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Most Recent (Last update: 1900 06/25/00)

Happy Monday! Okay, not really. It's just that I use Dave's Time Machine©David L. Farquhar and I really wrote this at the end of a week, late at night, rather than at the start of a week, early in the morning. How Brian manages to even sound human before he heads off to work is beyond me.

Father's Day came off okay here at Chateau Le Grill; we even used the beast to cook lunch for the adults. What? We had people over? Dan??? I must be getting mellow in my old age; I actually invited some friends over for a get together after church. One of Shelley's friends was husbandless for the day, so she brought her kids by to swim for a little while. Her mom also came over and assisted with crowd control. Shelley's friend brought over a marinated tri-tip and we used that to inaugurate the grill. Things went well and the finished product was "finest kind". After the meal though, I basically passed out; I think I pushed things too hard on Saturday getting the electrical cut in for the patio. It must be time to throttle back for a day or two and just rest.

Opportunity abounds in that department. We had a guest speaker at church Sunday morning: one Jerry Lucas. This gentleman is the developer of The Lucas Learning System® and often goes by the name Dr. Memory®. He managed to give us all a memory lesson and pass along some scriptural lessons at the same time. Most impressive. He gave another talk Sunday evening on how we learn (thoroughly enjoyable) and has another seminar scheduled for this evening on remembering faces and names. He also sells educational material; we'll be picking up the one on multiplication tables for Daniel. This does mean that I'll miss part of the NBA playoff game tonight. It doesn't mean I won't hear about basketball. That Jerry Lucas... One of the fifty greatest of all time. ...with The Picture posted outside the church. ...and grownups getting autographs like little kids.

The people you meet...


1600 +/- Welcome to LatePostLand. Well, I've had a heck of a time getting out of the starting blocks today. I think I did manage to give myself a slight case of heat exhaustion on Saturday; ever since then, I've felt beat to death: tired, achy, and a few other clues. I tried to take it easy on Sunday; +/- on the results. Yesterday, I came home from work; had dinner; did the church gig (two autographs! ...one for each boy); came back home; and went to bed. No post, no bills, no computer, no nada. In bed by 2130; asleep by 2159; no conscious activity until 0500 and then only to turn over.

I dragged myself into work and checked in with my mother (today marks one year since my father died); she said she was doing okay. Shelley checked in with my sister; same results. Fortunately, the office was slow. ...and Janeen's off to the land of Kona Gold for two weeks, so I had the office to myself. ...good thing too, the yawns would have put her to sleep.

I'm feeling a little better this afternoon, but I think tonight will run like last night: no outside work and early to bed.

So I'm off to stay out of the heat, drink plenty of fluids, rest...
... and check in mañana.


1600 +/- Late again (by my standards); but heck, that's how it's been around here today. I'm closing down for the day and heading home with the 'To Do' pile in exactly the same status it was when I left yesterday. The good news: nothing was added; the bad news: nothing in that stack had anything done to it today. Not that I didn't get things done today... Oh no; lots and lots got done. ...just not anything that was in my game plan.

I used to feel rather bad about all that, the not getting the 'plan for the day' accomplished. Then I attended several seminars on purchasing and found a common theme put forth by all of the speakers: never, never plan more that twenty percent of the day if you are in purchasing. Never. Never...

I started taking that to heart while keeping a low profile. I had to; the general manager at the time was a Daytimer fiend. "Plan the work and work the plan." Sheesh. I finally realized that I had never really left the fire service; I was still putting out fires. ...quite often due to lack of planning on someone else's part. "What do you mean you don't keep thirty three-inch binders in stock? I need them for my presentation tomorrow!" This at 1400 from someone who hadn't even started copying the contents for those three inch binders.

...any idea how long it takes to make thirty copies of enough crud to fill a three inch binder? ...without the copy machine's critical need detector going off and downing the machine?

Oh, there was enough paper; I'd already learned that lesson. ...also the one about leaving between 1500 and 1600 so I couldn't get sucked into such idiocy. ...and the "pager in the freezer" trick (Motorola makes a good product).

So now if a day comes along where I actually get that twenty percent that I had planned finished, we have what's called "Bonus Time". That's when I can actually start catching up with the back log.

Right now, I'm caught up through April 6th...


Links Day!

Let's review a little: this place is called The Time Sink. There's a reason for that. You are part of the reason! I sink my time into the site and you do your best to escape from what is about to occur. If you care at all about time well spent, please hit the Back button on your browser now; otherwise it will simply be too late...

