Monday, August 10, 2009

Failure #2

Last Monday I interviewed for the Construction Engineer (EAIII) position in the north office. The interview started 10 minutes, because they were interviewing someone else and it ran long. My interview was only 20 minutes. I blanked on one technical question about asphalt, but I think I question all the management question fine. All my answers were short and precise. At the end of the interview they asked if I'd like to add anything, which I didn't feel the need to sell myself. I've been working there for 3.5 years and I've showed them what I can do. I prefer to show than tell, plus I felt I was a shoe-in for the position. I have more experience than most Construction Engineer did when they started and I had the home-court advantage.

Annoyingly I didn't get the job. I lost to another Construction Engineer out of the Emporia office, which I was told was a bigger factor on why she got the job. But from I know, she's a chemical engineer and has only been working in construction for 6 months. It was actually surprising because she started off as a EAIII, which we don't do in Wichita. My boss was brought in to become our new EAIII, but she had to work 1 year as an EAII in the field to get a better understanding of what we do. So my 3.5 years of field work doesn't compare to her 6 months of office work. Though she probably interviewed really well, and being a chemical engineer is quite impressive, since that's one of the hardest engineering majors. It also made some sense hiring her, because Wichita would gain an engineer, instead of my office losing me.

I was fairly disappointed with not getting the job, since it's the 2nd time I've interviewed for it. Originally I didn't want the job, because it'd be more responsibility, a longer commute, and it'd mess up my work out schedule. But after a month of thinking about how the promotion would have changed my life, I got used to the idea and I actually wanted the job. I felt I was ready to be the boss. Now I will just continue to be the overpaid tech. I thinking had I gotten the job I'd be starting in my new position as the boss today, but instead I went out to the concrete plant to write tickets, which is considered to be the least desirable tech job. The metro engineer actually came by on Friday afternoon to talk to me, told me not to be discouraged that I didn't get the job. The talk really didn't help or hurt. I guess I got some face time with the big boss, but that doesn't really matter much when there's little chance for advancement here in Wichita.

Today, the new construction engineer stared work at the north office along with two new techs, one for each office. The new tech for the north office is actually one of my good friends. Apparently he dropped my name quite a few times during the interview. I figured him having a degree in Computer Science would make him more capable than the other 8 applicants. The metro engineer told me that he came off a little cocky, because he that he could pass the FE without a problem, and I believe that he could too. But Metro Engineer said it was a good kind of cocky so it worked out for him.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Project #3:done

I finished my third project last week, 4 days ahead of schedule. Though I wasn't around for the last day, because I had a wedding to attend. It was just some striping that my helper was able to take care of. Simple stuff, just go out and measure what is put down. The project in general was easy. The contractor knew what they needed to do and often did things without me asking them. They were also very prompt in getting me certifications which is usually the hardest part and can often take months after the project is finished. I personally think the contractor did a job with the overlay, a rather smooth ride. Too bad the approaches are faulted about an inch on both ends, so anyone driving will feel a noticeable bump.

So technically I have 6 months to finish up all the paperwork, because the job is only partially accepted. We have to wait 180 days to make sure the striping remains adequate. Since I have all the certs, I'm going to try to finish as much as possible in the first week. If I was really motivated I could have probably done it all in a day, but my attention span doesn't allow me to keep working. I've been lucky all the project I've been in charge of have been fairly short. I don't think I could stand doing a project that lasts more than 1 construction season.

I do have one unfortunate reason for trying to get this project finaled out as soon as possible. Last week, the person that beat me out for the EAIII (Construction Engineer) position at the north office last year died in a motorcycle accident. So that position is now vacant. I really don't want it because I like it here and recently bought a house near here. Technically you have to apply for promotion so I don't have to apply if I don't want to, but it would look bad if I didn't. My boss knows this and has started slowly training me for the new job. It'll probably be a couple months before I get the promotion. Considering it took them 3 months to fill the position last time it was vacated. I'll admit I'm a little nervous about the position, because I'll actually be in charge of a construction office and the Metro engineer is just down the hall so he can watch over me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Long Night

My patch and overlay project on the Seneca, Meridian, and Edwards bridges on WB Kellogg started on Tuesday night. First we have to setup the traffic control which could only be done from 9am to 6am. They had to put up signs, close the inside lanes first, because they had to remove stripe and place temporary tape. This wasn't too bad except that it started to rain at 3AM, so we basically called it a night since they couldn't stripe anymore. This supposedly pushed everything back a whole day, but in retrospect with as slow as the traffic control guys were moving, they needed the extra day.

Wednesday night, they were working like normal and getting ready to switch traffic over to the inside lane, because we'll be working on the outside lanes first. The contractor wanted change the placement of some of the channelizers, basically shortening the work zone. I made sense, but it wasn't on the plans and I didn't want to outright tell him no without looking at the standards to explain my reason, plus I don't really have the authority. So head back to the office, because I still had a couple hours before they switch traffic over.

