Friday, December 29, 2006

Shit and Cellphones

I know there are people out there that don't like their cell phone companies, but this one was over the top. We've been having a run of plugged toilets lately. It must be the food the cafe is serving or something. In any case, the toilet in the public bathroom plugged up earlier this week. One of the maintenance guys gave it a good snaking, and all seemed well, until it plugged up again the next day. This time the snake was hitting something solid, which meant either someone had literally shit a brick, or we had a FOIT (foreign object in toilet). The toilet was drained and removed from the floor flange. Sure as shit (in this case, literally). There was a cellphone wedged into the S-trap.

As funny as that was, the epilogue to the story is even funnier. Or maybe tragic. When we were in the cafe and mentioned that we had just dug a cell phone out of the men's room toilet, some bright person piped up with "Oh yea; some kid dropped his cell phone in the toilet Tuesday." The entire maintenance department responded in unison, "And you didn't think to tell us that little tidbit either time the toilet plugged up?!?!" Did I mention this person is the head of one of the departments here? Sweet Jesus. No wonder these people have been at it for 30 years and have almost nothing to show for it.

Back On-Line

Sorry for the gap in posting, but this time, I can blame someone else. The Arcosanti network has been down for a week. I tried using the free wi-fi at the local gas station, but it was non-functional as well.

Things are settling into a routine here. I go to work, spend most of my day looking around for shit that someone else used and didn't put back, accomplish little or nothing, eat, bitch, and sleep. Pretty much like life anywhere else, only I don't have to spend 3 hours a day in a steel coffin with a couple million other pissed off people crammed into their steel coffins.

Truer Words Were Never Said

"Let's face it. We're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

Sunday, December 17, 2006

IQ Again

Jerry Pournelle is once again pointing out the obvious. Like I've said before, we've had a good run and the barbarians won't likely storm the gates until I'm long dead. If things fall apart a little earlier, at least I'm far enough from other people to get a decent head start.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holy Shit!

Long time, no blog. Damn, time is just slipping away. Next week is Christmas, like that means much at this point. Anyway, I'm still rattling around here at Arcosanti. The last week has been, uh, interesting. It's like as soon as I started getting paid to work (instead of paying to work here like I did for the first five weeks) about half the people turned into total pricks. I finally had all I was going to take from my "boss" and we had it out right in the middle of the workshop in front of the entire department. Now it's like he's my best friend. It's like it was some sort of initiation or something; kick the new guy in the nads and see how much shit he is willing to take. Whatever. It sounds like pretty much everyone leaves the site for Christmas, so maybe they'll come back in a better mood.

Other than that, everything seems to be plodding along. Work here proceeds at an excruciatingly slow pace. There are three apartments that could be finished by a competent construction crew in two or three days. Factor in that most of the work force here are technically students that are still learning to swing a hammer and a week or two would still be doable. Arcosanti's expected completion date? March. That's right; three months plus to accomplish a week's work. Part of the problem is that nobody here works a full day. We are supposed to be on the job at 7:30am. If everyone is there by 7:45, it's a good day. Typically, nothing meaningful happens until 8:00am. Then everyone stands around talking about what they did yesterday and what they will be doing today. By then, it's time for the half-hour morning break that takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Now it's 10am and finally time to do actual work. Until 11:45 that is. Then it's time for Morning Meeting followed by a one-hour lunch break that normally stretches to an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Factor in more talking about what was done (or to be more precise, what was intended to be done if anyone ever did any real work) and call it 1:30pm when work starts for the afternoon. Then everyone is done for the day at 3:30pm. I swear I have never worked less at a job than I have worked here.

The above describes a "full day" of work. Those are few and far in between. The entire site takes a half-day off if there is an all-site party (about twice a week), if one or two people have to work through morning break or part of their lunch, if it is Friday, or if it's been a "long week" (meaning that it's Wednesday and no one has come up with an excuse to take a half day off yet this week).

Holy Shit! It's no wonder it has taken these guys 36 years to build about 5% of the place.

"Holy Shit", by the way, is now my favorite phrase because one of the Italian guys I work with says it all the time. We'll be in the workshop actually doing work, and you'll hear "Holy Shit!!" in a thick Italian accent (which is damn funny, by the way) from some corner of the shop. Everyone else starts asking what's wrong assuming he just fucked something up or cut off a finger or something. His response: "Nothing. I just really like the way that sounds." Hysterical.

I also love the way the U.S.'s weapons of cultural mass destruction express themselves here. You haven't really laughed your ass off until you've listened to a Korean ex-military guy drunk off his ass singing Abba's Dancing Queen, word-perfect, at the top of his lungs in a heavy Korean accent.

Holy Shit!