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Terreson Profile
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Kat, I remember that about McVeigh too. (Thanks for the correction.) When he learned there was a day care center on the ground floor of the building, and that all children were killed, he got quiet for a moment. Then he shrugged it off, calling it "collateral damage." Collateral damage.

But why should I be appalled at such a shrug coming from a sociopath when governments, soldiers, generals, rebels, and so-called freedom fighters view children, women, and whole civilian populations similarly?

McVeigh has become my gold standard. To kill little children in the fervor of your belief or policy, that is where I part company with policy, tactics, theory.

Tere
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


But why should I be appalled at such a shrug coming from a sociopath when governments, soldiers, generals, rebels, and so-called freedom fighters view children, women, and whole civilian populations similarly?

Tere,

McVeigh claimed that at Waco the government changed the rules of engagement and that his actions were defensive ones and essentially a counterattack:

MCVEIGH: The rules of engagement, if not written down, are defined by the actions of an aggressor. OK? Now, what rules of engagement would you interpret in examining Waco? Kids are fair game? Women are fair game?

~

MCVEIGH: With Oklahoma City being a counterattack, I was only fighting by the rules of engagement that were introduced by the aggressor.

Waco started this war. Hopefully Oklahoma would end it.


To read the complete transcript of the MSNBC documentary, go here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36665062/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/

Apr/23/2010, 10:49 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Kat, I can agree with the sicko on one point. Waco did start the war as he calls it. Only, first shots came from inside. But there is no reasoning with these people. The world view of all fanatics is too perfectly fitted together to allow of dialogue.

Tere
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


My apologies for dragging out this chronicle called jobbing. The work weeks have been brutal. Two days ago, updating my records, and with the picture image on paper, I saw I have more colonies and queens than ever before. Tendance is constant, from installing new queens and giving new colonies TLC, to seeing to established colonies experiencing swarming pressure. Next week the work load gets rachetted up with 100 more queens to install in yards a couple of hours away from home. Anyway, I am determined to make this report on jobbing.

Gypsy Moth season, 1995. During the '94 season an Asian Gypsy Moth had been trapped just north of the Canadian border in a town called Langley. It would not be a Canadian affair only, since, the Asian female variety has a flight capability of up to 20 miles. And so a point got drawn on a map indicating the catch sight. For a radius of 20 miles traps would be set at 4 traps to the mile. Because I was living in Whatcom Co., up against the border, I was given the job of team leader, allowed a team of 5 trappers, and told to make it happen.

I had to start from scrath that year and I was made to understand I would be on my own in terms of administration, logistics, and strategy. I also realized something big that year. I realized the entomologists down in Olympia, the Program Entomologist included, were lousy when it came to preparing a most essential tool: adequate maps reflecting physical reality. One night I happened to check the map I had initially been given showing the area delimited for trapping. I discovered it was inaccurate, that a 20 mile radius was much larger than the map showed. From that year on I took full responsibility for all mapping and the delimiting of areas to be trapped for all of my people. I procured the maps, drew the boundaries a trapper would have, calculated how many traps each area would get. I got good at making the projections, damn good actually, with a very small margin of error.

As I say I had to start from scratch, pretty much inventing a wheel that year. Because the response involved an Asian moth the Feds (Aphis) were involved. This meant I had money to spend. My trappers would get the best of everything, including new and dependable rental vehicles. The Motor Pool car I drove was maybe 10 years old, not so dependable.

By starting out from scratch I mean I had to interview, hire, and train 4 people, with one returning trainer I had supervised 2 years previously, and pretty much off the street and out of the unemployment office. In the end this was a good thing as they got trained in my way. In the beginning it was rough and time consuming. So much detail. So many steps involved. And the really big thing: getting people to look at a map, project routes and traplines, then learn to deploy the traps in such a way they can be efficiently monitored. But actually, you can't really teach the skill. A person either has a capacity for it or doesn't. All but one of my trappers would demonstrate they had it. The trapper who didn't was a bit of a prickly person with some sort of grudge against men I think. Or maybe it was fear. I remember how uncomfortable she was when, as a part of my job, I would periodically ride with her to monitor her work. (She actually had me sit in the back seat.) So I let her go her way, let her set her traps according to her own method, telling her I didn't think it would work but go for it. Just before the deadline for having traps set I and the rest of the team, all of whom had finshed earlier than scheduled, covered what remained of her area, which was substantial.

All 5 trappers were women. They had clearly struck me as the most qualified of the 20 or so people I had interviewed. Qualified and hungry for work. In age they ranged from their early sixties to their early twenties. I am reluctant to say it was the best team I ever supervised, since, as of the next year I would be supervising teams of trappers, many of which stand out in memory. But by God it was a good team of hard working individuals who could think on their feet and work far from home, some in the mountains and farmlands, with self-confidence. No fear. Always showing initiative. Sometimes having to travel 2 hours just to get back home. And working by themselves on the roadside. I was always in the field with them. But, hell, when something happened it could take me hours to get to them. The area we covered extended from Puget Sound to Mt Baker about 50 miles east of the Sound. One trapper's car broked down. Another trapper was approached under a bridge by a man with a knife. These were the early days of cell phones. Mine was the kind in a big black bag. But trappers were not issued cell phones, only calling cards. And in the foothills of the Cascades there can be miles between landlines.

