French Toast Alerts

For several years I’ve been posting my “French Toast Alerts” on my Facebook timeline. But where did the idea come from?

Well, for starters, working at a grocery store in high school I noticed that any time snow was predicted, certain items seemed to become very fast sellers. Namely, bread, milk, and eggs. What the heck is going on? Are people planning to make French Toast if they get stuck at home??

Fast forward a couple decades and I ran across a Twitter account that was posting “French Toast Alerts”, so I asked if I could steal the idea, he referred me to the original source of these, Universal Hub in Boston. so I reached out to them to see if they minded. They said by all means, have fun with the idea. And so I have had fun with it.

And now when winter weather threatens Eastern Iowa I will often post this nonsense on my Facebook. Sometime I forget, or don’t even realize snow is coming, and stupidly enough someone will reach out to me to see if a French Toast Alert is warranted. So I guess I’ll keep posting them.

Next Time Someone Claims To Be An ‘Engineer,’ Give Them This Test

(I found this on Facebook and have re-published it here. I do not know who the original author is.)

Engineering is so trendy these days that everybody wants to be one. The word “engineer” is greatly overused. If there’s somebody in your life who you think is trying to pass as an engineer, give him this test to discern the truth.

ENGINEER IDENTIFICATION TEST

You walk into a room and notice that a picture is hanging crooked. You…

  1. Straighten it.
  2. Ignore it.
  3. Buy a CAD system and spend the next six months designing a solar-powered, self-adjusting picture frame while often stating aloud your belief that the inventor of the nail was a total moron.

The correct answer is “C” but partial credit can be given to anybody who writes “It depends” in the margin of the test or simply blames the whole stupid thing on “Marketing.”

SOCIAL SKILLS

Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social interaction.

“Normal” people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:

  • Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
  • Important social contacts
  • A feeling of connectedness with other humans

In contrast to “normal” people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:

  • Get it over with as soon as possible.
  • Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
  • Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.

FASHION AND APPEARANCE

Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming the basic thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied. If no appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia or mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective of clothing has been met.  Anything else is a waste.

DATING AND SOCIAL LIFE

Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above function.

Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it’s true that many normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before losing their virginity.

Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid-thirties to late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually irresistible men in technical professions:

  • Bill Gates.
  • MacGyver.
  • Etcetera.

Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent and remain that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death. Longer if it’s a warm day.

HONESTY

Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can’t handle the truth.

Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work. They say things that sound like lies but technically are not because nobody could be expected to believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is listed below.

  • “I won’t change anything without asking you first.”
  • “I’ll return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow.”
  • “I have to have new equipment to do my job.”
  • “I’m not jealous of your new computer.”

FRUGALITY

Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation is simply a problem in optimization, that is, “How can I escape this situation while retaining the greatest amount of cash?”

RISK

Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever they can. This is understandable, given that when an engineer makes one little mistake the media will treat it like it’s a big deal or something.

EXAMPLES OF BAD PRESS FOR ENGINEERS

  • Hindenberg.
  • Space Shuttle Challenger.
  • Hubble space telescope.
  • Apollo 13.
  • Titanic.
  • Ford Pinto.
  • Corvair.

The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this:

RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people.

REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.

Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are far too complicated to explain.

If that approach is not sufficient to halt project, then the engineer will fall back to a second line of defense: “It’s technically possible but it will cost too much.”

EGO

Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:

  • How smart they are.
  • How many cool devices they own.

The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare that the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an unsolvable problem until it’s solved. No illness or distraction is sufficient to get the engineer off the case. These types of challenges quickly become personal – a battle between the engineer and the laws of nature.

Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to solve a problem (other times just because they forgot). And when they succeed in solving the problem they will experience an ego rush that is better than sex – and I’m including the kind of sex where other people are involved.

 

Mostly Inactive

Not many updates here on the blog, mostly because nothing has been going on. I did consider getting on the air a couple of times, but have found that my rotor is frozen due to the extreme cold we’ve been having here in Iowa this winter. It did move when I tried it last Friday, but on Monday it was stuck again.

My shack doubles as my office where I run a small home based business part time, and it has become quite messy in there. I need to get it cleaned up this weekend so I can gather up all my paperwork for taxes. Once its cleaned up I’m going to try to get back on the air and makes some contacts. After all these years I still haven’t worked all the states, and I really want to get that done.

73

I’m still here

Things have been awfully quiet here at W0HC. I traded my Chevy Blazer last March, and that started a quest to find a way to fit radios into my new vehicle. I've not been in a big rush to do that, and winter time has slowed me down even more. But I've gotten as far as finishing the DC wiring, mounted a screwdriver antenna and a 2m/70cm roof mounted antenna, and have the control panels for both radios mounted. It's down now to mounting the radios themselves and finishing the grounding for the screwdriver. All things I'd prefer to do in warm weather when I can work in the driveway where there's better light and a lot more room to climb in and out of the vehicle.  I look forward to writing a post on the results of the mobile install this spring.

I can't even remember the last time I was on the air at my QTH. Between three jobs, two kids, dogs, cats, and aquariums, ham radio has been pushed to the back burner. 

I've noticed a lot of banging around on the tower this winter. I'm not sure what's going on up there, but I need to either get myself up there or get a local ham to climb and give it a good inspection. I have a 70cm horizontal loop antenna that I'd like to install up there as well, but I need to find some good low loss coax for it. I'd really like to try some ATV.

Which brings me to this. I think, after being licensed for 22 years, I'm finally going to make it to Dayton this year. My wife, KC0AMY, wants to come along, and has lined up someone to stay with the kids while we're gone. Our hotel room is booked, and time off work approved. Now it's just a matter of having the funds to go, which means I better start busting my butt with job #3 to bring in some paying businesses. You might see more about that here if I get the amateur radio side of things going, but right now I'm focused on two large clients that need to be taken care of before I can let myself get distracted with other projects.

I'll probably watch from some lower loss coax and a UHF linear amplifier at the flea market. I've toyed with getting an HF amplifier as well, but that's pretty far down on my list of things I should spend money on.

That's pretty much my world in a nutshell. 

73

What’s new

Life has been busy, not much going on as far as ham radio.  Lots of projects on the backburner.

My rotor is no longer rotating.  I believe the motor may have opened up, I'm not getting any resistance reading across the two motor wires, after replacing the wire and connector at the rotor end.  It's too damn hot outside for tower work during the daytime, so maybe tonight I'll climb up there again and ohm across the pins on the rotor itself.  If that still reads open then down it comes.  Not fun.

I've been wanting to get started on ATV for a long while.  I have an exciter, working on finding some sort of power amp, and have an antenna on the way.  I don't have any extra coax though.

I have a new dual band vertical that needs to get installed on the tower to replace a 2m antenna that's bad. 

I've been busy the past few weeks helping the kids with 4H projects and building some storage cabinets in my basement.  Maybe things will slow down a bit now and I can get some of my ham radio projects going again.

I’m still here

And I’m still busy.

I have a couple of projects underway, one is a computer interface for my Yaesu G-800SA rotor. Another is the Amateur TV setup. I’m still hoping to run across an amplifier for it, but I hope to at least start assembling a low powered station next week.

Hopefully there will be more activity here soon.