Vocations through time

It’s vocation reminiscing week — today’s job well-remembered, if not remembered well:

working as an instructor for three terms/semesters for the vocational trade training business known as “ITT Technical Institute,” teaching incoming customers (i.e., students) about learning methods, Python programming language and SuSE Linux-based computer servers.

ITT-faculty-badge

And one last glance back at my sewer flow monitoring job — while I was working with Rick and Adam, we moved on to Erie, Pennsylvania, for another temporary flow monitoring project.  In the middle of the project, I flew down to Cape Canaveral to see my brother in-law’s experiment, called BATSE, catch a ride on a space shuttle launch, completing the circle for when I worked on the space shuttle main engine controller at Rocketdyne in the 1980s after the Challenger accident, which was even more fitting since the founder of the sewer flow monitoring company worked on the Apollo space program (he was part of the German rocket team designed the V2 rockets under the guidance of Wernher von Braun), turning the life science telemetry equipment from measuring astronaut blood flow into measuring the flow of liquid through sewer pipes — technology transfer!  Meeting interesting friends along the way…

DeenaKlingon_HardHat

Deena Ramos, Klingon warrior, and her husband, James “Hardhat” White

Brenda-Craig-02

Dear Brenda, you were such a fun friend at the right time in my life…

SCAN0555 facebook-profile-0001 SCAN0532 SCAN0533 Brenda-Craig-07 Brenda-Craig-04 Brenda-Craig-03

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Before ADS, there was my first real corporate office job, working for GE Aerospace on the U.S. Navy test equipment called CASS, to whom us humble employees were awarded coffee cups for a job well done!:

CASS-gold-coffee-cup GE-coffee-cups GE-coffee-cups-2

ELEC_CASS_Hybrid_Testing_System_lg

First bug!

Grace-Hopper-first-bug=H96566k

 

From wikipedia: While Grace Hopper was working on a Mark II Computer at a US Navy research lab in Dahlgren, Virginia in 1947, her associates discovered a moth stuck in a relay and thereby impeding operation, whereupon she remarked that they were “debugging” the system. Though the term bug had been in use for many years in engineering[42][43] to refer to small glitches and inexplicable problems, Admiral Hopper did bring the term into popularity.[44] The remains of the moth can be found in the group’s log book at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.[45]

Returning to centre

For several years, I had meditated upon the quietude of life on the edge of a forest.

I had personally celebrated seasonal events, recording them here, such as tree leafing, flower blooming and concentrated water vapor succumbing to gravity in the form of rain.

In other words, I had developed a new persona after years of cultivating the office manager role.

But my benefactor, my sponsor of this adventure — my wife — wanted her own adventure using her disposable income to include me with her so we took up the social interaction known as ballroom dancing, which led to Balboa and then West Coast dance forms.

We met new friends whom I have transformed into fictional characters here and elsewhere.

My wife saw that our disposable income had soon been almost all spent on dancing, including out-of-town weekend competitions and dance studio showcases, not to mention weekly lessons.

Her happiness lessened.

Thus, it was no surprise that, while visiting a partner of one of our dance instructors, we were [in]voluntarily shown images of polyamorous/swinger sessions involving some of our dance instructors in an unidentified hotel room, my wife found yet another reason to distance ourselves from the dance instructors who had been burning through my wife’s disposable income.

My wife is purely monogamous — I am her only intimate mate.

She has zero interest in extramarital bedroom activities.

It was one thing for her to suspect the possibility that the out-of-town events served as a cover for swingers to get together on the pretense of dance competitions.

It was quite another for her to visually be exposed to images confirming her suspicions.

It raised a lot of questions for her such as the likelihood that a dance instructor and/or another person with whom she socially danced would pass on a debilitating or incurable infection they acquired through extramarital sexual encounters — a bloody sneeze, an open wound accidentally contacting her mouth or other mucus membrane, etc.

Plus there was for her the stigma of general association with swingers, an activity she did not condemn but also not condone, something she was not involved with at any time or in any way during her upbringing.

So it seems we are probably finished with social dancing for now, if not forever (she also has a bone spur under her Achilles tendon that makes walking AND dancing painful).

Although I thoroughly enjoyed social dancing with others, despite the minimal risks, even if I wasn’t all that good, I am happy to return to my hermit’s life in the woods, conjuring up my scientists and team of comedy writers to keep me entertained while watching the flora and fauna around me change with the seasons.

I have other celestial bodies in the universe to explore, leaving alone the political, military and religious arguments of my species.

