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Thursday, May 3, 2007

An Unusual Day, Really...

So I never would have expected the day to turn out quite the way it did today. For starters, I arrived at work to discover that the power to our building (and a good portion of the West side of the block) was out. And had been for about an hour and a half (at the time when I arrived).

When you work as a software engineer, power at the office is kind of important. Although, I was able to return a call or two and help some people blindly with a few small issues. So it wasn't a complete failure. And I also verified that we really do have a hell of an UPS for our server and network equipment -- it was running quite well after 90 minutes of no supply power. The network was still up (although nothing connecting to it aside from our primary server was still on).

I was at work for about 45 minutes when the power was restored to our office. Only half of our office building had power, though. Long story short, the other half of our building is connected to a different phase which ended up being out for most of the day.

I stuck around for a while, until around 11:30. I was able to get a few things taken care of, but I knew they'd be shutting down the power to the building again while they repaired and/or replaced the three-phase feed to the building. So rather than get into the middle of a project and have the power suddenly go away, I decided instead to bring down everything at the office (including the network and server) for the day and went home. That also will give the UPS some time to recover before I start everything up again tomorrow.

The only major downside to that is that I had to manually bring work home with me. On a flash drive. Generally, I can connect directly to the server from home and check out code, but when that's shut down (on purpose no less), the option for that doesn't exist. Ah well. I had good intentions of getting some things done from home, but that didn't really materialize into much. A few things were done, but it was after 1pm before I even got to thinking about working on anything. Funny how the power going out causes the day to be wasted like that.

I was going to note this topic the other day, but it came up again today -- large farming operations. While these aren't inherently bad, I noticed something on my drive to work Tuesday morning. I saw a particular grower out in the field planting. With a very large planter. The odd thing about this picture was that this particular operator was not using the planter markers which are used to basically keep each round aligned. Instead, it was quite obvious that this grower was instead using the auto-steer functionality (GPS technology), letting a few satellites and some computers actually keep the rows perfectly aligned.

I guess I maybe come from a little bit of an old-school thought on this, but it seems that with all the hype of planting and pride that goes into most farming operations, a grower you would think would want to keep in complete control of how that crop is planted. In particular, how straight those rows are. Almost as a badge of honor, to say that 'I did that'... This clearly wasn't the case in this picture. Is it right? Is it wrong? I don't know. It just seems a bit sad that what's arguably the most important (and certainly the most exciting) time for most growers is in a way being relegated to a mindless task. I can understand auto-steer for the boring jobs (fall or spring tillage, etc.), but come on -- planting?

Anyway, on another topic. This morning when I read the news headlines, I noticed a story about a possible Hepatitis A outbreak in a town I'm familiar with -- Slayton. In particular, at a restaurant that I've been at several times. Well, this afternoon I put in a call to grandma (who lives in Slayton) to inquire about her schedule. We're planning on stopping down there so she can meet Kirstin, but before we got too far into that I needed to make sure she would be around. After confirming those details, she then asked if I'd 'heard the news' to which I responded in the affirmative. She then informed me that she'd been to that restaurant twice during the period of time in question. I of course then encouraged her to go get tested at one of the forthcoming clinics that they were setting up for patrons and community members.

So, we'll see how that goes. I would guess that it's probably more hype than anything (as a precaution), but at least this is getting attention and being taken seriously. One of those cases where the hype is worthwhile.

Anyway, we spent part of the late afternoon and early evening in Alexandria tonight, doing a bit of shopping. Kirstin slept most of the time -- funny how being in a shopping cart will really just keep them sleeping -- so we went to three stores and ate a quick meal at Arby's. Good times. Picked up a few essentials, some clothes for Kirstin, and just got out of town for a while. Not a bad time at all.

I need to make a solo trip to Alex sometime with my pickup. Namely to get a few things that I couldn't get with the car. I'm intending to put up some shelves in the kitchen so we can actually store some of the small appliances in the kitchen rather than on a shelf in the basement. I also need to get the various bits for the sump pump project (like a sump basin being the largest item). I don't have any idea when I'll do that. We'll see. It'd be ideal to do it this weekend, but it's supposed to rain off and on, so I don't really want to go do that in the rain (because I'll have to have portions exposed to the elements, so avoiding water is a preference). Who knows. Maybe I'll end up just taking a day off to get some of this stuff done. I also have to take some metal in for recycling...so that's another trip out of town.

Beth goes back to work on Monday, and Jill will be here with Henry watching Kirstin on the days when [Jill] doesn't work elsewhere. On those days (seems to be Tuesday all day and Wednesday mornings), I will be in charge...so I'll have some time away from the office.

Anyway, it's just past 11:30 now, so I'm heading for bed. Should be Good Times. I like sleep. :)

So, until next time...

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