In an effort to figure out how my sump pump failed last summer, I’m documenting the plumbing involved.  The sump pump was about five weeks old at the time of failure. 

47 feet six inches and approximately 585 degrees of turns through 15 fittings all through 1.5″ PVC piping.

What is that?  That is the plumbing involved in getting water from my sump outside of the house.  I’ll try to explain the path…

  1. 24″ straight up out of the sump to reach basement floor level
  2. 48″ straight up from basement floor level to first turn (directly under the landing of the stairs going to the basement
  3. 90° turn west
  4. 29″ straight west running parallel with the basement floor
  5. 45° turn towards the ceiling to run parallel with the under side of a half flight of stairs
  6. 74″ running west and parallel to the under side of a half flight of stairs
  7. 90° turn south
  8. 84″ running south and parallel to the floor
  9. 45° turn towards the ceiling and south
  10. 14″ running south and at 45° towards the ceiling
  11. 45° turn south
  12. 76″ running south and parallel to the basement floor
  13. 45° turn south west and dropping down towards the floor
  14. 13″ running south west and dropping down towards the floor
  15. 45° turn south
  16. 180″ south running parallel to the basement floor
  17. 90° turn west and up towards the ceiling
  18. 16″ running west and up towards the ceiling
  19. 90° turn south and out of the house
  20. 12″ (estimated) running through the basement wall

By my calculations, water from the sump needs to be pumped through 1.5″ PVC a total of 47 feet six inches and approximately 585 degrees of turns.  

It travels up a total 90 inches, then up another 10 inches, down 8 inches, then up 7 inches.

Here is a video that shows the plumbing:



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I have had this height theory for years. I think I came up with it in college, which is more years ago than I care to admit. When I have explained this theory of mine to friends and coworkers, the reaction is almost universally, “No way. You are crazy.” However, after some time paying attention, everyone ends up agreeing and subscribing to my theory.

The theory goes like this:

“People are friends with other people of similar height.”

A few things need to be clarified and defined.

First, I will tackle the definition of “similar height.” I define similar height as three inches. Not three inches on either side of your height as defined by someone 6’0” having friends 5’9” to 6’3”. Rather, three inches total. As an example, I am 6’3”, and I would say most of my friends are between 6’0” and 6’3”.

Next, I will tackle the definition of “friends.” This can be tricky. I will start by stating that this is gender specific. A group of tall men might be friends with a group of short women. I have not completely decided if this theory applies to females, so for the sake of my theory, I’ll claim this is for men only. I will define friends as non-work related people. People you have become friends with who do not currently work with you. At work you are somewhat forced into hanging out with a group of people. I acknowledge in a bigger company this isn’t universally true and that bigger companies offer more diversity in relation to height. It stands to reason that it is easiest to meet and talk to people and become “work friends” with others you are forced to deal with on a professional level. Compare the work setting to a setting like college. In college it may be easier to meet others that live in your dorm or participate in the same activities as you, but the college years are for meeting anyone and everyone. You may go to a party with a few people, but hang out and spend most of the night socializing with other people. I think people tend to gravitate towards others of similar height, and these people tend to become your true friends.

Finally, I think the best place to witness this theory in action is at a bar on a Saturday night. Why not a Thursday or Friday? Thursdays and Fridays are big days to go out with “work friends.” Sit in a bar (preferably a crowded bar so people are forced to stand) and watch the groups of people talking. It is amazing. You will see a group of four or five guys all between 5’5” and 5’8” talking. Next to them will be three or four guys 6’2” to 6’5”. Next to that group will be a group of six between 5’9” and 6’0”.

Again, almost everyone I have mentioned this to likes to disagree right away. Most think it is not possible. They will disagree until they pay attention and notice the same thing. “People are friends with other people of similar height.”

Short disclaimer (pun intended): Obviously this theory doesn’t apply 100% of the time. My group of friends consists of a couple of guys who are 5’9” – 5’10”, and we are not friends with them just because they agree to drive the rest of us around.
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You place a call and the person you are calling does not answer. You know what you need to do, which is leave a message. However, before you can do that you hear, “To page this person, press 5 now. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished recording you may hang up or press 1 for more options.” [12 seconds]

I don’t know about you, but I have a better way to spend 12 seconds of my life. Cell phones have been around for a long time and voicemail systems and answering machines have been around for close to 30 years. We know how these things work. Have you ever used the “more options” feature? And more strange than the more options feature is the “paging” option. When is the last time you paged someone? I’d guess the last time I paged someone was 1997. We are passed this. Let me just hear the recipient’s voice and then hear the beep. I can take it from there.

