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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July the Fourth- and Fifth

So, a little more 4th of July before I tell you about a simply wonderful return to work.

A beautiful night as we headed off to our observation spot

So, today was, as I told Laurie, "an amusing collection of never-ending minor disasters".  After getting through the usual crap to "start" a week- like extremely slow computer response from our fabric issuing system, three attempts needed to fire up the cutter computer, changing a worn blade for one that really wasn't much better-  we started reaping the whirlwind of picking up a bunch of the crap Missouri is too incompetent  is too overloaded to do.  First, I was given a cover that I could not tell who the customer was on- which is not a good thing when it needs a heat transfer label (AKA customer logo) put on it.  We eventually determined that it was an offshoot of another one of their customers, and of course we didn't have the logos in house.  This realization was followed within moments by another cover from the same outfit.  And not only, like the first, did it refuse to even scan INTO the issuing screen, but it had no less than 3 different markers on the system- and I had no idea which one they wanted.  And they wanted it in our ungodly blood red, which I describe as, "This is one that the wife orders, and the husband opens the box and asks what the hell is wrong with her."

Meanwhile, my partner over at the Haney had another one that wouldn't scan- and it was because of a unique twist on an old problem.  You see, sometimes we have to add non-woven patches (think fuzzy tissue paper) or fabric patches (which could be on the main marker except MO wastes so much fabric they put them on separate markers to cut out of their scrap), or even vinyl patches.  These will appear on the system as A markers (main body), B markers (non-woven), or C markers (patch or vinyl).  Well, this thing had A,B,C, and D markers- a main body, a set of similar-but-smaller panels, a logo panel BY ITSELF, and two fabric patches.  Needless to say, our bosses provided no explanation because THEY had no idea what was going on.

The moon kept watch on us

During the day, with traffic on the Plex road, he tries hard to walk on the road.  At night with the gates closed, no, let me walk as far away as possible.

Holy streaking lightning bug, Batman!


So it turned out that this new "innovation" was a new, TWO-TONED cover, with smaller panels to be sewn on top of bigger ones.  And guess what?  The second "tone" fabric was- all together now- not in house.

Then our one competent canopy sewer got pissed off at our packer and apparently quit.

Then we got a list a page long, but only four marked covers had to be done.  We were told they were SmokerCraft covers, and our floor boss gave the non-woven and vinyl to my partner to do.  But it turned out NONE of them were Smoker, and one of them wasn't on the system at all.  After getting the big boss, we found it actually was an ancient cover belonging to (our biggest customer), a design that we call a "whale".  And whales were mostly designed back in the day when somebody thought it was a good idea to use a description as a name rather than an item number- which is why it didn't show up.  So I asked the office to get me the descriptor so I could find it, and they did  Instead of the simple 33563A, it was S200-ERP-2012.  And IT wasn't on the system either.

Also, my partner got several of these hand me down markers that for whatever reason turned the marker on our screen from what should have been a simple rectangle with a couple of lines drawn for patches into a virtual porcupine with tons of lines that, as it turned out, neither drew nor cut.  But we couldn't tell that from our end.


Scrappy at our chosen observation point, just south of the Alumni pond.


Yes, there was more, but you get the idea.  So let's get back to this fireworks thing.  Actually, there were shows going on at the same time and after at virtually all points of the compass.  Just to the southeast, on Coliseum Blvd East;  one on St Joe just a bit more north, along with another far to the north; due west on the other side of the Holiday Inn, in the addition south of Dwenger, I imagine; at least two great displays from our neighbors in Woodlands of Riverside or Papermill Bluffs; a couple of shots that were definitely in the Fart University parking lot (and thus verboten under PFW's "do not offend the insurance gods" policy); and an awesome fusillade of mortar blasts that were either PFW north or Canterbury Green.  And with the exception of the sound-only Canterbury side, ALL of them were as good or better than the official show- until you get to the  grand finale:

And believe it or not, there in the pitch (except for the moon) darkness, we had a bicycler go by.  And just before the grand finale, something ran into the grass by the south canal, and scared the crap out of both of us.  And I poured flavored water into my shoe.  All in all, another fabulous Fourth.


  1. Chris:
    ---I have but one question regarding the "state of affairs" at you place of employment...
    HOW on GOD'S GREEN EARTH does that company EVER stay in business?
    I suppose the best (and most correct) answer would be:
    (be nice if they PAID according to that)
    ---As for the might pics...very nice outing.
    Like the video (okay, you need a tripod), but it was impressive.
    ---Pouring flavored water into your shoe?
    I think you found the NEXT niche idea for celebrating the 4th...LOL.
    (as long as you don't DRINK from it, naturally)

    Good post.

    Stay safe (and with DRY shoes) up there, brother.

    1. You have to understand- I point out incidents that, while collectively make you scratch your head, USUALLY don't affect the overall work atmosphere. Unlike Arden where intimidation was a "management tool" and feeling that management saw you as a human being was fleeting at best.

      We have good people, but we do have communication issues- especially with MO. I think they have been so overloaded for so long they don't know how to not do things in a seat-of-the-pants manner.

      The one thing OI do have against the corporate "vision" is this- they have known for YEARS they need to get a bigger facility near a bigger city. They've just about run through everyone at Lebanon, and it's mainly because they can't staff enough for the workload, and they don't have either space to do the workload or opportunity to expand on site, unlike Ft Wayne where we really don't need to. But the owner insisted in diversifying within the product field first. So we bought out these three little plastic molder factories up by the Canadian border with an eye to expanding into boat furniture. But no more did we shell out that cash than their biggest customer all but went belly up. So now we're in process of moving all the equipment from two of them to our Wisconsin facility (corporate HQ) and the other is learning how to sew boat covers, I guess. So quite basically we pissed away that money rather than "defending the fort" like they preach by upgrading MO.

      In addition, the owner insisted that the newer cutting machines come from an outfit other than Gerber. Our guy who looks into such things tried to tell him they were much slower machines, but he wouldn't listen, and our guy had to have our plant mgr talk to the head of Marine to get the owner off our guy's back over it. So they buy the machines the owner wanted, and the company's head engineer himself told me they are 20-30% slower than my 40 year old Gerber.

      The reason, I guess, that I do the odd bash post like this is because I KNOW we are capable of doing SO much better, but we are all wrapped up in what I call the "Ludendorff" method (from the WWI head of the German army)- rush from crisis to crisis in order to gather new business, leaving "glitches " in the wake like strong forts that will be "reduced later"- but later just isn't coming. At a certain point, you have to go back and fix what you utilized in FUBARed form earlier- and actually, I have even today seen some progress there.

      I just wanna see BETTER. Corporate is too focused on MORE.

    2. And by the way, Scrappy took those videos. HE needs a tripod. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.