April 12th, 2001

mr. robin

I say "in" a lot

April's calender was in my Inbox when I got in today.

Rule 7017: KEEP scissor blades in a closed and secured position at all times, when not in use.
mr. robin

(no subject)

By the way, I wanted to apologize to all you modern-day troubadours out there about the colors of this page. I have a laptop at work, which washes out the colors of things, so my journal looks fantastic from here. When I go home, though, it's kind of dark and hard to read and I'm sorry about that.
mr. robin

Conspiracy Theory

I got a big scare yesterday.

In the morning at around 10 or so, I had a program installed on my computer by Enrique, the guy across the aisle from me. It took a while, and we chatted while he did it; then he gave me a quick overview of how to use it. By the time he was done, 30, maybe 45 minutes had gone by. I reopened everything I needed to, and went to check my (personal) email. However, I got a 404 message when I tried to get to the site. So instead I tried to go to LiveJournal: no dice. Now, stuff like this happens every once in a while, so I wasn't too worried yet. On impulse I tried yahoo -- and yahoo worked. Curious. I tried most of my bookmarks, and most gave me a 404 message. So I went back to yahoo to see if it was just in my "cache" or whatever it's called, or if I was really looking at yahoo, and did a search, and the search worked. Uh oh.

After trying a bunch of different sites, I came to a conclusion: They had shut me down. Whoever They are. I'm on the interenet at work fucking around a LOT more than I should, but that's because they don't have enough work for me to do. And Dave, my kind-of-boss, is always catching me and saying "that doesn't look like engineering" which 1) isn't any funnier the fifth time one says it and 2) makes him sound like he's my mom or something. But he never said a word to me about being on the internet too much, and I'm not missing deadlines or anything. So when I was suddenly denied access to my email, my journal, and everything else that manages to make this job bearable, I was QUITE unhappy.

Disheartened, I morosely sent some mail from my previously-unused yahoo account, set up yahoo messenger, etc. Now sure that someone, somewhere, was watching me. Who had done it? How did they decide which sites not to let me see? Why hadn't anyone said anything first, before they just went and punished me? The one good thing, I reasoned, was that they hadn't just fired me instead.

Shortly before I was to leave, I tried once more to get to the traffic map so that I could check that there were no accidents on my way home. And it worked, where it hadn't before. So I tried my email. Eureka! Everything was working again. No problems. Life was good.

So what happened? I have no idea. I don't really know much about computers, in terms of how they work and stuff. I don't know if it was just a glitch that everybody was experiencing, or what exactly determined whether or not a particluar website was accessible to me. Maybe it was a warning; maybe someone is monitoring me right now. I mean, I know they can, I just figured that it's such a large and inefficient company, that no one would notice me and my surfing habits. Maybe Dave put them on to me. Who knows.

Moral of the story: there is none. I'm still fucking around on the internet a LOT more than I should.
mr. robin

Maryland

Hey, I actually look all right today. Yesterday I looked like hell. I had on a really cute outfit, but I hadn't had time in the morning to put on makeup, and hadn't had a shit to give to apply some at work. I'm really not cut out for the corporate life.

Man, last summer, I had the best job. And technically, I haven't changed positions. I'm just in a different "phase" of my training. A far suckier phase, in my opinion.

There's a bridge in Maryland that crosses the Susquehanna River from Perryville to Havre de Grace. It's very long, 2 or 3 miles or so. It's about 50 - 100 feet (I'm bad at estimating distances, especially heighth) above the water, so most boats can get underneath, but there's a gravel quarry on one side, and the booms on the gravel barges are too tall to go under the bridge. So one of the centerish spans is moveable, and the gravel company (or anyone else who might want it) can get a bridge opening with 24 hours notice. It's a swing span, which means that it disengages at two places and pivots on a center bearing. It swings 90 degrees, and the boat can go through either side. Get it?

Well, the pinion shafts in the Susquehanna Bridge needed replacing last year, and I was there when they did the second one. It was in July or August, and the weather was beautiful, very sunny, but the breeze off the river kept things from getting too hot. Mostly I just watched the gang work, sitting on a beam under the deck, getting the butt of my jeans rusty.

The walk out to the moveable span is over a mile. There's walkway grating between the two tracks. To get out to the middle of the bridge, the foreman would get a "foul" on one of the tracks, which means that the dispatcher can guarantee that no trains will come for the amount of time that it takes us to walk out. But they can come on the other track. When one of us sees a headlight, we call "hot rail!", and everyone heads for a rescue bay -- a little platform about 8'x5', spaced about every 50' on alternate sides of the bridge. We watch the train rush by from there.

I stayed in Perryville for a week. The gang was friendly, and had a lot of fun with each other. They had a really big pot -- like $400 or something -- that the person who swore first (in front of me, an innocent girl) had to match. Whenever someone cursed, everyone else would yell "Boo-ray!" And whenever somebody saw a supervisor coming, he would yell "Hootie-hoo!" and the rest of the gang would answer like deranged loons. The birds, I mean.

They had a dinghy with an outboard motor on it parked at the base of the pier: they transported tools to the site with it, so that no one had to walk the whole bridge with heavy tools. On the last day, Dave [not the same Dave who is my kind-of-boss, nor the same Dave who is my muse] and Earl took me for a ride around the River. The sun was hot. The boat seemed fast. It was wonderful.

One day, at Dave's suggestion, I climbed down the side of the pier, all the way down to the base, where there was a wooden dock. At the dock was a barge with a crane on it that we rented; the crane lifted the old pinion shaft out, and the new one into place. I wasn't really supposed to climb down the iron ladder without fall protection, but I did anyway. It was lovely.


For the past three and a half months, I have been working in an office, from 8 to 4:30, Monday to Friday.

I miss my old job.