Next on my list, however, is building a grave marker for Merlin and a small bridge across the wet-weather creekbed that separates our driveway from the woods where Merlin is buried.  I would love to construct something fanciful such as the one below but will be satisfied with a simple marker and a minimalist bridge.

 

WHAT I WANT TO BUILD…

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WHAT I WILL PROBABLY BUILD (agile design methodology)…

footbridge-agile-design

 

Meanwhile, I’m staying away from Facebook — my satire/sarcasm is lost on the literalists (as opposed to Federalists (or just not exclusively them)), and some of my posts seem to bring out the “crazies” in large numbers?

I am a forest introvert at heart — best keep to my natural surroundings and enjoy life with Rick as long as he lives!

Overheard at the 70th Anniversary of D-Day…

Obama: Well, Vlad, you haven’t said a word.

Putin: I am still thinking of response.

O: Ya gotta admit it was pretty clever.

P: But still, it was your own military.

O: What would you do if the cadets at your army training academy dissed you?

P: I would not hesitate to send every one of them to hard labour in Siberia, required to hear boring lectures by one woman I would not argue with, your former Secretary of State…very smart of you, assigning women to be secretaries. If they cannot cook in kitchen, make them secretaries. Ha ha.

O: Yes, one step forward with me as president, two steps back returning women to secretary roles. But seriously, I thought what I did was pretty cool.

P: Rescuing deserter of your own military is like giving middle finger to your generals. Rescuing deserter who had converted to religion of your country’s enemy and also of your father is dangerous, even for me. Tells your countrymen “Fuck you!” a little loud, don’t you think, even for you?

O: Not at all. Not at all. I thought it was a perfect example of presidential-level sarcasm. Besides, there’s not a single thing anyone can do about my private joke at the expense of the American peasants. This power trip is pretty addictive. I can see why you stay in control.

P: You are right. And Russian women who love men in power good for more than secretarial position. I make them secret agents, tell them I personally train them for missionary position.

O: That, Vlad, is clever! You da man.

P: Da. You man, too. What your personal adversary say? “Power to the King of the sheeple!”

O: She’ll always have a view of your country from her backyard, that’s certain.

P: Beware the rest of your political career, comrade. Sarcasm is lost on ordinary citizens. More so when you personally make fun of your soldiers for revenge.

O: Well, you can bet those cadets will give me full honours next time. Lol

Surface Surfactants

Guin twisted her head around.

Although 200 marsyears had passed since she had lived on Earth, Guin still remembered what it felt like to walk the surface of Earth without an environmental protection suit on.

She had briefly worked with HAZMAT teams one summer, helping to eradicate a deadly trend amongst Earthlings of starting their own home laboratories to cook addictive substances such as meth.  An unhealthy obsession with a momentary high.  A synonym maker’s dream:

20/20 (“Clear Vision” Hawaii)
222
(Chicago)
417
(SW Missouri because of meth capital)
Agua
Albino Poo
Alffy
All Tweakend Long
Anny
Anything Going On
the attenborough
(London; 11/29/07)
Artie (as in i, Boise, ID 7/30/09)
Bache Knock
Bache Rock
Bag Chasers
Baggers
Barney Dope
Batak
(Philippine Street Name)
Bato
Bato-
(Philippine Street Name)
Batu Kilat
(Malaysia, it means shining rocks)
Batu or Batunas
(Hawaii)
Batuwhore
Beegokes
Bianca
Bikerdope
Billy, Or Whizz,
(Britain – cartoon character called Billy Whizz who seemed to be always on the stuff!)
Bitch
Biznack
Blanco
Bling
(LA, CA 8/12/09)
Blizzard
Blue Acid
Blue Funk,
(Southwest Area of SD Ca.)
Bomb
Booger
Boorit-Cebuano
(Filipino Street Name)
Boo-Yah!
(Southwest Area of SD Ca.)
Bottles
(Used in New Zealand 7/31/07)
Brian Ed
Buff Stick
Bugger Sugar
Buggs
Bumps
Buzzard Dust
Caca
Candy
Cankinstien
CC
Chach
ChaChaCha
Chalk
Chalk Dust
Chank
Cheebah
Cheese
Chicken Flippin
Chikin or Chicken
Chingadera
Chittle
Chizel
Chiznad
Choad
Chunkylove (Missouri)
Clavo
Clean out the chimney (Used in New Zealand 7/31/07)
Coco
Coffee
Cookies
Cotton Candy
(LA area)
CR
(California Central Valley)
Crack Whore
Crank Is “Walk” & Coke Is “Talk.”
Crankster Gansters
Creek Rock
(Sand Mountain, AL)
Cri,Cri
(Mexican Border in Southwest Arizona)
Criddle
Cringe
Critty
Crizzy
Crothch Dope
Crow
Crunk
Crypto
Crysnax
(LA area)
Crystal Meth
Crystalight
Cube
Debbie, Tina, And Crissy
Desoxyn
(drug name for meth at the pharmacy)
Devil Dust
Devils Dandruff
Devils Drug
Dingles
Dirt
Dirty
Dizzy D
Dizzle
(Missouri)
Dizzo
(Missouri)
D-Monic Or D
Do Da
Doody
Doo-My-Lau
(H.B.)
Dope
Drano
Dummy Dust

