Madame Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, and Honored Guests:
Who here is a good driver? Raise your hand, please.
Who here is at least a little better than average at driving? As I thought. We're all above average. Every one! I was reminded of this halfway through a day-long study of oxycodone. Every now and then, I google "healthy patient study
volunteers". Usually UW Medical, the Hutch or the VA hospital have some
studies going for which they need "controls", people like me with
nothing in particular problematic about their health.
This particular study was 12 hours of memory tests and driving tests, plus enough blood samples to choke
a vampire. (It was only one needle stick - they just kept a little line in all
day - vampires take note!)
At the beginning, I took a detailed memory test and then
the most boring driving game in the world. I sat in front of the computer with a steering wheel and pedals and had to follow the car in
front of me at a safe distance. It sped up and slowed down for no apparent
reason (much like Seattle traffic!), and use my turn signals and horn when instructed, for no
obvious reason (again, Seattle!)
I'm a really good driver so the only challenge was
resisting the urge to fiddle with the radio that wasn't there.
Next I got the oxycodone. They told me it was a very
small dose. After a while I felt mildly buzzed, like from 4 or 5 beers. I won't
lie; it gave a pleasant happy feeling, although I hadn't had the pleasure of
actually drinking the beers so I don't recommend it.
I felt ok to drive (because I'm a "really good
driver", see above) although I'd be extra careful because I'm a
responsible guy. Like you, right?
The memory test was a disaster. My immediate memory
wasn't bad; I could still echo most of the words and numbers. But fifteen
minutes later? it was a blank. I knew that I had memorized some words and I
remember the person saying them to me, but if you offered me any amount of
money, I would not remember a one.
Fortunately, driving doesn't involve learning new words
(apart from the occasional swear). I got behind the wheel and took off
confidently, but carefully. It was still a very boring driving game and there
were no crashes or anything dramatic, but I did have trouble. A lot of trouble
- it was like the steering was loose. One time when I was correcting, I even
slid all the way over to the edge of the road, getting a screeching sound that
the researchers gravely pretended not to notice.
This was embarrassing. I'm a really good driver and it
wasn't that much of a buzz but objectively speaking I had whole lot of trouble. When I had something extra to do, like use the turn signal, it was worse.
We repeated this for hours. After a while the drug was
fully metabolized; I aced the last couple of memory exams and had no trouble
with the driving test. We all shook hands and I went home (...and then to a
party. Yay holidays!)
I took Driver's Ed, the same as most of you. They
told us in that class, and many PSAs in the years following, don't drive drunk. Even a little impaired is an unacceptable gamble. We nodded our heads gravely, and always wrote the right answer on the test: I won't do that! Inside we know: we are really good drivers and we won't drive impaired. We might drive
extra careful sometimes.
I now have objective, scientific proof that this is
bullpucky. Subjectively speaking, I felt ok to drive (if I drove carefully).
Objectively speaking, I was impaired.
Lucky for me it was only a game: lucky for me, and lucky for everyone else on the road.
They say you should learn from your mistakes. But the price of some mistakes is too high. It is better to learn from the mistakes of others.
That which we hear, we may understand, but that which we experience, we believe. We heard the Driver's Ed lecture, we saw the PSAs, we understood even a few drinks can impair you - don't drive. But we felt ok, if we were careful. We are above average drivers.
We have driven ten thousand times, and we were ok. Only a few of those time may have been buzz driving, and we are ok. We know from experience we will be ok.
Which. Is. Bullpucky.
I am fortunate to have made the mistake of driving buzzed in a laboratory, where I could not avoid seeing and feeling my own b&llpucky and the only consequence was a contribution to science. All of you who are really good drivers, just like me, I ask you to learn from my mistake. And, if you can, google healthy volunteer and take the test yourself. Madame Toastmaster.
The first holiday at home in years and I find that I'm not really interested in elaborate cookery. Kiara is all about sleeping in, downstairs in her apartment, so it's not like I'm committed to a family meal.
I recall Dave's habit of making supercharged devilled eggs. Kiara contributes horseradish, paprika and the all-important real mayo (my habit is to use whatever's cheap, which is fine for everyday but not the holiday.)
Crafting unique devilled eggs is fun! Here's the first batch:
Starting from 12 o'clock, it's clockwise: olive, red pepper flakes, crater of Louisiana Hot Sauce, finely cut onion greens right from my garden - it makes it a salad!, minced onions, and riced parmesan cheese. What wild flavors would you enjoy?
Another internet riddle going around is almost always answered wrongly but not for the reason most suspect. Here's the riddle:
Skipping over the "Losing Their Sh1t" nonsense, we have a fairly straightforward puzzle with a nice twist at the very end, or let me write, the "very very" end. That's a clue.
SPOILER ALERT - YOU MAY WISH TO WORK THE PUZZLE ON YOUR OWN BEFORE READING FURTHER!
A. AT FIRST I REASONED:
1. There are three symbols on the image: Grey Thing, Bananas, and Clock.
2. Grey Thing = 15
3. Bananas = 4
4. Clock = 3
B. BUT I LOOKED AGAIN:
In the 4th equation I saw that all of the symbols were different from the symbols above.
I concluded that the actual symbol meanings are:
1. Grey thing valued at the sum of the sides of the polygons in it
2. Bunch of bananas valued at the number of bananas in the bunch
3. Clock valued by the position of the little hand.
This makes the last equation:
C.BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE TO SEE:
The symbol on the right side of the last equation consists of TWO IDENTICAL SYMBOLS! The question becomes: what is "?".
?? cannot = "38" because "?" cannot be both "3" and "8".
However, we don't have to assume the equations are in base 10.
With a little thinking, the solution is obvious: this problem is in base 37.
To those of us used to base 10 that may be icky, but that is base digitism. Don't be a digitist!!!!
The answer is therefore "?" = "1" and the last equation is 2+3+(3x(5+6))=11 base 37. You're welcome!
A while back I got a bunch of 45 rpm records that were thrift store discards - nobody buys these any more). It's time to give them away - somehow! - but first to record the more interesting album covers. None of these pieces of music mean anything to me, I just didn't like waste.