May 29, 2004

I made steak

And it was deeeelicious. It was a center cut ranch steak that was on sale for $2.99 a pound a few weeks ago at Lowe's Foods. It's a pretty lean piece of meat, which definitely is right up my alley, and it's not super thick. I went for a two phase cooking method, based on the advice of Alton Brown. First, I seared each side for 45 seconds on a super hot pan. Then I moved it onto a baking sheet that had heated up to 500 degrees in the oven. I cooked it for 2 minutes on each side in the oven, and then let it rest for a few minutes to let the juices settle down. It was just about perfect. A nice brown crust on the outside and a warm pink middle. Let me tell you, it was medium rare done right. For Janet, I cooked it a little longer. Hers was probably more toward medium. Much less pink, which she prefers. She liked it, though, which was the shock. She spent the first 22 years of her life eating steak cooked the Joanne Kraft (her mom) way: for so long that there is no moisture left and the texture resembles patent leather shoes. It's no wonder she thought she didn't like steak. Maybe when we go to Vermont, I'll cook dinner once or twice to see if I can teach them anything. All said and done, it was a smashing success of a meal, and I'm glad I was able to pull it off. I'd never cooked a steak that way before, so I was a litle nervous, but not too much. I'd done it on the grill, and I'd done it on the George Foreman grill, but never on the stove and in the oven. Let me tell you, it was nearly as good as the grill, and way better than the George. Everything cooked on the George tastes a little bit funny to me. I don't know what it is, but steaks, chicken, and burgers don't quite have the same flavor when they've been fat reduced by George. Salmon is the exception. Salmon is good eats on the George, but everything else seems subpar, so I'm glad I am now a searing fiend.

The real kicker is the fact that I seasoned it with nothing more than salt and pepper and it tasted just fine. I may try some seasoning next time to perfect the dish, but it's not necessary.

May 28, 2004

Janet said

Janet told me to do some blogging, so here goes:

I finished my first week of work today. I'm slowly but surely getting the hang of it. If I learn one good thing a day, I think I'm making good progress. I got to feel important today because I got my very own copies of some product description manuals. I had to sign for my specific copy, and every page had big red letters on it saying DO NOT COPY. Do you want to see them? Tough, since they're proprietary information that talk all about how everything on the chip is designed and how it all works.

I just realized that most people have no idea what my company does. Well, let me tell you. Infineon makes memory chips mostly. Memory for computers, cell phones, PDAs, anything like that. It's one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world, with facilities in North Carolina, Virginia, California, Vermont, Portugal, Malaysia, China, and Germany, to name a few. Those little chips are seriously complicated things. A 512 megabit memory chip has over a trillion active devices on a piece of silicon smaller than a postage stamp. It takes some sophisticated (and expensive) processing to get one of those out the door, so you have to be sure you have a large market for your products, because it costs millions and millions of dollars to produce a working design. Let's just say you can't afford to have slow sales or you're on your way out of business.

This is the big Memorial Day weekend. Janet and I will be working on Monday, though, since she has to make up a snow day and I might as well save that day off for another time, even if it will be pretty lonely at work, I'd imagine. To everyone else, I say have a good time doing whatever it is you do this coming weekend. If you can help it, stay the heck away from I-95, especially near Smithfield, NC, since it apparently has become a deathtrap with multiple fatal accidents there today. Some truck spilled carped adhesive all over the road around 6:30am today, and they closed both directions of the road until late afternoon. Wild stuff, I tell ya.

May 25, 2004

Real first day

The real first day went all right, but it's bed time. You can hear more tomorrow when I'm less sleepy.

Oh, and James, a lot of times the soreness is worse the second day. I don't know why, but it's just the way it goes, so don't worry.

May 24, 2004

I tried to be a good boy

I tried to have my first day of work today. I got up, took a shower, got dressed, arrived on time, and everything you would expect. For a while, everything was normal. I got a tour and introduction to the facilities. Then, they took my picture (looks horrible) and gave me my badge. Then the fun began. The person who had done the first bit of orientation walked me upstairs to where my group sits, and they were a bit surprised to see me. Seems no one downstairs told the people upstairs I was coming, and the upstairs crowd was expecting me June 1st, not today. This would not have been a problem, in general. They could have made the necessary adjustments under normal circumstances. However, my boss was not in the office today. He had some meetings and whatnot to deal with. As a result, I was taken to my cubicle, I filled out a few forms, and they told me to go on home and come back tomorrow. Thus, my first day as an engineer lasted about two and a half hours.

