Friday, July 25, 2008

Hell Week is finally over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has been a very bad week for me. I spent the last couple of months preparing for an ISO 14001 audit. The audit occurred o7/21-7/22. While the end results weren't too bad, the week was agony. To begin with I got practically no sleep from Sunday night through Wednesday. Tense was I is an understatement. Finally Wednesday night there was a heck of a thunderstorm and I slept like a baby through it. Thunder and lightning have a calming effect on me.

We were grilled for two days about our energy policies, recycling, maintenance procedures, etc. I literally felt that I was being interrogated in a POW camp. The auditor wanted to put us in separate rooms and interview us over our garbage policies for goodness sake. I remarked to him that he forgot to bring his hi-intensity spot light.

I really really hate these things. Even after the audit is over, we have to wait a month to get the results then spend additional time correcting nonconformances or observations. I agree with the concept of 14001 about saving energy, making the world greener and safer and all that stuff. But doing it through the ISO 14001 organization is a terrific waste of time and money. We have real jobs too, and the auditors fail to understand that. At one point one of my coworkers actually said"You know these are really great ideas, are you going to supply us with the three extra people we need to perform these tasks?

I know it won't happen, but I really wish we could dump ISO 14001 and do it independently our own way. I'm confident we could make it work much better without those knuckleheads from Europe interfering with us. I don't know what they do there. They either have extra bodies to do ISO or they only have 40 hour work weeks. My work week usually averages about 55 plus 20 hours a week commuting on top of that.

I've vented enough, sheesh!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pens, pens everywhere..............

I decided to reorganize my pen collection today and purchased a leather pen display case. In the process of doing so, I came to the realization that I have entirely too many pens; Fountain pens, roller balls and ball points. I have a few that I'm setting aside for my children, but I think I have to start divesting myself of the collection either by trading up or selling. I have some beauties but I also have some that I haven't used for years.

That plus the fact that the ridiculously high price of oil has serious eroded my disposable income has prompted me shift priorities. I tried taking the bus in for the last several months, but just cannot deal with it. I am much more comfortable in my own car and commuting with the ferry. If I sell any pens, I can use the proceeds to help fund the gas needed.

I will look for a local pen club where maybe I can pare down the collection.

I just completed one trade where I swapped a Delta Y2k Roller Ball and a Parker Sonnet Roller ball for a Mark Twain Conklin roller ball. My partner and I were equally happy with the exchange.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Digital Camera

I've been taking digital photos of Regina's needlework lately. I wasn't happy with the outcome. Of course it doesn't help if you have a crappy camera. I mentioned this to her and before you could say "Shazam" she gave me money and told me to buy a better one. I wound up with a Sony Dsc-W150. The thing is amazing. It even detects smiles and automatically photographs them.

She has a blog in which she wants to display her needlework so I'll be snapping some photos for her. I also had an after thought that I could use it to photograph some of my fountain pens. I hadn't thought of it before but when I post on one of my favorite boards,,some of the folks ask to see pictures of my pens. The older digital wasn't up to the task. This thing has a zoom lens on it. so now I can get some close-up shots of the nibs, clips, etc.

...........and to think a few years ago, I hated the thought of digital cameras.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Zuni Tamaroa Photo Album

I just added another 50 photos to the Zuni Tamaroa photograph album I created to try and heighten awareness of our project to restore the former Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa to her predecessor name the USS ZUNI. If any of you who read this have an intereast in nautical history, especially tugs, please go to There are a lot of interesting photos in the album. I have collected about 160 to this point.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

LINCOLN'S DREAMS by Connie Willis

The family was at dinner this past Sunday night at one of our favorite restaurants in New City, a Thai place called The Lemon Grass. My son gave me a nice birthday present, year 3 of Northern Exposure. He also lent me a book to read interested on my take of it. It's called Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis (photo above).
It was a great book that hooked me immediately because the two main characters (Jeff and Annie) dealt with Annie's ability to dream about the American Civil War. The book focused on the dreams of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. I thought that in itself was interesting. Because 90% of the time (it seems) any Civil War related literature dealing with both sides deals with either Lee and Lincoln. We rarely see Lee and Grant or Lincoln and Davis. At any rate the book was one of those - can't put down types - for me at least. Connie Willis definitely did her homework. As a Civil War buff, I looked for errors and only found one glaring mistake.
She had the characters discussing the deaths of Generals during the war. In one conversation, the character Jeff was discussing the Dead Confederate Generals at Gettysburg. The author made the all to common mistake of stating that Kemper was mortally wounded. This I know for a fact to be wrong because as a young man in Virginia, I was a reenactor in the 11th Virginia which was part of Kemper's Brigade at Gettysburg. It was well drilled into us what happened to the General. He was seriously wounded while exhorting his men onward by flanking fire from the Union Vermont Troops and briefly captured. He was rescued by his own troops and spoke to Lee telling "Uncle Robert" that he was informed his wound was mortal.
Long story short, he survived the war and became the Governor of Virginia in the 1870's. Aside from that one mistake, the author really did a nice job on her research and she did a good job building up the tension in the book, it was a real page turner. To the point where I was up til 2 AM this morning reading it.
I recommend it highly.