It was not a crushing day, however, sort of. Our Jill-of-all-annoyances emailed me and a handful of others that it has been 2 years since we took the ESD training course and accompanying test, and we would lose our lab privileges if we didn't complete this by some date in mid-October.
This was a good news/bad news message. The good news is I have worked there for more than 2 years now - good news because the last time I worked there I was laid off on my 2-year anniversary. The bad news is all our complaints have gone for naught that this course does not apply to us, and is a total waste of our time. I was hoping the new company would drop the requirement, which is left over from when we were part of Motorola.
There are two basic kinds of labs in the computer industry. #1 is where electronic components are manufactured, tested, assembled and/or repaired. #2 is what is called a "server farm" where there are rows of racks filled with working computers, usually connected to a network or two.
#1 requires strict control of static electricity, officially called Electro-Static Discharge (ESD). ESD can blow up the insides of many kinds of electronic components. These days, it takes a lightning strike to kill most chips, but CPUs and some kinds of memory can be blown up with as little as 20 volts of static. You generate more than that when you walk across a carpet. People who work in #1 labs absolutely must have this training to prevent defects in delicate components. Defects lead to angry customers.
People who work in #2 (like me) are never touching components, and it's even rare for me to touch any of the machines in the lab, except to type on a keyboard or connect a network cable. ESD won't cause any problems in #2 labs.
But Motorola, and apparently now the new company, bless their pointy little heads, classify every lab as a #1, and require everyone who works in anything called "lab" to take this useless class.
I used to be a hardware repair tech, in the 80s, so I know all about ESD, but like all corporate classes, the test questions are based on the class material, not on what is important to know about the subject. One question wanted to know what polarity of electric charge rayon clothing has. That's immaterial (pun intended) to the subject. Just the fact that synthetic clothes carry a charge is the important thing. Four of the 20 questions were like that. Another 6 were about specific ESD prevention equipment I have never seen used in an actual lab. I got 100% on the test because I took lots of notes on things which struck me as useless.
The rest of the morning was make-work.
Lunchtime I dropped the gift box for baby sister at the PO, and went to Popeye's for lunch. I like the non-Cajun food. I had planned on going to KFC around the corner and down the block, but when I got there it was the grand opening of La Taqueria. And the diner across from it is Consuela's Cantina. Gag me.
Back at work, after an hour Automation guy invited me to the break room to keep him company during his lunch (meetings and crunch schedules keep him from regular lunch hours some days). I had not had dessert, so I brought the bag of ลำไย I'd bought the other day - too many for me to finish by myself, and also a little dried out, not as delicious as usual. Automation Guy is from SE Asia, he too was addicted to this fruit. Soon we were joined by our Puerto Rican team mate, who had never seen a ลำไย, aka longan, and he found them addicting too. We killed more than an hour talking about World Fruit, tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes.
After work it was surgical shopping time at Target, where I bought only what was on my list:
Extra sodastream cartridge
Two extra sodastream 1-liter bottles
Then straight home, said hi to the cats, saw that I had just enough time to try out the Sodastream. It was easy to set up, I was almost able to do it without cracking the instruction guide. It made good seltzer in one of their proprietary bottles in about 20 seconds. The bottle caps are twist-on, airtight. I stuck that in the fridge for later, along with two more filled with water but not carbonated yet, because the guide said it's best to use chilled water.
Done just in time to go to Peninsulairs' voice lessons. Each session (this is #3) there were more people. I could see that for lesson 2, because there is a lot of review, but halfway through the course you would think they would stop taking new people. I'm only griping because the space is not big enough for the number we had tonight. And the newbie who parked himself next to me for warmups was an obnoxious, tone-deaf, ukulele-playing jerk.
Once again, 30 minutes of information packed into a 90-minute class. For the first time there were glaring bits of misinformation. The teacher obviously doesn't play a wind instrument other than his larynx. He kept claiming that the voice is unique in its range of sounds, that brass and woodwinds had fixed sounds which the player could not change. Utter hogwash. I can make a clarinet quack like a duck (one of this examples), and produce a horse whinny on a trumpet, or an elephant trumpeting using any lower brass instrument. This is a guy who has never heard the tone-bending stylings of a Klezmer orchestra.
He did some interesting things to get people to sing from the diaphragm, which were easy and effective. I would have been impressed if (a) that didn't come naturally to me and (b) he ever said the word "diaphragm". In three weeks no one has said that word in class. Not even to joke about contraception.
When he ran out of material he asked volunteers to come up to center stage, and had them sing a note, then a half scale, and adjusted their posture to help the airflow. One guy was singing from his mouth, teacher pushed on his tummy and got his volume up about 5x louder. Unfortunately the guy was tone deaf, and his scales were not in any recognizable tuning. But that's fine, he's the person this class is meant for.
Home, made a glass of fresh squeezed lime soda from the Sodastream bottle (a liter makes a little less than three glasses). And I charged up the other two now-chilled bottles. This thing is head and shoulders better than the 1-liter siphons I've been using. One cartridge charges 60 bottles (siphon cartridges charge 1 liter), and it has lots of other pluses I won't bore myself typing.
Had that with a TV dinner, fed the cats Fancy Feast and then had my ice cream dessert, and watched mindless TV. Turned off the tube (which isn't a tube anymore, is it?) and took care of some Quicken things, FB and this posting.
Got a message from one of susandennis' lurkers, katbyte, which reminded me that during the last flood of Russian spammers I locked out non-friends from commenting and had forgotten to change it. Now any registered user can comment, but non-friends' posts are screened.
Two community theaters in the area are doing Les Miz. The performance rights holder is supposed to not allow this, but somehow Stage 1 in Newark and South Bay Musical Theater in Saratoga are both opening this Saturday. I have friends in both. Hyper-marketing by South Bay sold out the show 3 weeks ago, so I'm going to Stage 1 a week from Saturday. I try not to go to opening nights, the casts & crews usually need a week to get used to an audience.
Plans for tomorrow:
Hearing test at Miracle Ear in the Cupertino Sears store. Mostly just to find out about their technology. I played some tones on the PC today, and was only able to hear up to 8400Hz. Last test was 10k. :-(