I’ve Lost My Sheep
I understand that CK will be sitting by me shortly…today people were looking for him. When he walked in the conversation went along the lines of:
CK: I’ve had another disaster.
R: What? Again? Is everything okay?
CK: I’ve lost my sheep.
Insert a look of what in blazes are you on about?
The rest of the conversation got more bizarre. He’d got a call from a shipping company about the shipment of his sheep. It went along the lines of:
Phone: You need to pay, your payment is overdue
CK: What payment?
Phone: The one I’m looking at.
CK: Sorry, for what?
Phone: Let me get my manager
CK: Good idea.
The story goes that back in August CK headed to Alaska for a hunting trip. While up there he shot this pretty neat looking ram. They thoroughly enjoyed ripping in to the meat as all they eaten for a week was freeze dried or candy. So he then sent the head off to the taxidermist to be mounted, I guess it belongs in a man cave.
I guess the conversation with the manager went better than with the initial lady. Turns out the head has been all stuffed and a transport company had been put on the case to deliver it to CKs house. As it stands, the sheep is now in Washington, apparently the transport company has changed their minds and not only does CK now need to collect it from their depot in Aurora, but he also needs to pay for it upfront.
Of course Mark and I proceeded to give CK hell about the head sitting put on a dock, gathering salty damp and going to be good for the bin only etc.
Mathematics and stuff rated X for drop outs
I have had a most awesome thing come into my possession. A couple of weeks ago we were at drinks and JR was talking about this awesome book he’s got. It’s a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy and some of it isn’t particularly legible, but its the memoirs of am old school engineer. This book is positively awesome and I’ve only read the first two chapters and some random pages in between. the first chapter he explains Roman numerals and how to read, write, and do mate with them. Well, he explains addition, subtraction, and multiplication. He ends the chapter with:
You figure division I did the other three.
Needless to say I have taken a copy of this awesome book and will continue to work my way through it.
A new perspective
Beers and a fire usually full of stories, this one was no different. Allow me to start by setting the scene. MrS is an accountant, he’s Mr Money and he’s pretty darned good at his job. He also has the look of an accountant, middle aged, bald, slightly overweight, and bespectacled. A typical looking accountant. Throw some beers into him and the truth comes out.
He got talking about the Firebird he had as a teen, complete with sunroof. He apparently had a tendency to set his cruise control on 138 mph, stand on the seat, and steer with his head through the sunroof. It was 138 mph because the car was speed limited to 140 mph and when it hit 140 it would bounce down to 120 mph before it would wind up again…so 138 mph it was. Early days he tipped his head back and flipped his eyelids, he learnt that lesson and paid more attention to head angles. Despite the frequency with which he claims to have done this, he only got caught once…and not so much for the head out the sunroof. He got pulled over at one stage and in that moment from when the cop started walking over to when he asked why were you doing that his mind was churning. His response was gold:
I’ve got a really bad itch.
At this stage the fire side conversation wandered off on a few tangents. I mean really – you’ve got to throw in more comments after that one. Why is it so amusing? Because the list of things he was being written up for included:
- Reckless Driving
- Public Indecency
Yep – MrS was mooning everyone in town, with his head out the sunroof, and his mate mooning out the passenger window, at just shy of 140 mph. The cop comes back and almost has the ticket handed over when MrS asks whether this will hurt his chances of being an FBI agent. The cop looked at MrS and asked if he truly wanted to be in law enforcement. When MrS says yes and fesses up about just being a stoopid kid the cop put the ticket in his pocket. Of course at this stage the passenger is laughing his head off and the cops look was all is this kid serious or is he shitting me. This ticket goes to him if he’s being an ass.
The most amusing part of this story for me was that MrsS was looking at MrS like she’d not heard this story and why the hell did I marry him. Though maybe that was more about the admission of multiple pants-less scenarios where it was only guys in the car than just this particular story.
MrS never did get into the FBI, his eye sight didn’t measure up for field work and being the guy behind a desk never really gelled for him. He did go to Egypt with the company and has all sorts of wonderful adventures there. It sated his appetite for being outside and doing good in the world. Now with three kids under 10 he’s happy in the office.
Nepalese Projects Have Some Interesting Dynamics
Apparently WP’s packed the photos already (devastating), but he was working on a project in Nepal, building a hydropower plant. They had 3000 porters and 1000 mules. Apparently Nepalese laws are such that if the project had built a road they would be responsible for the maintenance of said road forever, not just during the project, or a few years, but forever. Apparently all the materials for the headworks were taken up using these porters and mules aside from the axles for the heavy machinery. This isn’t 100 years ago, this was the late 90’s and early 00’s. Fascinating, absolutely fascinating projects. Of course WPs involvement was only really to review and drop in occasionally, but heck, he tells it like he worked there the whole time.
Tongue in Cheek
I’ve been thinking of making steak and kidney pie. Of course when I look in the supermarket for kidney, fail. So I resorted to my trusty colleagues. CLH is out of Greeley, a livestock and slaughter town. In fact when I visited CLH told me to beware of the days when the wind blows the wrong way – the smell of the abattoirs can get somewhat intense. So in asking about a good butcher, Mr CLH expressed his distaste for kidney, and Chad chimed in. Seems there is a significant yuck factor associated with kidney. I guess at some stage I’ll have to prove them wrong.
