Sometime last week, the faucet on the kitchen sink at work broke. That’s not a real surprise because it was endowed with a pretty unorthodox design. The spigot pulls out and turns into a sprayer. How handy is that? None handy! We almost forgot it had that feature! If it’s too much trouble to grab a regular sprayer all the way on the other side of the sink, no worries! You can just grab the spigot and use it as the sprayer! Or break it off, as some poor soul did with ours. When this first happened, it was pretty bad, because if you turned it on, the stream was angled up by about 45 degrees, and water would come shooting out at a very high velocity. Enough to soak the wall on the other side of the kitchen and anything or anybody with the misfortune of being located in between.

Then one of the engineers I work with remembered the bizarre sprayer configuration, and realized that the sprayer hose was still down inside the busted-off orifice. So he fished it out. I couldn’t decide if we should praise him or curse him. Once again we had reasonable (though precarious) use of the sink, but that gives the landlord an excuse to put off the repair. So it’s still broken. And still a little unweildy!

I went in there today to fill a pitcher with water. I dropped the hose into the pitcher, let go of it, and then turned the faucet on with a little too much exuberance. The hose launched itself out of the pitcher and started dancing around like one of those hose attachment you used to be able to buy for kids to play with in the yard. Kinda like running through the sprinkler, but much less predictable. Well, it was just like one of those, and I was standing 18 inches away from it, fully clothed (being only partially clothed in the kitchen is probably a firable offense). I closed my eyes and reached for the shut-off. I guess it ran for a full three seconds before I shut it off, so I was quite wet!

I guess we DO have a stupid detector after all! This pretty much offsets the contribution I made to the Internet yesterday, and the world’s equilibrium is restored.

Back when I worked at E-Systems, an Australian friend of mine (Phil) suggested that the company ought to place a “stupid detector” at each entrance to the building. If an employee set off the stupid detector on the way into the building, security would shunt him off to the stupid room where he could do no damage. Even the brightest people have stupid days. I have had my share of them for sure, and I can tell you that they cost the company real money. Most of the time my contributions to the company are positive, but every now and then… not so much. In my career I have blown up my share of $20,000 logic analyzers, and I have fried more than one computer board costing over $10,000. All the engineers I know have done this. It’s just part of the equation I guess.

But the stupid detector is there to shift that equation. It is far better to lose an engineer’s productivity for a day than it is to allow that engineer to generate 15 days of negative productivity. Such as when he fries an expensive piece of equipment. But alas! no reliable stupid detector has been invented yet!

If it had, I’m pretty sure I would have set it off today. I managed (through sheer luck) to not destroy anything, but that may be because I was aware of the subatomic moron quarks being emitted by my brain, so I was careful not to get close to anything important. I even thought about going home. I had a nasty headache, so I could have legitimately used some sick time. At the end of the work day I may even have made some progress. Some test code I wrote may have validated some hardware, but I thought it wise to delay judgment on that until the morrow. Hopefully the moron quarks will have subsided by then, and we can tell for sure if anything good was happening, or if I was just being stupid.

I had an appointment with Ken to finish off the basketball goal at 5:00, and in spite of my stupidness, I decided to run a network cable up into the AV room while I waited for him to show up. With great trepidation and fear of moron quarks, I carefully bored a hole through the basement ceiling into the wall of the AV room. No disasters. The hole was exactly where I wanted it. Then I measured out my remaining cable and found I didn’t have enough to go around a wall (one wall goes all the way up to the… uh… subceiling? It would have been easy to lift ceiling tiles and just route the cable down the hallway, but I didn’t have enough. So I started looking for a place to poke it through the sheet rock. I found a place where the fire alarm system cables go through, and I actually managed to poke the wire through that hole without setting off the alarm. Fire alarms we have, but stupid detectors? No.

So, no mishaps there either. About that time Ken showed up, so I abandoned the networking project. I still need to grab that wire on the other side of the wall, snake it over to its final destination and terminate it on the patch panel. I also need to install the K12LTSP software on the AV PC and configure the client PCs to boot from it. And get Internet connectivity going. I sent an email to the ISP yesterday asking what was up, but didn’t hear back from them. I guess I’m gonna hafta call.

Ken and I managed to get the backboard mounted to the pole, but we did not manage to get the rim mounted on the backboard. Once again we were racing the onset of darkness with inappropriately sized bolts. We gave up when we realized that we just couldn’t make it work with what we had. This will give Ken an opportunity to paint the rim before it goes up. I might hafta procure a new net too, as the one that’s on there is pretty ratty.

So now the day is almost over, and I haven’t done anything TOO stupid. Lucked out.