21 cards

Mom asked me to play cards with her and Floyd last night.  I haven’t done that in ages.  “Sure,” I said.  I put on some music, and Floyd dealt the cards.

The object of the game is to get rid of a stack of 21 cards by playing them, each person in turn, on stacks from A to Q in the middle of the table.  Sometimes we move one, two, or more cards during our turns, but most times we just take turns around the table and accomplish nothing – take a card to start, try to play, and finally discard a card.

We went around and around for 20 minutes without much action.  Mom & Floyd played several cards from their stack of 21.  Mine stood still.  I couldn’t move any.  I pointed this out to them.  “You haven’t moved any?”  “Not yet,” I replied.

I think Floyd took pity on me and played two As on the table.  My turn came around, and I used my first card.  Then another.  Then two As came up.  I used them to start two new stacks and built on them – A, 2, 3 … up to Q.  I kept playing.  Six or seven stacks were started on the table.  The cards just kept lining up, and I played them.

Why make an ongoing letter entry on this?  Not only did I win the game when M&F were miles ahead of me, but this is the first time in my life I used up the entire stack of 21 cards in one hand.

spiders in the keyboard

It was apparently cleaning day at work today.  T moved some desks and debris out of the office as it was a slow work flow day.  I got into the kick of it later as well and finally tackled my computer keyboard, which was covered in … whatever the stuff is that collects on keyboards and the bottoms of computer mice.  I tipped it up-side-down and gave it a few good whacks.  What came out was surprising – not just the volume of grot but something else – a spider!  I nudged it with my finger, and, sure enough, it was alive!  All this time I’ve been using a keyboard with spiders in it.

NGM Bible hunters

I got an email today from National Geographic.  They have a series called Bible Hunters.  Some investigative journalism on the history of the Bible, I guess, which is all well and good.  It’s a pretty well-known set of texts (if not accurately known).

But I was also watching a YouTube video produced by National Geographic called The Bible’s Buried Secrets National Geographic Documentary HD.  I very rarely see such bias ‘journalism’ from reputable names like yours.  My comments:

This video begins interesting but not too much later gives a poor impression. At 12:00, the video loses ground (no pun intended). Genesis chapter 8 states the rains lasted 40 days & nights. It says the water subsided, not the rains, after 150 days. These are two different concepts. One sentence states it rain, and one states the waters started receding. As well, it clearly states that first a raven was sent out and then, later, a dove. Why is this contradictory? It seems to me that it isn’t. I thought this documentary would rely on ‘documents’ (“documentary”?), but so far it doesn’t hold water (again, no pun intended). It’s like someone saying, “I ate eggs for breakfast and pasta for lunch,” and someone else saying, “Well which is it – which did you eat – eggs or pasta?”

So forgive me, NGM; although I have thoroughly enjoyed your magazines, have a collection of them in paper and electronic form, and have a library of your videos, your journalism shows your true colours.

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ISC drafting

Wow.  Long time since I’ve updated anything here.

I’ve been at ISP as a drafter for a few weeks now.  The first week I was there, there were no new orders.  Well, maybe a couple.  But not enough to get my feet wet with my trainer, PP was quitting at the end of the week; drafting was not for him.  But, with no new orders coming in to cut my teeth on, I didn’t get a lot of practise in.  I did calculations, practise drafting of previously done orders, and getting used to AutoCAD again.

The following week was, as Glenn would say, “not too pretty good”.  It was a tough week.  They brought in the previous person, B, to help me out for a day.  B was quite helpful in getting me more up-to-speed.  But I still made mistakes.

It’s funny – when you know something because of education, on-the-job training, and experience, you may look back at who you were and what you didn’t know in a kind of negative way.  That is, I find it temping to do that.  I look back at all the mistakes I made and wonder how I could have made them all.  I feel a whole lot better about my ability (qualifications? experience? knowledge?) now than I did a couple of weeks ago.

But I know I’ve cost the company money.  Yes, yes, I know – they took someone without experience, and so they must have known beforehand that it would, at first, cost them money.  But … here’s the unfortunate part.  The mistakes in drafting I made – some of them were actual mistakes (calculations, for example); and some were PTSD rearing its ugly fat head back in my direction, causing the deer-in-the-headlights brain-freeze that was pretty common years ago; but a lot of it was the repetition of mistakes.

