30 September 2006

Oscar & the Geisha...

Geisha House became kind of a tradition with our family years ago: it's where we met up before any concert. It's actually kind of a dinner and a show, in a way. Geisha House is a Japanese-style grill, you choose your meat (steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever) or you can go vegetarian, and there's all kinds of appetizers, plus you get a japanese salad with an awesome ginger vinegarette and a mild soup, too. The chef comes to your table, which is the grill, and as he's preparing your meal he does all these little tricks like catching shrimp tails in his pocket and making an onion-ring volcano...little things, but stuff that makes it fun, unique. It's expensive enough that it became somewhere reserved for just special occasions...like right before a concert.

Tonight, Geisha House was operating its last night at tht location under original owners. Our chef was Oscar, a native of El Salvador who started there washing dishes and worked his way up to chef after five years. My family remembered his first night as a chef, and was there tonight as his last. He's going back to El Salvador. I hope he does well; his English is great, maybe he can open up another little Japanese grill and make some big money.

All the drinks--sake included--were on the house, and the chefs were included in that too. In fact, Oscar drank a few Bud Lights just during his time with us, yelling, "Banzai!" with enthusiasm. We all had a great time, but it was sad, in a way, it felt like the end of an era. Granted, Geisha House is staying there, but a new owner...I'll try it, of course. And the original owner is opening another one, but way on the other side of town. I'm loyal, but I'm not sure I'm that loyal.

So now, we've got tickets for this year's Trans-Siberian Orchestra (another family tradition)...what'll we do?

29 September 2006

I escaped "the Rock!"

Is it really any surprise?

I can't help but laugh. Usually we get our checks by 10h00 (break time) but Devar kept holding off, and I knew there was a pour but usually the foreman doesn't do pourwatch. So at just before noon he comes in and hands me my check and in with it was my transfer papers. So Monday at 06h00 at the end of the earth (no joke, where the roads end at the base of the damn mountain) I report to Bishop Gorman Catholic High School. I hope we work a normal schedule. I'd like a few 40-hour weeks for a change.

In other joyful news, Tannah and I (and Tannah's brother Mada) and going to Ohio for Thanksgiving! Tannah and Mada haven't seen their family there in 16 years. It's going to be a serious culture shock, they're already warning me about the lack of video poker machines and monolingual signs. I think I might survive for a few days, though: I'll bring my iPod, laptop, cell phone, Nintendo DS and Cybershot.

27 September 2006

...and the JATC.

First off, after I spoke to the steward, the rumour started that I was going to e-board Les for harassment. (E-board: as in, bring up on charges before the union.) I decided to let him think that. It got everyone off my back for awhile.

I spoke to an assistant director about the situation and I really hesitated bringing either foreman up by name. I didn't want to look like I was causing trouble or whining, but he insisted, so I did, but I asked that it go no further than documentation. He told me the proper steps to take if it got worse but I'm half-betting on a transfer, now, actually. I think I'll be able to sleep now that it's out, at least. I hate confrontation but I hate letting things go on even more. Sometimes I'm pretty pathetic.
School was regular I guess, another test next week, I got an 88% this last one, a C and I'm not happy about it. (At our school, a 75% is failing.) Plus, we have an inspection on the 17th floor at 11h00 and it's going to take alot out of everyone to get it to pass. Six of us can get headboards on a floor done in a 10-hour day if we hustle. But he's asking the headboards, the shelf lights, wallplates and owner-supplied fixtures in about four hours. Granted I think there will be about fifteen of us up there but still..."My ticket says 'electrician', not 'magician'..." and we'll either pass or fail it. Maybe we can get a partial, like all but the suites or something. Who knows.

25 September 2006

Time to get the steward involved.

Mondays we have our safety meetings. And I've been with Bombard for so long I think I've actually heard all of them, some of them a few times. After the official meetings, the foreman usually opens up the floor for anyone to bring up questions or concerns about anything safety related on the job, or if someone's sick or whatever, taking a collection, got hurt on the job...whatever.

