Monday, January 24, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy. Jam-Up!

by Louis Bertrand Shalako


All Rights Reserved

When I worked at Fibreglas Canada back about 1977, there was a platform up above and in between the baggers on S-3 and S-4, which were production lines for pink batt insulation.

"Jam up!"

When you heard guys shouting that, you were sort of galvanized into action, spinning around and then pelting up the steps; unless you were actually on a machine. In which case you had problems of your own. The line would be chucking batts all over the place.

Cut lengthwise by roller knives and cut transversely by pneumatic choppers, the line moved along at a pretty good clip, from the ovens where the continuous blanket was cooked, to the line up of automatic baggers where the fibreglass batts were packaged.

All of the scrap after a jam up went into the pile beside a manual bagger. Anything unsalvageable went to the nodulator.

The first time I ever heard the thing, I thought, 'Soylent Green is people.'

A nodulator is a drum (and some fixed knives) with a lot of spikes sticking out of it, rotating at high speed. The sound of that thing chewing into a big blanket, or a load of acoustic ceiling tiles, was memorable.

More than one guy died or lost a limb in that thing.


I had a jam up last night. I don't know, some kind of information overload.

My brain took in a big chunk of data. Like a six-inch thick wet blanket of white wool, undercooked and half raw...a big long one, and it must have dragged some other stuff in with it. Step back quick if that happens. Don't stand on the scrap!

It doesn't pay to get too tired, and I have been going great guns. The brain can only integrate what it has learned so fast. While the overview may be fine, details and operations may still be fuzzy, or even unlearned. Short-term memory requires repetition, (and successful repetition,) in order to integrate into long-term memory.

Only then, in my opinion, does the brain really know what it is doing. It has 'learned' it.


Today I cooked dinner, did my dad's laundry, took him to the grocery store, went out and put some big envelopes on my credit card. I bought smokes and a coffee.

I printed out a 41-page crime story, wrote 'nano-brief' cover letters, made up SASE's and envelopes, and all that sort of thing. They go out Monday when I get my entitlement.

Oh, yeah! A blog entry. It looks like 'Paranoid Cat' went through into Google Books quite quickly, and yet two other books, entered previously, are still processing. Then, in the evening, some kind of tech issues with the site. I can't get in to check, but they are building or prepping for Google E-Books Canada, or whatever. (I suspect.)

In between times, I work on my ODSP books. And then I need to do the income tax and figure out my next 'life decision.' (Huh.)

What with helping dad on with his pants, and his socks, and just trying to keep on top of things generally, I wonder what it is that I am missing now...or next!

Remind me to call the optometrist. My eyes are going.

Theoretically, I need to write some new material.

Other than that, not much happening.

Notes: I wrote down three or four things to do tomorrow.

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