Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thursday Musette

This was taken on my front porch yesterday afternoon.

First, a word about bicycle commuting! I've seen the same commuter several times in the morning, and it's painfully obvious that he's terrified of riding in traffic. Yet, like many fearful cyclists, he does things that may appear to be safer than riding in the travel lane, but in reality just make life more difficult for himself and the rest of us on the road.

I first saw him riding south along Mingo Road. He was in the right hand lane. I would be turning right at the south gate to the maintenance base. I slowed and tucked in behind him at a safe distance. To my surprise, he turned right at the gate, then turned left across the entrance just about where a pedestrian crosswalk would be. At the other side of the exit road, he turned twice again, looked over his shoulder for southbound traffic, and went back into the travel lane!

I muttered - okay - I yelled inside the car with the windows up - "Thou lumpish half-faced horn-beast!" or something similarly Olde English and Anglo-Saxonish. (My thanks to Chris Seildel and the Shakespearean Insult Generator for technical assistance.)

I saw him again this week, trying to cross the entrance at the main gate right before 6AM when the whole world is trying to get through that gate. Traffic arrives from north, south, and east - almost all of it turning west. My hapless commuter cyclist jumped the curb and punched the pedestrian crossing button. He wanted to go south across the gate entrance and continue south on Mingo but heavy traffic prevented him crossing like a pedestrian. Had he taken a place in the travel lane and waited his turn like any other traffic, he would have been under way in a minute or two.

I really want to catch up with this guy and give him my business card. He needs a mentor.


Have I mentioned that it's stinkin' hot? Oh, I have. There's an endless week of 100+ temperatures ahead. My grass is a nice brown color that crackles like potato chips when I walk on it. I'm worried about the trees, though. There's a redbud around the side. An oak tree stands over the south side of the driveway while a pine guards the north. The pine is shedding needles like crazy.

I had an idea to get water to the roots. I punched a couple of small holes in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and placed it next to each tree, filling the bucket repeatedly through the evening. The oak had about 25 gallons tonight and the pine has had 10 so far. The water trickles out the bottom of the bucket, soaking into the ground with minimal evaporation. I hope it's effective.


I was doing a mod on a computer at work. This one is extensive. It called for the replacement of 6 SRAM chips - static random access memory - and they're kind of a PITA to do. One is nearly touching the lock bar that holds the card in place and it's neighbor is tight up against it, so there's mechanical disassembly to do. Then the card goes onto a hot air desoldering stage. It's cleaner and less stressful than cutting the ICs. After cleaning, the new ICs get soldered in place. They have J-leads that turn under the IC body, and combined with the tight quarters make soldering a pain too.

I thought I had it right when I finished and hooked it up to the test station. As it turned out, I'd managed to solder most of the chips in correctly, only missing a couple of joints.

It's entirely possible for a computer to develop Tourette's syndrome.

I learn something new every day.

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Blogger Steve A said...

Trust me; the commuter is not ready to be taught. Perhaps if he stares at your card every night after a couple of extra scary weeks. I see such every day. It is like any other salvation. The one to be saved has to be ready to receive it. Actually, John Forester touched on it when he made up those numbers about how long it takes people to learn how to ride effectively via various learning approaches.

10:07 PM  

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