Saturday, April 16, 2016

5069 Earthquake

Saturday, April 16, 2016

In case you haven't heard, the island at the southern tip of Japan has been hit with three earthquakes in the past few days, the latest and strongest at 7.1 a few hours ago.  In addition, Mt. Aso volcano in the same area started erupting today.  Worse, torrential rains are expected this weekend, with major flooding.  (Remember when the tsunami hit, and within days they had a blizzard?  Those people can't catch a break.)

Taiwan was also hit by earthquake today.

Taiwan having also been hit would indicate that this is a very broad plate movement, so who knows where more epicenters might happen?  Anyone worried about tsunamis?


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

5068 Bldg. 025

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jen White: "We'll export democracy so flipping far we'll have to leave the country to find it."


Last trip up river, my daffodils were just getting started, so I figured by now they'd be in full glory, so this weekend I made sure I took the camera.  It was pretty sad.  They'd had snow sometime last week, and the daffodils were devastated.  All lying down every which way, broken stems, they looked like a bulldozer had run over them.  Poor things.

But since I had the camera anyway, on the way home I went past the old IBM Kingston campus.  I'd heard Building 025 was being demolished, had driven by it on my previous trip but didn't have a camera then.  (My phone is an old flip clamshell.  It does take very bad photos, but I can't then get them off the phone.)

Here's what's left of Building 025:

The pile is much larger than the photo shows.  We're looking at the northwestern corner of the heap.  It extends a lot farther to the south and east.  What amazed me is that the heap of rubble is as large as the footprint of the building, and about a story high.  Which seems like a lot of rubble for  building that started out three stories high.

This is what it used to look like, seen from the parking lot, southeast corner:
I forget whether it was an "L" or "T" shape.  "T", I think.  It was one of the newest buildings, built in 1982ish.  My product area moved into the building in 1983, I think.  That's where I met Jay.  It was nice inside.  As with many IBM buildings of that era, there were no offices with windows.  None.  All the offices were on interior aisles, so although you didn't have a window, as you moved around inside, you could always see outside.

The building was occupied only until about 1995ish (I'm foggy on the exact date) when IBM, after having fired or retired about 11,000 people in the Kingston and Poughkeepsie plants, consolidated what was left in Poughkeepsie, and sold this campus to a developer who had grand plans.  Poor guy.  He's been unable to sell any of the buildings, and has tenants in a few, but even that hasn't worked out all that well.  Building 025 has office space for 200-400 people, but there's nothing in this area that needs that much.  BOA used it seasonally for processing NY tax returns, but that was for only a few years.  Mostly, it's been empty.  Not just this building, the whole complex.  So now they're demolishing it, this one being the first of five or six buildings that will disappear this year.  I guess the guy thinks he might have better luck with naked land.

The other buildings to be demolished are all much older.  Most people writing articles seem surprised, because this one is still in good shape.  Those of us who worked in that building since the construction are breathing a quiet sigh of relief. 

There was something very wrong with that building.

Shortly after we moved in, people started complaining.  Unfortunately, the complaints were vague and individual.  Some skin problems here, digestive problems there, breathing problems, vague weakness, inability to sleep.  Nothing specific, but a lot of people claimed they felt much better when they left the building.  Finally IBM brought in some environmental firm that tested the air and so on, and found no problems.  

After two years or so, people started getting seriously ill.  Bone cancer.  Brain cancer.  Serious endocrine problems.  Pancreatitis. All kinds of weird things.  Again, IBM had some group look at it.  They decided that it was just a statistical anomaly.  A "pocket."  What management offered us as "proof" was that many of the cancers and conditions were not of a variety that happens suddenly -- they take time to develop, and we hadn't been in the building long enough.

This was never considered back then, not that I know of, anyway, but I now wonder if it might have been magnetic/electrical, EMFs or something.  Almost the entire second floor was a computer raised floor, many mainframes and large peripherals, and we worked directly over and under them.  If something was wired wrong, or not properly shielded, heck I don't know the terms, but what if?  Is that possible?

(No, I don't think Jay's brain cancer was due to the building.  He had been out of the building for four years when it hit, and his was a very fast, very aggressive, tumor.)

So, those of us who know the building are not sorry to see it go.

5067 Quick trip north

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Abraham Lincoln: "It has been my experience that folks who have no vices
have very few virtues."


I had intended to drive upriver to the old house last Saturday, but I started the day with a complaining back, so I cancelled the trip.  Then on Sunday I got an email from the Hairless Hunk.  He had made one of his usual inspection trips around the outside of the house, and found that one of the basement windows was open, and the screen had been removed.  That worried me.  There are copper thieves up there.  (HH doesn't have a key to the house.)

So I drove up late Sunday evening.

That window had been used by the guys installing the A/C last summer.  They said then that the window wasn't latched when they opened it.  I never checked whether they'd latched it when they were finished.

Nope.  It wasn't latched, and they had apparently not replaced the screen.  It probably blew open in a storm or something, had swing in at the bottom, just a few inches.  There was no sign that anyone had been in the house, although it was obvious rain had come in.  So I latched it.  That latch does take a little convincing.  HH had put the screen near the front porch.  I took it inside, but didn't replace it in the window (mostly because it was awkward).

I drove back early on Monday.

A while ago the Nugget and I had been in a Pier 1 and she fell madly in love with a Papa-San chair - those huge round pole rattan thingies.  She requested one (right now!  this one!) for her birthday (some months off), and I told her I didn't need to buy one, that I had one in my old house that I could bring down for her.  The last few trips up I had driven the little car, and every time she met me in the driveway on my return to ask if I'd brought the chair back for her.  She hadn't forgotten!

So this trip I took the van (that chair is HUGE), and made a special point of loading up the chair.  It's now in the dining room, but it will have to go somewhere else when I bring my furniture down.  I don't understand why this house is supposed to be larger in square feet, but my furniture simply isn't going to all fit.  I have one more small bedroom here, but every other room is smaller than in the old house.  I don't understand.

The Nugget doesn't want to use the chair like a seat, you know, with the round part and cushion tilted forward.  She wants the rattan cup and cushion set straight up.  She looks like a little bird in a nest when she's in it.


Nutella.  It seems like every so often I have to learn about it all over again.  Every few years I buy it with high hopes, having forgotten the last time I guess, and every time I end up throwing it out.  That stuff doesn't improve anything you add it to, it's thick and dry and it glops up my mouth.  It sticks to the roof of my mouth and my gums, but unlike peanut butter, no amount of tongue action loosens it.  I dislike the taste and the texture.  Maybe it might work heated and poured over ice cream --- but I doubt it.


I'm hearing and reading that "(adjective)er than the next" construction a lot more lately.  I wish people would think about the meaning of what they say.  Sheesh.  If "each one is weirder than the next," that means the first one is the weirdest, and each one following is less weird, right?


Bloggers are dropping like flies, so I've been wandering around trying to find new ones (that don't think they're hot stuff and should be paid for blogging, you know?)  I came across this guy:   About half of his posts are sports-oriented, which would interest mostly only Pittsburgh and Baltimore fans, but he also gets into social commentary, meme-destroying, and political rants, and those posts are great.  Y'all gotta just wait for them, and the wait is worth it.