Monday, January 24, 2011

KDFC went away today

Bummer. I work at home sometimes, often doing e-mail and expense reports. The radio is a nice diversion, and I listen to the classical station a lot. So here I was swaying to the Blue Danube Waltz this morning, and the next thing I know, there is The Hotel California by the Eagles at 12:20. Something about switching to public format, and now DRAT! I am going to have to figure out this streaming business. Change is not good here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Dance, Squared

My poor BlackBerry has a bent pin, it cannot be repaired for complicated reasons. The death rattle came this week, I have 2 bars of battery life left. Now I am no longer a Field Engineer, but am an Inside Applications Scientist, which belies the fact I am in the 4 days - 3 nights travel mode for this entire month. Nonetheless, I am not actually entitled to a BlackBerry. This month I switched from my old boss J to my new boss P, that blue-sky thinker and loose cannon. It has been a good trip this week, lots of us were here to launch a new collaboration, and we were enjoying a most excellent bottle of wine gifted on us by our Enology Professor Sue. So, P, I say, my phone is dying and I need to order a new one. Why are you telling me, he says. Because you have to approve it, P. Just get it. Fine. (P evidently slept through manager school where they explain the pecking order of whom is entitled to what work tools). So I am sitting here salivating in anticipation of my new touch screen BlackBerry, which should arrive this week.

Another nice thing that happened yesterday, is that we had a very successful project review with my collaborators, where I let the new post-doc to understand that I picked up on a couple of omissions and had total control of the details. My managers were quite pleased with the meeting. We had other meetings for the rest of the day. Professor Sue quite kindly invited 4 of us to dine at her home along with her collaborator Professor Alyson of Food Science and Technology, along with other family members. It was delightful, we enjoyed the conversation, and Alyson and I dreamed up a new project for pomegranate juice authentication. Sometimes it all works out just right.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

and life still goes on . . .

So I am sitting in the small hotel by the college campus, preparing for my first quarterly review with my university collaborators today. We are about 3 months behind where we wish we were, due to delays in equipment deliveries, but it is what it is. I have my power clothes all ready, and the attendees all have their assignments for what to present. We will see if the come-to-Jesus meeting yesterday focuses everyone's mind on the work at hand as defined by the project (not what the blue-skying post doc wishes he could do first).

It's really foggy here, as it tends to be this time of year. I am so glad I live where it stays above freezing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

and life goes on . . .

All of us have scars on our backs - not always literal ones - where we have been stabbed. I have a new one from yesterday, and it is still bleeding. The data came in, looked as expected after several days of troubleshooting, I was happy, offered the customer a glass of wine to celebrate, and the next morning the proverbial substance hit the rotating oscillator. Personal attacks via the e-mail bomb made it necessary for me to pull a bit of data and leave ASAP. I REALLY didn't see this one coming. Different culture perhaps made the body language unreadable, but I was for sure blindsided. Fortunately my managers trust and respect me, but who needs this? It's really hard to dodge all of that proverbial substance when it is flying around. The customer may always be right, but not this time, folks. I for sure didn't need this one. aargh.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Part of it is finally finished

A couple of years ago, I bought myself a J & P Coats spool cabinet at the auction ( I had my eye on these as they occasionally appeared for several years, but got priced out of the bidding. Two years ago, things didn't go for as much, and I managed to pick up a bargain. It sat on a packing box for a couple of years, then one day I found some turned legs for sale. Who knew one could buy legs, aprons and all the stuff to make your own table? So a lot more money later than I thought it would cost, stuff showed up. I thought I could stain and glue and it would turn into a table. Well, the resident engineer took over the project, and the stain and oil finish is a perfect match for the old wood cabinet. The top still needs to be stained and glued etc, but as it happens, this much works well enough. Isn't it lovely?
BTW, apologies about the header to the blog. It is kind of under construction and will get put up there right as soon as I get help to figure out how.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

I think I need to officially declare 2010 as a successful year. I got to travel to Germany, Hungary, Las Vegas, Chicago, Fairbanks, Tallahassee, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington DC, Orlando and somewhere else in Florida, not to mention Davis CA, where I get to go again this week (o boy). I got to travel a little with my Mother, which is a beautiful thing after years of not having that opportunity. I made a beautiful bracelet for my cousin. I perfected the tee shirt pattern and have several to wear to work now. I made some other things, although I can't quite call them to mind at the moment. The roses and tomatoes did OK, I'm still working on the gardening. I have another cat who wandered into my life, and he is a sweetie. On the down side, I really smashed my shoulder, and it is still giving me trouble. Being inactive while my shoulder healed was not kind to my waistline, and that, of course, is part of my resolution list for 2011. The new Wii Fit is still in pieces in the living room, but sometime early this year, that will be a happening thing. But you know, I am blessed with dear friends, a good man with a good job, a job that makes me happy, a new, snug roof over my head, and I am contented. Life's good.