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A shorter entry

I had planned a longer entry for today, but I set myself a challenge. I would either get Marte started in under half a minute, or I'd drag the deck chair out and watch a few episodes of The Good Place.
Given the amount of voodoo and blood sacrifices to The Old Gods that I used to make, I really wanted to watch Netflix.

Marte started in seventeen seconds. From cold. So that's a No to Netflix then, is it? <sigh>

Mown glass
Mown grass.

Okay, well, the mowing has been done.


For this week.


One step forward, two steps back

The urinal at work has been "sort of clogged" for about two months now. It drained really slowly.
I told the maintenance intern ages ago. At the same time, I also told my boss' underling.

And I reminded my boss' underling at every weekly meeting. And from time to time on Friday before I went home.

Eventually a message made it to maintenance. So yesterday one of the guys takes the drain arrangement apart and starts to work on it.
A little later, he comes by and says "it's fixed".

This morning, I arrived to a nasty smell and a urinal full of pee. Lovely.

I'm guessing his unblocking involved pushing the crud further down the pipe without so much attention paid to where it went after that.

I told the guy when I saw him, and he told me to tell my boss that it needs drain unblocker.

I relayed the message, and underling said it was maintenance that dealt with that, not them.

A little later, the message came back. They want me to pour acid down the drain.

I picked something called, I think, Diverfoam Active and made it up 50%. I picked that product purely because the twenty litre tub was nearly empty, so could be handled without risk (I do not plan on messing with acids).

I drained the pee into a bucket, then poured the acid solution I had prepared.

I stayed with it for a little over ten minutes. Nothing at all happened. So I (very carefully) drained off the acid solution and disposed of it down the toilet.

A little later my boss caught up with me, and I told her what happened and she seemed upset that I hadn't left it to do its thing.


A little later after that, a different maintenance man was doing his nut that I hadn't bothered telling them until it was blocked up. I did explain a little, but this guy likes mocking my French so I don't know how much attention he paid. Getting fed up, I said I'm sorry if this is the first you know about it, but really, the shitty communication is not my problem.

The first maintenance guy said "I know acids, there's no problem, even at fifty percent it won't burn".
These things, if put neat on a floor, will start freaking smoking. And I'm supposed to believe that half dilute is safe? Does he think it's a Bach Flower Remedy or something?

I have two very simple Red Lines (I'm British, I have Red Lines ☺).

The first is that I am not going to use pure chemicals unless I have a proper respirator mask and a written instruction signed by my boss. Personally I thought 50% was too much, but felt it was a good enough compromise for those who might have wanted me to use it neat.

The second red line requires some preample to set the scene.

There are plenty of people that don't bother reading notifications. So if there was a blinking neon sign above the urinal that said "THE PIRAÑA WILL EAT YOUR PENIS" with a big arrow, pointing at the actual piraña swimming around in the urinal, you and I both know that somebody will ignore all of that and whip out their joystick. It won't end well. Unless you're cheering for Team Piraña.
Additionally, when I was doing my course for using the Gerber (a little battery operated forklift thing), it was made extremely clear that if I injured anybody or caused damage, the company would not be liable, I would be, personally.
With that in mind, there is exactly no way that I was going to leave anything stronger than vinegar in a place accessible to others unless I had written instructions signed off by the site director. Not my boss, her boss.

I did offer to get the chemical so the maintenance guy could do it. He declined. Funny, that.


As of now, I'm not going to bother to report any further issues like this, or other things that might need attention, to my boss or her underling at the weekly meetings.
Instead, I'll send an email for each and every one. If they aren't read (been there, done that) it isn't my problem. As long as I have traceability for "I said this on such and such a date", they can all go argue amongst themselves and leave me out of it.


Cooking is dangerous

Earlier in the week, I was making a pasta sauce. My distance vision has changed little in decades. My close up vision, on the other hand, has changed greatly. I used to be able to focus on something that was barely an inch away from my eyeball. Pretty cool for looking at how displays were arranged. My phone's AMOLED was an arrangement of red and blue pixels in a grid, with tiny green and white pixels in between.
These days, without glasses something can be no closer than an outstretched hand, and with glasses, there's a sweet spot about a foot and a half where small text isn't blurry (too close) or blurry (too far).

For reading my phone, simpler to do it with glasses off.

I mixed and stirred and all the ingredients were ready. As nice as it smelled, I can't think of the experiment as being a great success given that it cost nearly three times what it would have cost to just buy a jar of sauce.

Stirred, stirred some more, and then it was time to let it boil gently for a while. I sat down to read The Register, and I had exactly two thoughts.

"Oh, that's where I put my glasses."
And roughly seven hundred and twenty eight milliseconds later, "Oh, bugger."

Yup. They were under my fat arse.

Not good.
Not good.

On the bright side, the arm breaking is better than the frame breaking.