I kept in daily contact with each of them. At the end of the day they would call in once they were home. This way I knew they were safe. I also and daily knew their progress and approximately where they would be the next day. The system worked. We made it through the season without mishap AND we covered the area we had been assigned. Later, the Program Entomologist said he hadn't expected it. And we damn near didn't. I realized about a week before the deadline the failing trapper would not cover her area. As each of the other four finished their area I had them set traps in the one trapper's area. But I knew this wouldn't be enough either. So I pitched in. (This would earn me more enemies down in Olympia when the Program Entomologist pointed it out to other team leaders in a staff meeting by way of example.) On a personal note I lost what had once been a writing hand capable of feminine flourish. Data sheets had to be filled out in triplicate the old carbon copy way. The pressure needed to fill out how ever many hundred of sheets I made for however many hundreds of traps I set pretty much destroyed my hand. Since then after ten minutes of writing my hand feels like a claw, gets clinched and aches. Prose I don't mind typing to a screen. But poetry I insist gets made by way of hand to pencil to paper connection. And it hurts. (When you think about it maybe making poetry should hurt.)

Anyway we successfully completed a damn hard assignment. Even the failed trapper made it through the season, kept to a job she clearly didn't care for. A few of the trappers would work for me in the following years. With one trapper I became good friends. A spit of a woman with esprit. And I remember another trapper suffered from migraine headaches pretty regulalrly. The kind of headache that forces you into a dark room. But she still excelled in the field. At the end of the season, when I took her home after they had all turned in their equipment in Olympia, she confessed she had figured I was sweet on her because of the daily phone contact. I was flattered, she being young and pretty. But I told her that the older a man gets the higher gets the threshold for what constitutes jail bait. She laughed. And I never saw her again.

Thinking on it that really was a sweet season. It could have been a !@#$. But these women, only one of whom had experience, made the job look easy. They made it look fun again. So much intelligence. So much drive. So much energy. It was also a sweet season because of the environs. Whatcom Co is a beautiful spot on the planet. Forest, farmland, Puget Sound. Even the city of Bellingham was enjoyable. And I got down practically every passable road in the western third of a very large county. I was in love all right. Between driving through the county and then coming home to my cottage on the mountain side you bet I was in love, in love with the land. (My car was my office. In the trunk were supplies trappers might need: traps, pheromone lures, pencils, extra data sheets, staples, etc. In the back seat were maps and file boxes filled with copies of data sheets trappers would have made for each trap set. But in the front seat were my personal field guides for all flora and fauna specific to the Pacific Northwest.)

A coda to my story. After depositing the last of my trappers at their home, myself getting home and sitting in the car on the mountain road, I just stopped, just stopped. The feeling of relief was immediate and physical. I remember it clearly. For the first night in four months I would not feel responsible the next morning for the safety of 5 women type people in what is not always a woman friendly world. I got !@#$ faced drunk that night on a bottle of Irish whiskey. And I kept a buzz on for a couple of days. Better yet, I played rock n roll, country and western, Beethoven and Mozart and Carmina Burana as loud as the stereo would go through out the days and well into the dark A.M. Imagine all that music resounding through the deep forest at night.

That was my last easy season, relatively speaking. In '96 I was made a region supervisor (survey entomologist) responsible for large portions of the state. For six years Stella would be my spirit guide.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Apr/24/2010, 3:56 pm
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Rereading. Good story, huh? I don't mean the telling is good. I mean the story, the captioning of this team of gypsy moth trappers. Some 15 years later and I remain each trapper's greatest fan. What they did by their trapping, how they protected so much forested land from the possible introduction of a particularly pernicious little beast...I only hope they remember their year with justifiable pride.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Apr/24/2010, 4:06 pm
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Yes, a good story. How could you tell or sense which job applicant had that kind of drive or initiative? What combination of confidence and support did you convey to these people to get such a challenging job done? I guess not being cooped in an office or workplace really cut down on the personality and political/power issues that wear people out...usually more than the work itself.

A good story.

Chris
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Thanks, Chris. Your questions intrigue me. But I should first say that almost all residents of the Pacific Northwest, at least on the west side of the Cascade crestline, are both environmentalists and jealous of what they have, which is paradise. So much so they actively seek to keep newcomers out. Ask a native how bad the rainy seasons are and you will be told in colorful terms it is so bad there is only one season and it is rainy. All the while they are hoping the information discourages you from moving in. And in the case of the possible establishment of a gypsy moth population even loggers, at least for the nonce, become tree huggers. The point is that, when interviewing a candidate for the job, it was always an easy sell. Pay was low, work was seasonal, the work could at times be grueling. But for every position filled there were 20 to 30 applicants. Northwesterners love their spot on the planet. They want to keep it as close to how they imagine it was in the first days of Euro-American settlement. Even city dwellers love the idea of it.

About your first question. First, and humbly, I have to admit that, on the basis of the interview, I had figured the one failing trapper that year was the most qualified. I remember thinking, hell, she could probably do my job better than I can. It was only after she was hired, and visiting her the first day in the field, I realized I had a problem, that I would have to carry her, that she could not grasp the idea of logistics to the real world. (And she a trained biologist.) Had she been less prickly, less diffident, I would have spent more one on one time with her. But aside from the fact I give such a woman a wide berth there is that, in the field, there are no witnesses to any exchange between a supervisor and a subordinate. So I visited her (minimally) in the field as the job required. All other encounters occurred during the twice monthly team meetings when I collected time sheets, performed vehicle safety checks, took data sheets, handed out supplies as needed, reviewed progress. Always with witnesses. My point is that, in terms of selection, I lucked out that year. I wish I could give myself credit for being able to read people rightly but I can't. Sure, I agonized over the selection, just as I would every subsequent year. But in the end, the right person for the job coming your way is a matter of stupid luck.

