In which is much information, and perhaps whining, and most
certainly praeterition. Not all
is new information, but most is new to this venue. If you care, consider setting aside a
few minutes to read, as it is long.
This is probably one of my worst quarters ever. I was carrying
13 credits at the beginning. That's barely full-time. I then
allowed myself to stop doing homework. I fell so far behind that
I had to drop Physics 123. Now I've got 8 credits, and I doubt
that I'll break a 3.0 overall regardless.
I have a theory or two about why I lost all motivation this
quarter, but I'll keep them to myself.
According to my father, my entire paternal lineage is composed
of smart people who are lousy students. I take some comfort in
that. Some comfort.
I'm still working for Classroom Support Services, in the
basement of Kane Hall. I started as a
preventative maintenance worker. This meant that I went around
to classrooms and checked all the installed equipment (overhead
projectors, data projectors, computers, TVs, VCRs, etc) for proper
functioning. That became dull quickly. Now I do somewhat the
other side of the job. Each PM worker (there are at most nine) takes
inventory of installed equipment as well as testing it. I take
the inventory sheets that the PM workers fill out, and correlate
that with a database of installed equipment.
It's the correlation of multiple realities. The reality of the
classrooms as they are, which I don't get to directly observe. The reality of the
database, which was an approximation of the first reality
last week. And the reality of the
inspection sheets, which is close to the reality of
the classrooms now. From this, I have to create the reality of
the database as it is now. It's not exactly interesting, but it's
not boring. I can mostly zone off as long as I keep an eye out
for inconsistencies that need conscious attention.
Earlier I said that there are at most nine PM workers. There
are nine routes, each of which has ten to thirteen hours worth of
classrooms. Until this week, one (two?) position was vacant and
one person was doing two routes in order that she might get more
hours. Two PM workers were recently hired.
One of the new PM workers, Jessica, was in the office today at
the same time as I. I was a bit curt (any amount is too much, in my
opinion) to her. I'll be helping train her Friday afternoon, so
I hope to remedy my behavior.
Concerning my Family
My mother is now working outside the home for the first time
since my parents married, 21 years ago. This means that my father
is the homemaker. It's very stressful for him. He tends to
invest himself emotionally in the food that he makes. I don't
care about food, it's just food. The best possible metaphor I can
think of for this situation is of an impedance
mismatch. Actually, that's an excellent metaphor for lots of
Concerning my Work at the Museum
I love working at the museum. However, it's just one obstacle
I got the D4 channel bank connected to the #5 Crossbar
recently (finally). It works great. Except there's a very strong echo. I
don't know how to get rid of it. Passive echo cancellation, which
attempts to match the channel bank impedance to the line
impedance, doesn't help at all. Active echo cancellation, which
is completely done in the computer, doesn't help at all.
Combining the two yields no improvement over the initial state,
which wasn't adjusted. It's frustrating.
So I moved back to my previous project — the 3 ESS. It's
got a mashed-together distributing frame, which consists of about
1200 terminals spread among nine terminal blocks, high above the
central aisle of the switch. Rich and I removed around 20
dead jumper pairs today. Dead jumpers are wires that are
connected at one end and not the other, or that aren't connected
at all. Any installation will have some amount of dead cable,
which has to be periodically "mined" to free up space. Yes,
professionals do call it cable mining; I am not making this up.
We have documentation on about 80 pairs in
the "distributing frame", so we'll have to trace (by hand!) about
a hundred more pairs of wire. The plan is to install a bunch of
66 blocks (punch-down termination, which is much easier than
soldering or even wire-wrapping) and transfer all the cable to
them. I don't know how we'll do it, but when it's done there will
be documentation. I'm making sure of that.
Old cable used cotton for insulation around each wire. Around
the cable as a whole, asbestos was used for fire-retardance.
Cables made before about 1935 were also fortified with arsenic in
the insulation to
deter rats from using them as nesting material. This is what I'm
working with every week. I'm not worried. I don't do too much
manhandling of old cable, so I shouldn't release a great deal of
asbestos. The arsenic is a little bit more worrisome, but I
assume that washing my hands well will eliminate most of the risk.
I left my gloves there today.
Concerning my Friends
I have friends. I have new friends. It's amazing. Why didn't
I develop a social life in high school?
One person in particular. But I won't talk.
The Bottom Drawer
Today I saw a dumpster on a truck in Georgetown. The dumpster
was black and bore the Seattle Center logo. It was incongruous.
I can't really explain the feeling I got. The logo says along the
bottom, "What a wonderful place." It felt out of place pasted on a
filthy trash receptacle headed to parts south.
Wow. Almost 130 lines; that's the most substantial entry I've
written in months. How did I write that? And, yikes!
where did the evening go?