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Even more hidden than the easter egg page is this -- a document I kept while attending a class on plumbing code in the spring of 1999. The class was held once a week, from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. This is technically referred to as "unpleasant." In addition to it, the teacher (who admittedly was very knowledgeable about the plumbing code) was structuring the class more for a plumber in the field and less for a designer, and his plumbing background showed in some of his vocabulary and explanations. To keep myself from losing my mind, I jotted down interesting comments in the margins of my notes, which I then compiled in one place.

January 14, 1999

Sadly, no effort was made to record the words of wisdom on that first day of learning. One can only wonder at what wise statements were uttered in those first four hours.

January 21, 1999

Wasted time: 20 minutes (15 minutes before roll, 5 minute roll call. Questions and answers ended at 10:00.)

"LENTH" = length

"Unlock the key to understanding" (Better call a locksmith first.)

"WARSH" = wash

"GPMs" (gallons per minutes? Jimmy reminded me about this one. Now if he can just explain what a 5 GPMs flow looks like.)

"Approximately ever how long you need it to be" - the required length for a trench

"Arguing with an inspector is like rasslin' a pig in the mud." (Some mental pictures are best left un-drawn.)

"Residential home" (As opposed to an industrial home?)

"Singular building" (As opposed to a plural building?)

January 28, 1999

JRP was sick, so the words of wisdom were not preserved, although I'm told the discussion on wet venting produced an abundance of instances of "WARSHING."

February 4, 1999

Wasted time: 22 minutes (15 minutes before roll, 7 minute roll call.)

"Naw, that's not necessarily, not necessarily, not necessarily true." (Are we sure about that?)

"WARSHOUT" = washout

"WARSHING MACHINE" = washing machine

"Pump on a whale" (As opposed to a pump on a WELL? I'm pretty sure they're different.)

"It's like physics - for every reaction, there's an opposite… reaction." (What's the sound? Oh, that's Sir Isaac Newton spinning in his grave at about three thousand RPM. Or is that RPMs?)

"From here to here's where it's gonna get silly." (Technical explanation of water flow in a pipe offset.)

"REQUARRED" = required

"You got a house that's built in a holler." (Wow, people actually use the word "holler".)

"The old cliché of 'more is better' doesn't hold hot water." (But it'll hold cold water? ...)

"Same situation, but a little different." (So it's not the same, right? ...)

"Enough of vents" (James T. caught this one. Apparently the word "of" is generally under-appreciated, and we should all endeavor to make more use of "of." Stick it in wherever you want to.)

February 11, 1999

Wasted time: 17 minutes (13 minutes before roll, 4 minute roll call.)

Comment on starting class at 6:13 - "Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades." (I don't know if I can even say anything about this one.)

"Robert Lum" (All this time, we thought RL on routing slips stood for "Rodney Lum." To correct this, we will now start routing everything to BL - Bob Lum.)

"James Prilliam" (Oddly enough, he got the last name right the first time he called roll. It hasn't happened since.)

"Understand as what's taking place." ("As," meet "of." He gets stuck in the middle of sentences unnecessarily, too.)

"Could almost walk out there with a knife it's so humid. You could cut it." (So, if it's not humid, you can't walk outside with a knife?)

"It's like puttin' a windshield wiper on a goat's tail - it'll work, but it serves no purpose." (It's liable to upset the goat, too. And I don't want to know what acid flashback caused this combination to enter someone's mind.)

"Elderly toilet" (So does it get a Social Security check? Or a discount at Denny's?)

"Everything looks more symmetrical if it's all the same." (It'll also look more similar if it's all symmetrical, but that's a whole separate principle.)

"WARSH" (Yes, this has appeared here before. After hearing it a few dozen times, I thought it necessary to make it clear that this is not the correct pronunciation. Trust me on this one.)

"Throwed in here" (Hey, adding "-ed" to some words makes them past tense. Why not do it to all of them?)

"It'll go in there like it had eyes." (It's a widely known fact that vision-enhanced piping assembles easier. The added cost of contact lenses limits its use, however.)

"It blowed out." (Adding "-ed" worked so well before, we thought we'd try it again.)

"It fit didn't." (Dyslexic much?)

"Water is a low velocity sound." (Huh??? Water is sound? And here I always thought it was two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. You learn something new every day. Still not sure about the low velocity part. Maybe that'll get explained next week.)

