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Coffin Nails. 7/27/2004

I just bought a pack of my regular brand of cigarettes. First thing I noticed when I stripped the cellophane wrapper off was a slip of paper inserted into the cellophane. I pulled it out and found that it was a foot long strip of paper detailing the side effects and consequences of smoking cigarettes. It also contained a severe admonition not to smoke. This warning was printed in 3 languages in very fine print on both sides of the paper and was worded very simply.

However, the intention of the goverment, in making cigarette manufacturers include this rather lengthy health warning in all the packs of cigarettes that they sell, is defeated by the fact that it takes this side of forever to read, and most smokers will throw it away after reading the first one. Furthermore, the language used in wording the warning was as dry as dust, and read like a excerpt from a law journal. It certainly did nothing to communicate the dangers and side effects of smoking, and it certainly didn’t stick in my mind. I read it, I threw it away, and lit my cigarette.

And started choking. They have changed the formulation of the tobacco, I think. It tasted very different from what I am used to, and am still coughing from that one cigarette. Tasted like warmed over socks. They shouldn’t do things like this without telling us. I have been smoking regularly for the past 20 years. My worst years were the late 80s and early 90s, when I went out clubbing a lot, and was smoking in the region of 4 packs a day.

I guess now’s a good time as any to give up the coffin nails. I’ll let you know how I get on.

More Power. 7/23/2004

Just got back from a testing and commissioning on site. Turns out we can’t actually do the testing and commissioning because the equipment has condensation damage. The vendor will be doing his best to clean it up. This situation has of course resulted in the obligatory finger pointing and blame storming that accompanies each and every fuck up that occurs on this site.I wanted to have someone take a picture of me in my site gear just now. I really looked the business with hard hat, cordura jacket, dockers and boots, with walkie and tape measure and stuff slung from my belt…but we were too busy snarling and yelling motherfucker at each other.

Virgin Killers Part Two. 7/19/2004

Race day morning dawned, and found us crashed out in various states of undress and inebriation all over a friend’s living room. The afore mentioned stripper’s panties were now the proud property of the family dog, who took great delight in worrying them to death. We collected ourselves and piled into a truck to head out to the track, stopping at a diner on the way to fill ourselves with caffeine and depth charge our stomachs with donuts.

At the track, the consumption of 2 bottles of tequila the night before was making me dry heave into the bushes. And I had the sweats. The registration clerk took one look at me and told my friend to bring me to the track medic. I refused, and insisted on signing the entry forms in between bouts of heaving and racking.

I walked over to my bike, which was being attended to by a couple of friends. They looked at my ashen face, and told me that maybe I should sit out the race. Again I refused, saying that they were the ones who brought me here to get my race license, and by fuck I was going to finish my first race or die trying. Ah, the sheer stupidity and bravado of youth. The side effects of the tequila were getting really bad now, and I had to sit down with my head between my knees to stop the paddock from spinning around too much. The clerk-of-course walks up and asked me if I could stand up straight. I managed after a fashion, and he looked me in the eye and told me he could stop me from riding with a note from the track medic. I said I would be good if they would all just let me rest for a minute.

At this point a friend’s wife walks over and looks at me says she knows exactly what I need. And gives me this ham and cheese sandwich…a big thick one… I wolf down the sandwich and begin to feel better almost immediately. And she gives me a can of V8, which I swallow. And I feel even better. So I turn and thank her, and she says don’t thank me honey, thank the vodka I put in the V8. And she winked at me. Hare of the Dog indeed.

Much restored, I went to the starter’s office to check my race start time and grid position. I found out I had about another 2 hours or so to go, and was 3rd from last on the grid, which suited me just fine. I returned to bike to find that the wheels were off and fresh tyres were being put on. I asked my friend why, since I couldn’t afford new rubber, and he said it was a gift from the group, because if I crashed, which looked likely that I would, they didn’t want me blaming the tyres. When I heard this, everything started going dizzy again, and I promptly turned and puked on the shoes of my friend’s wife, who I didn’t know was standing just behind me.

Scofflaw. 7/16/2004

This picture was taken during a lightning fast trip down to the island in the south for the purchase of some parts some time ago. Yes, some of you may have gone faster that this. I know I have. But a valiant effort for a 4 cylinder diesel Freelander.

Numbers.

You can make statistics say anything you like. Just bend the numbers to fit the picture. And don’t try pulling wool over my eyes. I wasn’t born yesterday. If you can’t meet the installation schedule, fucking say so, don’t try bullshitting me. I was using those lame excuses coming out of your mouth, before your pubic hair even started sprouting, on bigger and more expensive projects. $6 million doesn’t even phase me out boy.