Everything about the job seems good so far. I'm not totally set on what I'm doing yet, but I have a nice big cubicle with a big monitor. Also, the phone is pretty cool. It's an IP phone, which means it uses the internet instead of regular phone lines. It's also connected to my computer, so I think I can program new numbers into it with the computer. It has a big LCD screen on it that is connected to a company directory, so I can look anyone up right on the phone. I needed one of those at Messiah. The computer, however, is a SunRay jobber that is definitely not running Windows, so I'll have to get a book about Unix at the library. It's pretty cool, though. It's not a PC, per se, but more of a workstation. Basically, nothing is saved at my desk. It's all on the server, which means it can be really small, as seen here. I also will be able to login to my stuff from anywhere in the company. This helps avoid upgrade problems too. Just upgrade the server, and it affects everyone. It's just one more of many things to learn in my new job, which I hope to start for real tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, they give us free bottled water, too.

May 23, 2004

Hot, hot, hot

Let me tell you about this heat. It's like we skipped a season in there or something. The month of April was unseasonable cool for North Carolina, and then we had a stretch in May where the weather was in the low 80s for a while. Now, we're into full blown summer, it seems. Friday was 93 (a record), yesterday was 92, and today it got up to 90, with no end in sight. Here's the forecasted highs for the next week or so: 92, 93, 91, 84(get out your sweaters), 88, 90, 93, 90. This is quite the heat wave, as far as I'm concerned. Makes me almost wish for a good rainstorm to cool things down a bit. Of course, I'll be inside for much of this heat wave, as I start my job tomorrow. Perhaps later tonight I'll get to posting about my feelings on joining the economic recovery.

May 21, 2004

Lobster Boy

That's me today. I was out by the pool doing a little light reading (Prey by Michael Crichton, if you must know) and it was hot, so I got in the pool by the side and kept reading. I stayed out there for about two hours, which was, in retrospect, a mistake, since I know have a light sunburn. With any luck, it will soon be golden brown, but for now, it's a tad tender in the shoulder area, and Janet keeps scolding me for neglecting the sunscreen, and, alas, she is right to do so.

As for the book, I finished it today. It's a bit long, but I had the time, and it's a quick read. If you have any interest in nanotechnology, you've probably already read it. If you haven't, I suggest picking it up. I think Crichton gives a little too much credit to the learning capability of the machines, but without them, there's no story, and he's a storyteller if nothing else.

May 20, 2004

Pate a Choux

Pate a Choux is french for something, but it refers to a type of dough that is used in cream puffs, eclairs, and funnel cakes. I made funnel cakes tonight. Let me tell you, it was just like being at the fair. People (like me) get it into their heads that you can only get fair food at the fair, but it's just not true. I have a recipe for corn dogs, too. Until today, I had only had funnel cakes two different ways; fresh at the fair or thawed and baked in Lottie Nelson dining hall on Carnival Night. There is no comparison between the frozen ones and the real thing, let me tell you. Just for all of you out there, you can find the recipe on the Food Network website right here. Gotta love that Alton Brown.

May 19, 2004

Is it really 11?

I haven't adequately commented on James' job post of last week. The fact that he's working on or supporting 11 different projects should clue someone out there at New Enterprise that this isn't the optimal way to run a business. Basically, I think it comes down to a company that is a little slow moving into the 21st century, so they only have 2 guys to do all the computer stuff for the whole dang company. Maybe it's time they hired a third or a fourth engineer so they could actually complete one or two of these 11 projects, rather than sending their engineers (whose time is theoretically pretty valuable) to do field service. In a larger company (or better run one) there would be field service guys and development guys, and they wouldn't be the same guys. Sure, James and Ashley could go fix the big stuff that is too weird, but they shouldn't have to be driving all over the northeast because some schmuck in Shippensburg can't turn on a computer.

May 18, 2004

A song about toast

I heard this on the radio this morning while driving the Saab to the shop. It was on the classic rock station's morning show, and I thought it was funny, so I have found it and placed it here for your enjoyment. The file is about 2 MB, so be warned if you're on dial up.

Heywood Banks - Toast

May 17, 2004

Did You Know?

Did you know that the post prior to this one was the 300th post since the birth of my blog? How cool is that?