"Prevent it traveling from any further." (I guess "from" got lost and wound up on the wrong side of "traveling.")

"Like daylight and dark." (Is this similar to "night and day"? Oh, it's the opposite of that. Maybe.)

"Maximum feet in velocity per second." (Ummm… We'll just chalk that one up to dyslexia and go on.)

"You have your vertical wall." (You can also get the horizontal wall, but most people seem to prefer the vertical one.)

"ONCEST" - pronounced <wunst> (This may be similar to "once," but we're not sure.)

"Amount of GPMs." (Ah, the fabled double feature. The extra "of" teams up with the GPMs.)

"DRAWED" (Oh, look. We're going to try that "-ed" trick again. One of these days, it's going to work.)

"Don't know a 2x4 from a 16-penny nail." (Ooh, that's pretty ruthless.)

"See if we can get the light bulb to go off." (Off or on? If it's already on, it'd probably be best to leave it that way.)

"Enough of money." (Oh, look, our friend "of" is back.)

"Where that you have..." (Yeah, this is one I could have written down a couple dozen times. Apparently "where" was feeling lonely, so "that" offered to keep it company.)

February 18, 1999

Wasted time: 36 minutes (21 minutes before roll, 5 minute roll call, 25 minute break.)

"               " (What is this, you ask? It is the total silence in the room as he draws the same plumbing group isometric six times.)

"That's one of the key things that you need to key on." (I wonder if this requires you to use the "key to understanding" from January 21?)

"It falls fifteen feet before gravity takes over and forces it to the wall of the pipe." (The saddest thing is that he said this twice in a one-minute time span. I think it may deserve adding to future physics texts as the "Wile E. Coyote Principle" with credit given to Mr. Bill James. Hey, it could get him and Warner Brothers a Nobel Prize!)

"Where that you get caught in a trick bag." (This refers to remembering minimum code for license tests versus standard practice in the field. I don't know about you, but it sounds pretty unpleasant to me.)

"Put your brain in a warshing machine and warsh it out." (This sounds even worse than being caught in a trick bag.)

"That's neither here nor." (Why do I get the feeling this sentence is missing something?)

Student #1: "Individual vent?"
Bill James: "It's two vents."
Student #2: "Individual vents?"
(OK, this isn't wisdom from our teacher, but it is wisdom from our fellow classmates. Bill was looking for continuous vents, but I'm pretty sure he would have taken continuous vent. Sort of a "you had to be there" moment.)

"Singular fixture." (Go get the plumbing catalogs! I want to look up plural fixtures!)

"Put enough of plumbing in." (We also had "enough of scrap pipe" earlier in the night, but I thought I'd wait for the end of this week's list to give the now-classic "enough of" a final moment in the spotlight. We'll be hearing it a lot in the weeks to come, but if we list it and "warsh" every time they occur, this will end up being a nine-volume set by April.)

February 25, 1999

Wasted time: We didn't start on the lecture until 8:16. The test took 10 or 15 minutes to take and about that long to grade. Overall, call it more than 90 minutes wasted.

This was a slow night, with half of the class spent taking a test, grading a test, and telling stories that might in some way relate somehow to the test.

"Illustrated drawing" (All you artists out there, back me up here. I'm pretty sure a drawing needs to be illustrated.)

"Start visually drawing in my head." (Don't go anywhere, artists. I need a bit more help. How do you not draw visually? Anyone? Hello? That's what I thought.)

"Flustrating" (Oh, look, spell-check objects to this one! Amazingly enough, some of us have heard this one before from a certain nameless plumbing designer, usually in reference to something an architect or interior designer is trying to do.)

"Intent and interpretation are two different things." (Well, he's not wrong. I'm pretty sure Webster's would agree with him on this one.)

March 4, 1999

Wasted time: 40 minutes (20 minutes before roll, 5 minute roll call, 30 minute break (good work, Jimmy).)

"Which is a totally engineered system, so we're not even gonna look at it." (Gee, thanks. Glad us engineers showed up.)

"Furtherest" (I'm guessing this only applies to things that are really far away.)

"And thar it is." (This came at the end of drawing four riser diagrams. Kind of a "you had to be there" moment. Trust me, it was funny at the time. Really.)

Bill James: "That make sense?"
Student #2 (Theo): "Almost."
(This little comment led to a 20-minute explanation of the "most remote vent" portion of Section 919 of the code. The basic concept was what HVAC guys sometimes call "longest run," and at least some of us spent the next twenty minutes or so in a slack-jawed stupor waiting for it to end.)

