Sunday, February 29, 2004

"Pump School" - an education in fluid handling

Hey, check this out! It's sponsored by Viking Pump, Inc., the makers of the pumps which run our fire control sprinkler systems at work.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Just some tidbits found on the internet regarding Plant Maintenance Men throughout the system:

Opening Mechanic and Related.

October 17, 2000.

Opening remarks of Jim Little, Negotiating Committee Chairman

7. Reclassify Plant Maintenance Man as Apprentice Mechanics or Utility Man...

Scope of Plant Maintenance Man Position:

TWUATD Contract Library

Sorry I haven't updated here lately but I've been busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest this past week. A lot of it is because of projects I decided to undertake but some of it is because of projects others have found for me (Mom's car again, nothing major, Layne and other friends having computer problems, etc.)

Emily finished computer enhancing one of her pencil sketches this past week. We scanned it in and she used The Gimp to edit it. It turned out really nice and I have it set now for my desktop wallpaper. This one is entitled Fairy Queen and it will probably be one of the first ones to go on her new website when she's ready to put it online. Also one of her oil paintings is now dry enough to put on the scanner so we'll probably get in soon too.

On Layne's computer we ended up having to download new drivers for his video card and for his motherboard but there was nothing we could do to resurrect his modem. It looks like that bit the dust whenever his HD and Power Supply did. There must have been some sort of surge go through the system. Anyway, at least everything else is working okay even if he can't get online with it just yet. A new modem probably won't cost more than $25 anyway.

I went down to the Union Hall Wednesday to see what the latest was on the apprenticeship program and they said the company is very skeptical about the whole thing because they don't want to get stuck footing the bill when right now the focus is on cutting costs everywhere they can to survive. The Labor Board has a lot of grant money available though and if they implement the program based on their guidelines the company could actually come out ahead on the deal. From the looks of things most of the company's questions were satisfactorily answered and there will be a followup meeting sometime in March.

I also learned that in addition to the 7 mechanics being hired off the street in Facilities at the airport there will be 2 hired off the street for Automotive as well. At a time when there are still union members on layoff status, even if they are of the lower classification of PMM, I find it reprehensible that the union is doing nothing to get the 22 PMM slots which previously existed at DFW reinstated before hiring new mechanics off the street so those who are still laid off can have a chance to get back to work. But this doesn't surprise me any. This is the kind of representation we have had for the 14 plus years I've been there. It's the classic good ol' boy, friends and family scheme.

My guess is this apprenticeship talk is just a ruse to take the PMMs' mind off of what's going on until the hiring is over (probably somebody's friends, sons, grandsons, cousins or whatever) and then "something" will go wrong with the program which the union will claim was the company's fault and once again we'll be left hanging out to dry.

Hopefully, in the meantime I will be able to find some sort of part time job on the outside to help bring in more money and build up my resume because I don't hold out much hope for the future of Title II in the next contract negotiation. It's time to start looking towards damage control and building up skills to use in the marketplace for when the time comes.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I caught the last half hour of Art Bell with Aaron Donahue as his guest tonight on the way home from work. This guy's take on the future is pretty creepy. He must be the life of all the parties he goes to. ;-)

Saturday, February 21, 2004

A Beautiful Mind

We got this in from Netflix yesterday and it was really a great movie, much better than I was expecting it to be. They did a good job on the website too. There are a lot of things to make you think and exercise your mind. Well worth checking out!

Friday, February 20, 2004

Well, this weekend I need to rebuild that carburetor on the lawnmower I never got around to last week, do some more work on the fence in the backyard so the dog will quit getting into the neighbor's yard, go take a look at my mom's car and see why it's not starting for her sometimes (sounds like a loose/dirty battery cable or something) and see if Layne and Teresa want to come over for a visit. That should keep me pretty busy.

Somewhere in there I'm going to do a complete rewrite of this site:


for my crew chief's side business. He gave me some new pictures to scan in and more content to add so it should look VERY different when I'm done. Sometime I need to make time to get over to Oscar's house to see if I can get his pop-up blaster to quit blasting screens it's supposed to be configured to leave alone.

