Monday, July 4, 2011

the double-weekend update

For some reason I posted this last week and it went back into draft status. So this is from last week.

I wouldn't say much happened during the last business week. However, I have had some notable events this past weekend and the weekend before that.

Sir Mix-a-lot
Justin had a show the weekend before last, and he asked Andy if he would help with the sound. I arrived a little later, and ended up helping out Andy with the house PA levels while Andy worked the recording output levels. It was cool to be involved with the show and have an impact on how it sounded. Most of the night was fine-tuning, but there were some instances when the sound was just too loud or soft and the adjustments definitely helped.

Kickball Canceled
We had a nice downpour on Tuesday night, but by Wednesday morning most of it was dried up. Strangely, our kickball game that night was postponed anyways. I doubt there was any moisture on the fields, but whatever. Molly scheduled a game night and a few kickballers met up at Molly's. We played Scattergories and Outburst.

wtf iPad?
At work, they are piloting a new program to determine the impact on an engineer's productivity if given an iPad. I was one of the lucky few engineers chosen, and so now I have a brand new iPad 2. I don't think my work fully thought through some of the implications of the device, but we'll see how it goes. For now, I won't be complaining about a free new tech toy.

Last Saturday, we had a company picnic hosted at Seaworld. A $10 ticket included parking, park admission, and a lunch. Overall, a pretty good deal since admission alone is at least $40 or so. It was terribly hot, but we managed to last a few hours out there. We saw a handful of shows, enjoyed mediocre lunch, and saw some penguins. Too bad the drive was nearly 2 hours each way.

It's like I'm a real engineer
At some point last weekend, I decided to tackle this broken monitor Taylor brought me several months back. Some Dell 17" monitor at her work stopped turning on, so she brought it over to see if I could figure out what was wrong. I ended up taking it apart and examining the board. With Andy's help, I was able to spot some faulty capacitors. We went to Fry's and Radioshack, neither of which had the exact replacement parts. I instead went with a higher capacitor value since I didn't have too much vested in this monitor and didn't care if it didn't work. I took out the old capacitors, soldered the new ones in, put it all back together, and voilà — it worked! I felt pretty proud. For $3 I fixed a monitor that probably would have cost $100 in shipping and labor to get fixed by Dell.

I decided to try pickling, for no real reason. Andy has an okra plant, so I bought some cucumbers and pickling supplies (cans, dill, peppercorn, etc). Pickling wasn't as straight-forward as I was hoping, but it didn't prove to be terribly challenging. The hard part is boiling the jars and getting them in and out of the boiling water without a jar grabber. First, you have to boil the jars in the water to sterilize them. Next, you make your brine with water, vinegar, dill, and whatever other ingredients you want (I chose to add a couple jalapeño peppers and peppercorns). You bring the brine to a boil, stuff the jar with your items, and pour the brine in. Next, you place the mason jar lid on and finger-tighten the ring around the lid (not too tight, because you need the air to be able to escape). The pot I had was not tall enough to place the jars upright in the boiling water, so I had to carefully place the jar upright, then tip it over so it was sideways in the pot. After boiling for 5 mins, we grabbed it out of the water and set it aside to cool. Within an hour, it was vacuum-sealed because of the escaping air. Now I'm going to wait about a week and see what kind of crazy concoction I made.