"Most remote distance" (Wonder if this somehow relates to "furtherest"?)

"These people don't have logic." (This refers to the people who write plumbing tests that require you to answer questions based on absolute minimum code rather than standard practice in the field. I'm betting a lot of those professors would disagree with this statement.)

"Bingo! Light switch went off!" (Something finally clicked with Theo, and Bill was justifiably pleased about it. But if the switch went off, wouldn't the light go out too? Wouldn't that be bad? Anybody?)

"Furtherest most remote fixture" (It seemed to be a night for great distances.)

"Little round circle" (It's a little-known fact that there are subtle differences between round circles and rectangular circles. Don't even get me started on triangular circles.)

"Reduce it backwards" (OK, he was talking about using a pipe reducer to increase the size of a vent. It came out just too funny.)

"I don't care what you use." (And with this, a silent cheer went up from at least some of the students, as we realized what we were in for in the final exam. Not only had Bill just gotten through working a large part of the final for us - a six-story riser with all the drain and vent sizes - but he had confirmed that the final would be open book and open notes. We all stared at our notes, with the test problem worked there, and smiled.)

Student #3: "What's these rulers and straightedges for?"
Bill James: "Mostly to draw straight lines with."

Holding up two fingers meaningfully - "It's possible to design an indirect system with only three vents." (Dust off that calculator, Bill. I'm betting that one plus one isn't going to come out as three.)

Additional note: At Mark's request, I've gone back and added a tally of wasted time in each class. This is all the time spent after six o'clock waiting for Bill to call roll and everything beyond a fifteen-minute break. And a hearty "well done" to Jimmy for getting Bill into the turkey-hunting debate that provided us with that refreshing thirty-minute break this week.

March 11, 1999

Wasted time: 52 minutes (17 minutes before roll, 4 minute roll call, 25 minute break, and 21 minutes of post-break rambling)

"Hooping cough" (This is either a southern strain of the Whooping Cough or it's an affliction suffered by some NCAA fans during March Madness, usually brought on by excessive cheering and screaming at officials.)

"Viruses - whether they be viral or bacterial..." (Beware of the bacterial virus. It's a nasty beast.)

"Sometimes that's kinda like pullin' straws outta the air." (Yeah, we all know how hard it is to pull straws out of the air, especially after that first fifteen feet - when gravity takes over and makes them fall onto the floor.)

"JAIL" (No, this one isn't the big building with all the metal bars for windows. Most of us spell it "gel".)

"It don't sound like the same dog anymore. Instead of four legs and two ears it's got ten legs and ..." (Bill's explanation of what rumors do as they circulate. It was more detailed and complicated, but you get the idea. Hear that barking? That's the distinctive sound of a ten-legged dog.)

"Got my dandruff up." (You know, Bill, they make shampoo for that sort of thing.)

Student #2 (Theo): "So a floor sink's a sink that's on the floor, right? That's where you wash the dishes, right?" (OK, so we're becoming more and more certain that Theo hasn't got much plumbing background. On the plus side, he's developed a knack for keeping us awake in class - we're too busy trying to keep from laughing to doze off.)

Student #2 (Theo): "Where you readin' from, Bill?"
Most of the class: "Amendments."
(These plumbers aren't the most talkative bunch during class, but I'm guessing at least half the class muttered "amendments" when Theo asked this. And more or less in unison, at that. Combined, it was quite impressive.)

"You can't talk to a brick wall." (Hey! You there! Close your mouth and step away from the brick wall! Quietly! Now! )

"Low voltage gas sniffer" (Boy, ol' Bill really knows how to insult a person. Previous weeks produced such gems as "don't know a 2x4 from a 16-penny nail" and "these people don't have logic." This week's put-down, though, is making a bit less sense than usual. Now that's scary.)

March 18, 1999

Wasted time: 31 minutes (17 minutes before roll, 5 minute roll call, 24 minute break)

"Click, cluck, click." (For those of you who weren't there to hear this, that's a turkey call. Bill has to break in his new calls before the season starts. The potential for smart-ass remarks here is nearly endless. And considering how painful these four-hour lectures get, the possibility of someone pulling out a shotgun and opening fire in hopes of bagging a "turkey" is definitely there.)

