Yesterday was the day of weird including getting lost. It started in the morning ..warning this is a long post.
Yesterday was a lost cause, everything came with an extra twist or unexpected outcome. And yes, I did have my first sailing lesson last night; but there were many things that happened before. First weird event was buying gas. Normally it is n easy process, you hand the attendant money and then put gas into the car. Only this time she handed back a card and insisted I swipe it through a machine. “What is this card?” I asked. “It’s money, we are giving you money.” “What?” “It’s money, take it” said the girl. “Read this”. Well it turns out the local gas station has a new incentive program. And I could game the system by adding tons of cash, pumping gas, and then return for the change. Spend enough and this card becomes a prepaid gas card.
Work also was surreal. IT strikes again. Theoretically IT for information technology, I like the concept of “IT” from the book A Wrinkle in Time. IT, the all knowing, all controlling evil entity.
Came in to find that our IT had indeed disabled much functionality on the XP workstations. Now our customer wants us to develop software that works on an XP machine. They have not yet made the switch to a window’s 7 machine. But we have too. And so last fall, we started ordering second computers for everyone — two computers per very small desk.
My second windows 7 machine was ordered last september. It arrived at the beginning of January. But it was not satisfactory, it cannot handle two monitors. Evidently my XP computer and its monitors are so old (8 years) that IT cannot figure out how to hook my two monitors to the new machine. Can’t order a new video card. Can’t use an adaptor to make two monitors work well. INstead, I have one monitor and feel crippled in my work skills. But at least I have a computer that has email, web access, timecards, and various software packages not yet working correctly. Half of my team doesn’t even have that. Nice going IT–half of the team can’t do their job.
It gets even better. One boss changed the values on my peer review (he didn’t like them) after I left work for the weekend last week. And when this person came in late to work, he asked why I hadn’t finished the job. Well DUHH, my computers were not working. Talk about being set up to fail.
Yet we are not through with work yet. At the end of last year, my division sent out a video message box to everyone’s home as a year end present. Whoopeeee….it was kind of neat. Think of a super fancy musical birthday card, but instead of happy birthday we have a Vice President talking to us about how great the company is. 10 seconds of the message was great. And then what?
Well being a good engineer, I immediately started hacking this box. And it turns out there was a community of people at work who also wondered what else we could do with the video boxes. Mine are going into art projects if I can get another power source and movie put onto the card. And I have extras from employees who didn’t throw it out. One guy offered to let me have his and sent over some new interns (high school students) to deliver this box. They asked why I wanted it and I explained my goal was dismantle the thing and reuse the components. Interested, I tasked the two kids with doing the same job on the box they had brought. At first they looked at me as if I were insane, but when I started pulling apart the cardboard and explained what they would find, one kid was happy to hold onto the box.
Their mentor has also instructed them to ask for a tour. “Of what?” I thought. “No one had a working computer.” But being game, I took them for a walk through the building. We looked at the display case with models of planes and I talked about the different programs. We looked at the lockers where people can lock up phones before going into labs. They tried putting their phones into these small cubicles and noticed that the new iphones won’t fit. We went upstairs and talked with some new hires including one woman who had been a college intern. She told them the money was really good, especially if she worked on Sundays where she got double pay. Both young men now know to start looking for a paid college engineering internship starting next December.
Continued on with the tour. Had another engineer show off a GUI (graphical user interface) with lots of yellow, green and no red buttons. Explained that pilots looked at these gui’s while flying the plane. Walked them into another room and showed them pictures on the wall of planes being built. We talked about drones for a while. And I concluded the tour by showing them all the vending machines. Thought I did well for an impromptu tour. Those kids learned all the important things about money and food.
Finally the work day ended and I left early for our first sailing class. Now I had arranged to leave early so I could pick up Bob from the downtown train station. But at the last minute he decided to drive and I decided to NOT tell anyone I had extra time. Good thing, because getting to the class was an exercise in getting lost.
Went downtown just fine. Took the 15 to the 63 to the 8 and then forgot to get off at the correct street. First chance to get lost, driving around mission bay. Eventually ended up on Harbor Island downtown in time to watch the sunset and moon for a few minutes. Called Bob who wasn’t to be seen and he was shocked. “Why aren’t you in La Jolla?” he asked. “La Jolla, I thought we were meeting at Harbor Island across from the airport” I replied. “No, it’s in La Jolla next to the AMC Movie theater. I am looking at the mormon chapel across the freeway.
Good thing he told me to look for the mormon church since that is a very easy to see landmark. Because I took that drive as an opportunity to get lost several times and see more of our city. Missed the freeway onramp from Rosecrans and had to do some interesting turns. Got off at the wrong place and had to get back onto the freeway. Eventually I made it to the shopping center and we had a long conversation before realizing Bob was talking about landmarks from inside the shopping center while I was in a car outside the center.
Fate wasn’t done with me. The trip home offered yet more opportunities to see unusual streets as I struggled to find the north bound freeway on-ramp. But the class was good. Bob admitted to some sailing experience and I admitted I had been on the boat while he sailed. Did well at the knots, really rocked with my square knot. Next week we have class number two. I am looking forward to it.