Archive for August, 2011

Making trouble.

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I was doing some work in a large cooler at a blueberry farm last week. My coworker and I were outside on the deck truck getting our scissor lift ready while he smoked a cigarette and the owner offered a preemptive, “you can’t smoke inside.” My coworker said fine and we went about our business.

What came to mind was the optical sorter that was being operated in the cooler. What machine does is sort berries by colour. The berries are run into a channeled conveyor, single file, and a colour sensor checks that each berry is in spec. If a berry isn’t then a jet of compressed air blows it off the conveyor and into a reject bin.

While working in the cooler, I noticed the new air compressor supplying the sorting machine and wondered if they put food-safe oil in the compressor. Carry-over is a fact of life and if there’s oil in your air compressor then there’s oil in your compressed air; if only a trace….an though the air is blowing directly on rejects, one can’t be too cautious when processing food….

I really wanted to plant that thought in the owner’s head but after the smoking warning he gave it would seem cheeky….and it would be.

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A saucy thought.

August 10, 2011 1 comment

Whenever I’ve heard a fellow jokingly brag that he can have sex whenever his wife wants there’s always one fellow who says that he gets to have sex whenever HE wants to.

The poor guy doesn’t realize that the rule holds true and he’s just not keeping up.

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Guilt by association.

August 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I was once drinking on a base where a temporary bar was set up in a
classroom that only had one bathroom. Since there were male and
female personnel, the procedure was to lock the bathroom door while
using it so that no member of the opposite sex could walk in. I do
remember the four females present saying that since there was a
locking toilet stall, they were fine with us using the urinal at the
same time….

….an hour or two and about a gallon of beer later I wobbled up to
the bathroom door where a fellow was pounding on the bathroom door and
cussing. I asked what the problem was and he said that there was one
person in the bathroom who had locked the door and it was a crime
since there was a toilet, urinal and sink; ample facilities for three
men to pee at once.

The irate man with a full bladder thumped on the door a few more times
then said that he was just going to go pee outside. I didn’t think
anything of it and waited quietly at the door by myself until the sole
occupant came out; the sole occupant being a former Airborne RSM! I
was the recipient of a glare that could kill and a stern talking-to
about proper behavior and how one should lock the bathroom door when
there is mixed company and a single bathroom; somewhere in there might
have been a threat to spill my guts on the floor right where I stood.

It was like my later encounter with a policeman in Delft where the
tension could kill me. This man had no way of knowing that I wasn’t
the fellow pounding on the bathroom door and any protest on my part
would have come across as lame excuse making and make it worse so I
just took it and quietly prayed for anything to end this situation; I
would have been quite happy if the roof colapsed and killed me at that

Next time I’ll just go pee in the bushes outside.

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Biting one’s tongue around literal thinkers.

August 1, 2011 1 comment

I was talking with a fellow last weak about a gear train on some equipment that was meant to run dry. He asked if there was any benefit to greasing the gears anyway. I suggested that any oil or grease would only serve to let dust stick to the gears and wear them down quickly; something I’ve encountered in conveyor drives.

I would normally have said something like, “It’s made to last a lifetime but if you grease it regularly it should last about 7 weeks longer.” The problem is I didn’t know this guy too well and had the impression he tended to think literally. I was worried that in saying that to someone who thinks in absolute terms, they might interpret the joke as validating the suggestion to lubricate. Seven weeks longer is longer, after all.

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