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Musings and Memoires of the Minstrel

Jul. 17th, 2005 05:20 pm Oxegen in two photos



Current Music: The Magic Numbers - Forever Lost

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Jul. 14th, 2005 05:33 pm I'm getting the hang of this

I now have this work thing down to a tee.

I was supposed to be at a meeting from 10 to 11 but thought it was 11 to 12 so had me some breakfast 10 - 10:15 instead of going to it. When I got back to my desk, my scheduler said I was 18 minutes overdue for the meeting. Oh crap, I'm gonna be killed when I get there! So I ran as quickly as I could to the room the meeting was to be held in and found it to contain a small group of people I don't know, and none of those from my meeting. Apparently the room was double booked and the people in the room then had no idea where my crowd was. So I casually walked back to my own area, deciding that the change of venue was enough of an excuse not to show up. As I was about to walk into the clean room, I noticed the guy who was holding my meeting just entering the gowning area. So before he could utter a word, I gave him an angry look and shouted "Where the FUCK were you???"

He apologised to me for not passing on the information and filled me in on everything I missed.

I walked away laughing my ass off. But he doesn't know that. Because its his fault I had breakfast instead of a meeting ;-)

Confidence will get you anywhere.

Current Mood: mischievousmischievous
Current Music: Me laughing my ass off

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Jul. 14th, 2005 07:15 am Oxegen photos

For a bunch of crappy photos like the blurry one below, and a whole host of pictures of my converse getting progressively dirtier, check out my Webshots Oxegen gallery.

Hmm, there weren't that many opportunities to take pics after all. Can't whip it out... eh, I mean the camera... in the mosh pit.

Current Music: The shower running

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Jul. 11th, 2005 09:48 pm The Oxegen Awards

Rather than write a huge piece of rubbish about the Oxegen Music Festival that could be ignored by everybody, I have decided to post my thoughts on it in the form of awards, that could also be ignored by everybody. But it may be slightly more entertaining. Anyway, I had a great time, saw some great stuff and some rubbish and here's the lowdown:

Song of the Festival:
The Magic Numbers - Forever Lost

Quote of the Festival:
Dave Grohl: "Get off my fucking stage!!!"

The Queens of the Stone Age award for being Queens of the Stone Age:
Queens of the Stone Age

The Specsavers award for spotting me in the crowd twice:
Josh Homme

Coolest band of the Festival:
Alabama Three, who performed the theme from the Sopranos, Woke Up This Morning

Solo/Improv of the Festival:
QOTSA - No One Knows

T-Shirt of the Festival:
The Schfifty Five T-Shirt

The Jack Black award for epitomising rock spirit:
Mick Pyro, singer with Republic of Loose

The Stereophonics memorial award for dull tour-ending headliner:
Foo Fighters

The Franz Ferdinand award for being so complacent as to put no life into their music:
The Killers

Most Hyped while still being utter crap band of the Festival:

The Sonic Youth award for ignoring musical theory in favour of feedback and noise:
The Longcut

The Too Popular To Have Enough Room for Me in the Tent Award:
James Brown

Slowest Bus Journey in the History of Festivals:
3 hours to travel the three miles from the festival to the far side of Naas

The What Are We Doing On The Main Stage award:
The Frames

Game of the Festival:
Rating passers by on how many beers are required to do them
(Quotes from this... "4!", "12!", "6 for you, 8 for your friend, 3 for the pair", "Agh! Keg!!!", "Woah, a non-blonde one!", "Yeah, you think you're a two, but you're not, you're a six", "4 blue WKDs and a Smirnoff Ice! (young lady in schoolgirl skirt and fishnets)")

Insight of the Festival:
Kevin: "We're giving all these scores but if any of them with a score under eight asked us straight out we wouldn't say no, would we?"

Lifesaver of the Festival:
The six pints of orange juice I bought on Sunday morning

Festival of the Festival:
Oxegen 2005

Well, I'm too tired to continue, maybe I'll post more later, maybe a real post, maybe nothing, we shall see. Bed time has finally arrived.