Dunk (LA, CA)
Dyno
Epimethrine
Epod
Eraser Dust
Ethyl-M
Evil Yellow
Fatch
(Mexican Border In The Southwest Arizona Area)
Fedrin
Fil-Layed
Fire
Fizz Wizz
G
(short for Glass or Go-fast)
G-unit
(Los Angeles, CA 8/12/09)
Gab
Gackle-a Fackle-a
Gagger
(So. Calif.)
Gak
Gas
Gear Or Get Geared Up
Gemini
George
as in george glass from the Brady Bunch movie (CA 8/17/09)
Gina or “I want to talk to Gina tonight”
(Calif; 11/18/07)
Glass
Go
Go Fast
Go-ey

Go-Go
Go-Go Juice
Gonzales
(Like the cartoon “Speedy”)
Goop
Got Anything
Grit
Gumption
Gyp
Hawaiian Salt
Hank
High Speed Chicken Feed
High Riders
(Used in New Zealand 7/31/07)
Highthen
Hillbilly Crack
Hippy Crack
Holy Smoke (Hong Kong)
Homework (This is because homework is generally done on paper which had lines)
Honk the BoBo
(Southern MD)
Hoo
Horse Mumpy
(Tampa, Florida)
Hydro
Hypes
Ibski
Ice
Ice Cream
Icee
Ish
Izice
Jab
Jasmine
Jenny Crank Program, (jenny crank diet)
(Seattle, WA 11/4/07)
Jetfuel
Jib
Jib Nugget
Jibb Tech Warrier
Jinga
Juddha
Juice
Junk
(San Diego)
Kibble
Killer
KooLAID
Kryptonite
Lamer
Laundry Detergent
Lemon Drop
Life
Lily
Linda
Livin the Dream
(Alberta Canada)
Lost Weekend
(Bay Area SF)
Love
Low
Lucille
M Man
Magic
Meth
Meth Monsters
Methaine
Methandfriend
Methandfriendsofmine
Methanfelony
Methatrim
Methmood
Method
Moon Juice (Missouri)
Motivation in a bag (Cleveland or Columbus, Ohio;
(11/19/07)
Nazi Dope
Ned
Newday
Night Train
(11/7/07)
No Doze
Nose Candy
On A Good One
(New Zealand)’place where meth is made is a “P lab”
Patsie
Peaking
Peanut Butter
Peel Dope
Phazers
Phets
Philopon
(East Asia)
Pieta
Pink
Poison
Pookie
(LA area)
Poop
Poop’d Out
Poor Man’s Cocaine
(Philippines)
Pootananny
Powder
Powder Monkeys
Powder Point
Project Propellant
Puddle
Pump
(Bay Area SF)
Quarter Tee Bag
Quartz
(8/4/09)
Q’d
Quick
(Canada)
Quill
Rachet Jaw
Rails
Rails
Rank
Redneck Heroin
(Atlanta)
Richie Rich
Rip
Rock
Rock
Rocket Fuel
Rocky Mountain High
Rosebud
Rudy’s
Rumdumb
Running Pizo
Sack
Sam’s Sniff
Sarahs
Satan Dust
Scante
(Hispanic Population in Southern California)
Scap
Schlep Rock
Scooby Snax
Scud
Scwadge
Shab
Sha-Bang
Shabs
(San Francisco)
Shabu
Shamers
Shards
Shit
Shia
(Missouri)
Shiznack, Shiznac, Sciznac or Shiznastica
Shiznittlebang
Shiznit
Shiznitty
Shizzo
Shnizzie Snort
Shwack
Skeech
Sketch
Ski
Skitz
Sky Rocks
Sliggers
smack
Smiley Smile
Smurf Dope
Smzl
Snaps
Sniff
Snow, Motivation
(Colorado Springs, CO)
Space Food
Spaceman
Spagack
Sparacked
Sparked
Sparkle
Speed Racer
Spin, Spin, Spin
Spinack
Spindarella
Spinney Boo
Spinning
Spishak
Spook
Sprack
Sprizzlefracked
Sprung
(Mississippi)
Spun Ducky Woo
Squawk
Stallar
Sto-Pid
Styels
Sugar
Suger
Sweetness
Swerve
Syabu
(pronounced “shabu” – SE Asia)
Ta’doww
(Southwest Area of SD Ca.)
Talkie
Tasmanian Devil
Tenner
The New Prozac
The White House
Tical
TIK
(1/27/08 – South Africa)
T. D. – for – Tink Dust
(as in: ”Tinkerbell”, from Disney)
Talkie
Time
(Atlanta, GA)
Tina Or Teena
Tish – Shit Backwards
(C.V. Calif. area)
Tobats
Toots
Torqued
Trippin Trip
Truck Stop Special
Tubbytoast
Tutu (Hawaii)
Twack
Twacked Out
Tweak
Tweedle Doo
Tweek
(A Methamphetamine-Like Substance)
Tweezwasabi
Twistaflexin
Twiz
Twizacked
Ugly Dust
Vanilla Pheromones
Wake
Way
We We We
Whacked
White Bitch
White Ink
White Junk
White Lady
White Pony
(Ridin’ the White Pony)
White