Wating for the elevator I heard from three separate journeymen from Les' crew that he made jokes about "some girl who got hung up on a hot and a neutral wire". This, complete with sound effects and seizure-like movements and a comment about being too stupid to flip the breaker off. For one thing, Les is a compulsive liar, I'm certain of it. Aside from that, his "jokes" just go too far. When I was missing work for doctor appointments, even when I brought in notes he still said things like, "Man, I hope it's something good like a brain tumour, or else you're wasting everyone's time." So, instead of punching him in the jaw, as it's a felony to physically attack somone above the third floor of a high-rise here, I called the steward and reported the whole damn thing, all of it, from the moment the power was turned on until Les' idiotic and unprofessional joke. The steward has his own opinions on Les, and he said as an apprentice I need to take it to the apprenticeship committee, just so its documented. That way if it continues to get out of hand, I'll be covered. Les needs to keep his damn mouth shut, and Julian needs to quit trying to corner me in empty rooms and...get this...he actually "pretends" to be giving me a task when someone walks in. Creepy. I mean, Les annoys me, and I never wqant to work for him again. But Julian is a whole other breed. So Wednesday, before class, I'll make a report for the JATC.

23 September 2006

Calm, a little?

Julian's ignoring me: bonus.
Getting paid double time: bonus.
Haribo, Clamato Energia, and Kinder Surprise: bonus.
Husband cleaning the house and making dinner: bonus.
Immediate gratification as the American way: bonus.
Life is good.

22 September 2006

"So who's fault was it?"

Today Julian cornered me in a room and said, "Hey, I heard you got bit." I said, "Yeah, Thursday." He said, "It was your fault, you didn't tag out your breakers." I said, "It wasn't an energized floor." (He also tried comparing it to a remodel...wheich it wasn't, not even close.) He said, "It's time to quit playing games, you are a 4th year, you have to think like a journeyman now." And he spent the next 20 minutes berating me, basically, saying its for my own good and its because he cares about my safety (bullshit like that). Luckily I had a witness to the whole thing. He compared me to Keith Martin, a journeyman who was killed about a month after he graduated from the apprenticeship for "not being careful". (In reality, Keith was killed because the power company turned off the wrong transformer and assured him it was off. It was their fault, not his.) Julian also said that the floor was clear, so what was he implying? That I must have been fucking around? I found out from Devar and 2 other journeymen that Devar told him I was down there in a room, making a few last connections. So not only did Julian know I was there but he knew what I was doing. And he lied about it. What was he trying to do, teach me a lesson??

The thing is, when Devar went up to him and told him to leave me alone he gave this bunny-fluff story about he was just concerned for my well-being. Guys like him make me nervous. And now, I've caught him standing in doorways just eyeballing me. If my body is found chopped up in a closet, point detectives in his direction.

21 September 2006

Not even cool:

You know, it's one thing to get bit, but this is a massive lack of communication, and if it's something deeper, I'm not sure I even want to be a part of it.

Today my crew was making connections for switches and power in boxes for headboards in all the rooms. Julian's crew (my old crew before I got transferred) was consistantly on the floor below us, hot-checking. (It means turning all the power on and making sure all the lights come on, all the outlets work, etc.) Well I was the only one left on the floor before break, and I heard Julian say to his guys "We're going to be down here after lunch" and he gave one of his famous pep-talks. I knew I had a few hours at least and I was only going to be another fifteen minutes or so, and I didn't even think about it. But in the last room, making up the last box, I got shocked, i felt it just barely, just for a sec, and I saw the lights come on and I was like, what the hell? No one warned us. I went out and looked around and one of the journeymen came out of the electrical room, and he gave me a quizzical look and was like "What's up?" and I said "Iwas in a box making a connection, did you turn the power on?" and he said "I was told the floor was clear" and I was like, "Well, it wasn't" and he apologized and looked upset, he wanted to make sure I was okay etc. but i was fine. I didn't make an official report since he was sorry and because I wasn't hurt, and it was an accident. but I was irritated so I told John and Mike, two journeymen on my crew, and they told my foreman Devar. He didnt make a report since I asked him not to, but he told Julian to please be more thorough checking since I got shocked. And it's good everyone's looking out for me but I can just see where this is going to lead.