About your second question I am more confident. In terms of earning a trapper's trust I knew the job from the inside out, from the bottom up, and I had mastered the strategy involved in trap deployment and coverage of an area. As said before I was a trapper's trapper. I never assigned an area to a trapper I knew could not be covered. At home, off hours often, I plotted out carefully the areas I assigned to trappers. And I took into account environment. Open roads were easier to cover than were urban areas of people-congestion. I took that into account too when planning. By '95 I had a name in the program, two names actually. To trappers it amounted to this: he knows what he is doing, he knows what I am facing, I'll trust his judgement calls. To the people in the office in Olympia my name had a different color to it. As for giving support I can only say I kept in the field with my trappers. They knew I was there. This maybe more than anything else gave them a sense of getting supported...and getting watched I should add.

Confidence and support? Know the details of the task at hand and you inspire confidence. Support your people tangibly and they feel it possible the shitty job you've given them is also possible. Jobbing.

Tere
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Okay. I've got a couple of Sunday hours to devote to the chronicle. The coming week will be another hard one, so the time for telling tales is now.

The narrative takes a turn at this point. I got the call in late winter of '96 while still living in Whatcom Co. The Program Entomologist wanted me to become a survey entomologist, a region supervisor responsible for large portions of the state and as many as 5 teams of trappers each with team leaders. Yearly the job would last for 8 months. My tenure with the state would continue in the same position through the gypsy moth season of '01, making for 6 seasons. But for '96 the years are a blur. I cannot separate them out. Nor can I remember which part of the state I administered from year to year. Which were the two years I had all of eastern WA plus good portions of western WA? I don't know. Which were the 2 years I conducted the state's first survey of the Olympic Peninsula's interior with all its hiking trails? I think that happened in '97 and '98, one of which years I'm pretty sure was spent in eastern WA too. Which was the year I introduced GPS generated mapping to the program, in effect bringing it into the satellite age when it was still using TOPOs that were always outdated? I think it was no later than '98 but it might have been '97. Hell, it could have been '96 for all I know. It's a blur.

Let me caption it this way. We worked 4 10 hour days. Three of those days and nights I was away from home and staying in motels from Spokane to Olympia. By the end of '96, my first year as reg sup., every morning met me with the same problem: where am I? Lying in bed I would need a good 3 to 5 minutes piecing together a frame of reference before I knew in which town I was waking. And the sameness of motel rooms was a real liability. Sometimes I even had to look around before getting right the thermostat's position. I can remember all the beautiful people I supervised I just can't remember when. Ernie the retired forester from Aberdeen. Becky whose teams always loved her and she had eating out of her hand. David in Port Angeles who while riding with me once told the story of his Sasquatch encounter in the Elwha valley. Telling it in such an excited, still scared way I firmly believed him. The girl who called me from Wenatchee one night terrified of the that year's great forest fire filling her town with smoke and whose light she could see on the horizon. That was the year four fighters lost their lives. I can remember them all. I can see their faces. I just can't remember exactly which year we worked together.

Thinking back I honestly can't believe all we accomplished. We never failed to accomplish what we had been assigned to do. There were two other regional groups, both of which could come up short from time to time. We didn't. Not once. We were always ahead or on schedule. We always successfully responded to initial moth catches. I hate sports metaphors. Ours wasn't team work. Ours was synergistic work. We created something larger than the sum of our parts. And unfailingly we accomplished our work smiling. From the scablands of the Columbia Basin in southeastern WA to the Pacific Ocean to the Canadian border to the Columbia River. One of the biggest changes I made operationally was to make sure my trappers worked as close as possible to home. Before then such was not the case always and it made no sense, putting needless stress and strain on the trappers. (The exception perforce was eastern WA which was never given more than 4 trappers.) So my trappers worked close to home. My field supervisors lived in the areas they had been assigned. (Remember my '93 season having to drive 24,000 miles in 5 months. I made sure it didn't happen to any of my people.) I was the one driving long distances and that was okay. My job was to think for the teams, supply them, support them, guide and direct them. Their job was the real work: trap setting, map plotting, trap monitoring, moth catching. And when a trapper caught a moth in a trap I made sure both field supervisor and myself were always on the scene coordinating the response of delimiting the catch site with more traps. One day in '96 I was responding to a catch just below the Canadian border in the morning and to a catch just north of the Columbia river in the afternoon.

In all those years of supervising 3 to 5 teams a year I only had one field supervisor who, in my view, failed her team. A cardinal sin. As one of her trappers put it her manner of leading was demoralizing. It was the one time I gave a bad evaluation of a team leader. And she never worked for me again. I caught grief for that in Olympia. She had friends in the program. In my view trappers came first. Without them the program could fail. As for the other team leaders they regularly came back. One team leader was with me from '96 to the end.

I think I remember correctly that I was assigned to survey all the ports, but for Tacoma's and Seattle's, every year. Bellingham, Anacortes, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Aberdeen, Olympia, and Vancouver on the Columbia River. Port surveys were high density surveys. My teams had the best GPS generated maps available. I also think I remember correctly that each year I was assigned all waterway surveys, conducted at 4 to the mile. All of Puget Sound (find a map of her coastlines), the Pacific Coast stretch of the Olympic Peninsula, and the Columbia River as far east as Portland OR. Then there were all the arterial highways connecting the state, east/west and north/south. And the towns and cities. And the mountain roads.

(let me save this to the board before continuing) How the hell did we do it?

The two years trapping the trails of the Olympic National Park were historic, never been done before. A hiker had reported seeing gypsy moths in the Hoh valley. Apparently she said she worked with the moths in a lab somewhere in Ohio. We knew it was an unlikely sighting, since, the moth is a hitch hiker brought in by people. We figured it was a closely related tussock But we had no choice. We had to respond. One of my team leaders, in the winter time, worked in a ski resort as a professional rescuer. He was perfect for the job. He had a team of two hikers. But here was the catch. The park rangers did not want the traps visible from the trails. So we had to hide them on the backside of trees. Imagine having to plot that on a map. But we did. We also used GPS units to plot trap locations. Only the unit's intended error factor could only get us within 30 meters of its location. A substantial error factor in the forests. But we did it and we recovered each trap at the end of both seasons. My job primarily was to think and strategize: which trails would be covered each year and what density. But I did make it up into the park. Somewhere I think I still have a picture taken of me on the top of Hurricaine Ridge. It was kind of a dare. My trappers, both much younger men, wanted to see me up there. Later that night, back at my cottage in Clallam Co., we shared a bottle of Irish.

