New Toys

My dear, naive sister took all my blathering about fountain pens to heart and bought a few to try out. She didn’t like them, and offered them to me. I got them last Thursday.

What was in the box?

  1. A neon pink Lamy Safari with a fine nib, plus a converter to go with it. Yeah, it’s a chick color, but I love the Safari model. I cleaned it out and filled it with Franklin Cristoph Red 182 ink.
  2. A fuschia/pink Nemosine Singularity with an extra fine nib and a converter. This one will is now inked with Waterman Tender Purple.
  3. A 50ml bottle of Lamy black ink. (I now have five different black inks, not including Parker or Nemosine cartridges, but one can never have too much black ink.)
  4. Extra Nemosine nibs, consisting of a standard medium and two different widths of calligraphy nibs. As you well know, I don’t do medium nibs, and my chicken scratch is not conducive to calligraphy, so I will probably try to find a new home for those.
  5. A gray (gunmetal) Nemosine Neutrino with a metal body, also with an extra fine nib and a converter.

This is my first experience with Nemosine pens. I had to ask my mentor about them when I found out that they were on the way. She had nice things to say, and my experience agrees with that assessment. Both are attractive, but the Neutrino is a particularly pretty pen. It’s not as awesome in appearance as my Parker Sonnet, but it’s quite nice. The major difference is that the gray seems to be a coating or paint of some sort, likely to be slightly less robust than the (probably) electroplated Parker.

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If she had offered them to me a few weeks earlier, she may very well have saved me delayed my spending of $100+ between the Parker Sonnet and the Platinum 3776. The Neutrino is ideal for what I bought those to be – a reliable, attractive pen with a conservative, professional appearance that is nice enough to be appropriate when wearing something nicer than jeans and a t-shirt.

Not only is it a pretty pen, but it writes very well. It was still inked, who knows how long after Sis set it aside. It took off right out of the box – no hesitation, no skipping. It’s smooth and a true extra fine. It also has a feature that I had never seen before. The trim near the tip of the barrel is actually threaded. The cap screws on when posted. I prefer screw caps over pull caps, and making a threaded barrel to secure the cap while posted is a nice bonus.

In other news, my Sonnet has returned. It is now fitted with what Parker claims is an extra fine nib. Just like Lamy, Parker’s XF is barely a fine, but it is a huge improvement over its original equipment magic marker width “fine”. Like its predecessor, however, it dries out enough to produce a momentary skip if left uncapped and unused for more than a minute or two.  Otherwise, I’m happy with it. Which one of the three (Platinum, Parker or Nemosine) I choose for the rare occasions when I wear nice clothes will probably depend on my mood more than anything. They are all beautiful, quality pieces.

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Booze

I’ve grown tired of having to choke down paint thinner cheap alcohol whenever I want a bit of a buzz. Fireball is tolerable, but everything else in the “spirits” category that I’ve tried has been unpleasant to heave inducing. A close friend opined that my difficulties were probably the simple result of not having found what I really liked yet. She’s probably right.  She made a few suggestions. Earlier today, I visited the local ethanol dispensary and returned home $91.86 poorer, but in possession of these:

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One may be unlikely to find such items in liquor cabinets belonging to billionaires, but they are certainly not bargain basement products.

I have tried all three. I think I can say with near absolute certainty that I do not care for bourbon whiskey of any variety. Buffalo Trace is orders of magnitude better than the crap that Jack Daniels tries to pass off as bourbon whiskey, but it’s still not for me. The Glenmorangie single malt scotch doesn’t suck at all, but I don’t like it enough to pay a little over forty federal reserve notes for a bottle. The Kraken rum may hold some promise, if I can find a way to mix it that I like.

Honestly, I plan to forsake spirituous liquor almost completely and go back to buying Smirnoff Ice, which I truly enjoy consuming. It’s pricey for what it is, but I don’t really drink all that often, so I may as well enjoy what I drink. Even if it is a chick beverage.

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Don’t Need This Shit

The Monday All Week theme continued today. My machine was down for a maintenance issue when I got to work this morning, so I spent the first several hours cleaning tanks and doing other weekly maintenance tasks that are usually done after the production week concludes. A couple hours into my shift, my boss’s boss called me on the radio and asked me to stop by the office when I had a minute. That’s never good.

After the initial pleasantries, he warned me that he was going to “throw me a curve ball and see if I would hit it”.  This is the same prick who sent me to Train the Trainer and Training the Lift Truck Operator classes, despite my vehement and vulgar protests. Yes, vulgar. Being one of his top two or three (out of almost twenty) most reliable and drama-free machine operators gives me the luxury to be damn near completely unfiltered when in one-on-one conversations with the man. He’s a self-serving snake oil salesman, but he doesn’t have a stick up his ass.

He has been pushing for quite some time to get Team Lead positions approved for each shift. Although they are not yet posted, final approval has supposedly been obtained. He is well aware of my feelings. Ever since he first mentioned the idea of team leads, I’ve been very vocal about my lack of interest in any sort of position that would entail babysitting adults. Today he asked me, off the record, what FaucetCompany would have to do to get me to put in for one of the jobs.

