Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Great Good Day

This 16th Diatom is my personal favorite; except for Albert's Diatom, it is the only one in which I directed much of the growth myself, rather than allowing the Diatom to determine how it should look. I consciously engaged both the circular and straight aspects of the design element, and this was the result. This is also, at least for now, the last of what I consider to be the "minor" Diatoms; the remainder fall pretty much in the category of  "major" Diatoms (especially 'The Big Yellow Box' and 'Big Blue', which you will be seeing shortly.) Big Blue was finished the day before yesterday, and consumed 5 days of my life.

(My Lord. I'm naming these creatures now! What's happening to me?)

I'm feeling jovial, expansive and somewhat playful today (mainly due to the fact that the newest Diatom is considerately limiting its growth to a reasonable size), a state which is unaccustomed, to say the least, so I'll let the psychic sanitation vehicle haul a load of nostalgic trash to my landfill.

A Snippet of History:

For a while, Bonnie and I worked at a couple of plastics factories. WARNING! LEAVE NOW! The first was almost literally a hellhole, with ancient, decrepit machinery constantly bleeding oil onto the floor, such that liberal applications of absorbent material were necessary to ensure employee safety. And the heat! And the stench! However, the upside was that since there were so few of us, we enjoyed a degree of autonomy almost unheard of in a company setting, and we became quite proficient at fixing the machines on the numerous occasions upon which they would wheeze exhaustedly and temporarily give up the ghost. (Yes, there were ghosts in those machines.) Bonnie was deservedly proud of her skill in effecting repairs.

The second factory was decidedly different, described by its owners as "state-of-the-art", and it was quite nice (as those things go), but the employees (of which many were temps) were treated as little more than adjuncts of the godlike machines (and were much more expendable.) A more dehumanizing experience (in day-to-day life, at least) would be difficult to come by.

The employees were unceremoniously gathered into a group each morning and given their machine assignments for the day (we came to refer to this procedure as the "cattle call".) This would have been fine except for the fact that our supervisor was in the habit of playing favorites (the more senior employees and the egregious suckups were the lucky recipients of her largesse) and those who were newly hired got the most labor-intensive, foul assignments.

For those who care, there are 2 types of injection molding machines - the automatics and the manuals. The automatics were the plum jobs because (surprise!) they eject the parts automatically and all the employee must do is gather and containerize the parts. The manuals require the employee to not only open and close the door of the machine at set intervals (yeah, yeah, big deal, right? You have to be there) but also to remove the parts and possibly insert components (such as bushings). Then,as the machine is busily producing the next batch of parts, you must perform various operations such as cutting off runners and trimming flashing, and inspecting random parts for defects. And those parts can leave blisters on your hands, even if you're wearing woolen gloves.

One more thing: you cannot, for any reason, leave a machine unattended.If you need to answer a call of nature, you must first attempt to attract the attention of a passing coworker (you should be so lucky) and wheedle and cajole them into momentarily covering for you. This type of occasion always provides much amusement for and elicits much merriment from your coworker.

After roughly 2 months of this, realizing that we were not soon to enter the exalted ranks of the favorites, we decamped for more felicitous pastures.

Well, that's my bit of nostalgia for the day; if you enjoyed it, I can regale you with tales of an unexceptional bookbindery.

Thanx for listening. Peace.




lamove04 said...

If you can make me interested in injection molding machines, you are an awesome writer indeed.  I thought of you more as the college professor type.

When I was in Graphic Designer mode, way back when, I spent some time at printers and bookbinders.  Please don't tell any stories about people getting parts of their bodies trapped in the equipment.  You're not by any chance missing a scalp, are you?  --Albert

fuzslady said...

I like this one, pretty.  I actually found myself going to a website to find out more, about these creatures, pretty fasinating actually.  YES I know my husband the gamer would find a way to still get his gamer kick.  When you got to play he said, you got to play,LOL

hugs to you and sending some watermelon your way