I have an iPhone and played around with it to see if I could remove the AT&T voice after my greeting, but did not have any luck. I called AT&T to see if they could simply disable this for me. It took a few phone calls and I received a few different answers. Answers ranged from “We have no way to turn it off.” to “The AT&T voice prompt is different based on the voicemail system you are using.” Hmm. Ages ago I was involved in implementing a new phone system for my employer. I remember there being a simple check box to ENABLE the automated attendant or DISABLE automated attendant. That was about eight years ago. There is no way this is not an option on current voicemail systems (wireless or corporate systems).

After three or four phone calls (and a small threat to “look for another carrier for all of our corporate accounts”) you will no longer need to listen to the 12 seconds of Miss AT&T after my voice to leave me a message. Rather, you can just start recording after my last words and the immediate beep. It is worth mentioning, in my current role I have no authority over which cell phone carrier we use, but after getting nowhere on an issue that I knew could be solved, I decided the exaggeration was necessary.

How much time is wasted? It depends on your carrier and apparently the voicemail server you are utilizing. Depending on the source you use, there are about 270 million cell phone subscribers in the United States (Verizon has more than 80 million subscribers, AT&T is just short of 80 million subscribers, Sprint has roughly 50 million subscribers and T-Mobile 30+ million subscribers). If one phone call was made to every cell phone in the U.S., and that call is not answered, a total of 37,500 days / 900,000 hours / 54,000,000 minutes / 3,240,000,000 seconds are wasted every day on these “auto attendants.”
Do everyone a favor and call your cell phone company and demand they remove their auto attendant message so we can all add time back to our lives. Threaten the fact that you will move your entire corporation, consisting of 4,000 – 5,000 users to a new carrier if you must, to get them to make the change. You don’t even have to say where you work.

For AT&T call: 1-800-331-0500

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I was absolutely shocked that the Wolves did not move up in the NBA lottery. Just shocked. The Wolves have been around since 1989. They have never moved UP in the draft. They have always drafted where their record dictates they should draft or lower. That is hard to do. Good things simply don’t happen to the Wolves. I mentioned something similar two years ago.

Even as an unbiased fan I think the lottery system is broken. The NBA has changed the rules of the lottery multiple times, can’t they do it again? What if they had four pools of teams? Right now 14 teams are in the lottery. Here is my suggestion.
• Teams 13 and 14 simply draft in those positions. This year, that would be Indiana who finished 36-46 (missed the playoffs by three games) and Phoenix, who finished 46-36 (winning record, would have been the 5th seed in the East, missed the playoffs by two games in the West).
• Teams 9, 10, 11 and 12 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
• Teams 5, 6, 7 and 8 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
• Teams 1, 2, 3 and 4 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
Why doesn’t that work? Teams sandbag at the end of the year now hoping for one more ping pong ball. You could still technically have a weighted lottery in each group. Or just give each team an equal chance within that group. That would give a 25% chance for each team in each group to get the highest pick in that group. That has to be better than the current system.

The lottery clearly isn’t the only reason the Wolves are terrible, but a little luck can’t hurt.

Let’s recap the past few years.

2005: Minnesota drafts Rashad McCants (Danny Granger was selected three picks later)
2006: Minnesota drafts Brandon Roy (3rd team All-NBA this year) with the 6th overall pick and traded him for Randy Foye, the 7th overall pick.
2007: Portland and Minnesota tie for the sixth worse record in the league. There is a coin flip, which Minnesota wins so they have a slightly better chance in the lottery. BUT, Portland moves up from the 7th pick to the 1st pick and takes Greg Oden (could have had Kevin Durant). Minnesota ends up with Corey Brewer. Not a great draft overall.
2008: Minnesota gets the highest draft pick in their history (#3 – last time they had the #3 pick they took Christian Laettner after Shaq and Alonzo Mourning). They draft OJ Mayo and trade him for Kevin Love. –> I’m still holding out hope that this works out. They could have drafted Russell Westbrook or Eric Gordon….hmmm.
2009: Minnesota and Memphis tie for the fifth worse record in the league. Minnesota wins the coin flip, giving them a slightly better chance at moving up in the lottery. BUT, Memphis moves up to the #2 spot and Minnesota moves down to the 6th pick.

I want to be excited for basketball in Minnesota again. I want to root for the Wolves. It’s been tough since KG left and tougher given the decisions the front office has made and the terrible luck the franchise has had in the lottery.

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For some strange reason I like the game LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal have going with their pregame introductions.
Watch LeBron’s here:

And here is Shaq’s, which I think is hilarious. Mostly because you know these guys don’t dare say “no” to Shaq:

I love that guys like Shaq, who is 37 years old, can still laugh and have fun getting paid to play a game.

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