April 26th, 2011

#2691: I think the 2nd day is the hardest.

Man, I can't even type, I'm so wiped.

I did not sleep well. The unfamiliar bed is what did it, that and an odd psychological quirk; I was in bed with lights out at 9:30 and I tossed and turned until well after 10:30. Then I woke up at 4, and got another hour (perhaps) before the alarm went off at 6.

The "odd psychological quirk" comes from being in a building with other separate living units after a day spent in a noisy factory; I keep thinking that I'm hearing voices, like indistinct conversation. What I am in fact hearing is the muttering of the HVAC unit, and I use the term "muttering" advisedly. Under the steady "whoosh" of the fan, there's a kind of muted rumble, inconsistent, that my ears interpret as indistinct speech whenever I'm occupied with something else.

My employer's shop floor is a noisy place. That's not surprising, what with air handlers, dust collectors, all sorts of machines churning away; I put a pair of squishy ear protectors in when I arrive and typically leave them in until I depart.

The freaking McDonald's down here doesn't have the McSkillet. Of course not! That's a $3 item that can keep me going for hours; I need two Egg McMuffins to do the job of one McSkillet, which is why I get them.

Last night, though, I was able to play WoW for a couple of hours after I got dinner. After the shower, food (KFC doesn't have the "two breasts two wings" meal, either), and WoW, I felt great. Pity it didn't last; but I got it back after lunch.

My day consisted of:

Locating holes
Drilling holes
Tapping holes
Putting screws in holes
Oh, and putting together an Erector set for adults. The byline of the stuff is even "the Industrial Erector Set" and a coworker who's name I don't know said to me, "Bet you thought you were done with Erector sets!"

*sigh*

OTOH the stuff is versatile as all get-out and it's easy to see why it's used for things like this. You could probably build a go-kart from it.

But with the addition of the "erector set" the thing is--as I told my boss--starting to look like a robotics cell instead of a big, expensive, ugly table.

I couldn't finish any aspect of the framing, of course, because we're out of several parts; the robot is still waiting for its pedestal and the guy who's in charge of the robotics department only ordered the plexiglass "walls" of the cell this afternoon. I could have had the entire framework done by end of work today if we'd had the parts; instead I located, drilled, tapped, etc.

Making the "drilling" part infinitely easier is the electromagnetic drill that's become my new best friend. It's essentially a drill press on an electromagnetic base: you set it on a big piece of steel where you want to drill a hole, press a button on the back, and--if it's plugged in--the electromagnet switches on and it would take a locomotive to move it. I can't imagine how wiped out I'd be if I had to kneel on the thing with a hand drill. The thought alone makes me shudder.

I hadn't even known these things existed until yesterday. The really cool thing is that, when you shut the magnet off, it takes a few seconds for it to quench, so even after the magnet's off you can't move it right away.

Anyway, enough about work.

* * *

...in American Rifleman this month (the May issue) I saw an ad for a rifle based on the Taurus Judge. It's obviously a Judge frame and cylinder with a longer barrel and a rifle stock, and it's frickin' awesome, in a kind of "Why would I really need this?" kind of way.

I mean, it's a .410 shotgun, like the Judge, but the longer barrel (and there are chokes for it, too!) will make the pattern more useful at longer ranges. It's also a [whatever]-caliber rifle, of course.

Reading that magazine, though, I saw an ad for some ammo for such guns. One shell appeared to be a kind of sabot with a square-wave profile--approximately |_| |_| --and it looked like there are some balls that ride in the slots until the whole schmeer clears the end of the barrel, at which point it expands into a cloud of death.

Probably costs about $5 per shell, too.

The good news is, I'm working! I have a job! ...so I can start thinking about getting me a .30 carbine, which will be fun to shoot.

Well, first I have to ensure that I keep the job (this is, after all, a trial period) and then I have to keep on keeping on.

Nothing is accomplished easy. I felt pretty damned rotten this morning and I was wishing I hadn't agreed to any of this; but around 10:30 the gut sounded the "warp core breach" alarm; after some unpleasantness I felt enormously better and my mood improved considerably.

--probably the damned McMuffins I had for breakfast--

* * *

This is a new look at a news story I discussed some time ago but it bears reexamination: there is a reason we stopped using wind power the instant any other power source was available. As soon as the steam engine was invented, the windmill became extinct.

So when someone tells you that their new wind farm will produce X many megawatts, just divide by three and you'll be a lot closer to the truth. (Still high, though; you're probably safer to divide by five.)

* * *

I think it rained all day yesterday, and then it rained for most of the night; so when I went to work today, some of the roads between here and there were partly covered with water. The road that the plant is on is down to one lane in spots. But when it was lunchtime, there was a strange light in the sky, so I went outside to bask in its radiance while I ate.

(Also, there aren't enough tables in the break room. Half the plant takes lunch at a time, and the breakroom is full regardless of which lunch period I choose. I am the latest new hire, and I am number 79, so that gives you some idea.)

And we're under a tornado watch until 9 PM. *sigh*

* * *

I guess that's about all I've got to say for myself today. Time for shower and food, I guess.