Current Music: Ringing in my ears

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Jun. 27th, 2005 10:37 pm Monday mornings

The following is a copy and paste from an email I sent to Kieran this morning:

How're things this fine Monday morning? Aren't you delighted to be out
of that annoying sun back back into work?

Here's my morning to date (and its only 9am):
Woke up at 7:20, snooze alarm at 7:30, got up a few minutes later.
Shower, clothes, breakfast, etc. Was wide awake and ready for work by
8:05 (usually leave at 8:20). So I lounge around feeling good about
being up in good time and all that and I leave at the usual time. I'm
even gonna be five minutes early.

I'm as far as the BSC gate when I realise I left my notebook and pen
back at the apartment. Oh dear. I consider going into work without it
but I really couldn't work without it, everything's in there. Maybe I
could sign in and then go back for it, it's only 10 minutes' walk - but
I need to get a few hours off tomorrow for an orthodontic appt and get 2
days off for Oxegen soon enough so I can't rub them the wrong way now!

So I turn around and start walking . Then I pick up pace and start
- maybe I could only be two or three minutes late if I hurry! By the
time I get to the appt complex I'm sprinting up the steps towards my
block. I jam my keycard into the machine and grab the door handle and...
it won't open!!! I try a few times but the machine keeps showing me the
red light and no matter how hard I pull, the door isn't gonna open
without the key. I run down to reception and see an oldish guy at the
open door. I explain the situation to him in a rushed, breathed,
panicked manner and he calmly tells me that he can't change my card but
if I wait a few minutes someone who could would be down.
"No, no, I'm late for work!"
"We'll just replace the key for you when the manager comes down."
"I just need to get a notebook from my room, I can get my own key
"Well, I do have the master key..."
"Why didn't you tell me that you..."
No, I didn't say the last line. I take his master key and sprint up the
steps again. Its 8:29. Into the appt, grab the notebook, half-fall down
the stairs, down to reception, return key. The man who can change the
key is there and very calmly (for "calmly", read "slooooowly") boots up
the computer and updates the card. I grab it for him, shout "thanks" and
run out the door, out of the complex and across the road.

Sense finally strikes me and I realise that if I'm a minute late I may
as well be 10 or 15 minutes late so I walk the rest of the way.

I clock in at 8:39. My heart is still racing and my breath short as I
walk to my workstation. Neither of my supervisors are at their desks. I
sit down, take a breath and decide that, for a few minutes at least,
work can wait.

How was your morning?

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Jun. 21st, 2005 08:15 pm Happy Birthday Amanda!

Happy Birthday to Amanda!!!

We expect a few hundred times more scandal than she ever created in Ireland during the celebrations :-)

Would love to be at said celebrations... not just for the scandal either!

Current Music: Happy Birthday

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Jun. 21st, 2005 08:10 pm Crisitunity

I was at a meeting this morning, the purpose of which was to implement some changes to a line that would make it more efficient.

One of the people there, the quality engineer (QE) had some paperwork with the decisions made at the last meeting, which took place before I started. This paperwork listed everything that needed to be done in the area. The team leader and QE basically read out the things to be done on that list, one by one, and we had a look at the line to see, physically, what exactly these entailed. The QE made a list on paper of these things and at the end talked about meeting up again to check progress and set dates for completion of these projects. In other words, the meeting involved reading the results of the previous meeting, then transcribing them to another piece of paper, with some small changes, and arranging for the same meeting to happen in a while. So myself and the guy I'm working with, a qualified mech eng, started asking if some of these tasks could be done right there and then. The QE was sort of taken aback, much preferring to stick to the old method of "make list, revise list, do nothing about list, create deadline, ignore deadline, make list, organise meeting, blah, blah, blah".