So many stories. Becky was one of my favorite team leaders. She and I share the same birthday day. And she could be one challenging virgo. She wasn't known for cutting me slack. One year I administered a written test to everyone in the region. She got mad because she said the questions were trick questions. I said okay, so? She said: you're not going to change your mind are you? I said: no. We left it at that. Always challenging me if she thought I was wrong. Only one time did I pull rank on her. A trapper (a woman) wrote an untoward letter to another woman in my region. The second woman showed it to me. It was implictly sexual. I gave the letter to the agency's personnel director. She had a talking with the first woman. I did not want to lose either of them, both were good people, so I made sure there was no contact in the field. When Becky learned of the incident, having not read the letter, she took the side of its writer. She called me on the phone pissed, really pissed. It was the only time I ever raised my voice against her or anyone else. I said: "God damn it, Becky. I need you right now to do your job and see to your team. Subject closed." I think that was the year she was diagnosed with a rare disease called something like NFS. It's a brain tumor. The afternoon of the scan she called me crying. I remember I was on the road. I remember her saying she stopped counting the clusters at 24. A side affect of the disease is loss of hearing. She worked through the season and I got her through the next year. By then it was clear the disability was too much for her. So she went on to get a degree in education and I think she taught for awhile. Mostly she raises funds and awareness for the disease. I saw on facebook this morning she just ran a marathon. She made it half-way through and that is quite an accomplishment. Heart. Esprit. Guts. Tenacity. She's got it all. I try to keep in touch with her. But she now suffers from memory loss. She can't remember when I contact her. Why does it always happen to the best? F***ing not fair.

Enough for now. It is a long post. Maybe next I'll tell the ugly story of what happens when environmentalist gets pitted against another environmentalist.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Apr/25/2010, 3:12 pm
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Let me go for another post while I am thinking of it and have the time. I need to bring the narrative up to date.

I said that in '96 I was still living in Whatcom Co., just out from Bellingham. In the fall of '97 my girlfriend and I moved to the north shore of the Olympic Peninsula, just out from Port Angeles. It was a fifty acre estate, maybe ten acres of which were in pasture and cultivation, surrounded by deep forest. It was owned by an old woman who lived in the big house alone. My girlfriend and I lived in a chateau-like log house that, some 60 years before, had been a cabin for hunters and that had been renovated and enlarged. The setting was perfect. For me it was a dream come true. I knew I would never have such an opportunity again. On a ridge up against the Olympic forest. Overlooking the Straights of Juan Defuca. So far up the big ships looked tiny. I could see Vancouver Island to the north and Mt Baker to the east northeast. Rent was $200 a month plus labor. We were to serve as caretakers. My girlfriend was a suburban girl. An Irish/Italian beauty and a most talented actress. Always saught after by local drama groups where ever we lived. Said as kindly as possible she tended to spend her days playing at living. Too many of our nights were spent in taverns. Otherewise I would have lost her long before I did. The following year, late summer of '98, she moved out. We had been together for ten years. She couldn't take it, couldn't take the work and tendance the estate required. The day I saw her crying while working our garden I knew what was coming. And I was resolved to it. She flew to London for her brother's 40 birthday. When she came back she said she was moving out. I said okay. I lived on the estate for a total of 5 years. I took care of it. Mowing, leaf blowing, keeeping the gravel road graded with an old Massey Ferguson tractor, apple tree and rasberry cane pruning, dead heading the scores of rhodedendrons, gardening, making apple cider, seeing to the old lady's trash and wood supply for the stove. Also my job was to be there so the old lady could feel safe. Those who have read my bear poem, this is where the encounter happened. I lived alone. Every winter I think I went a little crazy from too much aloneness. Down in town I would learn I was something of an old man of the forest. The man living alone on Lora Green's estate. And now I had two jobs. Chasing after gypsy moths and caretaking an estate that was far past its prime. Maybe I'll tell about the old woman sometime. The cheapest wealthy woman I've ever encountered and who could get mad quite easily. I was not sorry to learn a few weeks ago she finally passed away. Now the gods get to deal with her.

Tere
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Before I forget it again.

In addition to all the equipment we issued trappers, and in addition to the first week of orientation and in-field training, we also issued them a book called the trapper's manual. It covered everything, or it was supposed to. How to trap, make location maps, record information on data sheets, which areas would be delimited trapping and at what densities, how to conduct vehicle checks, and a rather substantial miscellany of personnel related issues. (It was a bureaucracy after all.) What had been in use for years, quite frankly, sucked. It neither covered the real essentials of trapping nor was it well organized. It was of no use in the field.

Early in the season of '97 I took the manual and rewrote it, completely revised and revamped it. I gave my initial draft to the new Program Entomologist. He then finalized and improved the manual. Finally trappers had a book in the field they could refer to and that spoke to their real circumstance.

My name never showed up on the manual. Not that year or subsequent years. Every year it would get updated to cover the current year's program objectives. And every year the current year's Program Entomologist would put his name down as its author. Talk about ghost writing, huh?

And not a small accomplishment, writing a technical manual, from a sorry assed, left brain, pointy headed type poet. Manual still in use.

