Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random Thoughts and Observations

. Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wow! Ever since Boo Jr and my wife for sick last November, it's been a non-stop stress-fest. Things have only gotten busier for me at work after the layoffs in December. I haven't really had much free time to put any thoughts together to post on my blog. What thoughts I do have I typically share on the Yada Forum. So here are some quick, random thoughts and observations:

  1. There are a lot more people with vanity tags in Virginia compared to other places. A large majority of them are religious in nature. I've seen "BOW2GZS", "HEVN4ME", "PRZB2JC". It's like a little game figuring some of them out. It also helps you identify cars that you see every day on the way to/from work. I'm not a very religious person, and I understand religion is very important to some people, but putting a religious message on your license plate seems a bit much.
  2. One positive thing that's been going on is the experience I've been having volunteering at my son's elementary school. It's been a good diversion from all the crap that's been going on in the world. This will be the second year that I'll participate in the annual Career Day. I plan on giving the same presentation that I did last year. We play Jeopardy! at the end of my presentation with real game show equipment buzzers. The kids love it. I got some really great thank you letters from last year. I happened to check my flash drive recently and noticed that the power point presentation was deleted. I'll have to look more closely before I go recreating it again.
  3. I also volunteer for my son's green club. There's another parent volunteer that is very knowledgable about sustainable design and green issues. She's very enthusiastic like me in coming up with activities for the kids to learn about protecting our environment as well as working directly with the school. One of more ambitious plans is to do an energy audit of the school and propose some energy conservation measures. One of the teacher volunteers had stated they're worried if they'll have enough paper to make it through the year because of all the budget cuts. We pointed out that there are a lot of pretty easy things the school could do to reduce energy consumption and reduce the amount of waste generated. It's been hard getting buy-in from the teachers because they tend to get scared off by our ambitious plans. For example, the school is about 20 years old and still uses T12 fluorescent light bulbs. If they invest a little money and install ballast adapters so they can use T8 light bulbs, they'd see a really quick return on investment. I also started a blog for the Green Club. I've received a lot of praise from the teachers on it, but it's been hard getting the word out and getting people to participate in discussions on the blog. The battery recycling program that I started in the fall has been a huge success though. Baby steps.
  4. Boo Jr had a writing assignment about what he wanted to be when he grows up. He said he wanted to be a cook because he likes food. He talked about some of the foods he likes and then concluded with, "I'm going to be balled (bald)". Kids say the dardest things.
  5. Things have been really busy at work lately. I've got three main projects going on. One is a jail study for a 2,000 bed prison renovation/addition. The report is the first step in getting state funding for construction. The report has a hard and fixed deadline because the funding is actually becomes part of the state budget that is passed in the spring. Doing the report doesn't guarantee that the project will be approved by the state or that my company will do the design, but the projects are usually approved and doing the report increases our chances of getting the design. My second job is a renovation project for a local university. We're converting an old, unused dormatory into a tech center. They'll teach tv and radio production and will have real, working tv and radio studios. The data center for the entire campus will also be housed in the building. The project is going for LEED - Silver. I plan on specifying these really cool induction boxes with non-condensing cooling coils. They're super-energy efficient. I always enjoy designing systems I haven't used before. The project is going to be really challenging because it's a renovation. The last job is one of the biggest jobs I've ever done - a brand new 800 bed prison. It will be one of only a handful LEED registered prisons in the country. The due date for this project is only a couple months away, so it's really been crunch time lately. It's been challenging balancing these three jobs along with my CA duties for the half dozen or so other jobs that are currently under construction.
  6. I've been paying close attention to the stimulus package trying to make its way through Congress. I'm excited about the potential of it designating funding for renovating our schools and government office building, improving building efficiency, and creating green jobs. I hope that the states get a lot of funding from the federal government as well. That's the problem my company has been facing. We are fortunate to have a decent backlog of work, but the government is postponing us working on these projects because of the financial crisis. If we're not working on designing buildings then we don't have money coming in. Our State of the Firm will be this Friday, and I'm sure our president will have a lot to say on that topic.
  7. Boo Jr continues to heal well from his head injury. He's been upset that we've pulled him out of recess and PE for the week. We don't want to risk him bonking his head and opening up his stitches. He also had a small concussion, so getting bonked in the head is the last thing we need. He has a follow up appointment with the doctor on Friday to check out his stitches.
  8. Boo Jr and I do the grocery shopping every Sunday. I'm very proud of my son for his good manners as he'll say, "excuse me" when he needs to get by someone. Most everyone looks pleasantly surprised and smiles when they see a kid with good manners. But this one lady gave him the nastiest look last week. I wanted to ask her who pissed in her corn flakes that morning.


Anonymous said...

I like #6. Manners are very important for children to learn, and it seems he's well on his way to becoming a gentleman. Very nice Dad.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear boo jr. bonked his head. Glad he's ok.


It's you know who! said...

lol Your last sentence is pretty funny! I hate people who act like that too. And just as worse, when you are somewhere and these people are swearing and cursing in everyday language. Not because they are mad or anything, just because they can.

Too many people nowadays have no respect for anyone else. No matter whether there are little children around, or your grandmother.

Nice update btw! :)

Greeneyezz said...

It sounds like it's time for some taking care of yourself. I knew you've had a lot going on, particularly with your family and being sick and stuff.
I hope things are ok.

BTW - This was an excellent post. A Great update and more personal in context.

Good stuff! :)