The guy I'm working with asked if there was a drill around - there was - and fixed an SOP holder to the desk. That's one thing off the list. I asked if a possible solution to a problem with mandrel holders was to drill further slots along their centre lines - this was agreed... and put on the list, while the "design" part of that job was knocked off! I asked if it would make more sense for me to just take them to the workshop, then and there, and get the job done. "Yeah, fine sort that out yourself so". Cross off all of "design new mandrel holders", "check with machine makers for time to manufacture them" and "put in workshop request for new holders", "deal with red tape", "wait in endless queues" and "get fobbed off for weeks by toolmakers". This all because I went off with a drill for a short while, made a few holes and came back. Yet the QE just put this, and a myriad of other tasks, on a list that was destined to be ignored until the next meeting, when the problems can be solved instantly. Design was done in my head while talking about it, there was no need to talk to the boys in the workshop as it was a simple job and there was no point adding to their workload and waiting for the request to get to the top of their queue (thereby also adding to the length of the queue for others) as it didn't need specialised machinery or tight tolerances. There were a few different problems like that, which had similarly simple solutions.

Its incredibly frustrating to work in this environment where people just continually put things off and lengthen deadlines, for no real reason. However you can only make the most of it and I think that by actually doing some of these things, and having a few different engineers and a team leader see tangible results, hopefully they will take note and it will work well for me in the long run. I always went in there intending to prove myself when I got the opportunity - I think that's now so this is my chance :-)

Current Music: Mission: Impossible theme :-)

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Jun. 19th, 2005 01:18 am Coop Log (yes, this is a once-off!)

To demonstrate that Coop students are not just sent to companies to photocopy documents and make coffee for their supervisors, here is the log account of my first week working in the Engineering Dept of Boston Scientific Cork (the 1st week was a general company induction). If you think this is probably going to be boring then don't read it and then complain to me afterwards, I'm warning you here its not in any way interesting! I checked with Amanda as to whether or not to post it and she said to do so and send the detractors to her. So there!

Week 2
Mon 13/06/05
- Met supervisor Mick Prenderville, Manufacturing Engineer
- Shown to Clean Room CE4a
- Processes in GDC Matrix Cells and Matrix Fusion line were demonstrated
- Observed GDC Matrix Cell 1 processes
- Undertook Environmental Health & Safety training module
- Observed GDC Matrix Cell 1 processes again

Tue 14/06/05
- Was shown problem with carry cases for GDC Matrix Station 2 (gluing) and solution was recommended
- Applied the recommended solution by filing part of the carry cases in the machine/tool shop
- Identified further problems with carry cases in discussion with line operator
- Solved these new problems in the machine/tool shop - stronger springs, further filing
- Suggested design project related to carry case problems to supervisor

Wed 15/06/05
- Monitored GDC Matrix Cell 1
- Undertook introductory course in Product Data Management (PDM) software
- Explored the company intranet
- Introduced self to Autodesk AutoCAD software
- Redesigned rough drawing from operator for wire transport case to be manufactured at later date

Thu 16/06/05
- Studied/recorded process steps at stations in GDC Matrix Cell 1
- Timed process steps for GDC Matrix Cell 1 Pre-station
- Timed process steps for GDC Matrix Cell 1 Station 2 (gluing)
- Undertook 5S training module
- Took part in quality hour exercise on problems that new product builders experience
- Fixed clamps on GDC Matrix Pre-Station clamping machine in tool/machine shop
- Cut dowel for GDC Matrix Thread 3 Station equipment in tool/machine shop

Fri 17/06/05
- Installed stronger springs on GDC Matrix Pre-Station clamping machine in tool/machine shop
- Fixed clamp on GDC Matrix Thread 3 Station in tool/machine shop using rubber O-Ring material
- Prepared samples of exposed suture for worst case scenario tensile testing in laboratory
- Undertook Material Review Request (MRR) training/workshop
- Was given tour of GDC main coil work area and shown functions of its work stations
- Meeting re: changing GDC material handling protocol to centralised issuing system to improve line clearance

Current Music: I'm not allowed my MP3 player in the clean room :-/

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Jun. 19th, 2005 12:25 am Coop: The Beginning

So its been two weeks since I first stepped through the door of Boston Scientific Cork. I know I said I'd update this after the first day there but... agh, I don't have to explain myself to you! Here's the lowdown:

I really like the place so far. People there seem to enjoy their work and there is a sense of pride amongst the workforce in the company - although this does depend on your position within the company, as the product builders do not fit into this category. Its strange coming into a company somewhere in the middle of the corporate structure - I'm used to being at the bottom of the pile! For example I've got the freedom to choose when to start and finish work (as long as I do at least 39 hours) and, even though we don't clock out for lunch (so that it could be deducted from wages) I can take my breaks whenever I want, and for whatever duration I deem necessary. That contrasts sharply with the product builders who I've seen get in trouble for being two minutes late returning from lunch, even if there is no work to do, as happened at one stage this week due to a shortage of raw material. It's easy to see how contempt can grow in the people lower in the chain towards people higher up - the team leader in the area I've been working in (the one who gives out!) is not a popular person among her product builders.