"Laundry-mat" (Your house has a door mat, your car has floor mats, but what does your neighborhood coin-op laundry have? It was feeling left out, damn it! It wanted a mat too!)

"Code requires one male and one female restroom, and they will be handicap." (Yeah, Bill, we know what you mean. Handicapped accessible. But the mental image of a restroom pulling its car into a handicapped parking space is still hard to shake.)

"Amounts of gallons per minute." (I guess it's too easy to just say "flow" or "flow rate." That'd make too much sense.)

"Gallons of per minute" (Bill was having a hard time with flow rates tonight. Gallons of…? Either "of" was feeling left out again, or this statement is missing something.)

"Get a suds factor where that it won't drain." (This is what happens when you put too much detergent in a dishwasher. As Theo might say, "Bill! So that is sort of like a k-factor for soap bubbles, right?" Let's start checking chemistry and fluid mechanics books to see if we can find any reference to the "suds factor." I'd like to know how to calculate it.)

"Not rare, but I have seem 'em." (This is referring to a strange pipe size. If they're not rare, is it really all that big a deal that you've seem them?)

"Over-the-road vehicle." (OK, so would someone please show me an "under-the-road" vehicle now? Please?)

"Condensation drain" (Is this similar to a "condensate drain" perhaps? No? Just thought I'd ask.)

"Hydraulic shaft that operates... hydraulic oil that operates elevator. Hydraulic piston." (This is Bill trying to explain what a hydraulic elevator is and how it works. As you can tell, it was quite painful.)

"Urnials" (This is the spelling from a handout. I'd chalk it up to a typo if it hadn't been hand-written and spelled this way TWICE. 'Nuf said.)

March 25, 1999

Wasted time: 89 minutes (ooh, boy. 22 minutes before roll, 5 minute roll call, 58 minutes of rambling after roll - I'm going to only call that 40 minutes of waste, though, since some of it was interesting; 37 minute break) and we didn't get out of class until 10:05 (15 minutes late)

"We got a few minutes" said at 6:10 (I'm not sure whether I want to laugh or cry. Bill, that clock counts up, not down. In ten minutes, it's going to be 6:20, not 6:00. Start the damn class! We want to go home!)

"Protected from cross-connection protection" (Now, cross-connection protection is a good thing, so why protect us from it?)

Student #2 (Theo): "Have mercy!" (My sentiments exactly, Theo.)

Student #2 (Theo): "Tell us the truth, Bill." (What the hell? Is Bill James teaching this class, or Bill Mulder? Is the cigarette-smoking man going to substitute one day? Have mercy on us, Theo.)

"The consumer's gettin' glued, screwed, and tattooed." (We appreciate you worrying about the American consumer, Bill, but that's one mental picture I could have lived without.)

Student #4 (Doc): "Why do some jurisdictions discriminate against bushings?" (A valid question, sure, with a worthwhile answer, but the wording leaves so much opportunity for comment. I can hear the lawsuits now. "My client was not allowed onto this construction site. Reducer fittings were brought in instead to do his job. That's discrimination, plain and simple. Mr. Bushing is suing the plumbing contractor and the installed reducer fittings for $8,600,000 for emotional distress and loss of work.")

Student #2 (Theo, speaking to JRP during our break): "So what's the definition of an engineer?" (Since I'd just heard Theo and another guy make a comment about train engineers, I figured I'd spare them that answer. But what else can you say? "Well, Theo, I'm not sure how to give you a definition or a synonym, but I can give you an antonym - YOU.")

"To make a long story short" (Too late, Bill. Too late.)

April 1, 1999

No class, so no new wisdom.

April 8, 1999

Wasted time: 46 minutes (22 minutes before roll, 4 minute roll call, 35 minute break)

"That's something you have to be conscience of." (Bill! How can you live with yourself? How does your conscious let you say such things? Um, wait a second. Can we trade words, Bill?)

"Looks like I missed those sinks - we'll just pretend they weren't there." (I wonder if we can do that on a test? Or on a project: "Oh, I didn't see that floor of the building, Mr. Architect. We'll just pretend it isn't there.")

"I know this is kind of repetitious." (So do we. That's why we have the glassy-eyed stares of the mentally numb.)

"The way you learn it is by doin' it repetitious." (Um. Maybe he should have quit with the last sentence. Now we're getting repetitious with our "repetitious," and that's entirely uncalled for.)

