Learning from exile

I’ve been back on Facebook for a little more than a day (spent a week in FB Jail for a faux pas) and I have to say I haven’t missed it a lot.  Sure, I missed the ease of messaging someone using the Messenger app, but it wasn’t a complete disaster.   There are other ways to keep in contact with the people who are important to you, FB isn’t the end all or be all of communicating, it’s been made easy over the years, and many people use it as the ‘go-to’ platform, because most of their friends use it.  But before there was a Facebook, there were other forms, and avenues, and without it, there’s not necessarily a dearth of communication.

Once back, I ended up getting into a heated debate with a woman who I went to primary and high school with.  About politics of all things.  And yes, Donald Trump.  It reminded me just how far removed I am with all those people who I grew up with.  I honestly haven’t seen many of them for going on 36 years, so are they really my friends anymore? I’m not really certain what the expiration date is on a friendship.  Certainly there are people I went to college with that I haven’t seen for 32-33 years now, we’ve moved in our separate directions, and I don’t keep up with their day-to-day goings on, (nor they, mine) as a matter of fact I haven’t seen more than one or two of them since I left Poughkeepsie in 1987.

Maybe I’m over the aura of Facebook.  This forced exile seems to have opened my eyes a bit, and I’m not enamored with the platform like I used to be.  I understand that my opinions have to be for the most part cached and edited before I express them there, as the algorithm they use for purposes of censorship have been violated (their word, not mine) three times by me in the course of several months.  I honestly don’t believe anything I’ve either said or posted has been that viral or bad.  But my opinion as they’ve made quite clear, doesn’t enter into their deliberations.  And that’s a sad commentary in and of itself.  In a country where we enjoy the freedom of speech, of expression and so on, where we can’t express ourselves in places like a social media platform is a bit jarring.

Although with the social media wars still going on, the behemoths are gobbling up the little ‘also-rans’ like Instagram, Telegram, WhatsApp, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and so on, so it’s not as if there’s a lot of places you can go that are considered ‘independent’ anymore. Social media programs come and go, and one has to be aware of who owns what, and how you might be running afoul of another conglomerate when you’re attempting to get your work or communication done.  Wordpress thankfully isn’t owned by a big media company, and I own my own domain and host it overseas, so I don’t have to be beholden to any large media company and spend time kowtowing to their rules and regulations for the most part. I don’t get censored here.  Too, I don’t yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded place either, but I could if I wanted to.  Here.  Not anywhere else.

I think I’m still able to learn a few things from my experiences.  Whether or not they’ll stay sunk in, is anyone’s guess.  Let’s hope so.

 

Wrestling Rut

Monday evenings television watching has been in a rut for the last several years.  Tuesdays too, if the truth be known.  Generally we eat dinner at 8 pm, which for many is considered ‘late’, but we don’t have children (not the human kind) and I’ve been lax for many years and that’s when we eat.  When we eat, we watch television, like many families do.  I remember growing up we didn’t watch when we ate, we ate as a family, in the kitchen, and the television was in the family room, although in my parents’ house, the family room and the kitchen were adjoining.  Basically one large room from one side of the house to the other.  I visited the property in 2017 and was able to peek into the bay window that exposed to the backyard and that’s still the case.  Sure there’s a skylight that wasn’t present when I was living there, but the new owners have effected several changes in the time that it’s been owned by others.  For better or worse.

Presently, for the past say ten years, we watch pro wrestling on Monday nights.  Granted it’s my preference, not my wife’s but we compromise.  She likes to watch reality competitions like Survivor, TopChef, Hell’s Kitchen, Project Runway (et al) and I suffer through them just like she suffers through the wrestling shows.  Too,  I like to watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and she can’t stand ‘Lard Weasel’, but again she suffers for my sake, just like I do for her and her shows (I particularly detest RuPaul’s Drag Race and Below Deck, but again, it’s for a good cause)

The last several weeks however, I’ve been getting a little tired of the pro wrestling and have been seeking out other things to watch that aren’t the ‘same ol, same ol’ plotlines and conjured violence and drama that has been the WWE lately.  Matter of fact this past Monday I switched to the National Geographic channel and their relatively new series ‘Drain the Ocean’.  It’s where they do a detailed workup of a certain section of water (ocean, river, or some body) and investigate what might have become of whatever they’re looking at.  The 8 pm episode detailed certain areas of New York’s harbor, from a time during the American Revolution, to the 19th century in the midst of the Industrial Revolution.  They even took a crack at the wreck of a steamer called SS Oregon, that was supposedly sunk by a German sea mine in 1918.  Very heady stuff and very interesting for someone who is a historical buff like myself.