...and I have to wonder where I get some of this stuff. Like the proper way to care for your medical grade leeches. ...that one must belong in one of the teaching files. Oh, were you reading this just after breakfast? Good thing you didn't backtrack that link to the picture of the little cuties at work.

Hmmm, while we're on medical: Gray's Anatomy is available on-line. Thanks Al.

Ya' know, if I ever have a machine running too warm due to lack of air flow, I'm going to start at this guy's page. I mean, really; putting a blowhole in the top of a tower case?

...and from Troubleshooters.com, we get the difference between Intermittents and Reproducibles on our way to understanding how to Troubleshoot anything.

...and then we can go to the original non-PC lyrics to Money for Nothing by Dire Straits.

...or maybe play with a java spirograph.

...and then mellow out with a really nice ad for a web design group. They use Flash in a rather low-key manner.

There's more; but you have work to do...


Housekeeping: Congratulations to John Douchette for landing the job he's been preparing himself for! ...it just seemed like an eternity. ...and Jonathan Hassell, who has made it to the big screen. ...and Phil Hough, who apparently blew the socks off the review boards (okay, that one is a colloquialism that perhaps should be explained; but no one's bothered to explain 'naff' to me...)

Serious Porch Sitting © Tom Syroid last night, and I needed it. I worked my way down to it by lowering my blood pressure working in the yard. I planted some flowers and spent some time in the pool with the boys after we unloaded several bags of bark for the gardens (actually, that worked well: I loaded the handtruck and one young person wheeled it to the back yard whilst the other opened the gate. They worked; I watched. I see a new dimension in my "work". Seems to me that Clemens fellow wrote a story about a fence once... I may have to refresh my memory on how this all works.)

Oh... the topic. Okay. Remember as how I used to run telco? Well, IT switched vendors the other month and there's still one little nagging problem hanging on from the changeover: Janeen's line bleeps every hour at :11, :12, :41, and :42. ...yes, not unlike Chinese water torture. The bleeping think bleeps and The Phone Company (remember The President's Analyst? James Coburn?) cannot seem to add two and two and get four; they keep coming up with 3.14159... ...and that's not what I am as happy as! You see, it's like this: Donna is a nice programmer type that had telco dumped on her; she's not a hardware type at all. She is a logical type, and that is helping when she has to deal with me. ...like after TPC dumps a heaping helping of BS on her about how the problem is on her end.

  • The problem did not occur prior to the switch.
  • No other phone line in the office has this event occurring.
  • TPC admits that line is programmed for a visual message indicator.
  • Every time Donna checks in with the correct person, they say that indicator is back on the line and they'll just have to remove it again.

...but the problem's on our end. QED. -not-

Donna and I had a sit down today while I explained some things about hardware and software as used in telco systems. ...and how a copper pair isn't going to generate a ring signal. ...and how this is likely a control signal (the additional DTMF tones or some such) rather than a ring signal (90 volts at 20Hz).

They have until Monday until I start pulling test equipment from home and slapping it on that line. There's in-band signaling going on that's tripping the "Hey, y'all got a message" indicator on the phones on that line. Heck, they'll even bleep if the line is off-hook; those phones are designed to react to stuff like that. All TPC has to do is turn off the bleeping signal that makes the phones bleep. Sheesh, we're across the street from the Amtrack station and this bleeping thing is out-Mussoliniing them. Bleep!

I was doing okay until one of their inside wire people told her to test the system by unplugging the phones. I mean, like, you know, WT????? I'll bet you his desk light wouldn't come on if he unplugged it as a test. ...just like the light bulb in his head that obviously isn't coming on either.

...and they keep sending the outside wire people out to check the problem. Outside wire people are smart enough to know this isn't a wire problem, or even a frame problem. All they can do is escalate the ticket. ...to Mister (my father was always careful to spell it M. R. for this type of person) Unplug the Phone.

Red Box. Black Box. Blue Box. Captain Crunch. Folks, I speak that language. ...and I don't like people who jerk programmers around just because they don't speak telco or happen to be female.

<sigh>I guess I'll have to hold off posting on the other thing that torqued me beyond spec yesterday.

I am so ready for the weekend...