Tere
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Terreson,

Enjoying your posting. I think the following is a bit over the top. You may not have meant it that way, but it borders on paranoia. "I was a white man in authority, by virtue of gender, race, and position the enemy to many folk . . ." Am I going to get kicked off the board now? Zak
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Well, sweet readers, I've decided to let go of the jobbing chronicle. It is starting to get boring to me and I have to assume the same for you all. The point of jobbing for a poet has been made, perhaps too amply. After the GM survey season of '01 I would leave WA for a woman in LA, mostly on credit. In the 11th, or maybe it was the 13th, hour I would luck out and get a job working for scientists involved in honey bee research. The woman thing did not pan out. The job did. Just like Hesiod said it goes. Jobbing. Time to let go.

Zak, I've self-censored the entry you found objectionable. It was just a joke, man, in the vein, say, of George Carlin or Lenny Bruce. I guess mine is a twisted sense of humor too.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Apr/25/2010, 7:11 pm
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Terreson,

Without video it was hard to see the grin. No problem. Zak
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I'm sorry to see this one end. It was such a good idea for a theme; well written and a pleasure to read.

Thanks Tere,

Chris
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Thanks much, Christine. Especial thanks for the encouragement to pursue the theme. Today I remembered that yesterday I promised a tale of environmentalists pitted against their own kind. That I will give. I think you'll find it instructive and kind of disconcerting. I saw the future that year.

Tere
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Terreson,
You're taking a break. The board has slowed down. I can understand it. I've been sitting back too. Reading (maybe rereading) a book by Jung & some of his followers, written about 1961, having to do with symbols & the unconscious. Talks about the edge of art, as it was back then. Will have to find something comparable for 50 years later. Anyway, am retrenching on my own writing. You must be, too.

Went over some of your postings here, did it quickly and it occurred to me that you must have favorite moments. Favorite phases of your jobbing experience. There are certain phases where you come into a new experience and we were there with you. Reminded me strongly of Hemingway's young protagonists coming newly into town, and our being there with him. His short stories are considered today to be among his best writing, something you doubtlessly know. But there were other parts of the narrative that were highly rewarding, like the boat house or near water experience in the Northwest, or even exploring the Northwest as part of the jobbing. We probably crossed some of the same territory, as I fought fires out of the Northwest, but then was flown to various states west of the Mississippi, mostly the far west. Sounds like your experience in Washington in particular was much more focused and intense, as many times I wasn't sure exactly where I was. The crewleader carried the maps. Kind of like in the army. In your case, you "had" to know where you were precisely, and you "were" the crewleader, so to speak. Good luck with wherever you go with this or after this. And thanks. Zak
Apr/30/2010, 9:14 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
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Tere,

I've really come to enjoy and look forward to this sequence of jobbing posts. The serial nature of the writing took me back to one of my favorite memories as a child when, after lunch and after recess, a grade school teacher would read a chapter from a book out loud to the class. I loved listening, the pleasure of being read to, and loved the suspence of having to wait at least 24 hours to find out what happened next. Many of these posts have had an overheard quality to them, and I hope you enjoyed writing them as much as I have enjoyed reading them.

Last edited by Katlin, Apr/30/2010, 4:07 pm
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


And thanks too, Zak and Kat.

Zak, as mentioned up thread, I have one more jobbing tale to tell, what involves a stand off between environmentalists. I started in on it last Tuesday, but deleted a rather substantial post, being not pleased with it. I will commit myself to rewriting the post tomorrow. This time I intend to go for a rather fulsome narrative. As for the hiatus, it has been job related this week. Bee keepers are also agriculturalists and, consequently, tied to the seasons. Spring is for queen propogation, making new colonies, managing established colonies in order to releave swarming pressures. Additionally, there is the science part of my job, what involves helping to conduct tests designed to find ways of solving problems bees face, mostly disease and parasite related. I've never been involved in as many tests as I am this year. Plus having to propogate and maintain four genetically distinct lines of queens, each line with many, many sister queens. I've never had so many colonies, all requiring special attention. If I lose a queen I may still have a colony through supercedure. But for test purposes the colony is no longer of value. I can't scant afford to lose original queens.

I have a saying at work when the week has been particularly hard on the old bod: Man, I'm feeling Friday tired today. This week, as has been the case for the last 8 weeks or so, by Wednesday I was feeling Friday tired. I'll be at it again next week, and the week following, and the heat is still to come.

Anyway, I check in nightly. I just don't have enough brain power left over to be interesting.

And Kat, that is a high compliment. You'll know my horror of being boring. You'll know also I am an inveterate story teller, a real gossip at heart. I would have been a great teller of Trickster tales in some Amer-Indian long house in winter, the season for telling stories. Sometimes at work I get teased for telling stories about what happened in this or that year, this or that place. Never told my stories are boring. In this sense, perhaps, jobbing has afforded me much material. And I've been polite here. The darker side of human nature I've mostly left out. Getting gang raped on the oil rig off-shore. Taping a man's soul back together, a fellow bartender and one time prostitute, whose face had been sliced into thin ribbons by men hired by a jealous lover. The meth labs chanced upon, when a trapper, working the forests of Fort Lewis. The body found dumped on the side of the road, duct taped, in Mason Co. WA. Losing a wife to a boss, a restaurant owner. The boss in whose face I threw a paycheck, telling him he could shove the job up his ass, before walking out the door. Stuff like that I've left out.

Jobbing, my sweets. Jobbing. The only difference between writers like me and other workers who live from paycheck to paycheck is that I have the instinct for story telling, for reportage. The big difference between writers like me and writers inclined to write about, glorify, jobbing is experience. I love Studs Terkel. He is a hero. But he didn't spend a whole life jobbing while looking to make poetry. I love both Walt Whitman and Vachel Lindsay. Both of whom loved the working class bloke. Neither of whom worked enough to calouse the fingers. Same is true of Shelley. Same is true of Vonnegut. Same is true of another one of my heroes. Steinbeck.