Anyhow, I was lamenting to Janet the other day that I wondered what happened to all the other bright-eyed Messiah College engineering graduates from the class of 2003. Well, I found out some info from the Alumni website, but I'm sure a lot of it is out of date, but I just went with what I got. If you'd like to see my list, let me know, and I'll send it your way so you can fill in some of the blanks, or just see it out of your own curiosity. I used the list of students from the Senior Project brochure of a year ago and took out the students who didn't graduate until this year. All in all, I have about 60% of the names matched with jobs, but that doesn't mean I have them all right.

May 16, 2004

Feeling old for the first time

It was quite the education going to the mall today. First, I went into Abercrombie & Fitch, maybe looking for some khaki pants. Good luck; everything in there was at the cutting edge of teenage fashion. I beat my clothes up enough as it is; I don't need to buy them already frayed, faded, and torn. Then, I went into American Eagle, and I must look old or something, because one of the girls working in the store stopped me and asked me if Boston sang "We Built This City." It appeared to be a bone of contention between several of the staff. I informed her that no, Boston did not sing the song, it was Jefferson Starship. Was I the only one there who knew this? Perhaps. Finally, I was forced to admit something I had, until today, been able to deny. When it comes to clothes, you often get what you pay for. I found pants that fit me and looked good. That's the good news. The bad news is that they were in J. Crew, which isn't exactly Walmart, if you get my drift. Either way, I bought a pair of pants that, stunning though they are, are more expensive than any pair of pants I've ever owned.

I do have the consolation of knowing that at 23, I'm nowhere near over the hill, just a little closer to the top than some. I still have a long way to go.

May 14, 2004

What a surprise

Apparently, my MINI is missing a dealer installed cup holder. This is definitely news to me, but I got a letter in the mail saying I could make an appointment to get it installed at no cost. Not bad. What's even better is the free mug they sent me to make up for their mistake. Mind you, nothing integral to the car is missing, and no wires or cables are haning out, it's just a cupholder that attaches to the front console (it's difficult to describe), but hey, I'll take the mug, and I might even get the hold installed if I ever go to Winston-Salem again.

May 12, 2004

Change is in the air

I decided that it was time to change my blog template, so I did. This one is a little easier to manage than the other one, for reasons I won't get into here. New job, new car, new apartment, new template.

May 11, 2004

D-U-N done!

I took my last final today, and it could have been a lot worse. I felt like I knew most of what I was asked to do. Hopefully that will result in a better grade than the last test I took in that class. Such is life. I've got a job, so some of the pressure is off. Once you get that first job, I think the GPA becomes less important, since everyone wants work experience anyhow. Messiah graduates this weekend, and I talked to Janet briefly about going, but there isn't enough lead time and there wouldn't be anyone in the Media Center, so we'll be with the graduates in spirit, if not in body.

May 10, 2004

In Honor of the School During Graduation Week: Why I Miss Messiah College

Why did I wait so long?

Click here to download Mozilla Firefox 0.8. It's the web browser that I've been using for a few months now, and I like it for a lot of reasons. First, it blocks pop up ads, which is reason enough to get it. Second, it allows you to open multiple windows using a tabbed interface. If I want to see a website, but don't want to close the one I'm looking at, I just click the scroll wheel on the link and it pops up behind the current page and a tab appears at the top of the window. It's slick, and I recommend.

May 8, 2004

Job

Let this be the formal announcement that I have accepted a position as a Test Engineer for Infineon Technologies in Cary, North Carolina. I'm due to start on May 24th, and I'm excited to get going on a career. It's hard to know what the job will be like. I've never been an engineer before, just an engineering student, and I think there's a difference. On the one hand, there's the worry that I've bitten off more than I can chew and I won't be able to do it. On the other hand, there are lots of people just like me that had to start their career somewhere. I'm not too worried, because I think the people at Infineon have a good idea of what I've done and where I've been. I tried to represent myself and my abilities honestly, so I suppose it's time to jump in with both feet and see if I can swim.

Lamp Shopping

We had the most hideous lamp you've ever seen in our living room since we moved to North Carolina. It's main attribute was that it was free. Now, we have a new lamp that was low priced and doesn't look like it came out of someone else's trash, which may have been true about the lamp it replaced. Janet picked out the new one, and she likes it, so we have upgraded that little bit. We'll be grownups before we know it.

