Archive for Friday, March 18, 2011

Heard on the Hill: KU parking employee explains parking FAIL; chancellor’s husband spreads good cheer; online quiz sees if you can name all the Jayhawks on the men’s basketball team

March 18, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• KU made the FAIL Blog on Thursday. The blog is a pretty popular Internet phenomenon that gave rise to the term “epic fail,” and shows some funny photos and videos of people and things, well, failing.

It’s somewhat hard to explain without a couple of examples.

This all started with me wondering if this amusing parking toll photo came from KU. It definitely seemed to say “KU” up in the corner of the photo, and the tell-tale “864” phone prefix that I’ve become intimately familiar with is there, too.

I was quite amused to see both a parking toll higher than $4,000 and an admonishment to only use coins for payment.

So I placed a call to KU’s parking department, where Margretta de Vries, an administrative professional at the parking department picked up the phone.

She’s a FAIL Blog fan, she said, but hadn’t noticed this photo.

But when she saw it, she began laughing immediately.

“That’s us!” she said.

She also immediately knew how this happened. This is in one of KU’s parking garages near Allen Fieldhouse, she said. What happens is patrons go into the garage and pick up a parking ticket. They are charged $1 per hour.

The person who put this ticket in the machine obviously used an old ticket, de Vries said. Some quick math led to the deduction that it was just shy of 193 days old.

This happens occasionally, de Vries said, because sometimes, when the gates are open, no ticket is needed to get out of the garage. So it’s more than conceivable that the person grabbed a new ticket that day, and then used an old one to get out. My car has definitely been messy enough to make that mix-up possible.

“It’s not our fail, it’s their fail,” she said.

While de Vries said she’s personally never seen a $4,627 toll pop up before, she’s dealt with people who have had thousand-dollar tolls before in this situation.

And, no, you don’t have to insert 46,270 dimes to get out of the garage if this happens to you. The parking department will either let you find your ticket from that day, or will charge you a $10 lost ticket fee.

This, unfortunately, wasn’t the first time I’d seen KU get a mention on the site, either…

• A tipster passed along a post from a friend on Facebook she found particularly “delightful.”

“There are few things I enjoy more in life than watching the Chancellor’s husband dance around in the stands after a KU women’s basketball win,” the Facebook post said.

It seems like everyone has a Shade Little story of some sort. Here’s mine, which I’ve told to many folks who have asked me about him. I hope I haven’t told it in this space before. If I have, I’m sure someone will let me know.

But, anyway, I first met Shade at a meet-and-greet at the Eldridge hotel. While there, I shook his hand and asked what his favorite part of the city was.

“YOU!” he boomed, and pointed right back at me. “And you, and you, and you,” he said pointing out others in the room.

“The people,” he clarified eventually, were his favorite part of the city.

He’s been an asset to the KU and Lawrence communities, and has performed a number of goodwill functions, including getting dressed to the nines recently for KU’s Dancing With the Stars event.

I’ve asked to write about him several times, and he’s always declined interview requests, preferring to keep a low publicity profile. But that hasn’t stopped many in the community from noticing his joviality and good vibes that he carries with him wherever he goes.

• And because it’s basketball day with KU facing off against Boston University this evening at 5:50 p.m. in Tulsa, here’s an online quiz devoted to KU’s team this year.

It’s mainly a test to see if you can name all the players on the team, with a bit of extra stuff thrown in.

Remember (because I didn’t) that the NCAA is calling all the games that used to be in the “first round” in the “second round” now, because of the inclusion of the “First Four” games held earlier this week.

Enjoy. I’m always on the hunt for fun tournament stuff, so send anything you’ve spotted my way.

• I’d have to say I agree with Shade. You’re my favorite part of the city, too. If you’re feeling particularly awesome today, you could send me a tip for Heard on the Hill at But even if you don’t, I’ll still think you’re my favorite part of Lawrence.


paperjam 7 years ago

Good read, happy post St. Patty's Day! Rock Chalk!

hantzu_1 7 years ago

So the quiz wants to know our 2nd round opponent but still comes up with Boston University which is our fist round opponent.

ahyland 7 years ago

I don't think I explained this as well as I could have.

This year, the NCAA revamped the way the number the rounds of the tournament. With four 16 seeds and the last four at-large teams playing four "play-in" games in Dayton, this "First Four" became the new "first round" of the tournament.

All the games that previously used to be called the "first round," like the 1-16 games, the 8-9 games, etc., are now called the "second round." So USC and VCU played in the first round, and because VCU won, they will play Georgetown in the second round. I happen to think that just causes massive confusion, like in this particular case.

But no one from the NCAA asked for my opinion.

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