A Day In The Woods

This morning Donna and I went for an atypical walk in Hitchcock Woods. Instead of wandering semi aimlessly, we had a definite destination, the centrally located horse ring. Today was the last day of the 90th running of the Aiken Horse Show.

Our neighbor’s daughter competes and we thought it might be nice to see if she was going to be there. When we arrived at the ring we looked and looked, but didn’t see her. As we were leaving the area near where all the horses were, she came running up. When we asked when she was riding she shrugged and said later. Aaah, youth. She knew Mom would tell her when. Turns out it was much later than we had planned on staying, but what the heck we have some time. Unfortunately at the last minute they shuffled the schedule, delaying her start into the early afternoon and we didn’t have that much time. Plus we didn’t have the money nor the desire to eat from the “roach coach.”

I did get a chance to shoot a bunch pictures with the new camera, including a few using the panorama function.
Horse Ring
Clicking on the image will take you to a 40% reduction of the 4576 x 1220 original.

Seeing this is April you may see another one of the shots in the Hitchcock Woods 2006 gallery later this month. While you wait, check out March’s entry from about three weeks ago.

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We took Thursday off as a vacation day. We had Friday off as a holiday, so we are having a nice little 4 day weekend with no real plans. We have done a bit of shopping for stuff we need (and some stuff we didn’t need) as we are redoing one of the bedrooms. We want to move in on the other side of the house because it is cooler in the summer than our current bedroom.

Thursday seemed like Saturday to me, but it was not. Friday seemed like Saturday too, but it wasn’t. Today was Saturday and it felt like…Friday. Wonder what day I’ll think tomorrow is?

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A Beer & A Fudgesicle

After we finished up some yard work this evening and showered off, I was watching a little TV while enjoying a malt beverage. My wife decided that she wanted a fudgesicle, so as not to make me feel left out, brought me one too. Somehow I don’t think the fudgesicle will be replacing salted peanuts as America’s favorite bar snack soon.

When I talked with the last Allstate Claims drone I was informed that I would have to pick a body shop and tell them who it was before they would cut a check. The check would then be made out to both me and the body shop to protect the lien holder of the car, Amsouth Bank. This way I couldn’t just cash the check and not get the car fixed reducing the value of Amouth’s property, makes sense. I picked one of their recommended shops, Satcher Ford because I would get a lifetime warranty on the repair. Last Thursday I told Allstate who I picked. Well, I got the check in the mail from Allstate today, and it was made out just to me. I guess I could go ahead and get an undamaged trunk from the junkyard and have it painted, blending the metallic paint be damned and pocket seven or eight hundred dollars, but I won’t.

I got an email today from MLB.com:

Dear Valued Fan,

Thank you for sending your email.

We really appreciate your feedback and comments and have forwarded your email to the appropriate department.

Please feel free to call our toll-free Customer Support Hotline at 1-866-800-1275 for information or assistance. Thank you again for taking the time to write!

MLB.com Support

Was that in response to my April 1st email? Or the one on April 10th? I guess after paying all those players gazillions of dollars a year there isn’t much left over for actual customer service…

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Move Along

Nothing here to see. Move along. Return to your homes.

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And I Thought I Had It Bad

When I started work here in Aiken in 1989 there was one other draftsman already here. I say draftsman, but he was much more than that. Lynn was also designing all the valve assembly test fixtures. After he designed them, he built them. In between all that he had to teach me how to use AutoCAD. When I was in Florham Park I used something called CADAM that ran on a mainframe computer. Everything in Aiken was running on PCs (8088 and some 286s) and they had AutoCAD version 9.

Lynn used to do all the drawings by hand, but a couple years earlier and engineer had won an Apricot computer with AutoCAD version 2 installed on it at a trade show. Lynn learned to draw on the “new” computer and even started redrawing the plant layouts. The kicker of this is the Apricot didn’t have a mouse, he navigated around drawing walls and lighting and such in our150, 000 sq ft plant using the arrow keys to move the cursor.

As we started growing on the production side, all that work defaulted to me and Lynn kept up with the assembly side. We shared a 20′ x 20′ room that had the back 1/3 separated via cubical walls where Lynn built the test benches and fixtures. I nicknamed him the Mad Scientist because it was almost comical the noises that emanated from behind those walls. About eight years ago they really separated us when he got his own room on the other side of the plant.