"Doin' it over and over enough of times." (Oh, yeah. Definitely should have quit with the first sentence. We've gone from repetitious to downright absurd. At least we quit misusing "repetitious," though, and went back to our old friend "enough of.")

"Learn to throw away the garbage stuff." (The garbage stuff? What, did this sentence not have enough words without tossing "stuff" in at the end?)

"I stand to be corrected." (You could have probably been corrected sitting down just as easily. You didn't have to get up.)

Student #2 (Theo, sounding very concerned): "It has to flow down!" (Ah, but Theo forgot about the Wile E. Coyote Principle from several weeks ago. For the first fifteen feet, it is free from the influence of gravity and is therefore quite capable of flowing any direction it wants to. By the way, good luck on the test next week, Theo.)

"Opens up some new doors for you." (Yes, the knowledge we take away from this plumbing class will open up many new doors for us, but any old doors we come across will be remaining closed. Sorry.)

"Like getting' on a pogo stick - the more you do it, the easier it is." (I suppose this isn't as bad as the windshield wiper and the goat, but it's close. Note, also, that he doesn't say anything about staying on a pogo stick, just getting on it. The not-falling-over part apparently remains difficult forever.)

"How many fixture units can you put on one fixture unit?" (For some reason, Bill got a lot of blank and confused looks when he asked this question, so he repeated it. Unfortunately, he repeated it without changing it to a question that actually had an answer, so the confusion only got worse. Personally, I'm still waiting for an answer to this question.)

April 15, 1999

Wasted time: too many minutes, call it 165 minutes (15 minutes before roll, 4 minute roll, and close to 2 1/2 hours between finishing the test and going home)

We didn't have much in the way of wisdom tonight, since it was final exam night and we spent half of the time sitting in the break room wondering why we were there. We did have a couple, though.

"Whoever makes 100 on the test buys me a Bud Light." (Hmmm… Is there any connection between this idea and the fact that he was correcting people's tests for them before he took them up? Nah...)

"That's wrong." (Bill decided to grade the tests as they got done, by having people raise their hands as they finished and then looking for mistakes on their tests. If he saw a mistake on your test, he pointed it out to you and had you correct it. We heard this comment quite a bit. Oddly enough, though, we expect to see a lot of high grades when we get our tests back next week.)

"It's like eatin' a elephant. Gotta do it one bite at a time." (Bill kept us engineers late to talk to us about water pipe sizing. So not only did we get to hang around for an additional half-hour, but we were blessed with this wisdom. I have just one question for Bill. Why an elephant? Are there some large quadruped mammals that you don't eat one bite at a time? Horse? Rhino? Hippo? Just curious.)

April 22, 1999

Wasted time: 38 minutes (19 minutes before roll, 4 minute roll call, 35 minutes for handing back tests and doing a teacher evaluation that was supposed to take 20 minutes) - and we left early for the first time (9:00)

"The pressure drop is quicker" (We would usually call it "greater," but if you want to think that pressure drops can move, I'm not going to get in your way. I might get run over by a speeding pressure drop.)

Student #2 (Theo): "Bill! Bill! Is it true that a larger copper pipe makes less noise than a smaller pipe?" ("Bill! Bill! Is it true that I have achieved a weak but tenable grasp of the obvious in the last fourteen weeks?")

"Reduce it down" (Some comments just strike you as funny. Can you really reduce something up? Or over? That's what I thought.)

"Furtherest remote fixture" (Yeah, we've seen "furtherest" before, and it was equal parts funny and irritating the first few times. It's no less irritating the fiftieth time you hear it, but it really does loose some of its charm. Could somebody - maybe Theo - explain to me what on Earth a "furtherest remote fixture" actually is? It can't be related to the "most remote fixture.")

"Have a barometer of how you do this." (And just what is the barometric pressure supposed to be when you size domestic water piping?)

"Well, if you're on a well…" (Well, well, well… Maybe this discussion isn't the best one to use "well" before every statement you make. Well, then again, maybe it is the best one.)

"Let me tell you what makes sense. I'm from Missouri." (Yeah, tell us what makes sense, Bill. We're waiting. Oh, you're done? Ummm….)

"Last remote fixture." (As compared to the first remote fixture? Or the next-to-last remote fixture? Ah, what the hell. We'll let "last" slide, since it's the last bit of wisdom from fourteen classes.)

Total wasted time (12 out of 14 classes): 646 minutes (10 hours, 46 minutes)

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