alex barrie
April 19, 2014
is now workin for the man
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If you want to be updated on the daily minutia of my life, now you can!

February 23, 2009
vacuum chamber
they are tearing down some wall in our lab so we had to temporarily move one of the vacuum chambers into this room full of offices. it is right in front of the door of these two guys who dont even work on our project and i have no idea who they are. the roughing pump (the first pump that goes on) is shake the whole room loud. so we have been moving it and hooking it up for a few days and today was the first time we turned it on. I poked my head in to warn the guys in there that we were turning it on and it was going to be loud but the guy in there was asleep so we just turned it on. about 10 seconds later the door slammed shut. it may have been a 'had to be there' sort of thing, but i found it really hillarious. the goal is that we will drive those 2 guys out of that office and then we (some other lackey and me) can move in instead of working on a printer stand in the middle of a hallway with my back to some cabinet that everyone needs to get into.
February 18, 2009
mortgage
also, the way i know that it is the life insurance offer is that it is addressed to kennie barrie
February 18, 2009
mortgage
now that i have a mortgage my mail volume has increased from 0/day to about 20/day. 19 out of those 20 are offers saying that since i have $300,000 in debt i should probably get their life insurance.
January 29, 2009
cars
NASA seems to be a place where people park cars never to move them again. There is one VW from the 70s that has been in the same space since I started here. It snowed 3 days ago allowing a good view of which cars have obviously not been moved in the last 3 days by the large pile of snow still on them. I was talking to one dude who said that they reported one car that was never moved and then they saw him out the window get in the car and move it to the other side of the lot, where it remains to this day.
February 12, 2008
colorado
when i landed at the denver airport and went to rent my reserved compact car, they said 'compact?! no no no. you can choose between this large array of SUVs'. i was pretty pissed at first, but i soon understood their reasoning. i went skiing yesterday and i heard people saying things like 'the snow isnt great because it hasnt snowed in a long time - i guess 2 days is a long time for this area!'. and then it started snowing. there are only 2 roads that go to the ski places. one of them is some mountain pass that closes every time it snows, which is apparently almost every day. so it was closed. the other is through a long tunnel. it is in fact, so long that it qualifies for some regulation where hazmat trucks have to go through one at a time with no other cars in the tunnel. what this means is that all traffic going through the tunnel has to stop when a hazmat truck is going through. and as far as i can tell, almost every truck is considered 'hazardous'. so we are sitting in the car completely stopped for about 2 hours waiting to go into the tunnel, while the snow builds up all around us. we finally ge through the tunnel only to be greeted by the road being trimmed down to one lane due to the large array of accidents causing further delays. the visibility was about 1 foot. i had visions of my old car. i was glad that i was not in the compact.
January 30, 2008
HEELLOOOO! I'm covered in oil! LA-LA-LA!
Yesterday I tried to change the oil in my car. Caitlin has access to the NASA garage and said she knew what she was doing so we went there. the first time we tried my car looked too confusing so we had to abort and look it up on the internet. so we went back to try again. this time it was also confusing, despite the internet. there was one pan that looked like an oil pan, but was not near the filter, and some other random bolt that did not really look like a pan, but was near the filter. Caitlin unscrewed the one that looked like a pan and it soon became apparent that it was my transmission fluid that was draining out of the car. not being prepared for this course of events, we didnt put the plug back in but let it drain all the way out. we then undid the other bolt, which was in fact the oil, and changed the oil. i left my car there and caitlin took me over to autozone to buy some transmission fluid. then came the question of where to put the fluid in. the manual did not show a fill for it, so it was back to the internet. all the internet had were a bunch of posts along the lines of 'where do i fill transmission fluid in my mazda3?' with no responses. the only thing we could think of was to fill it through the dipstick hole. the manual said 8 quarts so i out in 5 and then measured it just to be safe. only to find that it was already way over full. so i tried to drain out some and as expected, could not contain it and it all came out again. so we had to go back to autozone and buy more transmission fluid while the woman gave me the 'first batch not enough for you?' look. so i dumped some more in and thought it was OK and then the check engine light came on. some guy in the garage said to add more transmission fluid. i was a little bit suspiscious of this since i would think the transmission fluid level would be indicated by the transmission light, not the engine light, but he turned out to be correct. the point is that it was the longest and most expensive oil change of my life.
January 21, 2008
heat
In an effort to save money, NASA appears to turns off the heating system when the center is not open, such as today (MLK Day). Since I dont work directly for NASA and am instead a contractor, I dont have off today and had to come into work. my normally freezing cube is even colder than usual. Not even my new space heater could make up the difference. I am wearing gloves as I type this.
January 16, 2008
heater
due to 1950s building construction, my cube is freaking freezing. everyone else has space heaters but when I have asked for one in the three months I have been here they are always 'out of them'. Today I was in a meeting complaining about how cold my cube was and some woman said 'oh, do you want a heater? we have plenty!' So I followed her back to some room and she gave me one of the many available heaters.
January 8, 2008
senior employees
Every Friday and Monday NASA has these colloquia on various sciency things. I always go because they are pretty interesting, but I always here these discussions along the lines of 'what are you doing going to THIS thing?' 'oh, i just want to take nap'. and sure enough, within 10 minutes of the guy starting, everyone in the room but me is asleep. The most recent time one guy started snoring so loudly that the speaker had to stop talking and someone had to walk across the room and wake him up. And that presenter had flown all the way out from California.
December 5, 2007
carts
i was driving around in the costco parking lot and it was really windy and there is no mechanism to keep carts in the cart coral. so i had to stop at an intersection, not because of some dude, but because there was a squadron of shopping carts speeding by. i was just waiting for them to pass, but then they all paused momentarily at the stop sign and then turned around the corner and homed in on my car. being adept at these sort of maneuvers, i moved out of the way and continued on my way only to be confronted about 20 feet later by a second wave of carts moving significantly faster. i swerved out of the way of these just in time to see them all run into the side of some million dollar bmw. satisfying!
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