I spent much of Friday working IT's side of the street... "Why me?", I have to ask. I left this stuff behind last year. I do purchasing. I do not do IT. I do not do plant management. I do not do tech stuff. I do not do development. I do not do fleet stuff. I do purchasing. ...except for things like change the specs on the charging system for the pen-based computers and the IR printers for the fleet. ...and before Monday. <sigh>

Anyway, the Risk Management director wanders in and opens with, "You're the only one left up here this morning, so I guess I'll talk to you." Okaaaaay. ...we'll discuss your people skills later. "How can I brush you off?" ...we already know about my people skills (the BOFH had to learn some place). Seems he thinks someone has been playing in his sandbox: his computer has some stuff showing on the desktop that just isn't his.

Well, now...<G>

The IT director has been off for several days; his number two is off for some reason; and his number three is below the radar. Mosey, mosey... Yep, someone has been in here all right. ...and they're not too bright about cleaning up after themselves. A little work on my part and the HR Director now has some work to do. I leave feeling good about my skill set (okay, nothing fancy; but I feel I have a handle on what likely happened and who the culprit was) and not so good about what may be happening with the employee.

Some time later, after I have returned to my real job in purchasing (ya' know, you just cannot have too many IV needles on a hot summer weekend in central California), the HR director wanders in with his patented puzzled look. "He says he wasn't in that office. He says he used another computer. Could that be?" (I am deliberately being vague here; Daynotes members and most others will understand.) "Uh, sure; it could be. It shouldn't be; but it could be." ...if someone left a hole the size of Lake Michigan open on the machine I'm thinking of.

Off the that location, picking up a trail of upper management on the way. Oh my. Wide bleeping open (no; they haven't fixed that phone line yet. Thanks for thinking of it. Of course that's what I meant by "bleeping". What the bleep did you think I bleeping meant?). ...and I get to show some top level people why this is not a good thing (details also omitted).

So I spend a few minutes tidying up the situation. ...and I call the IT minion and ask him to take care of a few details (we get along well; and he appreciated being left out of things). ...and finally, finally, I can get back to purchasing. ...just in time to go home. Sheesh.

Today should be an outside day; it's supposed to stay cooled down to 100F and that should let me make some major progress on the electrical. Phase one plumbing is done; phase one landscape is done: Shelley can now look out the kitchen window and see pretty posies growing behind the pool. I really should try for a picture or two...

Phase two electrical is the wiring of the low voltage (and the 110) to the north side. I finished the rough in at the far end last night; if I can get the near side finished this morning, I can fish both runs later today. Later, because Shelley and I are taking some time off together to see a movie. Marcia says it's Mission Impossible II. Hmmm...

...must be some serious Netwidows communications going on.


...a Lazy Sunday Post

1830 +/- Not that I meant it to be that way. Life gave me the 'slow down' signal; and, for once, I didn't fight it. I passed out last night without posting or even responding to email. The nice thing about Daynotes: I can broadcast events and catch up the details later. ...like the email I owe several of you (and thanks for the kind words about the posts).

I got up this morning. ...and went back to bed. Twice. We went to church; I had a repast of chips and dip while Shelley napped; and, after she got up, I went back to bed for several hours. No, I don't think it's a bug; I think I'm just flat tired from last week.

Saturday was full, but I don't think I overdid it. I didn't get everything done I had on the plan; but, hey, that's how that goes sometimes. I didn't even go back out and pull wire after the movie; I just took the babysitter home; came back and went to bed. The biggest project so far today was to pay the bills. 'Course, that was enough to take the rest of the wind out of my sails...

Oh, the movie. Well, it was okay as those things go. Popcorn, caffeine, good companionship. ...that I couldn't talk to or hear from during almost the entire flick due to the volume. I found out later she'd placed wadded up pieces of napkins in her ears; I survived rock music, so I really don't notice loud volumes sometimes until I try to talk and cannot hear myself speak.

Oh, the movie. Well, it was okay as long as you were willing to suspend disbelief. I mean, like, you know; like, really, that's the keystone to most movie experiences: can you suspend disbelief long enough to enter into the moviemaker's realm and submerse yourself in that world. Did anyone not get into Alien?

Oh, the movie. Well, it was okay as long as you were willing to suspend disbelief. ...of the laws of physics (to include angular momentum and conservation of energy); basic principles of chemistry (including blast wave propagation, covered well by Bob elsewhere); basic biology (and the inability of the human body to absorb unlimited trauma); and, according to the lady I was with, the supposed chemistry between the leading man and the leading lady.

That said, your heart will generally maintain a rate of around 120 percent of your normal resting pulse (without the caffeine; don't overdo it); the visuals are stunning (Shelley really liked how Sidney, Australia looked); and the action sequences are well done (John Woo, obviously). Cynicism aside, it was an okay flick.

Maybe I just don't get out enough...

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