Friday, February 25, 2011

how to make me grumpy

Greetings Bloggies.

So two more working days before I head home for 10.  I have a fun things to go to and I will eat and drink good.  I am coming home on an optimistic note as I got an email from a person who was trying to contact me about a GIS job.  It was from an HR firm so I don't know much of any thing beyond interest in my resume.  And I will apply for jobs when I am back in town.  I still seek a desk job that will let me come home at the end of the day.  I need a life that will let me keep cats.

All that is divergent from what I came here.  So as I have described the need to report on the daily out put of the drills in a post shift orgy of rock looking. Yesterday was not any different. I knew the drillers had dropped off a stack in mid afternoon so it was known that we could do the log in part at any time after.  That day was a tiring one for me.   I think I moved a lot of core boxes.

So I was tired and I had just eaten a large starchy dinner. I did what any person would do. Put my feet up and veg for a few and get some strength up, also a chance to use the facilities, something that generally clears up ones mood.  I was foiled by the appearance of my roommate who I shall call Eager Young Space Cadet, who knew that the core was waiting for us and wanted to rush off too it.

Now I am in general in favor of ending my working days sooner rather then later, that said, when I am tired and trying to recharge my batteries rushing will not get me moving faster.  So I found my self agreeing to go out to do this last errand of the day half an hour sooner then my body wanted.  Now Eager Young Space Cadet can fray my nerves from just miss alined personalities, He is a good young fellow.  A point that we clash on is I see this as a job, a means to some specific ends with my long term goal being as noted above.

So I am up at the site tired and grumpy faced with a young and ernest fellow who really gives a damn, gives more damns then I likely ever did about this industry. And when I am faced with that situation I get grumpier.   And for all that rushing to get out there, the job took longer then it normally did.   I really got extra grumpy, when a coworker came and hug out in our room at a time I was wanting to chill and I had forgotten my head phones at the shop.   I got driven to near madness with his chewing on his finger nails at the time I was wanting to read and go to sleep, chewing loudly.

This morning I woke to the sound of his 6am alarm, an though oh great that time already. Morning passed in its normal haze.  The default friction slipped into to the way of things as we got in each other space, or I should say he got in mine. I got snappy, after we got a strong  critique for wrongness.  We were wrong.  I got snappy saying see what happens when you rush me out of my slump.  To which a comment about long hard days are normal and I should grow up.

I grew up last summer when I realized living for the now is more important.  Hard work is needed but is not the goal of life. Chill people.  Drink with your friends or if you cant find your friends drink with BOB.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Repetitive Brain Injury

Greetings Bloggies.

My job here in the Yukon is almost no different from the job I left more then 2 years ago.  Because of the overall similarities in the tasks performed there is only a short learning curve to climb.  Most of that learning curve is learning the house rules and a fundamental geology points I have to discriminate.

The trouble is I got good at this three and half years ago, I got bored of it soon after. After I crossed into being board of it my interest and energy flagged.  Doing the tasks again and again puts a strain on the brain.  Like a bad keyboard mangles the wrist or a jackhammer pulps your hands, this work hammers the brain.   Little new challenge and a lifestyle I am tired of living leaves me standing in front of the rock thinking well I know whats in this I don't really feel like measuring it and typing all that crap down.

Today I wanted to fix a from, that sends the curser every which when I hit tab.  Tab should send you from cell to cell in an orderly left to right pattern, here its like that only some of the time and I do not use  a mouse in spreadsheet space if I have any say in the matter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A knee

Greetings Bloggies.

As you know I am at a job in the Yukon.  I took it because I was short on money and did not do the best job of opening new options.  I have a roommate who is not nearly as fun as my last camp roommate.  This recent grad is too ernest, with a overly divergent sense of humor from mine to make great company.  That is a detour from what I came here to write.

I have said before that I must leave this line of work to get what I want out of life.  That still  stands, I want a home I am sleeping most nights and the stability to have pets.  I also want my body in its best shape.  The life style I have here does not promote that.  I spend most of my day standing, I manage to fit stretches into the work flow.  Standing is what I do.  I stand then lean over a box full of rock enter that into  a database and move along.  The peak activity is moving the boxes in and out of the shop.  That works out to walking 10 to 20m at the most often carrying something so awkward that there is no ergonomically sensible way to get it off the ground, the carrying requires odd twists of the hip and lower back.  My shoulders are feeling strained but what is feeling things tonight is my right knee.

Now this knee has a history, several years ago I will say winter of 07, and the worst case of it in december of 08,  I twisted it.  07 was the first time, not the worst time.  Now what I established after the fact and confirmed through a physician was that my leg had gotten weak and the tendons and other connective tissue lost some of the support of the muscles and they had to take more load.  

In Vancouver I would walk 3 to 4 km on an average day, 6 to 8 on others and ride a bike with some frequency, thats all I needed.  Under those conditions my knee seldom hurt and was resistant to torque loads.  Now I am two and half weeks with out a good walk a little more since I had a bike ride.  Add on lots of standing, lifting, from squats, and over the last few days my knee has been giving me a little pain.