Back at the office at around 10pm, I settle down by emptying my pockets and switched from boots to slippers like I usually do. Looking at the standards and doing some calculations, I decide it'll be easier to look at the plans that aren't printed front and back, so I go to my work truck to grab a different set. When tried to get back in the office, the door was locked. I remember purposely locking the door behind when I entered, so I wouldn't have to bother taking my keys out when I leave the office. So I'm locked out of the office, both my phones are on my desk and so are the keys to the office, work truck, and my bike. I'm also still in my slippers. I had no choice to by walk around to find a phone so I can call one of coworkers. The nearest business was McDonalds, half a mile away, but their lobby was closed, and since this wasn't really an emergency, I didn't bother them in the drive-thru. So next I go to the adult video store and they were no help there. So decide to walk to the nearest gas station which was a mile north. Sadly Valero was closed. I was close enough that I decided to walk back to the project. I was able to see the flashing lights of the workers from Kellogg and West. Half a mile later, I reach the truck and it was unmanned. They just the truck there to mark the end of the project. So ended up walking another 2 miles on Kellogg before seeing one of the workers. I probably walked 5-6 miles total by this point. It's now 11:45pm, and I call my coworker, who apparently had just gotten into bed. He unhappily picked me up from the project and let me in the office.

After this fun ordeal, the night went on like normal, except that it kept going. They switch over traffic at 4am, but they still had a lot more work to go. They had to switch over all the temporary side specific sign and place a lot more tape. I didn't leave the project until almost 9am, when I had my helpers come and relieve me. I haven't had a 15 hour work day since my days as an intern.

Tonight, we have to place the concrete safety barriers, a few more signs, and hopefully that's it. Maybe I can get to home around 1am, and maybe fall asleep, which could be hard since I woke up at 4:30pm today. Then tomorrow I'll be back on the day shift doing actual work to the bridges. Depending on how bad these bridges are, I might have to say goodbye to my weekends.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Asobi Seksu part 2

Last Friday I went to Kansas City so see Asobi Seksu again. This stop wasn't originally announced when I saw them in Denton. I glad it wasn't, because I probably would not have driven down there and gotten lots of nice furniture from Ikea. Asobi Seksu was playing at The Record Bar, a venue that I've never been to. It was really nice. Plenty of seating and decently priced drinks. I look forward to seeing A Camp play there next month. I went a couple of my friends and since The Record Bar website has approximate times of when all the acts start, we completely skipped the first two acts and got their just in time for Asobi Seksu. We stood closer to the bar in the back. I personally didn't want to be close the speakers. They played practically the same playlist except with the addition of Me and Mary which made me happy. I just realized that neither times did they play anything from their first album. The audience in KC was much better than in Denton. Maybe because Denton is close to Dallas and they get all kinds of great bands coming through and KC fans just hungry for someone good. I was disappointed at the lack of encore. There was decent cheering afterward, but they just walked off stage to the side where we could still see them and just ignored our pleas. I was going to buy another shirt, but they were out of all sizes except small, so I just bought Citrus, their 2nd album, since despite being a fan, I have yet to own their first two albums.

Tomorrow in Lawrence, the Sounds will be playing a show. I kind of want to go because they're Swedish and the likelihood of seeing them again is lower than US bands. But it's in the middle of the week and I'm not that big of a fan. Though it could be my last concert for a while. There's 3 concerts that I want to go to in June, but I'm unsure of my ability to attend because of my project starting then. If the project isn't too demanding. I plan on going to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, A Camp, and Metric. I'll actually find a sub a for me so I can go see Metric. I'm not a huge A Camp fan, but it's Nina Persson and probably the closest thing to the Cardigans I can get in the US. Part of me wants the project to be busy so I can make a lot of OT, but other part wants to go to these concerts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

defensive driving

Yesterday I had the joy of driving to Hutchinson for a defensive driving course. There were a couple classes here in Wichita but I was off in Salina for a Soils field tester class. Even though none of the contents of the defensive driving class was of use to me, since I actually regularly drive that way, I enjoyed the class. I gets me out of the office and I get a discount on my insurance for taking it. When signing for the class, we were required to give our license number, which I wasn't able to do since I had left my wallet at home. Of all the days to do it. I even decided that morning to not bring my lunch and to get some BBQ at a nearby restaurant. I did bring some fruit so I wasn't starving, but it was the first time I've skipped lunch in a long time and amazingly I didn't suffer any headaches. Which means I can cut back on my daily fruit intake.

The class was taught by a state trooper and he's generally entertaining. He was the same guy I had last time. He showed a lot of funny videos last time but yesterday he went straight by the workbook. He streamlined much of the class for KDOT since many of us have gone through this before. We actually used the first 1 hour of class asking him various questions regarding the legality of certain actions. We took a lot of breaks and still finished 2 hours early. This is my last scheduled class for the year. Now I have a whole month to prep for my project, though honestly I don't know what I need to do to prepare.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

new project

Last week the boss gave me a proposal for a new project. Today I found out who it was awarded to and some more details. PCI, which is the contractor that was working on the bridge in Minnesota when it collapsed. My boss told me to be a dick and to bring up Minnesota anytime they're being difficult. The project is a patching, mill and overlay of the three WB Kellogg bridges at Seneca, Meridian, and Edwards. It's supposed to start after Memorial Day and is 40 calendar days. The early start date in late April, but they wanted to wait until after Riverfest. We'll be reducing Kellogg to two lanes starting at the CBD. My last project was a patching, mill and overlay so this isn't anything new, though we will be resetting the bearings on one of the bridges which is something completely new to me.

