On Burnout…

Never push loyal people to the point where they don’t give a damn.

Peter Drucker, 1909 – 2005

Thinking back, there were signs of a somewhat lessening interest in Pearson in particular and in Computer Science in general somewhere around about October, 2017. That was right about the time that one of the greatest champions of the team announced his departure.

People move on.

That year, after a business trip to Austin for KubeCon in early December, I was feeling quite burned out. We were planning another trip to Noida to transition a team in February, 2018, but I’d settled that after Christmas (of 2017), it’ll be time to start seeking in earnest opportunities elsewhere.

And The Universe said, “Oh, you have plans, do you? Here, try some gravity…” And the fall and TBI happened.

Strike one.

In the coming months, while struggling with rewiring my brain and body, the entirety of the team who’d pioneered the evolution within the company from the long-standing Mode 1 hardware model into a Mode 2 infrastructure model — which, by design, would slash spend dramatically across from the company — would disperse.

And The Universe said, “Ah, while you’re in the prolonged recovery, here’s some innocuous bacteria…” Then the infection.

Strike two.

Clearly, I’d end up being more dependent upon modern healthcare and needed to relocate to larger city. Moses Lake wasn’t nearly as connected to technologies as I’d have hoped. So, we’d planned on moving to Spokane — not only because it was a large city, but also because it wasn’t nearly as expensive as the Seattle metro area was.

And The Universe said, “Oh, you’re still coming up with ideas, are you? How about this…” Then the layoff and all of its psychological stressors.

Strike three.

My confidence in Computer Science at that moment was not only shaken… it was shattered. I doubted everything related to computer-anything. Programming, development, design, experimentation — I stopped caring about everything: the pursuit of work, life, self.

I would spend the next several months seeking desperately a reason to continue — a reason to do. What I needed most was sense of purpose.

Alright, Universe… what else you got?

Locusts? Ha!

Pandemic? Please.

Earthquakes? Hey, we all get a bit wobbly with age.

Riots? Amateurs.

Wildfires? Bah!

So, bring it on.

Virtual Trip-Hazard?

So I’m using the iPhone Measure app to plot out a size of a small structure. After I capture two edges, I walk over to virtually draw out a third… carefully STEPPING OVER one of the virtual drawn lines.


Yep, augmented reality can be immersive enough.

I know how to use and am quite comfortable with a landscape tape (which I have) and a theodolite (which I don’t have), I have to say that, yes, the iPhone’s Measure tool is quite accurate — it does have some curious behavior over uneven surfaces, but over the surface that I was estimating a layout, it’s demonstrated to be within about an inch over a 26-foot distance.

If the surface were flatter, it would probably be spot-on.

Now, if we could find a way to have it snap to 90-degree angles — that would be even more amazing than it already is.

Late Additions to the SCC Tools List?

Having a read over the SCC AMT Student Handbook and there are a few late additions that will be required — a few that are for me anyway.

First: We’ll need to provide our own coveralls. I’m sure the apron and the Workman Utilikilt that I use when woodworking wouldn’t be at all appropriate. One of those details that slipped through the cracks, so be sure to venture out to a local purveyor or click around on Amazon to select some coveralls. Probably best to have two.

Second: and this one is slightly more annoying for me, the Student Handbook says, “Students will be required to have locking toolboxes” (§19, “Tools, Books and Lockers”, p13).

I’m not sure if maybe I missed that locking part during orientation. While both of the larger rolling tool cabinets that I’ve had in my shop for some time are locking, we’re not storing rolling cabinets in the hangar yet*.

The problem is that the toolbag I had retasked for AMT isn’t lockable. It’s an open-top toolbag. So, I’ll need to track down a locking toolbox or even pick one up from a local DIY center.

*I get the impression that we’re only storing rolling carts in the hangar after the first or second term. But it occurs to me, with the books and other materials we’ll have, that it would be make sense to have rolling tool cart storage sooner rather than later.


…it’s a deep subject.

To make the lot livable, we’ll need water. Without water, it has no value.

It has a well, 300 feet deep in our case. And, after some additional revelations, it’s probable that we’ll need to:

  1. blow out the silt and sediment in the existing well: cheapest monetarily, but still requires, minimally, tearing down the pump house, $5K; OR
  2. drill the existing well another 50 to 100 feet deep, $12K; OR
  3. drill an entirely new well. Upwards of $30K

Now it gets even more expensive. The original cost estimate was in the neighborhood for $1500 of parts and labor. Minimally, add a zero.

Unfortunately, it’s abundantly clear that the previous owners did little to care for or make things last, so the value of the existing infrastructure now is a liability, not an asset.

I’ve heard from a few nearby land owners that their wells are anywhere between 150 and 300 feet. One neighboring house, quite close to ours, is bored to 377ft.

Right, so what’s the depth to the actual aquifer in the region? The driller said, “There’s no aquifer in that area”. Yet, checking over the maps from the USGS, it would tend to indicate that the Grande Ronde aquifer lies closer to 400ft below the surface. We’re on the northeast fringe area of the aquifer.

