Saturday, April 30, 2005

Greetings from the walk for the cure

Greetings from the walk for the cure

Friday, April 29, 2005

A Career Milestone

I had an experience yesterday which was sort of new for me. I broke for lunch with the purchasing guy and realized that I had left part of my lunch in my office. On my way back to my office, I was flagged down by the new engineer as I passed his office. He's a young guy, a year or so out of school. He knows the latest computer programs, but has had only a little real-world experience using them. He came to us after being laid off by a competing lighting manufacturer. As I screeched to a stop in the hall, he asked me "are you good with geometry?" I was hesitant, since I generally rely heavily on the CAD systems to solve my geometry problems, working in 3D when necessary. I replied with some quasi-witty remark like "it depends on what you're going to ask me." At this point he described what he was doing and it turned out to be something relatively simple which I had struggled with at first, but now do on a regular basis. I first tried to explain it using his calculator (a 6"x7"x1" TI calculator with a screen that displays 5 or 6 lines of text, and more than likely, graphics and an alphanumeric keyboard with roughly 150 tiny keys) I was unable to do simple math on it, so I ran and grabbed my trusty HP 41CX. I did a few quick calculations to refresh my own memory, checked them then explained to him what I had done. It took a few tries explaining it to him for his brain to get traction on it, but soon he had the gist. The funny thing was that der UberKalkulator seemed to complicate things for him too and he was able to understand only when he tried it on a more normal one. Suddenly, I went from being the greenie and struggling to learn the ropes to being the experienced veteran explaining the way things work. What's more, I was suddenly the old guy who does better without the techno gadgets explaining the old way to the techno-savvy kid. It's weird. I don't suppose it will be the last time.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"The End is Near"

The web is a funny place. It's revolutionary in that one can cheaply and easily spread information and ideas that anyone else in the world with a connection can receive. For that reason, we have to make sure we know our source or verify things when we hear them.

With that in mind, however, I've been spending time on alternatively fueled vehicle discussion groups lately, and someone in one of them just linked to a quite unsettling article. This article talks about a prediction about the world's oil supplies peaking and beginning to wane starting as early as the next year or two. I don't really know much about the source, but if this is true, our current state of climbing gas prices will only get worse. After that, who knows what will happen? It makes me want to go out and buy a diesel car and a greasecar system and get friendly with the local Chinese restaurant owner or even start saving up for a Tango. Time to put on our thinking caps, folks.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Points of View

New Jersey is an expensive place to live. When you put so many people into such a small place you're bound to have high housing costs. It's simple supply and demand. With such a large number of people with money, the prices seem to go endlessly higher.It's no surprise that among the non-affluent masses of people it's so common to live with one's parents. Where in other parts of the country having parents as roommates has a greater stigma attached, It's often simply the sensible thing to do in such an expensive area even if moving out would otherwise be possible. There's just a different attitude.

With that in mind, there still is a draw to the freedom associated with having one's own place.I was talking with our temporary receptionist at lunch today who, as I had previously learned, lives with her boyfriend, a heavy metal musician. I had seen him pick her up before, and assumed he was a relatively successful musician (or has a good day job) as he was driving a fairly new and relatively expensive car. At any rate, the lunchtime conversation drifted to living with parents. She told me how she didn't go that route. She Was out of the house by 21. Her boyfriend, though, still lives with his parents. I mentally backtracked a bit and thought about what she had told me. I suppose that means that it's better to live with your significant other's parents than your own.

I didn't attempt to follow the logic. I just nodded.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Getting to Work Without Gas

Ever since I heard of the Tango electric car, I've been a bit interested in electric cars. I doubt my range and size requirements would make this practical. Same thing for the Vortex 3 wheeled kit car that recently crossed my screen, which can be fitted with a motorcycle engine or an electric motor. I also have been enjoying saying "what if" in regards to converting a diesel car to run on waste vegetable oil. As much as I enjoy my car (I consider driving, even driving to work, a recreational activity) I can't help but look at other options. It's not necessarily that I can't afford the higher gas prices we've been having. I think it's just in my nature.

Recently, my sister-in-law from the land of $3.00 per gallon 87 octane gas sent me an email one morning. She said that she was going to start biking to work. My first thought was "Cool, I wish I could do that. New Jersey traffic is so ruthless." As the day dragged on, I began to think about it more and more. I already avoid highways and travel to work on local roads to avoid the unpredictable traffic jams. These roads are not heavily traveled. The traffic on them is not terribly fast. the 7-8 miles are certainly not a long trip. I already have a bike and most of the other necessary equipment. Why not dust off, tune up and ride my old double-butted beauty which has been sitting in the basement so neglected. The hydraulic brakes and plush suspension fork may be a little bit of overkill for a commuter bike, but I think some smooth tires might just make it work for me. This just might work. I'll have to make a dry run some Saturday morning. I think "National Bike to Work Week" is coming in mid May. Maybe I'll use that as my goal.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Got Head?

Got Head?

"A torrential downpour of cascading showering pleasure."

We've been doing a few minor fix-ups around the house. I think the winner of the bang-for-the-buck award is the "Deluge" shower head. It doesn't have as much pressure as some, but makes up for it in volume. I know what you're saying: "but that's not very energy efficient." All I can say is that it's worth it. For 30 bucks, it was definitely worth a try.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Back to BBQ

Back to BBQ

The weather is starting to get nice again. This, of course, means barbecue. Tonight is the first time we've fired the grill up since last fall. Tonight: two types of chicken sausages. 1- chicken and apple and 2- chicken and jalapeno. Yum. Tonight's barbecue was expertly tended by Dad, who is out east for Malfunction54 and Allergictochocolate's wedding. It's nice to start up again.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Thought for the Day

A Thought for the Day

I've already sold out to The Man. Shouldn't I at least get what's due?

Monday, April 04, 2005



Congrats to Malfunction54 and Allergictochocolate on their recent nuptuals. On Saturday, April 2, 2005. I don't know A2C very well, but I think she seems like a perfect match for Malfunction54, who I've known for about two thirds of my life. I wish you many happy years together.

In case anyone is wondering, the photo is of their cake topper. Yes, it is made entirely of legos.