Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Learning New Tricks and an old novel

Last October I took a trip down to Red Deer, AB and spent 2 weeks trying to absorb information presented by two NACE (type that into Google and then click on NACE International and it will be explained) Level 3 Inspectors. Despite having been away from the business of fabrication for 28 years I managed, somehow, to pass the Level 1 course the first week and then, lo and behold, Level 2 the next week. I am therefore a NACE Certified Level 2 Coating Inspector.
            Just goes to prove you CAN teach an old dog a new trick.
            There is a need apparently since some of the coating manufacturers are finding that their products may or may not have been applied as recommended. If they should fail and item they are supposed to protect fails who is responsible, the fabricator, applicator or manufacturer? Was material substandard before fabrication?
            On the first day of the first course, during the introduction to Level 1 an explanation of Corrosion and its costs were outlined. For example, a 1998 study shows that 3.1% of the US gross domestic product was lost to corrosion. As a percentage that doesn’t sound like a great deal but expressed as a dollar value the loss was $276 billion.
Worse than the cost factor, however is the safety factor. Pipelines often contain volatile materials, sometime in a gaseous state. They are usually built for several decades of service with engineered safety factors far in excess of the expected lifetime. Despite those built in safety factors they often fail and it is most often due to corrosion which might be caused by failure of the pipe or the coating or unexpected changes in atmospheric conditions.
So the need for coating inspectors in manufacturing, shipping, both off-shore and on-shore petroleum production, in the transport of those petro-chemical products, in bridges and in critical concrete construction.
The information required to be a NACE Level 2 Inspector is not the type of thing I use in writing a novel, singing a song or hauling Diesel around the country. However I’m looking forward to using that information and my Positector.

Speaking of novels, I’m hoping my first novel, “The Great Liquor War” will be available once again by June or July. Right now I have Tracy Wandling (www.tracywandling.com/) working on a new cover design.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Discovery of a New Element


I must first state that I did not write this.
I must then admit that I don't know who did or where it came from.
I was scrolling through some things from long ago and there it was.
Whoever wrote it, I thought it was funny, brilliant and, saddly, accurate.
Scientists at CERN in Geneva have announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element Governmentium (Gv). It has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces coiled morons which are surrounded by vast quantities of right-on-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons or protons, it is inert. However, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. Even a tiny amount of Governmentium causes a reaction which normally takes only a few days to complete to four years or more to finish or resolve.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years. It does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium 's mass will actually increase over time since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientist to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical point of concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.
When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons. Vast sums of money are consumed in the exchange yet no other by-products are produced.
 
By the way, here is another page you can check out;
along with the videos and interviews off to the right.
 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

David Milton McGowan: Remembering trips on the Heritage Highway

David Milton McGowan: Remembering trips on the Heritage Highway: I just found – through some help on FB – a link to some great videos of the country around Tumbler Ridge , BC . A couple of years ago I...

Remembering trips on the Heritage Highway


I just found – through some help on FB – a link to some great videos of the country around Tumbler Ridge, BC.
A couple of years ago I was going up there once a week or more but now don’t get up there much at all. These pictures will give you some idea of why I enjoyed the trip and why I elect to be in this country.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, October 22, 2014


On October 22, 2014 a man shot one of Canada’s soldiers who at the time stood guard over the memorial for those who have defended our country and way of life and whose sacrifice is otherwise not recorded. He was also representing those men and women who have died to maintain the country and the freedom its citizens enjoy. As a serving member of Canadian forces he also represented those who did serve, survived and returned to life as a citizen and part of the fabric of this great country.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo. If you are a Canadian he represented YOU.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo. If you live in a country where you have the opportunity to express your views, however small and fleeting or large and long-standing that opportunity may be, then he represented YOU.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo. An attack on him was an attack on civilization.

Kevin Vickers, Sergeant-at-Arms within the Canadian Parliament buildings shot the attacker and brought to a halt this atrocity.

In Canada we have some of the best armourers and security training personnel to be found anywhere in the world. We have people with the fortitude – the “parts” if you will – and training to handle any situation that they may face.

Therefore the fact that Mr. Vickers stopped the attack before it became a massacre does not particularly surprise me.

The fact that Mr. Vickers had the training necessary does not surprise me too much since he is old enough to have, perhaps, received proper training such as is not usually enjoyed by some entering the security professions in the last few years. Perhaps he has had time to privately and at his own expense augment whatever initial training he did receive.

What does surprise me is that with the illogical and antiquated attitude toward firearms that is usually broadcast by Canada's traditional media Mr. Vickers was not only allowed to carry a firearm it was actually loaded and useful. I do expect our politicians will continue to spread false, misleading and un-supported information about firearms because they see such statements bringing votes ... even though it is obvious some of their lives were saved by a man with a firearm who knew how to use it.

I do hope a few real people (those who actually contribute thereby assuring the country grows and prospers) remember this event the next time firearms are vilified.

But more important, remember Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

RememberSergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers.

The attacker? Forget him. He was either a fool who believed lies or he was unbalanced ... probably both. His only contribution was providing a focal point to show how important real Canadians can be to each other and the continuation of the country.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Old Time Threshing


No (for some of the younger) this is not a post about talking to some un-likable person by hand. It’s about separating cereal grain from the (ripe) dry plant in a manner in many areas prior to 1955 and in some places well into the 1970s.

