Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big machines: Drill

If somebody asks what my job is it doesn't sound all that interesting. I'm a cleaner.

What sort of image does that immediately bring to mind? A backpack vacuum with miles of orange power cord following behind like a lifeline? A trolley with half a dozen different spay bottles filled with various colours of merrily swinging off the side as I push it along? Me lazily pushing one of those scissor brooms with the fluffy shag pile rug pads on them across a big polished floor?

Well, none of the above.

I clean machines in coal mines. Here's a little one.

It's a drill. One of the easiest jobs in the list of things I've done so far in this work. What the hell does a drill do anyway? Here's one at work.

They make the holes for the blasting I posted pictures of recently. They track along, leaving little anthills where they've been and big shafts in the ground in a big pattern. An explosives truck comes along filling each shaft with fertiliser and at some point they blow the entire lot sky high. It's a dodgey quality snapshot, I know, but to the left a little and up you can just make out the trucks following this one around filling up the holes.

So where do the cleaners come into all this? Usually about 2am we set up a truck with high pressure water cleaning guns on it and two workers spend the next six hours blasting all the mud, coal dust, oil and grease out of existence with hot water and pulsing rotary nozzles. We climb all over the thing trying to work our way through a mess of hoses that are set solid in mud, clearing all the crap as we go and usually wearing a fair portion of it all in the process. Even though we wear two disposable chemical suits over the top of each other the water from the blasting will inevitably soak through them leaving us saturated.

Pressure guns are great for me. I get frustrated easily with grot that won't budge, so it's particularly satisfying to stand there with a few thousand pounds of pressure in my hands, take aim and fire, while thinking DIE FUCKER!!!

The work is grotty, the pay is crap, and the bosses are idiots. But hell am I seeing some things I would never have dreamed!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mailbox Monday

The main highway in the state snakes along the coast, where most of the population choose to reside. Over the years it's been upgraded in order to bypass every possible place of interest to stop at. Not only that, it's been split apart into two seperate roads for each direction of traffic. That's a brilliant idea for avoiding being ploughed into by the bastard travelling in the other direction who's fallen asleep from the boredom because without landmarks to keep you interested it all looks the same. However, when you have an avid mailbox hunter such as myself hurtling along at possibly more than a touch over the speed limit the dual carriageway is the most impractical invention ever devised.

A few kilometres down the road to an emergency vehicle only turning bay. A few more kilometres back in the opposite direction, beyond my target and to the next illegal turning bay. All for a shot of a surfboard turned mailbox.

Was it worth it? Fuck yeah!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

PhotoHunt: View

The views I like the best are the ones without platforms. Without man-made zones and protections so that tour buses can pull up and dump hundreds of camera-clad tourists and have their arses protected from possible lawsuits when some fat middle-aged lard stumbles on a rock and holy shit! has an encounter with nature.

I like to feel like an explorer. I like to feel that I own the experience I have with nature, not that I'm sharing it with hundreds of lardassed pretenders who are really only waiting for the next McDonalds atrocity to roll on by. I like to stand on the edge, with no platform as a barrier between me and the experience, and feel part of the danger, the raw, the wildness of it all.

The person in this picture is EspressoHead, who is shortly going to abdicate to the mossier pastures offered in Ireland. Remember these places, dude. They're all part of who you are.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hell yeah!

I'm back, finally.

Before we moved I had a crappy internet connection, not much space, mental health issues and neighbours who would drive even the most tolerant of people toward thoughts of chainsaw massacre.

Now, I have a seperate flat of my own with space enough for a studio. Here I can practise without the fear of putting anybody off classical guitar forever. I have access to a wetland reserve virtually outside the back gate and the only neighbour I've had a chat with so far has cows and has lived here all his life. I moved to Planet Newy to enjoy the benefits of a city, but struggled with immersing myself in it considering I've come from a town that has two traffic lights and four escalators. Where we are now living feels like a compromise between city and country life, and I'm so much happier this way.

So where the hell do I start? Mailboxes? Some of the bizarre conversation I have at work? How about home science experiments? Half-Nekkid Thursday really needs to come back also.

I'm back and it feels good.

If I do not blog daily the entire world has permission to kick my arse.