Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Friday, June 30, 2006

Mud

Tuesday Verizon (the local phone company) was here to connect our house to the fiber optic cable they installed in our neighborhood a few months ago. They had to run a cable under the lawn, the driveway and the sidewalk to a the phone box on the side of the house.

Wednesday morning I wake up to Anne telling me that the sprinklers for the front bushes won't shut off. I go out to the garage and turn the electronic control off. No help. I unplug the controller from the wall. Sprinklers are still going. I go out to the box in the ground, pry open the lid and disconnect the wires to the valve. Still no help. Try the manual control on the value. No help. Go the main sprinkler valve box and open it up. It's full of water, but I know there is a manual valve in the bottom. I reach in. And in. And in. I am up to my shoulder lying in the mud before I can reach the valve. It closes and the sprinklers are off.

So the Verizon guys must have done something to the valve. I wonder what it was? They came out later on and fixed it, whatever it was.

After work Johnny and I go for a walk around the neighborhood. Down the hill in back of Glencoe High School we find a dock in the swamp. The swamp is pretty dry. The stream is about three feet wide and about one foot deep. In the winter it is about fifty feet wide and three feet deep. But right now there are muds flats alongside the stream. The mud is fairly solid, so we go exploring. We get about a hundred feet downstream, I forge through some grass to aovid crossing the stream. When I come back onto the mud flat I sink to my knees. Johnny had no problem, but then I weigh more that twice what he does. That was the end of that expedition.

Thursday the Verizon crew was back again to hook up the new high speed link inside the house. Family tells me it is working better (faster) than the old DSL line we had. So maybe we can remove the filters from our phone lines and sell them on E-bay.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cake, Not Cake

Cake

Cake, cake, cake and more cake. There was a senior reception Tuesday night at Glencoe High School where they served cake and punch. Wednesday we had a cake at work for June birthdays. Thursday night was honors night. Friday night we held an open house. Sunday we went to a reception at our neighbor's house for their daughter who also graduated. That is five cakes in one week, and the icing was terrible on all of them. I hate to be wasteful, but I eventually gave it up and started cutting the icing off and leaving it and just eating the cake. You might say I should forgo the cake completely, what with my weight and my waist and all, but that is not going to happen. Cake is one of my favorite things, and I am not going to pass it up. I did limit myself to more than a couple of slices per day. I do not understand the icing thing, exactly. It is full of sugar, and very sweet, but I do not care for it, and most people I talk to do not care for it either. And it is thick! It is at least a quarter of inch everywhere, and around the edges, with the frills and all it can be an inch thick. Maybe it is just supposed to be for decoration, maybe you are not supposed to eat it. Maybe they make it taste bad deliberately. It is not that I do not like sweet things, one of my favorites is a can of Squirt brand sodee pop, gulped down in less than a minute. Quantities of sugar like this are not good for me, so I try to limit them. Success is a sometimes thing.

Cakes now come with cream filling. I am not too happy about this either. Plain cake would be just fine with me, no icing, no filling. Of course I would want about six large pieces all to myself. The filling is okay, not like the iciing, but it is certainly not necessary. What is it with these cake people anyway? They do use the icing for decoration with writing and pictures, but this all about image, not substance.

Not Cake

Tueday evening we went over to Glencoe to see Ross's photography project. There were about a dozen black and white photos in a display case with three hand written notes. The notes were complicated. There was a slide show in the auditorium, pictures of students.

Saturday morning my youngest son John ran in the Helvetia half marathon. Somewhere between two and three thousand people ran. Johnny came in fifth with a time of 2 hours and fifteen minutes. The leader came in at one hour and five minutes. Actually, Johnny came in fifth out of the nine in his age group (13 to 19 years old). The leader in his age group was a twelve year old that came in at one hour and forty five minutes. Wait a minute, the leader in the 13 to 19 age group was 12? What gives? He should not have been allowed in the race. Disqualify the rug rat! Move Johnny up to 4th out of 8!

Saturday afternoon we went to my oldest son Ross's graduation. They held it at a neighboring high shool. Supposedly they didn't have enough room at Glencoe, but to me it looked like there would have been plenty of room in the Glencoe gymnasium. Maybe they saved by not having to set up the stage twice. The president of the student class gave a speech and made a crack about the intelligence of President Bush that met with a roar of approval from the crowd. I was suprised that he made such a strong political remark, and further suprised that it met with so much approval. I would not have been suprised if there had been audible grumbling.

Saturday night was the all night Senior party, held at an undisclosed location. I still don't know where it was. Ross came home with a T-shirt that had a message written on it: "Most likely to win a Pulitzer prize". I was very pleased to see that. Means that I am not alone in thinking he has some writing talent.

Jack and Audrey Gray, my wife Anne's parents, flew in Wednesday afternoon for the festivities and stayed until Sunday. Jack got to play golf once, on Thursday, I think. I think they had a pretty good time, though I was a bit grumpy on Saturday. I think I was suffering from a low grade hangover. Too many Cosmopolitans Friday night.


Sound

We were talking about buying versus renting. Renting you get noisy neighbors. Why would a condo be any better? Possibly better construction. Most residential buildings up to three stories high are built of wood. Sound insulation between floors is non-existent. I think you will find that buildings made of concrete are much quieter. Beware though, they pour thin (two inches) concrete floors in wood apartment buildings to cut the sound transmission between floors, but it doesn't do much for the walls. Some places may build separate walls for adjacent apartments, but I don't know how well that works. How to tell if a building is made of concrete or not? Without building construction reports, or sound testing, I am not sure. But you might just try walking around in different buildings, on different floors, at different times, and see if you can develop a feeling for it. Read the fine print in the advertisements. They may say something about it. Beware of people who gloss over it and denigrate the subject.

You no doubt heard about the Welsh security company that is selling a device they call a mosquito that generates an annoying high pitched whine that only children can hear. Adults can't hear it. Keeps teenagers from hanging around the mall entrance. But now the kids are using it as a ring tone for their cell phones. They can get messages in class, and the teachers cannot hear the phone ringing.

I seem to have developed some tinnitus due to it being allergy season and my escutcheon tubes getting plugged. There is usually so much mechanical humming going on around me that I can't really tell what I am hearing. But my computer at home has developed a high pitched whine that seems to interfere with my tinnitus and it is really annoying. I suppose I will have to replace one of the fans, but which one? And if it is the one in the power supply, do I replace the fan, or the whole power supply? The whole power supply would be easier, but gol-durn it, there is nothing wrong with the power supply. Why should I have to replace it?

I got a set of new speaker for my computer a couple of months ago. $30. Housings are smaller, but it came with a a single woofer, and it does sound better.