Hesiod was right. Poetry tells me he was wrong. Jobbing and making a living tells me he is right. The contradiction.

Tere
Apr/30/2010, 8:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Tere,

Although I can understand why you didn't tell them here, those untold stories of the dark side sound like the stuff of crime thrillers. And, yes, I can see you holding court, telling trickster tales in a long house during the dead of a New York winter.
Apr/30/2010, 10:46 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Jobbing, eh?

When I applied for the MFA program at the ripe age of fifty-something (I forget now and have a rule: I don't do subtraction on Saturdays) I wondered how am I going to justify this application? I'm a lactation nurse; I remind people how to be mammals. Other than my application portfolio, what will they have to go on besides this "Personal Statement" that tells them I'm a candidate they want in their program? I thought about my job. I thought about poetry. I thought, Well, dummy, in both cases you're translating image into language, and it's the patient's or reader's job to convert that into response. Duh.

Here's yesterday's mammal family and a little twist on what an image can do. I loved these folks to pieces. They're just the kind of patients that make my day. They let me come into their space as the local crone, and then they apply what they've learned. They're grown ups.

Mom's not nursing so well. Baby hasn't been latching, he's been trying, then he's been pulling off and squawking. Mom's been getting him milk one way or the other, though. But not in a very satisfying (for anyone in the mix) or efficient way. Everyone's tired, but so far Mom and Dad have learned the absolutely fundamental parenting rule and are applying it: They've learned how to give up individual need for common good. I can't teach people that, really. I can only teach people how to get stuff done once they've learned how important that is.

Dad's being supportive and calm because he's that kind of man. He's rooming in with mom, he's being her "Please Honey could you fetch this, do that," with humor and grace. He smiles when she gives him a list of twelve things in a rapid row and he's stuck on the first, because he knows she's a woman, a double-tasker, and he'sa git'er'done guy. One thing at a time, though. He's happy to be a man and let her be a woman and vice versa. These guys are polarized, which is their particular version of mammal. Hence, this baby.

Mom's thrilled with Dad, with Baby , proud as can be, and in awe. And she knows she needs help. Yesterday she turned down the consult, but today, she knows she needs it.

And (I loved this) she's wearing a deeply serious dark purple nightgown which tells me she's a woman first and everything else she does and needs, comes from that. She's a bit of a firebrand, too, and says what she thinks: as a friend used to say "She lets it lay where Jesus flung it." She's also got a great sense of humor, is generous, honest, responsive, and can convert from what-do-I-do-now? to wizardress in seconds.

She's afraid to hold her baby firmly. And she just doesn't know how to line up the essentials: like his body in relation to her body. We walk about this. I do a little neuro-linguistic programming and in my most subtle Germanic manner tell her: "That fear of yours no longer applies— in three minutes you'll be holding him like a pro. Let's go."

I show her how, I give her the rationale, basically, I reframe the typical new mom fears: "OMG, if I hold his neck like that, it feels like I'm squeezing his head off" to "See, son, how I'm getting your neck back into extension, opening your airway and helping you latch after months of being squished inside me?"

Little Mr. Newborn loves this. He figures "Well finally, someone confident is in charge of this shooting match; looks like I won't get dropped on the floor after all and may actually get the feed properly." He calms down, opens his mouth, latches, sucks, swallows, does the classic dismount, looks like a drunk dog in front of the fire and mom puts him on her chest to burp him.

"Probably I'm doing this wrong," she says. A teentsy bit coyly. By which she means she she trusts me to tell her and is starting to trust herself a bit more. It's such a dance.

"Nope. it's perfect," I say.

"Now what?" mom asks. Baby's asleep on her chest. A look of complete bliss on his face: satisfied, relieved, warm, loved. All that. If we get that look in adulthood more than twelve times, we are so lucky, it's ridiculous.

"What do you mean, now what?" (I play dumb)

"What about the other breast?"

"What about it?" (still dumb)

"Doesn't he want it?"


"Look at him. He's completely (for the moment) content. Here's the rule about babies: if the baby's happy; you're done."

"How long did he feed?"

"Who cares?" Numbers are only one way to evaluate behavior. I'd rather you look at the whole picture."

"Really?"

"Look at him. He's happy. You're done. He's a reliable narrator: he is a baby who has demonstrated that he knows when he's hungry and when he's satisfied. Believe him. If he gets sick or jaundiced then we'll see he's temporarily not reliable and we'll take over for him."

"That's it?"

"That's it. And you did it without a $50 pillow, with one hand free. You are now free to move about the cabin. Double task."

"He's never fed like that. Look at him, he's happy, Honey, look." Dad grins.

All systems are Go now.

"OK, she says, when the consultant comes in tomorrow, I'm going to make her stand over there, by the sink and I'm going to say "Just watch this, you just watch what I can do, now! Then tell me what I'm not doing right."

I laughed. I grinned. Two thumbs up. Now she's got her power. She's mother bear.

Then she says "You know we have one of those baby wraps. (not a snack food, but a thing you tie your baby to your body with, like in the National Geographic pictures, only more complicated and more expensive.) But I couldn't figure out how to put the d__med thing on. Before I delivered, I burst into tears "How can I have a baby if I can't even figure out how to wrap the stupid wrap? So I watched some woman on YouTube demonstrate it. In like a zillion steps. You know what?"

Now she's gleaning forward, waving her hands.

"She was wearing a black dress in the video. The wrap was black, too. You know what I thought? I thought: You dumb little b-tch..."