When I get some more free time I want to continue working on collecting more PDF files and other technical data and specs from some equipment manufacturers for my library.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - The Tutorial Website

This is an interesting website. I happened upon it while doing a search for information on wood burning. Not, wood burning as in putting logs in your fireplace and such which is what I ended up with a lot of in the search results but as in burning words and designs into wood for decorations or signs and such. I have a wood burning kit I plan to practice with so I can decorate some of the frames I plan to build for Emily's paintings as well as to carve and decorate some furniture and shelving pieces for us to use around the house and maybe to sell.

Anyway, the site has LOTS of categories to find books, courses, online tutorials and all sorts of references to learn about whatever might interest you. Most of the topics seem to pertain to computer and software tutorials which leads me to believe that is where the site got it's start but has since branched into other topics. This might be a good place to bookmark and watch.

Just checked the mail and AMFA has once again sent materials wanting me to vote for them to replace the T.W.U. as my union. Despite the bad dealings I've had with the T.W.U. in the past I'm not convinced A.M.F.A. would give me a fair shake either. I do, however, find it good to see that there is someone out there to remind the TWU that they are replacable and can't get away with treating their membership like they don't matter without expecting potential consequences.

For now at least, I prefer to stick with the devil I know. Besides, they are making noises again about starting the apprenticeship program we've been hearing about for years. Maybe it will actually happen this time. Only time will tell.

I might go into more detail on this in a future entry. It is a topic I feel a need to vent about. For now, I need to scarf down some lunch and get ready for work!

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Visiting ol' Lou Minatti's site reminded me of Art Bell who's radio show I used to listen to while working the graveyard shift at the airport. Art had to take an early retirement from the radio show due to an old back injury which came back to haunt him later in life. To sit in his studio for long periods of time causes intense pain so he had to give it up. He still appears from time to time I understand but, for me at least, the show just isn't what it used to be. The current host, George Noory, is an okay guy but doesn't have the personality and sense of humor Art brought to all of the topics. Here's a link to the site:


I enjoy the topics of paranormal studies which the show covers and am open minded enough to entertain the ideas many of the guests bring up but not so open minded to fall for every far fetched theory or prank someone calls in to pitch. Despite what some of his detractors said about him, Art didn't take every single guest and caller seriously either and would have a little fun at the expense of the ones that were obviously either way out there or trying to pull a hoax on everyone. He would even poke a little fun at himself from time to time and this sense of humor is what made the show enjoyable for me.

George Noory and the guy before him (I can't remember his name) who hosted the show while Art was taking care of family matters due to an attack on his son...As hosts they are okay but to me the humor is gone, the show is too dry and serious. It's just not as much fun to listen to as it used to be when Art was hosting full time.

Also, back in the old days when Art did the show and Keith Rowland ran the website you could listen to the show live through the website or listen to archived shows going back for years free of charge. Now this is a subscription service which in these tight financial times I'm not willing to pay for. Since I no longer work midnights and am not going to pay to listen to a show that's not as entertaining as it once was I'm really not sure what's going on these days with it. It might well be that if I were to listen in for a few shows my opinions might change. It's still interesting to drop by the site and see the pictures and stuff though. I'd still take it all with a grain of salt though.

For some reason I was reminded today of Lou Minatti, A UseNet junkie who has devoted a great deal of his life to sparring with "New Age Wackos" "Kooks" and other people he disagrees with in newsgroups, e-mail and on the web. I was curious as to whether he still maintains his website. It appears he does: Annoying folks since 1995

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Oh! Forgot to mention. We got snow for Valentine's Day! It was Allyssa's first snow ever and we built a snowman in the backyard, threw some snowballs and enjoyed the beautiful white blanket covering the world. Netflix sent us the NeverEnding Story so we're watching that now.
Added some material to my Do It Yourself page and put my entire bookmark list online.

Thought this might give the search engine spiders something to chew on for awhile.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

I got an invitation today to join this group and almost deleted it but after dropping by their website and reading some of the conversations going on I found them rather interesting so I thought I might stick around awhile and observe them ;-).

