Friday, August 28, 2015

Utilities

Hi, been a while since I posted anything.  This will be a long one but bear with me.  There's going to be helpful stuff in here.

Lets talk about utilities.  I mean, the kind that provide you with phone, internet and lights.  In my new job as a utilities location technician, I have to work with these things every day.  I have to go out and find them before some idiot contractor with a backhoe does.  When I find them, I mark them with paint and flags.  At that point, unless you're Flash Sanitation, who is a special kind of stupid, you hand dig within 4 feet of the marks.

Let's get familiar with some of the equipment used.  We'll start with telephone equipment.

This is what is known as a phone ped.  Inside this ped are the cables that feed your neighborhood with telephone service and the service drops that go to your house.  They are almost always marked with a telephone company logo.  They come in a few different sizes and there are older peds that are square and have metal cabinets.

There will be a follow up to this post on things like crossboxes and v-rad cabinets.  But I'll cover those in a different post.

Now, on to your cable TV/Internet service.



These are 3 common types of Cable peds.  The same thing goes for these as with telephone peds.  The main distribution cables for your neighborhood come in to these then there's a device inside called a tap.  Your service drop to your house comes from the tap.  The big square one in the bottom picture is the housing for an amplifier as well.  Want to see inside?  Check it out.
The square silver box like thing at the top is the amplifier.  The 2 large black cables at the bottom are the distribution cables.  The third one doesn't count because it's been cut.  The orange cables are the ones that go to your house.  They're plugged in to the tap.

Now for the electric.  This is the one you only hit once.

This is a single phase, pad mounted transformer.  A 3 phase is a whole lot bigger and quite a bit more dangerous.  If you ever see one of these open, call your local power company immediately.

This is a cover plate for an electric company underground ped.  Never open one of these and if you see one open, call the power company immediately.

Now, let's take a look at this.

Ok, I see the look on your face from here.  WTF?  You're talking about utilities and you put up a picture of a bush?  What's wrong with you?  What say we take a closer look at this bush.

Well, will you look at that.  A single phase transformer in the bush.  I don't know about your power company but Consumers Energy up here in Michigan, labels all of their transformers to say not to plant within 6 feet of a transformer.

Oh look, a phone ped.

And a cable ped.  All that makes this one damn expensive bush.

See, here's some of the problems.  I know these things aren't pretty but we rely on them every day.  Most people don't think about where their utilities come from or how they get to the house.  All they care about is that they're there when they want to use them.  Many people, especially in some of the "high end" subdivisions, landscape around this equipment because they're not pretty and they want a pretty yard.  Now, you may not believe this but, give 20 years or so of growth and the roots of your bushes are going to get all tangled up with the underground goodies.  Sooner or later...POP.  And guess what?  You, Mr. or Miss homeowner, will be footing the bill for the repair which could easily get up into the thousands of dollars range.  Maybe a hell of a lot more if there happens to be a fiber optic line down there.

Next issue is repair.  How are the repair people going to work with this equipment when it's surrounded by your landscaping?   Some of the utility companies around here will just trample and break your shrubbery and not even give a nod to the Knights that say Ni.  And you know what?  It's their equipment and they need to get to it.

Next issue.  You want to make some improvements around the old homestead but some of them require digging.  Guess what?  You need to call Miss Dig (811 if you wondered).  That means a visit from me, or someone like me.  We need to hook up to this stuff to find the underground utilities.  I promise you, I WILL destroy your landscaping to access the equipment.  There's a side issue to this as well. I am very fortunate not to have any allergies but some people cannot say that.  My fellow technicians are all told on the first day of training that if the have an insect sting allergy to make sure they carry their epi pen.  You see, wasps and hornets love peds.  They're secluded, they're dry and they're warm.  Perfect spot to build a nest.  If the ped is out in the open, we can see them flitting about before we get there and take appropriate precautions or unleash the chemical weapons and kill the little bastards before they get us.  If the ped is surrounded by your landscaping, we won't know that they're there until it's a lot too late.  I've also chased more than a few snakes out of peds.  Usually, we slap or kick the ped a few times before we open it.  Give it a knock to see if anyone's home.  With a ped surrounded by vegetation, we may not have that option.  This is potentially life threatening for someone with severe allergies.

