>I’m a Union Man. This Week, Anyway.

>Tuesday morning I flew out of Missoula en route to St. Louis for the second time this year. Union, MO, is a town about an hour SW of St. Louis. It’s just one of those little towns like a zillion others in America that seem, at first glance, to have few redeeming qualities. Here are a couple shots from the flight out:

After the lushness of Portland over the weekend it makes the landscape here that much more dull. That, and when I hear “Union” I don’t think of labor unions first, or even the North during the Civil War. I think of the terrible post-KISS band that Bruce Kulick had. I love Bruce, love his guitar playing, but I thought that band was awful. To make matters worse, there is a state park with a lot of hiking trails nearby, but unfortunately it is closed right now due to flooding. As you can see outside my suite at the Super 8, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot going on here:

I did find a gym downtown though and got a workout in this afternoon/evening, after a day of pulling my hair out. Most trips go fairly smooth, but this is one seems to have more than its share of little snags I’ve had to wade through. Here is a picture of its dungeon-like server room:

Looks like a good place for a murder to happen, doesn’t it?

Speaking of workplace murders. I used to be the buyer at a company that makes salad dressings and shit like that. In fact, they actually have a website now. Anyway, we made a lot of relish (because we also made a shitload of tartar sauce). Raw pickles would be trucked down in big totes from Farman’s Pickles in Enumclaw, WA. They would be bailed out by hand into the big hoppers up on the mixing platform, combined with sugar and whatever shit goes into relish, and pumped out into these two big tanks in the tank farm outside. When I say big, I mean BIG. There were two of them, probably about 30′ high, 8′ diameter cylinders. That is a LOT of relish. I had to climb up there to measure how much we had. I’d stick a tape measure down inside to see how many inches from the surface the relish was, then compare that to a chart to determine how many thousands of pounds were left. When it got to a certain level, I’d let production know they needed to plan to make more relish and we’d start the process to get everything in and make more of it.

So what does this have to do with workplace murder? Besides the deaths I wished on a number of coworkers there, I always thought that if I needed to stash a body somewhere, I’d drag it up on top of one of those relish tanks and dump it in. The acid in there would surely reduce it to soylent green eventually, and who would look there? The tanks never got completely empty, and no one ever looked in there, so it would be perfect!

All is not well in pickle country, however. This Seattle PI piece bums me out.

Tomorrow I am going to try and get a couple shots of the place I am working at this week. They make play furniture and stuff like that for kids. You know the miniature little easy chairs and stuff that is essentially just colored vinyl over foam, and those little soft play areas, like at the mall, for kids to crawl all over, puke and defecate on? They make that kind of thing. It is really weird to me, because it just seems like . . . junk. I don’t know. Everyone needs to make a buck I guess. The smell from the materials they use — that new shower curtain, quasi-paint smell — gave me a headache about 45 minutes in. That’s got to be a healthy workplace to spend a couple decades in.


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