Note: Just so everyone's aware, before Julian's crew was on hot-check and our crew was doing it, this couldn't have happened. We all had our own rooms, we turned them on and off as we needed to. I know there are breaker locks available but still, sometimes it can get incredibly ridiculous. People die from freak accidents, and if my left hand would have been touching the junction box when the power came on, well...who knows.

15 September 2006

"Horse D'Oeuvres"

Firstly, I'm a casual reader of web-comics. I'm a huge fan of It's Walky!, and, to a lesser extent, Shortpacked!. (Yeah, they both end in exclamation points. I'm not sure why. And if you actually get into David Willis' stuff, the cross-overs can get kind of confusing. Read more about that here.)

So, about the title of my post:

Wow...Penny Arcade (another web comic) is great for so many reasons, especially if you're into gaming. But their social commentary on the ontlandish ideas someone can get from the media--especially the Internet--is awesome. Case in point is this satirical edition published on Monday. And yes, I've tried posting it directly on here, but I can't get the sizing right; either it's too big and and it knocks everything else about, or it's too small and it can't be read. So anyway, enjoy:

Horse D'Oeuvres

(By the way: Anyone wondering where this came from can thank Willie Nelson.)

13 September 2006

E-mail woes.

Just a little irritated. I like e-mail as a whole; it's far less invasive than phone calls, and I use them as a primary resource to communicate with family and friends. Besides, I can actually think out what I want to say rather than stumbling over words so I don't say something foolish. (I have a tendency to allow my temper to flare on occasion, and with that come words of stupidity.)

The things I can't stand about e-mail are forwards and chain letters. Chain letters are obvious: I really don't believe I'll have a bad love life if I don't forward an e-mail to thirty people in thirty seconds. I don't think I'm guaranteed salvation if I send "special" Bible Scripture to everyone in my address book. Luck, love, happiness, money...they aren't dependent on how many people I can send an e-mail to. It's foolish in my opinion, and I delete them. I usually don't even finish reading them. As for e-mail forwards...technically, and legally, that's copyright infringement. (No, really: look it up.) I have all forwards blocked from my inbox for that reason, and if one slips through, I delete it. I admit...a very few of them are useful: the occasional warning of a scam or whatnot. However, there are so many tired hoaxes, silly jokes that we've all heard before, and calls for ridiculous boycotts, it's a complete waste of cyberspace. Aside from the legal aspect, my time is too valuable to spend weeding out that kind of bullshit, to be honest.

So...if no one could guess, I cleaned out my e-mail's inbox this evening.

11 September 2006

5 years.

My father-in-law was kind of on me to wear an American flag today, in rememberence. (Not like I was apt to forget of course; it was a travesty. Sometimes I go out of my way to avoid really thinking about it too much.) When he suggested it I kind of smiled and nodded...I didn't feel like having to explain myself, and I didn't feel like being called un-American, either. I'm not saying the anniversary isn't a big deal, because it was....I'm not sure I'll ever be able to properly explain this.

Pride, patriotism and solidarity don't mean anything if one's told to show it. I mean, the time I felt the absolute most patriotic was July 04 1996, singing The Star-Spangled Banner to a group of Korean high schoolers with about a dozen other American student diplomats from Las Vegas. I wasn't told to feel that; it was genuine. When I do feel it, I'm quite content to feel in within myself. I don't feel obligated to parade it around, proving to others where my loyalites lie. And when Independence Day comes about, or the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour, or of 9/11, I am no more or less patriotic than on any other day. I feel no more or less American, and my solidarity with others of this nation has not strengthened or weakened. I don't know...I guess it's my personality. It seems to me that some people (not all!) who wave flags and wear the red, white and blue and sing our national anthem the loudest seem to only do so on certain days, and it reminds me of fair-weather Christians. The ones who know all the hymns and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus on Christmas and go to every service on Sunday but couldn't give a flying you-know during the week. I don't want to be that way. But then, I'm not really open with myself in that way, either.