Whip (Western Australia 2/3/09)
Who-Ha
Work:
I think that came about from it being my dealers “work” (1/22/08 Arlington, TX)
Wigg
Xaing
Yaaba
(Thailand)

Yammer Bammer
Yank
Yankee
Yay
Yead Out
Yellow Barn
Zingin
Zip
Zoiks
Zoom

Freedom to choose is not always about making choices to enhance one’s longevity.

Guin leaned her head against the back of her helmet.

The circulation fans in her suit, linked with sensors on the outside of the suit, simulated Martian winds blowing across her skin and through her hair.

She felt the dry, gritty Martian air on her neck and smiled.

Memories of an early summer day in north Alabama sprang to the forefront of her thoughts.

She had tagged along with a drug enforcement task group as an advisor, her expertise on that particular day a tangential twist on her knowledge of rocket propulsion.

A lab hidden on the local Army base, assigned to explore alternative uses of popular street drugs, wanted access to unusual combinations, hoping to find the one mix of ingredients that could be used on another planet without cause or concern for breaking social rules or violating local laws.

The lab scientists concluded long ago that illicit laboratories were often the most innovative, their access to raw materials limited not by annual government funding but by the implied value of their product, value derived by addicts who often died as willing guinea pigs, a feat no military, government or commercial lab was overtly willing to take.

Guin’s mission was to ascertain the controlled explosive capabilities of the booby traps set up around labs in the backwood lairs of Appalachian moonshiner descendants, trained in ancient techniques and modern warfare to protect their territory against invaders both foreign and domestic.

She, too, wanted to find the perfect propellant.

However, she did not know why.

The company she worked for had only recently hired her and, like all new employees, put her through a trial period to test her willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done and to keep her eyes and ears shut while on joint assignment with other companies and unnamed tactical government agencies.

The HAZMAT suit she wore that day was nowhere near as sophisticated as her current suit on Mars.

Yes, it had a communications system and a rudimentary heating/cooling unit but it easily ripped on sharp objects and did not keep track of her vital signs; its external sensors added up to the detection of a few hazardous chemicals and that was it.  Otherwise, she and the team relied on portable gear to deal with expected hazardous situations, which often led to mistakes in the field such as when what they thought was a harmless 55-gallon drum of wax turned out to be a temperature-based state-change toxic fume bomb.

Guin wandered across the short Martian field, kicking up dust and sending small pebbles arching in a path in front of her.

She knew she was supposed to leave this area off-limits but had forgotten why, turning off her connection to the ISSA Net to let her thoughts meander without making meaningful connections for other Nodes on this planet and elsewhere in the Inner Solar System.

However, her telescopic vision locked on to one of the pebbles she’d kicked.

Its shape was unnatural.

This far out from the colony, the chance of a mechanical part falling off a lander and bouncing out here was next to zero.

But it was not zero.

Guin picked up the donut-shaped “pebble” and turned it over.

The visual chemical signature on the surface of the rock returned her to the memory of the HAZMAT team’s discovery.

“We are not alone.”

It wasn’t just that the meth lab cookery they found was way too complicated for the average unemployed lab tech to assemble from parts acquired on the old Internet.

None of the equipment had ever existed before.

