A Thought While Shaving.

January 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Whenever I shave I start my moustache in the middle so if I died suddenly nobody would, under any circumstances, find my corpse with a Hitler moustache.

If you do find someone who died while shaving and had that distinctive facial hair, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were thinking of Chaplin when they did it. Your memories of them will be fonder for it.

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A funny moment of realization….and the one that followed.

January 2, 2017 Leave a comment

I was thinking back many years about a time I was at work and went to the bathroom in the middle of my lunch beak.  When I returned to my lunch and took a sip of my coffee a coworker broke out in laughter and said, “HA-HA!  I spat in your coffee!”

The guy was a notorious verbal joker so I jabbed right back, “then drinking this is sort of like kissing you,” and took a long pull from the cup.  He got quiet.  Really quiet.  At that moment I realized for certain he was homophobic and was starting to suspect that SOB actually did spit in my coffee.

I don’t know why the joke bothered him.  He knew I’m not homosexual; he even knew my taste in women.  What bothered me later on was that I didn’t even consider the possibility that he had actually tampered with my coffee until I thought he was homophobic.  What kind of screwed up reasoning is that?

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A thought while driving.

December 23, 2016 Leave a comment

I saw a cement truck on the highway and wondered why we call them that when they actually haul concrete; of which cement is an ingredient.  Bread isn’t delivered in flour trucks.

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Reminiscing during cold(ish) weather.

November 27, 2016 Leave a comment

I currently work in an L shaped shop and the side branch of the bay is occupied by a machinist who has fitted a wall and sliding door so he can heat his area; we welders keep the bay door open for ventilation.

It made me think of my days as an apprentice welder(resident caveman) in a machine shop.  The boss really resented paying to heat the shop and woe to he who opened the door to clear out any fumes or smoke we might have produced.  One cold day we opened the door for a few minutes to clear out some smoke and the boss came storming in from his office next door demanding to know why the heat was even on if we were going to need to vent the shop at ANY point during the day.  I was new on the job and shaking in my boots.  The machinist was working at his bench and without even looking up from his work quietly said that he needed the heat on to hold tolerances.  The boss was instantly quiet, did an about turn, and walked away without making another sound.  It was such a change in the boss’s demeanor that I had the ridiculous thought that maybe the machinist had incriminating pictures of him!

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They all have an excuse.

October 30, 2016 Leave a comment

I was talking with a guy in Nanaimo about his firewood pile that was beside the road and asked if he was worried about people stealing his wood(this has happened to me) and he said that if someone needed it badly then they could have it.

It made me think of the trials I have sat and watched in Vancouver. Everybody who was there said they really needed what they had been caught taking.  I’m sure many of them did but some were clearly just trying to minimize what they had done.

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Being put in my place by a stereotype.

September 9, 2016 Leave a comment

Last Friday there were some problems at work that resulted in the dismissal of a sawyer.  At the climax of the situation I used one or two four letter words in the office so this Tuesday, after the statutory holiday, I went up to apologize for the foul language I had used the week before.  They said it was fine, especially considering the situation, and one of the staff added that they were used to dealing with mill workers.  What is that supposed to mean?

So, as sawmill workers, just exactly how are we supposed to talk?  There is very little foul language on the floor and NO rude or vulgar subject matter in the conversations at lunch.  There are no rules or policies, just a bunch of guys working in a big shed, and most of the talk is G-rated with the occasional escalation into PG territory.  This is why I felt the need to go into the office to apologize for cussing.


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Malicious Compliance.

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

I was thinking about a place where I used to work where there was a big problem with malicious compliance.

It was an issue in a couple departments where assembly work was being done and was a source of friction with a couple of coworkers there but where it was worrisome was in the fabrication shop where I was one of three welders making aluminum pressure vessels.

There was a constant pressure to reduce lead times on these “tanks” and I was keen to do my part but where I kept butting heads with my fellow welders were with two things:  Cold lap(incomplete fusion) and stop craters the robots left on the circumferential welds holding the tank ends on.  Here is where we differed:

They argued that since the cold lap and stop craters didn’t leak in the subsequent proof test, taking the time to fill those craters and deal with the cold lap were a waste of time.

I argued that cold lap, even if partial, wouldn’t leak but would provide a stress riser and potential failure point in the future.  I also didn’t want to leave the stop craters; they provide another stress riser. One of the first lessons in welding aluminum is that cracks propagate from stop craters, sometimes before the weld is even cooled, and they must be filled; my colleagues’ refusal to deal with it to save a minute of rework on each tank left me flabbergasted.

There was a slow-down and I was laid off from that job and wondered if my butting heads with my fellow welders over this quality and safety issue was a factor in my being chosen as the one who had to go.  A while later a little birdie told me that one of the tanks had a catastrophic weld failure and the company recalled a bunch of the tanks.  I have a pretty good idea why it failed and felt somewhat smug about it.  The smugness was somewhat tempered by the fact a worker was injured when the tank failed.



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