Yahoo! Groups : Fellowship_Of_Observism

Anyway, today Emily is going to H&R Block to see about getting her taxes done and I am going to work out in the back yard fixing some holes in the fence so Tip (Our Dog) doesn't get out, trimming back the rose bushes, cutting down the box shrubs next to the deck so we can transplant them between the storage building and the swingset and bundling up more of the brush pile to be hauled away. This is the first day without rain we've had in awhile so I thought it might be the best chance I get for awhile to get these things done.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Well, that was kinda cool. I just took the Classic I.Q. test here and they said my I.Q. is 131. The last time I remember taking an I.Q. test was in the 9th grade in High School and the score then was 128 so I guess it's fairly accurate.

Of course, they tried to sell me a $15 15 page report afterwards. I wonder how many people with lower scores would be inclined to buy a $15 report? Okay, maybe that's a bit cynical of me but who knows. Anyway, here's the site:

Tickle by Emode: Matchmaking and Online Dating
This is a cool site I spent a lot of time on several months back. I bookmarked it but haven't been by to visit for awhile. It looks like a lot has changed and been added since then. When I get some time I need to check this out some more:

HowStuffWorks - Learn how Everything Works!

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Okay, well I might be posting more in here today than I thought I would. I just got back from the library and half-priced books. While I didn't find what I was looking for I did find tax forms and publications which will help me figure out if I'm better off doing them myself or taking them to a professional. I also found some interesting books to read during my spare time while it's raining out.

Let's see, I picked up:

Sloane's New Bicycle Maintenance Manual by Eugene A. Sloane
The Complete Motorcycle Book - A Consumer's Guide by Jim Bennett
Motorcycles - Fundamentals, Service, Repair by Bruce A. Johns, David D. Edmundson and Robert Scharff
The Complete Illustrated Guide To Everything Sold In Hardware Stores by Steve Ettlinger

The bicycle book because I am thinking of picking one up at a yard sale or something to take up riding for excersize and an environmentally friendly form of transportation.

The motorcycle books because when finances finally get better I plan to buy one of those too for economical transportation because I'm tired of the high insurance rates, inspection fees and fuel/maintenance costs of cars.

The everything in hardware stores book just because it looked interesting. There are lots of gadgets, thingamajigs and doo-dads in the world and it's fun to collect trivial information on what they are, what they are for and what they do.

Also, in the free publications boxes I picked up a copy of:

Thrifty Nickel - Classifieds (bargain hunting stuff)
The Mantra - Whole Health Magazine
Working Smart - JobCenter stuff
The Employment Guide - Name says it all.
Employment News - Same as above.

I called mom and Jeanie's doctor's appointments didn't go so well. The buses were running late or bypassing their stops altogether. The doctor was running VERY late and the whole thing was very stressful. It looks like Jeanie and Roy will be working the next few days to make up for having to take the days off for the appointments so they won't be able to make it down to Polly's. It's raining tomorrow so mom and I decided to wait until the weather looks better since we both aren't sure about the road conditions down there. I still haven't received an e-mail from anyone down there about joining the family Yahoo! group so I'm not sure if they're even interested. I guess we'll see soon enough. I might try calling later today or tomorrow.

Since I no longer have a printer I'll need to go over and borrow Jeanie's sometime so I can print off the legal forms I need to get filed so I'll try to get that done soon too.

Anyway, I'm going to go read my stuff and maybe go out to the workshop to tinker with that lawnmower some more. More to come later!
Hey, I did some updating on my Resume. Take A Look Here:
Well, this is as good a place to start as any I guess. I've got some thoughts archived here and there that I want to get posted eventually but today I need to go to the library and half priced books, study for the Facilities Maintenance test for work, look for some part time work to help make ends meet, see about whether I should do my taxes myself or have someone else do them and maybe tinker with rebuilding the carb on my $28 lawnmower. I doubt I'll get all of that done today but sometime during the week I hope to hit all those bases. I also need to call my mom to see how Jeanie's doctor appointments went and find out when will be a good time to go visit my cousin Polly who I haven't seen since my grandfather's funeral in 1991.

So, as you can see, I have a lot going on so be patient if you don't see a lot of progress here right away. I'll get to it eventually.

In the meantime, if you haven't already, visit:

J. Troy Young's Website