Badmouthing (most) parts men.

April 6, 2014 Leave a comment

A friend of mine used to joke that all parts men were failed mechanics and it amazes me how many don’t seem to be very good at their job.  Most fellows are reliable enough with automotive parts and the better ones are pretty good at being able to cross reference when you’re in a pinch, but have problems when you start dealing with logistical aspects of the job or in more industrial things like hydraulic, electronic, and pneumatic components.

It used to be that parts men did formal apprenticeship training and they were paid good money and were worth every penny because they knew the parts they carried, could do quality checks, understood inventory management and could do purchasing work too.  Whatever you came in to ask for, they knew what you were talking about.  Outages of commonly used parts were unheard of.  Today it seems many of them are just parts gophers and it’s more of a stepping stone position rather than a career.  

All these thoughts relate to a parts/warehouseman I worked with for the last year who just left his job and is the best fellow I’ve ever seen at this job.  His only formal training is as a musician but he’s incredibly smart, has an amazing memory when it comes to numbers and is always willing to learn; by most measures the most formidable men I’ve known. 

An interaction with him that I’m fond of occurred while he was juggling stock to deal with a truckload sized delivery in the warehouse and in passing asked him if he was familiar with familiar with the Tower of Hanoi puzzle and he was!  In trades and labour positions I think that’s as good as a job reference.

Through his hard work the job of every person in the plant was made easier.  His colleagues and replacement are all great at their job but he did so much, so well, that his absence is turning out to be as profound as his presence.



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Silly warning!

April 6, 2014 Leave a comment

I bought a new bottle of super glue and it has a big warning on the side:  Caution bonds skin instantly.

That’s about all I use it for!

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Lot learning from one’s mistakes.

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

I go through a cycle with my welding cover lenses.  They get dirty and scratched and I clean them.  They get worse and I keep saying that it’s not too bad.  Eventually I get to a point where the weld puddle looks like an fuzzy light, change the lens, realize how clear things are with a new ($0.99) one and vow to never cheap out on cover lenses again.  Then the cycle begins again.

It seems that I do this with kitchen knives too.  I was touching up the edge on my trusty old Marttiini puukko and decided clean up a long-neglected carving knife for The Wife™.  It cut OK before nut now it works as it should.  I will never let a kitchen knife get that dull ever again. ;)

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I’m a man from Nootka Sound…and maybe a little bit of a crank too.

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m known to be a bit of a cheapskate who happens to have a Scottish name and every now and then somebody puts the two together and says something tasteless about my ethnicity and thrift going hand-in-hand.  Sometimes I ask them if they’d verbalize that thought if my name was Shlomo.

The most recent incident happened this week but this time I steered the conversation another way and explained that I feel little affinity with the Scots; at least no more than with any other people.  I have traveled to Scotland but the only reason was to see and ride a motorized boat lift.

The exchange made me draw parallels and wonder if the self-loathing Scot is a widely acknowledged archetype. ;)

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What an introduction to travel!

March 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Two good friends of mine who have never traveled outside of Canada, except for a school trip to Japan for one and a training exercise in Yakima for the other, just returned from their first proper trip overseas.

It was a friend’s destination wedding and the trip had it all….rioting, gun fighting , a brief appearance by a grenade, and even a marriage too….  Island life might be too tame for them now.

Addendum:  That’s not all!  My friend happened to pass me on the highway the other day and we pulled over for a chat.  If the action on the ground wasn’t enough, on the flights two people had to be chemically restrained!

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The bottom line is the same.

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

I was thinking about someone I know who was really shy and a bit odd but really seemed to open up and start fitting in when they began to study theater.  I don’t know if being on stage taught them to be more comfortable in front of others, gaining a group of friends through the theater group gave them something to open up to, or they simply learned the skills needed to convincingly act like the rest of us.

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…Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

February 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Have you ever gone into a store where all the staff looked so rough you were sure that they were all hired through the John Howard Society?

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