Today, I made a quick movement that made me think, oh shit not again, I heard an unpleasant noise and briefly felt my knee cap feel as if it was in the wrong place.

I suppose that I could go to the gym, there is some gear in house, but most days, I work form 7am to 6 pm and add in at least half an hour of evening quick log and a general state of dehydration and tiredness, I usually say fuck it to the gym and veg out over the internet for the remainder of the evening.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Work Life How much does work weigh

Greetings Bloggies.

Balance will be covered in a separate post. So I have been at the Minto site for as of this moment 13days, and 14days in the Yukon.  As is the norm I can not and will not talk specifics.  What I will say which is less the said on the Capstone mining site, is we are looking for copper.  I look at rock.  hundreds of meters of it a day.  My bench holds 21 boxes, I am expect to log that many boxes in a day.  This is a reasonable productivity estimate once the kinks get worked out which they are, though not completely.

Now to log means that not only do I track down the breaks in rock type and where there are ore forming minerals, but also that I define sample intervals and then move the boxes, each weighing around 60 pounds, or 30ish Kg, and photograph them, then move them to storage.  

To meet base expectations I would have to move a total of 42 boxes, once to load once to reload my bench, I have help some of the time, but that only goes so far to relieve the strain.  Added to the daily detailed logging expectations are the day and evening quick logs which can comprise any where between 2 and 24 boxes most of which will have to be brought in looked over and eventually moved back outside.  And now I know why my shoulders hurt. 

I went and figured out how much this evenings quick log weighed, a quick and dirty hack at the math. Radius of NQ core 2.38cm. Density of Rock approximated at 2.65(quartz) the core box can be approximated at 5m.  For this example I am using tonights abundant and exceptionally large quick log of 140 meters over 24 boxes, at least half of which I moved. 

Volume of a cylinder, pi*r^2*h where h is height

(Pi*2.38^2*14000 * 2.65)/1000 = 660 kg 

Volume times density yielded mass in grams.

Its clear that this work strains a body quickly, and my motivation to become more productive is limited because its just too physically tiring.

So now that I have going sciencey,  its time to consider the other elements of camp life.  The Kitchen is unreliable, with dishes ranging from bland to salting and not enough room in between, a bottle of Tabasco sauce held Franks Red hot in it this disappointed me greatly, not unlike some one offering you a beer and you end up with a warm Budlight. Technically the same thing as what you wanted but a lot closer to water then what you had hoped for.  The coffee sucks.  There is no way around it.  Its hot its brown its bitter.  A few times I have drank it cold, paint thinner would go down smoother.   
The location is lovely but I shuttle between the same two places and neither give me the view of the mountains to the East that I want.  I currently have less responsibility then I did when I left my last longer term job, being that I am at an arms length to the drilling operation.  Its a bit odd that logging core is all I am doing, I don't go out to set up drill collars or shut down holes, the managers do that and I am not one.  

This brings me back to an old saw of mine.  That is, the space I can be promoted into on this current path is not one I want to be on.  The extra stress of management with the being out in the field away form the chance of me getting a live stable enough to have Kittens in is not where I want to end up.  I must find some one in this industry who is in a spot above where I want to be and get me a mentor, to help me move to where I want to be.  Which is behind a desk doing computery mapping or data crunching, fixing things. 
One of my key happy moments on this job was on my first day on the ground, hitting on a fix hidden in an error message.  My IT know how lead me understand that error and it felt good. 

 Now most days here my having gone to BCIT has gained me nothing.  I killed a year and found a city I loved and ended my first long term relationship but did not gain the edge yet to escape bush work.  As I said earlier I grew up in a cabin in the woods I have been trying to leave ever since.  

Really is it too much to ask for a live settled enough that I can have cats.  I am 31, I can cook clean, make my self chocolate truffles, bread, cake, pie.  I can dress well ( took me this long) I just want a normal life where I don't miss out on things because work is half way across the country.  

A note on the tone on that above paragraph, it is not intended to be bitter, only that this is now my default position.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Well here I am

Hi all.
I made it here fine.  I am once again in the Canadian work Gulag.  Long days and damn it you are expected to like it.  Well I will try.  I still want back home to Van.

I need to land me a office job.  I will be watching the net closely for leads in that direction.  I will also try damn hard to steer this job into a good direction for me.  More then one option is whats needed.

This job will start at 7am an end when it will end.  Now why is that.  That is because we believe we should live a fast paced lifestyle so we can make money quick to buy things made over seas.  For me at this job, this facility creates copper concentrate which gets shipped over to asia to be made into things.  Because we want to buy lots of things asia demands lots of our copper there for people like my have to work faster and harder then we would like.