There have been other episodes, dealing with infamous ships like Titanic and Bismarck, as well as lesser known ships like the one that was discovered near the original footprints of the Twin Towers post 9/11.  That particular ship was theorized to be a river barge owned (or merely used) by the Royal Navy around the time of the American Revolution, as the timbers were dated to the tree having been felled about 1773.

Honestly, I haven’ t been missing watching the mindless pap of pro wrestling.  Too, there’s been a brouhaha about a new wrestling outfit called AEW that will (this coming fall) be directly challenging WWE for supremacy in the business.  Not a bad thing, since McMahon and company could do with a bit of competition.  They’ve been the ‘big dog’ out there with their monopoly for too long, and I think their product has become very stale.  There was a time about ten years ago when I stepped away from watching them religiously every week, and I think I’ve come to that tipping point again.  Certainly there are ways to keep up with what’s going on with it, via online and on YouTube, and if I’m overly interested, I can read about the various storylines if I wish to.  But on Monday and Tuesday nights, I think I’m going to be watching other things.  More interesting ones.

 

Fix-it Man

Over the last five days, I’ve been having some trouble at work with a certain piece of equipment that’s integral for getting my job done more smoothly.  When I came into work on Thursday, I discovered there was a problem with this particular piece of equipment that had started the day before, and it wasn’t going to be an easy fix.  After trying a certain number of things that had worked before, it was still not working correctly.  Our only recourse at this point was to use it for what it could do, but it was unable to successfully tag the products with a price.  That had to be finished at another manual machine, thereby doubling the amount of time in order to put items on the shelf for sale.  I contacted the assistant manager and informed him of the issue, and he said he would make a call for service.

The main issue is, our location is very remote, and the likelihood of a quick service call was also going to be unlikely.  We were aware of this when the piece of equipment was brought to us, and the person that was sent along informed us that service was going to be spotty.  Too, getting supplies for this equipment is problematic, given the distance it has to be delivered from.  Generally there’s only one other of this type of equipment nearby, so shipments have to be doubled and delivered to one central point and our store has to pick it up from there.  Naturally, since we have to drive there, there’s no compensation for gas to get it, so someone ends up getting shafted on that.  It can’t be helped, just the way it is.

At any rate, for the last six days, we’ve been doing this convoluted way of pricing product.  It’s been getting very annoying, and yesterday our assistant store manager called the service place again, as when he checked with us to see if we’d heard anything from them, the simple answer was ‘no, we hadn’t.’  A few hours after he called, we received a call from their technician, asking what the problem was.  Fortunately, I was able to be in on the call and was able to give him in detail what it was supposed to be doing, and what it was actually doing.  Of course, being that my frustration level was about at the nth degree, I gave him probably more information than he needed.  Though, as I expected, his reply wasn’t very comforting.  Issues where he is necessitated that he couldn’t promise a quick fix, or even a service call anytime soon.  So basically he was telling me we were SOL (Shit Out of Luck) for the forseeable future, and we were essentially on our own.  Could be weeks before there was a solution.

Today, I finally got fed up and did a little investigating on my own when I had a free moment.  I remembered what I was told on Thursday morning, about when it started to misbehave.  Using that as a starting point, I went over the part of the machine that wasn’t working correctly and started to see if there was anything unusual there, anything that completely stood out as being incorrect, or out-of-place.  I was just about to give up when I saw it.  There was a rubber roller underneath where the tags are dispensed and it had several blank tags rolled around it, and one of them was slightly sticking up, exposing its glued backing.  That had to be the problem.  I only state this because it had happened on the other side of the machine, where there’s another tag dispenser, and removing the rolled up tags had remedied the situation.  Only it’s in a very inaccessible location, so it took me about ten minutes with a very sharp boning knife to cut the tags free enough to unwind them from the roller.

Once that was done, I re-threaded the tag roll, and re-set the machine.  Crossed my fingers and sent a few packages through.  Success!  It worked.  Wanting to be sure, I did a few more packages and then went through like it had been doing it accurately all its life.  Boom!  I was stoked.  I informed my manager what I had done, showed him what the problem was, though I cautioned him that the machine still needs a tune-up since there are other issues that need to be addressed.  So cancelling the service call would be a bad idea.  But for the time being it’s working the way it was last week before the tags got caught up and it started misbehaving.

So this, and the successful repair of the roto-tiller.  Two for two.  I’m pretty pumped about this.  I can’t fix everything, but I did pretty well in this instance.