Also thanks to the Smith for signing my application. Lunch on me. Yes, I know it’s only Macca’s, but at least you get a Happy Meal toy.

I’ve also given up cigarettes. I’m getting my fix via another route. Inhaling coffee.

Unbeliever

This will be the first, and I hope the last, time I ever blog on this subject.

I had a rather surreal lunch yesterday. A vendor came over, and after a site inspection, asked if I would like to join her for lunch with her technicians. I said ok, and we went to the corner shop in her car. As I got into the car, I noticed a flyer from a church, and a small ‘Jesus’ pillow hanging from her rear view mirror.

I then asked which church she went to, and she became very evasive. After some prodding, she revealed that she attended a Charismatic church in the east side of town. The name of the church meant nothing to me, being the heathen that I am, but we had a short discussion in the car about the various flavours of Christianity. And I discovered that she was very close minded about the entire Christian world. She didn’t even know who the Jesuits are, when I told her I attended a Jesuit school sometime in the course of my rather chequered education path.

Over lunch, she then started asking me about my belief in God, and started trying to convert me, not very subtly I might add. It wsa almost like a hard sell from a pyramid marketing firm, without the politeness and the promise of yachts and Mercedes if I recruited 25,000 people, including my grandmother. I listened politely, because I have always held the belief that religion is a very personal thing. Religion, for me, as always been something that you have to choose for yourself, and while listening to someone espouse the benefits of their religion, being threatened with not getting into someone’s concept of ‘heaven’ makes something in my head switch off.

I have friends, some of whom I met recently, who are Christians. And they struggle with their faith like everyone else. And I respect them immensely for it, especially those of them who blog about their faith. But someone I hardly know coming and telling me that I have to surrender myself obviously doesn’t know me very well. I was then asked if I had ever seen God, and I replied, many times. I was then asked how, because she was obviously wanting to take my experience to show that her ‘version’ of God was entirely responsible for every factor affecting my life.

I clammed up, and flatly stated that my opinion of religion is that it is personal, and she used that as bait to decide that I was ‘confused’ and ‘lost’. Those of you who know me in real life would probably have formed the opinion that self confidence is not something I lack, and that my sense of direction is a shade below a GPS in accuracy, spiritual or otherwise. I certainly have an unshakeable belief in good, and a faith, but don’t tell me that I am wrong for being so because I don’t subscribe to your religious dogma. I certainly could have had a good time messing with her concept of God in her head, but I thought she was ditzy enough without being subjected to a mind fuck from me.

The vendor gave me the impression of someone who had swallowed the teachings of her church whole, without examining what she was learning. I am not completely cynical, nor skeptical, but I certainly would question someone telling me that I am a heathen and will burn in hell. Perhaps I will, perhaps not. The journey to the great beyond is one most people make once, unless you’re Buddhist or Hindu.

I have just re-read the entire post, and realise some portions of it may upset some parties. If so, please keep the hate mail to a minimum, and don’t bother converting me. Better souls than you have tried and failed. And for that certain someone I spoke to about this yesterday, I thank you and love you for respecting my faith, as I unconditionally respect yours.

Painkillers.

I’m back at work, after a week off. I’m looking at my desk, and the several piles of drawings, TIEs, SIRs and DCFs awaiting my attention. I also have several vendor meetings pending. My return to work started yesterday at full throttle. It was a mad rush of co-ordination discussions, phone calls, e-mails and documents. And one vendor meeting. Which gave me the shits. If you’re going to represent an equipment manufacturer, make sure you know what you’re doing you bald headed twat. Don’t come back to me with a single sentence letter saying that you are unable to proceed with work because the pit is the wrong depth. We followed your drawing for the pit depth, and now you want it shallower. That ain’t my fucking problem, don’t make it so. And if I reject your drawing submissions 48 times, that should tell you something, shouldn’t it? Don’t go whining to the Project Director that I’m delaying the project. I’m not. You are. If you knew how to prepare a proper engineering drawing we wouldn’t be in this situation.

And hospital food sucks. I’ve lost weight since I got back and have been trying to put the weight back on. It took me a lot of beer and peanuts to attain this fine figure, and I don’t want to lose it. My back still hurts though. I’ve been avoiding the painkillers because I’m beginning to find them very addictive. The last thing I need on top of everything else is to have to go into rehab.

Just got out of another vendor meeting. If you have conjunctivitis, please stay at home and not come to see me. The meeting can always be re-scheduled, or you can send someone else. Some people are just idiots.

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