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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Exploding Microwaves and Related Disasters
color cycle (slow)
Well, last night / this morning was interesting. Interesting in that bad way. The ancient "May you live in interesting times" curse way.

So it was 1:49 AM. I would have been trying to sleep, but for some reason I didn't feel particularly sleepy. I was awake in that "There is nothing in this world that will make me sleepy" way that I should have been suspicious of- it's the same sort of "awake" I always suddenly wake up with about five minutes before any power outage or fire alarm. (I have never been caught asleep by a fire alarm or power outage in my entire life. And yes, I'm chalking that up to some form of precognition.) But I wasn't that suspicious.

So here I was, wasting time on the Internet, when


from outside my door. As my suitemates tend to make unusual noises with great regularity, doing things like riding skateboards in the hallway while drunk, I didn't think much of it. Until I smelled the smoke. And heard a certain sound that was all too familliar to me, and I covered my ears, knowing what sound it would be followed by...


The fire alarm went off. I grabbed my shoes and ran; I couldn't disentangle my coat from my closet, and I only remembered when I was most of the way out that my keys and ID card were both sitting on my desk. (I left my door wide open, however, so there was no problem.)

As usual, I was the first one on the floor out and running. I ignore the "Don't run, walk" thing when 1. I can't breathe, and 2. there's nobody for me to run in to. Therefore, I was proving that my unusual gait can be extremely fast when I need it to be. Grabbing the handle to the door to the stairs to stop myself, I proceeded down to the first floor's front exit.

A blockade! The door to the stairs was closed. No big deal; a fire alarm cuts power to all magnetic door catches in the building, and the one that holds the stairway door open is no exception. So I pushed on the handle.

The door didn't open. It wasn't latched, but it was stuck.

This is what we call an "emergency situation." Desparate times call for destructive measures. Backing up as far as possible, and making sure that there was nobody close enough to see that the inevitable door damage would be my fault, I rammed the door- first my arm on the push-in latch-handle, then my shoulder just at the right edge of the door. The door opened under my high velocity; the minor bruise on my shoulder is healing. The dent in the solid wood door isn't going to, but nobody knows it was me.

As I approached the front doors, I realized that perhaps it would have been worth my time to continue fighting with my coat.

With no time for such, I went out to the assigned area, the grassy field known as "The Swamp," and waited, the loud alarm still quite audible even this far from the building. I was soon joined by many other people- this is a good thing, considering that I was wearing only my shoes, my socks, and a very thin pair of pajamas. And it was snowing. I have since found that it was 14 degrees with a wind chill down to 10, but I stood downwind of a tall person who acted as an effective windbreak.

Across the 45 minutes I was out there, I was shivering hard enough that I strained my back. (I'm okay now.) However, after it was done, I was okay. I was extremely unpleasantly cold, but I lived through it.

As soon as the campus police gave us the all-clear (even though the alarms hadn't yet been deactivated), we re-entered the building. I tried to go back up to the second floor, but the whole floor was too smoky. So I went back down to the first-floor lounge to warm up.

I later discovered that the nice, warm lounge was actually 62 degrees because some jackass had set it to "A/C 50". I turned it up to "HEAT 70," but there's something to be said for the fact that a 62 degree room felt nice and warm to me. Brett, one of the RAs for the second floor, saw me there and helped me go back to retrieve my keys and my asthma medication. I then retreated back to the lounge, took my medication, and watched "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" on Game Show Network. We were hoping that my two air cleaners and Brett opening the window would clear out the room- but not enough. So at 3:02 AM, I called my parents. They quickly agreed to take me home.

That was actually pretty uneventful, and I'm back in my dorm now, with two more ultra-heavy-duty air cleaners going on "MAX" and doing a very effective job at clearing out the odor. I'm about to go and locate my classes for tomorrow.

Oh, and the punchline: A (full-size, very large) image of what's left of Jamie's microwave is availible at http://students.cec.wustl.edu/~abn1/MicrowaveKapow.jpg.JPG should anybody want to see it.

(Oh, and I forgot to post it when I took it- a picture of what it looks like while setting up for Cheap Lunch is at http://students.cec.wustl.edu/~abn1/CheapLunch.jpg.JPG . That's Cassie in the foreground, with the chips; I can't remember the other girl in the picture, but she's the president of EnCouncil. The tall guy behind her is Geoff.)

Hmm. If I took a few pictures of campus and posted them on my webspace for all to see, would anybody care?

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(Deleted comment)
10? I was estimating 14. But yes, last night. It was, indeed, rather chilly out there.

I have a rather wide temperature range I'm comfortable in, but it's lower than one would expect from a Misourrian. It swings seasonally, but I can take far colder temperatures in the winter than I can take hot temperatures in summer. Asthma aside, I like spring, if only because of all the strange looks I get wearing (and being comfortable in) shorts and a T-shirt at 50 degrees because I'm still "wired" for winter.

