Slice Of Life

Slice Of Life, is a Weblog (BLOG) that I write, in which I try to tell some sort of story about something, or someone in my life. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes not, sometimes informative, sometimes...... HA, gotcha, did ya think that I was going to say not? Don't know me very well, do ya? :=) I will try to update the BLOG from time to time, whenever I can.

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Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

My personality is outgoing, I use to be a wallflower, until I realized that it was all the outgoing people that were having the most fun. It was a tough conversion, but nobody I know today would even remotely consider me to be a wallflower. Basically, when I was young, my parents taught me that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. I haven't quite found the "anything" part to be always true, but it has inspired me to always try to do, and be, my best.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Rain Rain Go Away

Well, it's Monsoon time here again in Arizona. Many people outside the Valley of the sun think that it is always dry here. Not so. As us local "Zonies" know, around about the end of July through August we get Monsoon rainstorms. Oh, and I don't mean those little bitty "drizzles" that people in other parts of the country call rainstorms, or "downpours" oh no, those are nothing. If you're from out of town, think about the highest water volume storm you've ever seen..... Not even close. You've heard, and probably used terms like "downpour", "torrential rain", "it came down in buckets", and the standard "raining cats and dogs"? Well, if we were to use the same metaphors here, it wouldn't be called raining cats and dogs, more like raining rhinoceros and elephants. It rains so hard, you get soaked pushing your trashcan out to the curb. Rain so hard, I half expect some guy to be gathering animals 2 by 2, and herding them towards a boat. But that's not the cool part..... It's the lightning that precedes it. Magnificent lightning, very intense. You know how in other places, sometimes you "get lucky", and just happen to be looking up in the right direction to see lightning in the sky? Here, you don't have to search. Just look up, in any direction at all, and in a few seconds, you'll see them. Not one or two....... But Dozens. And not straight up and down bolts either, but long lasting, arcing, and branching sideways across the sky..... It's hard to describe, except to say........ Awesome. The storms are so amazing, that sometimes, people in my neighborhood even come out of their houses to stand on the front porch to watch the storms. They come up fast, and just as quickly gone. The streets dry up in an hour, and shortly afterwards, there's little trace left of the storm, but the memory, and reverification of an old saying......... Don't mess with Mother Nature :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Makin Jerky

I made a "Process Improvement" this week. No, nothing related to the job, it's more related to my "Jerky Making" enterprise. If you've been following my attempts to establish "Tom's Ginger Sesame Teriyaki Jerky", you know the issue isn't with the recipe, which I've perfected, it's with the drying. The Ronco Dehydrator design, is "Convection" (rising heat) based. The unit therefore is extremely inefficient, and it takes ~ 12-14 hours to dry jerky, especially since I added the 4 additional trays that I bought on ebay. Putting on my engineering hat, I realized that what was needed was increased airflow through the unit. When I saw the 115 volt computer case fan, in Fry's Electronics, the "idea light bulb" came on. If I could somehow mount the fan on the top of the Ronco, the vents at the bottom and top would allow me to pull air from the bottom through the dehydrator, and out the top at an increased rate. But how to mount it......? Tupperware to the rescue! I found a bowl in my cupboard, whose upper lip matched the top of the Ronco, and who's lower lip was the diameter of the fan. I took everything out to my workbench, and after saw saw saw, drill drill drill, mount the fan, splice a plug from an extension cord, flip it upside down on top of the Ronco, and plug it in. Guess what? It worked on the first try! First time I can remember an experiment working perfectly the first time. I set it up last weekend for "The Pilot Run", and despite loading up the Ronco with 5+ pounds of beef (max capacity), I was able to reduce the drying time to 9 hours vs. 12-14. Nice to see all that College Engineering instruction didn't go to waste, eh? BTW, I'm already applying for the patent, and I am considering marketing it. What? Crazy Idea? Sure it is..... So was "The Frisbee", and don't forget "Pet Rocks". Just think, someday you can say, you were there in the beginning when Tom got the idea that made him rich :-)

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Been Bowling Lately?

Our department had our quarterly team builder function this week. For those unaware, every quarter, each department holds an off site activity, to build teamwork. I like to refer to it as “Have Fun And Get Paid Function”.This time, we went bowling! Great fun, but all I can say is that I’m glad that intel’s future DOES NOT depend on Process Engineers “bowling skills”, otherwise, the company might as well declare bankruptcy right now J We went over to Kyrene Lanes, which is < ¼ mile from my house, so I went by the house, and oicked up my “gear”. Up, I’ve got the Ball, the shoes, and yes, even a bowling towel. I had to endure the expected “Pro Bowler Tom” jokes from my “friends”, but I gathered they were just jealous of my cool shoes, since they all were wearing those funky pschadelic “rental” shoes. Anyway, I was really looking forward to goofing on the Group Leaders, and especially the Department manager’s bowling skills, since he can really take a joke, but he was too smart for me, and he coordinated everything, so he didn’t bowl. Drat, another comedy sketch opportunity lost….. sigh, oh well. Anyway, my first game was terrible, since I didn’t recall the “magic bowling technique” that I use to use, when I bowled in leagues every week. Let’s just say that the “technique” had to do with making use of an elixer combination of water, barley, and hopps. The second and third games went much much better, or maybe I just didn’t care as much? In any case, based on my observation of the relative skill levels of my fellow PE’s, all I can say to the rest of the PE’s in the department is…….. Don’t quit your day jobs :-)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Isn't Home Ownership Fun?

So, this weekend, it appears that I get to be Mr. Landscaper. See, I have in ground sprinklers in my back yard, to take care of keeping the backyard grass alive. Last weekend, I noticed that when the sprinklers went off, one of them was shooting a stream of water straight up in the air ~ 20ft. Closer examination of the "pop up" sprinkler, revealed the sprinkler body was cracked. No problem, screw out the old body, remove the height riser from the old, screw it into the new, and screw the new body back into the underground pipe, done deal, right? 2 nights ago, when I was double checking the "water throw" distance of the new sprinkler, a second water jet sprung up in the middle of the lawn. Unfortunately, this one appears to have broken off at the riser. For those unaware, you can cut the riser to different lengths, and it is what is used to adjust the height of the sprinkler above ground. As best as I can tell, with a flashlight, there is still a piece of the riser jammed in the pipe connecter, and I can't reach down far enough with the needle nose pliers to get at it. Anyone here is Az knows what that means….. you have to dig. Hopefully, I can peel back the sod in one piece, dig down about 1 ft, and maybe needle nose out the riser pieces then, otherwise I'll have to cut and splice a new piece in (more digging). Sounds like fun huh? Did I mention I also noticed a leak in the front yard dribble system underground pipe? That's a digging situation too. I so remember living in apartments in NYC, where if something was wrong, you picked up the phone, and it got fixed. SIGH, I can say, that after owning the house now for 9 years, I sometimes long for those days of easy maintenance, and no bother, non-home ownership……….. PSYCHE….. I almost had ya there for a second, eh? Anyway, I hope that YOU all have a fun weekend :-)

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