Saturday, September 15, 2012

3 more weeks!

written on 2012.09.08. not much has changed from last week...

Taking a break from studying for the PE exam. I just signed up for the seismic and surveying exams. The CA Board seems to be outsourcing the all the testing to third parties. They are using NCESS for the civil part, which a lot of states use and Prometrics (computer based exam taking center) for the CA specific part. I’m guessing it’s both a cost and management savings. Last time, the board somehow messed up and the exam takers ended up with 2 copies of the same test for the state specific part. Anyway, taking it with Prometrics is better because you get to choose the times of the testing. I’m going to take them on separate days instead of all on the same day. In the meantime, I really need to find time to seriously study. I’m sure I’ve learned all the topics in school but back then it was just learning for doing homework and taking tests. Now that I’ve been working for a little bit, I’m starting to understand how to apply all these concepts. It’s good to have this as a refresher because nowadays I seem to be doing a lot of multi-disciplinary stuff instead of just geotech things.

Haven’t had a chance to write for the blog in a while. This is because I’ve been too busy at work! Saw daylight at the office this past week again after a long night. We were in a big rush to push out a huge set of drawings to our client. I think we ended up in such a rush partly because I haven’t had time to go finalize the set of drawings for our real scheme. We have a couple of fake schemes that are all based on the real scheme. It’s so hard to do both coordination and detail design. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not a manpower issue. Our client doesn’t have very many people working on the job either. But they seem to have a good separation between the guy who does design and the guy who does coordination. On our end, I do both. Well, we have a lot of packages and some of the design packages are being handled by other people. But the most difficult design packages always end up on my desk.

On one hand, it makes sense for someone who is handling the detail design to be doing external coordination because it’s more efficient. That person would have enough information to answer questions and don’t have to always go back and forth between different parties to get the right answer. But it’s a lot of work. I think my problem is that I need to really understand the entire design well enough so that I can push it out to other people to do the actual calculations. I really appreciate working on these challenging projects and I think I’m getting better at spotting the major issues to making the whole scheme work. But a lot of times I just don’t have enough experience to see the entire thing through and it’s only when I get down to the nitty gritty calculations that I figure out what I need to do.

Anyway, we have one more major submission this week. Things should calm down a bit after this one is out of the way. Answering questions about a design that is already been thought through is much easier than thinking a design through or trying to answer question about a design that hasn’t been finalized.

I have managed to find some time for fun stuff. Last Sunday, one of the project teams I’m on had a beach BBQ evening. They booked a BBQ place and most of us went to the beach early to enjoy the sun and water. There were a ton of people on the beach though. It was the last weekend before school started so there were a lot of families. The place that we booked wasn’t on the beach but somewhere behind the parking lot. There were a lot of mosquitos and was really hot. But it was still fun to cook everything over the fire. The place proves marinated meats and other things. It’s fun not to have to worry about getting enough food or washing up afterwards. I introduced the group to s’mores. No one has ever had a s’more before! Couldn’t find graham crackers at the supermarket though so had to use these crunchy waffle things.

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