In a moment of "the universe is mocking you", I noticed that the little blue LED was blinking to notify me of a new email. It was my optician saying that it's been two years since my last pair of glasses (top-up policies generally subsidise a new pair every two years). I mean, what are the chances?


Yesterday I picked up a cheap pair of reading glasses from the supermarket, a "+1.00" pair, makes me queasy. I feel like if I ever get really annoyed at myself, making myself wear them would be a great mindscrew punishment. Oh, and running laps around the house for double torture.

Anyway, the idea was to remove the arms and put them on my glasses.
The pair with the smallest looking hinge bit that I could find, was still way too big for my glasses. I'm starting to understand why it might have been that part that broke.

Today, I went into town after work and popped by my optician. Explained the story, and she said that sort of thing was actually quite common. She'd check to see if my glasses were still under guarantee (they weren't). I was kind of blown away by the idea of "cooking mishap" being a reason to claim.

So she went rummaging in a box that contained lots of random arms. After about ten minutes, she found one. It was a left arm, not a right one, and a bit shorter. I think it was from a child's pair. But she bent the ear grip around to be the right way up and... it'll do. It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than nothing at all.

This is a hardware patch
This is a hardware patch.

I had been wearing my previous pair of glasses, but my eyes hurt on days with bright cloud and such. The optician checked my prescription and said that my current pair have a UV filter, she's not so sure about the previous pair. The could explain it. I remember thinking to myself that it was "easier to see in daylight" with my new glasses. So glad to have them back in one way or another.

She handed them back to me, and went to serve somebody else. So... free? Whoa. Thanks!


Note to self - you're getting to be a forgetful old fart. Do try to remember to check the chair before sitting on it. Check there's nothing on said chair, and also it may be prudent to verify presence of chair.
Damn... this is getting complicated...


Edit: Whoa. The final picture. The reflection in the scales is actually of a logo and light flare on an upside down shopping bag. But doesn't it look like a person?



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John, 11th June 2022, 00:09
When I was teaching a long time ago - before we had e-mail - I had similar concerns that all these safety issues I reported could not only be forgotten/ignored, but it would only be my word that I'd ever reported/mentioned them at all! 
So I bought myself a "duplicate book". This had alternate lined and plain sheets both bearing a printed number and a sheet of "carbon paper" to interleave between them. There was also a piece of more-rigid card to place behind the copy sheet. 
The lined sheet was perforated to be torn-out, and the plain sheet firmly bound into the book. 
I would write-up my concern on the lined sheet, date and sign it, and physically pass it to the headteacher, whilst an identically numbered duplicate remained in my book. 
The lined sheet with its sequential number, without explicitly saying so, implied that a carbon-copy of the message existed and thus applied an additional discreet pressure to ensure that action should be taken. 
Using it gave me a satisfaction far exceeding the cost of the little book itself! 
Rick, 11th June 2022, 12:41
Sometimes, when working in nursing homes, my mother or I would have to leave a note of an incident that happened with a difficult inmate. 
We'd return, and find the entire page very obviously torn out of the book. 
It's amazing the efforts some will go to in order to not do their job... 
In one case, one of the agency girls had a bunch of ribs and other parts damaged when the inmate known to be violent attacked her with a walking cane. The home tried to say "it's what happens" and then "you can't go after somebody that doesn't know their own name". So she started an action against the home. As part of that, I was interviewed by the police. I said quite simply that this person had a long history of violence, but apparently they were from a rich family that paid a hell of a lot. So while most of the agency staff wrote up notes about this situation, you'll find the shift report book contains many missing pages. 
Sadly, this was in the days before smartphones and cameras. 
We moved to France shortly after, so don't know how the story ended. I'm too cynical to think that money didn't talk. It always does. 
Rob, 11th June 2022, 17:07
Urinals .... back in the 90s, I worked at a place where the only gents on the ground floor was accessed via the main reception area. Big boss man decided that it didn't look good for all of us oiks to be walking past waiting visitors, and it should be made visitors only, making us all go upstairs (also past the waiting visitors, but I guess it wasn't so obvious where we were going.) This was not a big issue in itself, just gave us some extra excercise. 
Unfortunately, the urinals' flushing mechanism was tied to the cold feed to the sinks using some fancy water-saving device that only topped up their tank a little each time the sink was used, rather than continuously. With the drastically reduced footfall, they were barely ever being flushed.  
Apart from the increase in smells, the almost-neat urine that was being left for days if not weeks, would evaporate and leave hard crystals behind. Over time, these managed to restrict flow through the waste pipe until the day came when a flush happened faster than it could be taken away.. This resulted in a wet floor, wet carpet, and a rather embarrassing mess.. 
I think they had to actually replace a fair bit of pipework to fix it.. I hope they also adjusted the water-saving thing..

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