Monday, December 27, 2010

Aggravations - part 1

I haven't had a whole lot to post of late. I pity those who have to crank out some content on a regular basis ... Anyway, what follows is me being gripy about certain things. There may be more of these in the future, so I'm labeling this the first installment of whining and complaining about things that annoy me.

1. I've come to really detest the combination dog tag/key card that gives me access to the Intergalactic Weather Center and my office therein. I dislike having to wear security "dog tags" in our building, anyway, but that's not why I'm griping about it. For the umpteenth time today, I set out to go to the office and realized after going about two miles that I didn't have my key card.* Sometimes I make it all the way to the office before realizing I've left the blasted thing at home! There's no point trying to enter the building without it, so I have no choice but to turn around and go back home, where I'll find it precisely where I've left it (e.g., next to my desk). In bygone days, we used a physical key to get into a building after hours, and perhaps another such key to open our office space. The key(s) would be safely and permanently on the same key ring that holds my car keys, so if I got into the car and was able to operate it, I'd be able to get into my office. With this damned thingy, if I forget to take it off before I leave the car, I'll have to take it off sometime in the house, and in doing so, there's a good chance I'll forget to bring it on my way out the door to get in my car next time. And, by the way, when the battery in my office lock goes dead, my key card won't open my office door. I dislike key cards!! Bring back physical keys!!

2. A common gripe of mine has been the extreme rarity with which other drivers use their turn signals here in AbNorman. However, of late, this gripe is being displaced by those who pull out of side streets into my traffic lane, at times in such a way that causes me to have to brake to prevent a collision, and then just poke-assing along. If you clowns were in such a hurry that you couldn't wait for me to pass before pulling out, why are you just dawdling along after you pull out? I would think you'd be accelerating like John Force and roaring down the road to get to your destination, so that I'd be left in your dust. Instead, after you force your way into traffic in front of me, it's the old helium foot on the accelerator! It's become almost laughable how many times this happens to me as I drive about AbNorman these days. I'm coming to expect it (and driving accordingly), just as I have to expect people to fail to signal their intentions to turn.

3. Some years ago, a colleague of mine used to amaze me by the vehemence of his reactions to certain stupid questions and comments that people would make. He was one of the true giants in my field and I admired his work but was always somewhat put off by his acerbic responses to certain questions regarding his work. I thought it was counter-productive to become upset with ignorance. Now, as time has passed, I find myself similarly put off by comparable stupid questions and/or comments. Although I'm still trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to avoid my tendency for sarcasm as a way to respond to ignorant remarks, I have to admit that having to address the very same ignorant questions and/or comments about a subject over... and over... and over... for decades can become a serious source of aggravation. I think I now appreciate why this great man had this particular "flaw" in his demeanor. It seems that no matter how many times you show someone the errors in their interpretation, those errors never seem to go away. Someone new will express them, even if you've somehow managed to convince those who expressed them to you earlier. Of course, there's no guarantee that you will convince anyone to change their way of thinking. Ignorance is never in short supply, it seems. I still maintain it's counter-productive to become upset with ignorance, but experience continues to show me that my mentor blazed a path for me in this regard, as well.

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* Now some of you (you know who you are!) might be tempted to go off about my increasing absent-mindedness as a function of my "advanced age." Balderdash - I've been absent-minded all my life, so it's not at all evident that this is a sign of anything!

9 comments:

theamericanheathen.com said...

Not a process of age, Chuck. No. It's a process of "molecular decay" :-)

Chuck Doswell said...

As I said, you know who you are ...

El Gran Rogelio said...

Chuck, we don't need to rely on absent-mindedness, cantankerousness, sarcasm, receding hairlines, frustration with thoughtless bozos on the road or elsewhere, or any other particular characteristic, as a sign of your deepening geriatric state. In your case, being elderly is holistically self-evident! :-)

Anonymous said...

Intergalactic Weather Center! Is that what they're calling it these days?.

Anyways, some things (like keys) should never go out of style. I agree. However the shape of a key, save for some warping with use, is for all practical purposes constant. Given the size of the weather campus in "AbNorman" and transience of its occupants by virtue of its roots (i.e. post docs, students, etc) it only makes sense that they'd prefer an object that can be coded and stimulated electromagnetically.

Of course I suppose the type of precision in which a key is cut could also be improved upon?. I wonder with sort of precision keys are cut with these days? Or for that matter what sort of material they're using down at the hardware store here in town? I just had a key made the other day up here and found that there where some noticeable differences prior to the potential of any future warping.

Maybe we should bring back trust?. Though it only takes one person to break that trust. I could make a very simple argument that with increasing population the potential for a break in grows, though an easy counterargument would be that with more people come added security?.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I'm sure you've heard the saying "absent minded professor"! Now that can't possibly be you, right?

Chuck Doswell said...

Anon ... I use the term "Intergalactic" because they call it the "National" Weather Center. It's not a national center, although it has NOAA components. It's the Norman Weather Center! Many other places around the US have NOAA component(s) but do not thereby conclude they are national centers! If you're going to be arrogant, why stop at "National"? Why not go on to become monumentally arrogant?

lharris said...

Don't know if this helps you, but at the lab I work at we have RFID key cards that only require that the card be brought near a sensor before they activate, instead of being slid into a slot. I'm able to get the sensor to work by just keeping the card in my wallet, then simply pressing the wallet to the sensor.

Chuck Doswell said...

Interesting. A card I could leave in my wallet and still use it to gain entry would be good. Unfortunately, the building security requires it to be visible at all times.

Anonymous said...

Iharris, I know the type of card you're writing about. I used one last summer to gain entry to an office that I was given access to. The ability to stick it in your wallet and forget about it was nice. That is as long as it gets back into your wallet! Too often I found myself stepping out only to find that I had left the card on my desk.

Just imagine the problems we're going to get ourselves into once the use of teleportation devices become commonplace. "Whoops, somehow I got stuck in the ceiling paneling again!"