metric fittings (failed without even turning the water on)
  • shove the smaller tube inside the larger tube (it fits tightly, but the water pressure pops it out, with water shooting out like a rouge fire-hose)
  • shove the smaller tube inside the larger tube and use a hose clamp to compress (still pops out, water less everywhere as we were prepared this time)
  • all the above and use two hose clamps (STILL POPS OUT)


I needed something to keep the tubes in place and time to do the right thing was long past and I was almost to the point of doing the wrong thing. So I said, “screw it,” literally. I found a few screws and compared them to the vinyl pipe wall thickness. I took the screw with the coarsest thread and joined the two tubes together, making sure I didn’t pass too far through. We turned on the water and the hoses stayed together. Because the screw’s threads were far enough apart, they stayed sealed in the hose wall. I think I covered the whole mess in Teflon tape, not to keep the water in, but to hide our sins from the client.

Court and Chris working on a boiling water fountain


Then I left the county, missing the client review (we passed the review), and hoping that I would not be stopped at the border (a story for another time.)

Later, the correct part arrived, Chris cut out the offending plumbing, and installed the proper fitting. Instead of throwing my little Frankenstein’s Monster away, he brought it home.



This little guy now lives at my desk. It’s a trophy. If it were mounted to a walnut plaque with a little bronze plate, I think the inscription would say, “If It Works, It Works – September 2015”.

(But then, on a small piece of paper rolled up on the inside and held in place by that screw, there would be a message to the curious. What would that message say? I don’t know… how curious are you?)


Quiz: Quote from a Porno or a Han Solo line from a Star Wars movie?


1.     Thanks for coming after me. I owe you one.

2.     No, no, no! This one goes there, that one goes there.

3.     She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.

4.     Oh. I thought they smelled bad... on the outside!

5.     Great, kid. Don't get cocky.

6.     Besides, I know a few maneuvers.

7.     Get in there, you big furry oaf! I don't care what you smell!

8.     Great shot, kid, that was one in a million!

9.     Now let's blow this thing and go home.

10. Sorry about the mess!

Answers:

1.     Han Solo, “Return of the Jedi”
2.     Han Solo, “The Empire Strikes Back”
3.     Han Solo, “A New Hope”
4.     Han Solo, “The Empire Strikes Back”
5.     Han Solo, “A New Hope”
6.     Han Solo, “A New Hope”
7.     Han Solo, “A New Hope”
8.     Han Solo, “A New Hope”
9.     Han Solo, “A New Hope”
10. Han Solo, “A New Hope”