But, whatever about them, I love the freedom! Its not as if its an invitation to abuse it: I still take very short breaks anyway. And as we're on the subject of breaks, the canteen is company subsidised and is crazily cheap. Breakfast costs me €1.65 and many of the dinners are €1.56 - and it is good food too! (Note to lord_flash: I guess this is where the difference in wages is made up... imagine the havoc you'd wreak in here!)

I don't have a supervisor breathing down my neck all the time, which is great as that would be very creepy. In general, I'm given something to do, then I go away and do it by myself and return when I decide that its done; be that in a few minutes, or later in the day after self-imposed breaks, or a day later. It seems your experience of Coop depends hugely on who your supervisor is. Julie, another ULian who started at the same time has a guy who she just follows around all day, and doesn't really give her much to do herself. I'm living with a guy who's been here 10 weeks and is still in that situation. Others have the opposite experience, getting to take over entire projects by themselves and generally doing exactly the same work as the qualified engineers, which is what I'd hope to do in my time here.

I'm not a fan of the first supervisor I got - he seems to have a cowboy attitude to engineering that I really don't like and he's given me some pretty stupid tasks. But I'll be reporting to three people in total, another of whom I met yesterday, and who seems to be a much better supervisor. He was better at explaining the workings of the lines, more open to suggestion and generally friendlier than the first. Hopefully I'll be working with him on more projects than the first guy. I don't know anything about the third as he's on holiday at the moment, but I think he's going to be my main supervisor. Its all change, all the time, it would seem. But I like that, its more interesting to work at different things than be stuck at the same task or in the same area. A change is as good as a rest.

The accommodation is ok. In general its pretty comfortable but there are a few things I don't like about it. Firstly, the design is very anti-social. All doors in the apartment have spring returns so you can't leave the bedroom doors open for people to wander in and out, á la Plassey. Also, mail is not delivered to each apartment - all mail is kept at reception. But I work during their office hours except on a Friday so the only time in a week that I can check my mail is on a Friday afternoon, which is very awkward. The apartments are all for three people, so there isn't much opportunity to get to know people - which is important as I know nobody in this city right now and my friends from home are gone to the US for the summer. I live with two people, and they both go home at weekends - what am I to do, go to the pub alone? And, as you've probably guessed, my heart is in NY right now, so I'm having to deal with getting used to that too. Going from 24/7 contact to zero overnight is very, very difficult. So that kinda sucks but hopefully it'll change soon. The Coop students here usually go out together on Thursdays, but, due to overtime on Fridays for the last few weeks, they haven't gone out in a while. Hopefully that'll change soon and I'll get to know some of them outside of work. Or at the least it'll open some avenues for meeting other people too.

So that's whats going on with me right now. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out over the next week and beyond. I'll try to remember to update this if there's any change in work, home or general outlook any time soon. Just don't hold me to that!

Current Music: Hootie & the Blowfish - I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love...

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Jun. 17th, 2005 09:38 pm Favourite Songs of the Moment

I have been "tagged" by
pinkrainboots84 </span></span>

  1. Weezer - Keep Fishin'
  2. Pixies - Monkey Gone To Heaven
  3. Rory Gallagher - Calling Card (BBC Sessions: In Concert)
  4. Blue Swede - Hooked On A Feeling
  5. Hootie and the Blowfish - Closing Time (I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You)
  6. Katie and Neil - California
and I nominate...
  1. scabbyleg
  2. lord_flash
  3. psycomezzma
  4. emerthescreamer
  5. chopincm
  6. jinii_chan

Current Music: All of the ones listed in this post obviously

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