May 7, 2004

News Gets Better

Turns out everything I thought I knew was wrong. I can switch to be a non-thesis student, with the only consequence being that I can't be a TA, which doesn't bother me since the only reason to switch from thesis to non-thesis would be to take the Infineon job. Basically, I just have to stay continuously enrolled. Unless the courses fall perfectly, that could result in taking a lot of superfluous courses on my way to finishing the degree, but if Infineon pays, what's the problem? This is all contingent, of course, on taking the job, though this revelation makes it more likely.

May 6, 2004

Trying to Find Out

I've been trying to find out what my friends from school are all up to this summer and upcoming fall, with mixed success. Some people won't respond to instant messages, some people, I don't know how to get in touch with, and some people, oh, who am I kidding, there aren't any other people. Basically, I've come up with the following list:

James - working on a project that no one, including him, has any idea if it will work or not (oh yeah, and that web app thing that must be a pet project of some Vice President out in the Cove)

Vikki - Shortly becoming the next big think at Huntingtown High School in Calvert County, Maryland. Judging from my first glance at some web sites, she'll be the poorest person in town, though I doubt she'll starve. (strike that, she can't afford to live in Huntingtown)

Liz - Moving to Hershey (or thereabouts) for some nursing internship/clinical type thing that I don't really understand, but it gets her one step closer to infinite job security (I've said it before, but moms and dads, tell your kids to go into nursing)

Janet - switching to the morning schedule at work, much to her joy (not really)

Amy - at HD, as usual, trying to get some poor, unsuspecting kid to buy rum raisin ice cream. Later, she'll become a math teacher, and a darn good one.

Brooke - living at home, fighting with mom, working the wrestling office (I think)

Katrina - yeah, my sister moved back home, though between work, summer school, and 30 days of leadership training in Seattle, I'm not sure anyone will notice (right, like they wouldn't notice a UFO landing in the back yard)

Krista - the only 3 year trainer in Messiah wrestling history just passed her certification test, and is awaiting the perfect opportunity

Tim Hillner - working at the fort, bothering Kathi, situation normal (don't worry, she likes it)

That's pretty much all I know. Feel free to fill me in.

Scrawled on the Bathroom Wall

UNC Diplomas, take one (accompanied by an arrow pointing to the toilet paper dispenser)

I thought it was pretty funny.

May 4, 2004

Welcome to the Club

After some harassment from James, Amy K. Hall has become a Blogger. Check her out, and her website, too. The link is on the side.

May 3, 2004

Some Good News

1. The Project That Wouldn't Die is truly and utterly dead. I'm turning in the now finished report some time this week.

2. I finished Moneyball, all 304 pages, in a single weekend. Yes, it was that good. The funniest part of the book is the new epilogue in which to author makes reference to the multiple times that Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame 2nd baseman and TV personality, said that Billy Beane wrote the book when Michael Lewis should get the blame.

3. Infineon Technologies AG has offered me a job in their Test Engineering Department. The full details will arrive by mail on Wednesday, but for now it looks promising. Don't worry, faithful readers, I will get my Master's degree, it just may not be next May.

May 2, 2004

Baseball Books

I bought a new baseball book yesterday. It's not that new, but it's revolutionary. The book is Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. If you read much about baseball on the Internet or in the paper, you may have heard of it. Basically, it talks about the Oakland A's and Billy Beane as they try to beat teams with bigger, badder budgets. To do that, it takes revolutionary ideas that don't sit well with "old baseball men." In interviews, other GMs and owners have referred to it as "Beane's book," as if he were the author. This shows their ignorance and helps explain why the A's have been running circles around bigger budgeted teams like the Rangers and their ilk. This brings my baseball library to the following:

Ball Four by Jim Bouton - the first inside look at a baseball team by one of the players who wasn't afraid to include the unsavory details
Baseball Dynasties by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein - two really smart guys try to determine who the best teams ever were, and they use a lot of math to do it
Feeding the Green Monster by Rob Neyer - one man's diary of living four blocks from Fenway park and attending every home game
Moneyball by Michael Lewis - previously described
Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups by Rob Neyer - want to know who the best 2nd basemen in Mariner's history is? This is your book
Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame by Bill James - history, analysis, opinion...just another masterpiece by the most influential baseball writer of the past 50 years

I heartily recommend each of these books and I'll shortly be adding to my collection with The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract and the upcoming Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers.

May 1, 2004

Two quickies

1. I do not, and probably never will, understand what the deal is with women and shoes.

2. After a lovely dinner at On the Border, I've decided that every food could likely be improved if it were wrapped in bacon, with shrimp being wrapped tonight.