Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday The 13th

Part 8,103,502,513

I just realized that it's Friday and the date on the calendar is the 13th.

Don't let it bother you...

I'm not

Itinerary Change

Last Minute Cancellation...


I HATE THE LEGAL PROFESSION.

That said, it doesn't mean that I hate everyone that's a lawyer so don't start e-mailing me complaining about that statement.

It's just that after having the experience of working in the field of Forensic Engineering over the past six years I've received a first hand education into how little the truth matters in lawsuits which involve highly technical issues.

It's not about actually finding the reason something failed and injured or killed someone or damaged property and productivity...

It's all about timing and "discovery" and out-waiting your opponents as the legal fees rise and the months on the calendar pass you by.

The sad thing is that memories fade and evidence degrades or disappears in the process, and opportunities are lost as a result.

Take my current investigation--a pressure vessel explosion at a food processing plant here in Eastern Tennessee.

A man was severely burned in the event.

I have been planning for five weeks to attend a test session of a special control valve arranged by the court.

The event was to occur at 10 AM this morning, and since the testing site was over an hour away on the other side of "Knoxtown" from our home I was taking Pat and Missy the Turbo Pup with me on a two night road trip to attend the test and explore the nearby town of Rogersville, TN (looking for relatives.)

Having completed working my latest 4-10 schedule at 5 PM yesterday, we had just finished loading the car with our luggage and Missy the Turbo Pup's Lockers & Sea Chests when I checked my cellphone messages and I found that one of the attorney's had called after five PM and announced that the testing had been postponed.

The reason?

The stupid valve manufacturer had decided that they objected to the testing protocol and had produced their own protocol to be used at a later date sometime in July.

A hurried telephone call to the Holiday Inn Express ensued at 5:40 PM and the mandatory purchase of an un-needed motel room was averted (if we had waited to 6 PM we would have owned the room for the night regardless of our needs.)

Taking a big breath...

What I want to know is, WHERE THE HECK WAS THIS OBJECTION A WEEK OR A MONTH AGO?

WHY WAIT UNTIL NEARLY QUITTING TIME THE DAY BEFORE THE TEST TO OBJECT AND CANCEL?

Could it be because unlike me--a virtual local expert--there are a number of expensive people out there that had already gotten on airplanes or into their automobiles and spent the time and energy necessary to attend the event?

Could it be that if you make things difficult enough you could influence the outcome of the discovery process through attrition?

After all, people do have other things to do than wait for a phone call from a lawyer.

Instead of appearing smart, I think that most of the time lawyers appear insensitive, juvenile, asinine, and some times just plain STUPID.

And, based on my experience, if you think that anything close to JUSTICE takes place in the courtroom when it comes to product liability lawsuits, I have some ocean front property here in Knoxtown I'll sell you...

CHEAP

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I've Been Unfaithful

A New Blog Has My Attention...


Sorry for the light posting the past couple of days, but the effects of 10 hour work days and the demands of my home improvement projects, not to mention the two to four hours spent in the wee hours of each morning finishing up the Certified Construction drawings for the Mississippi stack project just haven't allowed time for much of anything else except sleep.

I did manage to put together the new Knoxville Tenn CANstruction Blog template in about an hour on Tuesday night after Pat and I had lunch with the President of the Eastern Tennessee chapter of the American Institute of Architects regarding restarting the CANstruction effort here in Knoxville after a four year absence.

We're hoping for fifteen teams to put together structures in late October and be able to raise about $25,000 worth of food and cash as a result of our efforts.

Time will tell...I guess.

Time to go back to the AutoCAD drawings now...y'all have a good day.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stop Complaining and Get To Work

That's My Solution


I'm going to be brief this morning, because I think I can make my point in less than 250 words.

My neighbors just recently returned from a golfing vacation in Scotland.

One of the most interesting things they told me about their trip wasn't something about things like the deep vertical walled sand traps on the "Old Course" at St. Andrews.

No...it was that gas in Scotland costs FIFTEEN US DOLLARS per gallon.

I've been meaning to do a little snooping around and I found this page on the Department of Energy Website showing that we've got it easy here in the good old US of A when it comes to filling up our auto gas tanks.

Europe is quite a different story.

Belgium?

$9.20 a gallon

France?

$8.80

Britain?

$8.74

Catch my drift?

Why don't you ever see any of this stuff in the hand wringing news stories showing some Redneck pumping $10 worth into their Mustang after buying a carton of cigarettes, a case of Natural Light beer, and five scratch off lottery tickets?

Could it be that the idiot "professional journalists" want you to believe that you're alone in your misery?

(que the sound of crickets chirping...)

Get a grip, get a life, and get back to work.

That will be all...for now...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Bird Snake In Hand...

What About TWO Snakes In One Day???


Yesterday was our first official "Yard Day" here at the new homestead in the "Knoxtown" section of Eastern Tennessee.

Being the obstinate SOB that I am, I was intent on standing up all day and sweating my ass off in whatever heat Mother Nature threw at me, but just to be sure I got started by 8 AM and I hired a crew of guys to handle the real heavy lifting.

As I doddered around in the back yard working on my picket fence project surrounding Missy the Turbo Pup's new Country Compound and Resort Hound Spa (hereafter referred to as the CCRHS), I had major chainsaw work going on in the front yard removing a Forest of overgrown shrubbery and two medium evergreen trees that had outlived their positions in the landscape.

About an hour into the morning's ceremony yard guy #2 (also known as "Mr. Leaf Blower Man") reported that we had (A) a Mockingbird's nest full of baby birds in the aforementioned overgrown shrubbery and (B) a large rat snake chasing said birds in same.

After a little program plan adjustment and screwing around, the Baby Mockingbird's nest was salvaged and Mr. Rat Snake--a four foot long specimen--shown here, was captured and relocated to the back yard (is that Mr. Leafblower Man or some just some Construction Hippy that showed up in my yard?):



As the sun rose in the sky and the heat index climbed past 100 degrees F, I switched into my middle aged yard wimp mode and came inside to shower and make a trip to the grocery store in anticipation of our weekly upcoming Pizza night extravaganza.

By Three PM my hired yard crew had cut and hauled away two thirty foot trees and a bunch of overgrown shrubbery and departed the scene, and while preparing for the late afternoon phase of the day's work I found yet another smaller Rat Snake moseying across the back lawn toward the house:



As you can see, I captured the little booger and returned him/her to the tree line behind the house. What blew my mind was that not thirty minutes later I had to capture the Son of Gun AGAIN within ten feet of his first known position.

I don't mind snakes of the non-poisonous variety, but I also hope that we've seen most if not all of our scaly slithering friends already this weekend and that I don't spend my time chasing snakes through the balance of the summer.