Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Morning Blessings

Somewhat of a tradition has formed over at Herman Laue Spice Company. Every morning, Loading Station 1 (the station I operate) has blessings said over it by a number of people. They generally start with me when I arrive in the morning to find the machine completely dismantled and I have to put it together. Generally I mutter them, but they get louder when I can assemble the machine, because generally it takes two people, although I have done it by myself before. Then I can over Adrian, who is somewhat skilled in assembling these things. When we can mount the sieve, he too gives blessings to the machine, and but his are usually a little more explicit and said at a regular voice decible level. Eventually he gives up, and with a final blessing leaves and says "call Tim". I call Tim over, and when he sees the state of the machine he yells his blessings so that the whole mix room can here them. Sometimes a few kicks to the machine ensue. Then he and I set about trying to assemble the machine, all they while he yells his blessings to the machine, and the occasional ones to the night shift guys who disassemble the machine to clean it. (We have a suspicion that one the night shift guys wants to work in a mine, and is trying out his sledgehammer skills on the machine). Generally after some trying, and some more creative blessings given by Tim, the sieve is mounted. However, when Tim tries to put the wing-nuts on, and he can't because they are really stripped, more blessings flow from his mouth, and then some are muttered at John the mechanic. In a few situations, John the resident mechanice is called in, where he too gives his blessings. John says his blessings in a low tone, and he usually looks at the ground when he says them. And then he leaves to get his tools. So after a 45 minute blessing of the machine by up to 4 different people, and the occasional passer-by who sees what we are attempting to do. The blessed machine is ready to work for the day, and await further blessings the next morning, or sometimes it becomes impatient and decides to stop working half-way through the day.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


There's something when guys get around a campfire, and there's beer and other munchies. It's really nice. Doesn't happen much at Laurier.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Workplace Injuries

I get into weird states at work where I welcome pain. Its kinda weird, but its like this recklessness where I don't really care if what I'm doing will hurt me or not. Most of the time I don't get injured but inevitably I do end up and getting injured and regret it when I feel bad that night, but the next day I'm right back into that state again. In the state pain feels good, because its feeling, instead of the mindless work I do all day long. None-the-less, I've come to the conclusion that injurying myself (even if it isn't totally on purpose) is not a good thing, so I'm more aware when I get in these states and try me best to endure them without further injury. My left hand has endured the brunt of work place injury. It has a puncture wound on its left side from when i hit it hard on a sharp metal object, (it has since become infected), it also has to scrapes there as well. My pointer finger is really hurting after I mashed with a mallet on thursday, and lastly my thumb (as pictured above), has a nice deep slice wound to it, after I had a mis-hap with an exacto knife. When I cut it, I stared at it in mild amusement for a while, then reality hit, i said a few explatives, then waited for some alot of blood to come out before I went to get some first aid, so I could impress Brenda with how I was able conduct myself with such calmness in the face of such an injury (the first aid station is by her)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Three Thoughts of The Day

Laziness: Working a manual “unskilled” labour job for a certain period of time is extremely valuable for those who are privileged in society (like those in university). We have forgotten the pain and fatigue that such labor causes, and are weaker because of it. Those running society need to understand the experience of the working poor. I am sick and nearly every part of my body hurts, I get home with barely any leisure time before I have to go to bed. I couldn’t imagine doing this my whole life. Calvin reminded me again and again today about the importance of getting an education so that I wouldn’t be confined (like himself) to such a job for the rest of my life. Its remarkable that in the midst of his curse, he could wish someone like me who has never felt the struggles he has endured something better than he wants for himself. These is however value in the job outside of the experience of it. You realize what it means to work hard for extended period of time. Its really healthy. People pay thousands of dollars to avoid being stuck with such a job, and then pay thousands of dollars again for a gym membership, and then pay thousands of dollars of maids, grass cutters, landscapers, etc. I think its time we hop out of our cabin of convenience and rediscover the value and joy in manual labour.