I am actually looking forward to this project, but I hope it won't interfere with a couple concerts that I plan on going to in June. The first is A Camp, which is Nina Persson's side project. A Camp is probably the closest I'll get to seeing the Cardigans live. The second is Metric, one of my favorite groups. They'll be the 3rd Broken Social Scene group I see in concert. I just got Metric's new album on Tuesday and have been enjoying it, though it's no Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? A Camp is in KC, and Metric is Lawrence, and both are on a Friday, so I'll have to be able to take off early on those two days. Though it is a calendar day project so they might work Saturdays and possibly even nights.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Asobi Seksu

I've pretty busy for the past several days. I just closed on my house last Thursday so I've been moving out of my parents house one truckload at a time. My new house is on the opposite end of town but it's all highway so it's just 22 minutes. I actually don't have whole lot of furniture, but I do have a lot of books, dvds, and games. I bought a sofa set, dining set, and a coffee table in town, and then drove to Dallas to do some shopping at Ikea.

My main reason for going to Dallas was the Asobi Seksu concert in Denton. I was a little wary since tickets were only $8 and you can only get them at the door. I left Wichita at 3:30pm Sunday and arrive in Denton at 8:30pm and checked-in at the Motel 6 which was the first hotel that I saw off the highway. I was starving so I only had Chipotle on my mind. There was no wi-fi, but I still had access to google maps on my phone. Google maps would get in the vicinity, but then I'd have to wonder around lost to finally find Chipotle. The Dallas area breaks g.maps with all it's multiple names for streets. Trying to find the venue was even harder since it wasn't so close to the highway. I had to stop at an auto parts store to get pointed in the right direction. The venue, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio, was across the street from a concrete plant and it only had its initials for its sign.

The doors opened at 9pm and I arrived at 9:40 and the placed seemed dead. Only music heard was Gogol Bordello on the stereo system. Half of the place was a bar and next door was the stage. It was an ok size, could maybe pack in 80 people. I generally prefer smaller venues anyways, because you have a better chance of meeting the band. I got a long island, my normal drink and sat down. I finish half my drink before I had to get up because I heard the doorman asking if someone had a green Mazda truck, because their lights were on. I actually have a black Mazda, but I figured it was mine, since I had my dome lights on trying to reading the directions to the venue. I left my drink on the table. When I returned, another group had just sat down at my table, I invited them to stay since there was plenty of space. They ended up being really cool people. In fact one of the was the one that told the doorman about my lights. We talked for a couple hours, and I found out that I had some common Kansas and Tacoma roots with them. We stayed at our table and talked through the first act, The Antlers, which didn't go on until 10:45pm. They were actually pretty decent sounding. I decided to actually watch the 2nd act, Tyvek and one of my new acquaintances joined me for half of it. I did not like Tyvek, they were very loud pink rock. The singer basically yelled into the mic and I couldn't understand anything he said. He basically would have had the same effect if he was using a megaphone, though that could have been the fault of the sound guy and/or equpment. One interesting thing about Tyvek was that their drummer played the whole show standing up.

Asobi Seksu was finally up at 12:40am. They had several issues getting started. One of the first things I noticed about Asobi is how small their lead singer, Yuki Chikudate is. She couldn't have been taller than 4'10". Asobi was even louder than Tyvek, but they were still great. Yuki was a little too quiet on some songs. They alternated between old and new songs. I was little sad that didn't play Me and Mary or Walk on the Moon, but they did do Thursday and ended with Red Sea as expected. The last couple minutes of that song is just the band going crazy, towards the end Yuki gets on the drum and starts rocking out. They walked off the stage and left a guitar on with some loud reverb. I assume we were supposed to applaud during that noise to get them to do an encore, but I don't think there were enough people to make enough noise to be heard. That disappointed me, mainly because their set was only 40 minutes long. The headliner needs to play for at least an hour. Afterward I got them to sign an LP of Hush that I picked up there. I also got an acoustic album that I didn't even know was made, a t-shirt, and a hoodie.

The next day, I drove to 30 minutes away to Frisco, TX to go shopping at Ikea. Google maps didn't fail me this time, though with as huge as Ikea is, it's hard to miss. I had lunch there and I actually enjoyed furniture shopping for once. They had so many cool things there. I was only planning on getting a tv stand, coffee tables, and end tables, but being there, I splurged a little. I picked a bigger dining table with 8 chairs, even though I had just bought a small one a couple days ago, a shoe rack/bench, and a game able with 4 chairs that fit into the corners. All that stuff was able to fit nicely in the back of my truck and I felt the 11 hours of driving was definitely worth it. Though it really didn't feel really long to me, as long as I have music I'm pretty happy.