November 3, 1999 Spokane Routine
Tuesday November 3, 1999 10:35:42 PM

Things aren't as bad as I had thought they might be. The hotel is not bad-I've got a microwave, a small refrigerator, and two comfortable chairs in my room. I'm getting along better with the guy who came along with me to get trained than I had expected. He's smarter than I had thought too, so things may be alright after all.

I had been convinced that there was only one person left in field service who was any more than marginally competent. I was a little perturbed by the fact that he was not the one they sent with me but I have come to the conclusion that perhaps my judgement was a little harsh. This guy may do OK. I'd prefer it if he would spend more time with Bob, the Thomson representative, and I as we expurgate all the gremlins which have crept unbidden and unwelcome into the projectors as they sat for two years in a warehouse instead of tying up site phone lines sending AIM messages to dames around the country, but at least he is staying out of my hair (and hey, when he has to do one of these himself he'll have to learn it the hard way like I did, right?). Bob, a not unfriendly Scot, must spend the vast majority of his time in the factory. We could be making progress much more quickly of he had brought a set of schematics. I can still hear him saying "I did'na think I'd need'em". The first lesson I ever learned installing electronic equipment was that it doesn't matter what the equipment, how long it's been sitting, or where it's being installed- nothing ever goes 100% right the first time, so you better bring those drawings.

As far as the job goes it's the same old routine. Get up, go to the site, work on the sim, go back to the hotel, and either eat junk in the hotel room or go out. Spokane itself (at least what I've seen so far) is... different, though. The mountains I can see everywhere around me are pretty as are the ubiquitous pine trees, but the socio-economic makeup of the environs that surround Fairchild Air Force base is a rather unimpressive mix of heavy equipment rentals, trailer courts, and run-down strip malls. There is an interesting road sign on the drive from the hotel to the site. It reads like this:

Apple Maggot Quarantine Area
Do not transport homegrown tree fruit.
State of Washington Dept. of Agriculture

I don't know exactly what that is all about, but I find I get a childish kick out of quickly shouting "Applemaggotquarantinearea!" as I drive by it. Oh, yeah, there's also the combination Mexican restaurant and dog grooming place that looks like an appealing candidate for a special dinner...

Spokane, if I have to be here, I'm going to make fun of it.

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