In the meantime, CLH told me a lovely story. In the not too distant past he had a mate over for lunch, or similar. This mate was given a roast beef sandwich, well the makings of a sandwich and he put it together. Chomping through the meal the mate was super impressed by the quality of the beef. It was good stuff! I cannot fathom the look on the poor guys face when CLH said:
“Actually it is beef tongue”
He’d roasted the tongue, marinated, peeled, and sliced it so in the slices it didn’t look too much like anything untoward. Well played CLH, well played.
Ah the Simple Life
While chatting at dinner in Fargo, DP told us a lively story from his home area. He grew up about seven hours west of Fargo in the oil fields area. A few miles up the road from him lived an older gentleman. This bloke had a decent slice of land, his wife had passed on, his children had flown the coop, he was all alone.
In this area anyone with land is approached by one after the next oil prospector. They come in do some drilling in the hopes of hitting it rich, then either move on or get rolling in the trucks. This time the prospectors brought in two rigs, set them up, then hit oil. Score! They put the required cash into escrow for the mandated six months then they sent a cheque to the land owner. Our elderly gentleman saw the cheque and assumed they’d made a mistake, adding many too many zeroes. He sent the cheque back with a polite note saying just that, thanks, but this can’t all be for me.
The prospectors took the cheque back to him in person and explained the whole deal. Not only did he get his first cheque of $4.5 million, but he also got a lazy half million every few months. Dang!
Do you know what our subject did? He took his cheque down to his local bank, bought himself a new truck, and every cheque thereafter went straight into the bank. The dear man has now passed away and presumably his family got a tidy inheritance. He was perfectly happy living his simple life and all he really wanted in life was a new truck.
Ah, the simplicity.
A Sign of Things To Come?
Our illustrious team leader had an interesting story about the one time he’s worked with our main man to be on this job. Let’s start with SS: SS is an old hand in the CC&M team, he’s the guy you want looking after the biggest jobs you’ve got running, he has managed major earthworks jobs and structures have always been a part of his life. He was a part of the team we had on the Tombigbee canal, a 90 000 000 cubic yard excavation job for us back in the 80s. That size if job doesn’t come around every day, so there aren’t many with his level of experience. We’re putting him on the project team, his input may make or break the gig.
So our leader (he’s from our JV partners) was at this stage the subcontractor for the job. When he got mobilised to site in October there was a powerline running right through the excavation area. He got what he could done then waited. By January the powerline was still there so SS wrote a letter to them to excavate everything they can around the power poles.
At this point the story gets a bit sketchy…not sure if they did start digging or if all they dug in were their heels.
A few weeks later there was one of those horrible days when it was -35 Fahrenheit and windy. The team wasn’t working and SS apparently sent a letter regarding ‘failure to work’. This was perceived as an immense slight to the construction team and Mr JV got all up in arms. He’s still quite bitter about it.
So there is quite some history between these two and if we win this gig there may be some fun with the Project managers for our teams.
It all Started with Warrens Boxes (or Rob Cooney)
This new office is quite the amusing. I’ve got CK to my left, Chad to my right, Cooney to Chads right, WP behind me and MM next to WP. Aside from Chad and I this is a group of the older gents. And therefore a world of amusement! WP has had so many rants about the state of this office it isn’t funny. He was worst when we were in the old office – engineers really don’t like change – but now he is beginning to adjust. Regardless, one of his rants was about the availability of space for all his reference books. Mind you there are reference books for drafting standards, by hand; various state road construction manuals that are significantly out of date; for things that no one designs by hand any more. So he whined so much that he was told he could bring all his books and put them in the file cabinets at the end of the row. Now this would be all well and fine except that he hasn’t unpacked them all yet…he’s left seven boxes unpacked in the walkway. There have been comments about this for the last two weeks and finally Cooney did something about it. He moved them into his desk space and CK put a note about keeping walkways clear. Roll around 1400 when WP comes in and it will be interesting to see how that goes down.
Somehow a discussion about these boxes, where Cooney tried to blame MM for moving the boxes, he then said it must have been the wiley female in the group. I of course agreed – I needed a lifting workout!
Next thing I know we’re talking about care of shaved heads. Poor CK had to sit in a cab with the BD manager (Mr BD) for half an hour. Context: Mr BD is an Egyptian looking guy (actually he reminds me of a not-buff version of the bad guy in the 300 movie), he is bald and tanned and somewhat metrosexual…kinda looks like he oils himself regularly. So CK and Mr BD are in the cab and the cabbie pulls his hat off and says that they must go to the same barber, what followed was half an hour of discussing shaving heads, oiling heads, trimming beards, tie-in to facial hair, etc. Half an hour of it. Apparently CK piped up and asked if they could talk about something like the state of pot smoking in Colorado… [insert shocked looks throughout the cab]. Of course we all got talking about those things also, CK has never been to a barber, MM has a slightly thinner head of grey hair, Cooney ranted about the ‘unkempt’ look that is all the rage.
The most amusing part of this whole story is when the group was breaking up there was a ‘how did we get to talking about this?’, followed by the story title “It all started with Warrens Boxes (or Rob Cooney)”. Quite the amusing way to spend ten minutes.