June 4th, 2021

#7669: When I was done, I took a long, cool shower

Despite the best efforts of that recalcitrant piece of junk, I was able to install a new computer in the control room today.

I went directly to the site today from home. I was there all day, except for lunch, and brief trip to my office to get my cable testing and tracing kit. Because once I actually had the computer working--once the data had copied over and the thing was ready to be installed--the network drop wasn't working.

So after lunch and getting the kit, I had a gander at the drop. The tracing kit consists of two tools: a signal injector, and the tracer. The injector is essentially an RF noisemaker into which you plug the cable you want to trace. The tracer itself has an antenna and a receiver circuit which receives just that one frequency. The whole thing is designed not to cause any trouble for Ethernet devices that might be connected to that cable, like a switch or router. Anyway, you point the tip of the tracer at the cable and it goes beedle-beedle-beedle. You can then go to where you expect the other end of the cable is, and still get beedle-beedle-beedle out of it. If the cable goes to a patch panel, you can find which port on the patch panel is the correct one by finding the loudest beedle-beedle-beedle.

There were two problems: 1) I could only get the faintest of beedle-beedle-beedles even with the tracer touching the output pins on the injector, but it would at least sound off for the entirety of a known-good cable; 2) with the offending cable plugged into the injector, I couldn't get anything from the cable AT ALL.

Mind you: this is in the control room of a five-storey machine that makes insanely fine-ground silica. There is dust everywhere. Behind the desk that this cable serves, everything is coated with a good 3/8" layer of powdered silica. Everything which is not actively kept clean in that entire building is dirty, covered with fine dust. The I-beams that make up its frame, the ones on the outside walls are covered with years' worth of accreted silica, because when the beams cool off at night and some dew forms on them, the silica sticks to it like glue.

It gets into everything. They have to use harsh-environment keyboards up there; regular mechanical keyboards gum up and stop working. They periodically replace mouses because the optical sensors get choked with silica.

Someone yanked the network cable from the PC I was trying to replace, and in the process goofed it up--not that he had to try very hard, considering the environment. I told the guy in charge that their electrician would have to put a new end on the cable. I could have done it myself in maybe ten minutes, but union shop and I do everything I can to avoid making trouble for anyone.

So the replacement computer went in the other position. They have what they need and I've got the other PC and can copy the data from it in my office, at my leisure, once the other computer's replacement hard drive has finished imaging. I had to crawl over, under, and behind the main workstation there to accomplish that, and when the site manager saw me, he chuckled and said, "You look like a real [site] employee, all covered with silica dust!" *sigh*

See, safety regs require that I wear a hard hat, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, and long sleeves when operating anywhere outside the office space or the control room. In order to get to the control room from the office I not only pass through the warehouse, but also the bulk loading area, before I get to the production building (which is the aforementioned 5-storey machine). And a filter mask, because Wuhan Flu. So by the time I've walked to the production building and climbed the 50 steps to the control room, on a day like today when it's 85­° outside? Sweat was running down my temples and the rest of me was not one degree cooler.

Since I was at work until 6 yesterday, I left an hour early today (no overtime allowed) and when I got home I took a long cool shower to rinse all that freaking silica off me.

* * *

Second City Cop is back! And pulling fewer punches than before!

* * *

How not to write a zombie movie.

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Sarah Hoyt says, "It's just the flu!" And she's not wrong.
I'm not in the mood nor do I have the time to teach you virology, which I only know at the yeoman level, and only because I write books of biological-based SF, but sweet dancing penguins on crack, people! "Asymptomatic transmission" IS NOT A THING. Rationally it couldn't be a thing.
...because the symptoms you get, when you've got a respiratory virus, are the body trying to eject the viruses in various ways. If you don't have those symptoms, then you're not making virus, nor do you have enough virus in your body to trigger the reflexes that result in those symptoms.

* * *

Yesterday, Mrs. Fungus brought home Smudge.

Smudge is a white shorthair kitten with a couple of grey dots on his head. I'm trying to remember the anime/manga where I saw a cat like this but memory fails me. Anyway, he's tiny, and almost entirely white, and the grey patches earned him his name. (She was originally going to call him "Wasabi"; I suggested "Artemis" and was voted down.)

Anyway, so after my shower I ended up in bed due to fatigue. When I woke up, around 8-ish, Mrs. Fungus, Critter, and Smudge had joined me. Smudge was laying next to Critter, to whom he seems to have taken a liking. Maki and Twigs don't know what to make of this new creature, but everyone seems to be getting along all right. Smudge is a typical kitten: play at top speed, then sleep like he's been drugged. Rinse, repeat, with occasional forays to the food dish and the litter box. A digital pet, with two speeds, on and off. (Or "go" and "stop", if you prefer.)

Given that my Friday was a lot more irritating and exhausting than I'd expected (or hoped) I did not do squat this evening, other than go pick up Chinese food. Garbage night tonight, which means I can get rid of all the stuff I threw out a week ago today when I cleaned the basement.

Maybe I'll have the energy to do something mechanical tomorrow...but I wouldn't bet on it.