You see, the engineer that was there previously, J, left and went to what could be called a sister company from way back (not really affiliated with ISP anymore), leaving ISP with no engineer.  I would submit a drafting drawing to the receptionist, she would send it to J, and he would check it and send it and the bill back to ISP for revisions.  Yes, the bill.  Each revision costs the company.  Yes, this seems reasonable until…

The time lag factor.  I, a total greenhorn, would submit a drawing with the typical newbie mistakes.  Ten more jobs would come in within the next day or so, and I would draft them.  They each had the same mistakes!  There were not corrected yet since the revisions were not done and sent back to me until somewhere between a few days and a week.  So a week’s worth of repeated mistakes would happen, costing the company greatly.

Now comes the self-conscious part of me feeling bad about it.  But management would assure me that this will pass as I gain skill.  I offered to redo the ones that J had not touched yet so as to catch as many mistakes that the steep learning curve has taught me to find.  I was told I worry too much and that, as they say, this too shall pass.

So now comes a slow period.  I did four drawings for company that ISC does regular business with.  Each one was faster and easier and, I hope, with fewer errors.  What took me two hours to do when I first started now takes about 10 minutes.  I created new AutoCAD templates based on old ones without the same mistakes repeated in them.  I created spreadsheets to automate the calculation process, eliminate dumb math mistakes, and create nice, pleasant looking (i.e. readable) calculation proofs to send to J.  I organized the computer files to make them faster to access.  I created different file names (that still conform to company policy, though I forgot to rename one file and got shit for it) so as to find them faster.

Can it be done?  Can this method of drafting at ISP and sending it all to an engineer work?  H, a boss I work with, seems to think so.  He ought to know – he’s a bit older than me and has no doubt been in the business a long time.  But the owner is no doubt sad about losing money.  Do they hire an engineer?  If so, will they need a drafter like me?  There was an ad in the employment webs for an engineer.  Am I being replaced?

I’ve been there four weeks now.  I think I’ve learned a lot and improved a lot.  But, still, the feeling of feeling bad still makes me feel bad.  It’s not caused by the people there.  They’re all great people – everyone, I’m pretty sure.

Or … is it … just me?  I’ll take H‘s advice – don’t worry about it – just do my job.

new toaster, printer, job

A couple of days ago a few things happened – I bought a new toaster, I found a printer on sale and bought it, and I got an offer for a job and accepted.

First things first – I am now a Drafting Technologist for ISP.  I applied last week, had the first interview earlier this week, a phone call to come in for a second interview on Thursday, and was offered a position during that interview.  I start Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 and will be reviewed after 3 months.

I also got an email from ASET congratulating me on being a Technologist in Training.  Now I must work for two out of the next three and a half years go obtain my C. Tech / C.E.T. designation.

I bought a toaster.  Thanks to Walmart’s Rollback price, I got a Black & Decker toaster for $18.88.  Pretty cheap.  It even has a bagel button.

And, finally, a printer.  I thought I’d drop by the printer / scanner area to try to replace my dead machine.  I was looking at a printer, and a Walmart guy came around and asked, “You’re looking for the one on sale?”  “Uh … yah, I am.”  Eh?  I found a pile of Canon PIXMA MX492 boxes.  I wasn’t expecting to pay $34 though.  I’d be an idiot to not buy it.

Uniden PC-122

I won an auction for a Uniden PC-122 CB/SSB radio.  This is the same radio as the Radio Shack TRC-465.  It’s a solid little radio.  I am thinking that MV can use it when we travel together.  We’re always fighting with battery power and range with some 2-way radios that we have.

For those who don’t know, SSB (Super Side Band, or just Sideband) radio is a type of radio signal that has no carrier wave but sends a signal through pure modulation.  Eh?  Read up if you want.  These radios operate on the same frequencies as regular CB radios, either just above (Upper Side Band) or just below (Lower Side Band).  The upside of SSB is increased range.  The downside is that the receiver cannot lock on to any carrier wave but must adjust their receiving modulation up or down to hone in on the signal.