So, the bottom line of this is, quite simply, we know they're ugly but they're also very necessary and once in a while, someone has to get into them.  Don't plant a bunch of stuff around them.  Keep the area clear and well trimmed so we can get at them when necessary.









Monday, August 03, 2015

Oh My

Look how long it's been since I posted anything.  Too long.  The updates are, I have submitted the last of the required paperwork to get a new command and control center.  My new job is going great and I'm enjoying it very much.  For those who don't know, I work for a utilities location company.  It's a great job with great pay and damn good benefits.  I am also working part time as an assistant manager for a security company and at a gas station.  I'm busy, I'm tired but, I have a brighter future, at least financially.

I have been able to go do some fun stuff.  I went to see the USS Silversides museum and at the same time, I saw the LST 393 museum.  Turns out it's one of only 2 intact WW2 LST's left in the world.  It's a historical treasure and if you find yourself in the Muskegon, MI area, you would be seriously missing out on something special if you skip these 2 museums.

I also went to the Renaissance Faire in Augusta, MI this last weekend.  It was much fun and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them.  I did see something very special there that I will mention.  As I was winding up my day, I saw a part of the royal court walking through the realm and as usual, in perfect character.  They came upon a young child in a wheelchair and when they spotted the child, I wasn't able to see if it was a male or female child, they stopped and knelt before the child and spoke with them as if they were the most important visitor of the day.  You could see the joy and the wonder of it in not only the child's face, but in the faces of the parents.  I thought that was damn classy.

It hasn't been all wonderful but I will not post the bad stuff here.  There's already too much of that going on.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Who Wants To Help?

Who want to help me make this:

Really dirty?

I'm hoping for a place to go shoot it and a buddy to shoot with.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dieseltec

There's a big controversy going on right now regarding a Michigan based company called Dieseltec.  Apparently, the owner of the company posted on the company Facebook page that he would not service openly gay people.  He also posted that he would give a discount to gun carriers.  I think it goes without saying that the liberals are going bonkers over this.

Apparently, the owner is getting death threats.  The Google reviews have been invaded by people leaving negative reviews because they don't agree with his stance.  I even read an article where a gay female was protesting near the shop and said her protest was about tolerance. 

That is why I'm writing this.  Tolerance goes both ways numbskull.  You can't preach tolerance and then protest something just because you disagree with it.  You can't force someone to be tolerant of your position or belief and then fail to be tolerant of those who don't.

I don't care who you sleep with, just don't fly it in my face.  I don't care what color your skin is, just don't think of yourself as a victim every time something bad happens.  Stop preaching tolerance unless you're prepared to show some.  The first amendment goes both ways.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Follow Up

It has been confirmed that all of my books were lost.  A local geekery was able to recover the data from one of my laptops, the older one, which is fortunate.  Warthog Control has gotten temporary arrangements and due to the kindness of an old friend, they will be rent free to help me save money for a permanent location.

New and better things are coming my way and the assistance of friends has been overwhelming.  My sister, in Vancouver, WA, has discovered a company called Cuddle Buddies.  They make stuffed animal type replicas of deceased pets.  She's getting me one.  I am looking forward to that.  My significant other has loaned me a small stuffed cat that I find I cannot sleep without these days.  Odd that, one would think that having attained an age in the 50's, I would be beyond that.  Apparently, not so much.

A friend of mine that is opening up his own security company has already hired me in as a Sergeant and assistant manager at a higher rate of pay than I would have expected.

My youngest daughter and her boyfriend have been amazing in their efforts to salvage things, including my washer and dryer.  That will be amazing to have once permanent living arrangements have been secured.  I believe that the only thing I need to do immediately is to get my radio antennas down at which point, I can have the skeleton demolished.

Now is a time to pick up the pieces and move on with the rest of my life.  Not as simple as I had thought it might be.  I miss my kitty terribly and I will have to work at getting a firmer grip on that.  I no longer cry every time I see a cat, but once in a while, it does sneak up on me.  Mostly, I find that I am angry over her loss and how needless it was.  An act of carelessness on the part of a roommate.  Talk about a case of "he needed shootin" but those things are frowned upon so it is not to be.

Things will get better and the love of a good woman has been more helpful than I can put words to.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tragedy and Pain

I guess I'm going to have to post personal stuff again.  In doing so, I am not asking for anything.

Those of you who have blogs that I read daily and keep close tabs on their hit counters may have noticed that I haven't been visiting for the last couple of days.  I thought I would post the reason just so everyone knows why should they care.