People slow down relax don't by the next newest toy right away, I want to have a more relaxed job, I can't have that here if every one is rushing around buying crap

Monday, February 7, 2011

On the way


So here I am.  Alone in a cheap motel on the edge of a strip mall on the out skirts of Whitehorse in the Yukon.  Its in the -20's outside.  The room smells of old stale cigaret ashes a sent I have not enjoyed since the Red Coach inn in Yellowknife.  During my stay at the Red Coach, the room which clearly said no smoking had along the walls the grey burt embers of old smokes.  Here I see no visible evidence but its in my sense.

The day was over all good.  I was fortunate enough to have a ride to the Airport, the amount of stress this removed is huge.  Not just from the not having to transit it but to not having to do second guessing as to when to leave.  The airport was well YVR domestic terminal gate B 12, wholly unremarkable.  I did find my self in the security line behind a fellow talking endlessly about his fishing boat to a balding fellow with a slick backed mullet.  Fish story man turned out to not be some one you wanted a head of you in line.  I suspect mullet man grew tired of fish story man's fish stories because he entered a different line for the baggage screening.  Fish story man ended up being rather a bad traveler, the person who could have been his wife and certainly his travel companion ended up having to wrangle trays for him and her.  Fish story man had half a kilo of loose change on his person which he had to shovel out by hand.  I went for my default empty pants pockets in to coat take coat off have no troubles.  

As trips go having Fish story man in front of you as the worst part defines a good trip.  The flight it self was great.  Due to a very empty aircraft I got myself an exit row to all to me.   A good nap was had, the view was great.  It did not feel as much like leaving BC.  There was not the moment and suddenly prairies. No there was alternating mountains and valleys the whole way.  I saw several glaciers and would have seen more if my seat was on the west facing side of the plane.  I saw a lonely little volcano doing nothing all by it self.  

I took my shuttle bus to the hotel, realized after I got there that I had no idea who was in town and no way to reach them.  Well ain't that great.  Then out of nowhere, kind of like in the spy movie when the cover is blown, the room phone rings.  The phone call was from the company travel person telling me who to get a ride with in the morning.  The plan was a ride to site a 8 am.

I get back to the computer from that call and find my self with a half a brick.  Tap the track pad, hit the keys threaten it, not much happened. The USB wireless mouse worked as did the power button.  I could not type or even hit enter.  I spent the second half hour in a state of stress.  I did the smart thing and bitched at the fellow at the front desk.  I later did a actually smart thing and asked the shaved headed fellow if there was a shop where I could find computery things.  There was a stables close by.  Thankfully I got distracted.

The distraction provided me the opportunity head back to my room, not straight to the shop, I reset my computer and it now works. Still slated for replacement.

Just as I got back from my trip to the shop the room phone rings again, its the travel wizzard telling me that my ride is now leaving at 10 am.  Yay a slow morning.  I will attempt to contact the contacts that got forwarded to me.  Then comes the fun part, work.

The job will be logging core something they don't tell you about in school hours of looking at rock in the form of a series of not tubes.  Long days are enforced by the fact that the drills have to keep turning or they will freeze.  This work has a repetitive quality to it.

I made an understatement there, its nearly robotic assembly line data collection.  I have the miss fortune of also getting bored of music quickly enough that eventually there is no media that I can pack with me that keeps my brain from it self.  I don't like spending long hours in a room working alone with my own brain.  I want to work in an office where I can occasionally interact with other humans, ride my bike to work and even just pretend to work.

Bye Vancouver I miss you.

I am

A Socialist.

This blog is a precipitation of a train of thought that has gone around my head for some time. I am no Crommunist, but will give airing my politics and values the best representation. The drive to write this come from having been to china town twice over the week end. Its the beggars that wander the street that just brought me from not wanting to write this to now.

Living in east Vancouver, it does not take a long trip for me to find various panhandlers and other street people. I am confident that there is a small army of social workers trying to make people function and be clean. But I wonder as I see people on the street that are clearly mentally ill, though not all on the street are that way I suspect that there is a large long term sub population that is. As I was riding through China town yesterday after nice trip to False creek I got asked for money by one bumm and passed on by an other that was clearly sick and could have had any number of things wrong with him. After that last encounter I realized as a tax a payer I would be in favor of funding proper long term for lack of a better word mental hospitals. This would not solve all problems but it is unethical to leave those whose who need care away from it.

I am not a socialist because I think there should be mental hospitals, but because I think there is a place for a public sector to provide services that make a society work.
Its not complicated, some services are essential a but expensive and can not be expected to be profitable. Education, is the easy sell, with it you can fuel a country's growth. Health care (Death Panels not included) is a second easy sell, healthy people can produce.

Having grown up in a small town surrounded by smaller towns, mountains and lakes. Non of these towns alone or together would likely be able to provide the resources to keep the roads open.  It becomes clear quickly that a place for a level of central planning and funding plays a role in society.

In the end it comes down to there are some things that should be because they can make life better for all or a fix the problems of a few if it is beyond their reach.  It also comes down to its fine for me if the solutions never are profitable.  Heck I think its important to think longer term and big scale and sometimes thats not the place of industry.