Knowing that the well-report for our well is 300ft deep, and judging from the available evidence, the previous owners drilled 300ft deep wells, twice, and one of them had removed the pump at some point and had added a cistern. Presumably because the well wasn’t producing as much as they required and the cistern served a means of kicking the proverbial can down the road.

Where does that leave us presently?

I don’t like the idea of just doing things ‘good enough’ and will always leave things in a better condition than when we arrived.

Have the existing well bored another 100ft? Or have a new well drilled to 400ft? They’re both expensive — one more than the other — but we’ll have to find a way to make the cost work.

Insert heavy sigh and deep thought here. 🤔

Helping the World

37 Things Americans Do in Movies/TV Shows That Are WAF to Non-Americans.

Okay, the article didn’t say “WAF” — use your imagination.

Next, I don’t speak for All Americans the same way that I don’t speak for All Men or All People. I’m just somebody. But, read over the list — here are my own thoughts to go along with them:

  1. Yes, there are some people that are intent on attending one specific university. Those people are strange. I didn’t know that I was going to university until I just randomly picked one that was convenient. The second time? Eh, same thing, really. Didn’t know. Didn’t plan for it. Didn’t expect it.
  2. No, they don’t. And if they do, then it’s absolutely a psychological extension of the fluorescent light trope.
  3. Again, no, they don’t. Trope.
  4. Yes! They do have and actually get school lunches. In fact, it’s called the National School Lunch Program. People often complain about the lunches, but it’s not poisonous and it’s a damned sight better than having nothing at all.
  5. Occasionally. But, no, not nearly as often as depicted in movies. It’s trope.
  6. Okay, yes. Yes, nearly every school does have its own mascot. Typically Jr. High (7th & 8th) and High School (9th – 12th). It tended to be a symbol around which we could apply our efforts for sports… and we had a social justification to leverage it as a “we” vs. “they” symbol.
  7. Cliché. See also: trope.
  8. It’s a TV show thing. Then again, it may be an ‘everyone’ thing, but it certainly doesn’t happen in my home.
  9. Nah, they really do. I never understood them. Prom. Homecoming. Valentines Day. Halloween. So, yeah, pretty much one for every season.
  10. Yeah, I have no idea why they’s say that, but it could be a pedestrian attempt by the show’s writers because they can’t think of an exact location to call out or want to avoid the effort it would take to add clarifying statements. But I agree.
  11. What British accent? There are loads of British accents.
  12. Yes. Well, they did. It seems to be losing favor. Often it would be respectful to refer to them as Mr. or Mrs. Surname until the parent were to say, “Oh, please, call me…”. See also, duzen wir uns.
  13. I avoided cheerleaders throughout school, so I haven’t any frame of reference.
  14. Depends on the school, but yes, it was common to have a project to demonstrate the creativity and comprehension of concepts. I think there was some degree of projects in nearly every course apart from mathematics.
  15. It’s an overused trope.
  16. Mmm… PB&J. Yes, we do. Not everyone. But it’s rather common regionally. There are better and worse peanut butters. And then there’s the debate about whether to use jam, or jelly.
  17. Bacon, when eaten by itself or as a side to some main course, is typically eaten with fingers.
  18. Okay, I’m somewhat out of touch with television — I’m not sure what’s meant by “fake babies, getting ‘married’ to each other”. I can say that it was common for young children — perhaps 6 or 8 — to “play house” and pretend to be married. Not sure what you mean though.
  19. Yes. Yes, they do. From 1st-grade through 12th. We had to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of every single school day. Every. Single. Day. How to say it is defined in U.S.C. §4.
  20. Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever had somebody ask, in 48 years, how I like eggs while they’re already in the active process of cooking them.
  21. No. And if they do, then they absolutely deserve whatever they get. Also, their password is probably “1-2-3-4-5” or “changeme”.
  22. Laziness on the part of both the actors and directors.
  23. No. Not everyday. I think I’ve had pancakes like two or three times this year.
  24. Not all. But summer camps are a thing. I attended summer camp twice when I was in grade school. It was rather fun as I recall.
  25. Not at all common.
  26. Yeah, it’s often a TV-thing.
  27. Probably about as often as they might say, “Please do…” or “help yourself”.
  28. I do not.
  29. There are places that this is acceptable: salons, conference rooms, community break-rooms… but I don’t think I’ve ever had bottles of water just sitting in the refrigerator.
  30. Garbage disposals.
  31. Okay I rather like a fireplace. But, I don’t get excited about it. I have one and in a year, I think I had a fire in it once. Maybe twice.
  32. Sometimes called “mystery meat”. There are variations across many cultures around the world, so this one’s a bit of a curiosity to me. Although, I would also argue that it’s likely just a lazy story object.
  33. No. No, they don’t. Most humans apart from the Maasai and some Northern Europeans, become rather lactose intolerant in adulthood.
  34. Yep, they do. Detention is usually only 45 min or an hour after school.
  35. No, not everyone wants to have their own reality TV show.
  36. Continuity issues, probably.
  37. Perhaps because trucks have become the ultimate utilitarian vehicle.