Thursday, June 21, 2007

Perks of the New Building

So my office has moved out into the sticks. There is a train that comes by and shakes the whole building... that was a very unsettling experience the first time... and the second... until I figured out what exactly it was. Despite being miles further away than the previous office building, this one takes only a few minutes longer to reach. But... more gas, still.

Free parking is nice, and not having to cross two streets by foot to get in is nice, too. Although, by the time I get there, most of the good parking spaces are full. All the ones by my entrance anyway--which is at the far end of the building. So it happens that I enter through another door and walk the length of the building. Or sometimes I walk and then enter.

But one interesting thing about the new building... find this odd if you will... is that I have twice now gotten salaams from coworkers. Up to this point, I had seen some brothers who I sort of though of as "probably Muslim" but was never sure, much less if they were practicing. But alhamdulillah, I got salaams from both of them in the last week. I have yet to get salaams from the two Arab brothers who I have even talked to about Islam, and who I should say I know considerably better than these other two. So I just find that interesting.

But one day this week I was coming in through a far door (it was raining a bit) and this brother was coming in at the same time, carrying some inboxes. He gave me salaams and introduced himself, asked how I liked the building and so on, but as I introduced myself he tells me, "I know your name."

*blink* **

Uhh.... okay... nice to meet you... (that's weird!)

But alhamdulillah. It's also nice to not have other people's supervisors breathing down my neck with their offices so close. But my boss's office isn't anywhere near mine. This is somewhat inconvenient... it's nowhere near the door either. So I guess I can come in and nobody will see me. Maybe that is convenient. ;-)

Lately I have a lot of work at work, though. After 2 and a half years of not having a lot of work... having a lot of work is a new experience for me. I can't spend as much time emailing and blogging at work, for one thing. And have to spend way less time on the forum.

I got a "real" project this week, a new signal plan. It was assigned to me because it's an upgrade from a plan I did about a year ago (last May actually) that was actually kind of complicated. I think it might be the only plan I've ever done that used all eight phases! That's only relevant because it means there are lots of details on the plan. Overlap programming with omits and calls, not to mention 4 load resistors and a ton of loops.

So, this is an upgrade. I'm looking at the plan thinking it's going to get simpler. It's still 8-phase but it's becoming less efficient (but more safe) by going to protected left turns on the side street instead of protected/permitted. That means that instead of getting a signal head with 3 balls (red yellow green) and a green ball indicating you may turn left if nobody is coming (but you must be able to tell) [this is fully permitted left turn] and instead of getting a signal head that has 5 sections with 3 balls and 2 arrows (a yellow and green arrow indicating you can turn and oncoming traffic is stopped) [which is protected/permitted] you get three arrows--red, yellow, and green arrows. That means you can only go when you get that arrow and the rest of the time you must wait.

So that requires more than just changing the signals heads. They had to install new loops and run them differently. The loops detect the traffic waiting in a lane. But this is neat... two loops were eliminated, and five new ones were installed. But I managed to get away with only needing one more card on the rack for the detectors, and not having to move any detectors except for the ones that got new loops. Cool, huh!?

I saved the state some money, by not having to buy new detectors. And saved the technician some work, now he won't have to go changing all these loops around to get them into the "standard" (ie less efficient/cost-effective) setup. I told this to my boss and he was impressed. This other guy who used to review my work would complain when I wouldn't put everything in its "typical" slot because he didn't think the technicians would understand. Meh. This time I got to do it my way and I was happy. Yay! :-)

At the same time though, I'm supposed to be indexing files... loads of files... by next Friday!! Yikes! I'm doing this with another guy and so far haven't started. He got people to move some files out so we have less work to do but still... I don't even understand what I'm supposed to be doing.

So why am I involved anyway?

Because apparently I'm good at organization. Is this true? Of course not. Is it a stereotype? Absolutely. Why? Starts with a V!! I don't know why men think that women are naturally better at things like organization really. I'm sure though, that that is the reason I was selected. Boss's boss said so. And I thought, "What? Organization? Me?" with a cocked eyebrow and smirk.

Mff. Yeah right. We shall see how that goes!

**I discovered something new to frustrate my blog readers! I did it by accident and it was only after an hour or so that I realized my mistake! Hahaha... if you type the word "blink" in brackets like this "<" and ">" then you get flashing text... you blog can be on the blink!

Imagine if the whole post was like this! Whoops!

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