As for what happened to our microwave- our current hypothesis is that Jamie's finger slipped around the ENTER key and he therefore did not type in 45 as intended, but instead typed 450. It was still a rather impressive result.

Wow. That's all I can say, even after reading it twice - wow.

I can definitely empathize with the being outside when it's toodamncold, though I've taken to wearing two pairs of pants all the time, and more often than not a sweatshirt over a t-shirt, just in case. (Though here, I could retreat to a friend's dorm, since the alarms are separate for all the buildings.)

It reminds me of the time we lit the toaster on fire at my house... My mom stuck two Pop-Tarts into it, set it, and pushed the slidey-thing down to start it. Then she wandered into another room. A few minutes later, I wandered into the kitchen to see flames shooting out of the toaster, licking at the cabinets above. I yelled, which brought my mom and brother to see. The toaster was unplugged and brought outside with hot mitts (I think... Fuzzy memory, it was a while ago), and I think we left it to burn itself out. That, or dumped water on it. When it was cool, my mom retrieved the Pop-Tarts out of it. They were slightly larger than charcoal briquettes - about an inch and a half by two, and maybe half an inch thick - and of about the same color and consistency. Needless to say, we bought a new toaster.

And I'd be interested if you posted pictures of the campus. Somehow when students take photos of colleges, the place feels more human. Publicity photos are just boring.

As for keeping warm clothes availible: I have decided to somewhat thwart my (futile) attempts to be neat and just hang my coat over my chair in case of future events similar to this.

Pop-Tart toaster bombs are a well-documented phenomenon. Glucose burns quite well; if a Pop-Tart springs a significant leak, the pseudomolten filling can drip out, contact a heating element, catch fire, act as a "fuse" to the rest of the Pop-Tart, set it on fire with a nice BANG, and generally by flashpoint heat set the adjacent Pop-Tart on fire as well should one be toasting two.

There is a reason I tend to eat Pop-Tarts cold.

And okay! I'll use the "I need photography practice anyway" excuse and haul my digital camera around with me tomorrow. I'll probably be scaling down the pictures- my CS101 homework total has eaten away most of my 50MB disk quota (although I plan to move said homework off the network drive)- but I'll be taking those pictures I should have taken anyway. Expect quite a few of the local fauna, which are fun by merit of not being particularly timid. (You can get within arm's reach of a squirrel around here and it will just glare at you like "Well? What do you want?" and then go about its business.)

Leaving the coat where you can just grab it does sound like a good idea. My various sweatshirts and the like are tossed on and next to my beanbag, where I can reach over and grab one when I need it.

And actually, I think we blamed it on the fact that the toaster was really old, and didn't pop up when it should have. So the Pop-Tarts were being heated for much longer than they should have. Though I'll never know for sure, since no one was really around when it caught fire. Makes a great story though.

*laughs* Have fun! That's the important part. And squirrels that aren't scared of people are fun... except when they're supposed to be scared of people, and aren't. My mom volunteers at a local wildlife rehab center, and often ends up bringing home baby birds, squirrels, and rabbits to take care of, so the one person who lives at the center can do something other than feed babies for 24 hours straight. So once we got three baby red squirrels, and spoiled them rotten, to the point where they knew my mother and me by sight or scent and would come running to the door of their cage when either of us went into the room. I have pictures somewhere of them climbing all over me and getting caught in my hair. They were so cute and so sweet that I was sorry to see them go, when they were old enough to release near the center. (Red squirrels are deep-woods squirrels, as opposed to grays which live quite happily in suburbia.) Within a week, my mom told me that there'd been reports of squirrels jumping out of the trees onto visitors, scaring said visitors immensely. Sure enough, it was the little red squirrels. They were eventually caught and rereleased in deeper woods, further from people, and everything worked out fine.

...I tell lots of stories. Sorry. *sheepish*

Nah, you don't ramble nearly as much as I do. I frequently go off on tangents that take an entire 1024x768 page to display!

>>I frequently go off on tangents that take an entire 1024x768 page to display!<<

I'm on a laptop, and am consequently at 1400x1050. Including title, and considering a maximized window with a Windows XP Start-bar at normal size at the bottom, this 'tangent' took up a screen and a 1/6th.

However, considering that there's not only a big blue Livjournal bar but also the usual IE Fanfare, and if I were to take into consideration everything from "Kistaro Windrider (kistaro) wrote," to "would anybody care?", I guess you'd get about a full page

(Don't get me started on the Enters and blank spaces that could be minimized into a one-paragraph Enter-free rambling..)

I'm sorry if I have too many line breaks for your taste. My typing style matches my programming style- seperated with whitespace for legibility...

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