So, no: I didn't put on a show for the fifth anniversary. I said a prayer, silently, but I'll keep what I prayed about to myself. And I did think about it alot, throughout the day, not just the series of events, but where I was in my life, then. Alot has changed. I guess it did for alot of people, in a sense.

09 September 2006

I know...it's been a week.

Or more...I can't remember the last time I posted. And that's just really uncool, so, my apologies. I'll bring this blog up to speed then:

That life-sucking exhaustion kept up for days, and I had another one of those episodes early Tuesday morning. It was so sudden and intense it actually woke me up. At around 04h00 it seemed to dissapate but on the drive to work I felt it again. So I walked onto the jobsite (half of me totally numb mind you, and walking up the stairs like that is no fun) and told Devar I had to go see my doctor. He told me to just go, and I am grateful for that. No bullshit. I had called my hematologist's office about the episode Thursday and Dr. Kingsley had told me that if it happened again, just get down to the office ASAP so he could witness it and figure out what it was. So it's exactly what I did. By the time I got there I was wobbly, I was stuttering again, and the aphasia was pretty bad. (Heh...that's right, I learned a new word: when one uses the wrong word in place of the one he means to use.) I was coherent; Dr. Kingsley was testing me to see if I'd had another stroke, he kept asking me what common things were called, and I think he was sure I was having one until he noted I didn't have any weakness on one side. Numbness yes; weakness no. So he consulted a neurologist.

In the meantime I zoned out in their patient waiting area and I must have looked like I was in shock. His office shares space with a cancer treatment center, and a woman sat down next to me and said to her companion in Spanish, "Oh, she just found out!" Then they debated on whether or not to ask me, and finally the woman touched me on the shoulder and said, in English, "It's okay, I have lung cancer. It's not so bad. You'll be okay." And aside from the fact I couldn't form a sentence, I wasn't sure I wanted to tell her I didn't have cancer anyway; I sensed she felt good in comforting me.

Again the episode left pretty quickly, and I left to see Dr. Ginsburg, a neurologist. I had an electroencephalogram done, to test for seizures, and he told me that while I am positive for past transient ischemic attacks, he thinks that this episode and the one from that past Thursday are either a form of migraine or a form of temporal lobe epilepsy.

I'll be honest. As many years I worked in the healthcare field, I assumed migraines were headaches. I don't have headaches. I don't have any pain with these episodes. And I also don't twitch or anything, as one might expect with seizure activity. But he showed me books and all kinds of stuff talking about it and it was rather enlightening. So he put me on Topamax, since it treats both those disorders, plus has side effects of weight loss and scar reduction (yay!), and also because I've already been on Trileptal, Neurontin, Lamictal and Depakote, and my sister had a very unsavory experience with Klonopin. He said Topamax was a different class of medication. So far it hasn't given me any of the fatigue it promised, so I'm hopeful.

Anyway, yeah. That's been about it. I'm still on Devar's crew, still doing headboards and they changed our shift to begin an hour earlier (and I could hug someone for that). Things are mostly okay. I might even get back into paintball....oh, the joy!

04 September 2006

Labour Day!

I made the title look exciting but this post is going to be pathetic. The only completely union-sanctioned holiday and I'm sleeping through it. I have had such complete exhaustion for days now, and I've slept the whole weekend away. My parents did my birthday thing last night, and it was great to see them, but I wasn't feeling good then, either. But it was worth it to be there. I might write about that more later. But I think now I might go back to sleep.