All of this found in three mobile homes pushed together, a few rusted pieces of metal siding welded over the rooftops to give the appearance of a “triple wide,” ratty pink fiberglass insulation dangling between precariously-stacked cinder blocks in the crawlspace underneath, but the insides of the mobile homes were cleanly gutted and replaced with unearthly contraptions.

Guin squeezed the Martian donut in her hand.  It did not crumble like the other pieces of sandstone under her boots.

Guin had wanted to take a few samples with her from the meth lab but was removed from the building along with everyone else but a few guards.

She was driven back to her office and debriefed about what she saw.

Instructed never to say anything or write a single word about that day, Guin had nearly forgotten about it.  She wondered if she should reconnect to the ISSA Net and search for clues about that day but she chose not even to inform the secure Nodes on the ISSA Net what she was thinking about.

Guin had long ago accepted that she only knew what she knew and might never know everything she wanted to learn about.

But she was going to keep filling in the gaps.

That last shipment that was delivered to the colony was designated for this area.

Had she wandered here accidentally or on purpose?

Who had determined that the shipment should be set up here?

What was in the shipment?

Did those who packed the shipment know she was in the area and, if so, did they realize she had been in the party that came upon what first looked like a den of squalor on Brindlee Mountain only to discover the greatest mystery in the second decade of the 21st century?

She was going to find out!

Me, myself, and I…sigh…

‘Tis sad to see that my wish — to have some dreadful disease that would end my life — has never been fulfilled.

Instead, my general practitioner tells me I am getting healthier as I get older because I have taken good care of my body.

What the hell?

You mean I won’t die of natural causes any time soon?

I wander the wilderness of this planet that we pretend is tamed with concrete sidewalks, asphalt driveways and paved parkways, never able to do more with the sets of states of energy than what they are, never able to get outside of this universe.

I shake my fist at the sky, shouting that my subculture is just not enough to make me happy — I have killed with my bare hands, I have tasted infinity, there is no love for the comfortable confines of a subculture which never truly contained me.

During the month or so of much-needed/wanted/desired self-reflection upon the threshold of self-actualisation, I assimilate my alliterative allegories and wander aimlessly.

Twixt which tweets, texts or twigs do I twist?

Having held death in my hands, there is little more to call my own.

Having stood on the edge of the abyss, there is little in the normal world that surprises me.

Yet, I want more.

I,I,I wantwantwant moremoremore.

I give the members of my childhood subculture their happy connections to our shared symbol sets, telling them I’ll perpetuate their beliefs for them and make them believe I believe them, too, if that makes them happy.

I have padded about in this comfort zone, lining the nest financially so much that I almost can’t get out of the nest or at least have raised the walls high enough to give me pause.

If only I had the impetus to generate enough income to construct a ladder or a means to helicopter myself out of this nest…

But for what purpose?

What is the core self, if there is one, the core burning desire to achieve something I am not achieving or do not see myself achieving, from this base of operations, this dilapidated modified ranch house with cathedral ceiling propped on a hillside over a crawlspace?

I am an amateur philosopher/maker/poet/writer who has been able to live below his means long enough and live in relative peace with a partner, his fellow 12-year old summer church camp attendee turned penpal turned wife of 27+ years, so that I’m closer to being stuck at home with both of us in our retirement years wondering what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives.

In other words, everything well within the normal range of people belonging to our subculture.

That, my fellow chickadees, is a revelation that hits me again and again about once a year, from when I was five, wondering how many more of the clueless adults around me I had to keep putting up with (and still wondering why!) to when I stood at the front of the church as my bride walked up the aisle to me and knowing that committing to marriage was the worst betrayal of myself that would ever happen (because I do not believe in marriage) and so on.

What I want out of life is to eliminate the self, not MYself, but the concept of the individual as more important than as just another set of states of energy generated by that burning ball of cosmic dust we call the Sun.

Then and only then will we see what the universe is, will we be able to move beyond our Earthcentric thoughts and onto the Next Great Thing that has nothing to do with the popular image of gadgets and gizmos to sell on the open market under protective cover of undercover government agents and privacy-intruding marketing departments.

Yet, how do we move a species to build spaceships for Martian settlement without peddling a lot of stuff on amazon.com and through paypal?

How do we promote the concept of conspicuous consumption in order to siphon off thousandths of a penny per sale for space exploration without overselling the concept of the individual?

Perhaps I shouldn’t care.  Perhaps allowing the religious concept of the soul in society is equivalent to allowing the economic concept of the consumer in society?

What, then, of the rise of the atheist consumer?  How do I address the issue of the atheist in the future where we need pooled resources to seed celestial bodies?

Euphemisms and symbology, that’s how!