April 6, 2006 - 12:00am -- swingbug

This is the second time in a week that I've almost hit a turkey on the way to work. By "turkey," I don't mean a person who lacks competence in the operation of a motorized vehicle. I mean a large bird of the genus meleagris that goes gobble gobble.

Last week there was a group of turkeys (which I just learned is called a "rafter") foraging in the grass along side I-80 south of campus. This morning, there was a hen hanging out on the off-ramp coming into Dixon.

Where the heck are all these turkeys coming from? In the 9 years I've been living in this area, I can't recall one instance of seeing an unattended turkey. Ducks, naturally. Chickens, sure. Even a few peacocks. It happens. But turkeys? This is new to me.

Who knows what's up with the turkeys? Clue me in.

A Day at the Office

Office etiquette rule #238: Do not pop popcorn in the office microwave unless you plan to share some with the pregnant woman in your office. Think of it as tithing.

User of the week:
The intercom clicks on in my office. "Hey Shannon, there's a beeping sound in my office." I wrinkle my eyebrows and look at my business card. There it is, right under my name: "Chief Investigator of Mysterious Beeps." Huh. Funny that I never noticed that before. I trot off to the business department and halfway down the hallway I hear the beeping in question which confirms my suspicion. Someone overloaded a battery backup.

In case you don't know this, under your desk in your office there is very likely a large brick into which you plug your computer and various other electronic gizmos. This is a uninterruptible power supply (UPS), also called a battery backup. It protects your computer from fluctuations and surges in the power as well as giving you a few vital minutes to save your work and shut down your computer properly in the event of a power outage. It can only store so much power for such emergencies so it's rated for a specific wattage and amperage. Be nice to it. It does important stuff for you.

As I walk into the room, I say, "Did your computer shut down yet?"

"Yes, and it won't turn back on."

"Uh-huh. Okay, what were you doing?"

"Nothing. I just plugged this heater into that black box down there."

The portable heater in question stands about as tall as my waist and it's probably half a meter long. Shawn guessed that it pulls as much energy as the fridge in the kitchenette. I introduce my co-worker to the battery backup and explain what it does for a living, or rather what it did for a living, because this one has now gone on to electronics heaven. "Don't do that again."

"Can I plug into this other black box down here?" She points to the battery backup under the neighboring computer.


"Where can I plug it in?"

I resisted the initial suggestion that popped into my head and suggested a wall outlet instead.

Afterthought: Someone brought to my attention that while I was making fun of someone else's computer knowledge, I made myself look like a moron and translated the acronym UPS as "universal power supply." Brain fart. I've corrected it above to "uninterruptible," as it should be. That's what I get for being a smart ass. For some actual intelligent information about the UPS and what it does, see Shawn's blog.

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