  (to be fair, I think her Percocet had just kicked in, hence, her filter was down)

" I thought how the (*^&%$%^#$& can we see what you're doing if your dress and the wrap are the same *&^Y*^* color?" F^(k this! That is SO stupid!! I'm smarter than that. You know what, I can be a mom!"

I howled. Sometimes a really bad image is your best teacher. I wonder how that works in poetry?

((( And what's really cool? The hospital pays me to have interactions like that. )))
May/8/2010, 2:02 pm Link to this post Send Email to MsParataxis   Send PM to MsParataxis
 
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


What a delightful story and told in a non-replicable voice. In the pantheon of goddesses and gods I know there has to be a goddess in charge of lactation. And she has to have her priestesses who I guess we would call technicians and consultants today. You reckon the story's baby was channelling that old Bob Hope song? "Thanks for the mammaries."

Tere
May/8/2010, 3:09 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Tere: I don't know about a goddess, but this picture tells us what one of the church/establishments thought ... look carefully, very carefully. This is in the Prado, in Madrid, and comes as a rather jarring afterthought to rooms of Goya and el Greco. ....



Last edited by MsParataxis, May/8/2010, 6:31 pm
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Ms P, the link, yes? I think this matters to you. Matters to me too.
Tere

Last edited by Terreson, May/8/2010, 6:40 pm
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Msp,

You say you had some doubts going into the MFA program. Did they have requirements you had to make up going into the MFA. That's my practical side asking that.

My creative side kicks in and says the job you do, your daytime job, is as valid as anything as a background for literature. I'm sure you know that. As valid, and maybe more, more essential. Enjoyed the posting. I'm sure there's room for you out there. I'm reminded of Dmeh's series on driving truck. There's room for all of this, depending on the fine hand of the writer. Zak
May/8/2010, 8:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
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I've seen this before, Ms. P. You reckon something a bit more au naturale would have been too much for Church fathers? One thing is for sure. Mary has a good eye and an exquisite aim.

Tere
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Hi Ms. P,

I enjoyed your jobbing post. It was fun to read. My niece, who lives in SC, became a mother for the first time this past year, and I joined facebook just so I could see pics of Ava, who, it turns out, is a beautiful baby. I hope my niece has a purple negligee. emoticon
May/11/2010, 3:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Zak -
    I think I was more worried than the school was. I didn't have to make up credits, but took catch-up courses on my own so I wouldn't look a total goof. I'm astonished (and delighted) at how well (and much better) read many of my classmates are. I scramble to keep up.
    But, then, I don't come to class stoned, either. My age gives me that advantage. Or restriction. One more semester to go and then I'm going to make them put RN, MFA on my badge at work. Demmit.

MsP
May/11/2010, 7:48 pm Link to this post Send Email to MsParataxis   Send PM to MsParataxis
 
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Katlin -
   Thank you! I hope your niece and her new one thrive and flourish and I hope she has a purple nightie, as well. You kind of hanker after something a little less 'brood mare' after nine months of total body/brain invasion.
MsP
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In early May Ms. P posted a link that for some reason skewed the thread's format, its page width. I have removed the post and the page has returned to normal. But I want to make sure the image of a lactating saint still gets shown. And so I have found this, what shows a number of images of the same scene. In one St. Bernard is actually allowed to suckle. I've never cared forthis particular saint, by the way. He hounded down until he broke down one of my heroes, Peter Abelard.

http://benitocereno.livejournal.com/249264.html

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Jun/12/2010, 2:29 pm
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I need to finish off my chronicle. There is one more story to tell. I lost steam in early May, not able to concentrate on anything following the 20 April Deepwater Horizon explosion. Focus still forced but I don't like unfinished business. The story has some length to it. I'll try to make the tale as succinct as possible. The story amounts to a cautionary tale. As an environmentalist friend said back then there is nothing worse than conflict between environmentalists.

I am pretty sure the year was '99 and I was still working for WA state's agriculture dept chasing down gypsy moths, or, rather, directing operations in the field. But I can't be sure of the year. Towards the end the years started blurring.

So I'll say that in the summer of 1999 a Russian ship was abandoned in Port Angeles on the Straights of Juan De Fuca. Ship's owner went bankrupt. A British insurance company took possession. Crew walked off in port. Hindsight is always easy, of course, but had the ship remained in Port Angeles this story would not have transpired. The Coast Guard towed the ship to Seattle where it was docked on, I think, Lake Union, a lake at the city's epicenter. APHIS boarded for a routine inspection. I don't know how many Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses were found but it was a lot, maybe hundreds, with each egg mass containing thousands of eggs. My reader will recall that the Asian variety is far more pernicious than the European variety since its female has a flight capability of almost 20 miles. The feds became immediately involved and a huge trapping operation would be scheduled for the following summer. But before the trapping would come the eradication, the aerial spraying of BTk in early spring when gypsy moth eggs have hatched and larvae wiggle about.

The word got out that same summer. As all know, Seattle is famous for its very active, sometimes militant,
environmentalists. There was no question but that an aerial spray would have to take place in the spring of '00. And so an anti-spray campaign was immediately started up. Mass letter writing. Mass phone calling of the ag. dept. with the express intention of disrupting daily operations agency wide. Thousands of Seattlites putting their names on a list of residents who would want to be contacted just prior to the spray operation. Scores of town hall type meetings scheduled in which local, state, and federal officials were required to attend. The sole purpose of the orchestarted effort was to bring the machinery of government to a halt. And the campaign was extremely well organized from the bottom up, at the grass roots level. It would culminate in April or May of 2000.

