Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, February 14, 2000 7:06 AM

Recent Random Events


Tuesday sees a group of four TRW people flying to Albuquerque to visit a subcontractor for some debugging vibration runs. When we arrive in Albuquerque, I decline the dinner invitation - deciding to go for a 45 minute walk, grab a quick soda, and go to sleep. The next morning I am disappointed when my colleagues tell me that they went to Hooters for dinner.

On Wednesday we spend the 8am until 3pm timeframe in a conference room while the subcontractor gets ready for the vibration testing that was supposed to have started at 8am. When testing starts, the first few runs happen and the data from these runs is lost because the software setup was not on autosave. As we look at the data, we realize some channels are not playing right. The TRW people go to dinner and await a cellular call that the subcontractor has fixed the problems and is ready to test. We do NOT go to Hooters. But we do, eventually, receive a call saying that there is still weird data and that we should come and look at it. We spend the 7pm until 10pm timeframe looking at data, trying things to get the last accelerometer to play properly, and becoming more and more disappointed and frustrated. We leave having accomplished nothing towards our goal despite a 14 hour day.

During the unproductive Wednesday, we wander around the facility. We see, still in use, a 25 MHz 386 machine, an IBM XT with two half-height 5.25" floppies, and a PDP-11/35 with manuals that were copyrighted in 1973. In the subcontractor's defense, the Navy supposedly pays them to keep the C4 and D5 missile test sets intact without upgrades. (The C4 missile was the first Navy missile and there are only 4 left in existence.)

Thursday is better and we eventually obtain all of the data that we need with minimal frustration. Except for trying to explain to some of the subcontractors' personnel about how natural frequencies are loosely related to the ratio of stiffness and mass. And that adding mass lowers natural frequencies into the random vibration environment frequency range resulting in an overtest to the unit.

After a long Friday, I do what is expected after a trying week I go for a four mile run, take a shower, and head down to the Frat House. I do not wear business attire including a Jerry Garcia tie. I walk in and am surprised to find ChiChi there. (ChiChi usually only visits every other week, but had to return some videotapes this week.) We get our 7-Ups, find a table, and catch up on recent things. Various friends and acquaintances come in and visit briefly with us. By midnight we are leaving. Sabrina, the HVAC, has not made an appearance in either...um...gender identity.

Saturday sees an unproductive day working on random vibration spreadsheets, mowing the lawn, and dealing with the reality of my ...um..."situation". As I am filling in some bare spots on the lawn with a new Bermuda grass seed which I just purchased, I notice that the back of the seed bag has the disclaimer: "NOTICE: The color green as applied to grass seed is a registered trademark that is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Pennington Seed, Inc.". I later go to the penningtonseeds.com web site looking for more information as to how somebody can trademark the term "green". I find that I have purchased the wrong Bermuda grass. I have purchased a strain that they have named Sahara. But I find that they have recently released a hybrid strain called Princess. (Whose scientific name is cynodon dactylon.) There are other Bermuda grass strains in addition to Sahara and Princess called Yuma, Sydney, Guymon, Tierra Verde, Common, and Bermuda Triangle.

With ChiChi having said that we should just be friends (last week) because of the distance between us, I have come around to that mindset. Yet neither ChiChi nor I bring up the topic to discuss it. And now I'll have to wait three or four weeks to see ChiChi in person to discuss the issue (as that wouldn't necessarily be appropriate to discuss over the telephone). (Three or four weeks because I have a Friday night ice hockey game in two weeks when ChiChi would normally return.)

Feeling confused and depressed Saturday afternoon and evening, I do what anyone would do. No - I do NOT go hang out at a liquor store, I do NOT go to downtown Los Angeles at midnight looking for a Goth party, I do NOT go back to the Frat House for diversions, and I do NOT go sit/read at a respectable coffeehouse. I buy a chocolate cake and eat the whole thing. Well, actually Nopey helped out.

Sunday, after spreadsheeting, rms'ing, bitmapping, documenting, and putting together a story regarding random vibration response levels for many hours, I go play an ice hockey game. And play, probably, my best game of the year. Four assists and a controlling play on defense by yours truly sees our team defeat the previous unbeaten first place team. And then it is back to spreadsheeting and stuff.