My Uncle Sam cut and bundled about 8 acres on the front of the field next to his house and my cousins and their children stooked (standing the bundles up so they will continue to ripen and dry) it. With the help of many friends who also have heavy draft horses and some wagons a threshing was held on Sept. 20, 2014. I didn't actually count them but there was well over 100 people in attendance, helping, watching, and either evoking memories or building new ones.

Here are a few pictures from the day.
There was also a team of tough little Fjords there hauling children (and the occassional adult) around but for some reason that picture does not want to down-load.


Here's a pretty paint team bringing in another load of oat bundles.


A couple of hard working volunteers feeding the threshing machine.

Sam's Oliver 88 powering the threshing machine with little effort

Sam Roberts and his team heading for the field and another load of bundles

Having just hauled a load of oats to the grainary

Sam Roberts and Gordon Meek

1928 "General Motors Truck" almost finished restoration - and the usual cell phone interruption but they did help to record the event.
 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Securing Supplies or “Possibles”


            Today we call them necessary supplies. Soldiers might call them “gear” or “rations”. In the early days of the mountain man they were “possibles” because there was a good possibility you would need them to survive and if you didn’t have any there was a good possibility you would not --- survive that is.

            Some time ago an agent, commenting on one of my stories, wrote that he had “never heard of a log cabin built high in the trees.” He was commenting on a stores cache I had described in a story and I couldn’t believe that anyone who had read historical history, history, or any story depicting mountain men and homesteaders had not heard of a permanent storage cache or understood a description of same.

            But then, once I had given it some thought I realized that there are very few such structures described in either fiction or non-fiction. Any pictures of such that I now hold in my imagination are not from description but from an actual, perhaps a half dozen actual structures.

            Without a method of storing supplies in the bush and particularly in mountainous country those supplies will not last long. Wolves, bears, wolverines, lynx, and many other animals eat and enjoy the same items humans eat. If those items are not kept away from wildlife by some method then the human will not have the supplies he thought he had.

            There are several descriptions of temporary caches such as one Lloyd Cushway describes in one of his stories. He has several collections of short stories, “Trail Smoke” being one but I think this particular story appears in “Upwind of the Fire.”

            Lloyd and a partner had heard of a mineral find in the upper reaches of the Cameron River in North-East British Columbia. Since they had some experience with the area they decided that they would attempt to stake claims before the “big outfits” (primarily Gulf Minerals) could take it all. They put together supplies for two weeks and flew up near the area. They landed and with each carrying a heavy pack, hiked for an hour to a good camp.

            The partner had to hike back to the plane and fly out to a meeting in Ft. St. John, so they quickly put together a meal consisting primarily of fried bacon and bannock. Before he left the partner helped Lloyd cut and limb a tree creating a pole which was then hauled up into two trees and tied between them in place.

            When the partner had left Lloyd threw a length of rope over the suspended pole. He tied one end of the rope to the extra pack and hauled it high then tied off the other end of the rope to one of the supporting trees. This is a temporary method of creating a cache safe from marauders that has been used by thousands if not millions and several times by Lloyd.

            A week later, having staked several claims in the pouring rain and crossing a rain-swollen river Lloyd discovered that his oft used temporary cache had this time failed. In his hurry he had forgotten to wash his hands after creating lunch and the rope he had used was therefore covered with bacon grease. Perhaps not enough to be noticed by a human but Mr. Black Bear found it very tasty. After chewing on the tasty rope for a while the rope broke and Mr. Bear perhaps became a convert to the Jewish faith for like those who followed Moses he suddenly found himself gifted with manna from heaven; a bag full of all manner of tasty treats.

            When Lloyd returned to his cache there was nothing left to make a meal. What had not been eaten by Mr. Bear had been destroyed.

            The native population of North America had several methods for creating caches but didn’t have the same problem as the solitary mountain man. A village by its very existence serves to keep foraging wildlife at bay although stories of unwelcome visitors during particularly rough periods do exist.

            The lone trapper or the small holding, whether miner, farmer or trapper did not however have sufficient numbers to scare away wolves, bears, coyotes or wild cats. Therefore, if the human in question intends to remain in one place for any length of time it is worth his while to build a permanent cache that can be used year after year and will protect supplies and, in the case of the trapper, the product of his efforts, the pelts.

            Of course there are certain quailifications in almost anything. For example, in the case of Ursus arctos horribilis better known as the Grizzly bear even in early times with few humans in their territory they went (and go) anywhere and eat anything they want to. If your cabin or cache is in an area he or she fequents perhaps a move is in order.

            Permanent caches or storage houses were and are built in the trees as high as fifteen feet. Such a height may not be necessary in summer but may not be enough once there is several feet of snow on the ground. It will appear, should you happen to look up and notice it blending in with the trees, to be a small log cabin tree-house. It will not have any windows and the door will be very strong. On the end where that door is there is a good possibility that the floor will extend beyond the front of the building forming a “porch” to offer a place to load and unload supplies. The roof may be of several materials such as shakes split from local trees, a tarpauline changed every few years or even some material hauled in from “outside”. Access is likely to be via the ladder leaning against the main cabin, but there may be a rope ladder attached to the “porch” or a few cross-pieces attached to one of the supporting trees.

            By the way, Lloyd did make it out to civilization and food. He was exhausted, wet, cold, and tried himself in many ways he should have known to avoid, but he made it to a ranch and then back to town. I see one of his collection of stories on Amazon and others can be found at Bill’s News, 250-782-2933.

            Another one of the places where you can find my novels but you can also click on the book covers to the right or go to Amazon.com/books where you can "look inside the book."