Warthog Control suffered a devastating fire.  I lost both ham radio base radios.  Probably all of my books, both of my laptops, some records like tax info and such and most sad and devastating of all.  My sweet Selena died due to smoke inhalation.  My youngest daughter and her boyfriend discovered her body in one of her favorite places in the home.

Rest in Peace my dear, sweet friend.  I love you and I miss you.  Posting may be lighter than usual for a while.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring

You all know what that means.  It's time for the Spring preparedness post.

If you don't already have one of these, now is a good time to go get one.  It's $30 spent that could save your life.

Now is also a really good time to see to your emergency supplies of food, water, pet food, meds and these kinds of things.  You might also want to take your pet carry piece to the range and shoot off your carry ammo and replace it with new.  Clean your mags and check your springs while you're at it.  An ounce of prevention and all.

Change your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.  Might as well look into simple stuff like changing your watch batteries and maybe having the insides cleaned.  These things don't run on dilithium crystals yet.

This is a really good time of the year to look into Ham Radio too.  Your local club will probably be running Ham in a Day classes.  It's a fun hobby and a great public service too.  Look into SkyWarn training while you're at it.  It's free and it helps the community be safer.


Once you get the radios and antennas, the hobby costs nothing.  Although my antennas aren't very far off the ground, I have already had a contact on 10 meters with a Nevada station.  You can talk around the world with not a lot of fancy equipment.

Now is the time to plan for the bad weather season.  It's coming and it's not going to skip over you because you didn't take some time to prepare.  Do it now, save yourself some pain later.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

What's Up With The Labels?

I'm at a loss to understand this label thing.  Those who would have everyone be equal (Liberals) are always saying that it's wrong to label people.  In this, I can usually agree.  There was a line of dialog in the movie Gettysburg, I don't remember it verbatim so I shall paraphrase.  A man should be known for his own qualities, not for the qualities of his forefathers.  This trend of labeling people gives far too much focus to what a person may be instead of the more important issue of WHO a person may be.

Let me turn to music for 2 fantastic examples of this.  Freddie Mercury from Queen and Rob Halford from Judas Priest.  2 of the best lead singers in rock.  Excellent musicians and song writers.  I love both bands.  Both men are gay.  I don't care.  It does nothing to change the fact that both bands were excellent and set trends that can only be hoped for and probably never achieved.  Damn, how I miss Freddie Mercury's vocals and curse AIDS for taking him from us.

Listen to Liberals speak on how wrong it is to label people.  Now, step back and watch as they do it.  Everybody seems to have to be something such as, African-American or Latin-American or LGBT or feminist or metrosexual (whatever the hell that is) or a "teabagger" or something.  Why does everyone have to have a label?  Why does everything have to be labeled?

Can't we just be human and be happy with that?  Despite all of our flaws and imperfections, why can't we just be human and understand that sometimes humans don't agree and that's ok.  It doesn't matter that I dislike Obama because he's a muslim supporting traitor that obviously hates American freedom.  You can like him all you want, I don't give a damn.  Don't try to hang some stupid label on me because of it.  We disagree and that's ok.  Name calling is not required or welcome.

Yes, I've done plenty of name calling on this blog.  Yes, I'm probably going to wind up being a hypocrite and still calling people names.  Yes, I disagree with everything the liberals are trying to do to destroy this great Republic.  I guess the point I was trying to make is that labels are unnecessary.

Not only unnecessary but stupid.  Disagreeing with your obviously flawed liberal logic does not make me a racist.  Hating Barack Obama because he's a scumbag socialist, muslim supporting, traitor to the constitution does not make me a racist.  I don't give a damn what color his skin is.  His actions speak a hell of a lot louder than his skin color does.

See what happened there?  This is why I have a certain problem with blogging as regularly as some other people do.  I get angry and my brain wanders and I can't put the train back on the track.

Something stupid happened at a Washington D.C. hotel during Nixon's term as President.  Since it happened at the Watergate Hotel, it was called the Watergate scandal.  Now, everything stupid that happens has to be a ______gate.  Why?  It's winter time in the Northern hemisphere.  During the winter, it snows (I know that's obvious but I'm trying to make it easier on the liberals to understand).  Sometimes, it snows a lot, welcome to winter.  So why is every snowfall event that drops over a couple inches of snow labelled as "snowmageddon?  How freaking stupid is that?  It's just snow, we get that in winter, get over it.  Now they actually want to name snowstorms?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Why?  I suppose the next big rain event will be labelled as a rainpocalypse?  Get over yourselves, it rained a lot.  That happens.