Two years ago he retired from ASCO. The Assembly Engineering Department had grown from just Lynn to an Engineering Supervisor, 3 Engineers and him. He didn’t stay retired very long. Seeing as he had pretty much designed and built every piece of test fixturing out there, he had to come back in and consult to help them fix them up. Soon he was coming in every day, they found a spare cubical and dusted off his old PC, and he was back doing pretty much what he was doing before he “retired.”

Two weeks ago, after he got done burning some leaves in a pit behind his house, he hung up the rake in his garage. There must have been a piece of something still burning on the rake he didn’t notice. The ember fell off onto a gas can and before you knew it the garage was on fire. Lynn tried to put out the fire with a nearby hose, but couldn’t do it. Before some construction workers from next door could pull him away from the fire he was badly burned. Lynn is lying in an induced coma in the burn ward of an Augusta hospital with 3rd degree burns over nearly 25% of his body. His lungs were burned badly from the heat and he is breathing with the help of a ventilator. It was touch and go for a while, but he appears to be getting a little better each day.

His daughter has a blog where she is posting updates for all of his family and extended work family to read: Lisa’s Family Page

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List Mania

Last night we moved into the freshly painted bedroom. There are a couple items still on the punch list:

  1. Hang some pictures on the bare walls.
  2. Rewire the ceiling fan so that the light is controlled by the wall switch instead of the remote control.
  3. Buy some matching curtains to replace the too dark temporary ones up now.
  4. Touch up the closet door and the back of the room door to cover the patched holes.

Our new Cingular cell phone arrived via UPS yesterday. My attempt to activate it on the web failed, so I tried the 1-800 customer service number only to be told to call back during working hours, 7AM to 9PM week days. I’ve got a couple of items still on the punch list for it too:

  1. Transfer over the dozen or so phone numbers from the soon to be crushed Tracfone.
  2. Email the dozen or so folks who have our old number and give them the new one.
  3. RTFM to see how to work some of the features.
  4. Setup my account online so I can recharge the minutes when needed.

Donna’s replacement cycle-computer also arrived yesterday. It came FedEx Ground. Good thing the packages came several hours apart, I would hate to had a fight between the two competing drivers happen in my driveway. I’ve got a couple of items still on the punch list for it as well:

  1. Enter the wheel circumference.
  2. Set the date and time.
  3. Transfer over the the year’s mileage so far (32ish)

Moved my computer desk from the front room to the middle bedroom today and only one thing remains to be done there, fix the small string of white Christmas lights that I use as stage lighting for the Fab Four. But I’ve got a list for you anyway, this is how many electrical plugs I have to accommodate for the desk:

  1. CPU Tower
  2. Monitor
  3. Speakers
  4. USB Hub
  5. Flatbed Scanner
  6. Slide/Film Scanner
  7. Desk Lamp
  8. Cordless Headphones Base
  9. Printer
  10. Camera Dock
  11. Wireless Router
  12. Cable Modem
  13. Cell Phone Charger
  14. Phew!

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What Kind Of Car Am I Driving?

I thought for sure that my Enterprise experience yesterday evening would be fodder for a great ‘rant’ post, but other than having to wait 45 minutes to get a car, it went pretty smoothly. Take a look at the below photo and tell me what kind of car I’ll be driving will the Miata is in the body shop:


Buying Beer For The Neighborhood Kids

Every morning when I get to work I fire up the PC and wander into our “cafeteria” to fill my mug full of ice and water while the computer boots up. Donna and I start work at 7:30 and the production and assembly folks start at 7:00, so the place is usually deserted.

This morning as I approached the ice machine I hear, “Psst. Bri-yan.” Over by the water fountain, just inside the door, is one of the women who work on the assembly line motioning me over. She hands me 50¢ and asks, “Can you go buy me a large cappuccino?” So I put my mug on top of the ice machine and get her a hot cappuccino out of the coffee machine. As I bring her her cup another woman shows up and asks if I could do the same for her. I say, Sure.” So she hands me 2 quarters and I head back to the coffee machine. After they have both poured their paper cups of steaming cappuccino into their approved, covered mugs, they thank me profusely and go back out to their respective assembly lines.

I’m guessing that they are allowed into the cafeteria as far as the fountain so they can get water, but can’t go anywhere near the snack or drink machines unless it is during breaks or lunch. It felt just a little like going into the package store to buy a six-pack for some high schoolers…