another successful annual review
Tuesday, March 29 2022
The first thing I did this morning was send a message to Gretchen detailing my new theory about the mysteriously-dead propane tank that had supposedly just been refilled. I wanted her to have this theory in her mind when she called Ferrellgas. Not long after I sent that message to her, I heard her having a somewhat combative conversation with a woman working for Ferrellgas. After some initial fireworks (which I then tried to contribute to, though Gretchen kept trying to shush me), the woman admitted that it has happened that propane deliveries wee made to the wrong customer. Then, when looking at the details of our supposed delivery, she saw information that clearly suggested propane had been added to a tank significantly smaller than the thousand gallon tank we have. Evidently the percentage full of the tank is noted at the beginning of the pumping in of fuel and then at the end. And in "our" delivery, when the delivery began, the tank was at 30%, and when it was finished it was at 80%, though all that had been pumped in was 230 gallons. If you do the math:
100%/(80%-30%) * 230 gallons = 460 gallon (the tank size)
It came as a huge relief to find such clear evidence that our propane had been delivered to the wrong tank, and by the end Gretchen was telling the Ferrellgas that she'd been super helpful. It certainly helped that she told us that the propane that would now be delivered to our actual tank would come at a discount. But, since propane prices are high right now (probably due to the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War), we would only be getting 200 gallons for the time being.
Another item of cabin failure was the MySpool temperature sensor, which had gone offline a week or so ago and which I've been unable to get working. Today I called the MySpool tech support hotline and eventually was given some suggestions. It turns out there is a hidden page on the MySpool.com website detailing how you can pry the device apart (I'd thought it was plastic-welded together) and find a "clear" button to reset it back to factory, something that was never mentioned in any of the publicly-linked pages. But even this failed to get my device working, so in the end it seemed it needed to be replaced. A guy from MySpool said I could either return the device for a refund or wait to be shipped a new one, though, due to ongoing supply chain shortages of semiconductors. I opted for the second option, saying I was willing to wait. Part of my thinking was that I could probably make my own open-source version logging to a server I control. The MySpool temperature probe is based around a variant of the ESP8266, a device I have a good stockpile of, and it looks like the temperature sensor daughterboard is an I2C device, so all I'd really need to do is find some code online to implement a better solution that I completely control. I would make a few stabs at that this evening (using a D1 Arduino-style board) but kept getting annoying Arduino compilation errors.
In the sprawling corporate archipelago I've been working in for the past three and a half years, March is "annual review" season (as it was at Mercy For Animals as well), and, despite always getting glowing reviews, it's never a season I look forward too. In a work environment I tend to be nervous whenever focus is placed on me, since on occasion it has led to bad outcomes. Today my boss the CTO finally got back to me with his response to my self-evaluation, a meeting I'd been dreading. He just suddenly called me on Teams, and there I was in that meeting with him. He'd given indications in the past that he didn't like it when employees give themselves high marks, and, with that in mind, I gave myself a few 4/5s in addition to the 5/5s. But it turned out his feelings about my work for the company are completely positive and he was willing to give me about the highest marks that he was giving anybody. These marks would be slightly lower than the ones I'd given myself, but, he said, this was partly (he said) to appease his higher-ups, who apparently don't like it when managers give all their underlings glowing scores. The CTO told me I'd gone above and beyond on the AppStream login project, teaching myself a bunch of new technologies and then grinding out the work to make sure it was done well before it needed to be. (It helped here that I'd let it be known that one day I'd actually been working on it at 7:30pm, a kind of conscientiousness that, while common in the world of dotcom startups, is unheard of in the more traditional nine-to-five culture of municipal software.)
As you know, a week or so ago I discovered the band Momma and began enjoying their music on YouTube. Today, the YouTube algorithm suggested a song called "Chaise Longue" by Wet Leg, a band from the Isle of Wight. It's like nothing I'd ever heard before, a zany combination of absurd and innocently sexy, all with a post-punk-by-way-of-rap-and-electronic-dance-music vibe. I kept wanting to watch and rewatch their video, which is sung in a delightful deadpan, and their live performances of it, where the vocalists tend to crack each other up. (I'm a little late to the Wet Leg party; evidently they blew up back in the summer.)
In an effort to get some exercise, I took a couple walks up and down the Farm Road today on different occasions, taking the opportunity to stage nice flat pieces of bluestone I found so I could pick them up later. The weather continued to be unseasonably cold and windy, more like a very cold day in January than any day in March.
Before driving off to teach her prison poetry class, Gretchen made a broccoli cream soup using a mix to which she added more broccoli. To mine, I added some slices of raw mushrooms, and we had just enough time before she left at 5:00pm to eat it while watching Jeopardy!. Later, after she came home, we watched another episode of the Dropout. It was episode four of eight and the Elizabeth Holmes character is now fully evil, manipulating old white guys at Safeway and Walgreens (and also George Shultz) using a combination of FOMO and sex appeal.
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