Too much of anything can be a bad thing.  This labeling shit has gone way too far.

Thank goodness, I finally got to the point I was trying to make before I got mad.  I now return you to your regularly scheduled coffee.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

TO BOLDLY GO




Yesterday, I got up out of bed to discover that Leonard Nimoy had passed away.  The geek universe has lost a bright star.  This made me ponder many things. 

People who tolerate my sporadic posting habits and visit on a regular basis (you are appreciated) know that I very rarely post things of a personal nature.  This post will contain some very personal thoughts.

I have spent my night thinking of the people who have left us.  Gene Roddenberry, his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Rick Biggs, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, Michael O’Hare and so many more, big time actors like John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Clark Gable, Dean Martin, Gregory Peck, John Colicos, Lorne Greene and now, Leonard Nimoy, my father, who passed beyond the rim in late October and my mother who joined him in early January.

It occurred to me, early this morning that most of my childhood heroes have left us.  Yes, my parents were heroes to me.  There are few heroes left from my childhood.  Many of the actors from the original Battlestar Galactica remain.  William Shatner, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig are all still around.  On the odd chance they ever see this; I give them thanks for making my childhood a better world.  For teaching me that I should never give up, never surrender, that there is always a way.  These are lessons that I was able to learn while spending an hour in front of a television watching Star Trek.

The death of one’s childhood is nothing to take lightly.  I believe that our inner child fuels our imagination and our creativity.  It allows us to escape the doldrums of our so called adult lives and lets us be free if only for a few moments.  As a person from an older generation, my heroes had class and style.  They were well dressed and well spoken.  They weren’t in a tabloid every week and they didn’t act like trash.  They were role models that shaped a generation.  I miss them.  No one today measures up.

I miss my childhood heroes and I weep for today’s generation who will never know them.  I think this world would be a far better place if they had.

You did indeed live long and prosper Mr. Nimoy.  In ways you may not have been aware of, you touched the lives of so many.  May your lessons never be forgotten.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Asking The Wrong Question

Here we are at the beginning of winter.  Warthog Control just had it's very first snowfall of 2014's winter.  One accident on US 131 had more slide offs than law enforcement could count.  A bad thing with a sad component, it happens every year.  It will happen again.

I think the number 1 cause of this is that drivers in the wintertime are asking the wrong question.  They ask, how fast can I go?  Wrong question, what they should be asking is:  How quick can I stop?  When the roads get bad, they get far too concerned with the go and they forget about the stop.

MDOT and the MSP always say, take it slow in ice and snow.  Leave early and slow down to a speed that you know you can stop in a hurry if need be.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Cause For Celebration

Today, before I left for work, I checked my mail.  Nothing special on most days.  Usually a few additions to the list of people or businesses that want my money for one reason or another.  Today was a bit different.

Today, there was a thick white envelope.  I noticed the unmistakeable elegance of a female's handwriting.  I put it in my truck and left for work. 

When I arrived, I took care of all the little stuff I have to do.  Calling dispatch to let them know I was on duty and available for trouble calls.  Making sure the cruiser still had gas and oil.  Getting the laptop started up on the computer stand and preparing the reports that will have to be filed by email after the shift is over.  Running into the bathroom because it's a 1 hour drive and those damn...no double damn high blood pressure meds would have to include a diuretic.  For those of you who don't take meds like that, believe me.  Giving a coffee addict a diuretic should be classified as cruel and unusual punishment after an hour in the truck.

Once all that was all said and done, I remembered that fat white envelope.  I grabbed it and put it in the cruiser.  What the hell, I thought.  Like all other security officers, I always pray for an uneventful shift as paperwork is the enemy.

I made an initial patrol of my assigned area and found quiet so, with understandable curiosity, I ripped the envelope open.

THE BOOK OF BARKLEY

Thank you so very much my blog friend that I so much hope to actually meet someday.  I will love and cherish this book for the rest of my days. 

Of course, tonight is now double citation night for any poor soul who displays the lack of judgement and good sense to make me put it down and get out of this cruiser.

Friday, July 04, 2014