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Tuesday, December 29, 2009 

Homework

I figure that before the year ends that I had better wrap up a few things that have been pushed to the back burner due to either vocation, family, or other drama in the real world apart from my time on the interweb or, simply put; sheer laziness on my part to post what I promised to post.

Earlier this year Dan over at Necessary Roughness assigned me a short list of items to write about that he thought might be interesting; Battlestar Galactica, comic books, living in the Haut south, embroidery, metrology, and image composition.

The only topic I’m gonna pass on is Battlestar Galactica as I’ve written at length a good deal on why this sci-fi show which pays tribute to Mormon myths is a favorite of mine. (This was especially true during the early republican primaries where Mitt Romney, a son of Kobol, was running to be president of the fifty colonies.) Click here for my many, many tongue in cheek BSG/Mormon posts.

So, let’s go down Dan’s list…

Comic books. I started collecting comic books way back in ’75. The overseers of the Cigarville Orphanage (Yes, I’m from a town that used to be called Cigarville and yes I was one of the infamous Cigarville 7 back in ‘82. I’m not certain who even remembers the Cigarville 7 if anyone at all and at the end of the day, I think that’s probably best. Google it if you care, I don’t.) would always give us a quarter to buy a comic book off the old spinner racks at the local drug store back when comics were sold in drug stores and supermarkets. Nowadays comic books are sold through small local distributors or bigger online companies like Mile High Comics (I’ve been a satisfied customer of theirs for over twenty years now) and typically run over three dollars for a single title.

I’ve long said that comic books are something akin to the old Greek myths, which told tales of titan’s struggles with both the gods and evil men. Whether it is demigod delivered to earth in a rocket ship from a doomed planet or a teenager whose inaction causes the death of a beloved uncle and his seeking redemption through wise cracking heroics, it is these epic tales that first attracted me to an art form which married words and panel art. And if you look close enough, there’s always a good bit of theology thrown in as heroes must deal with the struggle with evil. The Daredevil title is particularly good at fleshing out theological themes.

I’ve been collecting comic books since ’75 and currently possess the largest private collection in my state. It’s some kind of disease I’m sure…

Living in the Haut South. I moved to the Haut South over twenty years ago and just fell in love with the culture. My first taste of the south was Texas when I was transferred to Fort Hood from Mainz, Germany. Talk about a culture shock! Growing up in the northeast I wasn’t quite prepared for the more laid back way of doin’things but quickly adjusted. I knew I was gonna be ok when I went to my local Walmart on a lunch break and bought a handgun; something that was nearly impossible up in Cigarville country. As soon as I learned that barbeque was a noun as well as a verb I was officially welcomed by the locals as one of their own, Yep, I found myself a home in Texas.

Wanting to remain in the aviation avionics field I took a job a little bit north of Texas and settled down with my missus. We’ve been living in the Haut South ever since even though I did eventually leave the aviation field (more on that later). The locals are not as welcoming to those from the northeast. The reason for this that Yankees have a nasty habit of leaving their ancestral homes disgusted with their culture, transplanting to my little area, and promptly running for city and town council to show these bunch of hicks how to do things the right way (just like they do in Cigarville). This creates a good bit of animosity with those who think their culture is cultured enough and don’t need no damn Yankee to tell ‘em otherwise. The haut goes both ways ‘round here and is palatable.

Embroidery. I don’t know jack about embroidery. I designed the logo for POTF with the help of my quality manager (this was before I knew how to “photoshop” images) and sent the created image off to be formated into a file that could be read by one of them there fancy embroidery gizmos. The average fee to do this is about a hundred bucks from a reputable embroidery shop and it’s worth every penny if it’s done right.

Metrology. The reason Dan asked me to write about metrology is that he knew that I was a metrologist. I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not one of those guys on tv that yap about the weather. The weather guys are meteorologists. I’m a metrologist which quite a bit different.

Metrology is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as "the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology." Sounds simple doesn’t it? My vocation has me dealing mostly with laboratory instruments that measure mass down to the microgram. Tiny little things those micrograms. Some of the instruments that I service and calibrate have the capability to read the mass of air particles or fingerprints left on an object. The work I do is mostly preventative although lately I am finding myself doing more and more repairs as customer’s budgets for capital expenditure necessitate units are fixed rather than replaced.

Metrology, while precise, isn’t as an exact science as one might imagine. There are, especially in the FDA regulated pharmaceutical industry, complex and therefore expensive calculations to determine the various levels of uncertainty of measurement affecting all levels within the manufacturing process to remain compliant with regulatory bodies. Compliance is expensive and a companies have to weigh (no pun intended) the value of uncertainities of measurement of the laboratory instruments, ingrediants, and even packaging with the effect on the quality of their product. It would be nice to have every laboratory balance weigh perfectly but even if that were possible, the cost of maintaining such a standard would drive the price up of medications to the point where we could no longer afford even an asprin much less those expensive medications we all need to remain healthy.

I’ve been in the metrology field for almost fifteen years now and almost every day is a hoot. I’ve got good customers and I work for a great family owned operation in the Haut South, what more could I ask for?

Anybody have questions?

The next post will be on the final item on Dan’s list; image composition. I’m working on something a little different as far as format is concerned for this one…

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Wow. I haven't made it into one of your posts in a long time. Good to be back!

Lorrie (Aforementioned "Quality Manager")

Apparently nobody remembers the famous "Cigarville 7" - Google gave me nothing. Was it like it's famous cousin, the "Chicago 7?"

that was before Google and I guess not all that well publicized. The "incident" actually occurred at Perdue University and not in Cigarville.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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