In all of the 11 years I worked for the Gypsy Moth program I kept my distance from the eradication side. While it is an organic compound, not a chemical, BTk is not species specific. It kills all butterflies and moths. It kills other insects too such as mosquitoes. (In areas of the world where malaria is a problem a form of BTk has long since replaced DDT in mosquito control.) This bothered my conscience. I admit to the hypocrisy of wanting to find gypsy moths before they could become established, deforesting huge tracts of forests, while not wanting to be in on the kill. "Out, out, damn spot," Lady Macbeth said. In the spring of 2000 I had no choice. All available personnel were needed both in the office, in the weeks leading up to the spray, and in the field, the city of Seattle, in the pre-dawn hours of each successive spray. I wanted to quit that spring. Every year, from 1992, I had crusaded through out the state, all of the state, trapping and directing trappers to trap. But that spring I wanted to beg off. Why I didn't is because I needed the money badly. Pay was good. Working 8 months a year I could make enough to see to obligations and buy time to write. As it turned out, however, I only lasted with the program one more season.

Now I need to explain something: how an aerial spray of this sort works. A grid is drawn on a map. So many miles long and so many miles wide. With map in hand a dust crop type plane and pilot "walks" up and "walks" down the gridded out area spraying. But the pilot also needs visible landmarks. Helium filled balloons are sent up so many feet in the air and tied with a string to the ground. Four corners are marked and all four sides are marked in step-wise fashion. Pilot walks up, pilot walks down. Pilot walks up, pilot walks down. Pilot lands, takes on more spray, continues walking until the complete grid is saturated from the air. One application is not enough. It has to be repeated once, at least, and I think twice. Always in the pre-dawn hours, I think to minimize human and other animal contact from the spray.

My job that spray was to man one of the balloon stations. I remember clearly I was on a street corner, at a bus stop in a residential area, marking the grid's northwest point. If my reader remembers Becky, my favorite of all my team leaders, she remembers that Becky was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called NF2, what produces clusters of brain tumors, causes deafness, and eventually tears down the body. By the season of 2000 she could barely hear. I knew it would have to be her last season. But I was determined to do whatever needed to be done to see her through it. She wasn't ready to quit. She too had to be involved in the spray and so I made certain she was my partner those nights in order to keep watch over her. I am remembering. I kept her seated in her parked car. I did the work needed, which wasn't much.

Our station was smack in the middle of one of the neighborhoods most militant in its stand against the spray. Many neighbors were up all night those nights. Lights were on from house to house to house. Residents walking their streets pissed off. With the first spray night, or pre-dawn, I got harrassed. It was only verbal. I took it silently, just standing. I got that the neighborhood belonged to them, not me. I also got they had never seen entire forested mountainsides defoliated. They could not appreciate the magnitude of standing in a deciduous forest in June and the entirely denuded trees put you in December. That first night the only action taken was by a man who walked up to where the balloons were tied and cutting the string. Smoking a cigarette, I let him do it. He said something like: "You don't live here." When he walked away I opened the trunk of the car, got out another set of balloons and lofted them. Then came the second spray night.

We would have arrived on the street corner around 3:30 in the morning. I wish I could remember the name of the neighborhood. Seattle is famous for its neighborhoods, each distinctive in its own way. It wasn't Ballard. Might have been Crown Heights. All I remember is that we were stationed north of Lake Union, at the grid's northwest corner. Becky kept in the car. She might have been pissed at my paternalism by then. Can't say as I blame her. But I was her boss. For a second time I pulled rank. I lofted the balloons and waited. Man, I felt the eyes on me. I could see all the lights on down the neighborhood streets. The intersection had a street lamp. As I said we were parked in a bus stop's zone. I was standing there a good 20 minutes before I saw them. First one, then two, then a dozen or so. Someone had strewn over the area where we were parked a pound or two of roofing tacks, the short, sharp kind with the large flatheads. All of a sudden the lamp light caught them all. The entire length of the bus stop. They were under our cars and on both sides. All of a sudden I realized environmentalists had tagged me as an enemy. Worse! All of a sudden I saw Becky driving home some 20 miles away in the morning rush hour on I-5.

I called my boss for help. Maybe for someone to help me pick up the roofing tacks. Maybe for police presence. I don't know. Maybe because I got scared. He shrugged it off. Could have cared less. He was too caught up in the excitement of a spray. He was the fourth, and the worst, project entomologist I worked for. Before that morning I had had little respect for him. After that morning I had none. How long did it take to pick up each and every tack? First by lamp light, then by early sun light. An hour, maybe two. But I think I found them all. In front and behind our vehicles. Then moving the cars and getting the ones underneath. The next work morning I plopped the bag of a pound or two of tacks on my bosses desk. He said nothing and nor did I.

That night I felt doubly betrayed.

Let's wrap up this picaresque tale. That was the beginning of the 2000 season. When it came time to trap, once again I had all of eastern Washington and a sizable portion of western Washington, from Canada to Oregon, as far west as the Pacific Ocean, to administer to. I was burned out. Hundreds of thousands of miles driven in 11 years. Tens of thousands of traps either set with my own hands or monitored. Scores of people supervised, cajoled and coaxed into doing a taxing and unrewardable job. Thousands of gypsy moths detected and with all points of intro successfully contained. Burned out.

2001 was my last season with the program. I think it did not show but I sucked at my job that year. I still cared but I was worn down. I performed pro forma, by rote. I was hired again for the 2002 season but did not come back on staff. This for several reasons. Burn out. Lack of respect for the program's entomologist. Disgust brought about by office politics. The environmentalist war of Seattle in 2000. But mostly just plain burn out. My way out was to fall in love with a gal in Louisiana, pick up and move back down south. That turned into a bust. (Note to self: never again respond to the attentions of a Christian fundamentalist whose sense of ethics tends to be situational.) So I am still jobbing. End of chronicle.

Terreson
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