“Have FaucetCompany’s parent company transfer the entire balance of their bank account into mine.”

He ignored me. He said that, based on the expected candidates, he has first and third shifts pretty much decided. His problem is second shift. His only choice is someone who, while a reasonably good worker and actually senior to me in years of service but not hire date, is not someone that he wants to put in the position. I reiterated my stand. I want no parts of the position. I’m not a people person. I suck as a communicator, and especially as a trainer. I abhor politics. I have no filter between my brain and my mouth. The last thing I want is to be a babysitter for grown ass men and women. I don’t have the temperament for the job.

“But I need you in the position.”

Fucker. I told him how dirty and sorry he was. He knows if he insists that I am truly needed for something, I’ll do it. Bluster and comfort zones aside, I will accept the responsibility and get the damn job done. This is the price I have to pay for being reliable and dependable. And not willing to seriously tell him to go fuck himself, no matter how much I want to.

It’s not quite as bad as I’m making it sound. The position comes with a ten percent pay premium, which applies to everything, not just base pay. That is more money than a bump to the next higher labor grade. Second shift is primarily a non-production shift, meaning that I wouldn’t be directly involved in production. Instead, I would be responsible for the team that does the off-shift maintenance, makes the chemical adds, and generally prepares the machines for startup on either third or first shift.

But the sonofabitch doesn’t want me to do much of the actual work. He wants me to fucking delegate. I’m supposed to walk around and make sure everything gets done, while doing pretty much nothing. Yeah, I’m lazy. But I prefer being given something to do, and allowed to disappear while doing it. I have zero respect for a leader who won’t get his hands dirty. And this asshole is going to try to force me to be that guy.

We seem to have trouble keeping machine operators, but as of now the team that I would direct consists of five people: the guy that the boss doesn’t want to give the lead position to, and the four greenest operators on staff.  One of the new guys is a bit of a pain in the ass, but the rest are just ignorant. The boss acknowledged the troublemaker, and promised that he will get an attitude adjustment prior to me being moved into the position. I hope so. Ignorance can be cured, so I’m not worried about that.

I very much want off of the machine to which I am currently assigned. I’ve begged and begged to go back to third shift on my old machine, but they won’t let me. Second shift is my last choice for shift preference, but taking this position would at least get me off that cursed machine. Dude offered to let me choose my hours if a standard 1500-2330 schedule doesn’t suit me. His only requirements are that my choice include a majority of those hours, and I must be able accomplish what needs to be done.

Fuck me! They’re forcing me into something to which I have never aspired. At my age, I probably should want it and be thankful for the chance to have a less physically demanding position. But I don’t, and I’m not. I abhor the very idea. And I know that I am going to hate it. But I’m going to fucking OWN it.

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Monday All Week

I should not have taken vacation on Monday. Karma is making sure that I don’t miss the festivities.

Yesterday while I was on break, my machine dropped a rack of parts and the rookie relief operator didn’t notice. The machine continued to cycle until it stacked thirteen racks into the same tank and the chassis could no longer reach the lower transfer level. It took five operators and two maintenance technicians almost an hour and a half to un-fuck it, repair the damage, and get it restarted.

Today, I started out with a crash (only one rack this time), and things have steadily gotten worse. Temperature issues. Contaminated final rinse tank. Process issues reminiscent of the problem that plagued us for several days a couple weeks ago. At this point, they’re threatening to stop the machine and “do some work” which almost always means that my day is going to get a lot more unpleasant.

I can’t wait to see what fun tomorrow will bring. 

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Update

After struggling for many years to understand conversations on the telephone and in environments with any appreciable background noise, I went to see an audiologist yesterday. My hearing loss was confirmed as precisely that. Moderate loss at and above ~2KHz. Approximately the same loss in both ears, and no underlying medical conditions or buildup issues. Hearing aids were recommended, and I chose the “economy” option at $1K each. Fortunately, I had enough in my Health Savings Account to pay for both, with a little left over in case I have other medical expenses this year. They should be ready in two weeks. We’ll see how they do, or how I do with them.

I know young people have hearing problems, too, but today I feel really old.

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Fat Bastard Week Two

Didn’t do very well this week. Sitting at home on my ass for three days translated into a net gain. Back to work and maybe back on track tomorrow.

Starting weight: 106.6 kg
This week: 105.5 kg
Current loss: -0.3 kg
Cumulative loss: 1.1 kg
To goal: 25.2 kg

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Tip

If you have an oversize tub, but don’t have a tankless water heater, you should fill the tub with hot water only. The “hot” water will be cold before the level gets to where it needs to be, and you can continue the flow to adjust the temperature as needed. If you start it out at the correct temperature, and don’t pay very close attention, it will be unpleasantly cold by the time it gets full.

I took my first bath in probably a decade a few hours ago. Primarily because it was the most comfortable way I could think of to clean the splashed soap, oatmeal, and God only knows what else from the area on the far side of the tub. I figured out my hot water mistake in time to have a warm (but not hot) bath.

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