Expressions: its amazing how much power simple expressions that a certain person always says has in defining who they are. Its really remarkable, to the point where when you hear the same expression elsewhere it reminds you have strongly of that person. For instance, whenever I hear “watch it, I’m in a bad mood”, I will always think of Richard, its who he is. Or “Nooo Broda,” or “Zip-zap” I will always think of Calvin. Think of your friends what expressions do they use that define them for you.

Sex Everywhere: I honestly think western society is the midst of an epidemic. The epidemic is the sexual objectification of women by men. Its really everywhere, soo many guys do it. It has infiltrated every area of life, including Christian circles. I’m not sure what exactly the cause is, perhaps a breakdown of traditional social structures. But what ever the cause, it is indeed amplified by the communications technology and the easy access men have to means of objectifying women. Pornography, solicitation of prostitution, casual sex, and sexual abuse are rampant. They now estimated that the current slave trade in sex slaves has eclipsed the Atlantic slave trade in size and scope. The problem is enormous. The remedy for this is even harder to think of. I don’t necessarily think it’s the empowerment of women as some suggest. (not that that is a bad thing, it just isn’t the solution) Men are cultured to deal with problems independently, they do not gather in groups to solve problems often, perhaps the solution needs to start there.

The Power of Lids

So I was loading salt in the loader along with oil today, and it was near the end, and visions of home were dancing in my head. Then the loader which is a loud mother, just went quiet and stopped. It appeared to be broken. And I wondered, why? I went down and told Tim our foreman. But he was busy and said he'd be a few minutes, so i returned to my station and did an inspection and realized I had forgotten to take the lid off the bin which the loader was putting the salt into. this meant that the salt and hit the lid and piled up the discharge chaft and into the machine and jammed it. I sheepishly notified Tim that the problem was that I had forgotten to take the lid off the bin before I loaded the spice into it. So we somehow got the lid off and the bin and opened up the loader (which has all these spinny things inside) and tried to unjam it. But we were unsuccessfull. Tim, after swearing like a sailor for 10 minutes, concluded that the machine had to be washed and then fixed, meaning that it was useless for the rest of the day. I had broken the loader in my hurry to get home. Well Tushar the Terrible (my boss) had mercy on me, and didn't fire me, he said accidents happen. I have found favour with the lord and with Tushar. I ended up having a reunion with my old working partner Richard, and we stayed till 6:45, meaning I had a 11hr and 15 minute day, which was long. The moral of the story, when loading spices into a bin, it is best to take the lid off the bin first. Other amusing things: when I was talking with Richard about the pending acne explosion that always hits my face when I work at the Spice factory his prescription was: lots of Sex & lime. According to Richard, Acne is the result of pent up sexual energy. I think he is right, I don't get lots of sex, maybe I'll change that, I don't get alot of lime either. When I asked Calvin if he was dating the wrong guys (as he was reading an article in the Sun by that title), he replied, "No Broda, I's a clean living fella"

The starting of the season of work

I started work today. Being home even for such a short period of time has been hard. I feel great "Homesickness" for Waterloo and my friends there. However, I have a summer of copeing already under my built and I am capitalizing on the experiences there. One of them is the establishment of a routine that is both physically and mentally healthy. The bike ride in the cool morning to the factory, the death ride up the huge hill of destruction back from the factory, overtime (1 hour today), the end of the day crap (good way to make extra money), the scenic evening jog, and the just-before-bed e-mail session. These all help to keep my sanity. My senses are heightened at times like these so the miserable times are really miserable and the joyful ones are really joyful. I was received at the Spice Factory as if it was the second coming (and indeed it was). Everyone was really glad to see me, and I them. Unfortunately I'm working alone at Loading Station 1 for the summer, but none-the-less it will probably a good time of reflection and accidents with the forklift. Speaking of which, I drove the forklift today, and its harder than it looks. But I think I did well. Only a bag fell from 20 feet in the air when i was getting the skid down from the racks, fortunately it didn't land on anyone, but it did make a cool explosion of dextrose when it hit the floor. I am not sore which is nice. Home will take some adjusting, "watch it mon"